Discovering character in a stained, mouse-chewed document from 1660.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
|Transcript below of this fragmentary image of Mary Dyer's letter to the Boston court, 26 October 1659.|
from marie dire to the generall court now this present 26th of the 8 moth 59assembled in the towne of boston in new Ingland greetings of grace mercyand peace to every soul that doth well : tribulation anguish and wrath to all that doth evell.Whereas it is said by many of you that I am guilty of mine owne death by mycoming as you cal it voluntarily to boston: I therefore declare unto every onethat hath an eare to hear: that in the fear peace and love of god I came and in weldoingdid and stil doth commit my soul and body to him as unto a faithful creatorand for this very end hath preserved my life until now through many trialls andtemptations having held out his royal scepter unto mee by wch I have accesseinto his presence and have found such favoure in his sight as to offer up mylife freely for his truth and peoples sakes : whom the enimie hath moved you against...
I have the scan of the entire document, front and back, which I'll be transcribing in my historical novel (in process of being written). I may use the image as a background in the book's cover image, so it's best not to blast it all over the internet at this time.
Mary Dyer (a Quaker executed by Puritans for civil disobedience in Boston, in 1660) came to the end of the large sheet of textured paper, and turned it over to write six more lines, the ghost image you see behind the words in the middle of this fragment. On the right vertical edge of the paper are water stains which smeared the ink. Perhaps it was raining when the messenger carried her letter from the jail to the Massachusetts General Court, presided over by Governor John Endecott. The letter was folded at some point, and the paper has flaked away at some folds and edges, but for the most part, it's legible, even after more than 350 years!