Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History




Clauses Relating to Religion

Charles the Second, (&c.) . . . : WHEREAS wee have been informed, by the humble petition of our trustie and well beloved subject, John Clarke, on the behalfe of Benjamine Arnold, William Brenton, William Codington, . . . and the rest of the purchasers and ffree inhabitants of our island, called Rhode-Island, and the rest of the colonie of Providence Plantations, in the Narragansett Bay, in New-England, in America, that they, pursueing, with peaceable and loyall mindes, their sober, serious and religious intentions, of godlie edifieing themselves, and one another, in the holie Christian ffaith and worshipp as they were perswaded: together with the gaineing over and conversione of the poore ignorant Indian natives, in those partes of America, to the sincere professione and obedienc of the same ffaith and worship, did, not onlie by the consent and good encouragement of our royall progenitors, transport themselves out of this kingdome of England into America, but alsoe, since their arrivall there, after their first settlement amongst other our subjects in those parts, ffor the avoideing of discorde, and those manie evills which were likely to ensue upon some of those oure subjects not beinge able to beare, in these remote partes, theire different apprehensiones in religious concernments, and in pursueance of the afforesayd ends, did once againe leave theire desireable stationes and habitationes, and with excessive labor and travell, hazard and charge, did transplant themselves into the middest of the Indian natives, who, as wee are infformed, are the most potent princes and people of all that country; where, by the good Providence of God, from whome the Plantationes have taken their name, upon theire labour and industrie, they have not onlie byn preserved to admiration, but have increased and prospered. . . . And WHEREAS, in theire humble addresse, they have ffreely declared, that it is much on their hearts (if they may be permitted), to hold for th a livelie experiment, that a most flourishing civill state may stand and best bee maintained, and that among our English subjects, with a full libertie in religious concernements, and that true pietye rightly grounded upon gospell principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignetye, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyaltye: Now know yee, that wee beinge willinge to encourage the hopefull undertakeinge of our sayd loyall and loveinge subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjoyment of all theire civill and religious rights, appertaining to them, as our loveing subjects; and to preserve unto them that libertye, in the true Christian ffaith and worshipp of God, which they have sought with soe much travaill, and with peaceable myndes, and loyall subjectione to our royall progenitors and ourselves, to enjoye; and because some of the people and inhabitants of the same colonie cannot, in theire private opinions, conforme to the publique exercise of religion, according to the litturgy, formes and ceremonyes of the Church of England, or take or subscribe the oaths and articles made and established in that behalfe; and for that the same, by reason of the remote distances of those places, will (as wee hope) bee noe breach of the unitie and unifformitie established in this nation: . . . doe hereby . . . declare, That our royall will and pleasure is, that noe person within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinions in matters of religion, and doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd colony; but that all and everye person and persons may, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter, freelye and fullye have and enjoye his and theire owne judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments, throughout the tract of lande hereafter mentioned; they behaving themselves peaceablie and quietlie, and not useing this libertie to lycentiousnesse and profanenesse, nor to the civill injurye or outward disturbeance of others; any lawe, statute, or clause, therein contayned, or to bee contayned, usage or custome of this realme, to the contrary hereof, in any wise, not withstanding. And that they may bee in the better capacity to defend themselves, in theire just rights and libertyes against all the enemies of the Christian ffaith, and others, in all respects, wee . . . further . . . declare, That they shall have and enjoye the benefitt of our late act of indempnity and ffree pardon, as the rest of our subjects in other our dominions and territoryes have; and to create and make them a bodye politique or corporate, with the powers and priviledges hereinafter mentioned. . . . Neverthelesse, our will and pleasure is, and wee doe hereby declare to the rest of oure Collonies in New-England, that itt shall not bee lawefull ffor this our sayd Collony . . . to invade the natives inhabiting within the boundes and limitts of theire sayd Collonies without the knowledge and consent of the sayd other Collonies. And itt is hereby declared, that itt shall not bee lawfull to or ffor the rest of the Collonies to invade or molest the native Indians, or any other inhabitants, inhabiting within the bounds and lymitts hereafter mentioned (they having subjected themselves unto us, and being by us taken into our speciall protection), without the knowledge and consent of the Governour and Company of our Collony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations. . . . And further, our will and pleasure is, that in all matters of publique controversy which may fall out betweene our Collony of Providence Plantations, and the rest of our Collonies in New-England, itt shall and may bee law-full to and for the Governour and Company . . . to make their appeales therein to us. . . for redresse in such cases, within this our realme of England: and that itt shall be lawfull to and for the inhabitants of the sayd Collony . . . without let or molestation, to passe and repasse with freedome, into and through the rest of the English Collonies, upon their lawfull and civill occasions, and to converse, and hold commerce and trade, with such of the inhabitants of our other English Collonies as shall bee willing to admitt them thereunto, they behaveing themselves peaceably among them . . . "

Text—Bartlett: Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Vol. II, pp. 3–20.


Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: "Clauses Relating to Religion," Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History in Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History 119–120. Original Sources, accessed August 9, 2022,

MLA: . "Clauses Relating to Religion." Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History, in Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History, pp. 119–120. Original Sources. 9 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: , 'Clauses Relating to Religion' in Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History. cited in , Source Book and Bibliographical Guide for American Church History, pp.119–120. Original Sources, retrieved 9 August 2022, from