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Experience Mayhew's Indian Converts

Experience Mayhew's Indian Converts: A Cultural Edition

Edited and with an introduction by Laura Arnold Leibman
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Experience Mayhew's Indian Converts
    Book Description:

    First published in 1727 under the title Indian Converts, or Some account of the lives and dying speeches of a considerable number of the Christianized Indians of Martha's Vineyard, in NewEngland, Experience Mayhew's history of the Wampanoag Indians on Martha's Vineyard provides a rare look at the lives and culture of four generations of Native Americans in colonial America. Dividing his treatment into four sections—Indian Ministers, Good Men, Religious Women, and Pious Children—Mayhew details the books that different age groups were reading, provides insights into early New England pedagogy and childrearing practices, and describes each individual in terms of genealogy, religious practice, way of life, and place of residence. In addition to drawing on his own firsthand knowledge of the community and transcriptions of oral testimony he and others collected, Mayhew inserts translations of Wampanoag texts that have since been lost. Although the book has been out of print since the early nineteenth century, scholars have long recognized its importance for understanding the history of New England's Native communities. In an extensive introduction to this new scholarly edition, Laura Arnold Leibman places Indian Converts in a broader cultural context and explores its significance. She shows how Mayhew's biographies illuminate the theological upheavals that rocked early eighteenthcentury New England on the eve of the Great Awakening, shifts that altered not only the character of Puritanism but also the landscape of Wampanoag religious and cultural life. An accompanying online archive that includes over 600 images and documents further contextualizes Mayhew's work and provide suggestions for students' investigations of the text.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-120-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Experience Mayhew Timeline
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-76)

    A little over a hundred years after the first English interactions with the Wampanoags at Plymouth Plantation, Puritan missionary Experience Mayhew published the life stories of four generations of Wampanoag men, women, and children who had lived on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The history was unprecedented in scope and content. Although written in English for a primarily British audience, Mayhew’sIndian Converts(1727) drew upon the Wampanoag sermons, oral history, and dying speeches that he and his family had been collecting and translating for over eighty years (1642–1727). A fluent speaker ofWôpanâak,¹ Mayhew dedicated his own life...

  9. Indian Converts
    (pp. 77-78)
  10. Dedication
    (pp. 79-80)
    William Thompson and Experience Mayhew

    Honourable Sirs,

    VERY admirable and surprizing was the Favour of Heaven unto theAboriginal Nativesof this Land, when it pleased the BLESSED GOD to send them the glorious Gospel, after they had from Time immemorial [4]sat in Darkness, and in the Region of the Shadow of Death

    It was still a further Manifestation of Divine Favour, and Beneficence to them, when our GLORIOUS LORD stirred up the Hearts of many well disposed People inEngland, to make liberal Contributions for the Encouragement of those Servants of his, who, for the Glory of his great Name, and out of...

    (pp. 81-84)
    Experience Mayhew

    THERE are more especiallytwo Thingsrequisite, to render anyHistoryacceptable and entertaining to judicious Readers; namely,first, That the Matters of Fact related, be worthy to be observed and recorded.The otheris, that the Things reported be well attested and worthy of Credit.

    Theformerof these will, I hope, be granted, with respect to my present Essay: However, I am content to submit this to the Judgment of such as are impartial.

    TheTruthof the History which I here offer to the World, isthat, the clearing up whereof is mainly intended in this Epistle....

  12. AN ATTESTATION BY The United Ministers of Boston
    (pp. 85-90)
    Cotton Mather, Benjamin Colman, Peter Thacher, Joseph Sewall, Thomas Prince, John Webb, William Cooper, Thomas Foxcroft, Samuel Checkley, William Waldron and Joshua Gee

    SO rich, so vast, so inexpressibly glorious are theBenefitsarising to Mankind from the trueReligionof CHRIST, where it is well understood and embraced, that the want ofZealfor thePropagationof it, in very many of them that profess it, is a Thing most unnacountable and inexcusable. It is what more particularly calls for our Lamentation, that the Churches of theReformationhave done so little for the Propagation of aFaith,which emancipates Mankind from the worst of Slaveries and Miseries, and has a fair and sure Tendency to make us happy in both Worlds....

    (pp. 91-94)

    THEDesignof the ensuing Historical Essay, is to make it evident that the Preaching of the Gospel to theAboriginal Nativesof this Land, has not not been in vain; but that there has been some desirable Fruit and Effect thereof.

    Some may perhaps think, that a Performance of this nature is now become wholly unnecessary, since so many Accounts have been already published to the World, of the Conversion of theseIndiansfrom Heathenism to Christianity, and of Churches planted in divers Places among them.

    But this notwithstanding, it appears to me on divers Accounts necessary at this...

  14. CHAP. I. Containing an Account of several Indian MINISTERS, both Pastors, Ruling Elders, and Deacons, who have been justly esteem’d godly Persons.
    (pp. 95-169)

    GENERALLY where the Word of GOD has been preached bygodly Ministers, there have been Some godly People. Being therefore now to shew, that there have been several pious People among ourChristian Indians; and that by instancing in particular Persons that have been so, it will be very proper that I begin this Introduction of Instances with mentioning sundryMinistersamong them, that have been exemplary for Piety; and that I bringRuling EldersandDeacons40into the same Catalogue, will appear the more natural, when I have said that those in theIndianChurches, who have born this...

  15. CHAP. II Containing an Account of several Indian MEN, not in any Church Office, who have appeared to be truly good Men.
    (pp. 170-226)

    WHEREVER God raiseth up a godly Ministry, and setteth them to Work among any People, it seemeth more than probable that he hath some Elect Souls, that he designs to extend his special saving Grace to, and will by such a Ministry effectually call, and bring savingly home to himself: But now, that God has raised up such a Ministry among ourIndians, seems evident by what has been said in the foregoing Chapter, wherein I have instanced in a very considerable number ofIndianMinisters, who have appeared to be truly godly.

    I shall therefore now proceed to mention...

  16. CHAP. III. Containing an Account of several Indian WOMEN that have been justly esteemed Religious.
    (pp. 227-304)

    THE number ofWomentruly fearing God, has by some been thought to exceed that ofMenso doing: but whether the Observation will generally hold true or not, I shall not now inquire; or if it will, stay to consider the Reasons of it.456However, it seems to be a Truth with respect to ourIndians, so far as my Knowledge of them extends, that there have been, and are a greater number of theirWomenappearing pious than of theMenamong them.

    But tho this be not what I have here undertaken to make good, yet having...

  17. CHAP. IV. Early Piety exemplified, in an Account of several Young Men, Maids, and Children, that have appeared to be truly pious.
    (pp. 305-354)

    I Doubt not but that where there is any thing considerable of true Piety and Religion among a People, God does extend his special and saving Grace to some of every Age, whether elder or younger among them.646

    As therefore it appears by what has been already said, that there have been many grown Persons who have been converted and saved among our poorIndians, so I believe it will be evident by that which here followeth, that there have been also many young People savingly brought home to God among them. I shall here instance in several such, as...

  18. SOME ACCOUNT OF THOSE ENGLISH MINISTERS Who have successively presided over the Work of Gospelizing the Indians on the Vineyard, and adjacent Islands: By whose special Care and Labour it was at first begun, and has been carried on and continued down to this Day.
    (pp. 355-382)
    T. P.

    THE worthyCollectorof the foregoing Instances having very well expressed his Concern that GOD may have the Glory of his Works of Grace upon that People, it must needs be very fitting there should now be some Account of those more principalEnglishInstruments, which Heaven has been pleased to qualify, and inspire with Zeal for this difficult Employment, and then to crown and honour with such remarkable Successes. And as the Author happens to be restrained from publishing a just Account of these, by his near Relation to them, and his commendable Modesty, it is but Gratitude and...

  19. Appendix A Brief Account of the State of the Indians on Martha’s Vineyard, and the small Islands Adjacent in Duke’s-Country, from the Year 1694 to 1720.
    (pp. 383-390)
    Experience Mayhew
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 391-404)
  21. Index
    (pp. 405-424)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 425-426)