The sentence itself in part runs as follows: It is therefore ordered that the said Mister Williams shall depart out of this jurisdiction within six weeks now next ensuing, which. if he neglects to perform, it shall be lawful for the Governor and two of the magistrates to send him to some place out of this jurisdiction, not to return any more without license from the Court.
But soon this six weeks' leniency caused the magistrates anxiety; they were afraid he would be able to carry out his expressed purpose of "establishing an independent community where all men may work as their conscience persuades them, everyone in the name of God." A cap tain of a sloop was, therefore, sent with orders to apprehend Williams and carry him on board his ship about to sail for England. The captain found the wife and children, but the minister had departed three days before. Thus in mid winter, January 1636, this earliest apostle of re ligious liberty in America, and, up to this date, one of the very few such apostles in the history of the world, secretly departed from Salem, leaving wife and children behind him. He sailed away, according to the adyice of Gover nor Winthrop who, apparently ashamed of the precipitancy and narrowness of his clerical col league, had advised Mr. Williams to retire promptly to the Indians on Narragansett Bay, where he would be beyond English claims and patents. His own account of this momentous exodus in America runs in part as follows: I steered my course from Salem — though in winter snow, which I feel yet — unto these parts wherein I may say Persist, that is, I have seen the face of God. I first pitched, and then began to build and plant at Seekonk, now Rehoboth; but when I received a letter from my ancient friend, Mr. Winslow, then governor of Plymouth, professing his own and others' love and respect to me, yet lovingly advising me. since I was fallen into the edge of their bounds, and they were loth to displease the Bay, to remove but to the other side of the water; and then he said I had the country free before me, and might be as free as themselves, and we should be loving neighbors together. These were the joint understandings of these two wise and eminently Christian governors, and others, in their day, together with their counsel and advice as to the freedom and vacancy of this place, which in this respect and many other provi dences of the Most Holy and Wise One, I called Providence.
Following the voyage came the desperate exposures on land,—"fourteen weeks of bitter winter season without knowing what bread or bed did mean," in his own phrase. His only
succor was received at the hands of the Indians, whose language he had mastered during his Plymouth ministry for a purpose higher than he could then have dreamed of. When the final place of settlement was reached on Rhode Island, he said: "In gratitude to God's merci ful providence to me in my distress, I gave to the place the name of Providence.° Henceforth the story of Roger Williams is the story of the planting of what is probably the first commonwealth in history into whose fundamental constitution was incorporated an unequivocal guarantee of religious liberty. From Constantine to Williams, the Christian Church, always and everywhere in Christendom, dominated the State. Indeed, in all religions and in all ages, up to this time, priests have more or less directly claimed to be the arbiters of the civic and physical interests as well as of the spiritual destinies of men. The quality and quantity of the work accomplished by Roger Williams cannot be appreciated until the spirit of the Puritans, of whom he was one and with whom he contended, is more closely studied and understood. Popular traditions have lumped the various settlements of New England under one estimate, as one movement. The Puritans have been studied too much in bulk, as though they represented a coherent and consistent body, moving forward with one spirit and for one end: that spirit the spirit of freedom, and the one end religious and civil liberty. But the banishment of Roger Williams is but one of a series, albeit the first of such acts. The noble Henry Vane arrived in Boston three months before Williams had to flee. Though a young man of only 24 years, he was of such brilliant powers that he was made governor of Massa chusetts. But the spirit of theople was too intolerant, the air too dogmatic him to stay, and in less than three years he went back to England to his larger career and to a tragic death for freedom's sake. In 1636 came Anne Hutchinson, the brilliant woman who preached transcendentalism before the Transcendental ists: a woman who was gladly heard in the pulpit at that early date; she gathered around her a growing following,— but she must not stay. With her band of followers she had to go. They turned their faces toward the land of greater freedom, the hospitable Rhode Island, where for a while she tarried on her way to death from an Indian's tomahawk in the neighborhood of what was to be New York.