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Anne Hutchinson Trials: 1637 and 1638

Church Of Boston Enters Fray

Hutchinson continued to spread her views. Finally, as Winthrop recorded, "the Elders of Boston … declared their readinesse to deale with Mistris Hutchinson in a Church way."

At this trial, Cotton opposed Hutchinson and emphasized the dangers he thought a dissenting woman courted: "[T]hough I have not herd, nayther do I thinke, you have bine unfaythful to your Husband in his Marriage Covenant, yet that will follow upon it." He turned to the women present in the church and instructed them to ignore Hutchinson's teachings, saying "[Y]ou see she [Hutchinsoni is but a Woman and many unsound and dayngerous principles are held by her."

The Reverend Thomas Shepard then testified that Hutchinson sought "to seduce and draw away many, Espetially simple Weomen of her owne sex." Her theological views were condemned, and the spiritual penalty of excommunication was then added to the earlier civil punishment of banishment. When the Reverend John Wilson ordered her "as a Leper to withdraw your selfe out of the Congregation," one woman—Mary Dyer—walked over to Hutchinson and joined hands with her. The two women walked together to the church door, where Hutchinson turned to deliver her own verdict to the ministers: "The Lord judgeth not as man judgeth, better to be cast out of the Church than to deny Christ."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832Anne Hutchinson Trials: 1637 and 1638 - General Court Summons Hutchinson, Church Of Boston Enters Fray, The Aftermath: A Mixed Picture