public mind. He spoke in behalf of to win admiration for himself, but freedom, in behalf of truth, of righte- preached and published his most imousness, of education, of good order, portant thoughts without a careful reand respect for law. He has done a vision of the style, simply because good work by his strenuous and suc- they were important, and he could not - cessful efforts in behalf of temperance, delay their utterance for so light a and made his name known as a friend consideration. This may have made of freedom by his Christian testimony his power less over a portion of his against slavery, especially since his win- hearers, but with the majority it only ter's residence in the regions of that gave additional weight to his words, shadow of death. His lectures and writ- by giving them a stronger conviction ings have also made glad the hearts of that he was in earnest. We say that our common-school teachers, and his he forgot himself and thought of his faithful and active services as a mem- hearers; a sincere desire to do good ber of school-committees have been a being the prompter of his words. He public benefit in the towns which have spoke in love; he spoke also in humienjoyed his presence.

lity, moved by faith and trust in God. As a pastor, Mr. Whitman was very There was no infidelity in his heart; dear to his people. Early in his minis- Jesus was living with him; and his try he made the subject of parochial heart burned at the sound of the Savi. duty a matter of earnest thought, and our's voice. He had constant access held much consultation with several of unto God, and those who heard him the wisest fathers in the ministry upon felt that his word was from heaven the best mode of action. He was re- spoken in the Father's name and by remarkably kind to the sick and the his authority. afflicted, and very frank, plain-spoken In the sermon preached after his and direct in the oversight of souls. decease by the Rev. Mr. Dorr, his felFor his usual parish visiting, his plan low-labourer in the adjoining parish of was, to become acquainted with his East Lexington, we have an interesting people, that he might adapt his preach- memoir of his life, from which we draw ing to their wants. But he conceived our information as to his earlier days. that acquaintance could never be gained The Rev. Jason Whitman, brother of by visiting each family successively, the Rev. Nathaniel and the Rev. Ber. and not repeating the visit until the nard Whitman, was born in Bridgewhole congregation had been seen. He water, Mass., April 30th, 1799, and therefore divided his people into sec- was the youngest of the family. Feeble tions, and became acquainted, by fre- from infancy, he was also subject in quent visits, with one section at a time, childhood to diseases which left perwhile to the others he paid less atten- manent affections of the throat and tion. This course, said he, may pro- lungs. But in his case, as in a thouduce a little unpleasant feeling in the sand others, though the outward man section whose acquaintance is longest was perishing, yet the inward man was deferred, but not necessarily. And when renewed day by day. Confined to the the parish has thus been thoroughly house more closely than other children, examined by sections, and its charac- he also loved books better, and sought ter is known, the advantage to the wisdom through them. His earlier preacher is great. The plan, however, schooling was at the Bridgewater Acapresupposes the continuance of the mi- demy, then kept by Mr. David Reed; nistry for several years.

he afterwards studied with his brother, Mr. Whitman's preaching was mark- the Rev. Nathaniel Whitman, pastor ed by clearness, simplicity, directness of the First Congregational Society in and earnestness. His style was as trans- Billerica, Mass., and at the age of nineparent as his heart. No man could teen went to the Academy in Exeter, misunderstand his meaning, or doubt N. H., where he continued three years the purity of his motives. There was previously to entering Harvard College. no attempt at display. He moved to- He was graduated at Cambridge in wards the attainment of his object with 1825, with high honours, and immedia steadiness and singleness of aim which ately took charge of the Academy in shewed alike his good sense and his Billerica, which he taught for three Christian fidelity. He forgot himself, years. His college vacations had and thought of his hearers and of his been partly employed in school-teachmessage. Like his brother, the Rev. ing, and this was the provision which Bernard Whitman, who was called be- his friends wished him to pursue, fore him to his reward, he never wrote thinking that the diseased state of the

bronchial tubes would prevent him upon a visit to his numerous friends in from speaking in public. But his Portland. It was from exposure to heart was fixed to serve God in the the cold upon this journey between sanctuary, and he steadily kept his de- Saco and Portland, that he contracted termination to be an ambassador for the disease which terminated his lite, Christ. He entered on the study of on the 25th of January, 1848. It seemdivinity at Cambridge, and in 'two ed fit that he should end his days years, being licensed by a ministerial among the people to whom the best association at Dover, Mass., began to days of his strength had been given. preach. He was invited to settle in Their attachment to him was fully the town of Canton, Mass., but after manifested by their watchful care durwards being called to Saco, Maine, he ing his illness, and by the substantial was ordained at the latter place in the proofs of kindness they have shewn, year 1830. Here he remained three or since his death, to those who were duar. four years, in a happy and successful est to him in life.—Abridged from the ministry, when he was appointed Ge- Christian Examiner, May, 1848. neral Secretary of the American Unitarian Association. For one year he filled February 25, aged 18, at St. Helier's, this post acceptably to the Association Jersey, CHARLES A. HARRIS, youngest and the public. At the urgent request son of the Rev. George Harris, of Newof the Rev. Dr. Nichols, of Portland, castle - upon - Tyne. To his parents, Maine, he then yielded to pressing in- family and friends, the early death of vitations, and was installed over a se- this young man has been a source of cond Unitarian society in that place, in deep'affiction. He was of great pro1835. The engagement with them was mise. Truthful, affectionate, benevo. for five years, and at the end of that lent, he brightened Home by his sintime it was renewed for another period cerity, open-heartedness and innocent of five years. These ten years were

cheerfulness. Assiduous in the perspent in most active service, and were formance of every duty, those who fruitful of the highest good. His min. really knew him valued him highly. istry was not confined wholly to Port- His efforts in the Sunday-school were land, but, being obliged to spend one devoted and perse ring, ever to the winter in a warmer climate, he went to detriment of his own health. Repeated Savannah, Ga., and there built himself attacks of illness injured the springs of à monument of enduring praise by his life. Removal to a different climate faithful labour among our brethren in was unavailing. The kindest attentions that city.

were paid to him and his afflicted relaOn the 30th of July, 1845, he was tives by the Christian minister at St. installed over the First Congregational Helier's into whose family he was reSociety in Lexington, Mass., where ceived, and his earthly remains rest he remained till the close of his life. amidst the lovely scenes in which he Being called to Saco, to attend the breathed his last. Funeral tributes, funeral of his brother-in-law, the Hon. appropriate and affectionate, were paid John Fairfield, of the U.S. Senate, and to his memory at Jersey and Newcastle finding that the burial could not take by the Rev. J. Taplin and the Rev. place for several days, he determined J. C. Meeke.

MARRIAGES 1848. July 25, at the Unitarian cha- July 30, at the Unitarian chapel, pel, Dorchester, by Rev. J. L. Short, Bridport, by Rev. Thomas Cooper, of of Bridport, Miss CHARLOTTE NICHOLLS Dorchester, Mr. GEORGE ANDERSON, of to Mr. JOSEPH WOODFORD, both of the Pymore, to Miss EMMA RENDELL, of former place.

Bridport. July 27, at Bishop Wearmouth, the Rev. GEORGE SMART, B.A., of Lincoln August 16, at Upper Brook-Street College, Oxford, and curate of Clare. chapel, Manchester, by Rev. J. J. borough, Nottinghamshire, to Mary Tayler, B. A., Mr. WILLIAM Keith, Lucy, eldest daughter of the late Lau- of Higher Broughton, to ELIZABETH rence Jopson MARSHALL, Esq., of Upper Maria, daughter of the late Thomas Clapton, Middlesex.

Wilson, Esq., of Altrincham.



No. XLVI.]

OCTOBER, 1848.

[Vol. IV.

ROGER WILLIAMS. * MR. UNDERHILL, the able and energetic Secretary of the Hanserd Knollys Society, deserves the thanks of all who are interested in Puritan literature, and in the history of religious liberty, for the publication of the two works of Roger Williams which are named at the foot of our page. In rarity they approach near to Servetus's Christianismi Restitutio; of “ The Bloudy Tenent" only six copies being known to exist, three in America and three in this country; while of the Reply to Mr. Cotton's Letter only two copies are known to exist in England, and the same number in America. Both are reprinted from the copies in the Bodleian Library.

It is surprising that for more than two centuries a work of singular merit and varied interest like “ The Bloudy Tenent” has been allowed to remain unnoticed, except by the occasional admiration of some solitary Nonconformist bookworm. Literary curiosity alone ought to have prompted a collection of the works of the founder of Rhode Island, the friend of Vane, the associate and fellow-student of Milton. That such a publication has not appeared in America, where of late so much attention has been paid to the early religious history of the States, is perhaps to be explained by the unwillingness of some of our friends in Boston (the seat of American literature) to throw the light of publicity on the violations of religious freedom committed by the founders of Massachusetts. The wrongs done to Roger Williams are the reproach of the first planters of the bay, and the persecution of such a man is an indelible stain on the reputation of the second pastor of the First Church at Boston, the celebrated John Cotton.

The “ Bloudy Tenent” is entitled to an almost reverential perusal, as one of the earliest, as it is one of the ablest, of the works in defence

* The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed, and Mr. Cotton's Letter Examined and Answered. By Roger Williams. Edited for the Hanserd Knollys Society, by Edward Bean Underhill. 8vo. Pp. 439, London, 1848.

+ That there were some earlier defences of liberty of conscience is now well known. Three of them have been reprinted by the Hanserd Knollys Society, viz., Religion's Peace, or a Plea for Liberty of Conscience, by Leonard Busher, printed in 1614; Persecution for Religion Judged and Condemned, 1615; and A most Humble Supplication of many of the King's Majesty's most Loyal Subjects, ready to testify all Civil Obedience, &c., 1620.

To the list of his predecessors in the defence of religious freedom must be added John Robinson, the father of the Independents, whose Justification of Separation from the Church of England was published in 1610; and the noted Arminian, John Goodwin, who published in the same year as “The Bloudy Tenent," A Reply of Two of the Brethren to A. S. (Dr. Adam Stewart); also, The Grand Imprudence of Mien running the Hazard of Fighting against God. To


4 D

of the rights of conscience. If it followed Milton on “ Prelatical Episcopacy" and his “

Reason of Church Government,” it preceded by several years his “Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes and his " Treatise of True Religion." It anticipated by three years Bishop Jeremy Taylor's Liberty of Prophesying and Dr. John Owen's Discourse on Toleration, and gave a bolder utterance than is found in either of those works to the principle, that the rights of conscience are paramount and indefeasible, and that, as respects human laws, all religious opinions are entitled to equality. Bishop Taylor wrote his plea for Liberty when his own religious liberty as an Episcopalian was abridged; but he uttered no public remonstrance against the sad persecutions carried on by his own Church during the last five years of his life. Dr. John Owen's Toleration did not include Quakers or Socinians. One of the former sect he, during his Vice-chancellorship at Oxford, helped to punish even to death, and he “acquitted the zeale” of them that had put Servetus to death. Roger Williams, however, not only asserted the principle of religious liberty when his own was attacked, but maintained the principle throughout a long life, founded a State upon that principle, and, in the words of the historian of America, “stamped himself upon its rising institutions, in characters so deep, that the impress has remained to the present day, and can never be erased without the total destruction of the work.”*

The writings and the life of Roger Williams are inseparably blended, and a biographical sketch of the man is the best introduction to his works. The narrative may in part be told in his own language.

On the 9th day of February, 1631, there sailed into the harbour of Boston, New England, a ship well known to the colonists, who had recently established themselves, under the protection of a Royal Charter, in the bay of Massachusetts. For some time had they been anxiously looking for the arrival of the “ Lion's Whelp,” which was to bring them not only news from “dear England,” but a supply of many of the necessaries of life, the want of which had during that inclement winter introduced suffering and disease amongst the hardy Pilgrims. Since that ship first sailed into Boston, want and sickness had carried off nearly half of the early emigrants. Amongst the victims of the fever was Mr. Higginson, the minister of Salem. Doubly welcome was the good ship which had been for seventy days, after it left the port of Bristol, battling with the storms of the Atlantic. It brought a cargo of flour,f meal, beef, pork, cheese, seed-barley, rye, &c. But it also brought, what the earnest Puritans valued still more, a young minister, I godly and zealous, having precious gifts.” This was Roger Williams.

one or both of these works Williams refers in a note to his Chapter liii., stating that on the subject of toleration Mr. John Goodwin had excellently of late discoursed. ---Bloudy Tenent, p. 135.

* History of the United States, by the Hon. George Bancroft, I. 375. + Thomas Dudley, speaking of this cargo, values the wheat at 14s. a strike, a higher price," he says, “ than I ever tasted bread of before."

There is preserved in the records of the Massachusetts Bay Company a list of more than forty articles to be sent to New England in 1629; the first is mi. NISTERS, and the last madder-seeds.


He was about 32 years of age, robust in form and noble in appearHe was accompanied by a beloved wife.

Of his history up to this time there exist only doubtful traditions. It seems to be agreed that he was a native of Wales, and was born in 1599; but as to what part of the Principality had the honour of giving him birth, the tradition is silent. There existed in New England a faint tradition that he was a kinsman of Cromwell. If true, this would surely have appeared when Williams spoke of his intimacy with the Protector, and of "a close conference with Oliver.” The existence of this intimacy is enough to account for the origin of the story. Tradition further assigns to him a patron in Sir Edward Coke. But there is little probability in this story, although it is not impossible. The connections of the Chief Justice lay not in the Principality, but in Norfolk, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The story is, that Coke observed Roger Williams carefully noting down the sermon at some church, and was induced to ask for a sight of his notes, the ability of which so much impressed him, that he took the youth under his protection and sent him to Oxford to study at the University. Against this story are the facts, that Cambridge, not Oxford, was Coke's alma mater, and that Anthony A. Wood, speaking of Williams, says, “Of what university the said Williams was, if of any, I know not.” Wood gratifies the High-church spirit which seems to be the genius loci of Oxford, by adding—"or whether a real fanatic or Jesuit." Had Williams studied at Oxford, he would not have been undistinguished; indeed, the patronage of the Chief Justice would of itself have secured a record of his studentship. The language which Roger Williams in after-life used concerning the Universities does not decide the question.

Peace. The churches, say they, much depend upon the schools.

" Truth. I honour schools for tongues and arts; but the institution of Europe's Universities, devoting persons (as is said) for scholars in a monastical way, forbidding marriage and labour too, I hold as far from the mind of Jesus Christ as it is from propagating his name and worship.

“We count the Universities the fountains, the seminaries, or seed-plots of all piety; but have not those fountains ever sent what streams the times have liked ? and even changed their taste and colour to the prince's eye and palate ?

“For any depending of the church of Christ upon such schools, I find not a tittle in the Testament of Christ Jesus." — Bloudy Tenent, Ch. cvii.

Afterwards, speaking of the possibility of God's restoring to the church the gifts of tongues and prophesy, he adds,

" If it be not his holy pleasure so to do, but that his people with daily study and labour must dig to come at the original fountains, God's people have many ways, besides the Universities, lazy and monkish, to attain to an excellent measure of the knowledge of those tongues. That most despised while living, and now much honoured Mr. Ainsworth, had scarce his peer amongst a thousand academians for the Scripture originals, and yet he scarce set foot within a college walls.”

This is scarcely like the sentiment of one who had studied at Oxford. However obtained, it is evident he had enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education. He himself records his early spiritual tendencies. “ From my childhood, the Father of lights and mercies touched my soul with a love to himself, to his only-begotten, the true Lord Jesus, to his holy Scriptures." Whether he ever devoted himself to the

« VorigeDoorgaan »