By George DeWan
Newsday, Inc., Staff Writer
The youngest of the sisters, Lydia, was 22 in the summer of 1677 when she and other Quakers accompanied Margaret Brewster of Barbados when she entered a Puritan Church in Boston dressed as a penitent. ``Brewster was barefoot, with her hair loose and with ashes on her head, her face blackened, and sackcloth covering her garments,'' DeRiggi said.
All of the Quakers were arrested. In August, they appeared in court for trial, and Lydia Wright's testimony before the magistrates -- reproduced in a 1753 book by Joseph Besse, ``A Collection of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers'' -- shows she had remarkable poise for a young woman.
Gov. John Leverett: ``Are you one of the women that came in with this woman into Mr. Thatcher's meeting-house to disturb him at his worship?''
Lydia Wright: ``I was; but I disturbed none, for I came in peaceably, and spake not a word to man, woman or child.''
Governor: ``What came you for then?''
Wright: ``Have you not made a law that we should come to your meeting? For we were peaceably met together at our own meeting house, and some of your constables came in and haled some of our Friends out, and said, `This is not a place to worship God in.' Then we asked him `Where we should worship God?' Then they said `We must come to your public worship.' And upon the first-day following I had something upon my heart to come to your public worship, when we came in peaceably, and spake not a word, yet we were haled to prison, and there have been kept near a month.''
S. Broadstreet: ``Did you come there to hear the word of God?''
Wright: ``If the word of God was there, I was ready to hear it.'' . . .
Juggins (a magistrate): ``You are led by the spirit of the devil, to ramble up and down the country like whores and rogues a cater-wauling.''
Wright: ``Such words do not become those who call themselves Christians, for they that sit to judge for God in matters of conscience ought to be sober and serious, for sobriety becomes the people of God, for these are a weighty and ponderous people.''
Governor: ``Do you own [acknowledge] this woman?
Wright: ``I own her and have unity with her, and I do believe so have all the servants of the Lord, for I know the power and presence of the Lord was with us.''
Juggins: ``You are mistaken: You do not know the power of God. You are led by the Spirit and Light within you, which is of the Devil. There is but one God, and you do not worship that God which we worship.''
Wright: ``I believe thou speakest truth, for if you worshipped that God which we worship, you would not persecute his people, for we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the same God that Daniel worshipped.''
So they cried, ``Take her away.''
Margaret Brewster was stripped to the waist, given 20 lashes, tied to the back of a cart and drawn through town. Lydia Wright and the rest of the women were also tied to the cart, but not whipped. Thus banished, she returned to Oyster Bay.
The Wright sisters were the daughters of Peter and Alice Wright, who were among the first settlers of Oyster Bay. The middle sister, Hannah, died at age 29 when her boat capsized while she was on a Quaker mission in Maryland. Both Mary and Lydia married, and in 1685 they moved with their families to New Jersey.
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