In March 1638, Newport, Rhode Island, Thomas Emons took the oath of a Freeman. To become a Freeman a person was legally required to be a respectable member of some congregational church. In early colonial America, requirements to vote and hold public office included owning land and being declared "free" from bondage.
The oath as established by the General Court is as follows:
"I, A.R., being by God's providence an inhabitant and freeman within the jurisdiction of this Commonwealth, do freely acknowledge myself to be subject to the government thereof, and therefore do here swear by the great and dreadful name of the Everlasting God, that I will be true and faithful to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance and support thereunto, with my person and my estate, as in equity I am bound; and I will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the liberties and priveledges thereof, submitting myself to the wholesome laws and orders made and established by the same.
And further, that I will not plot nor practice any evil against it, nor consent to any that shall do so, but will truly discover and reveal same to lawful authority now here established for the speedy preventing thereof.
Moreover, I do solemnly bind myself in the sight of God, that when I shall be called to give my voice touching any such matter of the State, wherein 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 public weal of the body without respect of persons or favor of any man. So help me God in the Lord Jesus Christ."
Freeman's oath from "The Emmons Family Genealogy" by Edward Neville Emmons.
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