GORTON, SAMUEL (1600.77). An English sectary. He was born at Gorton. Lancashire, near Manchester, apprenticed to a London cloth ier. adopted radical religious opinions, and left for Boston in 1636. Here lie became involved in disputes on religious topics. went to Plymouth, and began to preach; but he was looked upon as a heretic, required to furnish sureties fot his good conduct. and went to Rhode Island. At Aquidneck (now Newport) he was publicly whipped for insulting the clergy and magistrates. He found protection at Providence with Roger Williams (16411. Thence in 1642 he went to the other side of Narragansett Bay, and bought the lands owned by the Indian chief Miantonomo nt Shawomet, now Old Warwick. His claim was disputed by other Indian chiefs, and the dispute being referred to the Boston authorities, forty soldiers were sent, who took Gorton and six of his people prisoners. They were tried at Boston on the charge of being 'damnable here tics,' and sentenced to hard labor in chains (1643). Five months afterwards (January, 1644) they were released, and driven out of the colony. Gorton then returned to England, and obtained from the Earl of Warwick an order for the land he had bought from the sachem. He
returned in 1648, named the place Warwick, and thenceforward lived in peaceful possession. He preached occasionally, and filled a number of local civil offices. He was an author, and pub lished Simplicitie's Defense Against Seven-Headed Policy (1646, reprinted in Peter Force, Collec tion of Historical Tracts, Washington, 1846) An Incorruptible Key Composed of the ar. Psalm Wherewith You May Open the Rest of the Holy Scriptures (1647); An Antidote Against the Common Plague of the Work/ (1657) ; and other works. He died at Warwick between November 27 and December 10, 1677. A sect of which he was the founder, though few in number, existed for about one hundred years. Its distinguishing tenets were contempt for the regu lar clergy and the outward forms of religion, and the belief that the true believers were so united to God that they shared in His perfection, and for them Heaven and Hell were practically non-existent. Its negations led to its being called the `Nothingarians! Consult Gorton's biography by Sparks, American Biography, vol. v. (Boston, 1845).