Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fleeing to America - Persecution - Quakers from England

Early Quaker Meeting where men & women + dogs & cats are not separated.

The Quakers (or Religious Society of Friends) formed in England in 1652 around a charismatic leader, George Fox (1624-1691).

George Fox (1624-1691) wrote a letter of caution "To Friends beyond sea, that have Blacks and Indian slaves" in 1657. In 1671 he visited Barbados and urged Friends to treat their slaves better; his preaching in Barbados was subsequently published in London in 1676 as "Gospel Family-Order." This provided the beginnings of Quaker opposition to slavery. Following Fox, other Quakers became concerned over the treatment of slaves & formed the first abolition committee. Quakers remained instrumental in the anti-slavery campaign.

1700s English woodcut of a Quaker

Many scholars today consider Quakers as radical Puritans, because the Quakers carried to extremes many Puritan convictions. They stretched the sober deportment of the Puritans into a glorification of "plainness."

Quaker Meeting

Theologically, they expanded the Puritan concept of a church of individuals regenerated by the Holy Spirit to the idea of the indwelling of the Spirit or the "Light of Christ" in every person. Such teaching struck many of the Quakers' contemporaries as dangerous heresy. Quakers were severely persecuted in England for daring to deviate so far from orthodox Christianity.

Gracechurch Street Meeting, London ca.1779.

By 1680, 10,000 Quakers had been imprisoned in England, and 243 had died of torture and mistreatment in the King's jails. This reign of terror impelled Friends to seek refuge in New Jersey in the 1670s, where they soon became well entrenched.

English punishment 1656-Quaker whipped behind wagon

When Quaker leader William Penn (1644-1718) parlayed a 1681 debt owed by Charles II to his father into a charter for the province of Pennsylvania, many more Quakers were prepared to grasp the opportunity to live in a land where they might worship freely.

Quaker Synod

By 1685, as many as 8,000 Quakers had come to Pennsylvania. Although the Quakers may have resembled the Puritans in some religious beliefs and practices, they differed with them over the necessity of compelling religious uniformity in society.

Penn’s Treaty by the Pennsylvania Quaker folk artist Edward Hicks (1780–1849)

"One Almighty and eternal God . . . shall in no wayes be molested or prejudiced for their Religious Perswasion or Practice in matters of Faith and Worship, nor shall they be compelled at any time to frequent or maintain any Religious Worship, Place or Ministry whatever."

Quaker Meeting

Pennsylvania became a reference point a century later for Americans opposing plans for government-supported religion. "Witness the state of Pennsylvania," a group of Virginians urged its House of Delegates in 1785, "wherein no such [religious] Establishment hath taken place; their Government stands firm and which of the neighbouring States has Members of brighter Morals and more upright Characters."

Persecution in America - Puritans Banish & Execute Dissenters

Although they were victims of religious persecution in Europe, the Puritans supported the Old World theory that sanctioned it, the need for uniformity of religion in the state. Once in control in New England, they sought to break "the very neck of Schism and vile opinions."

The "business" of the first settlers, a Puritan minister recalled in 1681, "was not Toleration, but [they] were professed enemies of it."

Puritans expelled dissenters from their colonies, a fate that in 1636, befell Roger Williams and in 1638, Anne Hutchinson, America's first major female religious leader.

Expelled from Massachusetts in the dead of winter in 1636, former Puritan leader Roger Williams (1603-1683) issued an impassioned plea for freedom of conscience. He wrote, "God requireth not an uniformity of Religion to be inacted and inforced in any civill state; which inforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civill Warre, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls." Williams later founded Rhode Island on the principle of religious freedom. He welcomed people of every shade of religious belief, even some regarded as dangerously misguided, for nothing could change his view that "forced worship stinks in God's nostrils."

Those who defied the Puritans by persistently returning to their jurisdictions risked capital punishment, a penalty imposed on four Quakers between 1659 and 1661. Those killed included Mary Dyer.

Mary Dyer (d. 1660) first ran afoul of Massachusetts authorities for supporting theological dissenter Anne Hutchinson. As a result Dyer and her family were forced to move to Rhode Island in 1638. Converted to Quakerism in England in the 1650s, Dyer returned to New England and was three times arrested and banished from Massachusetts for spreading Quaker principles. Returning to Massachusetts a fourth time, she was hanged on June 1, 1660.

Reflecting on the seventeenth century's intolerance, Thomas Jefferson was unwilling to concede to Virginians any moral superiority to the Puritans. Beginning in 1659 Virginia enacted anti-Quaker laws, including the death penalty for refractory Quakers. Jefferson surmised that "if no capital execution took place here, as did in New England, it was not owing to the moderation of the church, or the spirit of the legislature."

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson reflected on the religious intolerance in seventeenth-century Virginia, specifically on the anti-Quaker laws passed by the Virginia Assembly from 1659 onward. Jefferson apparently believed that it was no more than an historical accident that Quakers had not been physically punished or even executed in Virginia as they had been in Massachusetts.

See The Library of Congress.

Wenlock Christison defends doomed Quakers in 1659 Puritan Massachusetts

Wenlock Christison Defending Quaker Witches in 1659 Puritan Massachusetts

Article from The Salisbury Times (now The Delmarva Times), Salisbury, Maryland by Dr. William H. Wroten, Jr.

"In the middle of the 17C, religious freedom was not a major characteristic of Puritan New England; in fact, persecutions were being committed; and Massachusetts was on the threshold of her witchcraft period. In September, 1659, three Quakers, Mary Dyer, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson counting martyrdom were banished from Massachusetts. All three, however, returned and the two men were hanged. Mrs. Dyer, after having her hands and legs bound, face covered and the rope adjusted about her neck was reprieved. When she returned again in the spring of 1660, she was executed. Later in the same year Quaker William Leddra was to suffer the same fate...

"Massachusetts theocracy was fighting a hopeless battle. The suffering of the Quakers was winning sympathy from thousands who were not necessarily interested in the Quaker doctrine. Shortly before the execution of Leddra, Wenlock Christison walked into the office of Governor John Endicott, and looking him straight in the eye said, "I came to warn you that you should shed no more innocent blood, for the blood that you have shed already cries to the Lord for vengeance to come upon you."

"For his action, Christison was brought to trial but the magistrates were not sure what should be done, for public sentiment was turning against the cruel persecutions. Yet there was one among the group who was not hesitant, and that was Governor Endicott. Pounding on the table, the good governor exclaimed, "You that will not consent, record it. I thank God I am not afraid to give judgment." Governor Endicott had his way and Christison was condemned to death, but the sentence was never carried out. Partly from fear of interference by the King and also because of the growing opposition by the people, persecution began to take milder forms.

"Before this at Plymouth, Christison had been robbed of his waistcoat, had his Bible taken to pay for his fines, and suffered a whipping. Later he was banished from Boston and threatened with the death penalty should he return - but return he did, and on this occasion was told to renounce his religious principles or be executed. Although it was at this time that Christison saw Leddra hanged, he refused to change his faith or in any other way seek mercy from the court... 

"Back, by way of Salem, Wenlock Christison in June, 1664 met two other Quakers, Mary Thompson and Alice Gary, who recently had arrived from Virginia where they had been persecuted. Christison was shortly arrested on the old charge, and along with the women once again banished form the colony. Only this time all three were stripped to the waist, fastened to a cart and whipped through Boston, Roxbury and Dedham. Christison received ten lashes and the two ladies six lashes in each of the towns.

"Finding no haven in Rhode Island, (probably the only colony in all New England which could claim any religious toleration at this time) the three came back to Boston supposedly under the protection of the King's Agents. But again there was trouble, a trial and the sentence that they should be whipped out of the province. However, shortly after this all three sailed to the Caribbean region - never to return to New 1670 Wenlock Christison and Alice Gary were in Maryland. Dr. Peter Sharpe of Calvert County turned over to Christison 150 acres of land in Talbot County - a plantation fittingly named in Christison's case, the "Ending of Controversie."  The Quaker records of Talbot County show that a daughter, Elizabeth, was born to Wenlock and Mary Christison in 1673. 

"Christison soon rose to a position of trust in Maryland; he was one of the first Quakers to have the honor of holding public office. He became a member of the House of Delegates from Talbot County in 1676 and served in that body at St. Mary's City until his death in 1679." 

Post Script
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow recreated Christison's 1661 trial in John Endicott, one of three dramatic poems in a collection called New England Tragedies.

Quakers in America 17C-18C

Hugh Barbour and J. William Frost, The Quakers (1988).  

The Society of Friends, or Quakers, began at the tail end of Europe’s Protestant Reformation in the 17th century. The missionary efforts of the earliest Friends took them to North America, where they became heavily involved in Pennsylvania politics before reversing their views on government participation in the mid-1750s. The Society became the first organization in history to ban slaveholding, and in the 1800s Quakers populated the abolitionist movement in numbers far exceeding their proportion of all Americans. 

Because the Protestant reformers of the 16C attempted to eliminate intermediaries between God and people, the Society of Friends, or Quakers, may be regarded as the fullest expression of the Reformation. Most reformers rejected some sacraments and priestly offices of the Roman Catholic church, but the Quakers omitted them all, including baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and any ordained, paid clergy. Quakers instead relied upon the direction of what they called “Christ within” or the Inner Light. Their worship consisted of waiting in silence until the Inner Light led members to share their religious concerns with the brethren.

To most Protestants, this primary reliance on inward inspiration depreciated the authority of the Bible, the centrality of the historical Jesus and the Atonement, and hierarchy within church, state, and family. The earliest Quakers (in England, 1651-1660) seemed to confirm the worst suspicions of their critics by proselytizing with abandon and adding thousands to their numbers. Then and later, they were persecuted as “ranters” or anarchists. Even within the Society of Friends the significance of the Atonement and the Bible remained an unsettling question, causing schisms, especially in the nineteenth century. But Quakers enjoyed a complementary freedom from biblicism that permitted the Society uniquely to innovate and change radically over the centuries. Quaker abolitionism was one such innovation.

The missionary efforts of the earliest Friends, including founder George Fox, took them to North America where, as in England, they were persecuted. Massachusetts Bay Colony executed four. Quaker colonization of America, however, offered the prospect of a refuge and more. In contrast to other radical offspring of the Reformation, such as the Amish, Quakers believed that government was divinely instituted and virtuous men and women must help make it operate as God intended. No Quaker did more to enlist his brethren into public service than William Penn. In Pennsylvania, a responsive government of virtuous men would encourage peace, justice, charity, spiritual equality, and liberty for the benefit not just of Quakers but also of Native Americans and non-English refugees from Europe. It was to be a “Holy Experiment” and, in its way, as much a “City on a Hill” as New England.

Although the reality fell short of Penn’s utopian hopes, it still succeeded mightily in the opinion of immigrants and posterity. Ambition, envy, and avarice produced thirty years of tumultuous politics in the new province and left Penn convinced that his experiment had failed. But at the same time, Pennsylvania gained a reputation as the “best poor man’s country,” free of feudal elites, established churches, tithes, discriminatory oaths, high taxes, compulsory military service, and war. While Pennsylvania prospered, Quakers prospered more than others. They always composed the majority of the elite merchants of colonial Philadelphia as well as the most prosperous farmers of the eastern counties.

Although at odds with each other politically, Quakers nevertheless dominated the government of Pennsylvania. By 1740 Quaker politicians had become sufficiently anxious about their ever-declining proportion of the population and their more aggressive political enemies that they closed ranks and formed possibly the most formidable Whig political organization in colonial America, the Quaker party.

Ironically, political hegemony and social and economic preeminence raised dissenting voices among Friends, and in the 1750s they determined to reverse the direction the Society had taken since 1682. They believed that Quaker participation in government had brought with it intolerable compromises in such Quaker beliefs as pacifism and that many Friends, especially wealthy ones, had assimilated “worldly” secular behavior. After another generation there would be nothing left of Quakerism but the name, lamented one dissenter. To restore the integrity of the Society, reformers insisted on strict enforcement of all its mores, especially endogamy, and in the violence brought to Pennsylvania by the French and Indian War, they demanded that Quakers resign from public office rather than become bellicose. On the social front they moved quickly against deviancy, expelling more than one in five Friends by 1775, but not until the more intense public crisis of the Revolution did all Friends leave public office and the Holy Experiment completely end.

This sectarian revival in the Society brought with it an outburst of philanthropy and testimonies that have become synonymous with Quakerism. From 1755 to 1776, the Society became the first organization in history to ban slaveholding, and Quakers created abolition societies to promote emancipation. In the next century, Quakers populated the abolitionist movement in numbers far exceeding their proportion of all Americans. Some labored for such gradual solutions as the colonization of freedmen, while more conspicuous Quaker abolitionists espoused immediate emancipation. The latter were critically important to organizations like the American Anti-Slavery Society, the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, and the Female Antislavery Society, and to active resistance such as the “underground railway” in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Following the example of eighteenth-century abolitionist Anthony Benezet, Friends showed an interest in the education and social progress of blacks. During Reconstruction, American and English Quakers raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for freedmen’s relief and established scores of schools for freedmen.

Penn’s legendary friendship with Native Americans partly underlay Quakers’ renewed pacifism during the French and Indian War and their concurrent departure from government. Thereafter they continued to pursue justice and charity for Native Americans and in the post-Civil War era lobbied and cooperated with the federal government in the administration of Indian affairs in the trans-Mississippi West.

Women Friends shared in all these testimonies and philanthropies. Since the 1650s when Margaret Fell invaluably aided George Fox, whom she later married, women’s role and status in the Society of Friends more closely approached equality with men’s than in any other Christian church. Preaching and ministering to mixed audiences, traveling extensively unaccompanied by men, regulating the lives of fellow Quaker women without men’s assistance (such as in church discipline and marriage arrangements), Quaker women knew a sphere of activity and attained a range of skills that surpassed those of their non-Quaker cohorts. Not surprisingly, historian Mary Maples Dunn found that in nineteenth-century America Quaker women comprised 40 percent of female abolitionists, 19 percent of feminists born before 1830, and 15 percent of suffragists born before 1830.

Although Quakers never returned to public office in any great number after 1776, they never retreated from politics. They believed that out of office, immune to the verdict of the ballot box, they could serve as democracy’s conscience better than ever before.

Although a more regimented Society emerged from the 18C reformation, the Society almost never disciplined a Friend over theology. That tolerance ended in the nineteenth century, however. In 1827 the venerable Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends split into an evangelical group (called the “orthodox”) and a liberal group (called “Hicksite”). In succeeding years, divisions increased, spreading to other areas and yearly meetings of America and also subdividing already fractured meetings. Anxiety over Unitarian theology, languishing membership, industrialization, and the disciplinary powers of meetings, among other things, contributed to the splits. Quaker energies and voices, which had been better focused since the 1750s, became dissipated in intramural recriminations. Quakers continued to practice antislavery, pacifism, and their traditional philanthropies, but not as one body.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Friday, August 29, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Monday, August 25, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642 

Friday, August 15, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1642 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642

Monday, August 11, 2014

1641 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1641

Saturday, August 9, 2014

1639 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1639

Thursday, August 7, 2014

1645 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1645 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Robert Beverley History of Virginia 1705 - Indians & their Dress

The History and Present State of Virginia, in Four Parts published originally in London in 1705.  Beverley, Robert, ca. 1673-1722.

Book III Of the Indians, their Religion, Laws, and Customs, in War and Peace

§ 1. The Indians are of the middling and largest stature of the English. They are straight and well proportioned, having the cleanest and most exact limbs in the world. They are so perfect in their outward frame, that I never heard of one single Indian that was either dwarfish, crooked, bandy-legged, or otherwise misshapen. But if they have any such practice among them as the Romans had, of exposing such children till they died, as were weak and misshapen at their birth, they are very shy of confessing it, and I could never yet learn that they had.

Their color, when they are grown up, is a chestnut brown and tawny; but much clearer in their infancy. Their skin comes afterwards to harden and grow blacker by greasing and sunning themselves. They have generally coal black hair, and very black eyes, which are most commonly graced with that sort of squint which many of the Jews are observed to have. Their women are generally beautiful, possessing shape and features agreeable enough, and wanting no charm but that of education and a fair complexion.

Indian man in his summer dress

§ 2. The men wear their hair cut after several fanciful fashions, sometimes greased, and sometimes painted. The great men, or better sort, preserve a long lock behind for distinction. They pull their beards up by the roots with musselshells, and both men and women do the same by the other parts of their body for cleanliness sake. The women wear the hair of the head very long, either hanging at their backs, or brought before in a single lock, bound up with a fillet of peak, or beads; sometimes also they wear it neatly tied up in a knot behind. It is commonly greased, and shining black, but never painted.

The people of condition, of both sexes, wear a sort of coronets on their heads, from four to six inches broad, open at the top, and composed of peak, or beads, or else of both interwoven together, and worked into figures, made by a nice mixture of the colors. Sometimes they wear a wreath of died furs, as likewise bracelets on their necks and arms. The common people go bareheaded, only sticking large shining feathers about their heads, as their fancies lead them.

§ 3. Their clothes are a large mantle, carelessly wrapped about their bodies, and sometimes girt close in the middle with a girdle. The upper part of this mantle is drawn close upon the shoulders, and the other hangs below their knees. When that's thrown off, they have only for modesty sake a piece of cloth, or a small skin tied round their waist, which reaches down to the middle of the thigh. The common sort tie only a string round their middle, and pass a piece of cloth or skin round between their thighs, which they turn at each end over the string.

Their shoes, when they wear any, are made of an entire piece of buckskin, except when they sew a piece to the bottom to thicken the sole. They are fastened on with running strings, the skin being drawn together like a purse on the top of the foot, and tied round the ankle. The Indian name of this kind of shoe is, moccasin.

But because a draught of these things will inform the reader more at first view than a description in many words, I shall present him with the following prints drawn by the life.

Tab. II. is an Indian man in his summer dress. The upper part of his hair is cut short to make a ridge, which stands up like the comb of a cock, the rest is either shorn off, or knotted behind his ear. On his head are stuck three feathers of the wild turkey, pheasant, hawk, or such like. At his ear is hung a fine shell with pearl drops. At his breast is a tablet, or fine shell, smooth as polished marble, which sometimes also hath etched on it a star, half moon, or other figure, according to the maker's fancy. Upon his neck and wrists hang strings of beads, peak and roenoke. His apron is made of a deer skin, gashed round the edges, which hang like tassels or fringe; at the upper end of the fringe is' an edging of peak, to make it finer. His quiver is of a thin bark; but sometimes they make it of the skin of a fox, or young wolf, with the head hanging to it, which has a wild sort of terror in it; and to make it yet more warlike, they tie it on with the tail of a panther, buffalo, or such like, letting the end hang down between their legs. The pricked lines on his shoulders, breast and legs, represent the figures painted thereon. In his left hand he holds a bow, and in his right an arrow. The mark upon his shoulderblade is a distinction used by the Indians in traveling, to show the nation they are of; and perhaps is the same with that which Baron Lahontan calls the arms and heraldry of the Indians. Thus the several lettered marks are used by several other nations about Virginia, when they make a journey to their friends and allies.

The landscape is a natural representation of an Indian field.

Tab. Ill is two Indian men in their winter dress. Seldom any but the elder people wore the winter cloaks (which they call match-coats) till they got a supply of European goods; and now most have them of one sort or other in the cold winter weather. Fig. 1 wears the proper Indian match-coat, which is made of skins, dressed with the fur on, sewed together, and worn with the fur inwards, having the edges also gashed for beauty's sake. On his feet are moccasins. By him stand some Indian cabins on the banks of the river. Fig. 2 wears the Duffield match-coat bought of the English; on his head is^a coronet of peak, on his legs are stockings made of Duffields: that is, they take a length to reach from the ankle to the knee, so broad as to wrap round the leg; this they sew together, letting the edges stand out at an inch beyond the seam. When this is on, they garter below knee, and fasten the lower end in the moccasin.

§4.1 don't find that the Indians have any other distinction in their dress, or the fashion of their hair, than only what a greater degree of riches enables them to make, except it be their religious persons, who are known by the particular cut of the hair and the unusual figure of their garments; as our clergy are distinguished by their canonical habit.

The habit of the Indian priest is a cloak made in the form of a woman's petticoat; but instead of tieing it about their middle, they fasten the gatherings about their neck and tie it upon the right shoulder, always keeping one arm out to use upon occasion. This cloak hangs even at the bottom, but reaches no lower than the middle of the thigh; but what is most particular in it is, that it is constantly made of a skin dressed soft, with the pelt or fur on the outside, and reversed ; insomuch, that when the cloak has been a little worn the hair falls down in flakes, and looks very shagged and frightful.
The cut of their hair is likewise peculiar to their function; for 'tis all shaven close except a thin crest, like a cock's comb, which stands bristling up, and runs in a semicircle from the forehead up along the crown to the nape of the neck. They likewise have a border of hair over the forehead, which by its own natural strength, and by the stiffening it receives from grease and paint, will stand out like the peak of a bonnet.

Tab. IV. Is a priest and a conjurer in their proper habits. The priest's habit is sufficiently described above. The conjurer shaves all his hair off, except the crest on the crown; upon his ear he wears the skin of some dark colored bird ; he, as well as the priest, is commonly grimed with soot or the like; to save his modesty he bangs an otter skin at his girdle, fastening the tail between his legs; upon his thigh hangs his pocket, which is fastened by tucking it under his girdle, the bottom of this is likewise fringed with tassels for ornament sake. In the middle between them is the Huskanawpen spoken of §32.

§5. The dress of the women is little different from that of the men, except in the tieing of their hair. The women of distinction wear deep necklaces, pendants and bracelets, made of small cylinders of the conch shell, which they call peak: they likewise keep their skin clean and shining with oil, while the men are commonly bedaubed all over with paint.

They are remarkable for having small round breasts, and so firm, that they are hardly ever observed to hang down, even in old women. They commonly go naked as far as the navel downward, and upward to the middle of the thigh, by which means they have the advantage of discovering their fine limbs and complete shape.

Tab. V. Is a couple of young women. The first wearing a coronet, necklace and bracelet of peak; the second a wreath of furs on her head, and her hair is bound with a fillet of peak and beads. Between the two is a woman under a tree making a basket of silk grass after their own manner.

Tab. VI. Is a woman and a boy running after her. One of her hands rests in her necklace of peak, and the other holds a gourd, in which they put water or other liquid.  

The boy wears a necklace of runtees, in his right hand is an Indian rattle, and in his left a roasting ear of corn. Round his waist is a small string, and another brought cross through his crotch, and for decency a soft skin is fastened before.

Runtees are made of the conch shell as the peak is, only the shape is flat and round like a cheese, and drilled edge ways.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1645 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1645

Monday, August 4, 2014

1661 On Improving the Virginia Church

It all sounds vaguely familiar...Build some towns, raise some money, tax the rich, educate the kids, & institute term limits...

DISCOVERING The true Ground of that CHURCH’S Unhappiness, and the only true Remedy.

As it was presented to the Right Reverend Father in God Guilbert Lord Bishop of London, September 2, 1661.
Now publish’d to further the Welfare of that and the like PLANTATIONS: By R. G 1662

To show the unhappy State of the Church in Virginia, and the true Remedy of it, I shall first give a brief Description of the Manner of our People’s scattered Habitations there; next show the sad unhappy consequences of such their scattered Living both in reference to themselves and the poor Heathen that are about them, and by the way briefly set down the cause of scattering their Habitations, then proceed to propound the Remedy, and means of procuring it; next assert the Benefits of it in reference both to themselves, and the Heathen; set down the cause why this Remedy has not been hitherto compassed: and lastly, till it can be procured, give directions for the present supply of their Churches.

That part of Virginia which has at present craved your Lordship’s Assistance to preserve the Christian Religion, and to promote the Building of God’s Church among them, by supplying them with sufficient Ministers of the Gospel, is bounded on the North by the great River Patomek, on the South by the River Chawan, including also the Land inhabited on the East side of Chesipiack Bay, called Accomack, and contains above half as much Land as England; it is divided into several Counties, and those Counties contain in all about Fifty Parishes, the Families whereof are dispersedly and scatteringly seated upon the sides of Rivers...

The Families of such Parishes being seated after this manner, at such distances from each other, many of them are very remote from the House of God, though placed in the midst of them. Many Parishes as yet want both Churches and Glebes, and I think not above a fifth part of them are supplied with Ministers, where there are Ministers the People meet together Weekly, but once upon the Lord’s day, and sometimes not at all, being hindered by Extremities of Wind and Weather: and divers of the more remote Families being discouraged, by the length of tediousness of the way, through extremities of heat in Summer, frost and Snow in Winter, and tempestuous weather in both, do very seldom repair thither.

By which brief Description of their manner of seating themselves in that Wilderness, Your Lordship may easily apprehend that their very manner of Planting themselves, has caused them hitherto to rob God in a great measure of that public Worship and Service, which as a Homage due to his great name, he requires to be constantly paid to him, at the times appointed for it, in the public Congregations of his people in his House of Prayer.

This sacrilege I judge to be the prime cause of their long-languishing, improsperous condition...But though this be the saddest Consequence of their dispersed manner of Planting themselves (for what Misery can be greater than to live under the Curse of God?) yet this has a very sad Train of Attendants which are likewise consequences of their scattered Planting. For, hence is the great want of Christian Neighborhood, or brotherly admonition, of holy Examples of religious Persons, of the Comfort of theirs, and their Minister’s Administrations in Sickness, and Distresses, of the Benefit of Christian and Civil Conference and Commerce.

And hence it is, that the most faithful and vigilant Pastors, assisted by the most careful Church-wardens, cannot possibly take notice of the Vices that reign in their Families, of the spiritual defects in their Conversations, or if they have notice of them, and provide Spiritual Remedies in their public Ministry, it is a hazard if they that are most concerned in them be present at the application of them: and if they should spend time in visiting their remote and far distant habitations, they would have little or none left for their necessary Studies, and to provide necessary spiritual food for the rest of their Flocks. And hence it is that through the licentious lives of many of them, the Christian Religion is like still to be dishonored, and the Name of God to be blasphemed among the Heathen, who are near them, and oft among them, and consequently their Conversion hindered.

Lastly, their almost general want of Schools for the education of their Children is another consequence of their scattered planting, of most sad consideration, most of all bewailed of Parents there, and therefore the arguments drawn from thence, most likely to prevail with them cheerfully to embrace the Remedy. This want of Schools, as it renders a very numerous generation of Christian Children born in Virginia (who naturally are of beautiful and comely Persons, and generally of more ingenious Spirits than these in England) unserviceable for any great Employments either in Church or State, so likewise it obstructs the hopefullest way they have, for the Conversion of the Heathen, which is, by winning the Heathen to bring in their Children to be taught and instructed in our Schools, together with the Children of the Christians...

The cause of their dispersed Seating was at first a privilege indulged by the royal Grant of having a right to 50 Acres of Land, for every person they should transport at their own charges: by which means some men transporting many Servants thither, and others purchasing the Rights of those that did, took possession of great tracts of Land at their pleasure, and by Degrees scattered their Plantations through the Country after the manner before described, although therefore from the premises, it is easy to conclude that the only way of remedy for Virginia’s disease (without which all other help will only palliate not cure) must be by procuring Towns to be built, and inhabited in their several Counties...Your Lordship will best inform your self in this by consulting with Virginia’s present Honorable Governor Sir William Berkeley, or their late Edward Diggs Esq.

What way soever they determine to be best, I shall humbly in obedience to your Lordship’s command endeavor to contribute towards the compassing this Remedy by propounding,

1 That your Lordship would be pleased to acquaint the King with the necessity of promoting the building Towns in each County of Virginia, upon the consideration of the fore-mentioned sad Consequences of their present manner of living there.

2 That your Lordship upon the fore-going consideration, be pleased to move the pitiful, and charitable heart of His gracious Majesty (considering the Poverty and needs of Virginia) for a Collection to be in all the Churches of his three Kingdoms (there being considerable numbers of each Kingdom ) for the promoting a work of so great Charity to the Souls of many thousands of his Loyal Subjects...

3 That the way of dispensing such collections for sending Work-men over for the building Towns and Schools, and the assistance the persons that shall inhabit them shall contribute towards them may be determined here, by the advice of Virginia’s present or late Honorable Governors...

Fourthly, That those Planters who have such a considerable number of Servants, as may be judged may enable them for it, if they be not willing (for I have heard some express their willingness, and some their averseness) may by His Majesty’s Authority be enjoined to contribute the Assistance that shall be thought meet for them, to build themselves houses in the Towns nearest to them, and to inhabit them, for they having horses enough in that Country, may be convenienced, as their occasions require, to visit their Plantations...

Fifthly, That for a continual supply of able Ministers for their Churches, after a set term of years, Your Lordship would please to endeavor the procuring an Act of Parliament, whereby a certain number of Fellowships, as they happen to be next proportionably vacant in both the Universities, may bear the name of Virginia Fellowships, so long as the Needs of that Church shall require it; and none be admitted to them, but such as shall engage by promise to hold them seven years and no longer; and at the expiration of those seven years, transport themselves to Virginia, and serve that Church in the Office of the Ministry seven years more, (the Church there providing for them) which being expired, they shall be left to their own Liberty to return or not...

These things being procured, I think Virginia will be in the most probable way (that her present condition can admit) of being cured of the forementioned evils of her scattered Planting.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

1635 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1635

Saturday, August 2, 2014

1619 Laws Enacted by the 1st General Assembly of Virginia

First Legislature in the New World, 1619, The General Assembly of Virginia

By this present General Assembly be it enacted that no injury or oppression be wrought by the English against the Indians whereby the present peace might be distributed and ancient quarrels might be revived. And farther be it ordained that the Chicohomini are not to be excepted out of this law, until either that such order come out of England or that they do provoke us by some new injury.

Against idleness, gaming, drunkenness, and excess in apparel the assembly has enacted as follows.

First, in detestation of idlers, be it enacted that if any man be found to live as an idler or renegade, though a freed man, it shall be lawful for that incorporation or plantation to which he belongs to appoint him a master to serve for wages till he shows apparent signs of amendment.

Against gaming at dice and cards be it ordained by this present assembly that the winner or winners shall lose all his or their winnings and both winners and losers shall forfeit ten shillings a man, one ten shillings whereof to go to the discoverer and the rest to charitable and pious uses in the incorporation where the faults are committed.

Against drunkeness be it also decreed that if any private prsons be found culpable thereof, for the first time he is to be reproved privately by the minister, the second time publicly, the third time to lie in bolts 12 hours in the house of the provost marshal and to pay his fees, and if he still continue in that vice to undergo such severe punishment as the Governor and Council of Estate shall thinke fit to be inflicted on him. But if any officer offend in this crime, the first time he shall receive a reproof from the Governor, the second time he shall openly be reproved in the church by the minister, and the third time he shall first be committed and then degraded. Provided it be understood that the Governor has always power to restore him when he shall, in his discretion, think fit.

Against excess of apparel, that every man be assessed in the church for all public contributions, if he be unmarried according to his own apparel, if he be married, according to his own and his wife's or either of their apparel.

As touching the instruction of drawing some of the better disposed of the Indians to converse with our people and to live and labor among them, the assembly, who know well their dispositions, think it fit to enjoin at least to counsel those of the colony neither utterly to reject them nor yet to draw them to come in. But in case they will of themselves come voluntarily to places well peopled, there to do service in killing of deer, fishing, beating corn, and other works, that then five or six may be admitted into every such place and no more, and that with the consent of the Governor, provided that good guard in the night be kept upon them, for generally, though some among many may prove good, they are a most treacherous people and quickly gone when they have done a villainy. And it were fit a house were built for them to lodge in apart by themselves, and lone inhabitants by no means to entertain them.

Be it enacted by this present assembly that for laying a surer foundation of the conversion of the Indians to Christian religion, each town, city, borough, and particular plantation do obtain unto themselves by just means a certain number of the native's children to be educated by them in true religion and civil course of life. Of which children the most towardly boys in wit and graces of nature to be brought up by them in the first elements of literature, so as to be fitted for the college intended for them, that from thence they may be sent to that work of conversion.

As touching the business of planting corn, this present assembly does ordain that, year by year, all and every householder and householders have in store for every servant he or they shall keep, and also for his or their own persons, whether they have any servants or no, one spare barrel of corn to be delivered out yearly either upon sale or exchange, as need shall require. For the neglect of which duty he shall be subject to the censure of the Governor and Council of Estate; provided always, that for the first year of every new man this law shall not be in force.

About the plantation of mulberry trees, be it enacted that every man, as he is seated upon his division does, for seven years together, every year plant and maintain in growth six mulberry trees at the least and as many more as he shall think convenient and as his virtue and industry shall move him to plant; and that all such persons as shall neglect the yearly planting and maintaining of that small proportion shall be subject to the censure of the Governor and the Councel of Estate.

Be it further enacted, as concerning silk flax, that those men that are upon their division or settled habitation do this next year plant and dress 100 plants which being found a commodity may farther be increased. And whosoever do fail in the performance of this shall be subject to the punishment of the Governor and Council of Estate.

For hemp also, both English and Indian, and for English flax and aniseeds, we do require and enjoin all householders of this colony, that have any of those seeds, to make trial thereof the next season.

Moreover, be it enacted by this present assembly that every householder does yearly plant and maintain ten vines, until they have attained to the art and experience of dressing a vineyard, either by their own industry or by the instruction of some vigneron. And that upon what penalty soever the Governor and Council of Estate shall think fit to impose upon the neglecters of this act.

Be it also enacted that all necessary tradesmen, or so many as need shall require, such as are come over since the departure of Sir Thomas Dale or that shall hereafter come, shall work at their trades for any other man; each one being paid according to the quality of his trade and work, to be estimated, if he shall not be contented, by the Governor and officers of the place where he works.

Be it further ordained by this General Assembly, and we do by these presents enact, that all contracts made in England between the owners of land and their tenants and servants which they shall send hither may be caused to be duly performed and that the offenders be punished as the Governor and Council of Estate shall think just and convenient.

Be it established also by this present assembly that no crafty or advantageous means be suffered to be put in practice for the enticing away the tenants and servants of any particular plantation from the place where they are seated. And that it shall be the duty of the Governor and Council of Estate most severely to punish both the seducers and the seduced and to return these latter into their former places.

Be it further enacted that the orders for the magazine lately made be exactly kept and that the magazine be preserved from wrong and sinister practices and that, according to the orders of court in England, all tobacco and sassafras be brought by the planters to the cape merchant till such time as all the goods now or heretofore sent for the magazine be taken off their hands at the prices agreed on, that by this means the same going for England into one hand the price thereof may be upheld the better. And to the end that all the whol colony may take notice of the last order of court made in England, and all those whom it concerns may know how to observe it, we hold it fit to publish it here for a law among the rest of our laws, the which orders is as follows.

Upon the 26th of October 1618, it was ordered that the magazine should continue during the term formerly prefixed and that certain abuses now complained of should be reformed; and that for preventing of all impositions, save the allowance of 25 in the hundred profit the Governor shall have an invoice as well as the cape merchant, that if any abuse in the sale of goods be offered, he, upon intelligence and due examination thereof, shall see it corrected. And for the encouragement of particular hundreds, as Smith's hundred, Martin's hundred, Lawn's hundred and the like, it shall be lawful for them to return the same to their own adventurers; provided that the same commodity be of their own growing, without trading with any other, in one entire lump and not dispersed, and that at the determination of the joint stock the goods then remaining in the magazine shall be bought by the said particular colonies before any other goods which shall be sent by private men. And it is, moreover, ordered that if the Lady La warre, the Lady Dale, Captain Bargrave, and the rest would unite themselves into a settled colony, they might be capable of the same privileges that are granted to any of the foresaid hundreds. Hitherto the order.

All the General Assembly by voices concluded not only the acceptances and observation of this order, but of the instruction also to Sir George Yeardley next preceding the same; provided, first, that the cape merchant do accept of the tobacco of all and every the planters here in Virginia, either for goods or upon bills of exchange at three shillings the pound the best and 18 shillings the second sort; provided, also, that the bills be duly paid in England; provided, in the third place, that if any other besides the magazine have at any time any necessary commodity which the magazine does want, it shall and may be lawful for any of the colony to buy the said necessary commodity of the said party, but upon the terms of the magazine, viz., allowing no more gain than 25 in the hundred, and that with the leave of the Governor; provided, lastly, that it may be lawful for the governor to give leave to any mariner, or any other person that shall have any such necessary commodity wanting to the magazine, to carry home for England so much tobacco or other natural commodities of the country as his customers shall pay him for the said necessary commodity or commodities. And to the end we may not only persuade and incite men but enforce them also thoroughly and loyally to cure their tobacco before they bring it to the magazine, be it enacted, and by these presents we do enact, that if upon the judgment of four sufficient men of any corporation where the magazine shall reside, having first taken their oaths to give true sentence, two whereof to be chosen by the cape merchant and two by the incorporation, any tobacco whatsoever shall not prove vendible at the second price, that it shall there immediately be burned before the owner's face.

It shall be free for every man to trade with the Indians, servants only excepted, upon pain of whipping unless the master redeem it off with the payment of an angel, one-fourth part whereof to go to the provost marshal, one-fourth part to the discoverer, and the other moiety to the public uses of the incorporation where he dwells.

That no man do sell or give any Indians any piece, shot, or powder, or any other arms offensive or defensive, upon pain of being held a traitor to the colony and of being hanged as soon as the fact is proved, without all redemption.

That no man do sell or give any of the greater howes to the Indians, or any English dog of quality, as a mastive, greyhound, blood hound, land or water spaniel, or any other dog or bitch whatsoever, of the English race, upon pain of forfeiting five pounds sterling to the public uses of the incorporation where he dwells.

That no man may go above twenty miles from his dwelling place, nor upon any voyage whatsoever shall be absent from thence for the space of seven days together, without first having made the Governor or commander of the same place acquainted therewith, upon pain of paying twenty shillings to the public uses of the same incorporation where the party delinquent dwells.

That no man shall purposely go to any Indian towns, habitation, or places of resort without leave from the Governor or commander of that place where he lives, upon pain of paying 40 shillings to public uses as aforesaid.

That no man living in this colony but shall between this and the first of January next ensuing come or send to the Secretary of State to enter his own and all his servants names and for what term or upon what conditions they are to serve, upon penalty of paying 40 shillings to the said Secretary of State. Also, whatsoever masters or people do come over to this plantation that within one month of their arrival, notice being first given them of this very law, they shall likewise report to the Secretary of State and shall certify him upon what terms or conditions they become hither, to the end that he may record their grants and commissions and for how long time and upon what conditions their servants, in case they have any, are to serve them, and that upon pain of the penalty next above mentioned.

All ministers in the colony shall once a year, namely in the month of March, bring to the Secretary of Estate a true account of all the christenings, burials, and marriages, upon pain, if they fail, to be censured for their negligence by the Governor and Council of Estate; likewise, where there be no ministers, that the commanders of the place do supply the same duty.

No man without leave from the governor shall kill any neat cattle whatsoever, young or old, especially kine, heifers, or cow calves, and shall be careful to preserve their steers and oxen and to bring them to plough and such profitable uses, and, without having obtained leave as aforesaid, shall not kill them upon penalty of forfeiting the value of the beast so killed.

Whosoever shall take any of his neighbors boats, oars, or canoes without leave from the owner shall be held and esteemed as a felon and so proceeded against. Also, he that shall take away by violence or steals any canoes or other things from the Indians shall make valuable restitution to the said Indians and shall forfeit, if he be a freeholder, five pounds, if a servant 40 shillings, or endure a whipping; and anything under the value of 13 pence shall be accounted petty larceny.

All ministers shall duly read divine service and exercise their ministerial function according to the ecclesiastical laws and orders of the Church of England and every Sunday in the afternoon shall catechize such as are not yet ripe to come to the communion. And whosoever of them be found negligent or faulty in this kind shall be subject to the censure of the Governor and Council of Estate.

The ministers and church wardens shall seek to prevent all ungodly disorders; the committers whereof if, upon good admonitions and mild reproof, they will not forbear the said scandalous offences, as suspicions of whoredoms, dishonest company keeping with women, and such like, they are to be presented and punished accordingly.

If any person, after two warnings, does not amend his or her life in point of evident suspicion of incontinency or of the commission of any other enormous sins, that then he or she be presented by the church wardens and suspended for a time from the church by the minister. In which interim, if the same person do not amend and humbly submit him or herself to the church, he is then fully to be excommunicated and soon after a writ or warrant to be sent from the Governor for the apprehending of his person and seizing all his goods. Provided always, that all the ministers do meet once a quarter, namely at the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, of the Nativity of our Saviour, of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, and about mid-summer, at James City or any other place where the Governor shall reside, to determine whom it is fit to excommunicate, and that they first present their opinion to the Governor ere they proceed to the act of excommunication.

For reformation of swearing, every freeman and master of a family after thrice admonition shall give 5 shillings of the value upon present demand to the use of the church where he dwells, and every servant after the like admonition, except his master discharge the fine, shall be subject to whipping; provided, that the payment of the fine notwithstanding, the said servant shall acknowledge his fault publicly in the church.

No man whatsoever coming by water from above, as from Henrico, Charles City, or any place from the westward of James City, and being bound for Kiccowtan or any other part on this side of the same, shall presume to pass by either by day or by night without touching first here at James City, to know whether the Governor will command him any service, and the like shall they perform that come from Kiccowtanward or from any place between this and that to go upward, upon pain of forfeiting ten pounds sterling a time to the Governor; provided, that if a servant having had instructions from his master to observe his service does, notwithstanding, transgress the same, that then the said servant shall be punished at the governor's discretion, otherwise that the master himself shall undergo the foresaid penalty.

No man shall trade into the bay either in shallop, pinnace, or ship without the Governor's license and without putting in security that neither himself nor his company shall force or wrong the Indians, upon pain that doing otherwise they shall be censured at their return by the Governor and Council of Estate.

All persons whatsoever, upon Sabbath days, shall frequent divine service and sermons both forenoon and afternoon and all such as bear arms shall bring their pieces, swords, powder and shot. And every one that shall transgress this law shall forfeit three shillings a time to the use of the church, all lawful and necessary impediments excepted. But if a servant in this case shall willfully neglect his master's command he shall suffer bodily punishment.

No maid or woman servant, either now resident in the colony or hereafter to come, shall contract herself in marriage without either the consent of her parents or her master or masters or of the magistrate and minister of the place both together. And whatsoever minister shall marry or contract any such persons without some of the aforesaid consents shall be subject to the severe censure of the Governor and Council of Estate.

Be it enacted by the present assembly that whatsoever servant has heretofore or shall hereafter contract himself in England, either by way of indenture or otherwise, to serve any master here in Virginia and shall afterward, against his said former contract, depart from his master without leave or, being once embarked, shall abandon the ship he is appointed to come in and so being left behind shall put himself into the service of any other man that will bring him hither, that then at the same servant's arrival here, he shall first serve out his time with that master that brought him hither and afterward also shall serve out his time with his former master according to his covenant.

Friday, August 1, 2014

1640 Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) Portrait of an English Woman

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Anglicanus; Print made by 1640. British Library. An English lady with curly hair standing whole length to right, looking towards the viewer; wearing a pearl necklace, rope of pearls over her shoulder, gown with broad trim and lace collar fastened with two brooches, holding a feather fan in her right hand.

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who visiting the continent.  Hollar became a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. He left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large projects for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

John Smith's 1616 Letter about Pocahontas from Virginia to Queen Anne of Great Britain

1616 Pocahontas

John Smith's 1616 Letter to Queen Anne of Great Britain:

Most admired Queen,

The love I bear my God, my King and country, hath so oft emboldened me in the worst of extreme dangers, that now honesty doth constrain me to presume thus far beyond myself, to present your Majesty this short discourse: if ingratitude be a deadly poison to all honest virtues, I must be guilty of that crime if I should omit any means to be thankful.

So it is, that some ten years ago being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan their chief King, I received from this great Salvage exceeding great courtesy, especially from his son Nantaquaus, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit, I ever saw in a Salvage, and his sister Pocahontas, the Kings most dear and well-beloved daughter, being but a child of twelve or thirteen years of age, whose compassionate pitiful heart, of my desperate estate, gave me much cause to respect her: I being the first Christian this proud King and his grim attendants ever saw: and thus enthralled in their barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of want that was in the power of those my mortal foes to prevent, notwithstanding all their threats. After some six weeks fatting amongst those Salvage courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown: where I found about eight and thirty miserable poor and sick creatures, to keep possession of all those large territories of Virginia; such was the weakness of this poor commonwealth, as had the salvages not fed us, we directly had starved. And this relief, most gracious Queen, was commonly brought us by this Lady Pocahontas.

Notwithstanding all these passages, when inconstant fortune turned our peace to war, this tender virgin would still not spare to dare to visit us, and by her our jars have been oft appeased, and our wants still supplied; were it the policy of her father thus to employ her, or the ordinance of God thus to make her his instrument, or her extraordinary affection to our nation, I know not: but of this I am sure; when her father with the utmost of his policy and power, sought to surprise me, having but eighteen with me, the dark night could not affright her from coming through the irksome woods, and with watered eyes gave me intelligence, with her best advice to escape his fury; which had he known, he had surely slain her.

Jamestown with her wild train she as freely frequented, as her fathers habitation; and during the time of two or three years, she next under God, was still the instrument to preserve this colony from death, famine and utter confusion; which if in those times, had once been dissolved, Virginia might have lain as it was at our first arrival to this day.

Since then, this business having been turned and varied by many accidents from that I left it at: it is most certain, after a long and troublesome war after my departure, betwixt her father and our colony; all which time she was not heard of.

About two years after she herself was taken prisoner, being so detained near two years longer, the colony by that means was relieved, peace concluded; and at last rejecting her barbarous condition, she was married to an English Gentleman, with whom at this present she is in England; the first Christian ever of that Nation, the first Virginian ever spoke English, or had a child in marriage by an Englishman: a matter surely, if my meaning be truly considered and well understood, worthy a Princes understanding.

Thus, most gracious Lady, I have related to your Majesty, what at your best leisure our approved Histories will account you at large, and done in the time of your Majesty's life; and however this might be presented you from a more worthy pen, it cannot from a more honest heart, as yet I never begged anything of the state, or any: and it is my want of ability and her exceeding desert; your birth, means, and authority; her birth, virtue, want and simplicity, doth make me thus bold, humbly to beseech your Majesty to take this knowledge of her, though it be from one so unworthy to be the reporter, as myself, her husbands estate not being able to make her fit to attend your Majesty. The most and least I can do, is to tell you this, because none so oft hath tried it as myself, and the rather being of so great a spirit, however her stature: if she should not be well received, seeing this Kingdom may rightly have a Kingdom by her means; her present love to us and Christianity might turn to such scorn and fury, as to divert all this good to the worst of evil; whereas finding so great a Queen should do her some honor more than she can imagine, for being so kind to your servants and subjects, would so ravish her with content, as endear her dearest blood to effect that, your Majesty and all the Kings honest subjects most earnestly desire.

And so I humbly kiss your gracious hands,  Captain John Smith, 1616