Antinomian Controversy

The Antinomian Controversy, also known as the Free Grace Controversy, was a religious and political conflict in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. It pitted most of the colony's ministers and magistrates against some adherents of the Free Grace theology of Puritan minister John Cotton. The most notable Free Grace advocates, often called "Antinomians", were the charismatic Anne Hutchinson, her brother-in-law Reverend John Wheelwright, and the young governor of the colony Henry Vane. The controversy was a theological debate concerning the "covenant of grace" and "covenant of works".

Anne Hutchinson has historically been placed at the center of the controversy, a strong-minded woman situated with the Puritan movement who had grown up under the religious guidance of her father Francis Marbury, an Anglican clergyman and school teacher. In England, she embraced the religious views of dynamic Puritan minister John Cotton, who became her mentor; Cotton was forced to leave England and Hutchinson followed him to New England.

In Boston, Hutchinson was influential among the settlement's women and hosted them at her house for discussions on the weekly sermons. Eventually, men were included in these gatherings, such as Henry Vane the Younger, the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. During the meetings, Hutchinson criticized the colony's ministers, accusing them of preaching "a covenant of works" as opposed to "the covenant of grace" espoused by Reverend Cotton. The Colony's orthodox ministers held meetings with Cotton, Wheelwright, and Hutchinson in the fall of 1636. A consensus was not reached, and religious tensions mounted.

To ease the situation, a day of fasting and repentance was called on 19 January 1637. However, Cotton invited Wheelwright to speak at the Boston church during services that day, and his sermon created a furor that deepened the growing divide. In March 1637, Wheelwright was accused by the court of contempt and sedition but was not sentenced. His supporters, mostly from the Boston church, circulated a petition on his behalf.

The religious controversy had immediate political ramifications. During the election of May 1637, the free grace advocates suffered two major setbacks when Vane was defeated by John Winthrop in the gubernatorial race, and the Boston magistrates who supported Hutchinson and Wheelwright were voted out of office. Vane returned to England in August 1637. At the November 1637 court, Wheelwright was sentenced to banishment, and Anne Hutchinson was brought to trial. She defended herself well against the prosecution, but she claimed on the second day of her hearing that she possessed direct personal revelation from God, and she prophesied ruin upon the colony. She was charged with contempt and sedition and banished from the colony, and her departure from the colony brought the controversy to a close. The events of 1636 to 1638 are regarded as crucial to an understanding of religion and society in the early colonial history of New England.

The idea that Hutchinson played a central and singular role in the controversy went largely unchallenged until 2002, when Michael Winship's account of the controversy portrayed Cotton, Wheelwright, and Vane as equally complicit with her.

Antinomian Controversy
Anne Hutchinson at trial and John Winthrop
DateOctober 1636 to March 1638
LocationMassachusetts Bay Colony
ParticipantsFree Grace Advocates
(sometimes called "Antinomians")

  • Anne Hutchinson banished and excommunicated
  • John Wheelwright disfranchised and banished
  • Supporters disarmed, dismissed, disfranchised, excommunicated, or banished


Antinomianism literally means being "against or opposed to the law"[1] and was a term used by critics of those Massachusetts colonists who advocated the preaching of "free grace". The term implied behavior that was immoral and heterodox, being beyond the limits of religious orthodoxy.[1] The free grace advocates were also called Anabaptists and Familists, groups that were considered heretical in New England. All three of these terms were used by magistrate John Winthrop in his account of the Antinomian Controversy called the Short Story.[1]

The conflict initially involved a difference in views concerning "religious works" or behavior, as well as the presence and role of the Holy Spirit. For example, the Puritan majority held the view that an individual's salvation is demonstrated by righteous behavior or "good works," while the Antinomians argued that one's spiritual condition had no bearing upon one's outward behavior. However, the debate quickly changed, as the Antinomians began to claim that personal revelation was equivalent to Scripture, under the influence of Anne Hutchinson's teachings, while the Puritan majority held that the Bible was the final authority, taking precedence over any personal viewpoints.

Winthrop had given the first public warning of this problem around 21 October 1636, and it consumed him and the leadership of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for much of the next two years.[2] He wrote in his journal, "One Mrs. Hutchinson, a member of the church at Boston, a woman of a ready wit and a bold spirit, brought over with her two dangerous errors: 1. That the person of the Holy Ghost dwells in a justified person. 2. That no sanctification ["works"] can help to evidence to us our justification."[3] He then went on to elaborate these two points. This is usually considered the beginning of the Antinomian Controversy,[3] which has more recently been called the Free Grace Controversy.[4]

"Free Grace" advocates

Anne Hutchinson came to be near the center of the controversy. Emery Battis suggests that she induced "a theological tempest which shook the infant colony of Massachusetts to its very foundations".[5] John Wheelwright was also deeply involved, Hutchinson's relative through marriage and a minister with a "vigorous and contentious demeanor".[5] The early writers on the controversy blamed most of the difficulties on Hutchinson and Wheelwright, but Boston minister John Cotton and magistrate Henry Vane were also deeply complicit in the controversy.[6]

Cotton had been a mentor to Hutchinson, and the colony's other ministers regarded him and his parishioners with suspicion because of his teachings concerning the relative importance of a Christian's outward behavior. Vane was a young aristocrat who brought his own unconventional theology to the colony, and he may have encouraged Hutchinson to lead the colony's women and develop her own divergent theology.[7] Ultimately, Hutchinson and Wheelwright were banished from the colony with many of their supporters, and Vane departed for England as the controversy came to a head. Cotton, however, was asked to remain in Boston, where he continued to minister until his death.[8]

Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson (1591–1643) was the daughter of Francis Marbury, a school teacher and Anglican clergyman in England with strong Puritan leanings. She was deeply imbued with religious thought as a youngster, but as a young woman had come to mistrust the priests of the Church of England who did not seem to act according to their principles.[9] Her religious beliefs were leaning toward atheism when she claimed to hear the voice of God, and "at last he let me see how I did oppose Jesus Christ... and how I did turne in upon a Covenant of works... from which time the Lord did discover to me all sorts of Ministers, and how they taught, and to know what voyce I heard".[10] From this point forward, this inner voice became the source of her guidance.[10]

Hutchinson became a follower of John Cotton who preached at St Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, about 21 miles (34 km) from her home town of Alford, Lincolnshire in eastern England.[10] It was likely Cotton who taught her to question the preaching of most early 17th-century English clergymen.[10] Cotton wrote, "And many whose spiritual estates were not so safely layed, yet were hereby helped and awakened to discover their sandy foundations, and to seek for better establishment in Christ".[10]

Not long after her arrival in Boston, Hutchinson began inviting women to her house to discuss recent sermons and other religious matters, and eventually these became large gatherings of 60 or more people twice a week.[11] They gathered at these conventicles to discuss sermons and to listen to Hutchinson offer her spiritual explanations and elaborations, but also to criticize members of the colony's ministers.[12] Hutchinson began to give her own views on religion, espousing that "an intuition of the Spirit" rather than outward behavior provided the only proof that one had been elected by God.[12] Her theological views differed markedly from those of most of the colony's Puritan ministers.

Hutchinson's following soon included Henry Vane, the young Governor of the colony, along with merchants and craftsmen who were attracted to the idea that one's outward behavior did not necessarily affect one's standing with God.[12] Historian Emery Battis writes, "Gifted with a magnetism which is imparted to few, she had, until the hour of her fall, warm adherents far outnumbering her enemies, and it was only by dint of skillful maneuvering that the authorities were able to loosen her hold on the community."[5]


Hutchinson took Cotton's doctrines concerning the Holy Ghost far beyond his teachings, and she "saw herself as a mystic participant in the transcendent power of the Almighty."[13] Her theology of direct personal revelation opposed the belief that the Bible was the final authority concerning divine revelation, which was basic to the Reformed doctrines held by the majority of English settlers at that time. She also adopted Cotton's minority view that works, behavior, and personal growth are not valid demonstrations of a person's salvation. She went beyond this, however, and espoused some views that were more radical, devaluing the material world and suggesting that a person can become one with the Holy Spirit.[14] She also embraced the heterodox teaching of mortalism, the belief that the soul dies when the body dies,[14] and she saw herself as a prophetess. She had prophesied that God was going to destroy England, and she prophesied during her trial that God would destroy Boston.[14]

Background to the Theological Struggle

Hutchinson challenged a major teaching of the Protestant communion by claiming to receive direct revelation that was equal in authority to Scripture. Orthodox theology stated that the Bible held ultimate authority rather than personal revelation, a position known as "sola scriptura". She also taught that Christian liberty gave one license to ignore Scriptural teachings, directly opposing the teachings of Reformed faith.

The struggle between Hutchinson and the magistrates was an echo of a larger struggle at work throughout the Christian world between those who believed in direct, personal, and continuing revelation from God (Anabaptists) and those who believed that the Bible represented the final authority on revelation from God (Calvinism, Lutheranism, and Anglicanism). The first group regarded the continuing revelations which they were receiving as equal in authority to Scripture, while the latter group saw Scripture as ultimately authoritative.

At its heart was the question as to where ultimate authority rests. The Catholic Church believed that ultimate authority rested in both scripture and in the church. General revelation concluded at the end of the Apostolic Age, and "the full truth of Revelation is contained in the doctrine of the Apostles;" this, in Catholic teaching, is preserved by the church "unfalsified through the uninterrupted succession of the bishops."[15] In contrast, the Reformers claimed that authority rested in scripture alone. In this light, Hutchinson's assertion to have received authoritative revelations that other Christians should obey was not a gender issue at all; it was an important doctrinal point of contention. Many English Reformers had been martyred defending such doctrines as sola scriptura, including Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley.[16]

Twenty years after the Antinomian Controversy in 1659, Puritan Theologian John Owen wrote a critique of another religious movement known as the Quakers. Owen's opening words in A Defense of Sacred Scripture against the Fanatics reflect beliefs on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture generally held by Reformed people:

The Scriptures are the settled, ordinary [vs. extraordinary], perfect [cannot be improved upon], and unshakable rule for divine worship and human obedience, in such a fashion that leaves no room for any other, and no scope for any new revelations whereby man may be better instructed in the knowledge of God and our required duty.[17]

It was in this context that the magistrates reacted to Ann Hutchinson's claim of receiving divine, authoritative revelations.

John Wheelwright

Another major player who sided with the Antinomians was Hutchinson's brother-in-law John Wheelwright, who had just arrived in New England in May 1636 as the controversy was beginning. Wheelwright was characterized as having a contentious disposition, and he had been the pastor of a church within walking distance of Hutchinson's home town of Alford.[18] He was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, receiving his B.A. in 1615 and his M.A. in 1618.[19] A friend and college mate of his was Oliver Cromwell, who later gained prominence as the Lord Protector of England.[20] After college, Wheelwright was ordained a deacon and then a priest of the Anglican Communion.[19] He first married Mary Storre, the daughter of Thomas Storre who was the vicar of Bilsby;[21] he became the Bilsby vicar himself upon the death of his father-in-law in 1623 and held that position for ten years. His wife died in 1629 and was buried in Bilsby on 18 May,[21] shortly after which he married Mary Hutchinson. Mary was the daughter of Edward Hutchinson of Alford, and a sister of William Hutchinson, Anne Hutchinson's husband.[19]

In 1633, Wheelwright was suspended from his position at Bilsby.[22] His successor was chosen in January 1633, when Wheelwright tried to sell his Bilsby ministry back to its patron to get funds to travel to New England. Instead of procuring the necessary funds, he was convicted of simony (selling church offices).[23] He next preached for a short while at Belleau, Lincolnshire but was soon silenced for his Puritan opinions, and he continued making plans for his emigration from England.[19] Like John Cotton, Wheelwright preached a message of "free grace," rejecting the notion that a man's salvation was demonstrated through his works.[24] He embarked for New England in early spring 1636, where he was warmly received in Boston.[25]

John Cotton

The third person who was deeply complicit in the controversy was John Cotton, a minister whose theological views differed from those of other ministers in New England. He suffered in attempting to remain supportive of his follower Hutchinson, while also maintaining a conciliatory stance towards his ministerial colleagues.[26]

John Cotton was Hutchinson's mentor.

In 1612, Cotton left a tutoring position at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and became the minister at Saint Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire.[11][27] He was only 27 years old, yet he was considered one of the leading Puritans in England due to his learned and vigorous preaching.[11] His theology was influenced by English Puritan Richard Sibbes, but his basic tenets were from John Calvin. At one point he wrote, "I have read the fathers, and the schoolmen and Calvin too, but I find that he that has Calvin has them all."[28]

By 1633, Cotton's inclination toward Puritan practices had attracted the attention of William Laud, who was on a mission to suppress any preaching and practices that did not conform to the tenets of the established Anglican Church.[29] In that year, Cotton was removed from his ministry, threatened with imprisonment, and forced into hiding.[29] He made a hasty departure for New England aboard the Griffin, taking his pregnant wife. She was so close to term that she bore her child aboard the ship, and they named him Seaborn.[30]

On his arrival in September 1633, Cotton was openly welcomed, having been personally invited to the colony by Governor Winthrop.[30] Once established in Boston, his enthusiastic evangelism brought about a religious awakening in the colony, and there were more conversions during his first six months in the pastorate than there had been the previous year.[31]

Henry Vane

Henry Vane was a young aristocrat, and possibly the most socially prominent person to come to the Massachusetts Bay colony in the 1630s.[6] He was born in 1613 to Henry Vane the Elder, a Privy counsellor of Charles I and therefore one of the most powerful men in England.[32] The younger Vane had an intense religious experience when he was in his teens which left him confident of his salvation, and his ensuing beliefs did not conform with the established Anglican Church.[32] He came to New England with the blessing of William Laud, who thought that this would be a good place for him to get Puritanism out of his system.[32] He was 22 years old when he arrived in Boston on 6 October 1635, and his devoutness, social rank, and character lent him an air of greatness. Winthrop called him a "noble gentleman" in his journal.[32]

Vane became a member of the Boston church on 1 November 1635 and was given the honor of sitting on the magistrate's bench in the meetinghouse, next to Winthrop. In January 1636, Vane took it upon himself to arbitrate in a dispute between Winthrop and magistrate Thomas Dudley, and he was elected governor of the colony in May, despite his youth and inexperience.[32] He built an extension to Cotton's house in which he lived while in New England, and was "deeply taken with the radical possibilities in Cotton's theology."[33] Historian Michael Winship states that it was Vane who encouraged Hutchinson to set up her own conventicles and to actively engage in her own theological radicalism.[33] He writes that Vane had an appetite for unconventional theological speculation, and that it was "this appetite that profoundly altered the spiritual dynamic in Massachusetts. It caused John Cotton, after a quarter century of flirting with extremism and managing to keep on his feet, to make his first serious stumble," and it "pushed Anne Hutchinson into the public limelight".[32] The role of Vane is almost entirely neglected by scholars, but Winship surmises that he may have been the single most important reason that the controversy reached a high pitch.[33]


The Antinomian Controversy began with some meetings of the Massachusetts colony's ministers in October 1636 and lasted for 17 months, ending with the church trial of Anne Hutchinson in March 1638.[34] However, there were signs of its emergence well before 1636, and its effects lasted for more than a century afterward. The first hints of religious tension occurred in late summer 1634 aboard the ship Griffin, when Anne Hutchinson was making the voyage from England to New England with her husband and 10 of her 11 living children. The Reverend Zechariah Symmes preached to the passengers aboard the ship and, after the sermons, Hutchinson asked him pointed questions about free grace.[35] In England, Hutchinson had criticized certain clergymen who were esteemed by Symmes, and her questioning caused him to doubt her orthodoxy.[35] Anne's husband Will was accepted readily into the Boston church congregation, but her membership was delayed a week because of Symmes' concerns about her religious orthodoxy.

By the spring of 1636, John Cotton had become the focus of the other clergymen in the colony.[36] Thomas Shepard, the minister of Newtown (later named Cambridge), wrote a letter to Cotton and warned him of the strange opinions being circulated among his Boston parishioners. Shepard also expressed concern about Cotton's preaching and some of the points of his theology.[37]

Meetings of the ministers

In October 1636, the ministers confronted the question of religious opinions and had a "conference in private" with Cotton, Hutchinson, and Wheelwright.[36] Some of the ministers had heard that Hutchinson considered them to be unable ministers of the New Testament. In private, she essentially agreed that this was her opinion, and that she thought that only Cotton preached with the "seal of the Spirit". Despite these private antipathies, the outcome of the meeting was favorable and the parties were largely in agreement. Cotton gave satisfaction to the other ministers that good works (termed "sanctification" by the Puritans) did provide one outward demonstration of inward grace, and Wheelwright agreed as well.[36] However, the effects of the conference were short-lived because a majority of the members of the Boston church were in accord with Hutchinson's "free grace" ideas, and they wanted Wheelwright to become the church's second pastor with Cotton. The church already had pastor John Wilson, who was unsympathetic to Hutchinson. Wilson was a friend of Boston founder John Winthrop, who was a layman in the church. Winthrop took advantage of a rule requiring unanimity in a church vote, and was thus able to thwart the appointment of Wheelwright.[36] Wheelwright instead was allowed to preach at Mount Wollaston, considered to be a part of Boston but about ten miles south of the Boston church.[38]

In December 1636, the ministers met once again, but this meeting did not produce agreement. Cotton argued that the question of outward manifestations of salvation was essentially a "covenant of works."[39] These theological differences had begun to take their toll in the political aspects of the colony, and Massachusetts governor Henry Vane (a strong admirer of Hutchinson) announced his resignation to a special session of the deputies.[39] His reasoning was that God's judgment would "come upon us for these differences and dissensions".[39] The members of the Boston church induced Vane to withdraw his resignation, while the General Court began to debate who was responsible for the colony's troubles.[39] The General Court was deeply divided, like the remainder of the colony, and called for a general fast to take place on 19 January in hopes that such repentance would restore peace.[39]

Wheelwright's fast-day sermon

John Wheelwright's fast-day sermon fanned the flames of the controversy.

John Wheelwright was attending services at the Boston church during the appointed January day of fasting, and he was invited to preach during the afternoon.[39] His sermon may have seemed benign to the average listener in the congregation, but most of the colony's ministers found it to be censurable. Instead of bringing peace, the sermon fanned the flames of controversy and, in Winthrop's words, Wheelwright "inveighed against all that walked in a covenant of works, as he described it to be, viz., such as maintain sanctification [i.e., holiness of behavior] as an evidence of justification etc. and called them antichrists, and stirred up the people against them with much bitterness and vehemency."[39] The followers of Hutchinson were encouraged by the sermon and intensified their crusade against the "legalists" among the clergy. During church services and lectures, they publicly asked the ministers about their doctrines which disagreed with their own beliefs.[39]

When the General Court next met on 9 March, Wheelwright was called upon to answer for his sermon.[40] He was judged guilty of contempt and sedition for having "purposely set himself to kindle and increase" bitterness within the colony.[40] The vote did not pass without a fight, and Wheelwright's friends protested formally. The Boston church favored Wheelwright in the conflict and "tendered a petition in his behalf, justifying Mr. Wheelwright's sermon," with 60 people signing this remonstrance protesting the conviction.[41]

Election of May 1637

All of the protests concerning Wheelwright were rejected by the Court. Governor Vane attempted to stop the Court from holding its next session in Newtown, where he feared that the orthodox party stood a better chance of winning than in Boston, but he was overruled.[40] In his journal, Winthrop recorded the excitement and tension of election day on 17 May. Vane wanted to read a petition in defense of Wheelwright, but the Winthrop party insisted that the elections take place first, and then the petitions could be heard.[40] After some debate, the majority of freemen wanted to proceed with the election, and they finally elected Winthrop as governor in place of Vane. When the magistrates were elected, those who supported Wheelwright had been voted out of office.[42]

The Court also passed a law that no strangers could be received within the colony for longer than three weeks without the Court's permission. According to the opinion one modern writer, Winthrop saw this as a necessary step to prevent new immigrants from being added to the Antinomian faction.[42] This new law was soon tested when William Hutchinson's brother Samuel arrived with some friends from England. They were refused the privilege of settling in the Bay Colony, despite Vane's protests concerning Winthrop's alien act. Vane had had enough, and he boarded a ship on 3 August and departed New England, never to return.[43] Nevertheless, he maintained his close ties with the colonies, and several years later even Winthrop called him "a true friend of New England."[44]

Synod of 1637

The controversy continued to heat up and the ministers convened a synod in Newtown on 30 August in hopes of resolving some of the theological disputes. An important item on the agenda was to identify and refute the errors of the Antinomians, a list of 90 items, though many of them were repetitious. The other major task was to confront the various problems of church order that had been exposed during the controversy.[42] After three weeks, the ministers felt that they had better control of church doctrines and church order, allowing the synod to adjourn on 22 September.[42]

The ministers had found agreement, but the free grace advocates continued their teachings, causing a state of dissension to be widespread through the colony. Winthrop realized that "two so opposite parties could not contain in the same body, without apparent hazard of ruin to the whole."[42] The elections of October 1637 brought about a large turnover of the deputies to the General Court. Only 17 of the 32 deputies were re-elected, as changes were deemed necessary in many of the colony's towns.[45] Boston continued to be represented with strong Free Grace advocates; two of its three deputies (William Aspinwall and William Coddington) continued in their previous roles, while John Coggeshall was newly elected. The deputies from most of the other towns were opposed to the Free Grace supporters.[46]

November 1637 court

The next session of the General Court began on 2 November 1637 at the meeting house on Spring Street in Newtown.[47] The first business of the court was to examine the credentials of its members; Aspinwall was called forward and identified as one of the signers of the petition in favor of Wheelwright. By a motion and show of hands, he was dismissed from the court. This brought a strong reaction from Coggeshall, a deacon of the Boston church and deputy, and he too was ejected from the court by a show of hands.[48] Bostonians were resentful of Winthrop's overbearing manner but were willing to replace the two dismissed deputies with William Colburn and John Oliver, both supporters of Hutchinson and Wheelwright, as were the other Bostonians eligible for the post.[49]

One of the first orders of business on that Monday was to deal with Wheelwright, whose case had been long deferred by Winthrop in hopes that he might finally see the error of his ways.[49] Wheelwright stood firm, denying any guilt of the charges against him, and asserting that he "had delivered nothing but the truth of Christ."[49] Winthrop painted a picture of a peaceful colony before Wheelwright's arrival, and showed that things had degenerated after his fast-day sermon: Boston had refused to join the Pequot War, Pastor Wilson was often slighted, and controversy arose in town meetings.[50] Wheelwright was steadfast in his demeanor but was not sentenced as the court adjourned for the evening.[50]

John Oliver was identified on Tuesday, the second day of the proceedings, as a signer of the petition in support of Wheelwright, and was thus not seated at the court, leaving Boston with only two deputies.[51] After further argument in the case of Wheelwright, the court declared him guilty of troubling the civil peace, of holding corrupt and dangerous opinions, and of contemptuous behavior toward the magistrates. He was sentenced to be disfranchised and banished from the colony, and was given two weeks to depart the jurisdiction.[52]

Coggeshall was next to be called forth, and he was charged with a variety of miscarriages "as one that had a principall hand in all our late disturbances of our publike peace."[53] The court was divided on the punishment for the magistrate and opted for disfranchisement over banishment.[54] Then Aspinwall, the other dismissed Boston deputy, was called forth for signing the petition in favor of Wheelwright and for authoring it, as well. Unlike the more submissive Coggeshall, Aspinwall was defiant and the court sentenced him to banishment because of his contemptuous behavior.[53] With these lesser issues put aside, it was now time for the court to deal with the "breeder and nourisher of all these distempers," as Emery Battis puts it, and Anne Hutchinson was called forth.[55]

Trial of Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson had not participated in the political protests of her free grace allies, and the court could only charge her with "countenancing" those who did.[56] Additional accusations made against her concerned her weekly meetings at her house and the statements that she made against the ministers for preaching what she called a "covenant of works".[56]

Magistrate John Endecott was a critic of Hutchinson during her trial.

Governor Winthrop served as both the primary prosecutor and judge at the trial. The other magistrates representing the prosecution were Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley, John Endecott, Richard Bellingham, Israel Stoughton, Roger Harlakenden, Increase Nowell, Simon Bradstreet, and John Humphrey.[57] There were eight ministers present for the proceedings, beginning with John Cotton and John Wilson from the church at Boston.[58] Hugh Peter came all the way from Salem, and Thomas Weld was there from Roxbury as one of Hutchinson's accusers. With him was his colleague John Eliot who was opposed to the doctrines of Hutchinson.[58] George Phillips came from Watertown, Zechariah Symmes from Charlestown, and Thomas Shepard from the home church in Newtown, where the court was being held.[58]

Winthrop questioned Hutchinson heavily on her association with those who had caused trouble in the colony, and on the meetings that she held at her house, but Hutchinson effectively stonewalled this prosecutorial thrust by answering questions with questions and matching scripture with scripture.[59] Dudley then stepped in and confronted her concerning having men at her home meetings and "traducing [slandering] the ministers" by saying that they "preached a covenant of works, and only Mr. Cotton a covenant of grace."[60] To the latter charge Dudley added, "you said they were not able ministers of the new testament, but Mr. Cotton only!"[61] This last assertion brought pause to Hutchinson, who knew what she had said and to whom she had said it. According to the modern interpretations of Emery Battis, she had assumed that her statements would be confidential and private when she made them during the meetings with the ministers in October 1636.[61]

She said, "It is one thing for me to come before a public magistracy and there to speak what they would have me speak and another when a man comes to me in a way of friendship privately."[61] Hutchinson's defense was that she had spoken only reluctantly and in private, and that she "must either speak false or true in my answers" in the ministerial context of the meeting.[62] The court, however, did not make any distinction between public and private statements.[62]

During the morning of the second day of the trial, Hutchinson continued to accuse the ministers of violating their mandate of confidentiality and of deceiving the court about her reluctance to share her thoughts with them. She now insisted that the ministers testify under oath.[62] As a matter of due process, the ministers had to be sworn in, but would agree to do so only if the defense witnesses spoke first. There were three defense witnesses, all from the Boston church: deacon John Coggeshall, lay leader Thomas Leverett, and minister John Cotton.[63] The first two witnesses made brief statements that had little effect on the court. When Cotton testified, he said that he did not remember many events of the October meeting, and he attempted to soften the meanings of Hutchinson's statements. He also stated that the ministers did not appear to be as upset by Hutchinson's remarks at the October meeting as they appeared to be later.[64] Dudley reiterated that Hutchinson had told the ministers that they were not able ministers of the New Testament, and Cotton replied that he did not remember her saying that.[64]

There was more parrying between Cotton and the court, but the exchanges were not recorded in the transcript of the proceedings. Hutchinson next asked the court for leave to "give you the ground of what I know to be true."[65] She then addressed the court with her own judgment, becoming both didactic and prophetic and claiming her source of knowledge to be direct, personal revelation from God.[56] She ended her statement by prophesying, "if you go on in this course [in which] you begin, you will bring a curse upon you and your posterity, and the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."[66] "The judges were aghast," historian Emery Battis writes. "She had defied the Court and threatened the commonwealth with God's curse."[66] Cotton attempted to defend her but was challenged by the magistrates, until Winthrop ended the questioning.[67] A vote was taken on a sentence of banishment, only the only dissenters were the two remaining deputies from Boston, Colburn and Coddington. Winthrop then read the order: "Mrs. Hutchinson, the sentence of the court you hear is that you are banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court shall send you away."[68]

After the trial

Within a week of Hutchinson's sentencing, some of her supporters were called into court and were disfranchised but not banished. The constables were then sent from door to door throughout the colony's towns to disarm those who signed the Wheelwright petition.[69] Within ten days, these individuals were ordered to deliver "all such guns, pistols, swords, powder, shot, & match as they shall be owners of, or have in their custody, upon paine of ten pound[s] for every default".[69] A great number recanted and "acknowledged their error" in signing the petition when they were faced with the confiscation of their firearms. Those who refused to recant suffered hardships and, in many cases, decided to leave the colony.[70] In Roxbury, Philip Sherman, Henry Bull, and Thomas Wilson were excommunicated from the church, and all three left the colony.[71]

Portsmouth Compact document
Several of Hutchinson's supporters signed a compact to establish a government on Rhode Island, which today is called Aquidneck Island.

Following her civil trial, Hutchinson needed also to face a trial by the clergy, and this could not take place until the following March. In the interim, she was not allowed to return home, but instead was detained at the house of Joseph Weld, brother of the Reverend Thomas Weld, which was located in Roxbury, about two miles from her home in Boston.[72] The distance was not great, yet she was rarely able to see her children because of the winter weather, which was particularly harsh that year.[73] She was frequently visited by the various ministers; modern writer Eve LaPlante claims that they came with the intention of reforming her thinking and also to collect evidence to use against her in the forthcoming church trial. LaPlante also claims that Winthrop was determined to keep her isolated so that others would not be inspired by her.[73]

The ordeal was difficult for John Cotton. He decided to leave Massachusetts and go with the settlers to New Haven, not wanting to "breed any further offensive agitation". This proposal was very unwelcome to the magistrates, who viewed such a departure as tarnishing to the reputation of the colony.[74] Cotton was persuaded to remain in Boston, though he continued to be questioned for his doctrines. His dilemma was like that of Wheelwright, but the difference between the two men was not in their doctrines but in their personalities. Wheelwright was contentious and outspoken, while Cotton was mild and tractable.[75] It was Wheelwright's nature to separate from those who disdained him; it was Cotton's nature to make peace without compromising his essential principles, according to the views of some modern historians.[75]

Former Boston magistrate and Hutchinson supporter William Coddington was not happy about the trials, and he began making plans for his own future in consultation with others affected by the Court's decisions. He remained on good terms with Winthrop and consulted with him about the possibility of leaving the colony in peace.[76] Winthrop was encouraging and helped to smooth the way with the other magistrates. The men were uncertain where to go; they contacted Roger Williams who suggested that they purchase land of the Indians along the Narraganset Bay, near his settlement at Providence Plantation. On 7 March 1638, a group of men gathered at the home of Coddington and drafted a compact.[77] Several of the strongest supporters of Hutchinson and Wheelwright signed the document, having been disfranchised, disarmed, or excommunicated, including John Coggeshall, William Aspinwall, John Porter, Philip Sherman, Henry Bull, and several members of the Hutchinson family. Some who were not directly involved in the events also asked to be included, such as Randall Holden and physician and theologian John Clarke.[77]

Hutchinson's church trial

Hutchinson was called to her church trial on Thursday, 15 March 1638 following a four-month detention in Roxbury, weary and in poor health. The trial took place at her home church in Boston, though many of her supporters were either gone or compelled to silence. Her husband and other friends had already left the colony to prepare for a new place to live. The only family members present were her oldest son Edward with his wife, her daughter Faith with her husband Thomas Savage, and her much younger sister Katharine with her husband Richard Scott.[78] The complement of ministers was largely the same as it had been during her civil trial, though the Reverend Peter Bulkley from Concord took part, as did the newly arrived Reverend John Davenport who was staying with John Cotton and preparing to begin a new settlement at New Haven.

The ministers were all on hand, and ruling elder Thomas Leverett was charged with managing the examination. He called Mrs. Hutchinson and read the numerous "errors" with which she had been charged. What followed was a nine-hour interrogation where only four of the many were covered. At the end, Cotton was put in the uncomfortable position of delivering the admonition to his admirer. He said, "I would speake it to Gods Glory [that] you have bine an Instrument of doing some good amongst us... he hath given you a sharp apprehension, a ready utterance and abilitie to exprese yourselfe in the Cause of God."[79] With this said, it was the overwhelming conclusion of the ministers that Hutchinson's beliefs were unsound and outweighed any good that she had done, and that she endangered the spiritual welfare of the community.[79] Cotton continued, "You cannot Evade the Argument... that filthie Sinne of the Communitie of Woemen; and all promiscuous and filthie cominge togeather of men and Woemen without Distinction or Relation of Mariage, will necessarily follow.... Though I have not herd, nayther do I thinke you have bine unfaythfull to your Husband in his Marriage Covenant, yet that will follow upon it."[79] He concluded, "Therefor, I doe Admonish you, and alsoe charge you in the name of Ch[rist] Je[sus], in whose place I stand... that you would sadly consider the just hand of God agaynst you, the great hurt you have done to the Churches, the great Dishonour you have brought to Je[sus] Ch[rist], and the Evell that you have done to many a poore soule."[80] With this, Hutchinson was instructed to return on the next lecture day in one week.[80]

With the permission of the court, Hutchinson was allowed to spend the week at the home of Cotton, where Reverend Davenport was also staying. All week, the two ministers worked with her, and under their supervision she had written out a formal recantation of her opinions that brought objection from all the ministers.[81] She stood at the next meeting, on Thursday, 22 March and read her recantation to the congregation. Following more accusations, the proposal was made for excommunication, and the silence of the congregation allowed it to proceed. Wilson delivered the final address, "Forasmuch as you, Mrs. Hutchinson, have highly transgressed and offended... and troubled the Church with your Errors and have drawen away many a poor soule, and have upheld your Revelations; and forasmuch as you have made a Lye... Therefor in the name of our Lord Je[sus] Ch[rist]... I doe cast you out and... deliver you up to Sathan... and account you from this time forth to be a Hethen and a Publican... I command you in the name of Ch[rist] Je[sus] and of this Church as a Leper to withdraw your selfe out of the Congregation." [82]

Hutchinson's friend Mary Dyer put her arm in Anne's and walked out with her. A man by the door said, "The Lord sanctifie this unto you," to which Hutchinson replied, "Better to be cast out of the Church than to deny Christ."[83]

The controversy came to an abrupt end with Anne Hutchinson's departure.

Hutchinson's fate

Hutchinson, her children, and others accompanying her all traveled for more than six days by foot in the April snow to get from Boston to Roger Williams' settlement at Providence Plantation.[84] They then took boats to get to Rhode Island (as it was then called) in the Narragansett Bay, where several men had gone ahead of them to begin constructing houses.[85] In the second week of April, she reunited with her husband, from whom she had been separated for nearly six months.[85] During the strife of building the new settlement, Anne's husband William Hutchinson briefly became the chief magistrate (judge) of Portsmouth, but he died at the age of 55 some time after June 1641, the same age at which Anne's father had died.[86][87]

Hutchinson met her demise five years after leaving Massachusetts.

Following the death of her husband, Anne Hutchinson felt compelled to move totally out of the reach of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and its sister colonies in Connecticut and New Haven into the jurisdiction of the Dutch.[88] Some time after the summer of 1642, she went to New Netherland along with seven of her children, a son-in-law, and several servants—16 total persons by several accounts. They settled near an ancient landmark called Split Rock, not far from what became the Hutchinson River in northern Bronx, New York City.[88]

The timing was unfortunate for the Hutchinsons' settlement in this area. Animosity had grown between the Dutch and the Siwanoy Indians of New Netherland. Hutchinson had a favorable relationship with the Narragansetts in Rhode Island, and she might have felt a false sense of safety among the Siwanoys.[88] However, these Indians rampaged through the New Netherland colony in a series of incidents known as Kieft's War, and a group of warriors entered the small settlement above Pelham Bay in late August 1643 and killed every member of the Hutchinson household, except for Hutchinson's nine-year-old daughter Susanna.[89]

Susanna returned to Boston, married, and had many children. Four of Hutchinson's 14 other children are known to have survived and had offspring. Three United States presidents descend from her.[90]

Wheelwright, Cotton, and Vane

The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience by Roger Williams
Roger Williams began a pamphlet war with John Cotton when he published The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience in 1644.

Wheelwright crossed the frozen Merrimack River with a group of followers after he was banished from the Massachusetts colony and established the town of Exeter, New Hampshire. After a few years there, he was forced to leave, as Massachusetts began to expand its territorial claims. He went from there to Wells, Maine for several years, and then accepted the pastorate in Hampton, which was in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1644, Winthrop's account of the events from 1636 to 1638 was published in London under the title A Short Story of the Rise, reign, and ruine of the Antinomians, Familists & Libertines, which is often simply called the Short Story. In response to this, supporters of Wheelwright wrote Mercurius Americanus which was published in London the following year, giving his views of the events.[91]

From Hampton, Wheelwright returned to England with his family in 1655, staying for more than six years, at times as the guest of Henry Vane. In 1662, he returned to New England and became the pastor of the church at Salisbury, Massachusetts, having his banishment sentence revoked in 1644 and receiving a vindication in 1654. He died in Salisbury in 1679.[19]

Cotton continued as the minister of the church in Boston until his death in 1652. He wrote two major works following the Antinomian Controversy: The Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven (1644) and The Way of Congregational Churches Cleared (1648).[92] The latter work was in response to Robert Baillie's A Dissuasive against the Errours of the Time published in 1645. Baillie was a Presbyterian minister who was critical of Congregationalism, specifically targeting Cotton in his writings.[93] Cotton also fought a pamphlet war with Roger Williams. Williams published The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience in 1644, and Cotton answered with The Bloudy Tenent washed and made white in the bloud of the Lamb, after which Williams responded with yet another pamphlet.[94]

Vane departed the Massachusetts colony in October 1637 and became the Treasurer of the Royal Navy in England within two years. During the First English Civil War, he took on a leadership role in Parliament, and soon thereafter worked closely with Oliver Cromwell. Vane was opposed to the trial of Charles I, but he was appointed to the English Council of State after the king's execution in 1649, the new executive authority for the Kingdom of England. A fallout between Parliament and the Army ended his cordial relationship with Cromwell, whose role as Lord Protector began in 1653. Vane was invited to sit on Cromwell's council but refused, effectively putting himself into retirement where he wrote several works. Following the restoration of the monarchy in England in 1660, he was imprisoned for his role during the interregnum and then executed in 1662 at Tower Hill.[95][96]

Historical impact

Modern historian David Hall views the events of 1636 to 1638 as being important to an understanding of religion, society, and gender in early American history.[9] Historian Charles Adams writes, "It is no exaggeration now to say that in the early story of New England subsequent to the settlement of Boston, there was in truth no episode more characteristic, more interesting, or more far-reaching in its consequences, than the so-called Antinomian controversy."[97] It came at a time when the new society was still taking shape and had a decisive effect upon the future of New England.[98]

The controversy had an international effect, in that Puritans in England followed the events closely. According to Hall, the English were looking for ways to combat the Antinomians who appeared after the Puritan Revolution began in 1640.[93] In Hall's view, the English Congregationalists used the controversy to demonstrate that Congregationalism was the best path for religion, whereas the Presbyterians used the controversy to demonstrate the exact opposite.[93] Presbyterian writer Robert Baillie, a minister in the Church of Scotland, used the controversy to criticize colonial Congregationalism, particularly targeting John Cotton.[99] The long-term effect of the Antinomian controversy was that it committed Massachusetts to a policy of strict religious conformity.[100] In 1894 Adams wrote, "Its historical significance was not seriously shaken until 1819 when the Unitarian movement under Channing brought about results to Calvinistic theology similar to those which the theories of Darwin worked on the Mosaic account of the origin of man."[100]

Published works

The events of the Antinomian Controversy have been recorded by numerous authors over a period of nearly 375 years. Following is a summary of some of the most significant published works relating to the controversy, most of which were listed by Charles Francis Adams, Jr. in his 1894 compilation of source documents on the controversy.[101] In addition to these sources, there have been many biographies written about Anne Hutchinson during the 20th and 21st centuries.

The first account of the controversy was A Short Story of the Rise, reign, and ruine of the Antinomians, Familists & Libertines (usually shortened to Short Story) written by John Winthrop in 1638, the year after Hutchinson had been given the order of banishment and the year of her departure from the Bay colony. The work includes an incomplete transcript of the trial of Hutchinson. It was rushed to England in March or April 1638, but was not published until 1644.[102] As it was prepared for publication, Reverend Thomas Weld added a preface, calling the story "newly come forth in the Presse" even though it had been written six years earlier.[103]

The Short Story was highly critical of Anne Hutchinson and John Wheelwright, and Wheelwright felt compelled to present his side of the story once it was published in England, as his son was going to school in England at the time. Mercurius Americanus was published in London in 1645 under the name of John Wheelwright, Jr. to clear Wheelwright's name.[104] Thomas Hutchinson was a descendant of Anne Hutchinson and loyalist governor of Massachusetts, and he published the History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1767 which includes the most complete extant transcript of Hutchinson's trial. This transcript is found in the compilations of both Adams and Hall.[105][106]

The Life of Sir Henry Vane by Charles W. Upham was published in 1835 and later published in Jared Sparks' Library of American Biography, vol. IV.[107] George E. Ellis published The Life of Anne Hutchinson in 1845[108] which is likely the first biography of Hutchinson. Many biographies of both of these individuals appeared in the 20th century. In 1858, John G. Palfrey devoted a chapter of his History of New England to the controversy,[109] and John A. Vinton published a series of four articles in the Congregational Quarterly in 1873 that were supportive of Winthrop's handling of the controversy.[101] In 1876, Charles H. Bell published the only biography of John Wheelwright, and it includes transcripts of Wheelwright's Fast Day Sermon as well as Mercurius Americanus (1645). The first major collection of source documents on the controversy was Antinomianism in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, published by Charles Adams in 1894.

The next major study on the controversy emerged in 1962 when Emery Battis published Saints and Sectaries: Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomian Controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This sociological and psychological study of the controversy and its players provides many details about the individuals, trials, and other events of the controversy.[110] David Hall added to Adams' collection of source documents in The Antinomian Controversy (1968) and then updated the work with additional documents in 1990.[111] Two recent books on the controversy were written by Michael P. Winship: Making Heretics (2002) and The Times and Trials of Anne Hutchinson (2005).

Supporters and followers of Hutchinson and Wheelwright

Emery Battis presents a sociological perspective of the controversy in Saints and Sectaries (1962) in which he asks why so many prominent people were willing to give up their homes to follow Hutchinson and Wheelwright out of the Massachusetts colony. He compiles a list of all members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who were connected to the Antinomian controversy and breaks them into three groups based on the strength of their support for Hutchinson and Wheelwright: the Core Group, the Support Group, and the Peripheral Group.[112] He collected statistics on the members of each group, some of which are shown in the following tables.

The place of origin of the individual is the English county from which he came, the year of arrival is the sailing year from England to New England, and the residence is the New England town where the person lived during the controversy. The disposition was the action taken against the person by the Massachusetts court. Many individuals were disarmed, meaning that they were ordered to turn in all of their weapons to the authorities. To be disfranchised meant to lose the ability to vote. Being dismissed meant being removed from the church but allowed to establish membership elsewhere; to be excommunicated meant being totally disowned by the church and removed from fellowship with believers. Banishment meant being ordered to leave the jurisdiction of the colony. Most of those who were banished went either north to Exeter or Dover (New Hampshire) or south to Portsmouth, Newport, or Providence (Rhode Island). At least two individuals went back to England.[112]

Core group

This group included the strongest supporters of Hutchinson and Wheelwright. The most serious action was taken against them; all of them left the Massachusetts Bay Colony, though several of them recanted and returned.[113] Most of these men signed the petition in favor of Wheelwright and were thus disarmed. Several of these individuals signed the Portsmouth Compact, establishing a government on Rhode Island (Aquidneck Island), and some became presidents, governors, or other leaders in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Support group

This group consists of individuals who signed the petition supporting Wheelwright and were thus disarmed, but who were not willing to leave the Massachusetts Colony. When action was taken against them, they largely recanted or endured the punishment, and only a few of them left Massachusetts.[137]

Peripheral group

This group consists of people who were not directly involved in the Antinomian controversy but who left the Massachusetts Colony because of family, social, or economic ties with others who left, or because of their religious affiliations. Some were servants of members of the core group, some were siblings, and some had other connections. Several of these men returned to Massachusetts.[139]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Hall 1990, p. 3.
  2. ^ Anderson 2003, pp. 481–482.
  3. ^ a b Anderson 2003, p. 482.
  4. ^ Winship 2005, p. 4.
  5. ^ a b c Battis 1962, p. 6.
  6. ^ a b Winship 2002, p. 6.
  7. ^ Winship 2002, pp. 50–51.
  8. ^ Winship 2002, pp. 5-9.
  9. ^ a b Hall 1990, p. ix.
  10. ^ a b c d e Hall 1990, p. x.
  11. ^ a b c Hall 1990, p. 5.
  12. ^ a b c Bremer 1981, p. 4.
  13. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 86.
  14. ^ a b c Hall 1990, p. xi.
  15. ^ St. Irenaeus, Adv. haer III 1 ; IV 35, 8
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Battis 1962, p. 111.
  19. ^ a b c d e John Wheelwright.
  20. ^ Bell 1876, p. 2.
  21. ^ a b Noyes, Libby & Davis 1979, p. 744.
  22. ^ Dictionary of Literary Biography 2006.
  23. ^ Winship 2005, pp. 18–19.
  24. ^ Battis 1962, p. 113.
  25. ^ Battis 1962, p. 114.
  26. ^ Hall 1990, pp. 1–22.
  27. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 85.
  28. ^ Battis 1962, p. 29.
  29. ^ a b Champlin 1913, p. 3.
  30. ^ a b LaPlante 2004, p. 97.
  31. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 99.
  32. ^ a b c d e f Winship 2002, p. 50.
  33. ^ a b c Winship 2002, p. 7.
  34. ^ Hall 1990, p. 4.
  35. ^ a b Battis 1962, pp. 1–2.
  36. ^ a b c d Hall 1990, p. 6.
  37. ^ Winship 2002, pp. 64-69.
  38. ^ Hall 1990, p. 152.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h Hall 1990, p. 7.
  40. ^ a b c d Hall 1990, p. 8.
  41. ^ Hall 1990, p. 153.
  42. ^ a b c d e Hall 1990, p. 9.
  43. ^ Battis 1962, p. 161.
  44. ^ Battis 1962, p. 162.
  45. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 174–175.
  46. ^ Battis 1962, p. 175.
  47. ^ Battis 1962, p. 180.
  48. ^ Battis 1962, p. 181.
  49. ^ a b c Battis 1962, p. 182.
  50. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 183.
  51. ^ Battis 1962, p. 184.
  52. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 184–185.
  53. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 186.
  54. ^ Battis 1962, p. 187.
  55. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 188–189.
  56. ^ a b c Hall 1990, p. 311.
  57. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 189–190.
  58. ^ a b c Battis 1962, p. 190.
  59. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 194–195.
  60. ^ Battis 1962, p. 195.
  61. ^ a b c Battis 1962, p. 196.
  62. ^ a b c Winship 2002, p. 173.
  63. ^ Winship 2002, p. 175.
  64. ^ a b Winship 2002, p. 176.
  65. ^ Morris 1981, p. 62.
  66. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 204.
  67. ^ Battis 1962, p. 206.
  68. ^ Battis 1962, p. 208.
  69. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 211.
  70. ^ Battis 1962, p. 212.
  71. ^ Battis 1962, p. 225.
  72. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 158.
  73. ^ a b LaPlante 2004, p. 159.
  74. ^ Battis 1962, p. 227.
  75. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 228.
  76. ^ Battis 1962, p. 230.
  77. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 231.
  78. ^ Battis 1962, p. 235.
  79. ^ a b c Battis 1962, p. 242.
  80. ^ a b Battis 1962, p. 243.
  81. ^ Battis 1962, p. 244.
  82. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 246–7.
  83. ^ Battis 1962, p. 247.
  84. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 208.
  85. ^ a b LaPlante 2004, p. 212.
  86. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 228.
  87. ^ Anderson 2003, pp. 479–481.
  88. ^ a b c Champlin 1913, p. 11.
  89. ^ LaPlante 2004, p. 237.
  90. ^ Roberts 2009, pp. 365–366.
  91. ^ Bell 1876, pp. 149–224.
  92. ^ Puritan Divines.
  93. ^ a b c Hall 1990, p. 396.
  94. ^ Williams 2001, pp. 1–287.
  95. ^ Adamson & Folland 1973, pp. 292–319.
  96. ^ Ireland 1905, pp. 245–350.
  97. ^ Adams 1894, p. 12.
  98. ^ Hall 1990, p. 1.
  99. ^ Hall 1990, pp. 326–327.
  100. ^ a b Adams 1894, p. 15.
  101. ^ a b Adams 1894, p. 16.
  102. ^ Adams 1894, p. 19.
  103. ^ Adams 1894, p. 20.
  104. ^ Bell 1876, pp. 52-53.
  105. ^ Adams 1894, pp. 235–284.
  106. ^ Hall 1990, pp. 311–48.
  107. ^ Upham 1835, pp. 122–140.
  108. ^ Ellis 1845, pp. 169–376.
  109. ^ Palfrey 1858, pp. 471–521.
  110. ^ Anderson 2003, p. 484.
  111. ^ Hall 1990, pp. i-xviii.
  112. ^ a b Battis 1962, pp. 300–328.
  113. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 300–307.
  114. ^ Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 1999, p. 23.
  115. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 55.
  116. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 218.
  117. ^ Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 1999, p. 465.
  118. ^ a b Anderson 1995, p. 395.
  119. ^ a b c Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 2001, p. 170.
  120. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 588.
  121. ^ Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 2001, p. 557.
  122. ^ a b Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 2001, p. 573.
  123. ^ a b Anderson 2003, p. 159.
  124. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 855.
  125. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 1052.
  126. ^ a b Anderson 1995, p. 1293.
  127. ^ a b Anderson 1995, p. 1501.
  128. ^ Anderson 2007, p. 500.
  129. ^ a b Anderson 1995, p. 1626.
  130. ^ Anderson 2009, p. 187.
  131. ^ a b c Anderson 2009, p. 428.
  132. ^ a b c Anderson 1995, p. 1859.
  133. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 1906.
  134. ^ Anderson 2011, p. 236.
  135. ^ a b c Anderson 1995, p. 1922.
  136. ^ Anderson 1995, p. 1986.
  137. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 308–316.
  138. ^ Austin 1887, p. 45.
  139. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 317–328.
  140. ^ Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 1999, p. 319.


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  • Winship, Michael Paul (2002). Making Heretics: Militant Protestantism and Free Grace in Massachusetts, 1636–1641. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08943-4.
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Online sources

External links

Andreas Poach

Andreas Poach (c.1515 – April 2, 1585) was a German Lutheran theologian and Reformer.

Poach was born in Eilenburg. In 1530 he was admitted to the University of Wittenberg. In 1538, he obtained his Master's and remained until 1541 at the University of Wittenberg. He was an editor of Luther's Table Talk, was deacon at Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, archdeacon at Jena, pastor at Nordhausen, Erfurt, and Utenbach, and professor at Erfurt.

During the Second Antinomian Controversy, he took the Philippist position that since salvation is not through the law, the working of the law is not necessary in conversion; the Gospel alone being sufficient. The Gnesio-Lutherans considered him to be an antinomian because of this viewpoint. Ultimately, his views were rejected in the Formula of Concord in the fifth article, On the Law and the Gospel and in the sixth article, On the Third Use of the Law. He died in Utenbach.

Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson (née Marbury; July 1591 – August 1643) was a Puritan spiritual adviser and an important participant in the Antinomian Controversy which shook the infant Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious community in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

Hutchinson was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, the daughter of Francis Marbury, an Anglican cleric and school teacher who gave her a far better education than most other girls received. She lived in London as a young adult, and there married her old friend from home William Hutchinson. The couple moved back to Alford where they began following dynamic preacher John Cotton in the nearby port of Boston, Lincolnshire. Cotton was compelled to emigrate in 1633, and the Hutchinsons followed a year later with their 11 children and soon became well established in the growing settlement of Boston in New England. Anne was a midwife and very helpful to those needing her assistance, as well as forthcoming with her personal religious understandings. Soon she was hosting women at her house weekly, providing commentary on recent sermons. These meetings became so popular that she began offering meetings for men as well, including the young governor of the colony Henry Vane.

She began to accuse the local ministers (except for Cotton and her husband's brother-in-law John Wheelwright) of preaching a "covenant of works" rather than a "covenant of grace," and many ministers began to complain about her increasingly blatant accusations, as well as certain theological teachings that did not accord with orthodox Puritan theology. The situation eventually erupted into what is commonly called the Antinomian Controversy, culminating in her 1637 trial, conviction, and banishment from the colony. This was followed by a March 1638 church trial in which she was put out of her congregation.

Hutchinson and many of her supporters established the settlement of Portsmouth with encouragement from Providence Plantations founder Roger Williams in what became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. After her husband's death a few years later, threats of Massachusetts taking over Rhode Island compelled Hutchinson to move totally outside the reach of Boston into the lands of the Dutch. Five of her older surviving children remained in New England or in England, while she settled with her younger children near an ancient landmark called Split Rock in what later became The Bronx in New York City. Tensions were high at the time with the Siwanoy Indian tribe. In August 1643, Hutchinson, six of her children, and other household members were massacred by Siwanoys during Kieft's War. The only survivor was her nine year-old daughter Susanna, who was taken captive.

Hutchinson is a key figure in the history of religious freedom in England's American colonies and the history of women in ministry, challenging the authority of the ministers. She is honored by Massachusetts with a State House monument calling her a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration." She has been called the most famous—or infamous—English woman in colonial American history.


Antinomianism (from the Greek: ἀντί, "against" + νόμος, "law") is any view which rejects laws or legalism and is against moral, religious or social norms (Latin: mores), or is at least considered to do so. The term has both religious and secular meanings.

In Christianity, an antinomian is one who takes the principle of salvation by faith and divine grace to the point of asserting that the saved are not bound to follow the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments. The distinction between antinomian and other Christian views on moral law is that antinomians believe that obedience to the law is motivated by an internal principle flowing from belief rather than from any external compulsion.Examples of antinomians being confronted by the religious establishment include Martin Luther's critique of antinomianism and the Antinomian Controversy of the seventeenth-century Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the Lutheran Churches and Methodist Churches, antinomianism is considered a heresy.Outside of Christianity, the tenth-century Sufi mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj was accused of antinomianism and the term is also used to describe certain practices or traditions in Frankism, Buddhism and Hinduism, such as the transgressive aspects of Vajrayana and Hindu Tantra which include sexual elements.

Edward Hutchinson (captain)

Edward Hutchinson (1613–1675) (sometimes referred to as junior to differentiate him from his uncle) was the oldest child of Massachusetts and Rhode Island magistrate William Hutchinson and his wife, the dissident minister Anne Hutchinson. He is noted for making peace with the authorities following his mother's banishment from Massachusetts during the Antinomian Controversy, returning to Boston, and ultimately dying in the service of the colony that had treated his family so harshly.

Born in Alford, in eastern England, Hutchinson sailed to New England at the age of 20, a year ahead of the remainder of his family. Following the events of the Antinomian Controversy, he, his father, and his uncle Edward were among 23 signers of a compact for a new government which they soon established at Portsmouth on Rhode Island. Young Hutchinson only remained there a short while, and had returned to Boston to occupy the family house. Here he had 11 children with two wives.

He became a charter member of the Military Company of Massachusetts (today known as the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts in 1638 and became its lieutenant (second in command) in 1654. He was elected the Company's captain (commanding officer) in 1657 and served a one-year term.

He also served as a Deputy to the General Court in 1658, and in this capacity voiced his opposition to the persecution of the Quakers that took place in the late 1650s.

During King Phillips War, in 1675, Captain Hutchinson and Captain Thomas Wheeler were given an assignment to negotiate with the Nipmuck Indians to keep them out of the war. While searching for the tribal chief, Muttawmp, the two captains, with a company of men, were ambushed, and both were wounded. Two weeks later Hutchinson died from his wounds, and was interred in a cemetery in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Hutchinson is the ancestor of three United States presidents, as well as the loyalist governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson.

Edward Hutchinson (mercer)

Edward Hutchinson (c. 1564 - 1632) was a mercer and a resident of Lincolnshire, England, most noted for the careers of his children in New England. While his father and several of his uncles and brothers became prominent as clergymen, aldermen, sheriffs, and mayors in the city of Lincoln, Edward focused his efforts on his business after moving to the town of Alford. Remarkably, not a single record for him has been found in Alford, other than his burial and the baptisms of his 11 children, but he likely gained a considerable estate, and his children married into prominent families. What was most exceptional about Edward Hutchinson occurred following his 1632 death. Beginning in 1634, five of his nine surviving children and his widow immigrated to New England, and all six of them were exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a result of the events of the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638. From Boston two of his children went south and became founding settlers of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and three of them, with his widow, went north to establish Exeter in the Province of New Hampshire, and then proceeded to Wells, Maine. Because of their involvement in the controversy, his children had a disproportionately large role in the establishment of these new settlements in New England.

Increase Nowell

Increase Nowell, (1590–1655), was a colonial administrator, original patentee of the Massachusetts Bay Company, founder of Charlestown, Massachusetts, and first ruling elder of the First Church in Charlestown.

He was baptized in 1593 at Sheldon, Warwickshire, on the estate bought in 1575 by his grandfather Laurence Nowell. He married at Holy Trinity, Minories, London.

He was named within The Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company and in 1629 was created assistant to the Massachusetts Bay Colony being re-elected annually up until 1654.

He was an eminent member of the Puritan Great Migration of the 1630s. As a result of the Cambridge Agreement, emigrating shareholders bought out those not emigrating thus allowing the proposed colony autonomy from London. Nowell had dealings with transatlantic merchants and as the Winthrop Fleet was being assembled, he was recommended as good counsel concerning buying a ship In 1630 Nowell sailed with John Winthrop as a part of the original Puritan expedition to Massachusetts. Soon after arriving in the New World, Nowell became one of the original settlers of Charlestown, one of Massachusetts' earliest Puritan communities.

He was first ruling elder of the First Church in Charlestown, now The First Congregational Society of Charlestown, which was founded in November 1632 with Nowell named first on the covenant of the original members. The original meetinghouse is believed to have been in the vicinity today’s Thompson Square. Nowell conducted marriages but declined further ecclesiastical office. In 1637 John Harvard, benefactor of Harvard University was appointed minister for the church. Also in 1637, during the Antinomian Controversy, he was one of the magistrates during the trial of Anne Hutchinson, and with all the other magistrates voted for her banishment from the colony.Nowell worked as a lay magistrate, military commissioner and colonial secretary (1636–50). On his death, his estate was valued at £592. In 1656 the General Court, sensible of the low condition of the family, initially granted 2,000 acres (8.1 km2), with a further 3,200-acre (13 km2) grant later

John Cotton (minister)

John Cotton (4 December 1585 – 23 December 1652) was a clergyman in England and the American colonies and considered the preeminent minister and theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He studied for five years at Trinity College, Cambridge and another nine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He had already built a reputation as a scholar and outstanding preacher when he accepted the position of minister at St. Botolph's Church, Boston in Lincolnshire in 1612. As a Puritan, he wanted to do away with the ceremony and vestments associated with the established Church of England and preach in a simpler manner. He felt that the English church needed significant reforms, but he was adamant about not separating from it; his preference was to change it from within.

Many ministers were removed from their pulpits in England for their Puritan practices, but Cotton thrived at St. Botolph's for nearly 20 years because of supportive aldermen and lenient bishops, as well as his conciliatory and gentle demeanor. By 1632, however, the church authorities had greatly increased pressure on non-conforming clergy, and Cotton was forced into hiding. The following year, he and his wife boarded a ship for New England.

Cotton was highly sought as a minister in Massachusetts and was quickly installed as the second pastor of the Boston church, sharing the ministry with John Wilson. He generated more religious conversions in his first six months than had been made the whole previous year. Early in his Boston tenure, he became involved in the banishment of Roger Williams, who blamed much of his trouble on Cotton. Soon after, Cotton became embroiled in the colony's Antinomian Controversy when several adherents of his "free grace" theology (most notably Anne Hutchinson) began criticizing other ministers in the colony. He tended to support his adherents through much of that controversy; near its conclusion, however, he realized that many of them held theological positions which were well outside the mainstream of Puritan orthodoxy, which he did not condone.

Following the controversy, Cotton was able to mend fences with his fellow ministers, and he continued to preach in the Boston church until his death. A great part of his effort during his later career was devoted to the governance of the New England churches, and he was the one who gave the name Congregationalism to this form of church polity. A new form of polity was being decided for the Church of England in the early 1640s, as the Puritans in England gained power on the eve of the English Civil War, and Cotton wrote numerous letters and books in support of the "New England Way". Ultimately, Presbyterianism was chosen as the form of governance for the Church of England during the Westminster Assembly in 1643, though Cotton continued to engage in a polemic contest with several prominent Presbyterians on this issue.

Cotton became more conservative with age. He battled the separatist attitude of Roger Williams and advocated severe punishment for those whom he deemed heretics, such as Samuel Gorton. He was a scholar, an avid letter writer, and the author of many books, and was considered the "prime mover" among New England's ministers. He died in December 1652 at age 67, following a month-long illness. His grandson Cotton Mather also became a New England minister and historian.

John Porter (settler)

John Porter was an early colonist in New England and a signer of the Portsmouth Compact, establishing the first government in what became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He joined the Roxbury church with his wife Margaret in 1633, but few other records are found of him while in the Massachusetts Bay Colony until he became involved with John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson during what is known as the Antinomian Controversy. He and many others were disarmed for signing a petition in support of Wheelwright and were compelled to leave the colony. Porter joined a group of more than 20 men in signing the Portsmouth Compact for a new government, and they settled on Rhode Island where they established the town of Portsmouth. Here Porter became very active in civic affairs, serving on numerous committees over a period of two decades and being elected for several terms as Assistant, Selectman, and Commissioner. He was named in Rhode Island's Royal Charter of 1663 as one of the ten Assistants to the Governor.

In 1658, Porter joined several others in purchasing a large tract of land on the west side of Narragansett Bay, called the Pettaquamscutt Purchase, which became South Kingstown, Rhode Island. He eventually moved to his new land, leaving his aging wife behind. She sued for support, and the sympathetic court impounded Porter's estate until he made restitution, which he did within a few months. Porter later had a relationship with Herodias Gardiner, the former common-law wife of George Gardiner; he was charged with cohabiting with her but was acquitted. He might not have married her, but she did cosign several deeds with him in 1671.

Porter had only one known child, Hannah, who married a son of Portsmouth Compact signer Samuel Wilbore. His step-daughter Sarah Odding married compact signer Philip Sherman.

John Wheelwright

John Wheelwright (c.1592–1679), was a Puritan clergyman in England and America, noted for being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Antinomian Controversy, and for subsequently establishing the town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Born in Lincolnshire, England, he graduated from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Ordained in 1619, he became the vicar of Bilsby, Lincolnshire, until removed for simony.

Leaving for New England in 1636, he was welcomed in Boston, where his brother-in-law's wife, Anne Hutchinson, was beginning to attract negative attention for her religious outspokenness. Soon he and Hutchinson accused the majority of the colony's ministers and magistrates of espousing a "covenant of works". As this controversy reached a peak, Hutchinson and Wheelwright were banished from the colony. Wheelwright went north with a group of followers during the harsh winter of 1637–1638, and in April 1638 established the town of Exeter in what would become the Province of New Hampshire. Wheelwright's stay in Exeter lasted only a few years, because Massachusetts activated an earlier claim on the lands there, forcing the banished Wheelwright to leave. He went further east, to Wells, Maine, where he was living when his order of banishment was retracted. He returned to Massachusetts to preach at Hampton (later part of the Province of New Hampshire), where in 1654 his parishioners helped him get the complete vindication that he sought from the Massachusetts Court for the events of 17 years earlier.

In 1655 Wheelwright moved back to England with his family, and preached near his home in Lincolnshire. While in England he was entertained by two of his powerful friends, Oliver Cromwell, who had become Lord Protector, and Sir Henry Vane, who occupied key positions in the government. Following Cromwell's death, the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 and Vane's execution, Wheelwright returned to New England to become the minister in Salisbury, Massachusetts, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was characterized as being contentious and unbending, but also forgiving, energetic and courageous. His sincere piety was never called into question, even by those whose opinions differed greatly from his.

John Wilson (Puritan minister)

John Wilson (c.1588–1667), was a Puritan clergyman in Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the minister of the First Church of Boston from its beginnings in Charlestown in 1630 until his death in 1667. He is most noted for being a minister at odds with Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638, and for being an attending minister during the execution of Mary Dyer in 1660.

Born into a prominent English family from Sudbury in Suffolk, his father was the chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus held a high position in the Anglican Church. Young Wilson was sent to school at Eton for four years, and then attended the university at King's College, Cambridge, where he received his B.A. in 1610. From there he studied law briefly, and then studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he received an M.A. in 1613. Following his ordination, he was the chaplain for some prominent families for a few years, before being installed as pastor in his home town of Sudbury. Over the next ten years he was dismissed and then reinstated on several occasions, because of his strong Puritan sentiments which contradicted the practices of the established church.

As with many other Puritan divines, Wilson came to New England, and sailed with his friend John Winthrop and the Winthrop Fleet in 1630. He was the first minister of the settlers, who established themselves in Charlestown, but soon crossed the Charles River into Boston. Wilson was an encouragement to the early settlers during the very trying initial years of colonization. He made two return trips to England during his early days in Boston, the first time to persuade his wife to come, after she initially refused to make the trip, and the second time to transact some business. Upon his second return to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, Anne Hutchinson was first exposed to his preaching, and found an unhappy difference between his theology and that of her mentor, John Cotton, who was the other Boston minister. The theologically astute, sharp-minded, and outspoken Hutchinson, who had been hosting large groups of followers in her home, began to criticize Wilson, and the divide erupted into the Antinomian Controversy. Hutchinson was eventually tried and banished from the colony, as was her brother-in-law, Reverend John Wheelwright.

Following the controversy, Wilson and Cotton were able to work together to heal the divisions within the Boston church, but after Cotton's death more controversy befell Boston as the Quakers began to infiltrate the orthodox colony with their evangelists. Greatly opposed to their theology, Wilson supported the actions taken against them, and supervised the execution of his former parishioner, Mary Dyer in 1660. He died in 1667, the longest-lived of the early ministers in the Boston area, and his passing was lamented by those who knew him and worked with him, but he is also remembered for the roles he played in the persecution of those who did not embrace the Puritan orthodoxy.

Mary Dyer

Mary Dyer (born Marie Barrett; c. 1611 – 1 June 1660) was an English and colonial American Puritan turned Quaker who was hanged in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony. She is one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs.

While the place of her birth is not known, she was married in London in 1633 to the milliner William Dyer. Mary and William were Puritans who were interested in reforming the Anglican Church from within, without separating from it. As the English king increased pressure on the Puritans, they left England by the thousands to go to New England in the early 1630s. Mary and William arrived in Boston by 1635, joining the Boston Church in December of that year. Like most members of Boston's church, they soon became involved in the Antinomian Controversy, a theological crisis lasting from 1636 to 1638. Mary and William were strong advocates of Anne Hutchinson and John Wheelwright in the controversy, and as a result, Mary's husband was disenfranchised and disarmed for supporting these "heretics" and also for harboring his own heretical views. Subsequently, they left Massachusetts with many others to establish a new colony on Aquidneck Island (later Rhode Island) in Narraganset Bay.

Before leaving Boston, Mary had given birth to a severely deformed infant that was stillborn. Because of the theological implications of such a birth, the baby was buried secretly. When the Massachusetts authorities learned of this birth, the ordeal became public, and in the minds of the colony's ministers and magistrates, the monstrous birth was clearly a result of Mary's "monstrous" religious opinions. More than a decade later, in late 1651, Mary Dyer boarded a ship for England, and stayed there for over five years, becoming an avid follower of the Quaker religion that had been established by George Fox several years earlier. Because Quakers were considered among the most heinous of heretics by the Puritans, Massachusetts enacted several laws against them. When Dyer returned to Boston from England, she was immediately imprisoned and then banished. Defying her order of banishment, she was again banished, this time upon pain of death. Deciding that she would die as a martyr if the anti-Quaker laws were not repealed, Dyer once again returned to Boston and was sent to the gallows in 1659, having the rope around her neck when a reprieve was announced. Not accepting the reprieve, she again returned to Boston the following year and was then hanged to become the third of four Quaker martyrs.

Nicholas Easton

Nicholas Easton (c.1593–1675) was an early colonial President and Governor of Rhode Island. Born in Hampshire, England, he lived in the towns of Lymington and Romsey before immigrating to New England with his two sons in 1634. Once in the New World, he lived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony towns of Ipswich, Newbury, and Hampton. Easton supported the dissident ministers John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy, and was disarmed in 1637, and then banished from the Massachusetts colony the following year. Along with many other Hutchinson supporters, he settled in Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island, later a part of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was in Portsmouth for about a year when he and eight others signed an agreement to create a plantation elsewhere on the island, establishing the town of Newport.

In Newport, Easton became active in civil affairs, serving as assistant to the governor for several years, and in 1650 was elected President of the four towns of the colony. During this time the colony was very fragile, and its authority was frequently usurped by its much larger neighbors, the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Plymouth Colony. Following his first presidency, the colony was split in 1651 by William Coddington who wanted the two island towns to be under a separate government, and who went to England to get the authority to do this. In 1654 the four towns were reunited, and Easton was once again elected president, presiding for another year over the united colony.

During the last ten years of his life, Easton was very active in civil matters, serving as Deputy to the General Assembly, Deputy Governor, and then two years as Governor of the colony, which had been strengthened by the Royal Charter of 1663. Easton was a tanner by trade, and also a minister of sorts, being criticized by Massachusetts magistrate John Winthrop for his theological opinions. He became a Quaker, and after a long life was buried in a Friends' Cemetery, the Coddington Cemetery in Newport next to his second of three wives. Easton's Beach and Easton's Point in Newport are named for him. His younger son, John Easton, later became Governor of the colony.

Philip Sherman

Philip Sherman (1611–1687) was a prominent leader and one of the founding settlers of Portsmouth in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Coming from Dedham, Essex in southeastern England, he and several of his siblings and cousins settled in New England. His first residence was in Roxbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony where he lived for a few years, but he became interested in the teachings of the dissident ministers John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, and at the conclusion of the Antinomian Controversy he was disarmed and forced to leave the colony. He went with many followers of Hutchinson to establish the town of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island, later called Rhode Island. He became the first secretary of the colony there, and served in many other roles in the town government. Sherman became a Quaker after settling in the Rhode Island colony, and died at an advanced age, leaving a large progeny.


Preparationism is the view in Christian theology that unregenerate people can take steps in preparation for conversion, and should be exhorted to do so. Preparationism advocates a series of things that people need to do before they come to believe in Jesus Christ, such as reading the Bible, attending worship, listening to sermons, and praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit. By making use of these means of grace, a "person seeking conversion might dispose himself toward receiving God's grace."

Samuel Cole (settler)

Samuel Cole (c. 1597–1666/67) was an early settler of Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, arriving with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630. He was an innkeeper and confectioner, and in 1634 established the first house of entertainment in the colony, called Cole's Inn and referenced by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his play John Endicott as the Three Mariners.Born by 1597, Cole and his family arrived in New England with John Winthrop in 1630, and established themselves on the Shawmut Peninsula, which soon became the town of Boston. He and his wife Ann were among the earliest members of the Boston church, having joined in the autumn of 1630. He opened the first tavern in the area on 4 March 1634 in what later became downtown Boston, but in 1645 relocated his business to the future Merchants Row between State Street and Faneuil Hall. Cole's establishment was a center of social and political life in Boston, and Governor Henry Vane had brought the Narragansett Indian sachem Miantonomoh, with his retinue, for a meal there. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow included Cole and his house of entertainment in his play John Endicott set in the early 1660s.

As a member of the Boston Church, Cole was caught up in the Antinomian Controversy that shook the young colony between 1636 and 1638. He signed a petition in support of the minister John Wheelwright who was banished from the colony, and after being threatened with losing his weapons, he signed a remission, calling his support of Wheelwright an error. While during the early days of the colony Cole was considered well off, and contributed to various causes, by 1661 he was suffering financial losses and in June of that year was granted 300 acres of land for being a respected and useful member of the community. Cole was married three times, and had at least four children, all with his first wife, Ann. His son, John, married Susanna, the only person to survive the massacre killing her famed mother, Anne Hutchinson, and many of her siblings. Cole wrote his will in December 1666, and died in Boston shortly thereafter, with his will being proved the following February.

Thomas Cornell (settler)

Thomas Cornell, Sr (c. 1595 – c. 1655) was one of the earliest settlers of Boston (1638), Rhode Island (1643) and the Bronx and a contemporary of Roger Williams and the family of Anne Hutchinson. He is the ancestor of a number of Americans prominent in business, politics, and education.

William Coddington

William Coddington (c. 1601 – 1 November 1678) was an early magistrate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and later of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He served as the judge of Portsmouth and Newport, governor of Portsmouth and Newport, deputy governor of the four-town colony, and then governor of the entire colony. Coddington was born and raised in Lincolnshire, England. He accompanied the Winthrop Fleet on its voyage to New England in 1630, becoming an early leader in Boston. There he built the first brick house and became heavily involved in the local government as an assistant magistrate, treasurer, and deputy.

Coddington was a member of the Boston church under the Reverend John Cotton, and was caught up in the events of the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638. The Reverend John Wheelwright and dissident minister Anne Hutchinson were banished from the Massachusetts colony, and many of their supporters were also compelled to leave. Coddington was not asked to depart, but he felt that the outcome of the controversy was unjust and decided to join many of his fellow parishioners in exile. He was the lead signer of a compact to form a Christian-based government away from Massachusetts. He was encouraged by Roger Williams to settle on the Narragansett Bay. He and other supporters of Hutchinson bought Aquidneck Island from the Narragansetts. They settled there, establishing the town of Pocasset which was later named Portsmouth. Coddington was named the first "judge" of the colony, a Biblical term for governor. A division in the leadership of the town occurred within a year, and he left with several others to establish the town of Newport at the south end of the island.

In a short time, the towns of Portsmouth and Newport united, and Coddington was made the governor of the island towns from 1640 to 1647. During this period, Roger Williams had gone to England to obtain a patent to bring under one government the four Narragansett towns of Providence, Warwick, Portsmouth, and Newport. This was done without the consent of the island towns and these two towns resisted joining the mainland towns until 1647. Coddington was elected president of the united colony in 1648, but he would not accept the position, and complaints against him prompted the presidency to go to Jeremy Clarke. Coddington was very unhappy with Williams' patent; he returned to England where he was eventually able to obtain a commission separating the island from the mainland towns, and making him governor of the island for an indefinite period. He was initially welcomed as governor, but complaints from both the mainland towns and members of the island towns prompted Roger Williams, John Clarke, and William Dyer to go to England to have Coddington's commission revoked. They were successful, and Dyer returned with the news in 1653. However, disagreements kept the four towns from re-uniting until the following year.

With the revocation of his commission, Coddington withdrew from public life, focusing on his mercantile interests, and becoming a member of the Religious Society of Friends. After nearly two decades away from politics, he was elected deputy governor in 1673, then governor the following year, serving two one-year terms. The relative calm of this period was shattered during his second year as governor of the colony when the King Philip's War erupted in June 1675. It became the most catastrophic event in Rhode Island's colonial history. He was not re-elected in 1676, but he was elected to a final term as governor of the colony in 1678 following the death of Governor Benedict Arnold. He died a few months into this term, and was buried in the Coddington Cemetery on Farewell Street in Newport.

William Freeborn (settler)

William Freeborn (1594–1670) was one of the founding settlers of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island (Rhode Island), having signed the Portsmouth Compact with 22 other men while still living in Boston. Coming from Maldon in Essex, England, he sailed to New England in 1634 with his wife and two young daughters, settling in Roxbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He soon moved to Boston where he became interested in the preachings of the dissident ministers John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, and following their banishment from the colony during the Antinomian Controversy, he joined many of their other followers in Portsmouth.

In Portsmouth, Freeborn was active in a number of minor civic roles, such as constable, member of the petit jury, and overseer of the poor, and also held the position of Deputy to the General Court for a year. He and his wife both died in 1670, five days apart. They had two daughters and one son, all of whom married and had families. Freeborn became a Quaker, and his death, and that of his wife, are recorded in the Friends' records.

William Wentworth (elder)

William Wentworth (1616–1697) was a follower of John Wheelwright, and an early settler of New Hampshire. Coming from Alford in Lincolnshire, he likely came to New England with Wheelwright in 1636, but no records are found of him in Boston. When Wheelwright was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his role in the Antinomian Controversy, he established the settlement of Exeter, New Hampshire, and Wentworth followed him there and then to Wells, Maine. After Wheelwright left Wells for Hampton, New Hampshire, Wentworth went to Dover, New Hampshire, and this is where he lived the remainder of his life. He was the proprietor of a sawmill, and held several town offices, but is most noted for being an elder in his Dover church for nearly 40 years. He had 11 children with two wives, and has numerous descendants, including many of great prominence.

Core group
Name Place of origin Year of arrival Residence Vocation Disposition Went to Comments
William Alford London 1634 Salem Skinner, merchant[114] Disarmed Portsmouth, but returned
William Aspinwall 1630 Boston Notary, court recorder[115] Disarmed
Portsmouth, but returned Signed Portsmouth Compact
William Baulston 1630 Boston Innkeeper Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
William Brenton 1633[116] Boston Merchant Portsmouth
Richard Bulgar 1630 Boston Bricklayer Disarmed Exeter, but returned
Henry Bull 1635 Roxbury, Boston[117] Servant Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Became a Quaker
Richard Carder before 1636 Boston Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Follower of Gorton
William Coddington Lincolnshire 1630 Boston Merchant, magistrate[118] Banished Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Became a Quaker
John Coggeshall Essex 1632 Boston Silk mercer, merchant[118] Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
John Compton 1634[119] Roxbury, Boston[119] Laborer, clothier[119] Disarmed
Richard Dummer Hampshire 1632 Newbury Miller[120] Disarmed Portsmouth, but returned
William Dyer Lincolnshire, London before 1635 Boston Milliner Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact; his wife, Mary Dyer, became a noted Quaker martyr
Nicholas Easton Hampshire 1634 Newbury Tanner Disarmed
Portsmouth Became a Quaker
Henry Elkins before 1634 Boston Tailor Disarmed
William Foster 1634 Ipswich Shipmaster Disarmed
William Freeborn Essex 1634 Roxbury, Boston[122] Miller[122] Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Became a Quaker
Isaac Grosse Norfolk[123] before 1635 Boston Brewer, husbandman[123] Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Exeter, but returned
Robert Harding 1630 Boston Mercer and merchant[124] Wife admonished by church Portsmouth, but returned
Richard Hawkins Huntingdon before 1636 Boston Wife (Jane) banished Portsmouth Wife was a familist
Edward Hutchinson, Sr. Lincolnshire 1633 Boston Baker[125] Disarmed
Portsmouth Brother of William Hutchinson
Signed Portsmouth Compact
Edward Hutchinson, Jr. Lincolnshire 1633 Boston Mercer Portsmouth Son of William and Anne Hutchinson
Signed Portsmouth Compact
Francis Hutchinson Lincolnshire 1634 Boston Banished in 1641 Portsmouth Son of William and Anne Hutchinson
Richard Hutchinson Lincolnshire 1634 Boston Linen draper Disarmed London, not to return Son of William and Anne Hutchinson
William Hutchinson Lincolnshire 1634 Boston Mercer Wife banished and
Portsmouth Husband of Anne Hutchinson
Signed Portsmouth Compact
Richard Morris The Hague, Holland[126] 1630 Roxbury Soldier[126] Disarmed Exeter
John Porter 1633[127] Roxbury and Boston[127] Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Robert Potter 1634[128] Roxbury Banished
Portsmouth Follower of Gorton
John Sanford 1631[129] Boston Cannoneer[129] Disarmed Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Thomas Savage Somerset? 1635 Boston Tailor Disarmed, but acknowledged error apparently never left Boston[130] Son-in-law of Anne Hutchinson
Signed Portsmouth Compact
Philip Sherman Essex 1633 Roxbury Disarmed
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
John Spencer Surrey 1634[131] Newbury Magistrate[131] Disarmed
Discharged from position as captain
returned to England[131]
John Underhill Warwickshire, Holland[132] 1630 Boston Soldier[132] Disarmed
Henry Vane London 1635 Boston Gentleman England, not to return Governor of colony
John Walker 1633[133] Roxbury Disarmed Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Thomas Wardell Lincolnshire 1634[134] Boston Shoemaker Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Exeter, but returned
William Wardell Lincolnshire 1633[135] Boston Tavern keeper[135] Disarmed
Acknowledged error
John Wheelwright Lincolnshire 1636 Boston
Mount Wollaston
Clergyman Disfranchised
Exeter Banishment revoked in 1644; preached in Salisbury
Samuel Wilbore Essex 1633[136] Boston Merchant Disarmed
Recanted in 1639
Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Support group
Name Place of origin Year of arrival Residence Vocation Disposition Went to Comments
William Baker before 1633 Charlestown Husbandry Acknowledged error
Edward Bates before 1633 Boston Servant Disarmed
Edward Bendall Surrey 1630 Boston Dockman Disarmed
John Biggs Suffolk 1630 Boston Acknowledged error
Zaccheus Bosworth Northamptonshire 1630 Boston Disarmed
Acknowledged error
George Bunker Bedfordshire before 1634 Charlestown Husbandry Disarmed
George Burden Gloucestershire 1635 Boston Shoemaker Disarmed
Acknowledged error
John Button before 1633 Boston Miller Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Edward Carrington 1632 Charlestown Turner Acknowledged error
John Clarke Suffolk 1637 Boston Physician Disarmed[138] Portsmouth Signed Portsmouth Compact
Became a Baptist minister
Samuel Cole 1630 Boston Innkeeper
Acknowledged error
Father-in-law of Susanna Cole
William Commins before 1636 Salem Disarmed
Richard Cooke before 1634 Boston Tailor Disarmed
Acknowledged error
John Davy 1635 Boston Joiner Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Edward Denison Hertfordshire 1630 Roxbury Disarmed
William Denison Hertfordshire 1630 Roxbury Merchant Disarmed
William Dinely Lincolnshire before 1635 Boston Barber-surgeon Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Jacob Eliot Essex 1630 Boston Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Thomas Ewar Kent 1635 Charlestown Tailor Acknowledged error
Richard Fairbank before 1633 Boston Shopkeeper Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Mathias Faunce Essex? 1623? Plymouth? Acknowledged error
Henry Flint Derbyshire before 1636 Boston
Mount Wollaston
Clergyman Acknowledged error
William Frothingham Yorkshire 1630 Charlestown Husbandry Acknowledged error
Stephen Greensmith before 1636 Boston Merchant Fined
New Hampshire
Richard Gridley Suffolk 1631 Boston Brickmaker Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Hugh Gunnison before 1635 Boston Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Atherton Hough Lincolnshire 1633 Boston Gentleman Rejected as Deputy
Benjamin Hubbard before 1634 Charlestown Surveyor Acknowledged error
Ralph Hudson Yorkshire 1635 Boston Draper Acknowledged error
Robert Hull Leicestershire 1635 Boston Blacksmith Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Samuel Hutchinson Lincolnshire 1637 Boston Denied residence Portsmouth
Brother of William Hutchinson
James Johnson Northamptonshire before 1636 Boston Leather dresser
Acknowledged error
Matthew Jyans Essex 1630 Boston Servant Disarmed
William King Dorset 1634 Salem Disarmed
William Larnet Surrey 1634 Charlestown Committeeman Acknowledged error
Thomas Leverett Lincolnshire 1633 Boston
William Litherland London 1633 Boston Carpenter Disarmed
Thomas Marshall Lincolnshire before 1634 Boston Ferryman Disarmed
Thomas Matson London 1630 Boston Gunsmith Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Edward Mellows Bedford 1630 Charlestown Farmer Acknowledged error
Oliver Mellows Lincolnshire before 1633 Boston Disarmed
Robert Moulton Surrey 1628 Salem Shipwright Disarmed
Ralph Mousall London 1630 Charlestown Carpenter Dismissed from court
Acknowledged error
John Odlin London 1630 Boston Cutler Dismissed
Acknowledged error
John Oliver Gloucestershire 1630 Boston Surveyor Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Thomas Oliver Gloucestershire 1630 Boston Surgeon Disarmed
William Pell before 1634 Boston Tallow chandler Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Edward Rainsford 1630 Boston Cooper Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Robert Rice Suffolk 1630 Boston Disarmed
Acknowledged error
Ezekiel Richardson Hertfordshire 1630 Charlestown Farmer? Acknowledged error
William Salter Suffolk before 1635 Boston Fisherman Disarmed
Thomas Scruggs Norfolk 1628 Salem Disarmed
Samuel Sherman Essex before 1636 Boston Farmer? Disarmed
Richard Sprague Dorset 1628 Charlestown Acknowledged error
William Townsend Suffolk before 1634 Boston Servant
Acknowledged error
Gamaliel Wayte Berkshire 1630 Boston Servant Disarmed
Thomas Wheeler Berkshire 1635 Boston Tailor Disarmed
Thomas Wilson Lincolnshire 1633 Roxbury Miller Excommunicated Exeter
William Wilson Lincolnshire 1635 Boston Joiner Disarmed
Peripheral group
Name Place of origin Year of arrival Residence Vocation Disposition Went to Comments
Nathaniel Adams before 1638 Weymouth Dish turner Newport, but returned
John Albro Suffolk 1634 Boston Servant Portsmouth Servant of William Freeborn
George Allen, Jr. Somerset 1635 Weymouth Boatman Newport, but returned
Ralph Allen Somerset 1635 Weymouth Newport, but returned
Samuel Allen Essex before 1635 Mount Wollaston Sawyer Newport, but returned
Richard Awarde Bedford 1629 Boston Portsmouth
William Baker before 1636 Watertown Portsmouth
George Barlow before 1637 Sandwich? Exeter
George Bates 1635 Boston Thatcher Dismissed Exeter, but returned
Robert Bennett before 1638 Servant Newport
Townsend Bishop before 1635 Salem Examined by clergy
Jeremiah Blackwell Lincolnshire 1635 Exeter (temp) Anderson shows no record for this individual in New England[140]
John Briggs 1635 Watertown Servant Portsmouth
James Brown 1630 Charlestown Denied signing
Nicholas Brown before 1638 Portsmouth
Erasmus Bullock 1632 Boston Servant Portsmouth, but returned
Richard Burden before 1638 Newbury Portsmouth Became a Quaker
John Burrows Norfolk 1637 Salem Cooper Charged by court to keep silence Had heretical tendencies
Robert Carr 1635 Tailor Portsmouth
Jeremy Clarke Kent before 1638 Watertown? Portsmouth Became a Quaker
John Clarke Suffolk 1630 Ipswich Portsmouth
Joseph Clarke Suffolk 1637 Boston Portsmouth Brother of John Clarke
Thomas Clarke Suffolk 1637 Boston Portsmouth Brother of John Clarke
Became a Baptist
William Colburn Essex 1630 Boston
Edward Colcord before 1637 Salem Dover
William Cole Somerset before 1636 Boston Carpenter Exeter
Thomas Cornell Hertfordshire before 1638 Boston Innkeeper Portsmouth Became a Quaker
John Cramme Lincolnshire before 1635 Boston Farmer? Exeter
James Davis before 1638 Servant Portsmouth
Nicholas Davis Middlesex 1635 Charlestown Tailor Newport, but returned
Stephen Dummer Hampshire 1638 (Transient) Farmer? Portsmouth, but returned
Thomas Dummer Hampshire 1638 (Transient) Portsmouth, but returned
Hugh Durdall Hampshire 1638 (Transient) Servant Portsmouth
Robert Field Hampshire 1635 Boston Portsmouth
Gabriel Fish Lincolnshire before 1638 Fisherman Exeter (temp)
Robert Gilham before 1637 Boston Mariner Portsmouth
Samuel Gorton London 1636 Plymouth Clothier Portsmouth Leader of Gortonist sect
Jeremy Gould Hertfordshire before 1637 Weymouth Portsmouth, but returned
Job Hawkins Huntington 1635 Ipswich Servant Portsmouth
Thomas Hazard 1635 Boston Ship Carpenter Portsmouth
Christopher Helme Surrey 1637 Follower of Gorton
Enoch Hunt Buckinghamshire before 1638 Weymouth Blacksmith Newport, but returned
Robert Jeffrey 1635 Charlestown Portsmouth
John Johnson before 1638 Mount Wollaston Servant Banished Newport Servant of William Coddington
Christopher Lawson Lincolnshire 1637 Boston Cooper Exeter, but returned
George Lawton Bedfordshire before 1638 Boston Portsmouth
John Layton before 1638 Ipswich Newport, but returned
Thomas Leavitt Lincolnshire 1637 (Transient) Exeter
Robert Lenthall Surrey before 1638 Weymouth Clergyman Portsmouth
John Leverett Lincolnshire 1633 Boston
Edmund Littlefield Hampshire 1638 (Transient) Exeter
Francis Littlefield Hampshire 1638 (Transient) Exeter, but returned
John Maccumore before 1638 Plymouth Carpenter Newport, but returned
Thomas Makepeace Northamptonshire before 1635 Dorchester Gentleman; farmer
Christopher Marshall before 1634 Boston Dismissed Exeter
John Marshall before 1638 Boston Servant Portsmouth, but returned
Richard Maxson before 1634 Boston Blacksmith Portsmouth
Griffin Montague before 1635 Boston Carpenter Exeter
Adam Mott Cambridge 1635 Hingham
Tailor Portsmouth
Adam Mott, Jr. Hampshire 1638 Newbury Tailor Portsmouth
John Mott Cambridge 1635 Portsmouth
Nicholas Needham 1636 Boston Exeter
William Needham before 1638 Boston Newport, but returned
George Parker 1635 Carpenter Portsmouth
Nicholas Parker 1633 Roxbury Farmer? Disarmed
Denied signing
John Peckham Kent before 1638 Newport Became a Baptist
James Penniman Essex 1630 Boston Disarmed
Denied signing
Thomas Pettie 1633 Boston Servant Exeter
Edward Poole Somerset 1634 Weymouth Sawyer Newport, but returned
Philemon Pormont Lincolnshire before 1634 Boston School master Dismissed Exeter, but returned
William Quick before 1636 Charlestown Ship master Newport
Robert Randoll before 1638 Mount Wollaston Servant Cited to appear before court Servant of William Coddington
Robert Reade before 1634 Boston Leather sealer Exeter
Edward Rishworth Lincolnshire 1637 (Transient) Exeter
James Rogers London 1623 Plymouth Miller Portsmouth
Sampson Salter Oxford 1635 Fisherman Newport
Thomas Savorie Wiltshire 1633 Ipswich Newport
Richard Searle before 1637 Dorchester Servant Newport, but returned
Sampson Shotten Leicestershire before 1636 Mount Wollaston Portsmouth Follower of Gorton
Thomas Stafford Warwickshire 1626 Plymouth Newport
Anthony Stanyon 1635 Boston Glover Exeter, but returned
Augustine Storre Lincolnshire 1637 (Transient) Exeter
John Thornton before 1638 Boston Portsmouth Became a Baptist
John Vaughan before 1633 Watertown Newport
Thomas Waite Essex before 1635 Ipswich Portsmouth
Richard Wayte before 1634 Boston Tailor Disarmed
Denied signing
William Wenbourne before 1635 Boston Farmer? Exeter, but returned
William Wentworth Lincolnshire 1637 (Transient) Sawmill proprietor Exeter
Francis Weston 1637 Salem Banished Providence Baptist, then follower of Gorton
Michael Williamson Bedford 1635 Ipswich Locksmith Portsmouth

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