"Genealogies of Charlestown, Mass" by WYMAN (supra) explains:

"In the early days of New England a 'freeman' was a man who held the right of franchise. (In 1776 only one-sixth of the population of Boston were voters; therefore, five-sixths of the people had no participation in local government.) Admittance as an inhabitant in the early century was a privilege not lightly acquired, only those being admitted who could contribute something of value to the community. To become a 'Freeman' a man had to be not only a proprietor but must also be a member of the church in good stand."

Ms Palmer states the following:

The foregoing is taken from the BRIDGE GENEALOGY (supra), pp.xvi and xvii. Inasmuch as the subject of this Freeman's Oath is referred to throughout the early history of all our male ancestors, it is being set forth below for the benefit of their descendants; contrary to what some readers may have previously thought, becoming a freeman had nothing to do with "being freed from serving as an indentured servant."

The Oath

I, ________, being by the Almighty's most wise disposition become a member of this body, consisting of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Assistants and Commonalty of the Massachusetts in New England, do freely and sincerely acknowledge that I am justly and lawfully subject to the Governor of the same, and do accordingly submit my person and estate to be protected, ordered and governed by the laws and constitution thereof, and do faithfully promise to be from time to time obedient and comformable thereunto, and to the authority of the said Governor, Assistants, and their successors, to all such laws, orders, sentences, decrees as shall be lawfully made and published by them or their successors. And I will always endeavor (as in duty I am bound) to advance the peace and welfare of this body or Commonwealth, to my utmost skill and ability. And I will, to my best power and means, seek to divert and prevent whatsoever may tend to the ruin or damage thereof, or of any the said Governor, Deputy Governor, or Assistants, or any of them, or their successors, but will give speedy notice to them, or some of them, of any sedition, violence or treachery, or other hurt or evil, which I shall know, hear, or vehemently suspect, to be plotted or intended against the said Commonwealth, or said government established. And I will not, at any time suffer or give consent to any council or attempt that shall be offered, given, or attempted for the impeachment of the said Government, or making any change or alteration of the same contrary to the laws, and ordinances thereof; but shall do my utmost endeavor to discover, oppose and hinder all and every such council or attempt. So help me God. (Colonial Records, Volume 1, page 1).

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