Rhode Island General Assembly

Name (variant)

General Assembly


Providence, Rhode Island


The Rhode Island Assembly was the legislature of Rhode Island during the colonial period. It is most relevant here for its role in the Narragansett land dispute, which involved several Moor's students. For much of the eighteenth century, the Narragansett sachemship was held by the Ninigret family. The Ninigrets were Anglicans and lived a lavish, Anglicized life. As a result, they ran up a very large debt over several generations. The Rhode Island Assembly urged the Ninigrets to sell off much of the Narragansett's' land in order to pay their debts. Naturally, this did not go over well with the Narragansett tribe. Tobias Shattock and John Shattock, two Moor's students, took the lead in the opposing the sachem and the Assembly. They appealed to powerful figures, including Sir William Johnson and Andrew Oliver, and in 1767, were able to secure a halt on land sales. They then travelled to London to plead the Narragansett' case. Unfortunately, Tobias died in 1768 in Edinburgh and John died of consumption shortly after returning to the colonies. After sachem Thomas Ninigret died in 1769, the sachemship was replaced by a council.


Andrews, Edward E. Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2013. Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press 2012.