Ten years after the U. S. Civil War, a group of men in Rhode Island made a conserted effort to rescue the widely scattered writings of Roger Williams. Few sets were printed though, and under the guidance of Perry Miller, 'The Complete Writings of Roger Williams' were brought back in 1963, but still in short numbers. The present collection now makes these volumes available to readers in their original orthography.
The theme of religious liberty is dominant in these volumes, running through Williams's correspondence with John Cotton and on through his famous pair of works on 'The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution.' All of the extant shorter writings and letters of Roger Williams are included in this set, along with two significant works resulting from his engagement with Native Americans: his seminal 'Key into the Language of America and Christenings Make Not Christians.'
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Roger Williams was one of those rare individuals who took the accepted ideas of his time and followed them to conclusions that challenged his contemporaries and still challenge us. To have his complete writings once again available is a great service to all who would understand American religion and political institutions at the deepest level."
Edmund S. Morgan Sterling Professor of History Emeritus Yale University
"It has been America's great good fortune that Roger Williams's career stood at the beginning of its history. Just as some experience in the youth of a person is ever afterward a determinant of his personality, so the American character has inevitably been molded by the fact that in the first years of colonization there arose this prophet of religious liberty. Later generations could not forget him or deny him. The image of him in conflict with the founders of New England could not be obliterated; all later righteous men would be tormented by it until they learned to accept his basic thesis, that freedom is a condition of the spirit."
Perry Miller (1963)
Roger Williams Edwin Gaustad
Roger Williams (1603-1683) grew up in Puritan circles in London, sailed to Massachusetts in 1630, and, having been banished for his controversial views on the separation of church and state, founded Rhode Island on the basis of his new principles of religious liberty.