Book Review 3: a Way of Duty

948 words 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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Thus she continued as if the estate were solvent, though gossip to the contrary triggered a flood of claims, many of them extremely questionable. Mary paid the honest claims and fought the others.
Mary's sons saw her as the foundation of a moral influence whose authority originated not only from her piety but also from her capability to interpret piety into action. She had shown that ability in conquering the hopelessness and fear she felt when she endured a series of bereavements. She had shown it when she permitted faith and hope to lead her past the safe confines of a known and mastered solitude to face the risks of a second marriage. She was to show it more again, and never more clearly than when she sacrificed all and risked everything to give her younger sons an education equal to that which their brothers received.
Mary reacted honestly to her opinion that the secular pressures freed by the American Revolution had led the new generation to change the main concentration of their outlook on life from a hopeful look toward eternity to a precise eye for worldly gain. She challenged her sons to not abandon their strict upbringing in the face of the secular influence. One example is when she confronted her eldest son, Jose, when he decided to exercise his right as the oldest and took a double share of the inheritance. She reminded him that although civil law allowed it, God's law required that we


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