Published in 1682 and written by Puritan colonist Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God provides a valuable departure from the elite, male, English perspectives on King Phillip's War (1675-76), a war between the Indians and colonists of New England. Rowlandson was the second female author published in North America. (Poet Anne Bradstreet was published four years earlier.) Increase Mather, a minister at Boston's North Church who sought to demonstrate divine providence's influence on human events, probably played a key part in Sovereignty's publication. Mather or another clergyman authored Sovereignty's preface, and, in its first edition, Rowlandson's narrative was followed by her late husband Joseph Rowlandson's final sermon. The book was an immediate bestseller. While the book was titled The Sovereignty and Goodness of God for its Puritan New England audience, a publisher renamed it A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson for a more secular and religiously varied English audience. Many authors imitated Rowlandson's narrative, making it the seminal work of the Anglo-American captivity narrative genre.
Please note that for consistency, this ClassicNote uses the spelling, "Bacquaug River," which the book also spells as "Baquaug" and "Baquag." This ClassicNote will also use the name "King Phillip" and "King Phillip's War," but please note King Phillip was also known as "Metacom" and his war was also known as "Metacom's War." Finally, this ClassicNote will use the name "Wettimore" to refer to Mrs. Rowlandson's Native American mistress, as this is how Mrs. Rowlandson addresses her, but please note historical documents also refer to her as "Weetamoo."