Civil Liberty and Religious Toleration

To your left as you’re facing Mary Dyer’s statue (see previous post) on the south lawn of the State House in Boston stands a statue to Anne Hutchinson, a highly respected midwife in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Believing that she could interpret the Bible & receive revelations from God, Hutchinson held meetings in her house in Boston to discuss her ideas about faith & Scriptures & the Puritan ministers’ sermons. She was, according to Governor John Winthrop, “a woman of haughty and fierce carriage, a nimble wit and active spirit, a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man.” Too bold it turned out for Winthrop and other leaders who charged her with sedition & slander. After a civil & a religious trial, Anne Hutchinson was convicted and banished. She moved to Rhode Island with her husband & children; then, after her husband’s death, she moved with her children and some followers to Eastchester, NY, where unrest between the Indians and Dutch spilled over onto her land and she and her family were killed by Indians.  (A daughter who was picking blueberries survived but was captured & later ransomed by other family members.) The  statue depicts her looking skyward and holding a Bible with a daughter by her side. The plaque reads: “IN MEMORY OF ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON . . . COURAGEOUS EXPONENT OF CIVIL LIBERTY AND RELIGIOUS TOLERATION”

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