Essay Book Review 3: a Way of Duty

972 Words Dec 16th, 2007 4 Pages
Joy Day Buel and Richard Buel, Jr., authors of The Way of Duty, describe Mary Fish Silliman by saying "She remained to the end of her life less a daughter of the Revolution than a child of the Puritans". This is proven throughout her life. Despite outside influences and events, Mary continued steadfast in her beliefs as a Puritan.
Mary Fish was born into a Puritan world. Her parents, Joseph and Rebecca Fish, raised her using standards that dated back to the Old Plymouth colony. She was taught to remain humble and pious. She learned to hold fast to her beliefs.
The events that started autumn 1766 and continued for several years tested Mary's resolve more than any other time. Her sister, Rebecca, had contracted smallpox in November
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One of her visitors during a quarter sessions was Gold Selleck Silliman, a renowned lawyer and colonel of the colonies' 4th regiment. Mary soon married him and moved to his home in Fairfield.
Their marriage came almost immediately under turmoil. Silliman had been called into military duty at several different locations and thus missed out on several jobs as a lawyer. Although Mary did her best to manage the farm in his absence, it suffered as well. Because of his political position, Silliman was kidnapped by British enemies in May 1779. Despite several appeals to the governor, he was not freed for nearly a year. Once back, Silliman had to be careful as enemies still were looking to recapture him. He petitioned to the assembly to receive part of his pay from the time he was detained "since all my Trouble came by means of my being an Officer in their Service." He was turned down. Silliman handled a large amount of public money which he distributed to the colonels of the regiments for recruitment purposes and for payment of soldiers' wages. Overwork had made him careless about taking receipts. The state comptroller chose to take a rigid position and bestowed a claim of eighteen hundred pounds against Silliman. This was the ultimate discouragement and eventually all the money troubles had mounted a pressure that accelerated his death.
After Silliman's death, Mary was left with numerous debts to settle. She was advised to declare the estate insolvent.

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