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The Portsmouth Compact

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

The Portsmouth Compact was an important document by which the signers severed their religious and political ties with both England and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They sought religious freedom and a non-sectarian government. The signing of this document marked America's first form of Democracy. It was signed on March 7, 1638 by 23 signers under the following agreement:

The 7th Day of the First Month, 1638. We whose names are underwritten do hereby solemnly in the presence of Jehovah incorporate ourselves into a Bodie Politick and as He shall help, will submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given in His Holy Word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby.

Three Biblical Scriptures are quoted in the margin:

  • Exodus 24:3-4 - And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

  • 1 Chronicles 11:3 - Therefore came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.

  • 2 Kings 11:17 - And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD'S people; between the king also and the people.

Two of my ancestors signed the document, Samuel Wilbore and John Porter. They were the 7th and 8th men to sign it.

The complete list of signers:

William Coddington John Clarke William Hutchinson John Coggeshall William Aspinwall Samuel Wilbore John Porter John Sanford Edward Hutchinson, Jr. Thomas Savage William Dyre William Freeborn Phillip Shearman John Walker Richard Carder William Baulston Edward Hutchinson, Sr. Henry Bull Randall Holden Thomas Clarke John Johnson William Hall John Brightman



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