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selves, barbarous, yet in the case of their mournings, they are more humane, and it seems to be more inhumane in those that professed subjection to this the very


year, under some kind of feigned protection of the English, to be singing and dancing, drinking, &c. while the rest were lamenting their sachems' deaths.

“I abhor most of their customs ; I know they are barbarous. I respect not one party more than the other, but I desire to witness truth; and as I desire to witness against oppression, so, also, against the slighting of civil, yea, of barbarous order and government, as respecting every shadow of God's gracious appointments. “ This I humbly offer, as in the holy presence of God.


The following letter* gives us a view of some of the trials which Mr. Williams suffered :

" For John Whipple, jun, these. “ Neighbor Whipple, “I kindly thank you, that you so far have regarded my lines as to return me your thoughts, whether sweet or sour I desire not to mind. I humbly hope, that as you shall never find me self-conceited nor self-seeking, so, as to others, not pragmatical and a busy-body as you insinuate. My study is to be swift to hear, and slow to speak, and I could tell you of five or six grounds (it may be more) why I give this my testimony against this unrighteous and monstrous proceeding of Christian brethren helping to hale one another before the world, whose song was lately and loudly sung in my ears, viz. the world would be quiet enough, were it not for these holy brethren, their divisions and contentions. The last night, Shadrach Manton told me that I had spoken bad words of Gregory Dexter (though Shadrach deals more ingenuously than yourself saying the same thing, for he tells me wherein,) viz. that I said he makes a fool of his conscience. I told him I said so, and I think to our neighbor Dexter himself; for I believe he might as well be moderator or general deputy or general assistant, as go so far as he goes, in many particulars; but what if I or my conscience be a fool, yet it is commendable and admirable in him, that being a man of education, and of a noble calling, and versed in militaries, that his conscience forced him to be such a child in his own house, when W. Har. strained for the rate (which I approve of) with such imperious insulting over his conscience, which all conscientious men will abhor to hear of. However, I commend that man, whether Jew, or Turk, or Papist, or whoever, that steers no otherwise than his conscience dares, till his conscience tells him that God gives him a greater latitude. For, neighbor, you shall find it rare to meet with men of conscience, men that for fear and love of God dare not lie, nor be drunk, nor be contentious, nor steal, nor be covetous, nor voluptuous, nor ambitious, nor lazy-bodies, nor busy-bodies, nor dare displease God by omitting either service or suffering, though of reproach, imprisonment, banishment and death, because of the fear and love of God.

*R. I. Lit. Rep. vol. i. pp. 638–640.

“If W. Wickenden received a beast of W. Field, for ground of the same hold, I knew it not, and so spake the truth, as I understood it. 2. Though I have not spoke with him, yet I hear it was not of that hold or tenure, for we have had four sorts of bounds at least.

“First, the grant of as large accommodations as any English in New-England had. This the sachems always promised me, and they had cause, for I was as a right hand unto them, to my great cost and travail. Hence I was sure of the Toceheunguanit meadows, and what could with

show of reason have been desired ; but some, (that never did this town nor colony good, and, it is feared, never will,) cried out, when Roger Williams had laid himself down as a stone in the dust, for after-comers to step on in town and colony, 'Who is Roger Williams? We know the Indians and the sachems as well as he. We will trust Roger Williams no longer. We will have our bounds confirmed us under the sachems' hands before us.'

“2. Hence arose, to my soul cutting and grief, the second sort of bounds, viz. the bounds set under the hands of those great sachems Canonicus and Miantinomo, and were set so short (as to Mashapaug and Pawtucket, and at that time,) because they would not intrench upon the In


dians inhabiting round about us, for the prevention of strife between us.

“ The third sort of bounds were of favor and grace, invented, as I think, and prosecuted by that noble spirit, now with God, Chad Brown. Presuming upon the sachems' grant to me, they exceeded the letter of the sachems' deed, so far as reasonably they judged, and this with promise of satisfaction to any native who should reasonably desire it. In this third sort of bounds, lay this piece of meadow hard by Captain Fenner's ground, which, with two hogs, William Wickenden gave to W. Field for a small beast, &c.

“ Beside these three sort of bounds, there arose a fourth, like the fourth beast in Daniel, exceeding dreadful and terrible, unto which the Spirit of God gave no name nor bounds, nor can we in the first rise of ours, only boundless bounds, or a monstrous beast, above all other beasts or monsters. Now, as from this fourth wild beast in Daniel, in the greater world, have arisen all the storms and tempests, factions and divisions, in our little world amongst us, and what the tearing consequences yet will be, is only known to the Most Holy and Only Wise.

“ You conclude with your innocence and patience under my clamorous tongue, but I pray you not to forget that there are two basins. David had one, Pilate another. David washed his hands in innocence, and so did Pilate, and so do all parties, all the world over. As to innocence, my former paper saith something. As to patience, how can you say you are patient under my clamorous tongue, when that very speech is most impatient and unchristian ? My clamor and crying shall be to God and men (I hope without revenge or wrath) but for a little case, and that yourselves, and they that scorn and hate me most, may, if the Eternal please, find cooling in that hot, eternal day that is near approaching. This shall be the continual clamor or cry of

"Your unworthy
friend and neighbor,

“R. W. Providence, 8th July, 1669, (so called.)

This letter is interesting for several reasons.

The refer

ence to Mr. Dexter's refusal to pay his taxes, from conscientious scruples, shows, that Mr. Williams accurately discriminated between the rights of conscience, and a perversion of those rights. It is worthy of notice, too, that Mr. Williams condemned the conduct of Mr. Dexter, though an intimate friend ; and approved, in part, at least, that of Mr. Harris, though a bitter hostility existed between them



Controversy with the Quakers-Philip's war-letters—Mr. Williams'


We will now give a brief account of Mr. Williams' controversy with the Quakers. It was an unhappy strife, in which all parties displayed more zeal than Christian meekness or charity. It was especially unfortunate for Mr. Williams, for it plunged him, in his old age, into a dispute, in which he could not hope to effect much good, and which was certain to draw upon him much odium.

His motives, however, ought to be clearly understood. The colony of Rhode Island had incurred reproach among the other colonies, because she refused to join in a persecution of the Quakers. Rhode-Island was the refuge of these persons, some of the magistrates, at this time, were of that sect, and it was asserted, that the public feeling in Rhode Island was friendly to their doctrines and practices. Mr. Williams declares, in his book on the controversy, that he was induced to engage in a dispute with them, in order to bear public testimony, that while he was decidedly opposed to any measures which tended to impair liberty of conscience, he nevertheless disapproved the principles of the Quakers.* He says, that when he met them at Newport, on the first day of the dispute, “ I took my seat at the other end of the house opposite to them, and began telling them, that the Most High was my witness, that not out of any prejudice against, or disrespect to, the persons of the Quakers, many of whom I knew and did love and honor, nor any foolish passion of pride or boldness, for I desired

** I had in mine eye the vindicating of this colony for receiving of such persons whom others would not. We suffer for their sakes, and are accounted their abettors. That, therefore, together with the improvement of our liberties, which the God of heaven and our King's Majesty have graciously given, I might give a public testimony against their opinions, in such a way and exercise, I judged it incumbent upon my spirit and conscience to do it in some regards) more than most in the colony.” p. 26.

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