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be detected in the third, rather points to the infraction than the maintenance of this doctrine.

We have read with considerable care a work recently published, entitled, Roger Williams, the Pioneer of Religious Liberty, in which Mr. Straus does his best to relieve Williams from the charge of being factious and selfopinionative, etc., and to affix 'to the leaders in Massachusetts the odium of intolerance and persecution. We recognise the earnestness and ability with which he has discharged his task, but we cannot honestly say that his success is equal to his zeal, or that he has in any way weakened the argument or discredited the contention of those who hold that Roger Williams was banished from Salem, not for his religious opinions, but for political reasons, because he identified himself with doctrines and opinions which were believed to be subversive of the safety and even the existence of the rising commonwealth. That this was the conviction of those who were the means of his banishment, we have no manner of doubt.

They may have been mistaken in so believing, to some extent it is very probable that they were, but their sincerity is unimpeachable; nor does a candid examination of their conduct constrain any other conclusion than that they were moved, not by a malignant and persecuting spirit, but by the prudent instinct of self - protection. This admission does not in any wise detract from our admiration of Roger Williams, nor lessen our conviction that he was noble, magnanimous, broad-minded man, swayed by a



By Oscar S. Straus. London: T. Fisher Unwin. New York : The Century Co. 1894.


passion for liberty as pure and intense

ever glowed in a human soul. Nay more, we confess that necessary as it seems to us that he should have been restrained from following divisive courses by propagating his opinions, our sympathies go out to him in his banishment and exile, as they do not go out to his judges and those who inflicted this sentence upon him, and we cannot but feel that his was the real triumph and the stainless and lasting glory.

“And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels

Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels."

The gpirit of intolerance was deeply ingrained in the minds of some of the Puritan leaders. John Endicott was a passionate, domineering, yet disinterested ruler, an unsparing and conscientious bigot. Cotton only disapproved of persecution when it was directed against truth; it was the duty of truth to persecute error.

“ Better tolerate hypocrites and tares," he said, “ than thorns and briars.” Nathaniel Ward, who drew up the first legal code, known as the Body of Liberties, said, “ Polypiety is the greatest

1 Dr. Dexter, in his As to Roger Williams, Boston 1876, has thoroughly discussed the question as to Williams being expelled from Massachusetts on account of his religious opinions, and justifies, we think, completely the verdict of Dr. Palfrey (History of New England, vol. i. p. 413), that “the sound and generous principle of a perfect freedom of the conscience in religious concerns can scarcely be shown to have been involved in the dispute.”

We would take this opportunity of directing attention to an article on “The alleged Persecution of Massachusetts, or Justice to the Pilgrims," which appeared in 1892 in the March number of New Englander and Yale Review. This article is specially valuable for the sources of information and authority which it marshals and suggests.

old age.

impiety in the world. It is said that men ought to have liberty of their conscience, and that it is persecution to debar them of it; I can rather stand amazed than reply to this: it is an astonishment to think that the braines of men should be parboyld in such impious ignorance. Let all the wits under heaven lay their heads together and find an Assertion worse than this (one excepted), I will Petition to be chosen the universal Ideal of the world.” 1 “The elder Winthrop had, I believe," says Bancroft,2 “ relented before his death, and professed himself weary of banishing heretics; the soul of the younger Winthrop was incapable of harbouring a thought of intolerant cruelty ; but the rugged Dudley was not mellowed by

God forbid,' said he,'our love for the truth should be grown so cold that we should tolerate errors. I die no libertine. Very different, however, was the spirit of Sir Henry Vane. 'It were better,' he said, 'not to censure any persons for matters of a religious concernment.' With Roger Williams, with Milton, and Cromwell, he held that persecution for the sake of religious opinion was both a blunder and a crime. It is evident that in this Governor Vane carried with him

1 This eminent lawyer-divine outdoes all the peculiarities of his style when writing of toleration. “We have been reputed as Colluvies of wild Opinionists, swarmed into a remote wilderness to find elbow-room for our Phanatic doctrines and practices; I trust our diligence past, and constant sedulity against such persons and courses, will plead better things for us. I dare take upon me to be the Herauld of New England so far as to proclaim to the World, in the name of our Colony, that all Familists, Antinomians, Anabaptists, and other enthusiasts, shall have free Liberty to keep away from us; and such as will come, to be gone as fast as they can, the sooner the better.”_Bryant and Gay's History, vol. ii. pp. 59, 60.

2 History, vol. i. p. 336, revised edition, p. 362.

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the weight of opinion among the colonists. They rose up again and again in arraignment of and revolt against the policy of their rulers, and there can be little doubt that it was owing to the growing body of adverse public opinion that the reign of persecution ceased as soon as it did. Massachusetts, on whom, as the most powerful of the colonies, lay the heaviest responsibility for her own safety and the safety of her allies, had used greater rigour than the rest in the maintenance of order and in the removal of dissentients. But in thirty-five years she had grown powerful enough and confident enough to dismiss or to relax some of the securities which, in her early feebleness, had been thought essential. fairly be reckoned to the credit of her people that they desisted from harsh measures, and were reconciled to the existence of dissent in some proportion to their becoming well organised and safe, while too often it has been observed in other communities, that the stronger they felt themselves the less freedom they allowed.” 1

It may

The Fathers of New Plymouth free from the stain of persecution. It has been asserted, and when not asserted has been frequently implied, that the Fathers and founders of New Plymouth were chargeable with perscuting those who differed from them in their religious opinions, and that consequently Mrs. Hemans' wellknown tribute, that

“They left unstained what there they found,

Freedom to worship God," must be taken with considerable abatement. In his

1 Palfrey's History of New England, vol. ii. p. 493.

History of the People called Quakers, Sewel makes this charge without any qualification. Speaking of the followers of those men who suffered much for their separation from the Church of England, Brown, Barrowe, Greenwood, and Penry,—he adds: “Very remarkable it is that even those of that persuasion, of which many in the reign of King Charles I. went to New England to avoid the persecution of the bishops, afterwards themselves turned cruel persecutors of pious people by inhuman whippings, etc., and, lastly, by putting some to death by the hands of a hangman.”1 It is evident at a glance that the writer has fallen into a double blunder, first in saying that the followers of Browne went out to New England in the reign of Charles I., and, secondly, in alleging that they turned out cruel persecutors. No doubt Sewel is thinking of the second band of emigrants who went out to Massachusetts, and which he mixes up with the settlers at New Plymouth.

That the Fathers of New Plymouth were innocent of the charge of persecuting the Quakers is proved by the fact that during their lifetime there were no Quakers to persecute. Upon this matter the testimony of George Fox may be held to be decisive. “In 1655," says Fox, “ many went beyond the sea, where truth also sprung up (he means the truth for which he and his co-religionists contended); and in 1656 it broke forth in America." This was thirty-five years after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, and by that time not a single leader whose name has come down to us was living. John Robinson, John Carver, Samuel Fuller, William Brewster, Edward Win

1 Vol. i. pp. 6, 7.

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