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[379] when their rude passions were inflamed; and
Chap. IX.} 1636
their unflinching advocate and protector, whenever Europeans attempted an invasion of their soil.

He first pitched and began to build and plant at Seekonk. But Seekonk was found to be within the patent of Plymouth; on the other side of the water, the country opened in its unappropriated beauty and there he might hope to establish a community as free as the other colonies. ‘That ever-honored Governor Winthrop,’ says Williams, ‘privately wrote to me to steer my course to the Narragansett Bay, encouraging me from the freeness of the place from English claims or patents. I took his prudent motion as a voice from God.’

It was in June that the lawgiver of Rhode Island, with five companions, embarked on the stream; a frail Indian canoe contained the founder of an independent state and its earliest citizens. Tradition has marked the spring near which they landed; it is the parent spot, the first inhabited nook of Rhode Island. To express his unbroken confidence in the mercies of God, Williams called the place Providence. ‘I desired,’ said he, ‘it might be for a shelter for persons distressed for conscience.’1

In his new abode, Williams could have less leisure for contemplation and study. ‘My time,’ he observes of himself,—and it is a sufficient apology for the roughness of his style, as a writer on morals,—‘was not spent altogether in spiritual labors; but, day and night, at home and abroad, on the land and water, at the hoe, at the oar, for bread.’2 In the course of two

1 Backus,--94. There is in Backus much evidence of diligent research and critical respect for documentary testimony. He deserves more reputation than he has had.

2 Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody, 38, in Knowles.

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