Jonathan Mayhew

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Jonathan Mayhew

Jonathan Mayhew (October 8, 1720 - July 9, 1766) was a Unitarian Boston preacher[1] who was unafraid to speak out on political issues. Mayhew is widely credited with coining the phrase "No taxation without representation".

Early life

Jonathan Mayhew was born at Martha's Vineyard October 8, 1720. His father, Experience Mayhew, was a missionary among the Indians, and ministered in that capacity at Martha's Vineyard.

He was from his youth uncommonly inclined to reading and study. To gratify this disposition, his father sold a portion of his estate, that he might be enabled to give him a public education. He pursued his studies under the tuition of his father, and entered the University in Cambridge in the year 1740. While a member" of the University, he made uncommon proficiency, was respected by his fellow students for his exemplary morality, and esteemed by his instructors for his assiduity and literary progress. Having in view the profession of Divinity, he attended to theological studies in connection with his collegiate pursuits. On the 17th of June 1747, he was ordained a pastor over the West Church in Boston.[2]

A Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission

In Mayhew's most well known[3] sermon, he discusses the tyranny of the British Crown(specifically, King Charles) and makes the following observation:

He levied many taxes upon the people without consent of parliament


  1. Jonathan Mayhew: American preacher. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. The Literary Miscellany: Including Dissertations and Essays on Subjects of Literature, Science, and Morals; Biographical and Historical Sketches; Critical Remarks on Language; with Occasional Reviews, Volume 1
  3. (1956) The American Puritans, Their Prose and Poetry. Columbia University Press, 137. 

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