"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

Welcome to Patriot's Lament. We strive here to educate ourselves on Liberty. We will not worry ourselves so much with the daily antics of American politics, and drown ourselves in the murky waters of the political right or left.
Instead, we will look to the Intellectuals and Champions of Liberty, and draw on their wisdom of what it is to be a truly free people. We will learn from where our Providential Liberties are derived, and put the proper perspective of a Free Individual and the State.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Anne Hutchinson; matriarch of individualist anarchism in America

Anne was another Puritan who came to America in search of religious freedom. But her search would take her on a journey that reached far beyond that. While in Massachusetts Bay colony, she started promoting an individualistic approach to worshiping God, that one's conscience should dictate how one worshiped, not a bunch of man-made rules and conditions. This teaching swept through the colony, much to the dismay of the ruling class of the Church. Remember, the Church policies were enforced by the civil magistrates, and any teaching that contradicted church policy, not only threatened the so-called church, it threatened the rule of the civil government as well, which received all of its authority from the church.
The church rulers (an oxymoron in my mind, rulers of the church?) moved swiftly to stop this heresy. On a side note, we have to remember that these rulers were not so much concerned about the spiritual well-being of their colony, (and definitely not their physical well-being, as I will point out later) as they were with retaining their power over the colony. We know that forcing one to follow a certain creed or practice or religion isn't doing that person any good if he doesn't believe it for himself, and by enforcing this practice, the church rulers were themselves committing the very heresy they were supposedly against.
Anne was hauled before the magistrates and leaders of the colony. The accusations flew, but she held steadfast in her convictions.  She was convicted by the court of sedition and contempt, and banished from the colony. The magistrate moved now against her followers, and banished from the general court the two who spoke up for her at trial. Banishment was postponed due to the harsh winter, and she was kept under house arrest at the home of one of her greatest enemies, while the elders of the church daily argued with her to recant.
Several of her followers left the colony to start another colony, and under the guidance of Roger Williams, purchased land from the Indians in the Rhode Island area.  The significance of Williams' flight and settlement of Providence was now becoming clear: Williams set an example to all others who sought religious Liberty, and for the extension of the logic of Liberty, once Liberty is experienced, it's difficult to restrain. Anne joined them and her husband in the spring.
Anne soon became more concerned and aware of the freedom of conscience than advancing her own religious views, pushed to have the new colony's constitution changed, and eventually the colony of Portsmouth was born. No more Oligarchy, all the men in the colony were signers and voters, trial by Jury was established, and freedom of worship was guaranteed to all. Diversity of religion proliferated in the colony.
Anne Hutchinson, living in such freedom, soon took her belief in Liberty of conscience a step further, one that " pushed the logic of Roger Williams libertarianism far beyond the master." Anne persuaded her husband to leave his post as an assistant to the government, because of her opinion now that all magistracy was unlawful.
As Murray Rothbard put it, " the logic of Liberty and a deeper meditation on scripture had both brought Anne to the ultimate bounds of libertarian thought: to individualist anarchy." Winifred Rugg said of Anne, " She was supremely convinced that the christian held within his breast the assurance of salvation... and for such persons magistrates were obviously superfluous. As for the other, they were to be converted, not coerced!
She was later killed by warring Indians, much to the delight of the Massachusetts masters. But the spirit of Liberty that she carried was still much alive, and Massachusetts was soon to see that the Spirit of Freedom of Conscience and Liberty had taken hold in the hearts and minds of man, and torture and death could not stop it, as we will soon see.  

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