An Email to the Author

Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

Re: Her Narrative of Captivity and Restoration

Mrs. Rowlandson,

Upon viewing your narrative, I am much aggrieved to encounter many of the statements which are oft used to degrade my brethren, the Indians. Abounding from the start are those terms “savage” and “barbarian,” which despite their common usage, contain no truth-telling, and, most fortunately, fail to have any such fruition that their meanings infer in your further writing. Those of my brethren which you have described in this most unfortunate of circumstances, in which you came to know them, appear to be fleeing for their very lives, the likes of which we have seen far too many a time in Massachusetts and elsewhere throughout the Union. It is common practice it seems, that a white man, or woman such as yourself, shall come into contact with an Indian only to see nothing more than they have expected from the very beginning. Indeed, for a portion of your narrative, it is plain to see your own prejudice and lack of principle regarding my brethren; whereupon meeting the esteemed King Philip you begin to settle in among those you had named “heathens.” Such an unworthy term this is, for in your own mission to convert the Indians, you put them to shame with unfeeling insults; you pronounce them unworthy of the faith we share in God, and provide only more distance between yourself and them. Now you having seen the honest and generous nature of my brethren, the Indians, I implore you to do them no more disservice in the spreading of your narrative. For your capture and safe return, though harrowing they are, have shown you further the mercy and favor of Christ, our savior. A friend you may find in an Indian, and an honest man in one of color, but the white man has condemned him, has forced him to do to you as was done to him. He practices not to “love your neighbor as yourself,” for the gesture of the white man is to put him in shackles and put him until his bones may break and his spirit may fail. No longer should you condemn the Indians for their skin color, for it is of your own that they have become what you have seen. Repressed is their generosity, which you yourself have yet seen, and out the mania of King Philip’s War has come, though in no way to match that of the slaughter of my brethren. Peace, that the Lord has promised, is at hand; Mrs. Rowlandson you may yet redeem your people, all of our people, in their hatred and greed. No longer shall the Indians be exploited and discriminated and pushed down, for you can lift them up with your words, you can bring to the light of day to fruition in the equality of all people. For your narrative shows the world the home of Indians, daily becoming smaller and smaller, the struggle of the Indian people to find food, to fight for justice in the court of the white man. Make known the goodness of King Philip, of your master, and any such squaw who took pity upon you-for your reward shall be great through the grace of God.

Your most humble friend,

William Apess

-Meredith Leonardo

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