header by Emerson Taymor, 2005
9. The Twenties
14. The Sixties
The Trial of Anne Hutchinson
Mr. [John] Winthrop, Governor: Mrs Hutchinson, you are called here as one of those that have troubled the peace of the commonwealth and the churches here; you are known to be a woman that hath had a great share in the promoting and divulging of those opinions that are the cause of this trouble, and to be nearly joined not only in affinity and affection with some of those the court had taken notice of and passed censure upon, but you have spoken divers things, as we have been informed, very prejudicial to the honour of the churches and ministers thereof, and you have maintained a meeting and an assembly in your house that hath been condemned by the general assembly as a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God nor fitting for your sex, and notwithstanding that was cried down you have continued the same. Therefore we have thought good to send for you to understand how things are, that if you be in an erroneous way we may reduce you that so you may become a profitable member here among us. Otherwise if you be obstinate in your course that then the court may take such course that you may trouble us no further. Therefore I would intreat you to express whether you do assent and hold in practice to those opinions and factions that have been handled in court already, that is to say, whether you do not justify Mr. Wheelwright's sermon and the petition.
Mrs. H: ...I shall not equivocate, there is a meeting of men and women, and there is a meeting only for women.
Mr. Endicott: Who teaches in the men's meetings, none but men? Do not women sometimes?
Mrs. H: Never, as I heard, not one.
Deputy Gov.: But now it appears by this woman's meeting that Mrs. Hutchinson hath so forestalled the minds of many by their resort to her meeting that now she hath a potent party in the country. Now if all these things have endangered us as from that foundation and if she in particular hath disparaged all our ministers in the land that they have preached a covenant of works, and only Mr. Cotton a covenant of grace, why this is not to be suffered, and therefore being driven to the foundation and it being found that Mrs. Hutchinson is she that hath depraved all the ministers and hath been the cause of what is fallen out, why we must take away the foundation and the building will fall.
Mrs. Hutchinson: I pray, Sir, prove it that I said they preached nothing but a covenant of works.
Dep. Governor: Nothing but a covenant of works. Why a Jesuit may preach truth sometimes.
Mrs. Hutchinson: Did I ever say they preached a covenant of works then?
Dep. Governor: If they do not preach a covenant of grace clearly, then they preach a covenant of works.
Mrs. Hutchinson: No, Sir. One may preach a covenant of grace more clearly than another, so I said
.Deputy: We are not upon that now but upon another position.
Mrs. Hutchinson: Prove this Sir that you say I said.
Dep. Governor: When they do preach a covenant of works do they preach truth?
Mrs. Hutchinson: Yes, Sir. But when they preach a covenant of works for salvation, that is not truth.
Dep. Governor: I do but ask you this: when the ministers do preach a covenant of works do they preach a way of salvation?
Mrs. Hutchinson: I did not come hither to answer questions of that sort.
Dep. Governor: Because you will deny the thing.
Mrs. Hutchinson: Ey, but that is to be proved first.
Dep. Governor: I will make it plain that you did say that the ministers did preach a covenant of works.
Mrs. Hutchinson: I deny that.... Now if you do condemn me for speaking what in my conscience I know to be truth I must commit myself unto the Lord.
Mr. Nowel [assistant to the Court]: How do you know that was the spirit?
Mrs. Hutchinson: How did Abraham know that it was God that bid him offer his son, being a breach of the sixth commandment?
Dep. Governor: By an immediate voice.
Mrs. Hutchinson: So to me by an immediate revelation.
Dep. Governor: How! an immediate revelation.
Mrs. Hutchinson: By the voice of his own spirit to my soul. I will give you another scripture, Jeremiah] 46: 27-28--out of which the Lord showed me what he would do for me and the rest of his servants. But after he was pleased to reveal himself to me I did presently, like Abraham, run to Hagar. And after that he did let me see the atheism of my own heart, for which I begged of the Lord that it might not remain in my heart, and being thus, he did show me this (a twelvemonth after) which I told you of before....
Governor: The court hath already declared themselves satisfied concerning the things you hear, and concerning the troublesomeness of her spirit and the danger of her course amongst us, which is not to be suffered. Therefore if it be the mind of the court that Mrs. Hutchinson for these things that appear before us is unfit for our society, and if it be the mind of the court that she shall be banished out of our liberties and imprisoned till she be sent away, let them hold up their hands.
[All but three did so]
Governor: Mrs. Hutchinson, the sentence of the court you hear is that you are banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court shall send you away.
Mrs. Hutchinson: I desire to know wherefore I am banished?
Governor: Say no more. The court knows wherefore and is satisfied.