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Birth: 11 May 1645 ? Berkswell, Warwickshire, England
Death: 2 Jul 1724 Salem, Mass.
see clues packet 18 Aug 1985 research in Salem
in 1746 he had six grandchildren who conveyed his former property to Gabriel Holman
of Salem: Hannah Maule and Elizabeth Maule of Boston, Mary Maule of Salem,
Benjamin and Charity Buxton of Smithfield, Naomi Maule of Boston, and widow
Margaret Lusmore of Boston. (this from Sidney Perley's book on Salem)
Thomas left England in l655 and went to Barbadoes, an island in the West Indies,
getting passage by serving as a cabin-boy. It is thought that Thomas was the son of
Thomas Maule, Lieutenant of the yeomen of the guard in England (see Part I, Chapter
IV, page ??). If so, it makes sense to speculate that he went to Barbadoes in search
of his father; his father possibly would have been sent there as a prisoner by Cromwell
had he opposed the Protectorate, which was quite likely because the Maules were
adherents of the Royalist cause and Thomas' father held positions in the Royal
household. (See Part I, Chapter IV.)
While in Barbadoes, Thomas joined the Religious Society of Friends
(Quakers), convinced most probably by the preaching of George Fox or others of the
numerous preachers of the Society who visited the West Indies islands soon after the
Society cameinto existence. It is believed that while in Barbadoes Thomas established
business connections which he maintained later in life.
Three years later, in 1658, Thomas left Barbadoes and went to Boston,
Mass., where he resided for ten years before settling in Salem, Mass., for the rest of
his life. One proposition is that Thomas left Barbadoes because his health suffered
there; another proposition is that Thomas went to New England as one of many
Quakers who were settling in New England in an effort to counteract the restrictive
religious atmosphere cultivated by their Puritan theological adversaries. Perhaps
Thomas Maule's memory of Cromwell's treatment of his father motivated in part not
only his decision to go to New England but also his role in the events that developed.
While in Boston, Thomas plied the trade of a tailor; by the time he settled in
Salem, Mass., he had expanded his business to general merchandising. He did well,
despite the political and religious obstacles that he encountered, and eventually
established himself as one of Salem's wealthiest citizens.
Thomas Maule, although adopting the peaceable principles of the Society of
Friends, retained the pugnacious qualities of his family. He engaged very fiercely and
zealously in controversies with the Puritans, especially Cotton Mather and the
witch-burners of Salem. Shortly after settling in Salem (l668), Thomas commenced a
full assault on the Puritan establishment of New England.
One of Thomas' early attacks was a statement in l669 accusing Mr.
Higginson, the minister of Salem, of preaching lies and instructing in the doctrine of
devils. For this he was sentenced to be whipped. He must have been rather consistent
in his attacks, because in one of his writings he states that he was imprisoned five
times, fined three times, and whipped three times. Thomas opposed the caste
system, Puritan laws denying persons with less than a specified amount of wealth the
right to wear certain clothing and accessories, and other Puritan laws. When his store
in Salem was robbed, the authorities refused to apprehend the culprits or to recover
the stolen merchandise.
To find why Thomaz endured this prosecution and persevered in his assault
on the Puritans, one turns to Peleg Chandler's "American Criminal Trials", where it is
said Thomas "possessed great energy of character united with considerable wit, acute
reasoning powers, and a ready eloquence."
The controversy came to a head when in l695 Thomas wrote and had
William Bradford, a New York printer, publish "Truth held forth and maintained
according to the testimony of the holy prophets Christ and his apostles recorded in the
Holy Scriptures". Among the points discussed by him in the pamphlet was an
allegation that God would adversely judge the prosecutors of the Salem witch trials.
He did so in a style of such "cool and cutting sarcasm" that the Puritan authorities,
who were very sensitive about the matter, lost all patience with Thomas Maule. The
Massachusetts Bay Colony Council ordered his arrest and the Lieutenant Governor of
Massachusetts issued the arrrest warrant on Dec. l2, 1695. George Curwin, the sheriff,
arrested Thomas and seized 31 copies of the pamphlet. The authorities arrested
Thomas because none of the printers within the Massachusetts Bay Colony jurisdiction
had printed the pamphlet.
Thomas Maule was brought before the Council and the Governor in Boston.
He refused to answer any questions, and demanded to be tried in his own county by a
jury of his peers. He was released on bail, and the grand jury brought a charge of
slanderous publication and blasphemy. The trial took place at Salem, in 1696, before
his Majesty's Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery,
the justices present being Thomas Danforth, Elisha Cooke, and Samuel Sewall.
At the trial, Thomas addressed the court and argued that with respect to
religious matters the court had no power. He then addressed the jury, pointing out to it
that it was bound by the King's law, no part of which Thomas had broken. He also told
the jury that the presence of his name on the pamphlet as author meant nothing since
it was the printer who put it there; this point had no basis in the law. The jury returned
a verdict of not guilty, explaining to the court that the pamphlet was insuffcient
evidence of the charges against Thomas Maule because his name had been placed
on it by the printer.
The impact of Thomas Maule's trial cannot be understated. For the first time
in a reported trial, the jury ignored the directions of the court to find a defendant
guilty. The growing public impatience with secular interference with religious matters
undoubtedly affected the jury, which made clear that it disclaimed any authority by the
court over religious matters. The break between governmental control of secular
matters and religious matters that surfaced in Thomas Maule's trial set a precedent
that contributed at least in part to the First Amendment principle of separation of
church and state. The result in Thomas Maule's trial was cited as authority in the John
Peter Zenger case, which is regarded as the threshhold decision underlying the
development of the First Amendment principle of freedom of the press.
Knowledge of the acquittal in Maule's trial went immediately to the three
printing houses in Boston, and by mail to New york and Philadelphia. Local Boston
printers stopped seeking approval for many items, and authors stopped sending
controversial works out of the colony for printing. The volume of pamphlet publishing
increased significantly. To printers, the Maule case meant the right to print
controversial pamphlets without being subjected to penalties.
After his acquittal, Thomas continued to write. In 1697, he wrote an account
of his trial in "New England persecutors mauled with their own weapons; giving some
account of the bloody laws made at Boston against the King's subjects". In l703, he
wrote "For the service of truth against George Keith"; a religious pamphlet. He also
wrote "Letter to Cotton Mather", date unknown. Even though he continued to write,
the atmosphere in New England had changed and Thomas devoted more energy to his
store and to the affairs of the Salem Monthly Meeting of Friends, which put much
confidence in him as an elder. He also held minor public offices, such as supervisor
Unquestionably, Thomas Maule made a lasting impact. In his novel "The
House of the Seven Gables", Nathaniel Hawthorne makes use of the name Maule,
surely inspired by the events in Salem many years earlier, and gives the name a
permanent spot in literary history.
Thomas married, firstly, Mary Keyser, daughter of John Keyser. It is probable
they were married in Boston sometime between 1660 and 1665. They had no children.
On July 22, 1670, probably in Salem or Lynn, Mass., Thomas married,
secondly, Naomi Lindsey, daughter of Christopher and Margrett Lindsey cf Lynn, Mass.
Naomi died in 1707, probably in Salem, Mass. Thomas and Naomi had eight children:
On Oct. 6, 1713, probably in Salem, Mass., Thomas married, thirdly, Sarah Kendall,
daughter of James Kendall of Staffordshire, Eng. Thomas and Sarah had three
After Thomas died, Sarah (Kendall) Maule married Henry Clifton on Sept. 11,
1733, at Gwynedd Monthly Meeting of Friends in Montgomery Co., Pa. Sarah died on
Oct. 19, 1747.
Source: Maule, Gen. of the Maule Fam., p. 6-13; Chandler, Amer.
Criminal Trials, v. 1, p. 141-149; Thomas Maule, New England presecutors mauled
with their own weapons...; Chabot, Developmetn of the First Amendment Freedoms, p.
28; Channing, A Hist. of the U.S., v. 2, p. 481; Adams, Provincial Society 1690-1763,
p. 129; Maule, Sketch of Maule Fam. Hist.; Essex Inst. Coll.; Salem, Mass., Vital Rec.;
Rec. of Salem, Mass., MM; EAQG; Oxx Fam. Gen.; Leeds Gen.; Bolton, Immigrants to
New England, 1700-1775; Hotten, Original Lists; NEHG, v. 7, p. 345; Letter from
Jacob Maule (1E8) to his son Joshua (c. 1845), in Stratton-Maule Papers; Lehman,
Guilty or Not Guilty, Liberty (Nov.-Dec. 1985), p.; 25-26.; Murphy, Thomas Maule: The
Neglected Quaker, Journalism Quarterly, p. 171; Swett Bible, in collections of
Haverford Friends Library
Marriage To LINDSEY (LYNSEY) Naomi (ABT 1649 - 1707)
m. 22 Jul 1670 prob. Salem or Lynn, Mass.
LINDSEY (LYNSEY) Christopher ()
----- Margrett ()
Children by LINDSEY (LYNSEY) Naomi ABT 1649 - 1707
MAULE Susannah (15 Sep 1671 - )
MAULE Elizabeth (11 Sep 1673 - AFT 1727)
MAULE Deliverance (21 Oct 1675 - 28 Sep 1676)
MAULE Sarah (17 Sep 1677 - 1732)
MAULE Margaret (20 Mar 1680 - 1718)
MAULE Peleth (10 May 1682 - EST 1684)
MAULE John (9 Oct 1684 - 24 Nov 1726)
MAULE Joseph (12 Dec 1686 - 14 Mar 1687)
Marriage To KENDALL Sarah (21 1687 - 19 Oct 1747)
m. 6 Oct 1713 prob. Salem, Mass.
KENDALL Joseph (1661 - 24 Sep 1723)
LYTHERAM Sarah (ABT 1665 - )
Children by KENDALL Sarah 21 1687 - 19 Oct 1747
MAULE Content (28 Sep 1714 - 23 Mar 1763)
MAULE Joseph (Jan 1717 - 15 May 1777)
MAULE Thomas (4 Jul 1720 - 21 Aug 1765)
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