Mary and William Dyer
Mary and William Dyer : Quaker Light and Puritan Ambition in Early New England
"Dyer's story has been told many times and places over the years, both in scholarly works and fictional interpretations. Winsser's telling brings a fuller understanding by contextualizing the life of Mary Dyer—along with her life partner, William—in the cultural and political setting of their time. . . . Winsser does an admirable job weaving together scraps of historical record specific to the Dyers with impressive research into the controversies and influential characters who populated the Dyers' world. —Gwen Gosney Erickson, Friends Journal June/July 2018Mary Dyer is widely esteemed as one of the “Boston martyrs”— four Quakers hanged by the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659 and 1661. When she returned to Boston in 1660, after having been banished twice from Massachusetts, she committed an act of deliberate civil disobedience that cost her her life, led to the downfall of the puritan government, and advanced the fundamental principles of freedom of conscience and expression.
More than three-and-a-half centuries later, the state continues to exercise its mandate to preserve the peace and social order, while also protecting the constitutional exercise of free speech and self-expression. The challenge, always, has been to identify and then enforce the balance between the rights of individuals or groups to practice their beliefs, and the rights of others to likewise enjoy their liberties. The story of the Dyers—especially Mary’s story—is how that challenge played out between the New England puritans and the Quakers, and how her life and death shaped the outcome of that conflict.
Author: Johan Winsser
Publisher: CreateSpace November, 2017