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points whereon depend the grounds of our assurance of blessedness in a better world *
The whole colony of Massachusetts, at this time, was in a violent ferment. The election of civil officers was carried by a party spirit, excited by religious dislention. Those who were banished by the court, joined by a number of their friends, went in quest of a new settlement, and came to Providence, where they were kindly entertained by Mr. R. Williams, who, by the assistance of Sir Henry Vane, jun. procured for them, from the Indians, Aquidnick, now Rhode-Illand. Here, in 1638, the people, eighteen in number, formed theinselves into a body politic, and chose Mr. Coddington, their leader, to be their judge, or chief magistrate. This same year the sachems signed the deed, or grant of the island; for which Indian gift, it is said, they paid very dearly, by being obliged to make repeated purchases of the same lands from several claimants.
The other parts of the state were purchased of the natives at several successive periods.
In the year 1643, the people being destitute of a patent, or any legal authority, Mr. Williams went to England as agent, and by the assistance of Sir Henry Vane, jun. obtained of the Earl of Warwick (then governor and adıniral of all the plantations) and his council, • a free and absolute charter of civil incorporation, by the name of the incorporation of Providence Plantations in Narragansett Bay.' This lasted until the charter granted by Charles II. in 1663, by which the incorporation was stiled;
The English colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations in • New-England.' This charter, without any eflential alteration, has re: mained the foundation of their government ever since.
As the original inhabitants of this state were persecuted, at least in their own opinion, for the sake of conscience, a moft liberal and free toleration was established by them. So little has the civil authority to do with religion here, that, as has been already hinted, no contract between a minister and a society (unless incorporated for that purpose) is of any force. It is probably for these reasons that so many different sects have ever been found here; and that the Sabbath and all religious inftitutions have been more peolected in this, than in any other of the New-England flates. Mr. Williams is said to have become a Baptift in a few years after his settling at Providence, and to have formed a church of that perfuafion; which, in 1653, difagreed about the rite of laying on of hands; some holding it neceffary to church communion, and others judging it indifferent ; upon which the church was divided into two parts. At Newport Mr. John Clark and some others formed a church, in 1644, on the principles of the Baptists; which church was afterwards divided like that at Providence.
in 1720, there was a congregational church gathered at Newport, and the Reverend Nathaniel Clap was ordained as paftor. Out of this church another was formed in 1728. The worship of God according to the rites of the church of England was instituted here in 1706, by the Society for propagating the golpel in foreign parts; and in 1738 there were seven · * Mag. B. 7. P. 17.