Friday, January 27, 2012

Anne Marbury Hutchinson

Hutchinson emigrated from England to Boston in 1634 with her 12 children; a 13th was born in 1636. She herself was a skilled midwife; her husband was a prosperous landowner and merchant. Originally a disciple of Reverend John Cotton, she led discussion groups in her home, where she preached that people were saved by their personal, inate awareness of divine grace rather than their upright behavior. Hutchinson's religious ideas challenged the authority of the male clergy. In 1637, she was tried for theological heresy and "traducing the ministers" in the colony's first major battle over orthodoxy. Hutchinson was banished and excommunicated. She migrated to Rhode Island with her followers, establishing Portsmouth on Aquidneck. There she became pregnant again, but when the badly deformed baby was stillborn, her Puritan adversaries interpreted the event as divine punishment. She later moved to Long Island, where she and five of her six youngest children were killed in an Indian attack. Hutchinson left no writings of her own; her ideas are known from the transcripts of her civil and church trials.

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