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    There, Rowlandson was ransomed for twenty pounds in goods. In 1677, her family—including the surviving children taken captive along with Rowlandson—moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut where Joseph Rowlandson had acquired a position as minister. He died in 1678; one year later, Rowlandson married Captain Samuel Talcott. She remained in Connecticut, where she died in 1711.

    Soon after her release from captivity and before her first husband died, Rowlandson began to write of her experiences with the Native Americans.

    Published in 1682, her memoir became immensely popular as a captivity narrative, a popular genre in the seventeenth century. These captivity narratives record stories of individuals who are captured by people considered as uncivilized enemies, opposed to a Puritan way of life.

    Much of their popularity stemmed from their testimony of the Puritan God’s providence. Rowlandson’s narrative adheres to Puritan covenantal obligations, alludes to pertinent

    Biblical exemplum, and finds God’s chastising and loving hand in her suffering and ultimate redemption. Her suffering includes fear, hunger, and witnessing the deaths of other

    captives. She describes the Native Americans as savage and hellish scourges of God. She acclaims the wonder of God’s power when these same Native Americans offer her food, help her find shelter, and provide her with a Bible. Her rhetorical strategies and the ambivalences and ambiguities in her account—particularly in regards to cultural assimilation, cross-cultural contact, and gender issues of social construction of its continuing popularity to this day.

    Image 2.10 | King Phillip or Metacom identity, voice, and authority—contribute to Artist | S. G. Drake Source | Wikimedia Commons License | Public Domain

    2.9.1 From The Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson (1682)


    The sovereignty and goodness of God, together with the faithfulness of his promises displayed, being a narrative of the captivity and restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, commended by her, to all that desires to know the Lord’s doings to, and dealings with her. Especially to her dear children and relations. The second Addition [sic] Corrected and amended. Written by her own hand for her private use, and now made public at the earnest desire of some friends, and for the benefit of the afflicted. Deut. 32.39. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me, I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, neither is there any can deliver out of my hand.

    On the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven.

    There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive. There were two others, who being out of their garrison upon some occasion were set upon; one was knocked on the head, the other escaped; another there was who running along was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money (as they told me) but they would not hearken to him but knocked him in head, and stripped him naked, and split open his bowels.

    Another, seeing many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their fortification. Thus these murderous wretches went on, burning, and destroying before them.

    At length they came and beset our own house, and quickly it was the dolefulest day that ever mine eyes saw. The house stood upon the edge of a hill; some of the Indians got behind the hill, others into the barn, and others behind anything that could shelter them; from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to fly like hail; and quickly they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third. About two hours (according to my observation, in that amazing time) they had been about the house before they prevailed to fire it (which they did with flax and hemp, which they brought out of the barn, and there being no defense about the house, only two flankers at two opposite corners and one of them not finished); they fired it once and one ventured out and quenched it, but they quickly fired it again, and that took. Now is the dreadful hour come, that I have often heard of (in time of war, as it was the case of others), but now mine eyes see it. Some in our house were fighting for their lives, others wallowing in their blood, the house on fire over our heads, and the bloody heathen ready to knock us on the head, if we stirred out. Now might we hear mothers and children crying out for themselves, and one another, “Lord, what shall we do?” Then I took my children (and one of my sisters’, hers) to go forth and leave the house: but as soon as we came to the door and appeared, the Indians shot so thick that the bullets rattled against the house, as if one had taken an handful of stones and threw them, so that we were fain to give back. We had six stout dogs belonging to our garrison, but none of them would stir, though another time, if any Indian had come to the door, they were ready to fly upon him and tear him down. The Lord hereby would make us the more acknowledge His hand, and to see that our help is always in Him.

    But out we must go, the fire increasing, and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. No sooner were we out of the house, but my brother-in-law (being before wounded, in defending the house, in or near the throat) fell down dead, whereat the Indians scornfully shouted, and hallowed, and were presently upon him, stripping off his clothes, the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as would seem) through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms. One of my elder sisters’ children, named William, had then his leg broken, which the Indians perceiving, they knocked him on [his] head. Thus were we butchered by those merciless heathen, standing amazed, with the blood running down to our heels.

    My eldest sister being yet in the house, and seeing those woeful sights, the infidels hauling mothers one way, and children another, and some wallowing in their blood: and her elder son telling her that her son William was dead, and myself was wounded, she said, “And Lord, let me die with them,” which was no sooner said, but she was struck with a bullet, and fell down dead over the threshold. I hope she is reaping the fruit of her good labors, being faithful to the service of God in her place. In her younger years she lay under much trouble upon spiritual accounts, till it pleased God to make that precious scripture take hold of her heart, “And he said unto me, my Grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12.9). More than twenty years after, I have heard her tell how sweet and comfortable that place was to her.

    But to return: the Indians laid hold of us, pulling me one way, and the children another, and said, “Come go along with us”; I told them they would kill me: they answered, if I were willing to go along with them, they would not hurt me.

    Oh the doleful sight that now was to behold at this house! “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he has made in the earth.” Of thirty-seven persons who were in this one house, none escaped either present death, or a bitter captivity, save only one, who might say as he, “And I only am escaped alone to tell the News” (Job 1.15). There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, some knocked down with their hatchets. When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadful sights, and to see our dear friends, and relations lie bleeding out their heart-blood upon the ground. There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down. It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a company of hell-hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive.

    I had often before this said that if the Indians should come, I should choose rather to be killed by them than taken alive, but when it came to the trial my mind changed; their glittering weapons so daunted my spirit, that I chose rather to go along with those (as I may say) ravenous beasts, than that moment to end my days; and that I may the better declare what happened to me during that grievous captivity, I shall particularly speak of the several removes we had up and down the wilderness.

    The First Remove

    Now away we must go with those barbarous creatures, with our bodies wounded and bleeding, and our hearts no less than our bodies. About a mile we went that night, up upon a hill within sight of the town, where they intended to lodge.

    There was hard by a vacant house (deserted by the English before, for fear of the Indians). I asked them whether I might not lodge in the house that night, to which they answered, “What, will you love English men still?” This was the dolefulest night that ever my eyes saw. Oh the roaring, and singing and dancing, and yelling of those black creatures in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell. And as miserable was the waste that was there made of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, calves, lambs, roasting pigs, and fowl (which they had plundered in the town), some roasting, some lying and burning, and some boiling to feed our merciless enemies; who were joyful enough, though we were disconsolate. To add to the dolefulness of the former day, and the dismalness of the present night, my thoughts ran upon my losses and sad bereaved condition. All was gone, my husband gone (at least separated from me, he being in the Bay; and to add to my grief, the Indians told me they would kill him as he came homeward), my children gone, my relations and friends gone, our house and home and all our comforts—within door and without—all was gone (except my life), and I knew not but the next moment that might go too. There remained nothing to me but one poor wounded babe, and it seemed at present worse than death that it was in such a pitiful condition, bespeaking compassion, and I had no refreshing for it, nor suitable things to revive it. Little do many think what is the savageness and brutishness of this barbarous enemy, Ay, even those that seem to profess more than others among them, when the English have fallen into their hands.

    Those seven that were killed at Lancaster the summer before upon a Sabbath day, and the one that was afterward killed upon a weekday, were slain and mangled in a barbarous manner, by one-eyed John, and Marlborough’s Praying Indians, which Capt. Mosely brought to Boston, as the Indians told me.

    The Second Remove

    But now, the next morning, I must turn my back upon the town, and travel with them into the vast and desolate wilderness, I knew not whither. It is not my tongue, or pen, can express the sorrows of my heart, and bitterness of my spirit that I had at this departure: but God was with me in a wonderful manner, carrying me along, and bearing up my spirit, that it did not quite fail. One of the Indians carried my poor wounded babe upon a horse; it went moaning all along, “I shall die, I shall die.” I went on foot after it, with sorrow that cannot be expressed. At length I took it off the horse, and carried it in my arms till my strength failed, and I fell down with it. Then they set me upon a horse with my wounded child in my lap, and there being no furniture upon the horse’s back, as we were going down a steep hill we both fell over the horse’s head, at which they, like inhumane creatures, laughed, and rejoiced to see it, though I thought we should there have ended our days, as overcome with so many difficulties. But the Lord renewed my strength still, and carried me along, that I might see more of His power; yea, so much that I could never have thought of, had I not experienced it.

    After this it quickly began to snow, and when night came on, they stopped, and now down I must sit in the snow, by a little fire, and a few boughs behind me, with my sick child in my lap; and calling much for water, being now (through the wound) fallen into a violent fever. My own wound also growing so stiff that I could scarce sit down or rise up; yet so it must be, that I must sit all this cold winter night upon the cold snowy ground, with my sick child in my arms, looking that every hour would be the last of its life; and having no Christian friend near me, either to comfort or help me. Oh, I may see the wonderful power of God, that my Spirit did not utterly sink under my affliction: still the Lord upheld me with His gracious and merciful spirit, and we were both alive to see the light of the next morning.

    The Third Remove

    The morning being come, they prepared to go on their way. One of the Indians got up upon a horse, and they set me up behind him, with my poor sick babe in my lap. A very wearisome and tedious day I had of it; what with my own wound, and my child’s being so exceeding sick, and in a lamentable condition with her wound.

    It may be easily judged what a poor feeble condition we were in, there being not the least crumb of refreshing that came within either of our mouths from Wednesday night to Saturday night, except only a little cold water. This day in the afternoon, about an hour by sun, we came to the place where they intended, viz. an Indian town, called Wenimesset, northward of Quabaug. When we were come, Oh the number of pagans (now merciless enemies) that there came about me, that I may say as David, “I had fainted, unless I had believed, etc” (Psalm 27.13). The next day was the Sabbath. I then remembered how careless I had been of God’s holy time; how many Sabbaths I had lost and misspent, and how evilly I had walked in God’s sight; which lay so close unto my spirit, that it was easy for me to see how righteous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life and cast me out of His presence forever. Yet the Lord still showed mercy to me, and upheld me; and as He wounded me with one hand, so he healed me with the other. This day there came to me one Robert Pepper (a man belonging to Roxbury) who was taken in Captain Beers’s fight, and had been now a considerable time with the Indians; and up with them almost as far as Albany, to see King Philip, as he told me, and was now very lately come into these parts. Hearing, I say, that I was in this Indian town, he obtained leave to come and see me. He told me he himself was wounded in the leg at Captain Beer’s fight; and was not able some time to go, but as they carried him, and as he took oaken leaves and laid to his wound, and through the blessing of God he was able to travel again. Then I took oaken leaves and laid to my side, and with the blessing of God it cured me also; yet before the cure was wrought, I may say, as it is in Psalm 38.5-6 “My wounds stink and are corrupt, I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long.” I sat much alone with a poor wounded child in my lap, which moaned night and day, having nothing to revive the body, or cheer the spirits of her, but instead of that, sometimes one Indian would come and tell me one hour that “your master will knock your child in the head,” and then a second, and then a third, “your master will quickly knock your child in the head.”

    This was the comfort I had from them, miserable comforters are ye all, as he said. Thus nine days I sat upon my knees, with my babe in my lap, till my flesh was raw again; my child being even ready to depart this sorrowful world, they bade me carry it out to another wigwam (I suppose because they would not be troubled with such spectacles) whither I went with a very heavy heart, and down I sat with the picture of death in my lap. About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life on Feb. 18, 1675. It being about six years, and five months old. It was nine days from the first wounding, in this miserable condition, without any refreshing of one nature or other, except a little cold water. I cannot but take notice how at another time I could not bear to be in the room where any dead person was, but now the case is changed; I must and could lie down by my dead babe, side by side all the night after. I have thought since of the wonderful goodness of God to me in preserving me in the use of my reason and senses in that distressed time, that I did not use wicked and violent means to end my own miserable life.

    In the morning, when they understood that my child was dead they sent for me home to my master’s wigwam (by my master in this writing, must be understood Quinnapin, who was a Sagamore, and married King Philip’s wife’s sister; not that he first took me, but I was sold to him by another Narragansett Indian, who took me when first I came out of the garrison). I went to take up my dead child in my arms to carry it with me, but they bid me let it alone; there was no resisting, but go I must and leave it. When I had been at my master’s wigwam, I took the first opportunity I could get to go look after my dead child. When I came I asked them what they had done with it; then they told me it was upon the hill. Then they went and showed me where it was, where I saw the ground was newly digged, and there they told me they had buried it. There I left that child in the wilderness, and must commit it, and myself also in this wilderness condition, to Him who is above all.

    God having taken away this dear child, I went to see my daughter Mary, who was at this same Indian town, at a wigwam not very far off, though we had little liberty or opportunity to see one another. She was about ten years old, and taken from the door at first by a Praying Ind. and afterward sold for a gun. When I came in sight, she would fall aweeping; at which they were provoked, and would not let me come near her, but bade me be gone; which was a heart-cutting word to me.

    I had one child dead, another in the wilderness, I knew not where, the third they would not let me come near to: “Me (as he said) have ye bereaved of my Children, Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin also, all these things are against me.” I could not sit still in this condition, but kept walking from one place to another. And as I was going along, my heart was even overwhelmed with the thoughts of my condition, and that I should have children, and a nation which I knew not, ruled over them. Whereupon I earnestly entreated the Lord, that He would consider my low estate, and show me a token for good, and if it were His blessed will, some sign and hope of some relief. And indeed quickly the Lord answered, in some measure, my poor prayers; for as I was going up and down mourning and lamenting my condition, my son came to me, and asked me how I did. I had not seen him before, since the destruction of the town, and I knew not where he was, till I was informed by himself, that he was amongst a smaller parcel of Indians, whose place was about six miles off. With tears in his eyes, he asked me whether his sister Sarah was dead; and told me he had seen his sister Mary; and prayed me, that I would not be troubled in reference to himself. The occasion of his coming to see me at this time, was this: there was, as I said, about six miles from us, a small plantation of Indians, where it seems he had been during his captivity; and at this time, there were some forces of the Ind. gathered out of our company, and some also from them (among whom was my son’s master) to go to assault and burn Medfield. In this time of the absence of his master, his dame brought him to see me. I took this to be some gracious answer to my earnest and unfeigned desire. The next day, viz. to this, the Indians returned from Medfield, all the company, for those that belonged to the other small company, came through the town that now we were at. But before they came to us, Oh!

    the outrageous roaring and hooping that there was. They began their din about a mile before they came to us. By their noise and hooping they signified how many they had destroyed (which was at that time twenty-three). Those that were with us at home were gathered together as soon as they heard the hooping, and every time that the other went over their number, these at home gave a shout, that the very earth rung again. And thus they continued till those that had been upon the expedition were come up to the Sagamore’s wigwam; and then, Oh, the hideous insulting and triumphing that there was over some Englishmen’s scalps that they had taken (as their manner is) and brought with them. I cannot but take notice of the wonderful mercy of God to me in those afflictions, in sending me a Bible. One of the Indians that came from Medfield fight, had brought some plunder, came to me, and asked me, if I would have a Bible, he had got one in his basket. I was glad of it, and asked him, whether he thought the Indians would let me read? He answered, yes. So I took the Bible, and in that melancholy time, it came into my mind to read first the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, which I did, and when I had read it, my dark heart wrought on this manner: that there was no mercy for me, that the blessings were gone, and the curses come in their room, and that I had lost my opportunity. But the Lord helped me still to go on reading till I came to Chap. 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance; and though we were scattered from one end of the earth to the other, yet the Lord would gather us together, and turn all those curses upon our enemies. I do not desire to live to forget this Scripture, and what comfort it was to me.

    Now the Ind. began to talk of removing from this place, some one way, and some another. There were now besides myself nine English captives in this place (all of them children, except one woman). I got an opportunity to go and take my leave of them. They being to go one way, and I another, I asked them whether they were earnest with God for deliverance. They told me they did as they were able, and it was some comfort to me, that the Lord stirred up children to look to Him.

    The woman, viz. goodwife Joslin, told me she should never see me again, and that she could find in her heart to run away. I wished her not to run away by any means, for we were near thirty miles from any English town, and she very big with child, and had but one week to reckon, and another child in her arms, two years old, and bad rivers there were to go over, and we were feeble, with our poor and coarse entertainment. I had my Bible with me, I pulled it out, and asked her whether she would read. We opened the Bible and lighted on Psalm 27, in which Psalm we especially took notice of that, ver. ult., “Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine Heart, wait I say on the Lord.”

    The Fourth Remove

    And now I must part with that little company I had. Here I parted from my daughter Mary (whom I never saw again till I saw her in Dorchester, returned from captivity), and from four little cousins and neighbors, some of which I never saw afterward: the Lord only knows the end of them. Amongst them also was that poor woman before mentioned, who came to a sad end, as some of the company told me in my travel: she having much grief upon her spirit about her miserable condition, being so near her time, she would be often asking the Indians to let her go home; they not being willing to that, and yet vexed with her importunity, gathered a great company together about her and stripped her naked, and set her in the midst of them, and when they had sung and danced about her (in their hellish manner) as long as they pleased they knocked her on head, and the child in her arms with her.

    When they had done that they made a fire and put them both into it, and told the other children that were with them that if they attempted to go home, they would serve them in like manner. The children said she did not shed one tear, but prayed all the while. But to return to my own journey, we traveled about half a day or little more, and came to a desolate place in the wilderness, where there were no wigwams or inhabitants before; we came about the middle of the afternoon to this place, cold and wet, and snowy, and hungry, and weary, and no refreshing for man but the cold ground to sit on, and our poor Indian cheer.

    Heart-aching thoughts here I had about my poor children, who were scattered up and down among the wild beasts of the forest. My head was light and dizzy (either through hunger or hard lodging, or trouble or all together), my knees feeble, my body raw by sitting double night and day, that I cannot express to man the affliction that lay upon my spirit, but the Lord helped me at that time to express it to Himself. I opened my Bible to read, and the Lord brought that precious Scripture to me. “Thus saith the Lord, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jeremiah 31.16). This was a sweet cordial to me when I was ready to faint; many and many a time have I sat down and wept sweetly over this Scripture.

    At this place we continued about four days.

    The Fifth Remove

    The occasion (as I thought) of their moving at this time was the English army, it being near and following them. For they went as if they had gone for their lives, for some considerable way, and then they made a stop, and chose some of their stoutest men, and sent them back to hold the English army in play whilst the rest escaped. And then, like Jehu, they marched on furiously, with their old and with their young: some carried their old decrepit mothers, some carried one, and some another. Four of them carried a great Indian upon a bier; but going through a thick wood with him, they were hindered, and could make no haste, whereupon they took him upon their backs, and carried him, one at a time, till they came to Banquaug river. Upon a Friday, a little after noon, we came to this river. When all the company was come up, and were gathered together, I thought to count the number of them, but they were so many, and being somewhat in motion, it was beyond my skill. In this travel, because of my wound, I was somewhat favored in my load; I carried only my knitting work and two quarts of parched meal. Being very faint I asked my mistress to give me one spoonful of the meal, but she would not give me a taste. They quickly fell to cutting dry trees, to make rafts to carry them over the river: and soon my turn came to go over. By the advantage of some brush which they had laid upon the raft to sit upon, I did not wet my foot (which many of themselves at the other end were mid-leg deep) which cannot but be acknowledged as a favor of God to my weakened body, it being a very cold time. I was not before acquainted with such kind of doings or dangers. “When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee”

    (Isaiah 43.2). A certain number of us got over the river that night, but it was the night after the Sabbath before all the company was got over. On the Saturday they boiled an old horse’s leg which they had got, and so we drank of the broth, as soon as they thought it was ready, and when it was almost all gone, they filled it up again.

    The first week of my being among them I hardly ate any thing; the second week I found my stomach grow very faint for want of something; and yet it was very hard to get down their filthy trash; but the third week, though I could think how formerly my stomach would turn against this or that, and I could starve and die before I could eat such things, yet they were sweet and savory to my taste. I was at this time knitting a pair of white cotton stockings for my mistress; and had not yet wrought upon a Sabbath day. When the Sabbath came they bade me go to work. I told them it was the Sabbath day, and desired them to let me rest, and told them I would do as much more tomorrow; to which they answered me they would break my face.

    And here I cannot but take notice of the strange providence of God in preserving the heathen. They were many hundreds, old and young, some sick, and some lame; many had papooses at their backs. The greatest number at this time with us were squaws, and they traveled with all they had, bag and baggage, and yet they got over this river aforesaid; and on Monday they set their wigwams on fire, and away they went. On that very day came the English army after them to this river, and saw the smoke of their wigwams, and yet this river put a stop to them. God did not give them courage or activity to go over after us. We were not ready for so great a mercy as victory and deliverance. If we had been God would have found out a way for the English to have passed this river, as well as for the Indians with their squaws and children, and all their luggage. “Oh that my people had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries” (Psalm 81.13-14).

    The Eighth Remove

    On the morrow morning we must go over the river, i.e. Connecticut, to meet with King Philip. Two canoes full they had carried over; the next turn I myself was to go. But as my foot was upon the canoe to step in there was a sudden outcry among them, and I must step back, and instead of going over the river, I must go four or five miles up the river farther northward. Some of the Indians ran one way, and some another. The cause of this rout was, as I thought, their espying some English scouts, who were thereabout. In this travel up the river about noon the company made a stop, and sat down; some to eat, and others to rest them. As I sat amongst them, musing of things past, my son Joseph unexpectedly came to me. We asked of each other’s welfare, bemoaning our doleful condition, and the change that had come upon us. We had husband and father, and children, and sisters, and friends, and relations, and house, and home, and many comforts of this life: but now we may say, as Job, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return: the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I asked him whether he would read. He told me he earnestly desired it, I gave him my Bible, and he lighted upon that comfortable Scripture “I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord: the Lord hath chastened me sore yet he hath not given me over to death” (Psalm 118.17-18). “Look here, mother,” says he, “did you read this?” And here I may take occasion to mention one principal ground of my setting forth these lines: even as the psalmist says, to declare the works of the Lord, and His wonderful power in carrying us along, preserving us in the wilderness, while under the enemy’s hand, and returning of us in safety again. And His goodness in bringing to my hand so many comfortable and suitable scriptures in my distress. But to return, we traveled on till night; and in the morning, we must go over the river to Philip’s crew. When I was in the canoe I could not but be amazed at the numerous crew of pagans that were on the bank on the other side. When I came ashore, they gathered all about me, I sitting alone in the midst. I observed they asked one another questions, and laughed, and rejoiced over their gains and victories. Then my heart began to fail: and I fell aweeping, which was the first time to my remembrance, that I wept before them. Although I had met with so much affliction, and my heart was many times ready to break, yet could I not shed one tear in their sight; but rather had been all this while in a maze, and like one astonished. But now I may say as Psalm 137.1, “By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sate down: yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.” There one of them asked me why I wept. I could hardly tell what to say: Yet I answered, they would kill me. “No,” said he, “none will hurt you.” Then came one of them and gave me two spoonfuls of meal to comfort me, and another gave me half a pint of peas; which was more worth than many bushels at another time. Then I went to see King Philip. He bade me come in and sit down, and asked me whether I would smoke it (a usual compliment nowadays amongst saints and sinners) but this no way suited me. For though I had formerly used tobacco, yet I had left it ever since I was first taken. It seems to be a bait the devil lays to make men lose their precious time. I remember with shame how formerly, when I had taken two or three pipes, I was presently ready for another, such a bewitching thing it is. But I thank God, He has now given me power over it; surely there are many who may be better employed than to lie sucking a stinking tobacco-pipe.

    Now the Indians gather their forces to go against Northampton. Over night one went about yelling and hooting to give notice of the design. Whereupon they fell to boiling of ground nuts, and parching of corn (as many as had it) for their provision; and in the morning away they went. During my abode in this place, Philip spake to me to make a shirt for his boy, which I did, for which he gave me a shilling. I offered the money to my master, but he bade me keep it; and with it I bought a piece of horse flesh. Afterwards he asked me to make a cap for his boy, for which he invited me to dinner. I went, and he gave me a pancake, about as big as two fingers. It was made of parched wheat, beaten, and fried in bear’s grease, but I thought I never tasted pleasanter meat in my life. There was a squaw who spake to me to make a shirt for her sannup, for which she gave me a piece of bear. Another asked me to knit a pair of stockings, for which she gave me a quart of peas. I boiled my peas and bear together, and invited my master and mistress to dinner; but the proud gossip, because I served them both in one dish, would eat nothing, except one bit that he gave her upon the point of his knife. Hearing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and found him lying flat upon the ground. I asked him how he could sleep so? He answered me that he was not asleep, but at prayer; and lay so, that they might not observe what he was doing. I pray God he may remember these things now he is returned in safety. At this place (the sun now getting higher) what with the beams and heat of the sun, and the smoke of the wigwams, I thought I should have been blind. I could scarce discern one wigwam from another. There was here one Mary Thurston of Medfield, who seeing how it was with me, lent me a hat to wear; but as soon as I was gone, the squaw (who owned that Mary Thurston) came running after me, and got it away again. Here was the squaw that gave me one spoonful of meal. I put it in my pocket to keep it safe. Yet notwithstanding, somebody stole it, but put five Indian corns in the room of it; which corns were the greatest provisions I had in my travel for one day.

    The Indians returning from Northampton, brought with them some horses, and sheep, and other things which they had taken; I desired them that they would carry me to Albany upon one of those horses, and sell me for powder: for so they had sometimes discoursed. I was utterly hopeless of getting home on foot, the way that I came. I could hardly bear to think of the many weary steps I had taken, to come to this place.

    The Thirteenth Remove

    Instead of going toward the Bay, which was that I desired, I must go with them five or six miles down the river into a mighty thicket of brush; where we abode almost a fortnight. Here one asked me to make a shirt for her papoose, for which she gave me a mess of broth, which was thickened with meal made of the bark of a tree, and to make it the better, she had put into it about a handful of peas, and a few roasted ground nuts. I had not seen my son a pretty while, and here was an Indian of whom I made inquiry after him, and asked him when he saw him. He answered me that such a time his master roasted him, and that himself did eat a piece of him, as big as his two fingers, and that he was very good meat. But the Lord upheld my Spirit, under this discouragement; and I considered their horrible addictedness to lying, and that there is not one of them that makes the least conscience of speaking of truth. In this place, on a cold night, as I lay by the fire, I removed a stick that kept the heat from me. A squaw moved it down again, at which I looked up, and she threw a handful of ashes in mine eyes. I thought I should have been quite blinded, and have never seen more, but lying down, the water run out of my eyes, and carried the dirt with it, that by the morning I recovered my sight again. Yet upon this, and the like occasions, I hope it is not too much to say with Job, “Have pity upon me, O ye my Friends, for the Hand of the Lord has touched me.” And here I cannot but remember how many times sitting in their wigwams, and musing on things past, I should suddenly leap up and run out, as if I had been at home, forgetting where I was, and what my condition was; but when I was without, and saw nothing but wilderness, and woods, and a company of barbarous heathens, my mind quickly returned to me, which made me think of that, spoken concerning Sampson, who said, “I will go out and shake myself as at other times, but he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” About this time I began to think that all my hopes of restoration would come to nothing. I thought of the English army, and hoped for their coming, and being taken by them, but that failed. I hoped to be carried to Albany, as the Indians had discoursed before, but that failed also. I thought of being sold to my husband, as my master spake, but instead of that, my master himself was gone, and I left behind, so that my spirit was now quite ready to sink. I asked them to let me go out and pick up some sticks, that I might get alone, and pour out my heart unto the Lord. Then also I took my Bible to read, but I found no comfort here neither, which many times I was wont to find. So easy a thing it is with God to dry up the streams of Scripture comfort from us. Yet I can say, that in all my sorrows and afflictions, God did not leave me to have my impatience work towards Himself, as if His ways were unrighteous. But I knew that He laid upon me less than I deserved. Afterward, before this doleful time ended with me, I was turning the leaves of my Bible, and the Lord brought to me some Scriptures, which did a little revive me, as that [in] Isaiah 55.8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” And also that [in]

    Psalm 37.5: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” About this time they came yelping from Hadley, where they had killed three Englishmen, and brought one captive with them, viz. Thomas Read. They all gathered about the poor man, asking him many questions. I desired also to go and see him; and when I came, he was crying bitterly, supposing they would quickly kill him. Whereupon I asked one of them, whether they intended to kill him; he answered me, they would not. He being a little cheered with that, I asked him about the welfare of my husband. He told me he saw him such a time in the Bay, and he was well, but very melancholy. By which I certainly understood (though I suspected it before) that whatsoever the Indians told me respecting him was vanity and lies. Some of them told me he was dead, and they had killed him; some said he was married again, and that the Governor wished him to marry; and told him he should have his choice, and that all persuaded I was dead. So like were these barbarous creatures to him who was a liar from the beginning.

    As I was sitting once in the wigwam here, Philip’s maid came in with the child in her arms, and asked me to give her a piece of my apron, to make a flap for it.

    I told her I would not. Then my mistress bade me give it, but still I said no. The maid told me if I would not give her a piece, she would tear a piece off it. I told her I would tear her coat then. With that my mistress rises up, and take up a stick big enough to have killed me, and struck at me with it. But I stepped out, and she struck the stick into the mat of the wigwam. But while she was pulling of it out I ran to the maid and gave her all my apron, and so that storm went over.

    Hearing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and told him his father was well, but melancholy. He told me he was as much grieved for his father as for himself. I wondered at his speech, for I thought I had enough upon my spirit in reference to myself, to make me mindless of my husband and everyone else; they being safe among their friends. He told me also, that awhile before, his master (together with other Indians) were going to the French for powder; but by the way the Mohawks met with them, and killed four of their company, which made the rest turn back again, for it might have been worse with him, had he been sold to the French, than it proved to be in his remaining with the Indians.

    I went to see an English youth in this place, one John Gilbert of Springfield.

    I found him lying without doors, upon the ground. I asked him how he did? He told me he was very sick of a flux, with eating so much blood. They had turned him out of the wigwam, and with him an Indian papoose, almost dead (whose parents had been killed), in a bitter cold day, without fire or clothes. The young man himself had nothing on but his shirt and waistcoat. This sight was enough to melt a heart of flint. There they lay quivering in the cold, the youth round like a dog, the papoose stretched out with his eyes and nose and mouth full of dirt, and yet alive, and groaning. I advised John to go and get to some fire. He told me he could not stand, but I persuaded him still, lest he should lie there and die.

    And with much ado I got him to a fire, and went myself home. As soon as I was got home his master’s daughter came after me, to know what I had done with the Englishman. I told her I had got him to a fire in such a place. Now had I need to pray Paul’s Prayer “That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men”

    (2 Thessalonians 3.2). For her satisfaction I went along with her, and brought her to him; but before I got home again it was noised about that I was running away and getting the English youth, along with me; that as soon as I came in they began to rant and domineer, asking me where I had been, and what I had been doing?

    and saying they would knock him on the head. I told them I had been seeing the English youth, and that I would not run away. They told me I lied, and taking up a hatchet, they came to me, and said they would knock me down if I stirred out again, and so confined me to the wigwam. Now may I say with David, “I am in a great strait” (2 Samuel 24.14). If I keep in, I must die with hunger, and if I go out, I must be knocked in head. This distressed condition held that day, and half the next. And then the Lord remembered me, whose mercies are great. Then came an Indian to me with a pair of stockings that were too big for him, and he would have me ravel them out, and knit them fit for him. I showed myself willing, and bid him ask my mistress if I might go along with him a little way; she said yes, I might, but I was not a little refreshed with that news, that I had my liberty again. Then I went along with him, and he gave me some roasted ground nuts, which did again revive my feeble stomach.

    Being got out of her sight, I had time and liberty again to look into my Bible; which was my guide by day, and my pillow by night. Now that comfortable Scripture presented itself to me, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isaiah 54.7). Thus the Lord carried me along from one time to another, and made good to me this precious promise, and many others.

    Then my son came to see me, and I asked his master to let him stay awhile with me, that I might comb his head, and look over him, for he was almost overcome with lice. He told me, when I had done, that he was very hungry, but I had nothing to relieve him, but bid him go into the wigwams as he went along, and see if he could get any thing among them. Which he did, and it seems tarried a little too long; for his master was angry with him, and beat him, and then sold him. Then he came running to tell me he had a new master, and that he had given him some ground nuts already. Then I went along with him to his new master who told me he loved him, and he should not want. So his master carried him away, and I never saw him afterward, till I saw him at Piscataqua in Portsmouth.

    That night they bade me go out of the wigwam again. My mistress’s papoose was sick, and it died that night, and there was one benefit in it—that there was more room. I went to a wigwam, and they bade me come in, and gave me a skin to lie upon, and a mess of venison and ground nuts, which was a choice dish among them. On the morrow they buried the papoose, and afterward, both morning and evening, there came a company to mourn and howl with her; though I confess I could not much condole with them. Many sorrowful days I had in this place, often getting alone. “Like a crane, or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove, mine eyes ail with looking upward. Oh, Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me” (Isaiah 38.14). I could tell the Lord, as Hezekiah, “Remember now O

    Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth.” Now had I time to examine all my ways: my conscience did not accuse me of unrighteousness toward one or other; yet I saw how in my walk with God, I had been a careless creature.

    As David said, “Against thee, thee only have I sinned”: and I might say with the poor publican, “God be merciful unto me a sinner.” On the Sabbath days, I could look upon the sun and think how people were going to the house of God, to have their souls refreshed; and then home, and their bodies also; but I was destitute of both; and might say as the poor prodigal, “He would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him” (Luke 15.16).

    For I must say with him, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight.”

    I remembered how on the night before and after the Sabbath, when my family was about me, and relations and neighbors with us, we could pray and sing, and then refresh our bodies with the good creatures of God; and then have a comfortable bed to lie down on; but instead of all this, I had only a little swill for the body and then, like a swine, must lie down on the ground. I cannot express to man the sorrow that lay upon my spirit; the Lord knows it. Yet that comfortable Scripture would often come to mind, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.”

    The Eighteenth Remove

    We took up our packs and along we went, but a wearisome day I had of it.

    As we went along I saw an Englishman stripped naked, and lying dead upon the ground, but knew not who it was. Then we came to another Indian town, where we stayed all night. In this town there were four English children, captives; and one of them my own sister’s. I went to see how she did, and she was well, considering her captive condition. I would have tarried that night with her, but they that owned her would not suffer it. Then I went into another wigwam, where they were boiling corn and beans, which was a lovely sight to see, but I could not get a taste thereof.

    Then I went to another wigwam, where there were two of the English children; the squaw was boiling horses feet; then she cut me off a little piece, and gave one of the English children a piece also. Being very hungry I had quickly eat up mine, but the child could not bite it, it was so tough and sinewy, but lay sucking, gnawing, chewing and slabbering of it in the mouth and hand. Then I took it of the child, and eat it myself, and savory it was to my taste. Then I may say as Job 6.7, “The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.” Thus the Lord made that pleasant refreshing, which another time would have been an abomination. Then I went home to my mistress’s wigwam; and they told me I disgraced my master with begging, and if I did so any more, they would knock me in the head. I told them, they had as good knock me in head as starve me to death.

    The Nineteenth Remove

    They said, when we went out, that we must travel to Wachusett this day. But a bitter weary day I had of it, traveling now three days together, without resting any day between. At last, after many weary steps, I saw Wachusett hills, but many miles off. Then we came to a great swamp, through which we traveled, up to the knees in mud and water, which was heavy going to one tired before. Being almost spent, I thought I should have sunk down at last, and never got out; but I may say, as in Psalm 94.18, “When my foot slipped, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” Going along, having indeed my life, but little spirit, Philip, who was in the company, came up and took me by the hand, and said, two weeks more and you shall be mistress again. I asked him, if he spake true? He answered, “Yes, and quickly you shall come to your master again; who had been gone from us three weeks.” After many weary steps we came to Wachusett, where he was: and glad I was to see him. He asked me, when I washed me? I told him not this month. Then he fetched me some water himself, and bid me wash, and gave me the glass to see how I looked; and bid his squaw give me something to eat. So she gave me a mess of beans and meat, and a little ground nut cake. I was wonderfully revived with this favor showed me: “He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives” (Psalm 106.46).

    My master had three squaws, living sometimes with one, and sometimes with another one, this old squaw, at whose wigwam I was, and with whom my master had been those three weeks. Another was Wattimore [Weetamoo] with whom I had lived and served all this while. A severe and proud dame she was, bestowing every day in dressing herself neat as much time as any of the gentry of the land: powdering her hair, and painting her face, going with necklaces, with jewels in her ears, and bracelets upon her hands. When she had dressed herself, her work was to make girdles of wampum and beads. The third squaw was a younger one, by whom he had two papooses. By the time I was refreshed by the old squaw, with whom my master was, Weetamoo’s maid came to call me home, at which I fell aweeping. Then the old squaw told me, to encourage me, that if I wanted victuals, I should come to her, and that I should lie there in her wigwam. Then I went with the maid, and quickly came again and lodged there. The squaw laid a mat under me, and a good rug over me; the first time I had any such kindness showed me. I understood that Weetamoo thought that if she should let me go and serve with the old squaw, she would be in danger to lose not only my service, but the redemption pay also. And I was not a little glad to hear this; being by it raised in my hopes, that in God’s due time there would be an end of this sorrowful hour. Then came an Indian, and asked me to knit him three pair of stockings, for which I had a hat, and a silk handkerchief. Then another asked me to make her a shift, for which she gave me an apron.

    Then came Tom and Peter, with the second letter from the council, about the captives. Though they were Indians, I got them by the hand, and burst out into tears. My heart was so full that I could not speak to them; but recovering myself, I asked them how my husband did, and all my friends and acquaintance? They said, “They are all very well but melancholy.” They brought me two biscuits, and a pound of tobacco. The tobacco I quickly gave away. When it was all gone, one asked me to give him a pipe of tobacco. I told him it was all gone. Then began he to rant and threaten. I told him when my husband came I would give him some. Hang him rogue (says he) I will knock out his brains, if he comes here. And then again, in the same breath they would say that if there should come an hundred without guns, they would do them no hurt. So unstable and like madmen they were. So that fearing the worst, I durst not send to my husband, though there were some thoughts of his coming to redeem and fetch me, not knowing what might follow.

    For there was little more trust to them than to the master they served. When the letter was come, the Sagamores met to consult about the captives, and called me to them to inquire how much my husband would give to redeem me. When I came I sat down among them, as I was wont to do, as their manner is. Then they bade me stand up, and said they were the General Court. They bid me speak what I thought he would give. Now knowing that all we had was destroyed by the Indians, I was in a great strait. I thought if I should speak of but a little it would be slighted, and hinder the matter; if of a great sum, I knew not where it would be procured. Yet at a venture I said “Twenty pounds,” yet desired them to take less. But they would not hear of that, but sent that message to Boston, that for twenty pounds I should be redeemed. It was a Praying Indian that wrote their letter for them. There was another Praying Indian, who told me, that he had a brother, that would not eat horse; his conscience was so tender and scrupulous (though as large as hell, for the destruction of poor Christians). Then he said, he read that Scripture to him,

    “There was a famine in Samaria, and behold they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for four-score pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver” (2 Kings 6.25). He expounded this place to his brother, and showed him that it was lawful to eat that in a famine which is not at another time.

    And now, says he, he will eat horse with any Indian of them all. There was another Praying Indian, who when he had done all the mischief that he could, betrayed his own father into the English hands, thereby to purchase his own life. Another Praying Indian was at Sudbury fight, though, as he deserved, he was afterward hanged for it. There was another Praying Indian, so wicked and cruel, as to wear a string about his neck, strung with Christians’ fingers. Another Praying Indian, when they went to Sudbury fight, went with them, and his squaw also with him, with her papoose at her back. Before they went to that fight they got a company together to pow-wow. The manner was as followeth: there was one that kneeled upon a deerskin, with the company round him in a ring who kneeled, and striking upon the ground with their hands, and with sticks, and muttering or humming with their mouths. Besides him who kneeled in the ring, there also stood one with a gun in his hand. Then he on the deerskin made a speech, and all manifested assent to it; and so they did many times together. Then they bade him with the gun go out of the ring, which he did. But when he was out, they called him in again; but he seemed to make a stand; then they called the more earnestly, till he returned again.

    Then they all sang. Then they gave him two guns, in either hand one. And so he on the deerskin began again; and at the end of every sentence in his speaking, they all assented, humming or muttering with their mouths, and striking upon the ground with their hands. Then they bade him with the two guns go out of the ring again; which he did, a little way. Then they called him in again, but he made a stand. So they called him with greater earnestness; but he stood reeling and wavering as if he knew not whither he should stand or fall, or which way to go. Then they called him with exceeding great vehemency, all of them, one and another. After a little while he turned in, staggering as he went, with his arms stretched out, in either hand a gun.

    As soon as he came in they all sang and rejoiced exceedingly a while. And then he upon the deerskin, made another speech unto which they all assented in a rejoicing manner. And so they ended their business, and forthwith went to Sudbury fight.

    To my thinking they went without any scruple, but that they should prosper, and gain the victory. And they went out not so rejoicing, but they came home with as great a victory. For they said they had killed two captains and almost an hundred men. One Englishman they brought along with them: and he said, it was too true, for they had made sad work at Sudbury, as indeed it proved. Yet they came home without that rejoicing and triumphing over their victory which they were wont to show at other times; but rather like dogs (as they say) which have lost their ears.

    Yet I could not perceive that it was for their own loss of men. They said they had not lost above five or six; and I missed none, except in one wigwam. When they went, they acted as if the devil had told them that they should gain the victory; and now they acted as if the devil had told them they should have a fall. Whither it were so or no, I cannot tell, but so it proved, for quickly they began to fall, and so held on that summer, till they came to utter ruin. They came home on a Sabbath day, and the Powaw that kneeled upon the deer-skin came home (I may say, without abuse) as black as the devil. When my master came home, he came to me and bid me make a shirt for his papoose, of a holland-laced pillowbere. About that time there came an Indian to me and bid me come to his wigwam at night, and he would give me some pork and ground nuts. Which I did, and as I was eating, another Indian said to me, he seems to be your good friend, but he killed two Englishmen at Sudbury, and there lie their clothes behind you: I looked behind me, and there I saw bloody clothes, with bullet-holes in them. Yet the Lord suffered not this wretch to do me any hurt. Yea, instead of that, he many times refreshed me; five or six times did he and his squaw refresh my feeble carcass. If I went to their wigwam at any time, they would always give me something, and yet they were strangers that I never saw before. Another squaw gave me a piece of fresh pork, and a little salt with it, and lent me her pan to fry it in; and I cannot but remember what a sweet, pleasant and delightful relish that bit had to me, to this day. So little do we prize common mercies when we have them to the full.

    The Twentieth Remove

    It was their usual manner to remove, when they had done any mischief, lest they should be found out; and so they did at this time. We went about three or four miles, and there they built a great wigwam, big enough to hold an hundred Indians, which they did in preparation to a great day of dancing. They would say now amongst themselves, that the governor would be so angry for his loss at Sudbury, that he would send no more about the captives, which made me grieve and tremble. My sister being not far from the place where we now were, and hearing that I was here, desired her master to let her come and see me, and he was willing to it, and would go with her; but she being ready before him, told him she would go before, and was come within a mile or two of the place. Then he overtook her, and began to rant as if he had been mad, and made her go back again in the rain; so that I never saw her till I saw her in Charlestown. But the Lord requited many of their ill doings, for this Indian her master, was hanged afterward at Boston. The Indians now began to come from all quarters, against their merry dancing day. Among some of them came one goodwife Kettle. I told her my heart was so heavy that it was ready to break. “So is mine too,” said she, but yet said, “I hope we shall hear some good news shortly.” I could hear how earnestly my sister desired to see me, and I as earnestly desired to see her; and yet neither of us could get an opportunity.

    My daughter was also now about a mile off, and I had not seen her in nine or ten weeks, as I had not seen my sister since our first taking. I earnestly desired them to let me go and see them: yea, I entreated, begged, and persuaded them, but to let me see my daughter; and yet so hard-hearted were they, that they would not suffer it.

    They made use of their tyrannical power whilst they had it; but through the Lord’s wonderful mercy, their time was now but short.

    On a Sabbath day, the sun being about an hour high in the afternoon, came Mr. John Hoar (the council permitting him, and his own foreward spirit inclining him), together with the two forementioned Indians, Tom and Peter, with their third letter from the council. When they came near, I was abroad. Though I saw them not, they presently called me in, and bade me sit down and not stir. Then they catched up their guns, and away they ran, as if an enemy had been at hand, and the guns went off apace. I manifested some great trouble, and they asked me what was the matter? I told them I thought they had killed the Englishman (for they had in the meantime informed me that an Englishman was come). They said, no. They shot over his horse and under and before his horse, and they pushed him this way and that way, at their pleasure, showing what they could do. Then they let them come to their wigwams. I begged of them to let me see the Englishman, but they would not. But there was I fain to sit their pleasure. When they had talked their fill with him, they suffered me to go to him. We asked each other of our welfare, and how my husband did, and all my friends? He told me they were all well, and would be glad to see me. Amongst other things which my husband sent me, there came a pound of tobacco, which I sold for nine shillings in money; for many of the Indians for want of tobacco, smoked hemlock, and ground ivy. It was a great mistake in any, who thought I sent for tobacco; for through the favor of God, that desire was overcome. I now asked them whether I should go home with Mr. Hoar? They answered no, one and another of them, and it being night, we lay down with that answer. In the morning Mr. Hoar invited the Sagamores to dinner; but when we went to get it ready we found that they had stolen the greatest part of the provision Mr. Hoar had brought, out of his bags, in the night. And we may see the wonderful power of God, in that one passage, in that when there was such a great number of the Indians together, and so greedy of a little good food, and no English there but Mr. Hoar and myself, that there they did not knock us in the head, and take what we had, there being not only some provision, but also trading-cloth, a part of the twenty pounds agreed upon. But instead of doing us any mischief, they seemed to be ashamed of the fact, and said, it were some matchit Indian that did it. Oh, that we could believe that there is nothing too hard for God! God showed His power over the heathen in this, as He did over the hungry lions when Daniel was cast into the den. Mr. Hoar called them betime to dinner, but they ate very little, they being so busy in dressing themselves, and getting ready for their dance, which was carried on by eight of them, four men and four squaws. My master and mistress being two. He was dressed in his holland shirt, with great laces sewed at the tail of it; he had his silver buttons, his white stockings, his garters were hung round with shillings, and he had girdles of wampum upon his head and shoulders. She had a kersey coat, and covered with girdles of wampum from the loins upward. Her arms from her elbows to her hands were covered with bracelets; there were handfuls of necklaces about her neck, and several sorts of jewels in her ears. She had fine red stockings, and white shoes, her hair powdered and face painted red, that was always before black. And all the dancers were after the same manner. There were two others singing and knocking on a kettle for their music. They kept hopping up and down one after another, with a kettle of water in the midst, standing warm upon some embers, to drink of when they were dry. They held on till it was almost night, throwing out wampum to the standers by. At night I asked them again, if I should go home? They all as one said no, except my husband would come for me.

    When we were lain down, my master went out of the wigwam, and by and by sent in an Indian called James the Printer, who told Mr. Hoar, that my master would let me go home tomorrow, if he would let him have one pint of liquors. Then Mr. Hoar called his own Indians, Tom and Peter, and bid them go and see whether he would promise it before them three; and if he would, he should have it; which he did, and he had it. Then Philip smelling the business called me to him, and asked me what I would give him, to tell me some good news, and speak a good word for me. I told him I could not tell what to give him. I would [give him] anything I had, and asked him what he would have? He said two coats and twenty shillings in money, and half a bushel of seed corn, and some tobacco. I thanked him for his love; but I knew the good news as well as the crafty fox. My master after he had had his drink, quickly came ranting into the wigwam again, and called for Mr. Hoar, drinking to him, and saying, he was a good man, and then again he would say, “hang him rogue.” Being almost drunk, he would drink to him, and yet presently say he should be hanged. Then he called for me. I trembled to hear him, yet I was fain to go to him, and he drank to me, showing no incivility. He was the first Indian I saw drunk all the while that I was amongst them. At last his squaw ran out, and he after her, round the wigwam, with his money jingling at his knees. But she escaped him. But having an old squaw he ran to her; and so through the Lord’s mercy, we were no more troubled that night. Yet I had not a comfortable night’s rest; for I think I can say, I did not sleep for three nights together. The night before the letter came from the council, I could not rest, I was so full of fears and troubles, God many times leaving us most in the dark, when deliverance is nearest. Yea, at this time I could not rest night nor day. The next night I was overjoyed, Mr. Hoar being come, and that with such good tidings. The third night I was even swallowed up with the thoughts of things, viz. that ever I should go home again; and that I must go, leaving my children behind me in the wilderness; so that sleep was now almost departed from mine eyes.

    On Tuesday morning they called their general court (as they call it) to consult and determine, whether I should go home or no. And they all as one man did seemingly consent to it, that I should go home; except Philip, who would not come among them.

    But before I go any further, I would take leave to mention a few remarkable passages of providence, which I took special notice of in my afflicted time.

    1. Of the fair opportunity lost in the long march, a little after the fort fight, when our English army was so numerous, and in pursuit of the enemy, and so near as to take several and destroy them, and the enemy in such distress for food that our men might track them by their rooting in the earth for ground nuts, whilst they were flying for their lives. I say, that then our army should want provision, and be forced to leave their pursuit and return homeward; and the very next week the enemy came upon our town, like bears bereft of their whelps, or so many ravenous wolves, rending us and our lambs to death. But what shall I say? God seemed to leave his People to themselves, and order all things for His own holy ends. Shall there be evil in the City and the Lord hath not done it? They are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph, therefore shall they go captive, with the first that go captive. It is the Lord’s doing, and it should be marvelous in our eyes.

    2. I cannot but remember how the Indians derided the slowness, and dullness of the English army, in its setting out. For after the desolations at Lancaster and Medfield, as I went along with them, they asked me when I thought the English army would come after them? I told them I could not tell. “It may be they will come in May,” said they. Thus did they scoff at us, as if the English would be a quarter of a year getting ready.

    3. Which also I have hinted before, when the English army with new supplies were sent forth to pursue after the enemy, and they understanding it, fled before them till they came to Banquang river, where they forthwith went over safely; that that river should be impassable to the English. I can but admire to see the wonderful providence of God in preserving the heathen for further affliction to our poor country. They could go in great numbers over, but the English must stop. God had an over-ruling hand in all those things.

    4. It was thought, if their corn were cut down, they would starve and die with hunger, and all their corn that could be found, was destroyed, and they driven from that little they had in store, into the woods in the midst of winter; and yet how to admiration did the Lord preserve them for His holy ends, and the destruction of many still amongst the English!

    strangely did the Lord provide for them; that I did not see (all the time I was among them) one man, woman, or child, die with hunger.

    Though many times they would eat that, that a hog or a dog would hardly touch; yet by that God strengthened them to be a scourge to His people.

    The chief and commonest food was ground nuts. They eat also nuts and acorns, artichokes, lilly roots, ground beans, and several other weeds and roots, that I know not.

    They would pick up old bones, and cut them to pieces at the joints, and if they were full of worms and maggots, they would scald them over the fire to make the vermine come out, and then boil them, and drink up the liquor, and then beat the great ends of them in a mortar, and so eat them. They would eat horse’s guts, and ears, and all sorts of wild birds which they could catch; also bear, venison, beaver, tortoise, frogs, squirrels, dogs, skunks, rattlesnakes; yea, the very bark of trees; besides all sorts of creatures, and provision which they plundered from the English.

    I can but stand in admiration to see the wonderful power of God in providing for such a vast number of our enemies in the wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hand to mouth. Many times in a morning, the generality of them would eat up all they had, and yet have some further supply against they wanted.

    It is said, “Oh, that my People had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their Enemies, and turned my hand against their Adversaries” (Psalm 81.13-14). But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended Him, that instead of turning His hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole land.

    5. Another thing that I would observe is the strange providence of God, in turning things about when the Indians was at the highest, and the English at the lowest. I was with the enemy eleven weeks and five days, and not one week passed without the fury of the enemy, and some desolation by fire and sword upon one place or other. They mourned (with their black faces) for their own losses, yet triumphed and rejoiced in their inhumane, and many times devilish cruelty to the English. They would boast much of their victories; saying that in two hours time they had destroyed such a captain and his company at such a place; and boast how many towns they had destroyed, and then scoff, and say they had done them a good turn to send them to Heaven so soon. Again, they would say this summer that they would knock all the rogues in the head, or drive them into the sea, or make them fly the country; thinking surely, Agag-like, “The bitterness of Death is past.” Now the heathen begins to think all is their own, and the poor Christians’ hopes to fail (as to man) and now their eyes are more to God, and their hearts sigh heavenward; and to say in good earnest, “Help Lord, or we perish.” When the Lord had brought His people to this, that they saw no help in anything but Himself; then He takes the quarrel into His own hand; and though they had made a pit, in their own imaginations, as deep as hell for the Christians that summer, yet the Lord hurled themselves into it. And the Lord had not so many ways before to preserve them, but now He hath as many to destroy them.

    But to return again to my going home, where we may see a remarkable change of providence. At first they were all against it, except my husband would come for me, but afterwards they assented to it, and seemed much to rejoice in it; some asked me to send them some bread, others some tobacco, others shaking me by the hand, offering me a hood and scarfe to ride in; not one moving hand or tongue against it. Thus hath the Lord answered my poor desire, and the many earnest requests of others put up unto God for me. In my travels an Indian came to me and told me, if I were willing, he and his squaw would run away, and go home along with me. I told him no: I was not willing to run away, but desired to wait God’s time, that I might go home quietly, and without fear. And now God hath granted me my desire. O the wonderful power of God that I have seen, and the experience that I have had. I have been in the midst of those roaring lions, and savage bears, that feared neither God, nor man, nor the devil, by night and day, alone and in company, sleeping all sorts together, and yet not one of them ever offered me the least abuse of unchastity to me, in word or action. Though some are ready to say I speak it for my own credit; but I speak it in the presence of God, and to His Glory.

    God’s power is as great now, and as sufficient to save, as when He preserved Daniel in the lion’s den; or the three children in the fiery furnace. I may well say as his Psalm 107.12 “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever.” Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy, especially that I should come away in the midst of so many hundreds of enemies quietly and peaceably, and not a dog moving his tongue. So I took my leave of them, and in coming along my heart melted into tears, more than all the while I was with them, and I was almost swallowed up with the thoughts that ever I should go home again. About the sun going down, Mr. Hoar, and myself, and the two Indians came to Lancaster, and a solemn sight it was to me. There had I lived many comfortable years amongst my relations and neighbors, and now not one Christian to be seen, nor one house left standing. We went on to a farmhouse that was yet standing, where we lay all night, and a comfortable lodging we had, though nothing but straw to lie on. The Lord preserved us in safety that night, and raised us up again in the morning, and carried us along, that before noon, we came to Concord. Now was I full of joy, and yet not without sorrow; joy to see such a lovely sight, so many Christians together, and some of them my neighbors.

    There I met with my brother, and my brother-in-law, who asked me, if I knew where his wife was? Poor heart! he had helped to bury her, and knew it not. She being shot down by the house was partly burnt, so that those who were at Boston at the desolation of the town, and came back afterward, and buried the dead, did not know her. Yet I was not without sorrow, to think how many were looking and longing, and my own children amongst the rest, to enjoy that deliverance that I had now received, and I did not know whether ever I should see them again. Being recruited with food and raiment we went to Boston that day, where I met with my dear husband, but the thoughts of our dear children, one being dead, and the other we could not tell where, abated our comfort each to other. I was not before so much hemmed in with the merciless and cruel heathen, but now as much with pitiful, tender-hearted and compassionate Christians. In that poor, and distressed, and beggarly condition I was received in; I was kindly entertained in several houses. So much love I received from several (some of whom I knew, and others I knew not) that I am not capable to declare it. But the Lord knows them all by name. The Lord reward them sevenfold into their bosoms of His spirituals, for their temporals. The twenty pounds, the price of my redemption, was raised by some Boston gentlemen, and Mrs. Usher, whose bounty and religious charity, I would not forget to make mention of. Then Mr. Thomas Shepard of Charlestown received us into his house, where we continued eleven weeks; and a father and mother they were to us. And many more tender-hearted friends we met with in that place. We were now in the midst of love, yet not without much and frequent heaviness of heart for our poor children, and other relations, who were still in affliction. The week following, after my coming in, the governor and council sent forth to the Indians again; and that not without success; for they brought in my sister, and goodwife Kettle. Their not knowing where our children were was a sore trial to us still, and yet we were not without secret hopes that we should see them again. That which was dead lay heavier upon my spirit, than those which were alive and amongst the heathen: thinking how it suffered with its wounds, and I was no way able to relieve it; and how it was buried by the heathen in the wilderness from among all Christians.

    We were hurried up and down in our thoughts, sometime we should hear a report that they were gone this way, and sometimes that; and that they were come in, in this place or that. We kept inquiring and listening to hear concerning them, but no certain news as yet. About this time the council had ordered a day of public thanksgiving. Though I thought I had still cause of mourning, and being unsettled in our minds, we thought we would ride toward the eastward, to see if we could hear anything concerning our children. And as we were riding along (God is the wise disposer of all things) between Ipswich and Rowley we met with Mr. William Hubbard, who told us that our son Joseph was come in to Major Waldron’s, and another with him, which was my sister’s son. I asked him how he knew it? He said the major himself told him so. So along we went till we came to Newbury; and their minister being absent, they desired my husband to preach the thanksgiving for them; but he was not willing to stay there that night, but would go over to Salisbury, to hear further, and come again in the morning, which he did, and preached there that day. At night, when he had done, one came and told him that his daughter was come in at Providence. Here was mercy on both hands. Now hath God fulfilled that precious Scripture which was such a comfort to me in my distressed condition.

    When my heart was ready to sink into the earth (my children being gone, I could not tell whither) and my knees trembling under me, and I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death; then the Lord brought, and now has fulfilled that reviving word unto me: “Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy Work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the Land of the Enemy.” Now we were between them, the one on the east, and the other on the west. Our son being nearest, we went to him first, to Portsmouth, where we met with him, and with the Major also, who told us he had done what he could, but could not redeem him under seven pounds, which the good people thereabouts were pleased to pay. The Lord reward the major, and all the rest, though unknown to me, for their labor of Love. My sister’s son was redeemed for four pounds, which the council gave order for the payment of.

    Having now received one of our children, we hastened toward the other. Going back through Newbury my husband preached there on the Sabbath day; for which they rewarded him many fold.

    On Monday we came to Charlestown, where we heard that the governor of Rhode Island had sent over for our daughter, to take care of her, being now within his jurisdiction; which should not pass without our acknowledgments. But she being nearer Rehoboth than Rhode Island, Mr. Newman went over, and took care of her and brought her to his own house. And the goodness of God was admirable to us in our low estate, in that He raised up passionate friends on every side to us, when we had nothing to recompense any for their love. The Indians were now gone that way, that it was apprehended dangerous to go to her. But the carts which carried provision to the English army, being guarded, brought her with them to Dorchester, where we received her safe. Blessed be the Lord for it, for great is His power, and He can do whatsoever seemeth Him good. Her coming in was after this manner: she was traveling one day with the Indians, with her basket at her back; the company of Indians were got before her, and gone out of sight, all except one squaw; she followed the squaw till night, and then both of them lay down, having nothing over them but the heavens and under them but the earth.

    Thus she traveled three days together, not knowing whither she was going; having nothing to eat or drink but water, and green hirtle-berries. At last they came into Providence, where she was kindly entertained by several of that town. The Indians often said that I should never have her under twenty pounds. But now the Lord hath brought her in upon free-cost, and given her to me the second time. The Lord make us a blessing indeed, each to others. Now have I seen that Scripture also fulfilled, “If any of thine be driven out to the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee. And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them which hate thee, which persecuted thee” (Deuteronomy 30.4-7). Thus hath the Lord brought me and mine out of that horrible pit, and hath set us in the midst of tender-hearted and compassionate Christians. It is the desire of my soul that we may walk worthy of the mercies received, and which we are receiving.

    Our family being now gathered together (those of us that were living), the South Church in Boston hired an house for us. Then we removed from Mr. Shepard’s, those cordial friends, and went to Boston, where we continued about three-quarters of a year. Still the Lord went along with us, and provided graciously for us. I thought it somewhat strange to set up house-keeping with bare walls; but as Solomon says,

    “Money answers all things” and that we had through the benevolence of Christian friends, some in this town, and some in that, and others; and some from England; that in a little time we might look, and see the house furnished with love. The Lord hath been exceeding good to us in our low estate, in that when we had neither house nor home, nor other necessaries, the Lord so moved the hearts of these and those towards us, that we wanted neither food, nor raiment for ourselves or ours:

    “There is a Friend which sticketh closer than a Brother” (Proverbs 18.24). And how many such friends have we found, and now living amongst? And truly such a friend have we found him to be unto us, in whose house we lived, viz. Mr. James Whitcomb, a friend unto us near hand, and afar off.

    I can remember the time when I used to sleep quietly without workings in my thoughts, whole nights together, but now it is other ways with me. When all are fast about me, and no eye open, but His who ever waketh, my thoughts are upon things past, upon the awful dispensation of the Lord towards us, upon His wonderful power and might, in carrying of us through so many difficulties, in returning us in safety, and suffering none to hurt us. I remember in the night season, how the other day I was in the midst of thousands of enemies, and nothing but death before me. It is then hard work to persuade myself, that ever I should be satisfied with bread again. But now we are fed with the finest of the wheat, and, as I may say, with honey out of the rock. Instead of the husk, we have the fatted calf. The thoughts of these things in the particulars of them, and of the love and goodness of God towards us, make it true of me, what David said of himself, “I watered my Couch with my tears” (Psalm 6.6). Oh! the wonderful power of God that mine eyes have seen, affording matter enough for my thoughts to run in, that when others are sleeping mine eyes are weeping.

    I have seen the extreme vanity of this world: One hour I have been in health, and wealthy, wanting nothing. But the next hour in sickness and wounds, and death, having nothing but sorrow and affliction.

    Before I knew what affliction meant, I was ready sometimes to wish for it. When I lived in prosperity, having the comforts of the world about me, my relations by me, my heart cheerful, and taking little care for anything, and yet seeing many, whom I preferred before myself, under many trials and afflictions, in sickness, weakness, poverty, losses, crosses, and cares of the world, I should be sometimes jealous least I should have my portion in this life, and that Scripture would come to my mind, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son whom he receiveth”

    (Hebrews 12.6). But now I see the Lord had His time to scourge and chasten me. The portion of some is to have their afflictions by drops, now one drop and then another; but the dregs of the cup, the wine of astonishment, like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food, did the Lord prepare to be my portion. Affliction I wanted, and affliction I had, full measure (I thought), pressed down and running over. Yet I see, when God calls a person to anything, and through never so many difficulties, yet He is fully able to carry them through and make them see, and say they have been gainers thereby.

    And I hope I can say in some measure, as David did, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” The Lord hath showed me the vanity of these outward things. That they are the vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit, that they are but a shadow, a blast, a bubble, and things of no continuance. That we must rely on God Himself, and our whole dependance must be upon Him. If trouble from smaller matters begin to arise in me, I have something at hand to check myself with, and say, why am I troubled? It was but the other day that if I had had the world, I would have given it for my freedom, or to have been a servant to a Christian. I have learned to look beyond present and smaller troubles, and to be quieted under them. As Moses said,

    “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14.13).

    2.9.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1. How does Rowlandson’s view of Providence—including God’s providence in preserving Native Americans—relate to that of Bradford’s, Winthrop’s, and Bradstreet’s? Why?

    2. How does Rowlandson’s theodicy compare with Winthrop’s? Why?

    3. What interpretation does Rowlandson give to Native American’s social behavior and practices? Consider her view of their use of tobacco—which she had herself used before her captivity.

    4. How and why does Rowlandson distinguish her Christian virtues and behavior from the behavior of the Native Americans towards her, and from the Christianity of what she calls Praying-Indians? Why?

    5. How, if at all, does Rowlandson’s captivity become a sort of felix culpa (or fortunate fall) bringing her closer to an understanding and appreciation of God’s mercies?


    (c. 1642–1729)

    Little is known of Edward Taylor’s early life in England. His poetry displays a Leicestershire dialect; he was probably born in Sketchly, Leicestershire County, where his father was a yeoman farmer. He may have been educated in England. He seems to have read and been influenced by seventeenth-century English literature, including John Milton’s (1608–1674) epic poetry and the Metaphysical poetry of John Donne and George Herbert (1593–1633). Epics are long, heroic poems tied to a nation’s history. Metaphysical poetry is a type of highly intellectual, complex poetry using unexpected metaphors, incongruous imagery, and such linguistic feats as puns and paradoxes.

    To escape the religious controversies and persecutions of the early 1660s and to avoid signing an oath of loyalty to the Church of England, Taylor emigrated to America in 1668. He studied at Harvard for three years and eschewed the teaching profession (that he practiced for a few years) for that of the ministry. In 1671, he was called to serve as minister at Westfield, Massachusetts, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He maintained friendships with such prominent Puritans as Increase Mather (1639–1723) and Samuel Sewall (1652–1730); married twice; fathered fourteen children; upheld Puritan theocracy; and wrote poetry.

    None of his poetry was published during Taylor’s lifetime. His poems were discovered by Thomas H. Johnson in the 1930s at the Yale Library. They had been deposited there by Ezra Stiles (1727–1795), Taylor’s grandson and a President of Yale. Taylor seems to have written his poems as private devotions and communions with God. They express his rejection of worldly matters and dependence on God in his own struggle against Satan and evil. In his Preparatory Meditations, for example, Taylor prepares to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and so ponders the mystery of the incarnation, of God as flesh, and the transubstantiation of God’s blood and flesh into the wine and bread of the communion. Their variety of genres–including elegies, lyrics, and meditations–attests to his education in the classics and modern languages. Their original use of the metaphysical conceits (metaphors that yoke together two apparently highly dissimilar things), paradoxes, and puns attest to the Puritan God that was Taylor’s absolute that drew together all incongruities.

    The poems’ domestic details of everyday life reveal not only his Puritan faith but also seventeenth-century life in America.

    2.10.1 “Prologue” to Preparatory Meditations

    Lord, Can a Crumb of Earth the Earth outweigh:

    Outmatch all mountains, nay the Chrystall Sky?

    Imbosom in’t designs that shall Display

    And trace into the Boundless Deity?

    Yea, hand a Pen whose moysture doth guild ore

    Eternall Glory with a glorious glore.

    Page | 265


    If it its Pen had of an Angels Quill,

    And sharpend on a Pretious Stone ground tite,

    And dipt in Liquid Gold, and mov’de by skill

    In Christall leaves should golden Letters write,

    It would but blot and blur: yea, jag and jar,

    Unless thou mak’st the Pen and Scribener.

    I am this Crumb of Dust which is design’d

    To make my Pen unto thy Praise alone,

    And my dull Phancy I would gladly grinde

    Unto an Edge on Zions Pretious Stone:

    And Write in Liquid Gold upon thy Name

    My Letters till thy glory forth doth flame.

    Let not th’ attempts breake down my Dust I pray,

    Nor laugh thou them to scorn, but pardon give.

    Inspire this Crumb of Dust till it display

    Thy Glory through ’t: and then thy dust shall live.

    Its failings then thou’lt overlook I trust,

    They being Slips slipt from thy Crumb of Dust.

    Thy Crumb of Dust breaths two words from its breast;

    That thou wilt guide its pen to write aright

    To Prove thou art, and that thou art the best,

    And shew thy Properties to shine most bright.

    And then thy Works will shine as flowers on Stems,

    Or as in Jewellary Shops, do jems.

    2.10.2 “Preface” to God’s Determination

    Infinity, when all things it beheld,

    In Nothing, and of Nothing all did build,

    Upon what Base was fixt the Lath, wherein

    He turn’d this Globe, and riggalld it so trim?

    Who blew the Bellows of his Furnace Vast?

    Or held the Mould wherein the world was Cast?

    Who laid its Corner Stone? Or whose Command?

    Where stand the Pillars upon which it stands?

    Who Lac’de and Fillitted the earth so fine,

    With Rivers like green Ribbons Smaragdine?

    Who made the Sea’s its Selvedge, and it locks

    Like a Quilt Ball within a Silver Box?

    Who Spread its Canopy? Or Curtains Spun?

    Who in this Bowling Alley bowld the Sun?

    Who made it always when it rises set:

    To go at once both down, and up to get?

    Who th’ Curtain rods made for this Tapistry?

    Who hung the twinckling Lanthorns in the Sky?

    Who? who did this? or who is he? Why, know

    It’s Onely Might Almighty this did doe.

    His hand hath made this noble worke which Stands

    His Glorious Handywork not made by hands.

    Who spake all things from nothing; and with ease

    Can speake all things to nothing, if he please.

    Whose Little finger at his pleasure Can

    Out mete ten thousand worlds with halfe a Span:

    Whose Might Almighty can by half a looks

    Root up the rocks and rock the hills by th’ roots.

    Can take this mighty World up in his hande,

    And shake it like a Squitchen or a Wand.

    Whose single Frown will make the Heavens shake

    Like as an aspen leafe the Winde makes quake.

    Oh! what a might is this! Whose single frown

    Doth shake the world as it would shake it down?

    Which All from Nothing fet, from Nothing, All:

    Hath All on Nothing set, lets Nothing fall.

    Gave All to nothing Man indeed, whereby

    Through nothing man all might him Glorify.

    In Nothing is imbosst the brightest Gem

    More pretious than all pretiousness in them.

    But Nothing man did throw down all by sin:

    And darkened that lightsom Gem in him,

    That now his Brightest Diamond is grown

    Darker by far than any Coalpit Stone.

    2.10.3 “Meditation 8” (First Series)

    John VI: 5i: I am the living bread.

    I ken[n]ing through Astronomy Divine

    The Worlds bright Battlement, wherein I spy

    A Golden Path my Pensill cannot line

    From that bright Throne unto my Threshold ly.

    And while my puzzled thoughts about it pore,

    I find the Bread of Life in’t at my doore.

    When that this Bird of Paradise put in

    This Wicker Cage (my Corps) to tweedle praise

    Had peckt the Fruite forbid: and so did fling

    Away its Food, and lost its golden dayes,

    It fell into Celestiall Famine sore,

    And never could attain a morsell more.

    Alas! alas! Poore Bird, what wilt thou doe?

    This Creatures field no food for Souls e’re gave:

    And if thou knock at Angells dores, they show

    An Empty Barrell: they no soul bread have.

    Alas! Poore Bird, the Worlds White Loafe is done,

    And cannot yield thee here the smallest Crumb.

    In this sad state, Gods Tender Bowells run

    Out streams of Grace: And he to end all strife,

    The Purest Wheate in Heaven, his deare-dear Son

    Grinds, and kneads up into this Bread of Life:

    Which Bread of Life from Heaven down came and stands

    Disht in thy Table up by Angells Hands.

    Did God mould up this Bread in Heaven, and bake,

    Which from his Table came, and to thine goeth?

    Doth he bespeake thee thus: This Soule Bread take;

    Come, Eate thy fill of this, thy Gods White Loafe?

    Its Food too fine for Angells; yet come, take

    And Eate thy fill! Its Heavens Sugar Cake.

    What Grace is this knead in this Loafe? This thing

    Souls are but petty things it to admire.

    Yee Angells, help: This fill would to the brim

    Heav’ns whelm’d-down Chrystall meele Bowle, yea and higher.

    This Bread of Life dropt in thy mouth doth Cry:

    Eate, Eate me, Soul, and thou shalt never dy.

    2.10.4 “Medication 32” (First Series)

    2.10.5 “A Fig for Thee, O Death”

    2.10.6 “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children”

    A Curious Knot God made in Paradise,

    And drew it out inamled neatly Fresh.

    Page | 268


    It was the True-Love Knot, more sweet than spice,

    And set with all the flowres of Graces dress.

    Its Weddens Knot, that ne’re can be unti’de:

    No Alexanders Sword can it divide.

    The slips here planted, gay and glorious grow:

    Unless an Hellish breath do sindge their Plumes.

    Here Primrose, Cowslips, Roses, Lilies blow,

    With Violets and Pinkes that voide perfumes:

    Whose beautious leaves are lac’d with Hony Dew,

    And Chanting birds Chirp out Sweet Musick true.

    When in this Knot I planted was, my Stock

    Soon knotted, and a manly flower out brake.

    And after it my branch again did knot:

    Brought out another Flowre: its sweet breath’d mate.

    One knot gave tother and tothers place;

    Thence Checkling Smiles fought in each others face.

    But oh! a glorious hand from glory came,

    Guarded with Angells, soon did Crop this flowre,

    Which almost tore the root up of the same,

    At that unlookt for, Dolesome, darksome houre.

    In Pray’re to Christ perfum’de it did ascend,

    And Angells bright did it to heaven tend.

    But pausing on’t this Sweet perfum’d my thought,

    Christ would in Glory have a Flowre, Choice, Prime.

    And having Choice, chose this my branch forth brought.

    Lord, take! I thanke thee, thou takst ought of mine;

    It is my pledg in glory; part of mee

    Is now in it, Lord, glorifi’de with thee.

    But praying o’re my branch, my branch did sprout,

    And bore another manly flower, and gay,

    And after that another, sweet brake out,

    The which the former hand soon got away.

    But oh I the torture, Vomit, screechings, groans:

    And six weeks fever would pierce hearts like stones.

    Griefe o’re doth flow: and nature fault would finde

    Were not thy Will my Spell, Charm, Joy, and Gem:

    That as I said, I say, take, Lord, they’re thine:


    Image 2.11 | Samuel Sewell service, a life he recorded in his now Artist | John Smybert Source | Wikimedia Commons

    I piecemeale pass to Glory bright in them.

    I joy, may I sweet Flowers for Glory breed,

    Whether thou getst them green, or lets them seed.

    2.10.7 Reading and Review Questions

    1. In “Prologue,” when referring to himself as a poet, why does Taylor describe himself as a crumb of dust? How does this self-representation compare to those of Bradstreet’s and Wigglesworth’s?

    2. In “Preface to God’s Determination,” why and to what effect does Taylor present God’s creation in terms of craftsmanship and domesticity?

    3. What metaphors, or metaphysical conceits, does Taylor use in “Meditation 32” and “Meditation 8”? How does Taylor make their dissimilar elements similar? To what end?

    4. In “A Fig for Thee, O Death,” why does Taylor refer to his body as a strumpet? In what other ways does he refer to his body? What do these metaphors, or metaphysical conceits, have in common?

    5. In “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children,” how does Taylor console himself for the loss of his child Elizabeth? How does his consolation compare with those of Bradstreet’s for her losses?



    Samuel Sewall was born in England to a wealthy family that had property in Massachusetts. Upon the Restoration of the Monarchy with Charles II’s accession to the throne, the Sewall family emigrated to New England. There, Sewall continued his education and graduated from Harvard in 1674 with an MA. Soon thereafter, he married Hannah Hull (d. 1717), daughter of the wealthy John Hull (1624–1683), Master of the Mint of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sewall remained in Boston, where he took his place as one of its wealthiest citizens. Despite his wealth, Sewall devoted much of his life to public famous Diary.


    Image 2.12 | Slaves working in 17th-century Virginia. Artist | Unknown Source | Wikimedia Commons. License | Public Domain

    Sewall managed Boston’s printing press and served as deputy of the General Court in 1683 and as member of the Council from 1684 to 1686. He helped negotiate a restoration of the Massachusetts Charter, causing him to stay in England almost a full year. A new Charter was granted in 1692; it named Sewall as member of the Council, a position he held for thirty-three years. Also in 1692, he was appointed justice of the Superior Court; he eventually rose to be chief justice of Massachusetts (1718–1728).

    Sir William Phips (1651–1695), the new governor of Massachusetts, placed Sewall as one of the three judges at the Salem witch trials (1692–1693) that condemned twelve people to death, eleven by hanging and one by pressing. Four years later, Sewall became the only one of these three judges to recant his judgment.

    In 1700, he published what is thought to be the first American antislavery tract: The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial. Its title derives from the Biblical account of Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers. The title speaks to Sewall’s view that God’s covenant with Adam and Eve gave all their “heirs” liberty.

    He countered arguments claiming blacks’ descent from Noah’s cursed son Ham—

    condemned to be slave to his brothers—and pointed to the Bible’s prohibition against kidnapping, an act by which most blacks were enslaved. Sewall maintained his views against slavery in the Boston News-Letter (June 12, 1706) and expanded upon them in his Diary. This Diary, which he kept from 1673 to 1729, was not published until 1787.

    2.11.1 “The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial” (1700)

    Forasmuch as Liberty is in real value next unto Life: None ought to part with it themselves, or deprive others of it, but upon most mature Consideration.

    The Numerousness of Slaves at this day in the Province, and the Uneasiness of them under their Slavery, hath put many upon thinking whether the Foundation of it be firmly and well laid; so as to sustain the Vast Weight that is built upon it.

    It is most certain that all Men, as they are the Sons of Adam, are Coheirs; and have equal Right unto Liberty, and all other outward Comforts of Life. GOD hath given the Earth [with all its Commodities] unto the Sons of Adam, Psal 115. 16.

    And hath made of One Blood, all Nations of Men, for to dwell on all the face of the Earth; and hath determined the Times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord. Forasmuch then as we are the Offspring of GOD &c. Act 17.26, 27, 29. Now although the Title given by the last ADAM, doth infinitely better Mens Estates, respecting GOD and themselves; and grants them a most beneficial and inviolable Lease under the Broad Seal of Heaven, who were before only Tenants at Will: Yet through the Indulgence of GOD to our First Parents after the Fall, the outward Estate of all and every of the Children, remains the same, as to one another. So that Originally, and Naturally, there is no such thing as Slavery. Joseph was rightfully no more a Slave to his Brethren, then they were to him: and they had no more Authority to Sell him, than they had to Slay him. And if they had nothing to do to Sell him; the Ishmaelites bargaining with them, and paying down Twenty pieces of Silver, could not make a Title. Neither could Potiphar have any better Interest in him than the Ishmaelites had. Gen. 37. 20, 27, 28. For he that shall in this case plead Alteration of Property, seems to have forfeited a great part of his own claim to Humanity. There is no proportion between Twenty Pieces of Silver, and LIBERTY. The Commodity it self is the Claimer. If Arabian Gold be imported in any quantities, most are afraid to meddle with it, though they might have it at easy rates; lest if it should have been wrongfully taken from the Owners, it should kindle a fire to the Consumption of their whole Estate. ’Tis pity there should be more Caution used in buying a Horse, or a little lifeless dust; than there is in purchasing Men and Women: Whenas they are the Offspring of GOD, and their Liberty is,

    ---------------- Auro pretiosior Omni.

    And seeing GOD hath said, He that Stealeth a Man and Selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to Death. Exod. 12.16. This Law being of Everlasting Equity, wherein Man Stealing is ranked amongst the most atrocious of Capital Crimes: What louder Cry can there be made of the Celebrated Warning, Caveat Emptor!

    And all thing considered, it would conduce more to the Welfare of the Province, to have White Servants for a Term of Years, than to have Slaves for Life. Few can endure to hear of a Negro’s being made free; and indeed they can seldom use their Page | 272


    freedom well; yet their continual aspiring after their forbidden Liberty, renders them Unwilling Servants. And there is such a disparity in their Conditions, Color &

    Hair, that they can never embody with us, and grow up into orderly Families, to the Peopling of the Land: but still remain in our Body Politick as a kind of extravasat Blood. As many Negro men as there are among us, so many empty places there are in our Train Bands, and the places taken up of Men that might make Husbands for our Daughters. And the Sons and Daughters of New England would become more like Jacob, and Rachel, if this Slavery were thrust quite out of doors. Moreover it is too well known what Temptations Masters are under, to connive at the Fornification of their Slaves; lest they should be obliged to find them Wives, or pay their Fines.

    It seems to be practically pleaded that they might be Lawless; ’tis thought much of, that the Law should have Satisfaction for their Thefts, and other Immoralities; by which means, Holiness to the Lord, is more rarely engraven upon this sort of Servitude. It is likewise most lamentable to think, how in taking Negros out of Africa, and Selling of them here, That which GOD ha’s joyned together men do boldly rend asunder; Men from their Country, Husbands from their Wives, Parents from their Children. How horrible is the Uncleanness, Mortality, if not Murder, that the Ships are guilty of that bring great Crouds of these miserable Men, and Women. Methinks, when we are bemoaning the barbarous Usage of our Friends and Kinsfolk in Africa: it might not be unseasonable to inquire whether we are not culpable in forcing the Africans to become Slaves amongst our selves. And it may be a question whether all the Benefit received by Negro Slaves, will balance the Accompt of Cash laid out upon them; and for the Redemption of our own enslaved Friends out of Africa. Besides all the Persons and Estates that have perished there.

    Obj. 1. These Blackamores are of the Posterity of Cham, and therefore are under the Curse of Slavery. Gen. 9.25, 26, 27.

    Answ. Of all Offices, one would not begg this; viz. Uncall’d for, to be an Executioner of the Vindictive Wrath of God; the extent and duration of which is to us uncertain. If this ever was a Commission; How do we know but that it is long since out of date? Many have found it to their Cost, that a Prophetical Denunciation of Judgment against a Person or People, would not warrant them to inflict that evil. If it would, Hazael might justify himself in all he did against his Master, and the Israelites, from 2 Kings 8. 10, 12.

    But it is possible that by cursory reading, this Text may have been mistaken. For Canaan is the Person Cursed three times over, without the mentioning of Cham.

    Good Expositors suppose the Curse entailed on him, and that this Prophesie was accomplished in the Extirpation of the Canaanites, and in the Servitude of the Gibeonites, Vide Pareum. Whereas the Blackmores are not descended of Canaan, but of Cush. Psal. 68. 31. Princes shall come out of Egypt [Mizraim] Ethopia [Cush]

    shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. Under which Names, all Africa may be comprehended; and the Promised Conversion ought to be prayed for. Jer. 13, 23.

    Can the Ethiopian change his skin? This shews that Black Men are the Posterity of Cush: Who time out of mind have been distinguished by their Colour. And for want of the true, Ovid assigns a fabulous cause of it.

    Sanguine tum credunt in corpora summa vocato

    Æthiopum populos nigrum traxisse colorem.

    Metamorph. lib.2.

    Obj. 2. The Nigers are brought out of a Pagan Country, into places where the Gospel is Preached.

    Answ. Evil must not be done, that good may come of it. The extraordinary and comprehensive Benefit accruing to the Church of God, and to Joseph personally, did not rectify his brethrens Sale of him.

    Obj. 3. The Africans have Wars with one another: our Ships bring lawful Captives taken in those Wars.

    Answ. For ought is known, their Wars are much such as were between Jacob’s Sons and their Brother Joseph. If they be between Town and Town; Provincial, or National: Every War is upon one side Unjust. An Unlawful War can’t make lawful Captives. And by Receiving, we are in danger to promote, and partake in their Barbarous Cruelties. I am sure, if some Gentlemen should go down to the Brewsters to take the Air, and Fish: And a stronger party from Hull should Surprise them, and Sell them for Slaves to a Ship outward bound: they would think themselves unjustly dealt with; both by Sellers and Buyers. And yet ‘tis to be feared, we have no other kind of Title to our Nigers. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    Matt. 7. 12.

    Obj. 4. Abraham had servants bought with his Money, and born in his House.

    Answ. Until the Circumstances of Abraham’s purchase be recorded, no Argument can be drawn from it. In the mean time, Charity obliges us to conclude, that He knew it was lawful and good.

    It is Observable that the Israelites were strictly forbidden the buying, or selling one another for Slaves. Levit. 25. 39, 46. Jer. 34. 8——22. And GOD gaged His Blessing in lieu of any loss they might conceipt they suffered thereby. Deut. 15. 18.

    And since the partition Wall is broken down, inordinate Self love should likewise be demolished. GOD expects that Christians should be of a more Ingenuous and benign frame of spirit. Christians should carry it to all the World, as the Israelites were to carry it one towards another. And for men obstinately to persist in holding their Neighbours and Brethren under the Rigor of perpetual Bondage, seems to be no proper way of gaining Assurance that God ha’s given them Spiritual Freedom.

    Our Blessed Saviour ha’s altered the Measures of the Ancient Love-Song, and set it to a most Excellent New Tune, which all ought to be ambitious of Learning. Matt.

    5. 43, 44. John 13. 34. These Ethiopians, as black as they are; seeing they are the Sons and Daughters of the First Adam, the Brethren and Sister of the Last ADAM, and the Offspring of GOD; They ought to be treated with a Respect agreeable.

    Page | 274


    Servitus perfecta voluntaria, inter Christianum & Christiainum, ex parte servi patientis saepe est licita, quia est necessaria: sed ex parte domini agentis,

    & procurando & exercendo, vix potest esse licita: quia non convenit regulae illi generali:

    Quaecunque volueritis ut faciant vobis homines, ita & vos facite eis. Matt. 7.12.

    Perfecta servitus poenae, non potest jure locum habere, nisi ex delicto gravi quod ultimum supplicum aliquo modo meretur: quia Libertas ex naturali aestimatione proxime accedit ad vitam ipsam, & eidem a multis proeferri solet.

    Ames. Cas. Consc. Lib. 5. Cap. 23. Thes. 2, 3.

    2.11.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1. What intrinsic rights does Sewall attribute to Joseph? Why? How?

    2. How does Sewall characterize slave-holders? What Biblical allusions does he make to shape this characterization?

    3. What concrete distinctions does Sewall make between blacks and whites? Why? How do these distinctions support his condemnation of slavery?

    4. How, and to what effect, does Sewall refute the argument that, because slave-holders bring blacks to the “light” of Christianity, slavery benefits blacks?

    5. How convincing is Sewall’s argument against slave-holders’ using Abrahams purchase of servants as justification for their enslaving blacks? Why?



    Gabriel Thomas was born at Poentmoil, Wales. A friend of William Penn and a member of the Society of Friends, Thomas sailed for Pennsylvania on the John and Sarah, arriving near the time of that colony’s inception. He lived in Pennsylvania for fifteen years before returning to England. There, Thomas published his description in England, an account that sought to encourage settlements along the Delaware River. Eight or so years after the publication of his book, Thomas returned to America. He settled in Prime Hook Neck, in modern-day Delaware, where he died in 1714.

    2.12.1 From An Historical and Geographical Account of the

    Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-

    Jersey in America

    Pensilvania lies between the Latitude of Forty and Forty fire Degrees; West-Jersey on the East, Virginia the West, Mary- Land South, and Canada on the North. In Length three hundred, and in Breadth one hundred and eighty Miles.

    Page | 275


    The Natives, or first Inhabitants of this Country in their Original, are suppos’d by most People to have been of the Ten Scattered Tribes, for they resemble the Jews very much in the Make of their Persons, and Tineture of their Complexions: They observe New Moons, they offer their first Fruits to a Maneto, or suppos’d Deity, whereof they have two, one, as they fansie, above (good,) another below (bad,) and have a kind of Feast of Tabernales, laying their Altars upon Twelve Stones, observe a fort of Mourning twelve Months, Customs of Women, and many other Rites to be toucht (here) rather than dwelt upon, because they shall be handled more at large at the latter end of this Treatise.

    They are very Charitable to one another, the Lame and the Blind (amongst them) living as well as the best; they are also very kind and obliging to the Christians.

    The next that came there, were the Dutch, (who call’d the Country New Neitherland) between Fifty and Sixty Years ago, and were the First Planters in those Parts; but they made little or no Improvement, (applying themselves wholly to Trafique in Skins and Furs, which the Indians or Natives furnish’d them with, and which they Barter’d for Rum, Strong Liquors, and Sugar, with others, thereby gaining great Profit) till near the time or the Wars between England and Them, about Thirty or Forty Years ago.

    Soon after them came the Swedes and Fins, who apply’d themselves to Husbandry, and were the first Christian People that made any considerable Improvement there.

    There were some Disputes between these two Nations some Years, the Dutch looking upon the Swedes as Intruders upon their Purchase and Possession, which was absolutely terminated in the Surrender made by John Rizeing the Swedes Governour, to Peter Styreant, Governour for the Dutch, in 1655. In the Holland War about the Year 1665. Sir Robert Carr took the Country from the Dutch for the English, and left his Cousin, Captain Carr, Governor of that place; but in a short time after, the Dutch re-took the Country from the English, and kept it in their Possession till the Peace was concluded between the English and them, when the Dutch Surrendered that Country with East and West-Jersey, New-York, (with the whole Countries belonging to that Government) to the English again. But it remain’d with very little Impovement till the Year 1681. in which William Penn Esq; had the Country given him by King Charles the Second, in lieu of Money that was due to (and signal Service done by) his Father, Sir William Penn and from him bore the Name of Pensilvania.

    Since that time, the Industrious (nay Indefatigable) Inhabitants have built a Noble and Beautiful City, and called it Philadelphia, which contains above two thousand Houses, all Inhabited; and most of them Stately, and of Brick, generally three Stories high, after the Mode in London, and as many several Families in each. There are very many Lanes and Alley, as first, Huttons-Lane, Morris-Lane, Jones’s-Lane, wherein are very good Buildings. Shorters-Alley, Towers-Lane, Wallers-Alley, Turners-Lane, Sikes-Alley and Flowers-Alley. All these Alleys and Lanes extend from the Front Street to the Second Street. There is another Alley Page | 276


    in the Second Street, called Carters-Alley. There are also besides these Alleys and Lanes, several fine Squares and Courts Within this Magnificent City, (for so I may justly call it,) As for the particular Names of the several Streets contained therein, the Principal areas follows, viz, Walnut-Street, Vine-Street, Mulberry-Street, Chesnut-Street, Sassafras-Street, taking their Names from the abundance of those Trees that formerly grew there; High-Street, Broad-Street, Delaware-Street, Front-Street, with several of less Note, too tedious to insert here.

    It hath in it Three Fairs every Year, and Two Markets every Week, They kill above Twenty Fat Bullocks every Week, in the hottest time in Summer, for their present spending in that City, besides many Sheep , Calves, and Hogs.

    This City is Situated between Schoolkill-River and the great River Delaware, which derives its Name from Captain Delaware, who came there pretty early: Ships of Two or Three Hundred Tuns may come up to this City, by either of these two Rivers. Moreover, in this Province are Four Great Market-Towns, viz, Chester, the German Town, New-Caslle, and Lewis-Town, which are mightily Enlarged in this latter Improvement. Between these Towns, the Water-Men constantly Ply their Wherries; like-wife all those Towns have Fairs kept in them, besides there are several Country Villages, viz. Dublin, Harford, Merioneth, and Radnor in Cambry, all which Towns, Villages and Rivers, took their Names from the several Countries whence the present Inhabitants came.

    The Air here is very delicate, pleasant, and wholesom; the Heavens serene, rarely overcast, bearing mighty resemblance to the better part of France; after Rain they have commonly a very clear Sky, the Climate is something Colder in the depth of Winter, and Hotter in the height of Summer; (the cause of which is it.

    being a Main Land or Continent; the Days also are two Hours longer in the shortest Day in Winter, and shorter by two Hours in the longest Day of Summer) than here in England, which makes the Fruit so good, and the Earth so fertil.

    The Corn-Harvest is ended before the middle of July, and most Years they have commonly between Twenty and Thirty Bushels of Wheat for every one they Sow.

    Their Ground is harrowed with Wooden Tyned Harrows, twice over in a, place is sufficient; twice mending of their Plow-Irons in a Years time will serve. Their Horses commonly go without being shod; two Men may clear between Twenty and Thirty Acres of Land in one Year, fit for the Plough, in which Oxen are chiefly us’d, though Horses are not wanting, and of them Good and well shap’d. A Cart or a Wain may go through the middle of the Woods, between the Trees without getting any damage, and of such Land in a convenient place, the Purchase will cost between Ten and Fifteen Pounds for a Hundred Acres. Here is much Meadow Ground. Poor People both Men and Women, will get near three times more Wages for their Labour in this Country, than they can earn either in England or Wales.

    What is Inhabited of this Country, is divided into Six Counties, though there is not the Twentieth Part of it yet Peopled by the Christians. It hath in it several Navigable Rivers for Shipping to come in, besides the Capital Celaware, wherein a Ship of Two Hundred Tuns may Sail Two Hundred Miles up. There are also Page | 277


    several other small Rivers, in number hardly Credible; these, as the Brooks, have for the most part gravelly and hard Bottoms; and it is suppos’d that there are many other further up in the Country, which are nor yet discover’d; the Names of the aforesaid Rivers, are, Hoorkill-River, alias Lewis River, which runs up to Lewis Town, the chiefest in Suffex County; Cedar-River, Muskmellon-River, all taking their Names from the great plenty of these things growing thereabouts; Mother-kill alias Dover-River, St. Jones alias Cranbrook-River, where one John Curtice lives, who hath Three Hundred Head of Neat Beasts, besides great Numbers of Hogs, Horses and Sheep; Great Duck-River, Little Duck-River, Black-Bird-River, these also took their Original Names from the great Numbers of those Fowls which are found there in vast quantities: Apequinemy-River, where their Goods come to be Carted over to Mary-Land, St. George’s-River, Christen-River, Brandy-Wine-River, Upland alias Chester-River, which runs by Chester-Town, being the Shire or Country-Town; Schoolkill-River, Frankford-River, near which, Arthur Cook hath a most Stately Brick-House; and Nishamany-River, where Judge Growden hath a very Noble and Fine House, very pleasantly Situated, and likewise a Famous Orchard adjoining to it, wherein are contain’d above a Thousand Apple Trees of various forts; likewise there is the famous Derby-River, which comes down from the Cumbry by Derby-Town, wherein are several Mills, viz. Fulling-Mills, Corn-Mills, &c.

    There is curious Building-Stone and Paving-Stone, also Tile-Stone, with which latter, Governor Penn covered his Great and Stately Pile, which he call’d Pennsbury-House, the Name it still retains. There is likewise Iron-Stone or Oar, (lately found) which far exceeds that in England, being Richer and Less Drossy, some Preparations have been made to carry on an Iron-Work: There is also a very good Lime-Stone in great plenty, and cheap, of great use in Buildings, and also in Manuring Land, (if there were occasion) but Nature has made that of it self sufficiently Fruitful; besides here are Load-Stone, Issing-Glass, and (that Wonder of Stones) the Salamander-Stone, found near Brandy-Wine-River, having Cotton in Veins within it, which will not consume in the Firel though held there a long time.

    As to Minerals, or Metals, there is very good Copper, far exceeding ours in England, being much Finer, and of a more glorious Colour. Not two Mile from the Metropolis, are also Purging Mineral-Waters, that pass both by Siege and Vrine, all out as good as Epsom; and I have reason to believe, there are good Coals also, for I observ’d, the Runs of Water have the fame Colour as that which proceeds from the Coal-Mines in Wales.

    Here is curious Diversion in Hunting, Fishing, and Fowling, especially upon that Great and Famou River Suskahanah, which runs down quite through the heart of the Country to Mary-Land, where it makes the Head of Chesepeck-Bay, in which place there are an Infinite Number of Sea and Land Fowl, of most forts. viz.

    Swans, Ducks, Brands, Snipe, Curlew; as also Eagles, Turkies (of Forty or Fifty Pound Weight) Pheasants, Partridges, Pidgeons, Heath-Birds, Black-Birds; and Page | 278


    that Strange and Remarkable Fowl, call’d (in these Parts) the Mocking-Bird, that Imitates all sorts of Birds in their various Notes. And for Fish, there are prodigious quantities of most sorts, viz. Shadds Cats Heads, Sheeps-Heads, Herrings, Smelts, Roach, Eels, Perch. As also the large fort of Fish, as Whales (of which a great deal of Oyl is made) Salmon, Trout, Sturgeon, Rock, Oysters, (some six Inches long) Crabs, Cockles (some as big as Stewing Oysters of which are made a Choice Soupe or Broth) Canok and Mussels, with many other sorts of Fish, which would be too tedious to insert.

    There are several sorts of wild Beasts of great Profit, and good Food; viz.

    Panthers, Woolves, Fither, Deer, Beaver, Otter, Hares, Musk-Rats, Minks, Wild Cats, Foxes, Rackoons, Rabits, and that strange Creature, the Possam, the having a false belly to swallow her Yonng ones, by which means she preserveth them from danger, when any thing comes to disturb them. There are also Bears some Wolves, are pretty well destroy’d by the Indians, for the sake of the Reward given them by the Christian for that Service. Here is also that Remarkable Creature the Flying-Squirrel, having a kind of Skinny Wings, almost like those of the Batt, though it hath the like Hair and Colour of the Common Squirrel, but is much less in Bodily Substance; I have (my self) seen it fly from one Tree to another in the Woods, but how long it can maintain its Flight is not yet exactly known.

    There are in the Woods abundance of Red Deer (vulgarly called Stags) for I have bought of the Indians a whole Buck, (both skin and Carcass) for two Gills of Gunpowder. Excellent Food, most delicious, far exceeding that in Europe, in the Opinion of most that are Nice and Curious People. There are vast Numbers of other Wild Creatures, as Elks, Bufalos, &c. all which as well Beast. Fowl, and Fish, are free and common to any Person who can shoot or take them, without any left, hinderance or Opposition whatsoever.

    There are among other various sorts of Frogs, the Bull-Frog, which makes a roaring noise, hardly to be distinguished from that well known of the Beast, from whom it takes its Name: There is another sort of Frog that crawls up to the tops of Trees, there seeming to imitate the Notes of several Birds, with many other strange and various Creatures, which would take up too much room here to mention.

    Next, I shall proceed to instance in the several sorts of Wild Fruits, as excellent Grapes, Red, Black, White, Muscadel, and Fox, which upon frequent Experience have produc’d Choice Wine, being daily Cultivated by skillful Vinerons; they will in a short space of time, have very good Liquor of their own, and some to supply their Neighbors, to their great advantage; as these Wines are more pure, so much more wholesom; the Brewing Trade of Sophisticating and Adulterating of Wines, as in England, Holland (especially) and in some other places not being known there yet, nor in all probability will it in many Years, through a natural Probity so fixed a implanted in the Inhabitants, and (I hope) like to continue. Wallnuts, Chesnuts, Filberts, Hockery-Nuts, Hartleberries, Mulberries, (white and black) Rasberries, Strawberries, Cramberries, Pumbs of several sorts, and many other Wild Fruits, in great plenty, which are common and free for any to gather to particularize the Page | 279


    Names of them all, would take up too much time; tire, not gratifie the Reader, and be inconsistent with the intended Brevity of this little Volume.

    The common Planting Fruit-Trees, are Apples, which from a Kernel (without Inoculating) will shoot up to be a large Tree, and produce very delicious, large, and pleasant Fruit, of which much excellent Cyder is made, in taste resembling that in England press’d from Pippins and Pearmains, sold commonly for between Ten and Fifteen Shillings per Barrell. ears, Peaches, &c. of which they distil a Liquor much like the taste of Rumm, or Brandy, which they Yearly make in great quantities: There are Quinces, Cherries, Goosberries, Currants, Squashes, Pumpkins, Water-Mellons, Muskmellons, and other Fruits in great Numbers, which seldom fail of yielding great plenty. There are also many curious and excellent Physical Wild Herbs, Roots, and Drugs of great Verture, and very fanative, as the Sassafras, and Sarsaparilla, so much us’d in Diet-Drinks for the Cure of the Veneral Disease, which makes the Indians by a right application of them, as able Doctors and Surgeons as any in Europe, performing celebrated Cures, therewith, and by the use of some particular Plants only, find Remedy in all Swellings, Burnings, Cute,

    &c. There grows also in great plenty the Black Snake-Root, Poke-Roots, call in England Jallop, with several other beneficial Herbs, Plants and Roots, which Physicians have approved of, far exceeding in Nature and Vertue, those of other Countries.

    The Names of the Connties are as followeth; First, Philadelphia County; Second, Bucks County; Third, Chester County; Fourth, New-Castle County; Fifth, Kent County; Sixth, Suffex County. The chiefest and most commodious places for raising Tebacco, as also Breeding and Improving all sorts of Cattle, are the Counties of Kent and New-Castle; the other chiefly depend upon Raising and Improving English Grain, of which they have a prodigious Encrease, which I have particularly instanced in the beginning of this Book, both as to their Quality and Quantity: All those Counties also very much abound in all sorts of Cattle, both small and great, for the Use and Service of Man.

    Their sorts of Grain are, Wheat, Rye, Pease, Oates, Barley, Buck-Wheat, Rice, Indian-Corn, Indian-Pease, and Beans, with great quantities of Hemp and Flax; as also several sorts of eating Roots, as Turnips, Potatoes, Carrats, Persnips, &c.

    all which are produc’d Yearly in greater quantities than in England, those Roots being much larger, and altogether as sweet, if not more delicious; Cucumbers, Coshaws, Artichokes, with many others; most sorts of Saladings, besides what grows naturally Wild in the Country, and tat in great plenty also, as Mustard, Rye, Sage, Mint, Tanzy, Wormwood, Penny-Royal and Purslain, and most of the Herbs and Roots found in the Gardens in England. There are several Husband Men, who sow Yearly between Seventy and Eighty Acres of Wheat each, besides Barley, Oates, Rye, Pease, Beans, and other Grain.

    They ave commonly Tw Harvest in the Year; First of English Wheat, and next of Buck, (or French ) Wheat. They have great Stocks both of Hogs and Horses, kept in the Woods, out of which, I saw a Hog kill’d, of about a Year old, which weigh’d Page | 280


    Two Hundred weight; whose Flesh is much sweeter, and even more luscious tan that in England, because they feed and fatten on the rich (though wild) Fruits, besides those fatned at home by Peaches, Cherries and Apples. Their Hoses are very hot with riding or otherwise, they are turn’d out into the Woods at the same Instant, and yet receive no hard; some Farmers have Forty, some Sixty, and from that Number to Two or Three Hundred Head f Cattle: Their Oxen usually weigh Two Hundred Pounds a Quarter. They are commonly fatter of Flesh, and yield more Tallow (by feeding only on Grass) than the Cattle in England. And for Sheep, they have considerable Numbers which are generally free from those infectious Diseases which are incident to those Creatures in England, as the Rot, Scab, or Maggots; They commonly bring forth two Lambs at once, some twise in one Year, and the Wooll is very fine, and thick, and also very white.

    Bees thrive and multipl exceedingly in those Parts, and Sweeds often get great store of them in the Woods, where they are free for any Body. Honey (and choice too) is sold in the Capital City for Five Pence per Pound. Wax is also plentiful, cheap, and a considerable Commerce. Tame Fowls, as Chickens, Hens, Geese, Ducks, Turkeys, &c. are large, and very plentiful all over this Countrey.

    And now for their Lots and Lands in City and Countrey, in their great Advancement since they were first laid out, which was within the compass of about Twelve Years, that which might have been bought for Fifteen or Eighteen Shillings, is not solde for Fourscore Pounds in ready Silver; and some other Lots, that might have been then Purchased for Three Pounds, within the space of Two Years, were sold for a Hundred Pounds a piece, and likewise some Land that lies near the City, that Sixteen Years ago might have been Purchas’d for Six or Eight Pounds the Hundred Acres, cannot now be bough under One Hundred and Fifty, or Two Hundred Pounds.

    Now the true Reason why this Fruitful Countrey and Florishing City advance so considerably in the Purchase of Lands both in the one and the other, is their great and extended Traffique and Commerce both by Sea and Land, viz. to New-York, New-England, Virginia, Mary-Land, Carolina, Jamaica, Barbadoes, Nevis, Monserat, Antego, St. Cristophers, Barmudoes, New-Found-Land, Maderas, Saltetudeous, and Old-England; besides several other places. Their Merchandize chiefly consists in Horses, Pipe-Staves, Pork and Beef Salted and Barrelled up, Bread, and Flower, all sorts of Grain, Peases, Beans, Skins, Furs, Taobacco, or Pot-Ashes, Wax, &c. which are Barter’d for Rumm, Sugar, Molasses, Silver, Negroes, Salt, Wine, Linen, Household-Goods, &c.

    However there still remain Lots of Land both in the aforesaid City and Country, that any may Purchase almost as cheap as they could at the first Laying out of Parcelling of either City or Country; which is, (in the Judgment of most People) the likeliest to turn to account to those that lay their Money out upon it, and in a shorter time than the aforementioned Lots and Lands that are already improved, and for several Reasons. In the first place, the Countrey is now well inhabited by the Christians, who have great Stocks of all sorts of Cattle that increase extraordinarily, Page | 281


    and upon tat account they are oblig’d to go farther up into the Countreym because there is the chiefest and best place for their Stocks, and for them that go back into the Countrey, they get the richest Land, for the best lies thereabouts.

    Secondly, Farther into the Countrey is the Principal Place to Trade with the Indians for all sorts of Pelt, as Skins and Furs, and also Fat Venison, of whom People may Purchase cheaper by three Parts in four than they can at the City of Philadelphia.

    Thirdly, Backwards in the Countrey lies the Mines where is Copper and Iron, besides other Metals, and Minerals, of which there is some Improvement made already in order to bring them, to greater Perfection; and that will be a means to erect more Inland Market-Towns, which exceedingly promote Traffick.

    Fourthly, and lastly, Because the Countrey and the first, laying out, was void of Inhabitants (except the Heathens, or very few Chrstians not worth naming)) and not many People caring to abandon a quiet and easier (at least tolderable) Life in their Native Countrey (usually the most agreeable to all Mankind) to seek out a new hazardous, and careful one in a Foreign Wilderness or Desart Countrey, wholly destitute of Chrstian Inhabitants, and even to arrive at which, they must pass over a vast Ocean, expos’d to some Dangers, and not a few Inconveniencies: but now all those Cares, Fears and Hazards are vanished, for the Countrey is pretty well Peopled, and very much Improv’d, and will be more every Day, now the Dove is return’d with the Olive-branch of Peace in her Mouth.

    I must needs say, even the present Encouragements are very great and inviting, for Poor People (both Men and Women) of all kinds, can here get three times the Wages for their Labour they can in England or Wales.

    I shall instance in a few which may serve; any, and will hold in all the rest. The first was a Black-Smith (my next Neighbour) who himself and one Negro Man he had, got Fifty Shillings in one Day, by working up a Hundred Pound Weight of Iron, which at Six Pence per Pound (and that is the common Price in that Countrey) amounts to that Summ.

    And for Carpenters, both House and Ships, Brick-layers, Masons, either of these Trades-Men, will get between Five and Six Shillings every Day, constantly. As to Journey-Men Shooe-Makers, they have Two Shillings per Pair both for Men and Womens Shooes: And Journey-Men Taylors have Twelve Shillings per Week and their Diet. Sawyers get between Six and Seven Shillings the Hundred for Cutting of Pine-Boards. And for Weavers, they have Ten or Twelve. Pence the Yard for Weaving of that which is little more than half a Yard in breadth. Wooll-Combers, have for combing Twelve Pence per Pound. Potters have Sixteen Pence for an Earthen Pot which may be bought in England for Four Pence. Tanners, may buy their Hides green for Three Half Pence per Pound, and sell their Leather for Twelve Pence per Pound. And Curriers have Three Shillings and Four Pence per Hide for Dressing it; they buy their Oyl at Twenty Pence per Gallon. Brick-Makers have Twenty Shillings per Thousand for their Bricks at the Kiln. Felt-Makers will have for their Hats Seven Shillings a piece, such as may be bought in England for Two Shillings a piece; yet they buy their Wooll commonly for Twelves or Fifteen Pence Page | 282


    per Pound. And as to the Glaziers, they will have Five Pence a Quarry for their Glass. The Rule for the Coopers I have almost forgot; but this I can affirm of some who went from Bristol, (as their Neighbours report) that could hardly get their Livelihoods there, are now reckon’d in Pensilvania, by a modest Computation to be worth some Hundred, (if not Thousands) of Pounds. The Bakers make as White Bread as any in London, and as for their Rule, it is the same in all Parts of the World that I have been in. The Butchers for killing a Beast, have Five Shillings and their Diet; and they may buy a good fat large Cow for Three Pounds, or thereabouts. The Brewers sell such Beer as is equal in Strength to that in London, half Ale and half Stout for Fifteen Shillings per Barrel; and their Beer hath a better Name, that is, is in more esteem than English beer in Barbadoes, and is sold for a higher Price there.

    And for Silver-Smiths, they have between Half a Crown and Three Shillings an Ounce for working their Silver, and for Gold equivalent. Plasterers have commonly Eighteen Pence per Yard for Plastering. Laft-Makers have Two Shillings a dozen for their Lafts. and Heel-Makers have Two Shillings a dozen for their Heels. Wheel and Mill-Wrights, Joyners, Brasierz, Pewterers, Dyers, Fullers, Comb-Makers, Wyer-Drawers, Cage-Makers, Card-Makers, Painters, Cutlers, Rope-Makers, Carversm Block-Makers, Turners, Button-Makers, Hair and Wood Sieve-Makers, Bodies-Makers, Gun-Smithers, Lock-Smiths, Nailers, File-Cuters, Skinners, Furriers, Glovers, Patten-Makers, Watch-Makers, Clock-Makers, Sadlers, Coller-Makers, Barbers, Printers, Book-Binders, and all other trades-Men, their Gaines and Wages, are about the same proportion as the forementioned Trades in their Advancements, as to what they have in England.

    Of Lawyers and Physicians I shall say nothing, because this Countrey is very Peaceable and Healty; long may it so continue and never have occasion for the Tongue of the one, nore the Pen of the Other, both equally destructive to Mens Estates and Lives; besides forsooth, they, Hang-Man like, have a License to Murder and make Mischief. Labouring-Men have commonly here, between 14 and 15

    Pounds a Year, and their Meat, Drink, Washing and Lodging; and by the Day their Wages is generally between Eighteen Pence and Half a Crown, and Diet also; But in Harvest they have usually between Three and Four Shilling each Day, and Diet.

    they Maid Servant Wages is commonly betwixt Six and Ten Pounds per Annum, with very good Accommodation. And for the Women who get their Livelihood by their own Industry, their Labour is very dear, for I can buy in London a Cheese-Cake for Two Pence, bigger than theirs at that price when at the same time their Milk is as cheap as we can buy it in London, and their Flour cheaper by one half.

    Corn and Flesh, and what else serves man for Drink, Food and Rayment, is much cheaper here than in Endgland, or elsewhere; but the chief reason why Wages of Servants of all sorts if much higher here than there, arises from the great Fertility and Produce of the Place; besides, if these large Stipends were refused them, they would quickly set up for themselves, for they can have Provision very cheap, and Land for a very small matter, or next to nothing in comparison of the Page | 283


    Purchase of Lands in England; and the farmers there can better addord to give that great Wages than the Farmers in England can, for several Reasons very obvious.

    As First, their Land costs them (as I said but just now) little or nothing in comparison, of which the Farmers commonly will get twice the increase of Corn for every Bushel they sow, that the Farmers in England can from the richest Land they have.

    In the Second place, they have constantly good price for their Corn, by reason of the great and quick vent into Barbadoes and other Islands; through which means Silver is become more plentiful than here in England, considering the Number of People, and that causes a quick Trade for both Corn and Cattle; and that is the reason that corn differs now from the Price formerly, else it would be at half the Price it was at then; for a Brother of mine (to my own particular knowledge) sold within the compass of one Week, about One Hundred and Twenty fat Beasts, most of them good handsom large Oxen.

    Thirdly, They pay no Tithes, and their Taxes are inconsiderable; the Place is free for all persuasions, in a Sober and Civil way; for the Church of England and the Quakers bear equal Share in the Government. They live Friendly and Well together; there is no Persecution for Religion, nor ever like to be; ‘tis this that knocks all Commerce on the Head, together with high Imposts, strict Laws, and cramping Orders. Before I end this Paragraph, I shall add another Reason why Womens Wages are so exorbitant; they are not yet very numerous, which makes them stand upon high Terms for their several Services, in Sempstering, Washing, Spinning, Knitting, Serving, and in all the other parts of their Employments; for they have for Spinning either Worsted or Linen, Two Shillings a Pound, and commonly for Knitting a very Course pair of Yarn Stockings, they have half a Crown a Pair; moreover they are usually Marry’d before they are Twenty Years of Age, and when once in the Nose, are for the most part a little uneasier, and make their Husbands so too, till they procure them a Maid Servant to bear theburden of the Work, as also in some measure to wait on them too.

    it is now time to return to the City of Brotherly-Love (for so much of the Greek Word or Name Philadelphia imports) which though at present so obscure, that neither the Map-Makers, nor Geographers have taken the least notice of her, tho she far exceeds her Namesake of Lydia, (having above Two Thousand Noble Houses for her Five Hundred Ordinary) or Celisia, or Cœlesyria; yet in a very short space of time the will, in all probability, make a fine Figure in the World, and be a most Celebrated Emporeum. Here is lately built a Noble Town-House or Guild-Hall, also a Handsom Market-House, and a convenient Prison. The Number of Christians both Old and Young Inhabiting in that Countrey, are by a Modest Computation, adjudged to amount to above Twenty Thousand.

    The Laws of this Countrey, are the same with those in England; our Constitution being on the same Foot: Many Disputes and Differences are determined and composed by Arbitration; and all Causes are decided with great Care and Expedition, being concluded (generally) at furthest at the Second Court, unless they happen to Page | 284


    be very Nice and Difficult Cases; under Forty Shillings any one Justice of the Peace has Power to Try the Cause. Thieves of all sorts, are oblig’d to restore four fold after they have been Whipt and Imprison’d,a ccording to the Nature of their Crime; and if they be not of Ability to restore four fold, they must be in Servitude till ’tis satisfied. They have Curious Wharfs as also several large and fine Timber-Yards, both at Philadelphia, and New-Castle, especially at the Metropolis, before Robert Turner’s Great and Famous House, where are built Ships of considerable Burthen; they Cart their Goods from that Wharf into the Cirt of Philadelphia, under an Arch, over which part of the Street is built, which is called Chesnut-Street-Warf, besides other Wharfs, as High-Street Warf, Mulberry Street Wharf, and Vine-Street Wharf, and all those are Common Wharfs; and likewise there are very pleasant Stairs, as Trus and Carpenter-Stairs, besides several others. There are above Thirty Carts belonging to that City, Four or Five Horses to each. There is likewise a very convenient Wharf called Carpenter’s Wharf, which hath a fine necessary Craine belonging to it, with suitable Grainaries, and Store-Houses. A Ship of Two Hundred Tun may load and unload by the side of it, and there are other Wharfs (with Magazines and Ware-Houses) which front the City all along the River, as also a Curious and Commodious Dock with a Draw-Bridge to it, for the convenient Reception of Vessels; where have been built some Ships of Two or Three Hundred Tuns each: They have very Stately Oaks to build Ships with, some of which are between Fifty and Sixty Foot long, and clear from Knots, being very straight and well Grain’d. In this famous City of Philadelphia there are several Rope-Makers, who have large and curious Rope-Walks especially one Joseph Wilcox. Also Three or Four Spacious Malt-Houses, as many large Brew-Houses, and many handsom Bake-Houses for Publick Use.

    In the said City are several good Schools of Learning for Youth, in order to the Attainment of Arts and Sciences, as also R eading, Writing, &c. Here is to be had on any Day in the Week, Tarts, Pies, Cakes, &c. We have also several Cooks-Shops, both Roasting and Boyling, as in the City of London; Bread, Beer, Beef, and Pork, are sold at any time much cheaper than in England (which arises from their Plenty) our Wheat is very white and clear from Tares, making as good and white Bread as any in Europe. Happy Blessings, for which we owe the highest Gratitude to our Plentiful Provider, the great Creator of Heaven and Earth. The Water-Mills far exceed those in England, both for quickness and grinding good Meal, their being great choice of good Timber, and earlier Corn than in the aforesaid Place, they are made by one Peter Deal, a Famous and Ingenious Workman, especially for inventing such like Machines.

    All sorts of very good Paper are made in the German-Town; as also very fine German linen, such as no person of Quality need be asham’d to wear; and in several places they make very good Druggets, Crapes, Camblets, and Serges, besides other Woollen Cloaths, the Manufacture of all which daily improves: And in most parts of the Countrey there are many Curious and Spacious Building, which several of the Gentry have erected for their Country-Houses. As for the Fruit-Trees they Page | 285


    Plant, they arrive at such Perfection, that they bear in a little more than half the time that they commonly do in England.

    The Christian Children born here are generally well-favoured, and Beautiful to behold; I never knew any come into the World with the least blemish on any part of its Body, being in the general, observ’d to be better Natur’d, Milder, and more tender Hearted than those born in England.

    There are very fine and delightful Gardens and Orchards, in most part of this Countrey; but Edward Shippey (who lives near the Capital City) has an Orchard and Gardens adjoining to his Great Hous that equalizes (if not exceeds) any I have ever seen, having a very famous and pleasant Summer-House erected in the middle of his extraordinary fine and large Garden abounding with Tulips, Pinks, Carnations, Roses, (of several sorts) Lilies, not to mention those that grow wild in the Fields.

    Reader, what I have here written is not a Fiction, Flam, Whim, or any sinister Design, either to impose upon the Ignorant, or Credulous, or to curry Favour with the Rich and Mighty, but in meer Pity and pure Compassion to the Numbers of Poor Labouring Men, Women, and Children in England, half starv’d, visible in their meagre looks, that are continually wandering up and down looking for Employment without finding any, who here need not lie idle a moment, nor want due Encouragement or Reward for their Work, much less Vagabond or Drone it about. Here there are no Beggars to be seen (it is a Shame and Disgrace to the State that there are so many in England) nor indeed have any here that least Occasion or Temptation to take up that Scandalous Lazy Life.

    Jealousie among Men is here very rare; and barrenness among Women hardly to be heard of, nor are old Maids to be met with; for all commonly Marry before they are Twenty Years of Age, and seldom any young Married Women but hath a Child in her Belly, or one upon her Lap.

    What I have delivere’d concerning this Province, is indisputably true, I was an Eye-Witness to it all, for I went in the first Ship that was bound from England for that Countery, since it received the Name of Pensilvania, which was in the Year 1681. The Ship’s Name was the John and Sarah of London, Henry Smith Commander. I have declin’d giving any Account of several things which I have only heard others speak of, because I did not see them my self, for I never held that way infallible, to make Reports from Hear-say. I saw the first Cellar when it was digging for the use of our Governour Will. Penn.

    I shall now haste to a Conclusion, and only hint a little concerning the Natives or Aborigines, their Persons, Language, Manners, Religion and Government; Of Person they are ordinarily Tall, Straight, well-turn’d, and true Propotion’d; their Treat strong and clever, generally walking with a lofty Chin. Of Complexion Black, but by design, Gypsie-like, greasing themselves with Bears-Fat Clarified, and using no defense against the Injuries of the Sun and Weather, their Skins fail not to be Swarthy. Their Eyes are small and black. Thick lips and flat Noses so frequent Page | 286


    with Negroes and East Indians, are rare with them. They have Comely Faces and Tolerable Complexions, some of their Noses having a rise like the Roman.

    Their Language is Lofty and Elegant, but not Copious; One Word serveth in the stead of Three, imperfect and ungrammatical, which defects are supply’d by the Understanding of the Hearers. Sweet, of Noble Sound and Accent. Take here a Specimen.

    Hodi hita nee huska a peechi nee, machi

    Pensilvania huska dogwachi, keshow a peechi

    Nowa, huska hayly, Chetena koon peo.

    Thus in English.

    Farewel Friend, I will very quickly go to

    Pensilvania, very cold Mon will come presently,

    And very great hard frosts will come quickly.

    I might Treat largely of their Customs and Manners, but that will not agree with my proposed Brevity.

    As soon as their Children are born, they wash them in cold Water, especially in cold Weather. To harden and embolden them, they plunge them in the River, they find their Feet early, usually at Nine Months they can go. The Boys Fish till Fifteen, then hunt, and having given proof of their Manhood, by a large return of Skins, they may Marry (else ’tis ashame to think of a Wife) which is usually at the Age of Seventeen or Eighteen; the Girls stay with their Mothers, and help to hoe the Ground, Plant Corn, bear Burdens, and Marry about Thirteen or Fourteen.

    Their Houses are Matts, or Barks of Trees set on Poles, Barn-like, not higher than a Man, so not exposed to Winds. They lie upon Reeds or Grass. In Travel they lodge in the Woods about a great Fire, with the Mantle of Duffils they wear wrapt about them, and a few Boughs stuck round them.

    They live chiefly on Maze, or Indian Corn softed in the Ashes, sometimes beaten and boyl’d with Water, called Homine. They have Cakes, not unpleasant; also Beans and Pease, which Nourish much, but the Woods and Rivers afford them their Provision; they ear Morning and Evening; their Seats and Tables are the Ground; they are reserv’d, apt to resent and retain long: Their Women are Chaste (at least after Marriage) and when with Child, will not admit of their Husband Embraces any more till Deliver’d. Exceeding Liberal and Generous; Kind and Affable; uneasie in Sicknesse, to remedy which, they drink a Decoction of Roots in Spring-Water, forbearing Flesh, which is they happen to eat, it must be the Female; they commonly bury their Kettles and part of their goods with their Friends when they die, suspecting (poor souls) they shall make use of them again at the Resurrection. They Mourn a whole Year, but it is no other than blacking their Faces.

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    Their Government is Monarchical, and Successive, and ever od the Mothers (the surest) side, to prevent a Spurious Issue. The Distaff (as in France) is excluded the Regal Inheritance. Their Princes are Powerful, yet do nothing without the Concurrence of their Senate, or Councils, consisting chiefly of Old, but mixt with Young Men; slow and deliberate, ( Spaniard-like) in resolving, naturally wise, and hardly to be out-witted. Their Punishments are Pecuniary. Murder may be aton’d for by Feasts and Presents, in Proportion to the Quality of the Offence, Person, or Sex injur’d: for if a Woman be kill’d, the Mulct is double, because she brings forth Children. They seldom quarel when Sober, and if Boozy, (which of late they are more apt to be, having learn’d to drink, a little too much Rum of the Christians, to their shame) they readily pardon it, alledging the Liquor is Criminal not the Man.

    The way of Worship the Sweeds use in this COuntrey, is the Lutheran; the English have four sorts of Assemblies or Religious Meetings here: as first, The Church of England, who built a very fine Church in the City of Philadelphia in the Year 1695. Secondly, the Anabaptists: Thirdly, the Presbyterians, and two sorts of Quakers (of all the most numerous by much) one Part held with George Keith; but whether both Parties will joyn together again in one I cannot tell, for that Gentleman hath alter’d his Judgement since he came to England, concerning his Church-Orders in Pensilvania, by telling and shewing them Precepts that were lawful in the time of the Law, but forbidden under the Gospel to pay Tithes, or Ministers to Preach for Hire, &c. As also to sprinkle Infants; and he tells the Presbyterian Minister, That he must go to the Pope of Rome for his Call, for he had no Scripture for it, and that Water-Baptism and the Outward Supper are not of the nature of the Everlasting Gospel; nor essential parts of it, see his Truth Advanced page 173. He gives likewise a strict Charge concerning plain Language and plain Habit, and that they should not be concern’d in the compelling part of the Worldly Government, and that they should let their Negroes at Liberty after some reasonable time of Service; likewise, they they should not take the Advantage of the Law against one another, as to procure them any Corporeal Punishment: These Orders he tells his Followers, would make Distinction between them and Jews and moral heathens, this was in the Year 1693. in Pensilvania: But now the Year 1697.

    since he came to England, his Judgement is chang’d, for he tells his Disciples, that Water-Baptism is come in the room of Circumcision; and by so doing, they would distinguish themselves from either Jews, Pagans, or Moral Heathens: He keeps his Meeting once a Week at Turners-Hall in Fill-Pot-Lane, London, on Sundays in the Afternoon; he begins between Two and Three of the Clock and commonly ends between Four and Five.

    Friendly Reader, by this thou mayst see how wavering and mutable Men of great Outward Learning are, if the Truth of this be by an Body question’d, let them look in the Creed, and the Paper against Christians being concern’d in Worldly Government, and the Paper concerning Negroes, that was given forth by the Appointment of the Meeting held by George Keith at Philip James’s House in the City of Philadelphia, in Pensilvania; and his Letter also in Mary-Land against Page | 288


    the Presbysterian Catechism, Printed at Boston in New-England in 1695. with the Answer to it bound up together in one Book and in Truth Advanced, page 173. And for what relates to hime since in England, let them look into the Quaker Arguments Refuted, Concerning Water-Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, page 70.

    And now Reader, I shall take my leave of thee, recommending thee with my own self to the Directions of the Spirit of God in our Conscience, and that will agree with all the Holy Scriptures in its right place; and when we find our selves so, we have no need to take any Thought or Care what any Body shall say of us.

    2.12.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1. Compare Gabriel Thomas’s conjectures regarding the roots of American Indians with those of Adriaen van der Donck’s. From what value base is Thomas functioning? How do you know?

    2. Why does Thomas dismiss the claims to possession of previous colonizers, including the Dutch and the Swedes, due to their having made no improvements to the land? What does he mean by improvements? How do you know? What does William Penn’s followers’ being industrious suggest about their characters and rights?

    3. What’s the effect of Thomas’s grouping “negroes” among such bartered goods as rum, sugar, molasses, silver, salt, wine, linen, and household goods? What is suggested by this reference to negroes? Why?

    4. According to Thomas, why do women receive unusually high wages in Pennsylvania? What’s his attitude to their “exorbitant” wages? How do you know?

    2.13 JOHN NORRIS


    Very little is known about John Norris that is not derived from his 1712

    pamphlet, Profitable Advice for Rich and Poor. This pamphlet encouraged poor Englishmen to establish small farms in the colonial South where they could gain independent subsistence. He particularly encouraged tradesmen who could not make their living in England to reap “profit and delight” in what is now South Carolina. His pamphlet addressed possible causes for reluctance to settle in South Carolina, including the fear that “English people, and others” would be enslaved when they entered the colonies.

    2.13.1 From Profitable Advice for Rich and Poor



    Page | 289


    2.13.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1. What’s the purpose and effect of the first question in this dialogue being about the settlers and their religion? Why?

    2. What justification, if any, does the planter James Freeman give to the presence of slaves in this colony? How does he distinguish between

    “Blackmoors” and “Red Dun, or Tan’d Skin’d” slaves? Why? What rights or protections, if any, do slaves have?

    3. Why does Question make a point of asking about the possibility of

    “English people, and others” being made slaves upon their arrival in America? How does Freeman reassure Question? What attitudes towards

    “Blackmoors” and “Red Dun, or Tan’d Skin’d” slaves does Freeman reveal in his reassurance? What rights or protections, if any, do such indentured servants have?

    4. What advantages might laborers from England gain from apprenticing or indenturing themselves in order to emigrate to America?

    5. What relationship between the colony and England does Freeman describe? What is his attitude towards this relationship? How do you know?

    Page | 290

    3Revolutionary and Early National

    Period Literature


    After reading this chapter, students will be able to

    • Identify historical characteristics of the Revolutionary or Early National period in America.

    • Place the French and Indian War within its larger social, cultural, and historical context, in both North America and Europe.

    • Understand the diverse and numerous circumstances contributing to the Revolutionary War, starting with the Battles of Lexington and Concord (1775).

    • Understand the purpose and effect of the Second Continental Congress and its Articles of Confederation.

    • Understand the purposes and effects of the Constitutional Convention (1787).

    • Identify the political viewpoints of the Federalists and the Anti-federalists and their respective contributions to the development of the United States federal government.

    • Understand the influence of the Enlightenment on eighteenth century American culture, particularly with the shift from Puritan theology to science, philosophy, and the empirical method.

    • Understand the relationship of eighteenth century American literature with the goal of human perfectibility.

    • Understand the inconsistent application of Enlightenment values of individual will, equality, and freedom among African slaves, Native Americans, and women.

    • Understand how the Enlightenment encouraged alternative religions and philosophies, such as Deism and Unitarianism, as well as a resurgence of Calvinism in the Great Awakening and evangelizing.

    Page | 291



    The American eighteenth century—often called the Revolutionary or Early National period because it coincided with the establishment of the soon-to-be United States—was one punctuated by warfare and nation building. The country’s first major experience with warfare in the century came with the French and Indian War. Part of the broader Seven Years War, this North American phase began in 1754

    with territorial disputes over the upper Ohio River Valley by traders and settlers of New France and traders and setters of the Virginia and Pennsylvania colonies. The dispute escalated when both territories established forts in the area and escalated again when they called their respective mother countries into the argument. The fight between the colonies was another extension of the historic enmity between France and England and was also mirrored by enmities between different Native American tribes who allied themselves to the side which best served their interests and desire to defeat rival tribes. The North American phase of the war concluded in 1760. The larger conflict was not settled until 1763, and France was compelled to cede Canada and lands east of the Mississippi to England.

    American colonies’ participation in the French and Indian War affected the American Revolution in two ways: American militias gained valuable military experience that was put to use in the later conflict, and American dissatisfaction with England erupted once they started getting the bills from the war. The British government and public felt that it was only right that the American colonists help pay the costs of conducting the French and Indian War since it was on their behalf. The American colonists disagreed since they had no representation in the government that decided what to tax and how much. American resentment of and resistance to England peaked with the so-called Intolerable Acts of 1774, which added the insult of usurped governance to the injury of taxation. Among other things, the Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston until the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party was repaid. It also put the Massachusetts government under direct British control and required American colonists to quarter the British soldiers there to enforce that control. In response, all the colonies with the exception of Georgia convened the First Continental Congress and sent a Declaration of Rights and Grievances to England in late 1774. England’s reply was to send troops to put down colonial resistance, and the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775

    initiated the American Revolutionary War.

    Soon after those battles, the colonists set about establishing a government. The Second Continental Congress met to draft the Articles of Confederation. Codifying a loose connection among sovereign states with a limited central government, the Articles also established the new name of the country and a bicameral federal legislature, one side with representation proportionate to population and the other with equal representation. Completed in 1777 and finally ratified in 1781, the Articles proved to be problematic after peace with England was officially declared with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. While the new Congress had the power to pass laws, it lacked the power to enforce them, and it became clear within four years of Page | 292


    nationhood that a new plan was needed.

    When the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met in 1787, they all agreed to the rule of secrecy—no details of the new Constitution would be leaked until the draft was complete and offered to the states for ratification. It was only when the draft was released in 1789 that the national debate about its principles began in earnest. Two major positions quickly coalesced. The Federalists, who included George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, supported the Constitution as written, favoring a strong central government composed of executive and judicial branches added to the legislative branch and relatively weaker state governments.

    Anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry were leery of the consolidation of power by a federal government headed by a President, arguing that the Constitution replicated a system like the one from which they had just separated. They wanted strong state governments because they thought states would be more likely to protect individual freedoms. Anti-federalists ultimately influenced the new form of the federal government by the addition of the Bill of Rights, designed to protect individual rights from the power of the federal government. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights containing ten amendments were finally ratified by the last state in 1790.

    The Enlightenment was the major cultural influence on eighteenth century America, and through it, the early colonial worldview dominated by Puritan theology shifted into a world view influenced by science and philosophy. There was an explosion of improved scientific technologies during the seventeenth century, and as a result, scientists were able to collect more precise data and challenge previously held ideas about how the world functioned. To illustrate the effect that scientific discoveries and theories had on the time period, consider Isaac Newton’s law of universal gravitation. If one had previously been told, as the seventeenth century Puritans had, that the workings of nature were actuated by God’s inscrutable will and were beyond humanity’s ability to understand, the discovery of a formula that could predict one of those workings of nature with accuracy every time (so long as the mass of the objects and the distance between them were known) would cause a seismic change in one’s perceptions. The existence of laws like Newton’s asserted that the universe was ordered on rational principles that man could understand using reason. As a result, the use of reason gained greater respect echoed in the era’s other name, the Age of Reason, and human ability was held in much higher regard.

    In the eighteenth century, science and philosophy were not considered distinct fields of knowledge, and so it is not surprising that some philosophers too prioritized reason in examining the nature of humanity. English philosopher John Locke and his articulation of Empiricism show not only the supremacy of what is now called the scientific method but also a view of human nature that differed considerably from that of the Puritans. In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), Locke asserts that “all ideas come from sensation or reflection.” In other words, all human knowledge is founded in sensory information—what we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel—and inferences that can be logically drawn from that information. It Page | 293


    then follows that the nature of an infant at birth, assumed to have had no sensory experiences until that moment, must be like a tabula rasa or blank slate, untainted by original sin. While the Puritans believed that humanity is born bad, Locke asserted that humanity was born blank. The sensory experiences that followed and the inferences drawn from them as a result of a good or faulty education would dictate the kind of person one would become.

    Though Empiricism held that human nature could be swayed either way, this period was nothing if not optimistic. Some Enlightenment and Federal era thinkers emphasized the goal of human perfectibility. Despite the concept’s name, they did not actually think humans could become perfect; however, they did believe that individuals and humanity in total could continually improve, if reason was applied to determine the best ways to be and the best ways to learn those ways.

    This period ushered in the establishment of many a library, athenaeum, and study group like Franklin’s Junto Club—all institutions available to the person wishing for self-improvement because people now believed that it was possible to become better through one’s own efforts. For these reasons, American literature of the eighteenth century is frequently intended to instruct, whether it be Benjamin Franklin’s “bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection” or the frequent cautions about the dangers of vanity and frivolity for women in Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette.

    Though reason had a new place of prominence in the eighteenth century, its inadequacies were also explored. Franklin lays out an eminently rational system of inculcating virtue, then goes on to admit that he never could learn some of those virtuous qualities. In an echo of his younger self rationalizing the break with his vegetarian principles when the smell of cooked fish becomes too tempting, Franklin slyly acknowledges that, sometimes, a “speckled” or only partially virtuous self is best. Foster too creates a tension between the textbook virtuous women who advise her heroine to abandon her flirtatious ways and settle for the life of a dutiful minister’s wife and that same heroine’s clear and persuasive understanding that this proposed life would be both unsuitable for her personality and deadly boring.

    This new respect for human ability and potentiality lead the period to reimagine the relationship between the individual and the community. For Puritans, individualism was the cause of much evil, and so in John Robinson’s letter read to William Bradford’s group when they embarked for the New World, each traveler is instructed to “repress in himself and the whole body in each person, as so many rebels against the common good, all private respects of men’s selves, not sorting with the general conveniency.” For writers of the Enlightenment, the individual and the community were not antagonists but collaborators finding a balance that benefitted both. Remarking on individual freedom, Locke in his Second Treatise on Civil Government (1689) asserts

    But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license . . .The state of nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, Page | 294


    which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.

    In other words, the individual is free to do what he wants as long as it does not curtain the freedom of another; individual freedom must balance with group freedom. Locke’s statement also references two other influential concepts of the period—natural law and the golden mean—which were borrowed from classical Greek and Roman philosophy. The natural law concept argues that, to be just, laws should be founded in the observable operations of nature. Particularly in ethical arguments, this period also advocated for the desirability of finding the “golden mean” in any action and charting a middle course between two extremes of excess and paucity.

    One might have supposed that the primacy of reason and an emphasis on the equality of all human beings would have vanquished prejudice against those who were not white males, but this period also illustrates that rationality is not invulnerable to bias. For some Americans such as Benjamin Franklin, it seemed obvious that one cannot both declare that all men are created equal and also support slavery. However, American slaveholders like Thomas Jefferson managed to rationalize the cognitive dissonance, arguing the paternalist position that Africans were not as fully developed as European descendants and needed to be controlled by the latter until they had moved further along on the continuum of civilization.

    Similar arguments were made about Native Americans, and the evidence of their advanced civilization was ignored or explained away. For example, it was a widely held belief that Native American burial mounds had been constructed by some earlier civilization that the Native Americans had overrun. Women, too, were excluded from the protections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and were erased by the practice of coverture, which asserted that women’s legal rights were

    “covered” by those of her father or husband; women did not have a separate legal existence from their male relatives. Some white women were offered a limited ticket to participate in Enlightenment ideals through the concept of Republican Motherhood. This concept argued that women needed to be educated, to have some level of financial security, and to have knowledge of the political system so that they could raise sons who would be good American citizens. While Republican Motherhood increased access to education for a small group of women, their rights were still subsumed by the priorities of white men.

    Though science and philosophy had increased influence on eighteenth century American culture, religion had not vanished from the scene. However, the hegemony of Calvinist theology was challenged by non-denominational groups as well as by a segment within the one of its major denomination. Some American intellectuals who identified with Enlightenment principles embraced deism, often called “natural religion” in reference to natural law. More a philosophy than an organized religion, deism had little in the way of dogma and no institutional Page | 295


    structure. This belief system followed the principles of Empiricism by asserting that religious belief should derive from reason rather than tradition. Deists believed in God, rationally deducing the existence of a Creator from the orderliness of nature observed through their senses. As Thomas Paine, perhaps the most famous deist in America, asserts in “The Existence of God” (1797), “The Universe is the bible of a true Theophilanthropist. It is there that he reads of God. It is there that the proofs of his existence are to be sought and to be found.” However, deists did not see God as behind every tiny working of nature. Unlike the Puritans, who might describe any natural event as occurring because God was pleased or displeased with them, deists believed that nature operated itself along the orderly principles created by God and revealed by science. Finally, deists, like the period in general, were humanist, following a philosophy which prioritized human concerns and needs in its ethical beliefs. Whereas a Puritan would judge an action based on whether it was in accordance with or contrary to God’s will, a humanist deist would judge it according to its effect on people.

    Unitarianism was a more moderate religious belief of the time period, attempting to strike the preferred middle position between Calvinist beliefs and Enlightenment beliefs. Unitarianism grew out of the Congregationalist denomination—one of the major denominations of the Puritans who settled in the English colonies.

    Unlike deists, Unitarians valued the Bible as a sacred text; however, influenced by Empiricism, Unitarians argued that the Bible and religious traditions must be subjected to reason and accepted or rejected on that basis. One such tradition Unitarians felt did not pass rational muster was the belief in a three-person God, and their name is taken from this position. Also in accordance with Empirical beliefs, Unitarians rejected the Calvinist views of corrupt human nature and the inevitability of damnation for the majority and believed, in a religious version of human perfectibility, that all souls were capable of working toward salvation.

    Colonial membership in Calvinist Protestant denominations experienced a resurgence in the eighteenth century especially from the 1730s to the 1750s when the Great Awakening, a movement of revitalized piety originating in Europe, arrived in America. While continuing to hold many tenets in contradiction to Enlightenment emphases, the Calvinism of the Great Awakening showed signs of the influence of that intellectual movement. Their views still held that man was born corrupt and unworthy of the salvation that God granted to some. However, the movement pushed back against the prioritization of rationality with the idea that one could prepare oneself to be open to God’s grace by a public and emotional testimony about one’s religious experience. For some of the foremost ministers of this movement, it was not enough to understand Biblical teachings intellectually; to truly understand God’s will and prepare oneself for the gift of grace, should one be saved, one needed to feel those teachings emotionally. The movement also directed its adherents to evangelize (publicly testify about one’s religious experience) to help others arrive at that deeper understanding and in that way, shows some influence of humanism.

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    Jonathan Edwards was born in

    East Windsor, Connecticut to Reverend

    Timothy Edwards and Esther Stoddard

    Edwards, daughter of the Reverend

    Solomon Stoddard (1643–1729), an

    important religious figure in western

    Massachusetts. Nurtured by Calvinistic

    authorities in the Puritan Faith,

    Edwards nevertheless relied on his own

    understanding and observation of the

    world around him. Before reaching his

    teens, he refuted materialism in an essay

    and wrote a study of the flying spider.

    Upon entering Yale at the age of thirteen,

    he came to terms (on his own terms) Image 3.1 | Jonathan Edwards with Puritan doctrine, particularly the Artist | Unknown idea of the elect and of God’s complete Source | Wikimedia Commons sovereignty. As strict Calvinists, the License | Public Domain Puritans held that God to be all-powerful and completely sovereign and all humans to be naturally depraved. God elected only a few for salvation.

    Edwards’ fervent acceptance of Puritan doctrine was heightened by his study of John Locke’s (1632–1704) Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689).

    This philosophical treatise encouraged empiricism, experience, and sensation. It tied abstract ideas to concrete particulars. To paraphrase the later Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821), Edwards came to feel his abstract faith in his pulses. He recorded his conversion in his Personal Narrative (1765). After graduating from Yale, Edwards was ordained as minister at Northampton, Massachusetts, assisting his grandfather Solomon Stoddard before succeeding him upon his death. In 1727, Edwards married Sarah Pierrepont; together, they raised ten children.

    As minister, Edwards sought to bring his congregation to an understanding of the Puritan faith that involved a physical (as well as metaphysical) experience of faith. His preaching was so successful that it contributed to the wave of revivalism now known as the first Great Awakening that swept through the colonies in the 1730s and 1740s. Listeners to Edwards’ sermons were gripped by a full-bodied conviction of God’s mercy for the elect, a conviction characterized by strong emotions and sentiment.

    The Great Awakening led to schisms within churches with some members opposing revivals as sources of hysteria and disorder, particularly as they empowered uneducated itinerant ministers, inspired individual authority in many women, and converted a number of blacks to Christianity. The early sovereignty of Page | 297




    Puritan faith in America thus gave way to

    more liberal and differing denominations

    and even deism. Edwards himself tried to

    tamp down these shifts with such works as A

    Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work

    of God (1737), a work seeking to balance

    emotionalism and mindfulness, and his A

    Treatise Concerning Religious Affections

    (1746), a work that distinguished genuine

    from false religious experiences.

    In 1741, Edwards gave the sermon

    Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, a

    sermon emphasizing human depravity and

    God’s unfathomable mercy. It uses natural

    and observable details and terrifying images

    to give a compelling depiction of that yawning

    hell burning beneath all, particularly the

    unwary and unready. Its depiction of

    punishment almost, but ultimately does

    not, overwhelm the sermon’s purpose: the

    promise of God’s mercy.

    Edwards exhorted a return to traditional

    Image 3.2 | Sinners in the Hands of an

    10: Untitled Page 06 is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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