Oath of a Freeman

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Oath of a Freeman
There are two forms of this oath according to: Lucius R. Paige, Lists of Freemen of Massachusetts, 1631–1691 (1849, 1988 edition). The first and original was from 1631, and the second was a revised version that was placed into effect on May 14, 1634. This revised version represented the first ever document printed at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1639, by Stephen Daye under the direction of Nathaniel Eaton, the first schoolmaster of Harvard.

Both versions are represented here.

The Oath of a Freeman


The oath of a Freeman, or of a man to be made Free

"I, A. B. &c. being by the Almighty's most wise dispostion become a member of this body, consisting of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Assistants and Commonalty of the Massachusetts in New England, do freely and sincerely acknowledge that I am justly and lawfully subject to the Government of the same, and do accordingly submit my person and estate to be protected, ordered and governed by the laws and constitutions thereof, and do faithfully promise to be from time to time obedient and conformable thereunto, and to the authority of the said Governor and Assistants, and their successors, and to all such laws, orders, sentences and decrees as shall be lawfully made and published by them or their successors. And I will always endeavor (as in duty I am bound) to advance the peace and welfare of this body or commonwealth, to my utmost skill and ability. And I will, to my best power and means, seek to divert and prevent whatsoever may tend to ruin or damage thereof, or of any the said Governor, Deputy Governor, or Assistants, or any of them, or their successors, and will give speedy notice to them, or some of them, of any sedition, violence, treachery, or other hurt or evil, which I shall know, hear, or vehemently suspect, to be plotted or intended against the said commonwealth, or the said Government established. And I will not, at any time, suffer or give consent to any counsel or attempt, that shall be offered, given, or attempted, for the impeachment of the said Government, or making any change or alteration of the same, contrary the laws and ordinances thereof; but shall do my utmost endeavor to discover, oppose and hinder all and every such counsel and attempt. So help me God."
Quoted from: Massachusetts Colonial Records, Vol I, p. 1

The second, "Stephen Daye" version is as follows ...


Freeman's Oath

"I (A.B.) being by Gods providence, an Inhabitant, and Freeman, within the jurisdiction of this Commonwealth; do freely acknowledge my self to be subject to the Government thereof: And therefore do here swear by the great and dreadful Name of the Ever-living God, that I will be true and faithfull to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance & support thereunto, with my person and estate, as in equity I am bound; and will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the liberties and priviledges thereof, submitting my self to the wholesome Lawes & Orders made and established by the same. And further, that I will not plot or practice any and reveal the same to lawfull Authority now here established, for the speedy preventing thereof.
"Moreover, I doe solemnly bind my self in the sight of God, that when I shal be called to give my voyce touching any matter of this State, in which Freemen are to deal, I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge in mine own conscience may best conduce and tend to the publike weal of the body, So help me God in the Lord Jesus Christ."
Quoted from: Major John Childe, New England's Jonas 'cast up at' London (1647) to preserve the original orthography.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.