By Don M. Wolfe

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But the soul of Roger Williams enlarged with every season; and the events were planting in his mind the seed from which were to flower the mature toleration principles of The Bloudy Tenent. In vain he had protested against the use of the magistrate’s power to enforce religious conformity. He had watched the workings of a theocracy justifying its code, not from the parables of Jesus, but from the laws of Moses. ” M He had seen the Bay colony withhold land at Marblehead Neck to force Salem into severing his pastor­ 34 MILTON IN THE PURITAN REVOLUTION ship.

He insisted, moreover, that the magistrate had no right to punish men for Sabbath break­ ing, blasphemy, heresy or any breach of the First Table. To have agreed to his proposals, the Puritan fathers of the Bay would have had to uproot the whole structure of their theocratic state. On April 12, 1631, against the protests of the Boston court, Salem, which had adopted the Separatism of the Plymouth colony, received Williams as teacher. But when he preached against the tenets of the Boston church, and his full views became known, some oppo­ sition around Salem crystallized against him, and he felt constrained to remove to the Plymouth colony.

Johns, the Barringons, Williams arrived in Massa­ INTRODUCTION 31 chusetts in 1631 at the age of twenty-eight. Five years later he was an exile, pushing through the wilderness with a dozen followers to a utopia where even the hated Papists might worship unmolested. ” 90 He wished them to separate unreservedly from the Church of England. He insisted, moreover, that the magistrate had no right to punish men for Sabbath break­ ing, blasphemy, heresy or any breach of the First Table. To have agreed to his proposals, the Puritan fathers of the Bay would have had to uproot the whole structure of their theocratic state.

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