Clarke, John

Clarke, John a distinguished Baptist minister, was born in England, Oct. 8,1609. He practiced medicine in London for some time, and came to Boston as a physician (date unknown). Dissatisfied with the management of the colony of Massachusetts, he left it, and with others purchased Aquetneck of the Indians, and called it Rhode Island. The deed dates March 24,1638. In 1639 he, with eight others, founded Newport, R. I. It is not known when he became a Baptist or a preacher, but in 1644 he became first pastor of the Baptist church in Newport. In 1651 he visited a friend (William Witter) at Lynn, Mass.; held a religious meeting there; was arrested and fined by Judge Endicott twenty pounds, under penalty of public whipping in case the fine was not paid. Some of Mr. Clarke's friends paid his fine, but one of his companions (Mr. Holmes) was severely whipped. in 1651 he went to England to promote the interests of religious freedom in R. Island, and to have Mr. Coddington's commission as governor revoked. He accomplished this object. While in England he published Ill News from New England, or a Narrative of New England's Persecution; wherein it is declared, that while Old England is becoming New, New England is becoming Old; also, Four Proposals to Parliament and Four Conclusions, touching the Faith and Order of the Gospel of Christ out of his last Will and Testament, 4to, p. 76. In 1664 he returned to Newport, where he remained as pastor and physician until his death, April 20,1676. — Backus, Church History of New England, vol. 3; Benedict, History of the Baptists, vol. 1; Allen, Am. Biog. Dictionary, s.v.; Sprague, Annals, 6, 21.

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