The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America--The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675

The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America--The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675

Bernard Bailyn

Language: English

Pages: 640

ISBN: 0375703462

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

Bernard Bailyn gives us a compelling, fresh account of the first great transit of people from Britain, Europe, and Africa to British North America, their involvements with each other, and their struggles with the indigenous peoples of the eastern seaboard.

The immigrants were a mixed multitude. They came from England, the Netherlands, the German and Italian states, France, Africa, Sweden, and Finland, and they moved to the western hemisphere for different reasons, from different social backgrounds and cultures. They represented a spectrum of religious attachments. In the early years, their stories are not mainly of triumph but of confusion, failure, violence, and the loss of civility as they sought to normalize situations and recapture lost worlds. It was a thoroughly brutal encounter—not only between the Europeans and native peoples and between Europeans and Africans, but among Europeans themselves, as they sought to control and prosper in the new configurations of life that were emerging around them.

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wilderness, devising a new, remarkably innovative code of law, serving in a magistracy of his own creation, and leading troops against the Dutch—all this would absorb his energies. But when the political-ecclesiastical world turned in England, his ambition would overcome him and he would return, to serve in Ireland on Cromwell’s commission on forfeited estates.69 There were more peaceable, less restless leaders of the West Country contingent—notably Henry Wolcott and Edward Rossiter. But the

branches that blocked the entrances, and then, convinced that they must “burn them,” set the brush huts and timbered walls afire and stationed men at the exits to kill anyone who attempted to escape. In what Mason called the “dreadful Terror” that followed, those who ran back, away from the English, went straight “into the very Flames, where many of them perished,” while those who fled through the exits—forty, Mason estimated—“perished by the Sword.” Thus God’s judgment: “in little more than one

released, and he thereby, in the Indians’ eyes, symbolically entered a new life, adopted as a subordinate werowance, and by extension his people were symbolically enclosed within the constraints of Powhatan’s regime. Never, of course, experiencing these events as acts of subordination, and declining the benefits offered, Smith recorded the story of his captivity at first briefly and with little drama (he “procured his owne liberty”), then elaborated it in retelling, finally embellished it as an

desecration of bodies, dismemberment Treatise on Commerce (Risingh) True Relation (Smith) Tsenacommacah, Tucker, Capt. Daniel van Twiller, Wouter, 8.1, 8.2 Udall, John Underhill, Capt. John, 8.1, 9.1, 13.1, 13.2, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 and ecstasy at slaughter of Indians and 1653 Vindication, 9.1, 15.1 Uppland, Sweden, 10.1, 10.2 Usselinx, Willem Utie, John, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 utopias, in America, 10.1ff., 10.2, 11.1, 12.1, 13.1ff., see also Williams, Rev. Roger Utrecht, the

turned away. Nearby the Indians set fire to a tobacco shed and, as the men ran out to quench it, “shot them full of arrowes, then beat out their braines.” Thomas Hamor escaped because he had delayed going to the fire in order to finish writing a letter. When he finally went out he was shot in the back, raced back to the house, barricaded himself, and then, when the house was set on fire, fled with eighteen women and children under cover of gunfire to the Baldwin place. His brother Ralph, who had

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