By Tim McNeese

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By 1633, Williams was actively and publicly speaking against the king of England. Even though Governor Winthrop was Williams’s friend, he knew Williams posed a threat to the colony of Massachusetts. In October 1635, the governor’s assistants summoned Williams to explain himself. Before them, the controversial minister was penitent, but once he returned home to Salem, he began speaking out against the Massachusetts Bay charter (which had been issued by the king whom Williams hated). Williams soon announced his belief that the elected leaders of the colony did not have the right to make laws regarding one’s practice of religion.

After the arrival of the “Great Migration,” he became the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony. This frightened some, and 200 of the new settlers decided to return back to England rather than risk their lives in America. Governor Winthrop knew the key © Milliken Publishing Company to his colony’s survival lay in the delivery of much needed supplies and food to Salem from England. One of the 11 ships of the Great Migration, the Lyon, returned to England with Winthrop’s order for such supplies.

This did not satisfy those settlers in the colony who were “strangers,” who continued to clamor for their right to vote. As long as the number of freemen was limited to only those who were Puritans, the number of voters remained small. Under the original charter, a General Court had been established, which included a governor and his deputy, a board of magistrates who advised the governor, and the members of the corporation, the freemen. The General Court met four times annually. The © Milliken Publishing Company Review and Write 1.

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American Colonies by Tim McNeese

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