MySource:Quolla6/Benedict, David, 1848:462-464

MySource Benedict, David, 1848:462-464
Place Aquidneck, Rhode Island
Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Year range -
Benedict, David, 1848:462-464.

Source:Benedict, David, 1848
Supporting the article on Person:Richard Borden (4)


The settlement of Aquidneck, or Rhode Island, was begun in the following manner: soon after the banishment of R. Williams, the colony of Massachusetts was most violently agitated by religious discords; and a synod, held at Newton, now Cambridge, after due examination, found, to their grief, that their country was infested with no less than eighty-two heretical opinions, which were all arraigned before this ecclesiastical tribunal, and solemnly condemned. Rev. Mr. Whellwright and Mrs. Ann Hutchinson, both pedobaptists, who were banished the jurisdiction, for what was called Antinomianism, and others were exposed to a similar fate. Mr. John Clark, an eminent physician, made a proposal to his friends to remore out of a jurisdiction so full of bigotry and intolerance....

Mr. Clark was now in the 29th year of his age. He was requested, with some others, to look out for a place where they might enjoy unmolested the sweets of religious freedom. By reason of the suffocating heat of the preceding summer, they first went north to a place which is now within the bounds of New Hampshire ; but on account of the coldness of the following winter, they resolved in the spring to remove toward the south. So, having sought the Lord for direction, they agreed that, while their vessel was passing about Cape Cod, they would cross over the land, having Long Island and Delaware Bay in their eye for the place of their residence. At Providence they were kindly received by Mr. Williams, and being consulted about their designs, lie readily presented two places before them—Sowams, now called Harrington, and Aquidneck, now Rhode Island. And inasmuch as they were determined to go out of every other jurisdiction, Mr. Williams and Mr. Clark, attended with two other persons, went to Plymouth to inquire how the case stood—-the Plymouth people informed them that Sowams was the garden of their patent. But they were advised to settle at Aquidneck and promised to be looked on as free, and to be treated and assisted as loving neighbors.

On their return, the 7th of March, 1638, the men, to the number of eighteen, incorporated themselves a body politic, and chose William Coddington their judge, or chief magistrate. The names of these men were,

William Coddington,
John Clark,
William Hutchinson,
John Coggshall,
William Aspinwall
Thomas Savage,
William Dyre,
William Freeborne,
Philip Shearman,
John Walker,
Richard Carder,
William Baulstone,
Edward Hutchinson,
Edward Hutchinson, Jun.,
Samuel Wilbore,
John Sanford,
John Porter, and
Henry Bull.

Those whose names are in italics afterward went back to Massachusetts; most of the others arose to eminence in the colony which they established. These venerable men commenced the settlement of this island under the influence of sentiments the most pure and elevated that ever inspired the heart or dignified the character of man. They were bound together as a community of freemen—not by chartered rights and conventional stipulations—but by moral and religious principles—by mutual voluntary pledges, given by a solemn appeal to the Great Searcher of hearts for their faithful performance. The following is the original charter of the American Isle of Rhodes:

We, whose names are underwritten, do solemnly swear, in the presence of the great Jehovah, to incorporate ourselves into a bodv politic, and a» he shall help us, will submit our persons, lives, and estates unto the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and to all those most perfect laws of his, given us, in his most holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby.

Such were the principles adopted, and such the sentiments set forth as the great charter of rights by those who had the honor of planting the first community of civilized men on Rhode Island.

The first settlement on the island was commenced at its northern extremity, where a town was regularly laid out, and at first named Pocasset—subsequently, Portsmouth. But so rapid was the increase of the coiony during the following summer, that it was deemed advisable, for their mutual prosperity, to commence a settlement on some other part of the island."

Accordingly, the following spring, Mr. Clark, with several others, removed to the south part of the Island, and commenced a settlement, to which they gave the name of Newport. The island itself, subsequently, by order of the general court, was called the Isle of Rhodes, or, Rhode Island, in memory of that celebrated isle of the Mediterranean sea. The first dwelling house built in the town, was erected by Nicholas Easton—all prior dwellings were tents and wigwams. Both towns were united under the same simple patriarchal form of government, of which Mr. William Coddington was chosen magistrate or judge. A few months subsequently, they chose Mr. John Coggeshall, Nicholas Easton, and William Brenton his assistants.