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[437] confidence of the colony. The opposition of Belling-
Chap X.}
ham was due to his jealousy of Winthrop and Dudley, the chief officers of the state, whom he would willingly have supplanted.

The court of Massachusetts was ready to concede the enjoyment of religious worship under the Presby-

1645
terian forms;1 yet its enemies, defeated in their hope of a union with the popular party, were resolutely discontented, and now determined to rally on the question of liberty of conscience. The attempt was artful, for the doctrine had been rapidly making progress. Many books had come from England in defence of toleration. Many of the court were well inclined to suspend the laws against Anabaptists, and the order subjecting strangers to the supervision of the magistrates; and Winthrop thought that ‘the rule of hospitality required more moderation and indulgence.’ In Boston a powerful liberal party already openly existed. But now the apparent purpose of advancing religious freedom was made to disguise measures of the deadliest hostility to the frame of civil government. The nationality of New England was in danger. The existence of Poland was sacrificed, in the last century, by means of the Polish Dissidents, who, appealing to the Russian cabinet to interfere in behalf of liberty of conscience, opened the doors of their country to the enemy of its independence. The Roman Catholic bigots were there the impassioned guardians of Polish nationality. The Calvinists of New England were of a cooler temperament; but with equal inflexibility they anchored their liberties on unmixed Puritanism. ‘To eat out the power of godliness,’ became an

1 Winslow, 28.

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