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Execution at Boston Common - THE TRIAL OF ANNE HUTCHINSON

Puritan society put great emphasis on appearances. "Good works" were paramount in Puritan theology. Anne Hutchinson believed people were saved by faith (the covenant of God's grace) not by deeds (the covenant of works). She was vocal about her beliefs, which were contrary to what Puritan ministers preached. She was charged with "transducing the ministers" because she publicly criticized the content of their theology.

At her trial, Governor John Winthrop was her chief accuser. The trial transcript is replete with condescending remarks directed to Anne Hutchinson. A few examples make clear that the verdict against her was a foregone conclusion.

We do not mean to discourse with those of your sex...

summarizes the tone of Winthrop's entire cross examination.

Your conscience you must keep, or it must be kept for you

alerts Hutchinson that if she did not conform to Puritan teachings, her conscience was not working.

We find such a course as this to be greatly prejudicial to the state...We must therefore put it away from you or restrain you from maintaining this course

warns Hutchinson that her understanding of the Bible is of no account, and she must stop "seducing many honest persons."

We are your judges, and not you ours, and we must compel you to it

silences Anne's attempts to make Winthrop produce "a rule for it [his orders] from God's word."

At the end of the trial, Winthrop read the verdict:

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.

When Hutchinson asked, "I desire to know wherefore I am banished?" the reply was short and as curt as his cross examination:

Say no more. The court knows wherefore and is satisfied.

Today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts honors Anne Hutchinson with a statue in front of the State House. In 1638, she and her entire family were dishonored and banished. They went to Roger Williams' settlement near Providence where, in 1643, she and her entire family (except for one grandchild) were massacred by Indians.

 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Mar 16, 2017


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"THE TRIAL OF ANNE HUTCHINSON" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Nov 15, 2019.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/THE-TRIAL-OF-ANNE-HUTCHINSON-Execution-at-Boston-Common/1>.
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