From the violent and brutal clash between Indians , and British colonists in Massachusetts during King Philip's War (1675-6) grew a new literary genre. After their redemption, some colonists who had been prisoners of the Indians wrote autobiographical accounts of their experiences. These captivity narratives developed a large audience, and interest in the narratives continued into the nineteenth century. After her capture and redemption, Mary Rowlandson published what some historians call "America's first best seller," entitled Narrative Of the Captivity and Restoratio;t of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Through her use of scripture and portrayal of the relationship between the Indians and Puritan colonists, Rowlandson reinforced the traditional concept of providence preached by the founding Puritans fortv years earlier.
Mary Rowlandson relied on her faith in the providence of God to sustain herself during her period of captivity. Indians ransacked the town of Lancaster in February of 1675. Rowlandson, the wife of a minister, was one of twenty-four townspeople taken captive. Separated from her husband and all but one of her children, during her captivity she depended upon a Bible obtained from an Indian's plunder for spiritual survival. Her eventual redemption and reunification with her surviving children and husband affirmed her faith in the providence of her God.
The founding Puritans based their concept of divine providence on a special covenant with God. John Winthrop, in "A Modell of Christian Charity," expressed the belief that the Puritans were the chosen people of God. In 1630, when Winthrop spoke to Puritaii colonists sailing to the New Worl...
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...ip with his chosen.
1. I chose the word Indians to write of the Native Americans to be consistant with Mary Rowlandson's choice of words.
2. David Freeman Hawke, The Colonial Experience (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966), 307.
3. John Demos, "War and Captivity," Remarkable Providences, ed. John Demos (Boston: North Eastern UP, 1991), 344.
4. Mary Rowlandson, "Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson: Extracts," Remarkable Providences, 347.
5. Ibid., 347.
6. John Winthrop, "A Modell of Christian Charity," Settlements to Society: 1607-1763, ed. Jack P. Greene. (New York: Norton, 1975), 68.
7. John Cotton, "God's Promise to His Plantations," Settlements to Society, 65-6.
8. Rowlandson, 364.
9. Ibid., 351.
10. Ibid., 346.
11. Ibid., 355.
12. Cotton, 65.
13. Rowlandson, 369-70.
14. Ibid., 371.
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