Winthrop stood tall among his peers and the community as he was acquitted. Upon his acquittal he felt is necessary to explain to the community how he was justified in what he had done. More specifically, how he was justified in exiling two residents of Hingham. Winthrop chose to speak of liberty. He speaks of not one, but two liberties; natural and moral. These two liberties contrast in both origin and in guidance.
Firstly, a major way in which these two liberties, natural and moral, contrast is in their origin. Winthrop states that natural liberty is “common to man with beasts and other creatures”. Natural liberty is a liberty that man is born with, though they do not retain heritage alone, as they must share it with the wildlife that is born around them. It is a liberty that is most feral in nature, aligning man with the “beasts” they walk among. “It is a liberty to evil as well as to good”. Natural liberty does not inherently stem from either side of the coin, ...view middle of the document...
These two liberties not only contrast in origin, but in the way each guides one as well. When addressing one’s natural liberty, one “hath the liberty to do what he lists”. It allows one to operate as they so please without restriction. It proves to be “incompatible and inconsistent” with authority, and “cannot endure the least restraint of the most just authority”. With absolute freedom to do as one so choses, one is likely to deny the common law imposed upon citizens. Expressing and embracing one’s natural liberty is acceptable, though maintaining for too long “makes men grow more evil”, eventually turning man into something “worse than brute beast”. Exercising one’s natural liberty for too long will lead to one’s downfall, ultimately causing one’s own damnation.
Natural liberty may make one a wild beast; however, it is moral liberty that will keep one on the correct path. Moral liberty is the “proper end and object of authority”. It is with this liberty one will be guided in the proper manner to enter civility, and live together with one’s fellow man. Moral liberty cannot “subsist” without this “object of authority”. This liberty holds so true and righteous, “you are to stand for, with the hazard of your lives, if need be”. One must subject to authority with moral liberty, as it is truth and peace; it wants to lead one in the direction of justice. Moral liberty is to be one’s resolve in all manners of defense against the wicked and evil. Succumbing to moral liberty will make one more open to authority and eventually set one free, as “it is the same kind of liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”.
Natural liberty may at first appear to be the ideal liberty to live with, but without a strong sense of moral liberty, one is likely to fall into a trap of self-damnation. These two liberties certainly contrast not only in origin, but most definitely in guidance as well. Though, without subjection to both can cause just as must chaos, for it is harmony one should seek when choosing to live.
Barnet, Sylvan, William Burto, and William E. Cain. "From The Journal of John Winthrop." Literature for Composition: Essays, Stories, Poems, and Plays. Boston: Longman, 2011. 165-66. Print.