Essay on The Unredeemed Captive, by John Demos

793 Words 4 Pages
At the start of John Demos' book The Unredeemed Captive, a group of Native Americans attack the English town of Deerfield, kidnap a few of its people, and take them to Canada. On October 21, 1703, in response to the attacks, the "Reverend Mr." John Williams, the town's leader, writes to Joseph Dudley, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, for tax relief, funding to rebuild the fort, a prisoner exchange to free the captured residents, and soldiers to protect the town. Governor Dudley agrees to fulfill the reverend's requests, and stations 16 soldiers at the town's fort (Demos 1994, 11-13). In response to English counterattacks, Governor Pierre de Rigaud, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, begins to plan an February "expedition" of 48 French …show more content…
The settlers developed many "prayer towns" in which the converted natives worshipped. Many of the natives eventually converted to the Europeans' respective religions. For example, those that helped Vaudreuil attack Deerfield converted to Catholicism. Ironically, however, some of the captured Europeans became at least as "uncivilized" as the native "savages" they sought to convert. Reverend Williams' daughter Eunice, for example, was seven at the time of her capture (Demos, 1994, 35). However, her young age is not the only reason for her conversion. During the trek to Canada, she noticed many other failures of her father and of the Puritan faith. Neither Rev. Williams nor the Puritans still in the English colonies could prevent the natives from executing her mother after she became exhausted and fell into a lake (Demos, 1994, 29). They also could not fight the natives' decision to separate many families, including her own, by splitting up the captured colonists into small groups (Demos, 1994, 33). The Puritans still in the English colonies were unable to negotiate the prisoners' release in a timely fashion, and the reverend could only tell his fellow captives to continue praying and reciting their catechisms. The Mohawks, Jesuit missionaries, and the French government took many measures to encourage prisoners to convert to Catholicism and resettle in Canada. During the trek to Canada, the Mohawks carried the children

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