The settlements at Providence and on Rhode-Island had continued to increase, for several years. They had hitherto been distinct, but their principles and interests were so similar, that an alliance as one colony became manifestly expedient. The necessity of a charter, from the government of England, was apparent, to protect them from the encroachments of the other colonies, and to give a sanction and authority to their government. A committee was appointed, at an assembly in Newport, September 19, 1642, with instructions to procure a charter. This committee intrusted the agency to Mr. Williams, who, on behalf of that colony and his own, agreed to visit England on this important errand.(1) He accordingly left his family, and proceeded to Manhattoes, (New-York) to embark for England. It would have been more convenient and agreeable to sail from Boston, but Mr. Williams was not permitted to enter the territories of Massachusetts, notwithstanding the good service which he had performed for them in their hour of need. But at Manhattoes, he had an opportunity to use his influence with the savages, and to display his pacific principles. A war had been provoked, by the wanton cruelty of the Dutch, and the Indians assailed them with great fury. They burnt several houses in the neighborhood of Manhattoes, and killed several persons, among whom was Mrs. Hutchinson, with all but one of her family. The Indians on Long-Island engaged in the war, and burnt several of the Dutchmen's houses. They assaulted the dwelling of Lady Moody, who not long before had left Salem, in consequence of her Baptist principles.(2) Mr. Williams immediately interceded, and, by his mediation, the Indians were pacified, and peace was restored between them and the Dutch. This event, according to Winthrop, occurred in June, 1643, and we thus learn the date of Mr. Williams' first embarkation for England, which must have taken place soon after.
(1) In his letter to Major Mason, Mr. Williams says : " Upon frequent exceptions against Providence men, that we had no authority for civil government, I went purposely to England, and, upon my report and petition, the Parliament granted us a charter of government for these parts, so judged vacant on all hands. And upon this, the country about was more friendly, and wrote to us, and treated us as an authorized colo. only the differences of our consciences much obstructed.
(2)The Lady Moody, a wise and anciently religious woman, being taken with the error of denying baptism to infants, was dealt withal by many of the elders and others', and admonished by the church of Salem, (whereof she was a member) but persisting still, and to avoid further trouble, she removed to the Dutch, against the advice of all her friends. Many others, infected with anabaptism, removed thither also. She was after excommunicated." Winthrop, vol. ii. pp. 123-4
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