Slide 1

Report
National Humanities Center
Native American-European Rivalries in North America:
1690-1763
a live, online professional development seminar
Focus Questions
By 1690 what factors and issues dominated EuropeanNative American relationships throughout North America?
How had these relationships changed by the end of the
British imperial wars in 1763?
How did these changes influence British America on the
eve of the Revolution?
How did these changes influence Native American culture
and politics?
Alan Taylor
National Humanities Center Fellow, 1993-94
Professor of History, University of California-Davis
The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern
Borderland of the American Revolution, 2006
Writing Early American History, 2005
American Colonies, 2001
William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the
Frontier of the Early American Republic, 1995
Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: the Revolutionary
Settlement on the Maine Frontier 1760-1820,1990
There are great plenty of Oysters all along by the seaside, as
far as I Rode in the Colony, and those very good. And they
Generally lived very well and comfortably in their families. But
too Indulgent (especially the farmers) to their slaves: suffering
[allowing] too great familiarity from them, permitting them to sit
at Table and eat with them (as they say to save time) and into
the dish goes the black hoof as freely as the white hand.
Remarks on Connecticut, Sarah Kemble Knight (1704-05)
There are everywhere in the Towns as I passed a Number
of Indians, the Natives of the Country, and are the most
savage of all the savages of that kind that I had ever Seen:
little or no care taken (as I heard upon enquiry) to make
them otherwise. They have in some places Lands of their
own, and Govern’d by Laws of their own making; they marry
many wives and at pleasure put them away, and on the
least dislike or fickle humor, on either side, saying stand
away to one another is a sufficient Divorce. And indeed
those uncomely Stand aways are too much in Vogue among
the English in this (Indulgent Colony) as their Records
plentifully prove, and that on very trivial matters, of which
some have been told me, but are not proper to be Related
by a Female pen, though some of that foolish sex have had
too large a share in the story.
Remarks on Connecticut, Sarah Kemble Knight (1704-05)
Their eternal interests are their least concern & as if
salvation were not a matter of moment when they have
opportunities of serving God they care not for making use
thereof, or if they go to church ’tis but too often out of
curiosity & to find out faults in him that preacheth rather
than to hear their own or what is yet worse to slight &
deride where they should be Serious.
New York Considered and Improved, Rev. John Miller 1695
The Province of New York, being peopled by several nations, there are
manifold & different opinions of religion among them, as to which, though
there are but very few of any sect who are either real or intelligent, yet
several of the partisans of Each sort have, every one, Such a desire of
being uppermost & increasing the number of their own party that they not
only thereby make themselves unhappy by destroying true piety &
setting up instead thereof a fond heat & blind Zeal for they know not
what but also industriously obstruct the settlement of the establish’d
Religion of the nation which only can make them happy & have hitherto
either by their craft & cunning or their money prospered in their designs
& to do thus they have but too much pretence from the Scandalous lives
of some Ministers . . .
New York Considered and Improved, Rev. John Miller, 1695
Coming to speak of Pennsylvania again, that colony possesses great
liberties above all other English colonies, inasmuch as all religious sects
are tolerated there. We find there Lutherans, Reformed, Catholics,
Quakers, Mennonists or Anabaptists, Herrnhuters or Moravian Brethren,
Pietists, Seventh Day Baptists, Dunkers, Presbyterians, Newborn,
Freemasons, Separatists, Freethinkers, Jews, Mohammedans, Pagans,
Negroes and Indians. The Evangelicals and Reformed, however, are in
the majority. But there are many hundred unbaptized souls there that do
not even wish to be baptized. Many pray neither in the morning nor in the
evening, neither before nor after meals. No devotional book, not to speak
of a Bible, will be found with such people. In one house and one family, 4,
5, and even 6 sects, may be found.
Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the
Year 1754, Gottlieb Mittelberger, 1756
The preachers throughout Pennsylvania have no power to punish
anyone, or to compel anyone to go to church; nor has anyone a right to
dictate to the other, because they are not supported by any Consis-torio.
Most preachers are hired by the year like the cowherds in Germany; and
if one does not preach to their liking, he must expect to be served with a
notice that his services will no longer be required. It is, therefore, very
difficult to be a conscientious preacher, especially as they have to hear
and suffer much from so many hostile and often wicked sects. The most
exemplary preachers are often reviled, insulted and scoffed at like the
Jews, by the young and old, especially in the country. I would, therefore,
rather perform the meanest herdsman’s duties in Germany than be a
preacher in Pennsylvania. Such unheard-of rudeness and wickedness
spring from the excessive liberties of the land, and from the blind zeal of
the many sects. To many a one’s soul and body, liberty in Pennsylvania
is more hurtful than useful. There is a saying in that country:
Pennsylvania is the heaven of the farmers, the paradise of the
mechanics, and the hell of the officials and preachers.
Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the
Year 1754, Gottlieb Mittelberger, 1756
When the savages come to the city of Philadelphia and see the
handsome and magnificent buildings there, they wonder and
laugh at the Europeans for expending so much toil and cost on
houses. They say that it is quite unnecessary, as one can live
without such houses. Still more they wonder at the garments of
the Europeans and their costly finery; they will even spit out
when they see it.
Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to
Germany in the Year 1754, Gottlieb Mittelberger, 1756
The Negroes are very numerous, some Gentlemen
having Hundreds of them of all Sorts, to whom they
bring great Profit; for the Sake of which they are
obliged to keep them well and not overwork, starve, or
famish them, besides other Inducements to favour
them, which is done in a great Degree to such
especially that are laborious, careful, and honest;
though indeed some Masters, careless of their own
Interest or Reputation, are too cruel and negligent.
Notes on the Present State of Virginia, Rev. Hugh Jones, 1724
Their Work (or Chimerical hard Slavery) is not very laborious,
their greatest Hardship consisting in that they and their
Posterity are not at their own Liberty or Disposal, but are the
Property of their Owners; and when they are free, they know
not how to provide so well for themselves generally; neither
did they live so plentifully nor (many of them) so easily in their
own Country, where they are made Slaves to one another, or
taken Captive by their Enemies.
Notes on the Present State of Virginia, Rev. Hugh Jones, 1724
The common Planters, leading easy Lives, don’t much
admire Labour or any manly Exercise except Horse-Racing,
nor Diversion except Cock-Fighting, in which some greatly
delight. This easy Way of Living, and the Heat of the
Summer, makes some very lazy, who are then said to be
Climate-struck.
Notes on the Present State of Virginia, Rev. Hugh Jones, 1724
Focus Questions
By 1690 what factors and issues dominated EuropeanNative American relationships throughout North America?
How had these relationships changed by the end of the
British imperial wars in 1763?
How did these changes influence British America on the
eve of the Revolution?
How did these changes influence Native American culture
and politics?
Final slide.
Thank you.

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