A Brief history of Jacob Belfry, Sen., with a sketch of his wife and family and their descendants : containing also an outline of Sherman genealogy and biography


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pilgrims made their final landing at Plymouth Rock,
December 22nd, 1620.*
Those who formed the colony of Massachusetts,
having never relinquished the principle of a national
church, and of the power of the civil magistrate in
matters of faith and worship, were less tolerant than
those who settled at New Plymouth, Rhode Island and
Providence plantations. Intolerance, however, was
modified in New England by Roger Williams, who
was born in Wales, 1599. He was ordained as a clergy-
man of the Established Church of England; but on
account of his liberal principles, having embraced the
views of the Puritans, he was obliged to flee from the
tyranny of the bishops and from his native country.
He arrived at Boston, February 5th, 1630. He is called
“ The father and champion of religious liberty,” and
founder of the State of Rhode Island. He maintained
that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but
never control opinion ; should punish guilt, but never
violate the freedom of conscience. Herein is con-
tained an entire reformation of theological jurispru-
dence that would give an equal protection to every
form of religious faith, and never suffer the authority
of the civil government to be enlisted against the
worship of the Supreme Being. Roger Williams argued
that an unbelieving soul is dead in sin; and to force
the indifferent from one worship to another, was like
shifting a dead man into several changes of apparel.
* This “ final landing” of the pilgrims must have reference to
those who came in a body from England that year. It is proved
elsewhere that other Puritans, or those who held to their views,
came out subsequently and settled in the New England States.

About This Document

02 Mar 2013
Total pages:
"For the special use and care of Belfry friends and relatives." Reproduction of original in: Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service 1

Document Source

DeGuerre, P. (Peter)

Toronto : W. Briggs
Brigham Young University