Anne's Trial Before the General Court
The controversy came to a boiling point when, in November 1637, Anne was placed on trial before the General Court. Anne was charged with heresy (Behling 3). The attorney general, foreman of the jury, and chief justice was none other than John Winthrop. Anne arrived at the court and answered her charge, "I am called here to answer before you but I hear no things laid to my charge" (Williams 150). Anne was on the defensive and fought the first battle to a draw.
Governor Winthrop continued to pelt Anne with accusations, but she remained level-headed. He accused Anne of not keeping the Fifth Commandment, Honor thy father and mother. Winthrop, however, was not referring to Francis and Bridget, he meant Anne had disobeyed the leaders of the colony. Anne continued to rebuke the statement, sending Winthrop into a fury. He ended the line of questioning about this matter with, "'We do not mean to discourse with those of your sex but only this; you do endeavor to set forward this faction and so you do dishonor us'" (Williams 151).
Anne was then chastised for holding private meetings in her home. Anne cited a biblical passage as her defense; "'I conceive there lies a clear rule in Titus, that the elder women should instruct the younger, and then I must do it.'" Winthrop retorted by asking if she should instruct a man in biblical teachings. Anne, sharp-tonged as ever, replied, "'I think I may.'" Arguments about this and the Covenant of Grace versus the Covenant of Works concluded Anne's first day in court (Williams 152).
The second day began as three witnesses, including John Cotton, took the stand in Anne's defense. Unfortunately, Anne could hold back no longer. She delivered a fiery speech aimed at those who were leading the revolt against her. Anne told the court God had sent her a revelation that led her to New England (Williams 160). She continued, almost uninterrupted, until reaching this conclusion: "'Therefore, take heed how you proceed against me; for I know that for this you go about to do to me, God will ruin you and your posterity, and this whole state'" (Williams 161).
The General Court had heard enough and was prepared to offer their verdict and sentence. Anne was found guilty and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, just as Roger Williams had been two years earlier. The court recorded the official sentence as follows:
Mrs. _____ Hutchinson (the wife of Mr. William Hutchinson), being convented for traducing the ministers and their minister in this country, she declared voluntarily her revelations for her ground, and that she should be delivered and the court ruined, with their posterity, and thereupon was banished, and the meanwhile was committed to Mr. Joseph Weld until the Court shall dispose of her (Williams 167).
Anne's Expulsion and Move to Rhode Island or