MASTER ROGER WILLIAMS by Ola Elizabeth Winslow


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This is a long, scholarly and carefully annotated book on a vigorous figure in early New England's history. On this score it may well stand as a definitive source book on the founder of Rhode Island. Ola Elizabeth Winslow is the author of two other volumes on New England's roots:- her Jonathon Edwards (1940) was a rather ponderous but sound biography of a great divine; Meetinghouse Hill (1952) was a warm, colorful and anecdotal study of a proud and revealing chapter in New England's history. She had her chance to give some of this spark to the fighter whose ""sword was argument"", but somehow the spark dies out in the meticulously documented record. Most Americans know the tale of Roger Williams' exile from Massachusetts, as disturber of the peace, and of how, with a few followers he went to what is now Rhode Island and after many hardships established his own colony. A prickly and unyielding man, he was also an able administrator, understood the Indians, who loved him because he learned to speak with them in their own tongue. Few people know the early facts of his life:- son of a London ""merchant tailor"", he grew up in the early 17th century in years of plague and turbulence; a student at Pembroke College, Cambridge, later chaplain to a prosperous family in Essex, he knew many in the movement to New England. In 1630, with his wife, he sailed for the New World. There, in Massachusetts, Williams, a ""separatist"" and a man of little tact, became embroiled with the leaders, and in 1635 was ordered to leave. No glamour relieved his character in life. There is none in this too too solid account of his career But the book will be essential reading in its field, and a valuable addition to historical shelves.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1957
Publisher: Macmillan