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[419]

The attempt to gain possession of the territory on

Chap. X.} 1642
Narragansett Bay was less deserving of success. Massachusetts proceeded with the decision of an independent state. Samuel Gorton, a wild but benevolent enthusiast, who used to say, heaven was not a place, there was no heaven but in the hearts of good men, no hell but in the mind, had created disturbances in the district of Warwick. A minority of the inhabitants, wearied with harassing disputes, requested the interference of the
1641
magistrates of Massachusetts,1 and two sachems, near Providence, surrendered the soil to the jurisdiction of that state.2 Gorton and his partisans did not disguise their scorn for the colonial clergy; they were advocates for liberty of conscience, and, at the same time, having no hope of protection except from England, they were, by their position, enemies to colonial independence; they denied the authority of the magistrates of Massachusetts, not only on the soil of Warwick, but every where, inasmuch as it was tainted by a want of true allegiance. Such opinions, if carried into effect, would nave destroyed the ecclesiastical system of Massachu-
1643
setts, and subverted its liberties, and were therefore thought worthy of death; but the public opinion of the time, as expressed by a small majority of the deputies, was more merciful, and Gorton and his associates were imprisoned. It is the nature of a popular state to cherish peace: the people murmured at the severity of their rulers, and the imprisoned men were soon set at liberty; but the claim to the territory was not immediately abandoned.3

1 III. Mass. Hist. Coll. i. 2—4. Winthrop, II. 59. Hubbard, 406.

2 Winthrop, II. 120—123.

3 On Gorton, see Eliot, in III. Mass. Hist. Coll. iv. 136. Winthrop, i. 91. 296 II. 58,59, and Eddy's note, 142—148. 156. 165, 166. 280. 295. 299. 317.322. Colony Records, II. Johnson, b. II. c. XXIII. XXIV. Lechford, 41, 42. Gorton, in II. Mass. Hist Coll. VIII. 68—70. Morton, 202—206. Gorton, in Hutchinson., App. XX. Hubbard, 343, 344. 401—407. and 500—512. Hazard, i. 546—553. C. Mather, b. VII. c. II. s. 12. Callender, 35, 38. Hopkins, in II. Mass. Hist Coll. ix. 199—201. Hutchinson, i. 114—118. Hutchinson's Coll. 237—239. and 405. 415. Backus, i. 118 and ff. Eliot, in i. Mass. Hist. Coll. ix. 35—38. Knowles, 182— 189. Savage on Winthrop, II. 147—149. Baylies, N. P. i. c. XII. Best of all is Gorton's own account, with the accurate commentary of Staples.

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