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    1755 Colonial oath of allegiance signed by Mayflower descendant John Winslow

    [Expulsion of the Acadians]. John Winslow Signed Printed Oath of Allegiance to King George the Second. Single sheet, printed in two columns, likely as a bifolium, but now presented unfolded, 15" x 8.75". No place, but likely Nova Scotia; July 12, [1755].

    At top: "OATHS appointed to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy: And Declaration.

    I A.B. Do fincerely Promife and Swear, That I will be faithful and bear rue Allegiance to His Majesty King GEORGE the Second. So Help me GOD.

    I A.B. Do Swear, That I do from my Heart, abhor and detest and abjure as Impious and Heretical, that damnable Doctrine and Pofition, that Princes Excommunicated, or deprived by the Pope, or any Authority of the See of Rome, may be Depofed or Murthered by their Subject, or any other whatfoever : And I do declare, That no Foreign Prince, Perfon, Prelate, State or Potentante, hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Pre-eminence or Authority, Ecclesiastical or Spiritual within the Realm of GREAT-BRITAIN. So Help me GOD."

    The Oath goes on to demand repudiation of the major tenets of the Catholic faith, including "Invocation or Adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mafs, as they are now ufed in the Church of Rome, are Superstitious and Idolatrous..."

    Signed at the bottom of each column by John Winslow, Miles Whitworth, Ephraim Jones, and John Johnson. Major General John Winslow (1703-1774) was a descendant of Edward Winslow, who arrived on the Mayflower and served as the third governor of Plymouth Colony. Winslow was an officer during the French Indian War and was one of several regiments tasked with the removal of the Acadian population from Nova Scotia in 1755.

    The Treaty of Ultrecht (1713) allowed the Acadians to keep their land after the British conquest; but they steadfastly refused to sign oaths such as the one offered here. While some may have refused because they were active participants in supporting military operations against the British; the majority refused on religious grounds. The Acadians were Roman Catholic, and the British monarch was the recognized head of the Protestant Church of England. Furthermore, the oath explicitly demanded that they repudiate their faith.

    Governor William Shirley appointed Winslow lieutenant colonel of a provincial regiment. Winslow's troops played an important role at the capture of Fort Beauséjour in June 1755. He was then ordered to proceed to Nova Scotia to remove the Acadian population there, and by November they had shipped more than 1500 Acadians from the region.

    Ephraim Jones was listed as a captain in Winslow's regiment, and is mentioned in the published diary of John Thomas in an entry from June 22, 1755. Jones died the following year in November of 1756. Miles Whitworth served as a surgeon of the First Battalion under Winslow's command at the capture of Fort Beauséjour. No reference can be found for John Johnson; but both Whitworth and Jones were serving under Winslow in 1755, which serves to date this document to that year and makes the oath directly related to the Acadian Expulsion. A scarce and early colonial printing, not listed in Evans. Included with the lot is a photocopy from a 1909 auction catalog listing this very oath.

    Condition: Toning throughout, and particularly darker on the verso at lower left. Some separations occurring at the folds, with tiny pinholes of paper loss, not affecting any text, and mentioned only for accuracy. Document is professionally encapsulated in Mylar.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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