Eyes In Every Corner of New England

The largest reason for Anne Hutchinson uprooting her family again, this time from Roger Williams’ Narragansett colony, was the encroachment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which had continued to contact Hutchinson in the years following her banishment from the Puritan haven. Again, some speculation may be made as to the role that her gender played in this matter.

In connecting this question to a previous post of mine, entitled “A Question of Treatment,” we may surmise that Hutchinson’s womanhood was again a driving force in her leaving the safety of Williams’ colony. The still-targeted woman understood that should the Puritan colony she had just fled acquired her new home, she would likely be thrown back in jail or exiled yet again–or worse. The occasional presence of Boston officials to check on her validated this fear, and was likely a move to simply push her further away. As the Massachusetts Bay Colony had plans to take over Aquidneck, it would be easier for Hutchinson to leave of her own accord, rather than be put on trial again, as she would undoubtedly begin ‘coed’ preaching again.

In the forever changed Massachusetts, divisions between the Puritan church and the adherents of Hutchinson still living in the colony continued. While their absentee leader had nothing to do with these sustained rifts, and probably did not have direct contact with those that she left behind, the magistrates likely felt that she was still responsible for them. Roger Williams, who had been disgraced within the colony and exiled just before Hutchinson, faced mostly political backlash from Boston and Plymouth. In fact, Williams and Hutchinson’s husband had been far more active in ‘working against’ Massachusetts bay than Anne herself, though she would be solely targeted until 1642. While the trailing of Hutchinson through the colonies might have ended there, a mystery persists around whether or not John Winthrop was responsible for Hutchinson’s death the next year.

Sources:

Winship, Michael P., The Times and Trials of Anne Hutchinson: Puritans Divided, (2005)

 

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