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dare to attempt to sail from Boston), to solicit, from the parliamentary leaders now at the head of affairs, a charter, which might secure to his settlement, as well as the others, the right of selfgovernment, and afford a safeguard against the pretensions to jurisdiction set up by Massachusetts and Plymouth. Nor was his departure any too early. Very shortly afterwards, Massachusetts, under color of an Indian title, proceeded to extend her jurisdiction over Warwick by force, and to arrest and sentence Gorton and several of his companions to heavy punishments, upon the charge of being "blasphemous enemies of true religion and civil government." A majority of the magistrates, seconded by the ministers, wished to put them to death; but the deputies, or representatives of the towns, would not agree to that, and hard labor in chains was substituted for it. During Williams's stay in England. he published, besides his" Key to the Language of America,” "The Bloody Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience"-an exposition of his doctrine of soul-libertya doctrine which found good acceptance in England with the growing sect of Independents, of which Sir Henry Vane, late governor of Massachusetts, and now high in office under the parliaments, was a distinguished leader. To this treatise, which was an answer to a letter of the famous Cotton, one of the ministers of the Boston church, on the power of the magistrate in matters of religion, Cotton replied in "The Bloody Tenent washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb," to which Williams, on a subsequent visit to England, rejoined, in a second treatise, entitled The Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody from Mr. Cotton's attempts to wash it white." From the commissioners appointed by the parliament, now engaged in war with the king, to superintend the affairs of the colonies, Williams obtained a charter, dated March 14, 1644, under which were included the shores and islands of Narragansett bay, extending from the boundaries of Massachusetts and Plymouth, on the north and east, to the Pequod country on the south and west, to be known as Providence Planta

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tions, with authority to the inhabitants to rule themselves" as they should find most suitable. This charter, unlike all former instruments of the sort, made no allusion to religion, but authorized a civil government only.

With this charter Williams returned to Providence, landing at Boston under cover of a letter of safe-conduct from several influential members of Parliament. But though received by his fellow-colonists of Rhode Island with great rejoicings, and escorted from Seconk to Providence by fourteen boats, the organization of a government under the charter did not prove so easy a matter. Massachusetts still claimed the territory of Warwick, while pretensions were put forward, on the part of Plymouth, to Providence and the islands. There was also some lack of cordiality between the settlers at Newport and those at Portsmouth and Providence. At length, however, these obstacles were overcome, and, in the spring of 1647-at the very moment, as it happened, that Massachusetts was engaged in very highhanded measures for the suppression of civil and religious freedom-a government was organized, embracing all the settled districts of the present state of Rhode Island; and no sooner was this done than a body of laws was enactedthe basis of the existing code of that state. In this code, of two years' earlier date than the famous act of Maryland concerning religion, Williams's doctrine of soul-liberty was adopted, without any limitation. No mention was made, in the code, of religion, nor was any jurisdiction attempted to be exercised respecting religious belief or worshipthe first formal and legal establishment of full religious liberty ever promulgated, and exceeding that which exists at this moment under the laws of any state of this Union. It may be noted, as a curious coincidence, that, by the same code, the government of the newly-instituted colony was declared to ba "democratical."

The magistrates, ministers, and church members of Massachusetts-and only church members could vote there-though obliged to pay a certain respect to the parliamentary char

fugitives from the country around, compelled to seek refuge from the Indians, with whom a war had been unadvisedly provoked. "Mine eyes," wrote Roger Williams, "saw the flames of their towns, the frights and harries of men, women, and children, and the present removal of all that could, to Holland."

ter which Williams had obtained, were no better satisfied than before with the doctrine of soul-liberty, and no pains were spared to distract and break up the newly-constituted commonwealth. The Indians were instigated against it -so, at least, the Rhode Islanders alleged and domestic discords and jealousies were so successfully fomented, that a temporary disruption took place between the island-settlers and those on the main-land. Coddington, a principal man at Portsmouth, obtained from the English council of statethough without the privity, it would seem, at all events, without the consent, of a considerable number of his compatriots-a commission, by which he was appointed governor for life of the island-settlements. To procure the revocation of this commission and further protection against the hostile machinations of Massachusetts, Williams again proceeded to England, accompanied, this time, by John Clarke, also a refugee from Massachusetts-a physician by profession-one of the founders and principal inhabitants of Newport. Not allowed to embark at Boston, where Clarke had recently received some very harsh treatment-being fined and imprisoned for having presumed to give an exhortation, on a Sunday, in a private house, within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts-they sailed from New Amsterdam, as Williams had done on his former voyage. Coddington's commission was vacated, and Williams, returning in 1653, succeeded, though not without much ado, in reconciling all differences, and in reuniting the several settlements under the charter-he himself being chosen the governor.

It was not long before the faithfulness of Williams's colony to the principle of religious liberty was put to a new and severe trial, their adherence to it, under which, in spite of the remonstrances of the other New England colonies, exposed them to new threats and new dangers.

The arrival, in 1656, of Quaker preachers in America, produced no little alarm there; hardly less, indeed, in Virginia and Maryland than in the New England colonies. Special laws for their restraint and punishment were onacted, as well in Virginia as in Massachusetts, Plymouth, and the two Connecticut jurisdictions. Even in New Netherland, which, scarcely less than

Rhode Island itself, had been a place of refuge for Baptists and other religious refugees from New England, no favor was extended to the Quakers; and the same, as we have already mentioned, was the case even in Maryland, notwithstanding the reëstablishment there of the old proprietary system of toleration. To Rhode Island belongs the exclusive honor of not having joined, either by word or deed, in this persecution; and that, too, notwithstanding some pretty stringent attempts to oblige her to come into it. There existed, at that time, a union of the other four New England colonies, for common defense, sustentation, and succor-a union to which Rhode Island, on account of her adherence to the heretical and licentious doctrine, as it was then esteemed, of soul-liberty, had been refused admittance. The commissioners, two from each colony, to whom were intrusted the management and administration of the affairs of the union, addressed an urgent letter to the authorities of Rhode Island, protesting against the toleration allowed, in that colony, to Quakers, and intimating that persistence in it would be resented by a total non-intercourse. At a subsequent period, the Quakers made a good many converts in Rhode Island, including Coddington and other leading men; but, as yet, little sympathy was felt there, or, at least, avowed, for Quaker opinions. Williams always remained warmly opposed to their pretensions of superior religious enlightenment; but he, and those who thought with him, adhered, nevertheless, with admirable consistency, to their great principle of religious liberty. We say admirable, because, however ready men are to claim this sort of liberty for themselves, they are, even to this day, very little disposed to extend a like liberty to those who advocate what seem to them false and pernicious doctrines.

A second and still more urgent and threatening application, from the commissioners for the United Colonies of New England, drew out, by way of reply, from the Rhode Island authorities, some sensible observations, which experience, in all such cases, serves abundantly to confirm. "To those places," so they wrote, "where these people (the Quakers) are most of all suffered to declare themselves freely, and are openly opposed by arguments in discourse, they least desire to come. Surely

they delighted to be persecuted, and are like to gain more adherents by the conceit of their patient sufferings than by consent to their pernicious sayings." But these judicious reflections had no weight with those to whom they were addressed. The Quaker persecution, as is well known, was pushed, in Massachusetts, even to the extremity of capital punishment. The restoration of Charles II. checked the violence of these proceedings, and, at the same time, it put Rhode Island in a position to set at defiance the threats and intimidations of her sister colonies.

When Williams last returned from England, he had left Clarke behind him, as a sort of agent, to watch after the interests of the colony, and to be on the spot to counteract any machinations that might be attempted against it. After the restoration, Clarke continued to act in the same capacity; and, by dint of much solicitation, he succeeded at last, by the favor of Clarendon, in obtaining from Charles II. a new charter, in which the principle, not of toleration, merely, but of religious freedom and equality, was distinctly embodied. This charter, which bears date the 8th of July, 1663, provides, in one of its clauses, "that no person within the said colony shall be molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences of opinion in matters of religion, who does not actually disturb the public peace"-a clause inserted, as the charter recites, at the express request of the inhabitants, who had declared, in their humble address to the king, "that it was much in their hearts (if they might be permitted) to hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained, and that among English subjects, with a full liberty of religious concernments." This charter of Charles II., thus granted at the special request of the colonists, and confirming their original policy, remained the fundamental law of Rhode Island, till the adoption of a state constitution in 1843; which constitution embodies and repeats the provisions of the charter on the subject of religious liberty.

But, although Rhode Island, by the adoption, as one of its earliest fundamental laws, of the doctrine of soul-liberty, and by its adherence to that law, from that day to this, becomes entitled to a degree of merit far beyond anything to which Maryland can lay claim,

yet even the northern commonwealthso much easier is it to promulgate great principles than to carry them thoroughly into practice-has not wholly escaped the charge of religious persecution.

The laws of that colony, as first printed, subsequent to the commencement of the eighteenth century, excluded, from the privileges of freemen, Roman Catholics and all persons not professing Christianity-Jews, of course, included. When this exclusion was first introduced, it is impossible to tell. It was repealed during the revolutionary war, shortly after the landing at Newport of the French auxiliary army. Its inconsistency with the charter is palpable enough; but whatever speculative falling away it may evince from the original doctrine of soul-liberty, it never could have had any practical operation, except as to a very limited number of individuals.

Such is a brief but comprehensive statement of the parts taken, respectively by the colonies of Maryland and Rhode Island, in the inauguration and practical carrying out of the great American idea of freedom of religious opinion.

With these facts before him, the reader will be able to decide on the justice and truth of some of the assertions, by the recent Maryland work, referred to at the commencement of this article -a book, by the way, which, though very profuse and even superfluous in range of speculation and displays of antiquarian knowledge, going back even to Mahomet, as a man greatly to be admired, makes not the slightest reference to the existence of such a person as Roger Williams, or of such a colony as Providence Plantations and Rhode Island. Of the assertions to which we refer, we cite the following as a speci


"To the legislators of 1649 (meaning the Maryland Assembly of that year) was it given to discharge a much higher task-to execute a much nobler mission-to inaugurate a much greater idea (i. e., the idea of religious freedom)."-p. 52.

"The earliest policy of Maryland was in striking contrast with that of every other colony. The toleration, which prevailed from the first, and fifteen years later was formally ratified by the voice of the people, must, therefore, be regarded as the living embodiment of a great idea; the introduction of a new element into the civilization of Anglo-American humanity; the beginning of another movement in the progress of the human mind."-p. 64. "Let not the Protestant historian of Ameri

ca give grudgingly. (The author whom we quote boasts himself, by the way, as inheriting a pure Protestant blood-an unbroken Protestant faith, throught eight generations, from the age of Elizabeth,' p. 208.) Let him testify with a warm heart, and pay, with gladness, the tribute so richly due to the memory of our early forefathers. Let their deeds be enshrined in our hearts, and their names be repeated in our households. Let them be canonized in the grateful regards of the American, and handed down, through the lips of a living tradition, to his most remote posterity. In an age of cruelty, like true men with heroic hearts, they fought the first great battle of religious liberty, and their fame, without reference to

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[Lines composed in Sermon-time.]


FT, beneath thy gentle preaching,
Visions from the dream-land come,
Of pardoned sinners touched and weeping,
Of saints no longer dead and dumb.
My own many sins confound me,

I begin to fear and quake;
But the sinners, sleeping round me,
Snore so loud that I awake.

Thou art not a son of thunder,

But thou bringest rest to all;
Soon again I sink in slumber-

Fainter still thy accents fall.
To the weary, heavy-laden,

Fall thy words like drops of balm—
Sleepy youth and nodding maiden

Bless thy accents soft and calm.

Upper church! I dearly love thee,

Though uncushioned is my seat-
Holy quiet hovers o'er thee,

Shall I e'er thy equal meet!
Chasing pleasure's glittering bubble,

Turns to thee my aching breast-
Here the wicked cease to trouble.
Here the weary are at rest.





WHEN I went to see aunt Wimple

year eighteen hundred and blank, I was nineteen, had my pockets full of money, and was called Tom. I am Thomas

Esquire, now; but, looking back through the mists of many years, and making due allowance for the partiality of the judge, I think the fine young fellow I was then, a far more enviable personage than my eminently respectable self, now. But I am not much changed; my mustache contains but two or three white hairs, as yet-and those who know me, say I'm a gay young fellow still, in which opinion I agree with them.

Lulu, aunt Wimple's only daughter, had staid in town with us, the winter before, and I had met the fate of nearly every one who had the temerity to encounter the bright light of her dazzling eyes. I was not long in pleading for leave of absence from old Borem & Company-in whose commission house I lived-and in following this permission up, by graciously accepting my invitation to Belleair. I arrived at the old hall, one evening, when all the birds of August were singing; and when the beautiful stream, at the foot of the hill, was dancing in the red sunset, which it threw back from its broad expanse magnificently. I was warmly welcomed, of course, by kind old aunt Wimple, and, more enthusiastically still by Jack, Lulu's brother, and, consequently, my most intimate friend. As for Lulu, she came forward, rather demurely, and quietly extended her hand, struggling to suppress her laughter of which commodity this fascinating young lady always seemed to have an unlimited supply.

"By your leave, mistress!" I observed; and, before the damsel could defend herself, I had impressed upon two of the reddest lips in the world a "salute"-as said our honest ancestors -far warmer than our relationship made necessary. You see, I was nineteen then, and the heart of nineteen beats warmly in the bosom.


Jack laughed heartily; aunt Wimpie's countenance relaxed; and even Lulu, muttering Impudence!" burst into laughter; and so we entered the old antler-decorated hall, and the great sitting-room, where all the portraits of my venerable forefathers, in pearls and powder, ruffled breasts and laces, seemed to extend to me a serene and courteously smiling welcome.

There were two visitors at Belleair, who soon made their appearance-Rose Walton, a demure little, quiet friend of Lulu, also a hopeless flame of Jack; and Mr. Fitzarthur, "from town." Did you know Fitzarthur, in those days? To make a negative reply, will argue that you yourself were wholly unknown. How shall I describe the serene efful. gence of the noble knight-what do I say, the king, the emperor-of fashion! He wore the tightest kid gloves, the smallest boots, the most elegant and recherché coats and waistcoats; and his watch-chain, with its bundle of seals and charms," then coming into fashion, was the admiration of every beholder. To know Fitzarthur was, if not to love, at least to admire and wonder at him. Fitzarthur patronized everybody in the most good-natured way-aunt Wimple, Jack, Rose, the Honorable Josiah Muggins, M.C., who sometimes came to Belleair-even Lulu herself, whom he had met at the Springs that year, and to whom he was paying his addresses.


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