The Two Titles of Mary Rowlandson's Captivity Narrative

Boston and Cambridge Editions,
The Soveraignty & Goodness of God, (1682) | PDF and larger
A True History of the Captivity and Restoration, (1682; The Newberry Library)
and larger
1- The PREFACE to the Reader:
Page citation from American Captivity Narratives. Edited by Gordon M. Sayre. New Riverside Edition by Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Ter Amicam [Increase Mather] : IT was on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 1675, in the afternoon, when the Narragansetts quarters (in or toward the Nipmuck Country, whither they are now retired for fear of the English Army lying in their own Country) were the second time beaten up, by the Forces of the united Colonies, who thereupon soon betook themselves to flight, and were all the next day pursued by the English, some overtaken and destroyed. But on Thursday, Feb. 3d, The English having now been six days on their march, from their head quarters, at Wickford, in the Narragansett Country, toward, and after the Enemy, and provision grown exceeding short, insomuch that they were fain to kill some Horses for the supply, especially of their Indian friends, they were necessitated to consider what was best to be done. And about noon (having hitherto followed the chase as hard as they might) a Council was called, and though come few were of another mind, yet it was concluded by far the greater part of the Council of War, that the Army should desist the pursuit, and retire: the Forces of Plimouth and the Bay to the next Town of the Bay, and Connecticut Forces to their own next Towns; which determination was immediately put in execution. The consequent whereof, as it was not difficult to be foreseen by those that knew the causeless enmity of there Barbarians, against the English, and the malicious and revengeful spirit of there Heathen: so it soon Proved dismall. (132)

2- Ter Amicam [Increase Mather]: But it is not my business to dilate on these things, but only in few works introductively to preface to the following script, which is a Narrative of the wonderfully awful, wise, holy, powerful, and gracious providence of God, towards that worthy and precious Gentlewoman, the dear Consort of the said Reverend Mr. Rowlandson, and her Children with her, as in casting of her into such a waterless pit, so in preserving, supporting, and carrying thorough so many such extreme hazards, unspeakable difficulties and disconsolateness, and at last delivering her out of them all, and her surviving Children also. It was a strange and amazing dispensation, that the Lord should so afflict his precious Servant, and Hand maid. It was as strange, if not more, that he should so bear up the spirits of his Servant under such bereavements and of his handmaid under such captivity, travels and hardships (much too hard for flesh and blood) as he did, and at length deliver and restore. But he was their Saviour, who hath said, When thou passest through the Waters, I will be with thee, and through the Rivers, they shall not over, flow thee: When thou walkest through the Pire; thou shall not be burnt, nor shall the flame kindle upon thee, Isa. 43. ver. 2. and again, He woundeth and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea in seven there shall no evil touch thee. In Famine he shall redeem thee from Death, and in War from the power of the sword. Job 5 : 18, 19, 20. Methinks this dispensation doth bear some resemblance to those of Joseph, David and Daniel; yea, and of the three Children too, the stories whereof do represent us with the excellent textures of divine Providence, curious pieces of divine work: and truly so doth this, and therefore not to be forgotten, but worthy to be exhibited to, and viewed, and pondered by all, that disdain not to consider the operation of his hands. (134)

3- Ter Amicam [Increase Mather]: This Narrative was penned by the Gentlewoman herself, to be to her a memorandum of Gods dealing with her, that she might never forget, but remember the same, and the several circumstances thereof, all the days of her life. A pious scope which deserves both commendation and imitation. [end 134] Some friends having obtained a sight of it, could not but be so much affected with the many passages of working providence discovered therein, as to judge it worthy of public view, and altogether unmeet that such works of God should be hid from present and future Generations: And therefore though this Gentlewoman's modesty would not thrust it into the Press, yet her gratitude unto God made her not hardly persuadable to let it pass, that God might have his due glory, and others benefit by it as well as herself. I hope by this time none will cast any reflection upon this Gentlewoman, on the score of this publication of her affliction and deliverance. If any should, doubtless they may be reckoned with the nine lepers, of whom it is said, Were there not ten cleansed, where are the nine? but one returning to give God thanks. (135)

4-Ter Amicam [Increase Mather]: Deep troubles, when the waters come in unto thy soul, are wont to produce vows: vows must be paid. It is better not vow, than vow and not to pay. I may say, that as none knows what it is to fight and pursue such an enemy as this, but they that have fought and pursued them: so none can imagine what it is to be captivated and enslaved to such atheistical, proud, wild, cruel, barbarous brutish (in one word) diabolical creatures as these, the worst of the heathen; nor what difficulties, hardships, hazards, sorrows, anxieties and perplexities do unavoidably wait upon such a condition, but those that have tryed it. No serious spirit then (especially knowing anything of this Gentlewoman's piety) can imagine but that the vows of God are upon her. Excuse her then if she come thus into public, to pay, those vows, come and hear what she hath to say. (136)

A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, (Boston: John Boyle, 1773)
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, University of Pennsylvania
5- A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson:

ON the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: Their first coming was about Sun-rising; 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. Their 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. (137)

6- 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 to 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, wherat 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 knockt him on head. Thus were we butchered by those merciless Heathen, standing amazed, with the blood running down to our heels. (138)

7- 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, Job 1. 15, And I only am escaped alone to tell the News. There were twelve killed, some shot, some stab'd with their Spears, some knock'd down with their Hatchets. When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadfull sights, and to see our dear Friends, and Relations ly 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. (139)

8-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 [end 140] 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 along, I shall die, I shall die. I went on foot after it, with sorrow that cannot be expressed.

9-THIRD REMOVE: 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 sorrowfull world, they bade me carry it out to another Wigwam (I suppose because they wound 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 ly 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 miser- able life. In the morning, when they understood that my child was dead they sent for me home to my Masters Wigwam: (by my Master in this writing, must be understood Quinnapin, who was a Sagamore, and married King Phillips wives 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 Garison). 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 masters 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. (142-43)

10-FIFTH REMOVE: 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 1 could starve and dy 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 w ith us, were Squaws, and they travelled with all they had, bag and baggage, and yet they got over this River aforesaid; and on Munday 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, Psal. 81: 13. 14. (147)

11- EIGHT REMOVE: [...] There one of them asked me, why I wept, I could hardly tell what to say: yet I answered, the would kill me: No, said he, none will hurt you. Then came one of them and gave me two spoonfuls of meal to confort me, and another gave me 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. [...]

Now the Indians gather their Forces to go against North-Hampton: 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 Bears grease, but I thought I never tasted pleasanter meat in my life. (150)

12- NINTH REMOVE: But instead of going either to Albany or homeward, we must go five miles up the river, and then go over it. Here we abode a while. Here lived a sorry Indian, who spoke to me to make him a shirt. When I had done it, he would pay me nothing. But he living by the riverside, where I often went to fetch water, I would often be putting of him in mind, and calling for my pay: At last he told me if I would make another shirt, for a papoose not yet born, he would give me a knife, which he did when I had done it. I carried the knife in, and my master asked me to give it him, and I was not a little glad that I had anything that they would accept of, and be pleased with.

[...] And I cannot but admire at the wonderful power and goodness of God to me, in that, though I was gone from home, and met with all sorts of Indians, and those I had no knowledge of, and there being no Christian soul near me; yet not one of them offered the least imaginable miscarriage to me.

But I was fain to go and look after something to satisfy my hunger, and going among the wigwams, I went into one and there found a squaw who showed herself very kind to me, and gave me a piece of bear. I put it into my pocket, and came home, but could not find an opportunity to broil it, for fear they would get it from me, and there it lay all that day and night in my stinking pocket. In the morning I went to the same squaw, who had a kettle of ground nuts boiling. I asked her to let me boil my piece of bear in her kettle, which she did, and gave me some ground nuts to eat with it: and I cannot but think how pleasant it was to me. I have sometime seen bear baked very handsomely among the English, and some like it, but the thought that it was bear made me tremble. But now that was savory to me that one would think was enough to turn the stomach of a brute creature.

13- EIGHTEENTH REMOVE: Then I went to another Wigwam, where there were two of the English Children; the Squaw was boyling 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 my self, and savoury it was to my taste. Then I may say as Job, Chap. 6. 7. The things that my soul refused to tough, are as my sorrowfull meat. Thus the Lord made that pleasant refreshing, which another time would have been an abomination. Then I went home to my mistresses Wigwam; and they told me I disgraced my master with begging, and if I did so any more, they would knock me in head: I told them, they had as good knock me in head as starve me to death. (162)

14-NINETEENTH REMOVE: 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 Weetamoo, l 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 Neck-laces, with Jewels in her ears, and Bracelets upon her hands: When she had dressed herself, her work was to make Girdles of Wampom and Beads. (163)

15- TWENTIETH REMOVE: And now God hath granted me my desire. 0 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 [end 171] 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. Gods Power is as great now, and as sufficient to save, as when he preserved Daniel in the Lyons Den; or the three Children in the fiery Furnace. I may well say as his Psal. 107. 12, Oh give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. (172)

16- Restoration (11 weeks, 5 days): 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. [...]

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, Heb. 12. 6. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son whom he receiveth. 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 prep I are 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. [...] (175-76)

Page updated January 9, 2019