American Women Writers to 1800

By Sharon M. Harris | Go to book overview

Petitions, Political Essays, and Organizational Tracts

Mary Easty (fl. 1692)

Little is known of Mary Easty's early life. She has become a part of American literary history and of American history itself through her victimization during the Salem witch trials of 1692. Like all of those who were executed, Easty maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings, and her petition reflects a tremendous sense of personal dignity and a belief in justice that transcends her individual circumstances. The petition was submitted to Governor Phips on May 20, 1692. She was executed by hanging that summer.

Works: Petition. Bibliography: Boyer and Nissenbaum; Burr; Heimert and Delbanco ; Woodward.


The Petition of Mary Easty

The humble petition of Mary Easty unto his Excellencies Sir William Phips, and to the Honored Judge1 and bench now sitting in judicature in Salem, and the Reverend Ministers, humbly sheweth:

That whereas your poor and humble petitioner, being condemned to die, do humbly beg of you to take it in your judicious and pious considerations that your poor and humble petitioner, knowing my own innocencie--blessed be the Lord for it--and seeing plainly the wiles and subtility of my accusers, by myself cannot but judge charitably of others that are going the way of myself, if the Lord steps not mightily in. I was confined a whole month upon the same account that I am condemned now for, and then cleared by the afflicted persons, as some of your Honors know. And in two days time I was cried out upon by them and have been confined and now am condemned to die. The Lord above knows my innocencie then and likewise does now, as at the great day will be known to men and angels. I petition to your Honors not for my own life, for I know I must die and my appointed time is set, but (the Lord

____________________
1
Samuel Sewall ( 1652-1730) was the presiding judge at the Salem witch trials; in later years, historians often referred to him as "the hanging judge" of the trials.

-251-

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American Women Writers to 1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Note on the Text xii
  • Introduction 3
  • I- The Ages of Women 31
  • Youthful Reflections 41
  • On Women''s Education 63
  • Domestic Records 79
  • Businesswomen''s Writings 105
  • "Death-Bed" Declarations Skate''Ne (choctaw) 123
  • II- Emerging Feminist Voices 133
  • Feminist Visions 137
  • III- Origins, Revolutions, and Women in the Nations 161
  • First Women 173
  • Spiritual Narratives 197
  • Captivity Narratives and Travel Journals 217
  • Epistolary Exchanges 235
  • Petitions, Political Essays, and Organizational Tracts 251
  • Revolutionary War Writings 269
  • Poetry 303
  • Histories 349
  • Drama 373
  • Novels 393
  • Notably Early American Women 413
  • Selected Bibliography 421
  • Index 432
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