“My Master” : Interracial Colonial Encounters in Women Writers Online

By Liz

First published on the Women Writers Project Blog in February 2018

This publication set calls attention to the complexity of settler colonialism and imperialism in women’s writing between the early eighteenth and the mid nineteenth-centuries, particularly in regards to representations of interracial relations.

One of the earliest texts in this set, Elizabeth Hanson’s God’s Mercy Surmounting Man’s Cruelty (1728), is a captivity narrative in which Hanson shows both gratitude and affection for the indigenous people who have taken her captive, particularly the man she refers to as “my Master”:

…in this Journey we went up some very high Mountains so steep, that I was forc’d to creep up on my Hands and Knees, under which Difficulty the Indian, my Master, would mostly carry my Babe for me, which I took as a great Favour of God that his Heart was so tenderly inclined to assist me

However, Hanson also details the many ways she is vulnerable to his means of bondage, such as in this passage:

my Master, being provoked, catches up a Stick very sharp at one End, and with great Violence threw it from him, at my Son, and hit him on the Breast, with which my Child was much bruised, …read more

Read more at : Liz Polcha