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to which the pastor, Mr. Smith, spake briefly; then Mr. Williams prophesied ; and after the Governor of Plymouth spake to the question ; after him, the elder; then some two or three more of the congregation. Then the elder desired the Governor of Massachusetts and Mr. Wilson, to speak to it, which they did. When this was ended, the deacon, Mr. Fuller, put the congregation in mind of their duty of contribution; whereupon the Governor and all the rest went down to the deacons' seat, and put into the box, and then returned.” Vol. i. p. 91.

While at Plymouth, Mr. Williams enjoyed favorable opportunities of intercourse with the Indians, who frequently visited that town. It appears, too, that he made excursions among them, to learn their manners and their language, and thus to qualify himself to promote their welfare. His whole life furnished evidence of the sincerity of his declaration, in one of his letters, "My soul's desire was, to do the natives good.” He became acquainted with Massasoit, or, as he was also called, Ousamequin, the sachem of the Pokanokets, and father of the famous Philip. He also formed an intimacy with Canonicus, the Narraganset sachem. He secured the confidence of these savage chiefs, by acts of kindness, by presents, and not less, perhaps, by studying their language. He says, in a letter, written near the close of his life, “God was pleased to give me a painful, patient spirit, to lodge with them in their filthy smoky holes, (even while I lived at Plymouth and Salem) to gain their tongue.”

The effects of this intimacy with the sachems were very important. We shall see, by his subsequent history, that his success, in purchasing lands for himself and for the other settlers in Rhode Island, was the result mainly of his personal influence with the Indians. We discern, in these preparatory measures, the hand of God, who was designing to employ Mr. Williams as an instrument in establishing a new colony, and in preserving New-England from the fury of the savages.

There is reason to believe, that for some time previously to his banishment, he had conceived the idea of residing among the Indians, and that in his intercourse with the sachems, some propositions had been made respecting a cession of land. His strong desire to benefit the natives

was à sufficient inducement; and he had, perhaps, seen such indications of the state of feeling towards him among the colonists, as to awaken an apprehension that he would not long be allowed to remain within their jurisdiction.

Mr. Williams continued about two years at Plymouth. While there, we may easily believe, he uttered his sentiments on those points which had occasioned his removal from Salem, as well as on other subjects, in relation to which his opinions were at variance with those of that age. They were not acceptable to the principal personages at Plymouth, though it does not appear that any public expression of disapprobation was made by the church. His heart was evidently drawn towards Salem, and being invited to return,* to assist Mr. Skelton, whose declining health unfitted him for his duties, Mr. Williams requested a dismission from the church at Plymouth. Some of the members were unwilling to be separated from him, and accompanied him to Salem, after ineffectual efforts to detain him at Plymouth.t But the ruling elder, Mr. Brewster, prevailed on the church to dismiss him and his adherents. Mr. Brewster probably disliked his opinions, and feared that he would be successful in diffusing them at Plymouth. He, therefore, alarmed the church, by expressing his fears, that Mr. Williams would “run the same course of rigid separation and anabaptistry, which Mr. John Smith, the Se-Baptist, at Amsterdam, had done." I Anabaptism was a spectre, which haunted the imaginations of the early settlers. The word possessed a mysterious power of inspiring terror and creating odium. It has, perhaps, been some

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* Backus, vol. i. p. 56. Some writers insinuate, that he went back without an invitation.

Memorial, p. 151. I Memorial, p. 151. Mr. Smith was an English minister, who separated from the Church of England, and went to Holland, where he embraced the sentiments of the Baptists. He is said to have baptized himself, for want of a suitable administrator, and hence

was called a Se-Baptist. Dr. Toulmin remarks, on this assertion, “ This is said on the authority of his opponents only, who, from the acrimony with which they wrote against him, it may be reasonably concluded, might be ready to take up a report against him upon slender evidence." Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. ii. p. 72, note. Mr. Neal says, that“ he was a learned man, of good abilities, but of an unsettled head." His adoption of Baptist principles explains this reproach.

times employed to justify measures, which might else have wanted the appearance of justice and humanity. It was one of those terms, which, in the language of the most original writer, perhaps, of this age-himself liable to the charge of anabaptism* _"can be made the symbol of all that is absurd and execrable, so that the very sound of it shall irritate the passions of the multitude, as dogs have been taught to bark, at the name of a neighboring tyrant.”+

While Mr. Williams was at Plymouth, his eldest daughter was born there, in the first week in August, 1633. She was named Mary, after her mother.

* The Rev. John Foster, in his essay on the epithet Romantic. | See Appendix B. for some remarks on the Anabaptists.

Backus, vol. i. pp. 57, 516. Dr. Bentley, 1 His. Col. vi. p. 247, says, that the child was born in Salem, but Mr. Backus' statement is more probable, and he quotes the Providence Records as authority


Returns to Salem-Ministers Meetings--Court again interferes

the rights of the Indians—his book against the patent-wearing of veils—controversy about the cross in the colors.

Mr. Williams left Plymouth probably about the end of August, 1633.*

He resumed his labors at Salem, as an assistant to Mr. Skelton, though, for some cause, he was not elected to any office till after Mr. Skelton's death. Perhaps the expectation of this event induced the church to delay the election of Mr. Williams.

Soon after his return to Salem, his watchful love of liberty seems to have excited him, together with the venerable Mr. Skelton, to express some apprehension of the tendencies of a meeting, which several ministers had established, for the ostensible and probably real purpose of mutual improvement, and consultation respecting their duties, and the interests of religion. Winthrop thus states, under the date of November, 1633 :

“The ministers in the Bay and Saugus did meet once a fortnight, at one of their houses, by course, where some

* There is a strange confusion in the statements of different writers respecting the duration of Mr. Williams' stay at Plymouth, and the date of his removal. Morton says, that he preached at Plymouth about three years, and was dismissed in 1634. Baylies repeats this statement. Hutchinson says, that he remained at Plymouth three or four years; Cotton Mather says two years, and Dr. Bentley states, that he returned to Salem before the end of the year 1632. But Mr. Backus supposes the time of his removal from Plymouth to have been in August, 1633. “His first child was born there the first week in August, 1633, (Providence Records) and Mr. Cotton, who arrived at Boston the fourth of September following, says, he had removed into the Bay before his arrival.” (Tenet Washed, part 2, p. 4.) It is certain, from Winthrop's Journal, vol. i. p. 117, that Mr. Williams had returned to Salem previously to November, 1633, for under that date Winthrop says, that he was removed from Ply, mouth thither, (but not in any office, though he exercised by way of prophecy.”) The expression implies, that he had recently removed, and this agrees with the supposition that he returned to Salem in August.

question of moment was debated. Mr. Skelton, the pastor of Salem, and Mr. Williams, who was removed from Plymouth thither, (but not in any office, though he exercised by way of prophecy) took some exception against it, as fearing it might grow in time to a presbytery or superintendency, to the prejudice of the churches' liberties. But this fear was without cause ; for they were all clear in thạt point, that no church or person can have power over another church; neither did they, in their meetings, exercise any such jurisdiction.” Vol. i. p. 116.

It may be true, that the fears of Mr. Skelton and Mr. Williams were without cause, and, in our own times, such meetings of ministers are held, with much advantage to themselves and to the churches, and without exciting alarm. But before we decide, that Mr. Williams was unnecessarily apprehensive, and especially before we accuse him of a turbulent and factious temper, it deserves inquiry, whether his experience of ecclesiastical usurpation and intolerance in England might not justify the fear, that the frequent consultations of the ministers were not ominous of good to the independence of the churches and to liberty of conscience. Mr. Skelton, however, seems to have been the principal in this opposition. It may have been a good service to the cause of liberty and of religion. A watchful dread of encroachments on civil or religious freedom is not useless, in any age. It was a prominent trait in the character of the colonists, before the revolution, and it will always be cherished by a free people. It is a salutary provision, like the sense of fear in the human bosom. It may sometimes cause an unnecessary alarm, as the watchman may arouse the city with an unfounded report of danger. But these evils are preferable to the incautious negligence, which fears not peril, and thus invites it.

But more important causes of offence to the magistrates and the clergy were soon found, in the sentiments and conduct of Mr. Williams. So early as December 27, 1633, we find the General Court again convened to consult respecting him :

“ December 27. The Governor and Assistants met at * Mr. Skelton's name is first mentioned by Winthrop, and Dr. Bentley (1 His. Col. vi. p. 248) attributes to Mr. Skelton the open opposition

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