Roger Williams Through the Eyes of Governor John Winthrop, Pt. 3

By Michael Alan Prestwood

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John Winthrop Journal 1644-1649; Analysis of Roger Williams

  • Part 1: 1630-Jan 1636 — with quotes and clips from journal published in 1790.
  • Part 2: 1636-1644 — with quotes and clips from journal published in 1790.
  • Part 3: 1645-1649 — with quotes from journal published in 1908.


Winthrop Journal, vol 2, Published 1908

In part 3, I pick up from part 2 of this article where the 1790 edition of the Winthrop journal ends. In part 3, I use quotes from volume 2 of the 1908 edition.

April 13, 1645: Conflict Between Plymouth and Providence

This is the type of conflict that leads to Roger Williams along with John Clarke to return to England to pursue a more robust royale charter in 1651.

“The government of Plymouth sent one of their magistrates, Mr. Brown, to Aquiday Island to forbid Mr. Williams, etc., to exercise any of their pretended authority upon the Island, claiming it to be within their jurisdiction. Our court also sent to forbid them to exercise any authority within that part of our jurisdiction at Patuxent and Mishaomet; and although they had boasted to do great matters there by virtue of their charter, yet they dared not to attempt anything.

October 3, 1648: Translators Roger Williams and Benedict Arnold

When needed, many called on Roger Williams to translate. This passage documents that Benedict Arnold was also called upon to translate. This Benedict Arnold (1615-1678) followed Roger Williams as 10th President of the Colony. He is the great-great grandfather of the noted Benedict Arnold who was a traitor during the Revolutionary War.

“They were to have taken Benedict Arnold for their interpreter; but he being from home, they went to Mr. Williams, who sent for the sachems.

But they had heard that many horsemen were come to take them, which made Pesicus fly over to Rhode Island.

Then our messengers went to Niantick, where Ninicraft entertained them courteously, (there they staid the Lord’s day,) and came back with them to Mr. Williams, and then Pesicus and Canonicus’ son, being delivered of their fear, came to them, and being demanded about hiring the Mohawks against Uncas, they solemnly denied it;

only they confessed, that the Mohawk, being a great sachem, and their ancient friend, and being come so near them, they sent some twenty fathom of wampom for him to tread upon, as the manner of Indians is.

And Canonicus’ son…used this asseveration, viz. Englishman’s God doth know, that we did not send to stir up or hire the Mohawks against Uncas. Then they further promised, that they would not meddle with Uncas, nor stir up any other against him, before they had paid all their debt of wampom to the English, and then they would require satisfaction for all the wrongs Uncas had done them, and if the English would not see them satisfied, they would consider what to do.

And for their wampom behind, etc., they desired the English to bear with them, in regard their want of com last winter had made them lay out their wampom to the Enghsh for com; but in the spring they would provide part of it, and the rest so soon as they could.”

Part 3 is the end, Go To…

  • Part 1: 1630-Jan 1636 — with quotes and clips from journal published in 1790.
  • Part 2: 1636-1644 — with quotes and clips from journal published in 1790.
  • Part 3: 1645-1649 — with quotes from journal published in 1908.

By Mike Prestwood
Natural Philosopher

Mike’s throwback title simply means he writes about philosophy, science, critical thinking, and history with a focus on exploring boundaries and intersections. While his focus is on our rational ideas about empirical observations, he does enjoy dabbling in the irrational. His exploration of the empirical led him to develop his Idea of Ideas which allows him to understand what is empirical, rational, and irrational as well as to easily understand what is empirically true, rational true, and irrationally false.

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