‘The Letter’ At Roger Williams Memorial

(1.21) The innovative Park Service crew running the Roger Williams National Memorial have instituted their own version of Throwback Thursdays — four dates altogether from January through April. This week Roger Williams’ 1679 letter ‘To the Town of Providence’ will be on display and the public is invited to have a cup of coffee and discuss the letter with a ranger. (Don’t put you cup down on the letter! How many times must we tell you — use a coaster.) The Rhode Island Historical Society has made this artifact available for public viewing; transcripts will be made available.

Williams’ well-known views on liberty of conscience are not the subject of this letter. Rather, it is his kind heart on display as he asks his “loving friends and neighbors” to have compassion for those now in need of refuge and relief, just as they once were.

I have only one motion and petition, which I earnestly pray the town to lay to heart, as ever they look for a blessing from God on the town, on your families, your corn and cattle, and your children after you; it is this, that after you have got over the black brook of some foul bondage yourselves, you tear not down the bridge after you, by leaving no small pittance for distressed souls that may come after you.

Americans still need to be reminded of this.

4pm to 8pm, Thursday, January 21, Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 North Main Street, (directions)

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