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occupied by the whites, notwithstanding the charter, by virtue of which they were held. The domain, ceded to him in 1638 by Canonicus, was given in consideration of "many kindnesses." “ Thousands nor tens of thousands of money,” he says, “could not have bought of him an English entrance into
, this bay; but I was the procurer of that purchase by the language, acquaintance, and favor of the natives, which it pleased God to give me." This spirit of justice, however, was not relished by many of his countrymen, and increased the unpopularity incident to some of his opinions. The most heretical of these, it would appear from the charges preferred at his trial at Boston, in July, 1635, were the following: “That the magistrate ought not to punish the breach of the first table (or law of the Sabbath) otherwise than in such cases as did disturb the civil peace; that he ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate or irreligious man ; that a man ought not to pray with such, however near and dear; and that a man ought not to give thanks after sacrament, nor after meat." The authorities professedly declared” that he ought to be banished from the colony for maintaining the doctrine “ that the civil magistrate might not intermeddle even to stop a church from heresy or apostasy ;” and, in order to annoy him, they refused a civil right demanded by the people of Salem, because it came through their obnoxious pastor. The cruel decree was indignantly opposed by the minority, for, says the historian, "he was esteemed an honest, disinterested man, and of popular talents in the pulpit."
Of his mental powers we have no means of judging, except the respect and interest he awakened in those with whom he dwelt, and the writings he left. These are chiefly of a controversial nature, and on questions which have, in a great measure, lost their significance. The style, too, is involved, quaint, and often pedantic. The views, however, advocated even in his polemic discussions, are often in advance of his time, and the sentiments he professes are noble and progressive. Thus, “The Bloody Tenent” is an earnest plea with the clergy for toleration ; and "A Hireling Ministry” presents bold and just arguments in support of free churches, and against an arbitrary system of
tithes. In the Redwood Library, at Newport, is a copy of
George Fox digged out of his Burrows,” a characteristic specimen of the theological hardihood of Williams, as exhibited in his controversy with the Quakers. But it is from his original force of character, and his loyalty to a great principle, that Roger Williams derives his claim to our admiration. His shades of opinion are comparatively unimportant; but the spirit in which he worked, suffered, and triumphed, enrols his name among the moral heroes and benefactors of the world. His correspondence, not less than his life, evinces the highest domestic virtue, scrupulous fiscal integrity, a truly forgiving temper, rare tenacity of purpose, and a speculative turn of mind. Whatever changes of opinion he exhibits, his sentiments are always consistent, and genuine piety elevates a heart nerved by true courage, and expanded with generous emotions.
When from the empyrean of contemplation we survey the map of history, it is sometimes possible to trace the converging lines of opinion along the current of events until they unite to reveal and actualize truth. Accordingly, if the history of Toleration was written by a philosophic annalist, it would appear that a remarkable coincidence, both of speculation and action, at widely separate points, occurred to elucidate the great problem. In such a discussion, the life of Roger Williams would form a significant chapter; and it would be noted as a singular combination, that while Coke made clear and authoritative the political rights of the people, Vane broached philosophical arguments for republicanism, and Milton nobly pleaded for the freedom of the press in England, Roger Williams, their friend and ally, vindicated religious toleration in America ; each of these achievements being elements of the same great cause.
THE LITERARY ADVENTURER.
The distinction of civilized society is, that human life is sygtematic, and the natural effect of those circumstances which, in any degree, except an individual from its usual routine and responsibilities, is to induce the impulsive action and precarious expedients that belong to wild races. In the world of opinion and habit we occasionally see those who, goaded by misfortune, 'or inspired by an adventurous temper, break away from the restraint which custom ordains, and, by hardihood in action, or extravagance of sentiment, practically isolate themselves from nearly all the social obligations acknowledged by mankind. Indeed, every human pursuit may be said to have its respectable and its vagabond followers. In trade, these extremes are obvious in the merchant and the pedler ; in the church, we have the bishop and the field-preacher; and in literature, the author, who devotes the leisure that intervenes between the care of his estates and the engagements of fashionable society to a review, a poem, or a history, and the man about town, who lives by his wits, and whose dinner is contingent upon a happy epigram, or a successful farce. Even when fortune and rank obtain, natures imbued with a vagrant or adventurous spirit will cut loose from social bondage through mere waywardness or courage, as if there were gypsy blood in their veins, or the instinct of heroism or discovery in their hearts.
The enthusiasm of misanthropy made Byron a pilgrim, that of
reform drove Shelley into exile, and that of sentiment won Rousseau to a picturesque hermitage. How much of human conduct depends upon the source whence is derived the inspiration or the sanction of existence! Family pride leads to a constant reference to the standard of external honor; the desire of wealth, to a keen adaptation of all occasions to interest; while the consciousness of having nothing beyond personal resources to look to for advancement or happiness, breeds in earnest minds an independence of mood almost defiant. To this we attribute, in no small degree, the recklessness of Savage. Every circumstance of his life tended to encourage self-will. He found neither in his birth, his fortunes, nor the incidents of his daily experience, any vantage-ground for confidence. Fate seemed to ordain between him and society a perpetual enmity. Hence his dauntless egotism. Driven from the outworks of life, he fortified the citadel. Sure of no palladium but his genius, he held it up as a shield against the arrows of scorn, or thrust it forth as an authentic emblem of his right to demand from others the satisfaction of his wants. Perhaps there is no instance, if we except Benvenuto Cellini, of more ferocious self-reliance, or rather pertinacity in levying tribute. In his career we realize that the essential traits of civilized and barbarian life may assimilate ; that refined mental aptitude may coexist with extreme personal degradation ; and that the support of existence is often as precarious, and the habits of life as vagrant, in a Christian metropolis, as among the Indian tribes of America, or the wild hordes of the East.
The genuine literary adventurer is, indeed, a kind of social Ishmaelite, pitching the tent of his convenience as necessity or whim suggests. It is his peculiar destiny to “take no note of time;" for he falls into any incidental scheme of festivity at morning, noon, or night, joins any band of roysterers he may encounter, takes part in the street-corner discussions of any casual knot of politicians, and is always ready to go to thetheatre, the club, a private domicile, or a coffee-house, with the first chance-acquaintance he meets. He hangs loose upon the skirts of society. If the immediate is agreeable, he scorns change, and hence will prolong his social visits to the infinite
, annoyance of those who keep regular hours. Where he break
fasts, dines, or sleeps, is problematical in the morning. As the itinerant musician goes forth to win entertainment by his dulcet notes, the vagabond man of genius trusts to his fund of clever stories, his aptitude as a diner-out, his facility at pen-craft, or his literary reputation, to win upon the sympathies of some humane auditor, or chain the attention of the inquisitive, and thus provide for the claims of physical necessity.
His appeal is three-fold — to the benevolent, the curious, and the vain; and, in a large city, with the entrée of a few'circles and places of resort, it will be, indeed, a strange hazard that deprives him wholly of these long-tried expedients. His bility makes him friends, whom his indiscretions at length weary; but, as he generally prefers to do all the talking himself, he gradually ceases to be fastidious, and, when he cannot fraternize with a scholar or a gentleman, contents himself with inferior society. The consciousness of superior gifts and singular misfortunes soon blunts that delicacy which shrinks from obligation. He receives a favor with the air of a man to whom consideration is a birthright. He is, as Landor says of woman, more sensitive than grateful; borrows monėy and books without a thought of returning them; and, although the most dependent of beings, instantly resents the slightest approach to dictation as a personal insult. He is emphatically what Shakspeare denominates a "landless resolute;" considers prudence too mean a virtue for him to adopt, and industry a habit unworthy of his spirit. His wits are his capital, which he invests day by day; now and then, perhaps, embarking them in a more deliberate venture, by way of polishing his tarnished escutcheon. Equally exempt from the laws of sentiment and those of economy, he makes unconscionable drafts upon the approbativeness and the malignity of others, by inditing panegyrics and lampoons.
A subscription, a dedication, or a satire, by awakening the generosity, the pride, or the fear of the world, alternately supply the exigencies of the moment; while the utter loss of self-respect is prevented by some occasional effort in a nobler vein, or complacent memories of past renown. Custom renders him at home everywhere ; address repudiates individual rights; and a kind of