Hutchinson, Anne

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hutchinson, Anne

Anne Hutchinson, c.1591–1643, religious leader in New England, b. Anne Marbury in Lincolnshire, England. She emigrated (1634) with her husband and family to Massachusetts Bay, where her brilliant mind and her kindness won admiration and a following. The informal discussions at her home gave scope to Puritan intellects, but her espousal of the covenant of grace as opposed to the covenant of works (i.e., she tended to believe that faith alone was necessary to salvation) and her claim that she could identify the elect among the colonists caused John Cotton, John Winthrop, and other former friends to view her as an antinomian heretic. She defied them, was tried by the General Court, and was sentenced (1637) to banishment for "traducing the ministers." Several of her followers—including William Coddington, John Wheelwright, John Underhill, and John Clarke—also left Massachusetts Bay. After helping Coddington to found the present Portsmouth, R.I., she quarreled with him and, with Samuel Gorton, ousted him in 1639. After Coddington's return to power, she moved (1642) to Long Island and then to what is now Pelham Bay Park in New York City. There she and all the other members of her family but one were killed by Native Americans.

See W. K. Rugg, Unafraid (1930, repr. 1970); E. J. Battis, Saints and Sectaries (1962); F. J. Bremer, Anne Hutchinson (1981); A. S. Lang, Prophetic Woman: Anne Hutchinson and the Problem of Dissent in the Literature of New England (1987); E. LaPlante, American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans (2004).

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