had, I believe, relented before his death, and
professed himself weary of banishing heretics; the soul of the younger Winthrop
was incapable of harboring a 165 thought of intolerant cruelty;1
but the rugged Dudley
was not mellowed by old age. ‘God forbid,’ said he, ‘our love for the truth should be grown so cold, that we should tolerate errors.—I die no libertine.’—‘Better tolerate hypocrites and tares than thorns and briers,’ affirmed Cotton.
‘Polypiety,’ echoed Ward
, ‘is the greatest impiety in the world.
To say that men ought to have liberty of conscience is impious ignorance.’— ‘Religion,’ said the melancholic Norton
, ‘admits of no eccentric motions.’
But the people did not entirely respond to these extravagant views, into which the bigotry of personal interest had betrayed the elders, and the love of unity, so favorable to independence, had betrayed the leading men. The public mind was awakened to inquiry; the topic of the power of the civil magistrate
in religious affairs, was become the theme of perpetual discussion; and it needed all the force of established authority to sustain the doctrine of persecution.
was already in the state of transition, and it was just before expiring, that bigotry, with convulsive energy, exhibited its worst aspect; just as the waves of the sea are most tumultuous when the wind is subsiding, and the tempest is yielding to a calm.
Anabaptism was to the establishment a dangerous rival.
, the pure and tolerant Baptist
of Rhode Island
, one of the happy few who succeed in acquiring an estate of beneficence, and connecting the glory of the name with the liberty and happiness of