Trust and Treachery: A Historical Novel of Roger Williams in America

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For the purpose of determining how treason against the king and treason generally were understood by nobles around the time when the incident related by Wendover took place, there is much to be learned from the History of William Marshal , a poem about an important magnate of the same era that was written a decade or so after the surrender of Rochester castle in When writing about many of the same conflicts that the History discusses, Latin chroniclers such as Roger of Howden, as Gillingham and Strickland demonstrate, denounced as proditores those who fought against kings to whom they owed allegiance and referred to their acts of conspiracy, treason, and infidelity.

In , according to Howden, Richard I accused his brother John of proditio , charging that his alliance against him with Philip II was a league with death and an agreement with Hell It is also possible to suggest some reasons why these ways of thinking and talking about treason made sense in the political world of William Marshal and possibly better sense than did the discourses of the lawyers and ecclesiastical historians who wrote about treason in Latin. Even if this story about the Marshal is a myth, it corroborates what other texts tell us about a well-recognized form of treason against the king.

The same is true of another episode in the History about the difficulties the Marshal faced by virtue of holding lands from the King of France as well as the King of England. The case took a new turn when John ordered William to join him without delay in going to Poitou, where the king planned to regain his own inheritance by attacking the King of France This was an oblique way of both calling the Marshal a traitor and saying that he should forfeit the lands he held from King John. In the name of the king [the bishop] ordered him to send William [de Briouze] to him without making any objection What I have done is to give lodgings to my lord, as I ought to have done, especially since I did not know that the king had any cause to deal with William other than amicably.

And, since I would be betraying him if I turned him over to your hands, I shall escort him all the way until he is outside of my land. The bishop ought not to seek from me that which will leave me open to reproach or which smacks of treason I gave lodgings to my lord, who in great pain and distress landed below the walls of my castle.

When I saw him, I was very pleased to welcome him, for I had no idea whatever that I was doing wrong, since he was my friend and my lord and I had never heard say that you had quarreled with him. You were both on very good terms when I left England and came to these shores Instead of stating clearly that all such men committed treason against the royal lords whom they abandoned and thereby distinguishing clearly between infidelity to a king and fidelity, the History characterizes and classifies them in ways that are best explained by situating them, for purposes of analysis, on an imaginary continuum on which one can make subtler distinctions about how loyal or disloyal a man was.

Between the Marshal and those who committed treason against the king were several kinds of men who were not perfectly loyal but still did not commit treason. The farther from William Marshal the men are situated on the continuum, the greater the personal responsibility assigned to them for their failure to be completely loyal to their kings. Nevertheless, how the text evaluates these men is not always a function of their conduct alone. It also depends, in certain cases, on how much responsibility and what kind of responsibility the author assigns to the royal lord whom they abandoned and to the king with whom they became affiliated.

A story of love, revolution, and betrayal.

Whether the evaluation of the men on the continuum should be considered legal or moral, it was certainly normative and could have practical consequences for how others treated them. But the Marshal, at least, whose heart was whole and untainted, was with him when things were tough and hard; never did he disavow [John], never did he have a change of heart, he served him in good faith as his lord and king.

Not once did he leave him until death took the king away, and I can say that at the risk of life or death, he was always with him or his men, as a loyal and good man Instead, the author simply implies that the Marshal was more loyal and honorable than they were. Turning was not necessarily treason, nor was it always treason to be turned.

But there were better and worse forms of turning or being turned; and at its worst, turning surely was treason. Nearest to the Marshal on the continuum are the nobles who turned from a king who had treated them badly to one who treated them well. That the author finds nothing blameworthy or shameful in the conduct of the two counts is clear from the following story. When the King of France saw them arrive together, he did not find it in the least to his liking, indeed he was very angry.

I had in mind talks only with you. Even though Philip obviously regarded the two counts as traitors, it was he, the author implies, who incurred blame and shame for driving them to abandon him. As a result of this particular blunder in alienating William des Roches, the king supposedly lost Anjou, Maine and Poitou They took such a bad turn, all those who turned, that most had nothing to put in the hand of the smallest creditor.

Nor could they find credit, despite securities offered and pledged made [ And [ For one thing, because they were so easily manipulated, they were too contemptible to be worth accusing of treason. Moreover, much of the responsibility, blame, and shame for their conduct was placed on others. In the long-run, however, the worst of the men who were turned may have been gotten what they truly deserved. This is one way of reading a passage in the History where the Marshal and King Philip of France talk about traitors.

William begins by alluding ironically to the fact that Philip had been rewarding castellans whom he had turned from kings of England so that they would surrender to him the castles they were holding on behalf of their royal lords. For now. But they are just like bits of rag for wiping yourself. Traitors were useful to kings but disposable. This really was treason.

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When the king had given and turned over his wealth to him and kissed him on the mouth, that very same day, the count brought [John] low. That same day, he immediately made a bad turn and turned to the King of France and did him homage and became his ally and let the French into his town. Shamed is he who deliberately acts villainously It was their envy of the Marshal, he writes, that led them to spread false rumors about him Once she has set fire to her own, she spreads the fire and smoke to set alight the house of her nearest neighbour.

A curse be upon her ways! All those who commit treason are descendants of Cain They assumed that he would pass on their lies to the king; but when he understood where their conversation with him was leading, he said that he would never become a traitor and that what they had in mind would be a great wrong When they denied that they were plotting treason, Ralph insisted that that was what they had in mind.

Another man who betrayed the Marshal was Meilyr fitz Henry, an Irish baron who colluded with King John harming him by treason.

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They also killed twenty of his men, and carried before them all the booty they had taken in the town as they went on their way. So began throughout the land, the troubles and the great war against the Marshal Nor did treason necessarily result in physical harm. Paperback or Softback. Seller Inventory BBS Book Description Condition: New.

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Seller Inventory Language: English. Brand new Book. The resulting religious tension erupted into what has traditionally been called the Antinomian Controversy, but has more recently been labelled the Free Grace Controversy. In September , he told another minister that he doubted Anne Hutchinson's orthodoxy, based on questions that she asked him following his shipboard sermons.

In , a difficult situation occurred when senior pastor John Wilson returned from a lengthy trip to England where he had been settling his affairs. Hutchinson was exposed to his teaching for the first time, and she immediately saw a big difference between her own doctrines and his. She told her followers that Wilson lacked "the seal of the Spirit.

Thomas Shepard , the minister of Newtown which later became Cambridge , began writing letters to Cotton as early as the spring of Shepard went even further when he began criticising the Boston opinions to his Newtown congregation during his sermons. Wheelwright had been a close neighbor of the Hutchinsons in Lincolnshire, and his wife was a sister of Hutchinson's husband.

Vane was a strong supporter of Hutchinson, but he also had his own ideas about theology that were considered not only unorthodox, but radical by some. Hutchinson and the other free grace advocates continued to question the orthodox ministers in the colony. Wheelwright began preaching at Mount Wollaston , about ten miles south of the Boston meetinghouse, and his sermons began to answer Shepard's criticisms with his own criticism of the covenant of works.


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This mounting "pulpit aggression" continued throughout the summer, along with the lack of respect shown Boston's Reverend Wilson. Wilson endured these religious differences for several months before deciding that the affronts and errors were serious enough to require a response. On or shortly after 21 October , Winthrop gave the first public warning of the problem that consumed him and the leadership of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for much of the next two years.

Hutchinson, a member of the church at Boston, a woman of a ready wit and a bold spirit, brought over with her two dangerous errors: 1.


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That the person of the Holy Ghost dwells in a justified person. That no sanctification can help to evidence to us our justification. On 25 October , seven ministers gathered at the home of Cotton to confront the developing discord; they held a "private conference" which included Hutchinson and other lay leaders from the Boston church.

Wheelwright; so as they all did hold, that sanctification did help to evidence justification.

Chapter 5 - Roger Williams Rhode Island U.S. History Slavery

Hutchinson responded to this only when prompted, and only to one or two ministers at a time. She believed that her response, which was largely coaxed from her, was private and confidential.

3e. Dissent in Massachusetts Bay

By late , as the controversy deepened, Hutchinson and her supporters were accused of two heresies in the Puritan church: antinomianism and familism. The word "antinomianism" literally means "against or opposed to the law"; in a theological context, it means "the moral law is not binding upon Christians, who are under the law of grace. By winter, the theological schism had become great enough that the General Court called for a day of fasting to help ease the colony's difficulties.

During the appointed fast-day on Thursday, 19 January , Wheelwright preached at the Boston church in the afternoon. To the Puritan clergy, his sermon was "censurable and incited mischief. Governor Vane began challenging the doctrines of the colony's divines, and supporters of Hutchinson refused to serve during the Pequot War of because Wilson was the chaplain of the expedition. By March, the political tide began to turn against the free grace advocates. Wheelwright was tried for contempt and sedition that month for his fast-day sermon and was convicted in a close vote, but not yet sentenced.