Thursday, February 28, 2019

1630 A Model of Christian Charity John Winthrop (1588-1649) in New England

John Winthrop (1588-1649) was the 1st governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony & among the Puritan founders of New England.

A Model hereof.

GOD ALMIGHTY in his most holy and wise providence, hath so disposed of the condition of’ mankind, as in all times some must be rich, some poor, some high and eminent in power and dignity; others mean and in submission.

The Reason hereof.

1 Reason. First, to hold conformity with the rest of his works, being delighted to show forth the glory of his wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures, and the glory of his power in ordering all these differences for the preservation and good of the whole; and the glory of his greatness, that as it is the glory of princes to have many officers, so this great king will have many stewards, counting himself more honored in dispensing his gifts to man by man, than if he did it by his own immediate hands.

2 Reason. Secondly, that he might have the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit: first upon the wicked in moderating and restraining them: so that the rich and mighty should not eat up the poor, nor the poor and despised rise up against their superiors and shake off their yoke. Secondly, in the regenerate, in exercising his graces in them, as in the great ones, their love, mercy, gentleness, temperance etc., in the poor and inferior sort, their faith, patience, obedience, etc.

3 Reason. Thirdly, that every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection. From hence it appears plainly that no man is made more honorable than another or more wealthy etc., out of any particular and singular respect to himself, but for the glory of his creator and the common good of the creature, man. Therefore, God still reserves the property of these gifts to himself as Ezek. 16:17—he there calls wealth, his gold and his silver,1 and Prov. 3:9—he claims their service as his due, honor the Lord with thy riches, etc.2 All men being thus (by divine providence) ranked into two sorts, rich and poor; under the first are comprehended all such as are able to live comfortably by their own means duly improved; and all others are poor according to the former distribution.

…There is a time when a Christian must sell all and give to the poor, as they did in the Apostles’ times. There is a time also when Christians (though they give not all yet) must give beyond their ability.… Likewise, a community of peril calls for extraordinary liberality, and so doth community in some special service for the church. Lastly, when there is no other means whereby our Christian brother may be relieved in his distress, we must help him beyond our ability rather than tempt God in putting him upon help by miraculous or extraordinary means.

This duty of mercy is exercised in three kinds: giving, lending and forgiving.

Quest[ion]. What rule shall a man observe in giving in respect of the measure?

Ans[wer]. If the time and occasion be ordinary, he is to give out of his abundance. Let him lay aside as God hath blessed him.3 If the time and occasion be extraordinary, he must be ruled by them: taking this withal, that then a man cannot likely do too much, especially if he may leave himself and his family under probable means of comfortable subsistence.

Object[ion]. A man must lay up for posterity, the fathers lay up for posterity and children, and he is worse than an infidel that provideth not for his own.4

Ans[wer]. For the first, it is plain that it being spoken by way of comparison, it must be meant of the ordinary and usual course of fathers, and cannot extend to times and occasions extraordinary. For the other place, the Apostle speaks against such as walked inordinately, and it is without question that he is worse than an infidel who through his own sloth and voluptuousness shall neglect to provide for his family.…

Quest[ion]. What rule must we observe in lending?

Ans[wer]. Thou must observe whether thy brother hath present or probable or possible means of repaying thee, if there be none of those, thou must give him according to his necessity, rather than lend him as he requires; if he hath present means of repaying thee, thou art to look at him not as an act of mercy, but by way of Commerce, wherein thou art to walk by the rule of justice; but if his means of repaying thee be only probable or possible, then is he an object of thy mercy, thou must lend him, though there be danger of losing it, Deut. 15:7. If any of thy brethren be poor etc., thou shalt lend him sufficient.… 5

Quest[ion]. What rule must we observe and walk by in cause of community of peril?

Ans[wer]. The same as before, but with more enlargement towards others and less respect towards ourselves and our own right. Hence it was that in the primitive Church they sold all, had all things in common, neither did any man say that which he possessed was his own.6 Likewise in their return out of the captivity, because the work was great for the restoring of the church and the danger of enemies was common to all, Nehemiah directs the Jews to liberality and readiness in remitting their debts to their brethren, and disposing liberally to such as wanted, and stand not upon their own dues which they might have demanded of them.7 Thus did some of our Forefathers in times of persecution in England, and so did many of the faithful of other churches, whereof we keep an honorable remembrance of them; and it is to be observed that both in Scriptures and latter stories of the churches that such as have been most bountiful to the poor saints, especially in those extraordinary times and occasions, God hath left them highly commended to posterity.…

…The definition which the Scripture gives us of love is this: Love is the bond of perfection. First it is a bond or ligament. Secondly it makes the work perfect. There is no body but consists of parts, and that which knits these parts together, gives the body its perfection, because it makes each part so contiguous to others as thereby they do mutually participate with each other, both in strength and infirmity, in pleasure and pain. To instance in the most perfect of all bodies; Christ and his Church make one body; the several parts of this body considered apart before they were united, were as disproportionate and as much disordering as so many contrary qualities or elements, but when Christ comes, and by his spirit and love knits all these parts to himself and each to other, it is become the most perfect and best proportioned body in the world, Eph. 4:16: Christ, by whom all the body being knit together by every joint for the furniture thereof, according to the effectual power which is in the measure of every perfection of parts, a glorious body without spot or wrinkle;8 the ligaments hereof being Christ, or his love, for Christ is love, 1 John 4:8. So this definition is right. Love is the bond of perfection.

…The next consideration is how this love comes to be wrought. Adam in his first estate was a perfect model of mankind in all their generations, and in him this love was perfected in regard of the habit. But Adam rent himself from his Creator, rent all his posterity also one from another; whence it comes that every man is borne with this principle in him: to love and seek himself only, and thus a man continueth till Christ comes and takes possession of the soul and infuseth another principle, love to God and our brother, and this latter having continual supply from Christ, as the head and root by which he is united, gets the predomining in the soul, so by little and little expels the former. 1 John 4:7: love cometh of God and every one that loveth is borne of God,9 so that this love is the fruit of the new birth, and none can have it but the new creature.

…From the former Considerations arise these conclusions. First, this love among Christians is a real thing, not imaginary. Secondly, this love is as absolutely necessary to the being of the body of Christ, as the sinews and other ligaments of a natural body are to the being of that body. Thirdly, this love is a divine, spiritual, nature; free, active, strong, courageous, and permanent; undervaluing all things beneath its proper object and of all the graces, this makes us nearer to resemble the virtues of our heavenly father.…

It rests now to make some application of this discourse, by the present design, which gave the occasion of writing of it. Herein are four things to be propounded; first the persons, secondly the work, thirdly the end, fourthly the means.

For the persons. We are a company professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, in which respect only though we were absent from each other many miles, and had our employments as far distant, yet we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love, and, live in the exercise of it, if we would have comfort of our being in Christ.…

For the work we have in hand. It is by a mutual consent, through a special overvaluing providence and a more than an ordinary approbation of the churches of Christ, to seek out a place of cohabitation and consortship under a due form of Government both civil and ecclesiastical. In such cases as this, the care of the public must over sway all private respects, by which, not only conscience, but mere civil policy, doth bind us. For it is a true rule that particular estates cannot subsist in the ruin of the public.

The end is to improve our lives to do more service to the Lord; the comfort and increase of the body of Christ, whereof we are members; that ourselves and posterity may be the better preserved from the common corruptions of this evil world, to serve the Lord and work out our Salvation under the power and purity of his holy ordinances.

For the means whereby this must be effected: they are twofold, a conformity with the work and end we aim at. These we see are extraordinary, therefore we must not content ourselves with usual ordinary means. Whatsoever we did, or ought to have, done, when we lived in England, the same must we do, and more also, where we go. That which the most in their churches maintain as truth in profession only, we must bring into familiar and constant practice; as in this duty of love, we must love brotherly without dissimulation, we must love one another with a pure heart fervently. We must bear one another’s burdens. We must not look only on our own things, but also on the things of our brethren. Neither must we think that the Lord will bear with such failings at our hands as he dothe from those among whom we have lived...

…Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath he ratified this covenant and sealed our Commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us; be revenged of such a [sinful] people and make us know the price of the breaches of such a covenant.

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.10 For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make other’s conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.11 

The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as his own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways. So that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when he shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it likely that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whither we are a going.

I shall shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deut. 30: Beloved there is now set before us life and good, Death and evil, in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his Commandments and his Ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our Covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may blesse us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship and serve other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it;12

Therefore let us choose life—that we, and our seed may live, by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him, for He is our life and our prosperity.13

1 Ezekiel 16:17: “Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them.…”
2 Proverbs 3:9: “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.”
3 An allusion to 1 Corinthians 16:2: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
4 An allusion to 1 Timothy 5:8: But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
5 Deuteronomy 15:7-8: If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
6 As recounted in Acts 2:44-45.
7 As recounted in Nehemiah 5.
8 Winthrop here summarizes his reading of Ephesians 4 and 5, in part paraphrasing 4:13-16, which describes the church as a body made of many parts, each member learning to fill a particular role, all striving together in love to become the earthly embodiment of Christ, “the perfect man.” He is also remembering 5:27, which likens the church to a body made perfect by Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
9  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”
10 Micah 6:8.
11 Ephesians 4:3.
12 Winthrop quotes Deuteronomy 30:15-18, inserting what he understands to be the contemporary application of “other gods.”
13 A summary of Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Women & Religion in 17C Virginia (1619)

Virginia was settled & controlled by businessmen--operating through the Virginia Company of London--who wanted to get rich. To keep a familiar order in the New World they wanted the Anglican Church to flourish in their colony kept well supplied with English ministers, all male. Some early governors sent by the Virginia Company acted in the spirit of crusaders. Sir Thomas Dale (d. 1619) considered himself engaged in "religious warfare" & expected no reward "but from him on whose vineyard I labor whose church with greedy appetite I desire to erect. "During Dale's tenure, religion was spread at the point of the sword. Everyone was required to attend church and be catechized by a minister. Those who refused could be executed or sent to the galleys.

Most of what we know of religion in early Virginia Native society comes from Captain John Smith, who stated that all Indians had "religion, Deare, & Bow & Arrowes." Smith came to know the Powhatans of Tsenacomoco—an alliance of 28-32 small tribes along the James, Mattaponi, & Pamunkey rivers. The Powhatans worshiped a number of spirits including the Great Hare creator god, an unnamed female divinity, & the Sun god. The sole reference to the Native American female divinity comes in connection with the Great Hare. This anonymous goddess was believed to inhabit a halfway house on the road to the after-world, near where the Great Hare lives. Described as offering fine food & hospitality for travelers, she was thought to be a source of strength during the passage between the worlds of the living & the dead.

Like the other 17C British colonies, Virginia's settlers aspired to convert the native populations they encountered. The Virginia Company's instructions to its governors required them to make conversion one of their objectives. The most famous early convert was Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, head of the Powhatan Confederacy. Pocahontas was baptized by the Reverend Alexander Whitaker before her marriage to John Rolfe in 1614.

Unlike the colonies to the north, where the Church of England was regarded with suspicion throughout the colonial period, Virginia was a bastion of Anglicanism. Her House of Burgesses passed a law in 1632, requiring that there be a "uniformitie throughout this colony both in substance & circumstance to the cannons & constitution of the Church of England."One of the handicaps faced by the Church of England in Virginia & the other American colonies was its lack of authority to ordain priests. To receive holy orders, candidates were obliged to travel to England. This was an obstacle some were unwilling to confront. As a result, the Church of England often experienced a shortage of priests in America.

See The Library of Congress.

Monday, February 25, 2019

1619 The Real House-Wives of Early Jamestown

Wives for the Settlers at Jamestown by William Ludwell Sheppard 1876

"Those English women who travelled to the new colony of Jamestown in search of marriage and a new life were neither groomed nor coerced. The same cannot be said of their African counterparts.

Misha Ewen in History Today  Published 10 May 2017   
At the time this article was written, Misha Ewen was a Research Fellow at the Huntington Library in California.

"By December 1620, Anne Rickard was tired of her life in the London parish of St James Clerkenwell. For unsaid reasons, she decided to do something about it & ‘entreated & required’ her churchwardens to write a testimonial stating her good character. In this written document, they attested that she was a woman of ‘honest sort … honest life & conversation’, both ‘esteemed & reputed’ by her community. Despite her local standing, Anne, a widow, was ‘minded & purposed to dwell elsewhere’. She wanted a fresh start in Jamestown & before she voyaged Anne presented her recommendation to the Virginia Company. It was her means to the New World & a new life.

"The real ‘Jamestown brides’ were not groomed or coerced, and, if they refused to marry, violence was not an actual & terrifying threat. Instead, their testimony shows that they were willing to voyage to the colony & took measures to ensure that they could do so...Binding themselves through matrimony to tobacco planters in the Virginia colony was mutually beneficial. There was an economic downturn in England at the time, meaning that a lot of young men could not afford to start a family & had to put off marriage. In the colony, though, land & prosperity was apparently boundless. There, English women were guaranteed the chance to ‘settle down’ and, with the help of a servant, run their own households. At this time, young women already left their homes & families in search of new opportunities ‘abroad’: Jamestown was just that bit further. Men in the colony believed that women would make their lives more comfortable, too, by performing what they deemed to be essential female roles, as carers & housewives. Their personal contentment & desire for women’s company was also a consideration: it was said that the men at Jamestown had hearts that were ‘enflamed … through the wants of the comforts of marriage’.

"Intimacy aside, women were sent to resolve serious concerns about the security & permanence of the colony. If the English were to maintain a foothold in North America, the colony desperately needed more people to replenish those who had died through disease, hunger & violence. As mothers & wives, women were seen as having an essential part to play in ‘settling’ the status of the colony. Writing in 1621, the Virginia Company announced that only women would serve to ‘tie & root the planters minds to Virginia by the bonds of wives & children’. Before the arrival of the brides, there had been very few English women in the colony, leaving nearly all of the young, male colonists unmarried & available. There may have been brides before, who were written out of history though. Archaeologists at the Jamestown site have found plenty of material evidence to suggest that Native American women took up residence in the fort; ...but Native American women were not, in the eyes of contemporaries, fitting partners. English women were needed if an English – Christian – society was to be kept intact.

"All of the women who ventured to the Jamestown colony in the years 1619-1621 to become brides to colonists had to prove that, like Anne Rickard, they were suitable. Previous arrivals had included Bridewell inmates, women who were guilty of vagrancy & petty crimes like ‘night-walking’. This time the Virginia Company announced that it required only ‘young, handsome, & honestly educated maids’ and, beginning in the summer of 1619 through to spring 1620, 90 women set sail to the colony, followed soon afterwards by 49 women in the summer of 1621.

"The first task that women had was to secure their passage, by requesting testimonials & recommendations from people who were willing to accompany them, in person, to the Virginia Company. They activated the networks of associates, friends & kin that they had in London & elsewhere, asking them to support their claims. Mary Ghibbs, 20, who was born in Cambridge, asked her uncle Lott Peere (who she lived with) & his associate Gabriel Barbour to recommend her; both who were deeply involved in the affairs of the Virginia Company. Ann Jackson, also 20, whose father William, a gardener, lived in Westminster, requested his help & the Virginia Company recorded that with his ‘consent she comes’. Richard Hoare & Joan Child, the brother & sister of Audrey Hoare, 19, an apprentice to a fustian maker, accompanied her to the Virginia Company’s office. Having family & friends present in London was a kind of security—the company could be sure that these were not desperate young women who were running from a scandal.

"It is clear from the statements they made to the Virginia Company that they came from a range of social backgrounds: daughters of gardeners & shoemakers, as well as the kinswomen of gentlemen, such as Margaret Bourdman, 20, the niece of Sir John Gypson, who received ‘good testimony’ from her employers & neighbours. The skills that they claimed to possess reflected this variety of experience & status: while Ann Tanner, 27, the daughter of a husband-man in Chelmsford, knew how to spin, sew, brew, bake, make cheese & butter – general ‘huswifery’ . Ann Harmer, 21, the daughter of a gentleman, stated that she knew how to ‘do all manner of works gold & silk’. Ghibbs noted that she was skilled in making bone lace, an assertion, it seems, that was meant to bolster her gentle status, femininity & moral upstanding. No doubt some attributes would be more practical than others on arrival at Jamestown.

"The women also showed their willingness to go, perhaps even hinting at their suitability for the tough environment of Jamestown. Abigail Downing, who voyaged to the colony a little later in 1623, paid the cost of her own passage so that she would be ‘free to dispose of her self when she commeth to Virginia’, in order to find & marry an ‘honest man’. She also promised that she would ‘take pains & … do all service that is fit’ in order to ‘earn her diet’. We do not know Abigail’s background or age, but she was already widowed & was said to be from a family of ‘honest people’ & ‘good fashion’ (meaning their behaviour or demeanour). Whatever accomplishments she had, whether in ‘huswifery’ or the finer art of lace-making, she could apply her skills to running her own household or commerce in Jamestown. Her oath would have been comforting news to the jaded colonist Thomas Nicholls, who complained the same year that ‘women do … nothing’, except ‘devour the food of the land without doing any days deed’.

"Although many of the women traveled alone, as Abigail Downing did, some were accompanied by relatives, or planned to meet family in the colony. Ann Jackson from Salisbury set off on this adventure together with her brother John; & Ursula Clawson’s kinsman, Richard Pace, accompanied her alongside his wife back to Virginia, where he had already settled. Jamestown was often the final destination in journeys they had made across England, from Cheshire, Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Herefordshire & Wiltshire – even Denbigh in Wales – before setting sail from the Isle of Wight. Many had left home already to take up employment in London & family separation, especially at the point when you people went into service & afterwards married, was expected. London may have seemed as foreign to Margaret Bourdman from Bilton, Yorkshire, as Jamestown did.

"On their voyages to Virginia, the same care that was shown towards ascertaining the upstanding character of the women was also taken towards their welfare aboard ships. Various bills recorded by the Virginia Company show that they provided essential items for the voyage, such as clothing, including white lambskin gloves, beds & bedding. For passengers with a sweet tooth, prunes were purchased. These items, such as the coifs that were bought, allow us to glimpse into the lived experiences of women on arrival, too. Coifs were white caps that only wives were permitted to wear on their heads, as a sign of modesty & the elevated social status of married women. Before leaving England, most had been unmarried women in service. Now they would enjoy greater social standing.

"When they arrived in Jamestown, the women met their prospective husbands and, by the Christmas of 1621, all were married. It has been suggested that they were ‘sold’ to the highest bidders for 150lb. of tobacco, but this is not true. The tobacco, which was worth approximately £18 when sold in England, was to cover the cost (£12) of transporting each woman to Virginia, with £6 profit for the Virginia Company’s pocket. However, as the original estimated cost to outfit each woman stood at £8 (money that was invested by shareholders), the Virginia Company was mostly recuperating its losses. Let us not assume either that what ensued was literally some sort of cattle market. These were women of ‘better sort’, who were unlikely to have been left unaccompanied, & any proposals that they received would probably have taken place behind closed doors & not out in the open. 

"Perhaps... requiring the tobacco planters to pay for a wife was a way to ensure that the women – from good, ‘honest’ families – would only be matched with suitable men. As in England, this was a means to test the economic & social worth of their prospective husbands: were they the ‘most honest & industrious’ planters, like they had been promised, & could they afford the costs associated with setting up their own households, to support a family? What may seem like a cold transaction today, was a kind of security for the women, who were cut off from the support networks they left behind in England.

"The Virginia Company prescribed that no woman was to be pressured; instead she would have her choice of husband, whichever man she ‘fondly bestow[ed] her self’. The company plainly stated, ‘the liberty of marriage we dare not infringe’. If the liberty of English women was not violated, it is worth remembering that this was not the case for all women who arrived at Jamestown in 1619. Angelo, a Christian woman who originated from Angola, was sold to Captain William Pierce. She was among 17 African women who arrived in the colony in 1619, along with 15 enslaved African men, the first in English America. We know very little about their lives, but these are the real women who faced violence & were forced onto ships before disembarking at Jamestown. Their fates were tied up with those of the English women who married tobacco planters, who would reap the rewards of their unfree labor."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Men & Women Growing Tobacco in 17C Maryland (1619)

Tobacco Cultivation

More than a century before Maryland's founding, the Spanish cultivated the Mayans' drug plant, tobacco, in the West Indies. It was grown in France by the mid-1550s, & in China, Japan, & South Africa before the settlement of Virginia. Farmers in England grew tobacco legally until 1619 (& illegally afterward), when a law aimed at generating import duties gave the Virginia Company a virtual monopoly of the market. By 1634, Virginia had been a royal colony for a decade, & nothing prohibited Maryland farmers from entering the profitable tobacco trade from their start.
A teaspoon of tobacco seeds was enough to plant six acres. The seeds were started in a seedbed, then the seedlings transplanted to mounds spaced like those for corn over a roughly cleared field. Both corn & tobacco required similar handling-hoeing down weeds, picking off bugs, chopping the stalk at harvest time & allowing the tobacco leaves or corn kernels to dry. The next year, the planter simply chose another spot, a few feet away, & repeated the routine. After a few seasons, however, planters would have noticed their plants were less robust than at first, & generally, that the plants produced less per field. This decline led farmers to think that the crop had depleted the soil of nutrients, leading to its "exhaustion."
 Cartouche Shipping Hogsheads of Tobacco from Frye-Jefferson map of Virginia, 1755. Farmers responded by letting "old fields" "rest" for up to twenty years. In order to keep producing tobacco, growers moved to new fields, thus using up more & more land & deserting exhausted fields. Over decades, this practice made for a forlorn-looking landscape & tagged tobacco growers with the reputation of being slovenly & unskilled farmers at best, & rapacious at worst. "Soil exhaustion," actually caused by microbes, also figured in arguments over slavery & for agricultural reform.
For most of the 17th century, tobacco held complete sway over Maryland agriculture. When prices were high, little else mattered; when prices fell, even ruinously, growers simply awaited a reversal of fortune. Rather than building fences, improving meadows, & storing up winter feed, as good livestockmen knew to do, tobacco planters and their servants, both men and women, simply let the animals run in the woods to fend for themselves, or, at most, grew an orchard for their scrounging. Because nothing else earned as much money per acre as tobacco, the "sotweed" remained the mainstay of Maryland agriculture for better & worse. The first black slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619, & in 1660, only 3% of the colonists were black. Until the early-mid 1700’s, white convicts & voluntarily indentured white people, male and female, formed a greater part of the tobacco workforce.  And until something else offered a similar opportunity for wealth, or even a living, tobacco dominated Maryland's agricultural practices & economy.

The Problem with Tobacco:  What did we know & when did we know it?

As early as the 1600’s a number of physicians began to note that heavy smoking of tobacco in pipes appeared to be associated with an increased risk of oral cancers. The German surgeon Samuel Thomas von Smmerring (1755-1830) voiced concern over the apparent link between lip cancer & pipe smoking in 1795. Others had made similar observations including the apparent correlation between the location of cancerous tumors of the lip & mouth & the side of the mouth that smokers were accustomed to holding their pipe.

English surgeon Sir Percivall Pott (1714–1788) began to investigate cancer in the mid 1700’s & discovered that chimney sweeps had an increased rate of scrotal cancer. His investigation into other cancers in chimney sweeps & other professions indicated that cancer could have environmental triggers. Pott concluded that soot & smoke were directly linked to an increase in cancer risk & as such, he became concerned over the health effects of smoking tobacco. Although Pott was the first to formally investigate the association of soot & smoke with cancer, the fact that chimney sweeps appeared to be at higher risk was noted as early as 1602.

In 1761, English physician John Hill (c 1716-1775), who was often called a quack doctor & quarreled with the Royal Society  made the first formal investigation into tobacco usage & cancer. He noted the increased incidence of oral & nasal cancer in both tobacco smokers & users of snuff. In his report Cautions Against the Immoderate Use of Snuff he stated “snuff is able to produce swellings & excrescences in the nose, “and he believed these to be cancerous."  

Dr. G. Terry Sharrer 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

1677 Revenge of Marblehead Women on Indians

Depiction of Metacomet, also known as King Philip of Wampanoag, by an Unknown artist of the British School

The Wampanoag Indians of New England began Metacom’s War (also known as King Philip’s War) in 1675, in an attempt to expel the English from the region. Metacom, leader of the Wampanoag, fashioned an alliance of many different groups, but Christian Indians & Iroquois who allied with the English proved to be a significant factor in the eventual colonial victory. In August 1676, colonial troops captured & killed Metacom, ending hostilities in southern New England. However, other Indians continued their attacks for another 2 years along the northern New England coast. In particular, they targeted fishing ketches operated out of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Mariner Robert Roules narrated one such incident in July 1677 when his boat was captured by Indians, then recaptured by the settlers. When the settlers sailed Roules’ boat into Marblehead harbor, the women of Marblehead took bloody revenge upon the Indian captives.

Robert Roule, 1677 Deposition
I Robert Roules of Marblehead, mariner, aged thirty years or thereabouts, belonging to the catch William and Sarah of Salem, do upon oath say, that Joseph Bovey went out master of the said ketch upon a fishing voyage to the eastern coast.

After we had caught, and being about half laden with fish, and riding at an anchor at port La Tour, near cape Sable, and on the easterly side thereof, on the 7th of this instant, July, it being saturday, purposing here to take in wood and water, and in two days to be again upon our fishing design, but on the Lords day) being the 8th instant, in line dawaning of the day, there came suddenly on board of us a canoe of Indians, in number nine or ten, as near as could judge, with their arms ready fixed, loaded and cocked.

I first discovered them, and dropped down upon deck to save myself from their shot. They immediately fired upon us, and their shot chiefly struck against the windlass, and so did not hurt us. I then called to them, and said What for you kill Englishmen? They answered me, If Englishmen shoot we kill—if not shoot, we no kill. They then ordered us to come up.

By this time they had boarded us, and we were obliged to surrender without conditions. They then proceeded to bind me, and the other four men with me, the master, Capt. Bovey being one. They stripped us, one after the other of all our clothes, only leaving tie a greasy shirt and waistcoat, and drawers we used to fish in, our shoes and stockings being in the cabin.

They then gave us liberty to sit upon deck, bound as we were all, till about two of the clock in the afternoon. After this they unbound us, and commanded us to sail our vessel towards Penobscot, which we endeavored to do; but the wind shortening we were forced to come to an anchor again, and lay there till the second day of our capture.

In the meantime, they told us they intended to kill all of us, and all the Englishmen, being in number twenty six, including boys, except three. They had taken four other vessels besides ours. On the second day they commanded us and the other ketches to sail together for Penobscot.

The Indians had dispersed themselves into all the ketches; there being seventy or eighty of them. As we sailed onward we espied a bark and gave her chase and soon took her, and found it Mr. Watts vessel.

The Indians compelled us to haile him, and he answered us he was from Boston, bound on a fishing voyage. To prevent the murder of him and his men, as soon as we came up with him we told him he was taken, but he thinking it only a joke, laughed at us.

The Indians now rose up and told Capt Watts if he did not strike they were all dead men. All but four of the Indians then went on board him, divided and mixed the Englishmen in the different vessels with themselves; sending master Bovey with one man more of our company, onboard another ketch, and left me as master of the ketch, (they wholly disliking the said Bovey) with an old man, whom I desired. And now being on board with Capt. Watts, the Indians having sent two of their number away, took two of Capt. Watts' men in their place, whereof one was William Buswell.

We had not been thus situated but a short time, when another sail was discovered, and we were commanded to give chase. We did so till it began to grow disky [dusky], and then the Indian Sagamore of our vessel ordered me, who being at the helm, to bear up; but I refused.

Thereupon the Sagamore grew angry, and was about to fall upon me, which William Buswell observing, seized him by the throat, and a close scuffle ensued. Buswell however soon tripped up his heels, fell upon him, and kept him down with his knee upon his breast.

Meantime, another of my companions in captivity, named Richard Dowries, closing with a second Indian, succeeded in getting him down also; and in attempting to throw him overboard, his legs became entangled, which Buswell perceiving, left his man, and seizing upon him too, they quickly threw him into the sea.

While this was going on the other Englishmen were enabled to confine the other Sagamore in the cook room, by shutting down the scuttle upon him. All hands then grasped another Indian and threw him overboard. It was a desperate attempt, but the victory was now certain. The two remaining Indians were Sagamores, one was an old man the other was a young man. One was fast in the cook room, and the other was glad to surrender to save his life.

We next proceeded to bind the two Indians, and then made all the sail we could to the southward, and on the fifteenth day [Sunday], a little before sun-down, we came to an anchor in the harbor of Marblehead.

News had reached this place that we were all killed and many people flocked to the water side to learn who we were and what other news they could, concerning the many vessels that had been taken by the Indians. They hailed us, and then some came on board; and when they saw the Indians, they demanded why we kept them alive and why we had not killed them.

We answered them, that we had lost everything, even to our clothes, and we thought if we brought them in alive, we might get somewhat by them towards our losses, But this did not satisfy the people, who were angry at the sight of the Indians, and now began to grow clamorous. We told them we should take them on shore and deliver them into the hands of the constable of the town, that they might be answerable to the court at Boston; and so we carried them on shore with their hands bound behind them,

Being on shore, the whole town flocked about them, beginning at first to insult them, and soon after, the women surrounded them, drove us by force from them, (we escaping at no little peril,) and laid violent hands upon the captives, some stoning us in the meantime, because we would protect them, others seizing them by the hair, got full possession of them, nor was there any way left by which we could rescue them. Then with stones, billets of wood, and what else they might, they made an end of these Indians.

We were kept at such distance that we could not see them till they were dead, and then we found them with their heads off and gone, and their flesh in a manner pulled from their bones. And such was the tumultation these women made, that for my life I could not tell who these women were, or the names of any of them.

They cried out and said, if the Indians had been carried to Boston, that would have been the end of it, and they would have been set at liberty; but said they, if there had been forty of the best Indians in the country here, they would have killed them all, though they should be hanged for ii. They suffered neither constable nor mandrake, nor any other person to come near them, until they had finished their bloody purpose.

Taken upon oath this Robert Roules. 7th of July, 1677. Edward Rowson, Sec.
Robert Roule, Deposition, MS 252, Edward E. Ayer Collection, The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Emergence of 17C Colonial Governments (1620)

Detail Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899

In the early phases of colonial development, a striking feature was the lack of controlling influence by the English government. All colonies except Georgia emerged as companies of shareholders, or as feudal proprietorships stemming from charters granted by the Crown. The fact that the king had transferred his immediate sovereignty over the New World settlements to stock companies and proprietors did not, of course, mean that the colonists in America were necessarily free of outside control. Under the terms of the Virginia Company charter, for example, full governmental authority was vested in the company itself. Nevertheless, the crown expected that the company would be resident in England. Inhabitants of Virginia, then, would have no more voice in their government than if the king himself had retained absolute rule.

Still, the colonies considered themselves chiefly as commonwealths or states, much like England itself, having only a loose association with the authorities in London. In one way or another, exclusive rule from the outside withered away. The colonists -- inheritors of the long English tradition of the struggle for political liberty -- incorporated concepts of freedom into Virginia's first charter. It provided that English colonists were to exercise all liberties, franchises, and immunities "as if they had been abiding and born within this our Realm of England." They were, then, to enjoy the benefits of the Magna Carta -- the charter of English political and civil liberties reluctantly granted by King John in 1215 -- and the common law -- the English system of law based on legal precedents or tradition, not statutory law. In 1618 the Virginia Company issued instructions to its appointed governor providing that free inhabitants of the plantations should elect representatives to join with the governor and an appointive council in passing ordinances for the welfare of the colony.

These measures proved to be some of the most far-reaching in the entire colonial period. From then on, it was generally accepted that the colonists had a right to participate in their own government. In most instances, the king, in making future grants, provided in the charter that the free men of the colony should have a voice in legislation affecting them. Thus, charters awarded to the Calverts in Maryland, William Penn in Pennsylvania, the proprietors in North and South Carolina, and the proprietors in New Jersey specified that legislation should be enacted with "the consent of the freemen."

In New England, for many years, there was even more complete self-government than in the other colonies. Aboard the Mayflower, the Pilgrims adopted an instrument for government called the "Mayflower Compact," to "combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for our better ordering and preservation ... and by virtue hereof [to] enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices ... as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony. ..."

Although there was no legal basis for the Pilgrims to establish a system of self-government, the action was not contested, and, under the compact, the Plymouth settlers were able for many years to conduct their own affairs without outside interference.

A similar situation developed in the Massachusetts Bay Company, which had been given the right to govern itself. Thus, full authority rested in the hands of persons residing in the colony. At first, the dozen or so original members of the company who had come to America attempted to rule autocratically. But the other colonists soon demanded a voice in public affairs and indicated that refusal would lead to a mass migration.

The company members yielded, and control of the government passed to elected representatives. Subsequently, other New England colonies -- such as Connecticut and Rhode Island -- also succeeded in becoming self-governing simply by asserting that they were beyond any governmental authority, and then setting up their own political system modeled after that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

In only two cases was the self-government provision omitted. These were New York, which was granted to Charles II's brother, the Duke of York (later to become King James II), and Georgia, which was granted to a group of "trustees." In both instances the provisions for governance were short-lived, for the colonists demanded legislative representation so insistently that the authorities soon yielded.

In the mid-17th century, the English were too distracted by their Civil War (1642-1649) and Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Commonwealth to pursue an effective colonial policy. After the restoration of Charles II and the Stuart dynasty in 1660, England had more opportunity to attend to colonial administration. Even then, however, it was inefficient and lacked a coherent plan. The colonies were left largely to their own devices.

The remoteness afforded by a vast ocean also made control of the colonies difficult. Added to this was the character of life itself in early America. From countries limited in space and dotted with populous towns, the settlers had come to a land of seemingly unending reach. On such a continent, natural conditions promoted a tough individualism, as people became used to making their own decisions. Government penetrated the backcountry only slowly, and conditions of anarchy often prevailed on the frontier.

Yet the assumption of self-government in the colonies did not go entirely unchallenged. In the 1670s, the Lords of Trade and Plantations, a royal committee established to enforce the mercantile system in the colonies, moved to annul the Massachusetts Bay charter because the colony was resisting the government's economic policy. James II in 1685 approved a proposal to create a Dominion of New England and place colonies south through New Jersey under its jurisdiction, thereby tightening the Crown's control over the whole region. A royal governor, Sir Edmund Andros, levied taxes by executive order, implemented a number of other harsh measures, and jailed those who resisted.

When news of the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689), which deposed James II in England, reached Boston, the population rebelled and imprisoned Andros. Under a new charter, Massachusetts and Plymouth were united for the first time in 1691 as the royal colony of Massachusetts Bay. The other New England colonies quickly reinstalled their previous governments.

The English Bill of Rights and the Toleration Act of 1689 affirmed freedom of worship for Christians in the colonies as well as in England and enforced limits on the Crown. Equally important, John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690), the Glorious Revolution's major theoretical justification, set forth a theory of government based not on divine right but on contract. It contended that the people, endowed with natural rights of life, liberty, and property, had the right to rebel when governments violated their rights.

For more, see Outline of U.S. History, a publication of the U.S. Department of State from the website of the United States Information Agency, where it was published in November 2005.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

1619 Laws by the 1st Assembly of Virginia including rules for Natives, Maids & Female Servants

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.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

1616-1650s New England area Native Americans dying en masse

Writing in 1634 from Boston, less than 4 years after the city had been founded, John Winthrop (1588-1649), the 1st governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, & the chief figure among the Puritan founders of New England, described a population of 4,000 settlers. The American Indian population did not fare as well. Epidemic diseases introduced by European fishermen & fur traders reduced the population of New England’s coastal tribes by about 90 percent by the early 1620s. Their numbers continued to dwindle after Winthrop’s colony arrived in 1630, a development he took as a blessing: “For the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” This sentence—the last in this letter mostly about the weather & crops—reveals a belief in divine providence that would shape relations with Native peoples.
Abenakis couple. The Abenaki (Abnaki, Alnôbak) are a Native American tribe & First Nation. They are one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America. The Abenaki lived in Quebec & the Maritimes of Canada & in the New England region of the United States. Along the Maine coast, where natives had sustained contact with French traders, some of the earliest reports of disease outbreak were made. In 1616, Father Pierre Baird, a French Jesuit missionary, noted: “[the Abenaki] are astonished & often complain that since the French mingle & carry on trade with them they are dying fast, & the population is thinning out.” In his 1658 A Briefe Narration of the Originall Undertakings of the Advancement of Plantations into the Parts of America, Gorges Ferdinando recorded that same year Captain Richard Vines, an English explorer, wintered on the Maine coast & noted that the local natives “were sore afflicted with the Plague, for that the Country was in a manner left void of inhabitants.”

Soon the mysterious disease spread throughout the coastal region – following the trade routes of the Abenaki, who traded furs for corn & other provisions from the tribes to the south – & turned the loose confederation of Algonquian villages that dotted the area into an apocalyptic wasteland. Thomas Morton's 1637 New English Canaan offerd a vivid account of the landscape left behind: “For in a place where many inhabited, there hath been but one left a live, to tell what became of the rest, the living being (as it seems) not able to bury the dead, they were left for the Crowes, Kites & vermin to prey upon. And the bones & skulls upon the severall places of their habitations, made such a spectacle after my coming into those partes … it seemed to mee a new found Golgotha.”

Plymouth’s colonial governor, William Bradford, recorded in his 1620-1647 History of Plymouth Plantation, “the good soyle, and the people not many, being dead and abundantly wasted in the late great mortalitie which fell in all these parts about three years before the coming of the English, wherin thousands of em dyed; … ther sculs and bones were found in many places lying still above the ground, where their houses and dwellings had been; a very sad spectackle to behould."

From the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd Series, vol. 8 (Boston, 1892-1894). The writer is unidentified.March 15, 1631To my loving father William Pond, at Etherston in Suffolk give this...My writing unto you is to let you understand what a country this New England is where we live. Here are but few [Indians], a great part of them died this winter, it was thought it was of the plague. They are a crafty people & they will...cheat, & they are a subtle people, & whereas we did expect great store of beaver here is little or none to be had. They are proper men...many of them go naked with a skin about their loins, but now sum of them get Englishmen's apparel...Watertown, New England, Unsigned

Saturday, February 16, 2019

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 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Puritan Poet Anne Bradstreet c.1612-1672

Anne Bradstreet was born in England, in 1612. As the daughter of Thomas Dudley, a steward of the estate of the Earl of Lincoln, & Dorothy Yorke, a well-educated woman learning history, several languages, and literature. At the age of 16 she married Simon Bradstreet,who assisted her father with the management of the Earl's estate in Sempringham.  Both Anne's father & husband would serve as governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Although Anne Dudley Bradstreet did not attend school, she received an excellent education from her father, who was widely read— Cotton Mather described Thomas Dudley as a "devourer of books"—and from her extensive reading in the well-stocked library of the estate of the Earl of Lincoln, where she lived while her father was steward from 1619 to 1630. There the young Anne Dudley read Vergil, Plutarch, Livy, Pliny, Suetonius, Homer, Hesiod, Ovid, Seneca, and Thucydides as well as Spenser, Sidney, Milton, Raleigh, Hobbes, Joshua Sylvester's 1605 translation of Guillaume du Bartas's Divine Weeks and Workes, and the Geneva version of the Bible. In general, she benefited from the Elizabethan tradition that valued female education.  

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee maniford I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so presever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Anne Bradstreet's works tend to be directed to members of her family and are generally intimate.Here in Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband", the poem's intended audience is her husband, Simon Bradstreet. The focal point of this poem is the love that she has for her husband. "I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold". To Bradstreet, her husband's love is worth more than some of the best treasures that this earth has to offer. She also makes it a point to show to her husband that nothing can fill the love that she has for her husband. The lines, "My love is such that rivers cannot quench," the rivers represent death, which she says the fire of her love is invulnerable to. "Then when we live no more, we may live ever."

Anne, her husband, and her parents immigrated to America aboard the Arbella as part of the Winthrop Fleet of Puritan emigrants in 1630. Despite poor health including tuberculosis & eventual joint paralysis, she had 8 children and achieved a comfortable social standing in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Simon Bradstreet was active in colonial politics, and was selected to serve as colonial secretary, a post he held until 1644, which required frequent traveling to the various outposts of the colony.  During these years, often alone with her eight children, Anne took consolation in her writing, and it was during this time that she wrote a collection of poems published in London in 1650, probably without her knowledge, as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America…by a Gentlewoman in these Parts. This established Anne Bradstreet as the first female poet in the New World, and the first published poet in the English colonies of North America. 

She was the first notable American poet, and the first woman to be published in colonial America. Her work was influential to Puritans in her time and is read today for its religious insights.

In 1666, fire burned down the Bradstreet home which contained 800 of Anne's books. Shortly afterward she lost a son and a daughter. But her will remained strong, and she found peace in the firm belief that her children were in heaven.

Believing that all gifts come from God, Ann wrote of the fire,
"And when I could no longer look,
I blest his grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was his own; it was not mine.
Far be it that I should repine."

Bradstreet was not responsible for her writing becoming public. Bradstreet's brother-in-law, John Woodbridge, sent her work off to be published. Bradstreet was a righteous woman and her poetry was not meant to bring attention to herself. Though Bradstreet's works are renowned in today's world, it still was a great risk to have had her work published during the time in which she lived.

Being a published author would have not been considered as a typical role of the Puritan woman. Because writing was not considered to be an acceptable role for women at the time, Bradstreet was met with criticism. One of the most prominent figures of her time, John Winthrop, criticized Ann Hopkins, wife of prominent Connecticut colony governor Edward Hopkins. He mentioned in his journal that Hopkins should have kept to being a housewife and left writing and reading for men, "whose minds are stronger." Despite heavy criticism of women during her time, Bradstreet continued to write which led to the belief that she was interested in rebelling against societal norms of the time. 

A prominent minister of the time, Thomas Parker, was also against the idea of women writing and sent a letter to his own sister saying that publishing a book was outside of the realm of what women were supposed to do. These negative views were likely augmented by the fact that Puritan ideologies stated that women were vastly inferior to men.

 Bradstreet was acutely aware that Puritan society trivialized the accomplishments of women. The popular belief was that women should be doing other things like sewing, rather than writing poetry. "I am obnoxious to each carping tongue Who says my hand a needle better fits, A poet's pen all scorn I should thus wrong. For such despite they cast on female wits: If what I do prove well, it won't advance, They'll say it's stol'n, or else it was by chance."

 Anne Bradstreet died on September 16, 1672, in Andover, Massachusetts, at the age of 60.

Cook, Faith, Anne Bradstreet Pilgrim and Poet, EP Books, Darlington 2010
Engberg, Kathrynn Seidler, The Right to Write: The Literary Politics of Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatley. University Press of America, Washington D.C., 2009.
Gordon, Charlotte, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America's First Poet, Little, Brown, New York 2005
Nichol, Heidi, Anne Bradstreet, A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Poet, P&R Publishing, New Jersey 2006