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Gorton, Samuel 1600-1677

Clergyman; born in England about 1600; was a clothier in London, and embarked for Boston in 1636, where he soon became entangled in teleological disputes and removed to Plymouth. There he preached such heterodox doctrines that he was banished as a heretic in the winter of 1637-38. With a few followers he went to Rhode Island, where he was publicly whipped for calling the magistrates “just-asses,” and other rebellious acts. In 1641 he was compelled to leave the island. He took refuge with Roger Williams at Providence, but soon made himself so obnoxious there that he escaped public scorn by removing (1642) to a spot on the west side of Narraganset Bay, where he bought land of Miantonomoh and planted a settlement. The next year inferior sachems disputed his title to the land; and, calling upon Massachusetts to assist them, an armed force was sent to arrest Gorton and his followers, and a portion of them were taken to Boston and tried as “damnable heretics.” For a while they endured confinement and hard labor, in irons, and in 1644 they were banished from the colony. Gorton went to England and obtained from the Earl of Warwick an order that the clergyman and his followers should have peace at the settlement they had chosen. He called the place Warwick when he returned to it in 1648. There he preached on Sunday and performed civil service during the week. He died in Rhode Island late in 1677.

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