been filled with wonder at the phenomena of its
The most touching trait in the founder of Rhode Island
was his conduct towards his persecutors.
Though keenly sensitive to the hardships which he had endured, he was far from harboring feelings of revenge towards those who banished him, and only regretted their delusion.
‘I did ever, from my soul, honor and love them, even when their judgment led them to afflict me.’1
In all his writings on the subject, he attacked the spirit of intolerance, the doctrine of persecution, and never his persecutors or the colony of Massachusetts
Indeed, we shall presently behold him requite their severity by exposing his life at their request and for their benefit.
It is not strange, then, if ‘many hearts were touched with relentings.
That great and pious soul, Mr. Winslow
, melted, and kindly visited me,’ says the exile, ‘and put a piece of gold into the hands of my wife, for our supply;’2
the founder, the legislator, the proprietor of Rhode Island
, owed a shelter to the hospitality of an Indian chief, and his wife the means of sustenance to the charity of a stranger.
The half-wise Cotton Mather
concedes, that many judicious persons confessed him to have had the root of the matter in him; and his nearer friends, the immediate witnesses of his actions, declared him, from ‘the whole course and tenor of his life and conduct, to have been one of the most disinterested men that ever lived, a most pious and heavenly-minded soul.’3
Thus was Rhode Island
the offspring of Massachusetts
; but her political connections were long influenced by the circumstance of her origin.
The loss of the