Portrait of Elisha Williams

Elisha Williams

1694 – 1755

Elisha Williams (1694-1755) was educated at Harvard and served as the 4th Rector of Yale College from 1726-39. He was a minister, jurist, and statesman.

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Williams is best known as the author of The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants: A Reasonable Plea for the Liberty of Conscience and the Right of Private Judgment in Matters of Religion (1744). He had strong views on religious rights and liberties. He believed that individuals should self-judge, as it was a natural right. He was influenced by John Locke.

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