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Clarke took with him two companions, one of whom, he could promise himself, would at the moment be almost as unwelcome a visitor as himself. John Crandall was so far a person of consideration that we find him to you..., have sometimes served, in the General Court of clarke and the Colony, as commissioner (or Deputy) for ... Newport. But Obadiah Holmes was a man of “ more importance. He was minister of the congregation which had occasioned the application from Massachusetts to Plymouth; and he had been recently presented by the Grand Jury of that Colony for a disorderly meet- loo. ing with others on the Lord's day.” The three ** proceeded together to Lynn, ten miles on the further side of Boston. Their ostensible object was to visit a sick and aged friend, William Witter, who, “brother in the Church" of Baptists as he was, had been living in Lynn unmolested.
The next day after the Rhode-Island visitors reached their destination “being the Lord's day, they concluded to spend it in religious worship.” There had been no affectation of concealing their purpose, – perhaps it had been freely announced,—for, while Clarke was preaching to his “companions in the house, and to four or five strangers,” two constables came in with a war- rhi, one. rant from a Magistrate, Robert Bridges, of Salem. joi. The officers took Clarke and his friends “to the "" alehouse, or ordinary,” and, after dinner, to the meetinghouse of the town. When the party entered, the congregation were standing at prayers. Clarke, at his first stepping over the threshold, “unvailed himself, civilly saluted them, turned into the seat he was appointed unto, put on his hat again, and so sat down, opened his book, and fell to reading.” When the service was over, Clarke rose, and asked leave to “propose a few things to the congregation.” But he had not proceeded far before Mr. Bridges, who was present, “commanded him silence;” and the three were taken to the tavern for the night. The next morning they were brought before the same Magistrate, who sent them to the jail in Boston to await their trial for “exercising among themselves at a private meeting upon the Lord's day;” for “offensively disturbing the peace of the congregation at their coming into the public meeting;” for “saying and manifesting that the church of Lynn was not constituted according to the order of our Lord; and for such other things as should be alleged against them concerning their seducing and drawing aside of others.” On the same day, the strangers made Witter another visit, and “in contempt of authority,”— so it was alleged in their sentence,—“they being then in the custody of the law, did there administer the sacrament of the Supper to one excommunicate person, to another under admonition, and to another that was an inhabitant of Lynn, and not in fellowship with any church.”” For the misdemeanors above specified, and for what was considered an offensive announcement and vindication of their doctrines in Court, they were sentenced to pay fines; Clarke, a fine of twenty pounds, Holmes, of thirty pounds, and Crandall, of five pounds. As was usual at that time, when a person fined had not property to be re-use levied upon, within the jurisdiction of the Court, against them, they were further sentenced to be punished by ** whipping, as the alternative. In an altercation which followed between him and Governor Endicott, Clarke professes to have understood the Governor as offering him the opportunity of a discussion with the ministers; and he wrote a formal acceptance of the proposal. But, before the preliminaries were adjusted,—which it is likely they never would have been, –“ some friends” paid his fine, “contrary to his counsel;” an order was sent to the jailer for his discharge; and the next day, leaving a paper expressive of his readiness to hold a disputation whenever it should be allowed, he departed for his home." His return to Newport with tidings of what had befallen him must have been a very few days before or after the arrival there of Coddington with his “commission.” The jailer—probably acting for persons of more consequence than himself, who were willing to pay for getting Crandall out of the way without a scene — had given bond for his appearance at the Court to which the fine was to be paid. But Crandall professed to have misunderstood the time, and in his absence the jailer paid the bond.” Holmes was not to be so put off. He remained at Boston, enforcing, by the further hard treatment he received, the effect of the narrative which his more able friend was already detailing to their associates on Rhode Island. “There were,” Holmes wrote, “that would have paid the money, if he would accept it;” but that conclusion of the business did not suit his views. When he relates that the scourging which he endured “was so easy to him that he could well bear it, yea, and in a manner felt it not,” and that he “told the Magistrates, “You have struck me as with roses,’”* the reader ventures to hope that the executioner had been directed by his superiors to vindicate what they thought the majesty of the law at little cost to the delinquent. Two persons, one or both of whom had come from Newport to be present, were apprehended for accosting him with expressions of sympathy when the scene was over, and were sentenced to pay fines of two pounds each, under the penalty of scourging. But payment of their fines too, notwithstanding their remonstrance, was accepted from other persons by the Magistrates; and they were discharged." It may easily be believed that Clarke understood some of the bearings of this transaction better than the punctilious Bridges, who caused him to be apprehended, and even better than the austere Endicott, who pronounced his sentence. When he came to publish in England his account of it, he avowed one of his purposes to be, to show “how that spirit by which they [the rulers in Massachusetts] are led would order the whole world, if either brought under them, or should come in unto them.” When the first attempts of Coddington to institute his government had to be made in the midst of an agitation excited by the treatment which Baptists of Rhode Island had received at the head-quarters of the Confederacy of New England, he could not fail to see how embarrassing was the obstacle which had been raised in the path of his ambition. If he had had opportunity to communicate seasonably with the Magistrates of Massachusetts, one imagines that some way would have been found to deprive Clarke and his party of the argument with which they had armed themselves. If, as is probable, arrangements were already in progress for Clarke to proceed to England, to make interest for a reversal of the recent action of the govern... ment in Coddington's favor, there was yet an...:” other strong reason for his being provided with a recent case of persecution of Baptists by Massachusetts. In fact, before the winter, he sailed upon that mission. Exertions were at the same time made to speed the hitherto fruitless plan of despatching Williams as the envoy of the mainland settlements. Warwick undertook to raise a hundred pounds for his outfit, and several persons in Providence engaged to contribute ten or twenty pounds each;' but, after all, he had to provide for himself by selling his property in the Indian country? He embarked for England from Boston, his petition for leave to do so having been granted by the Magistrates.” Clarke either accompanied him, or joined him abroad.* Though acting for different parties, the business of both was to obtain a repeal of the order creating Coddington's government. Besides the attractiveness of having a principality of his own, and the hope of making an arrangement to associate the islanders with the Confederacy if he could come into a condition to treat for them as a separate jurisdiction, Coddington had wished to be released from his connection with the planters at Providence and Warwick, particularly the latter, on account of the hopeless disorder which he thought he observed in those settlements.” Clarke and his friends at Newport and Portsmouth had the urgent reasons that have been mentioned for repugnance to becoming connected with a league in which Massachusetts was the controlling power; while Providence and Warwick might apprehend that, losing what security they derived from their union with Rhode Island, they should more easily fall into the hands of one or the other of the two eastern Colonies. Coddington had been able to overcome whatever difficulties confronted him, on his return, in instituting his government on the island." The truncated Colony of “Providence Plantations,” consisting now of only the
* R. I. Rec., 409, 468,480, 501. * Plym. Rec., II. 162.
* Clarke, Ill Newes from New Eng- * Clarke, Ill Newes, &c., 15. land, &c., 5–13. – “He was as good * Ibid., 19, in a letter which Holmes as thrust out, without pay or whipping,” wrote to the Baptists of London, giv(Roger Williams to Winthrop, jr., in ing his account of the transaction. Mass. Hist. Coll., XXIX. 298.) * Ibid., 22.
* R. I. Rec., I. 234. * Letterin Knowles, Memoir, &c.,248. * The petition and the vote upon it are in Mass. Hist. Coll., XXXIV. 471. * I do not think it likely that Clarke came to Massachusetts to embark with Williams, considering the treatment experienced by him in that Colony only a short time before.
* Gorton, of Warwick, had been an extreme annoyance to him (see above, p. 119, note 4, p. 139, note 3), and Coddington had been one of the Magistrates who expelled Williams from Salem in 1636, though the transaction may have created no permanent unfriendliness.
* At the first meeting of the Commissioners after Coddington's return,