John Rogers - His Fate and Claimed Last Words

Long after his death as a martyr in England, John Rogers was remembered in America.  His story was included in a children’s text book in New England.

The Library of Congress has an original copy of this textbook, and its story about John Rogers is seen above.  Curators at the Library tell us more about this book and why John Rogers was important to America's early residents:

Two centuries after John Rogers' execution, his ordeal, with depictions of his wife and ten children added to increase the pathos, became a staple of The New England Primer. The Primer supplemented the picture of Rogers' immolation with a long, versified speech, said to be the dying martyr's advice to his children, which urged them to "Keep always God before your Eyes" and to "Abhor the arrant Whore of Rome [that is, the Catholic Church], and all her Blasphemies." This recommendation, read by generations of young New Englanders, doubtless helped to fuel the anti-Catholic prejudice that flourished in that region well into the nineteenth century.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

"Mr. John Rogers," a woodblock print from The New-England Primer Improved, published in Boston, by A. Ellison, in 1773.  Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.



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