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Essays on Northeastern North America, 17th & 18th Centuries

Essays on Northeastern North America, 17th & 18th Centuries

with contributions by Emerson W. Baker
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Essays on Northeastern North America, 17th & 18th Centuries
    Book Description:

    In examining the history of northeastern North America in the seventeenth and eighteen centuries, it is important to take into account diverse influences and experiences. Not only was the relationship between native inhabitants and colonial settlers a defining characteristic of Acadia/Nova Scotia and New England in this era, but it was also a relationship shaped by wider continental and oceanic connections.

    The essays in this volume deal with topics such as colonial habitation, imperial exchange, and aboriginal engagement, all of which were pervasive phenomena of the time. John G. Reid argues that these were complicated processes that interacted freely with one another, shaping the human experience at different times and places. Northeastern North America was an arena of distinctive complexities in the early modern period, and this collection uses it as an example of a manageable and logical basis for historical study. Reid also explores the significance of anniversary observances and commemorations that have served as vehicles of reflection on the lasting implications of historical developments in the early modern period. These and other insights amount to a fresh perspective on the region and offer a deeper understanding of North American history.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8803-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Maps
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    This book has two distinct origins. In part, it is a record of work compiled since I began serious study of northeastern North America in 1970. However, it also responds to the 400th anniversaries that fell in 2004 and 2005. The summer of 1604 saw a group of colonists established on St Croix Island in the name of the French colony of Acadia, some distance upriver on the river of the same name that today divides New Brunswick from Maine. It was a disastrous venture, with all but ten of the participants suffering from scurvy and only just over half...


    • 2 Sir William Alexander and North American Colonization
      (pp. 23-39)

      On 12 February 1640, Sir William Alexander, first Earl of Stirling, died in London, at the approximate age of sixty-three years.¹ His death was probably the only way in which Alexander could have obtained release from the host of difficulties that plagued the last years of his personal and public life. As Charles I’s principal secretary of state for Scotland, he had been deeply involved in that monarch’s efforts to impose an unfettered episcopacy on the Church of Scotland. In 1639 he had travelled north with the king during the first campaign of the so-called Bishops’ War, when Charles had...

    • 3 Environment and Colonization Styles in Early Acadia and Maine
      (pp. 40-52)

      The early colonial histories of Acadia and Maine present striking similarities. Both colonies came under the domination of external forces early in the second half of the seventeenth century. In the case of Acadia, conquest by English forces in 1654 was followed by the domination of Massachusetts mercantile interests during the next sixteen years. In the case of Maine, the colony was directly annexed by Massachusetts between 1652 and 1658, an arrangement that soon became politically controversial, but was subsequently perpetuated in the Massachusetts charter of 1691. In both cases, the domination of external forces was accepted, even welcomed, by...

    • 4 The ‘Lost Colony’ of New Scotland and Its Successors, to 1670
      (pp. 53-68)

      In 1629, two settlements were established in the northeastern North American colony of New Scotland. The first, on Cape Breton Island, survived only briefly before it was attacked and razed by a French warship. The second, at Port Royal, continued until late 1632, when the colonists were evacuated under the terms of the Treaty of St-Germainen-Laye. No Scottish colonists are known to have remained under the French regime that was now known as Acadia. Only the name of New Scotland (or, in Latin,Nova Scotia) persisted, to be revived in midcentury and again following the British conquest of Acadia in...


    • 5 ‘The best Conditioned Gentleman in the World’? Verbal and Physical Abuse in the Behaviour of Sir William Phips
      (pp. 71-86)

      Sir William Phips, the first royal governor of Massachusetts, found a sympathetic biographer in Cotton Mather. Of the many laudable qualities Mather attributed to his subject, there was one that stood out: ‘for which I must freely say,I never saw Three Men in this World that Equall’d him; this was his wonderfullyForgiving Spirit.’ Mather admitted that Phips might respond angrily to a serious affront, and that over the course of his life there had been instances when he had even struck out physically when provoked. Yet, Mather assured his readers, ‘in fine, our SirWilliamwas a Person...

    • 6 The Conquest of ‘Nova Scotia’: Cartographic Imperialism and the Echoes of a Scottish Past
      (pp. 87-102)

      The fifth of October 1710 (O.S.) witnessed an unusual military spectacle in the French colonial settlement of Port Royal, administrative centre of the colony of Acadia. The ill-fed and ill-clad soldiers who had made up the small Port Royal garrison marched out of their fort with colours flying and drums beating. Their governor, Daniel d’Auger de Subercase, handed over the keys of the fort to Samuel Vetch – designated to command it for the British – in the presence of Francis Nicholson, commander in chief of the British and New England expedition that had laid siege to Port Royal until its surrender...

    • 7 Imperialism, Diplomacies, and the Conquest of Port Royal, 1710
      (pp. 103-126)

      In July 1720 Governor Richard Philipps of Nova Scotia reported to London that British authority was ‘in a manner dispised and ridiculed’ by both Acadian and native inhabitants. Two months later Philipps was even more blunt: ‘This has been hitherto no more than a mock Government. Its Authority haveing never yet extended beyond cannon reach of this ffort.’¹ To prove the point, in the interim, Mi’kmaq raiders had seized fish and other goods from New England vessels at Canso, and a New England merchant had been similarly used in the Minas basin. Referring to both incidents, Antoine and Pierre Couaret,...


    • 8 Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal
      (pp. 129-152)

      On 20 April 1700 the governor of New England and New York, the Earl of Bellomont, informed the English Board of Trade that, ‘if ... there should be a generall defection of the Indians, the English in a moneth’s time would be forced on all the Continent of America to take refuge in their Towns, where I am most certain they could not subsist two moneths, for the Indians would not leave ’em any sort of cattle or corne.’ While this warning was based on concurrent apprehensions of a Houdenasaunee-Wabanaki alliance – a feared union that would never in fact occur...

    • 9 The Sakamow’s Discourtesy and the Governor’s Anger: Negotiated Imperialism and the Arrowsic Conference, 1717
      (pp. 153-170)

      On the morning of 9 August 1717, the sixth-rate naval vesselSquirrelmade its way cautiously up the Kennebec River, in the territory known to the British as northern New England. The frigate carried the governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Samuel Shute, and a retinue including councillors from both colonies, to a meeting with Wabanaki leaders at Georgetown on the island of Arrowsic. Although a sloop carrying others of the governor’s party had already arrived safely, theSquirrel’s captain, Thomas Smart, had not been anxious to risk his ship by venturing this far up the Kennebec. When Shute and...

    • 10 Pax Britannica or Pax Indigena? Planter Nova Scotia (1760–1782) and Competing Strategies of Pacification
      (pp. 171-190)

      Planter Nova Scotia spanned the years from the start of the New England migration into the province in 1760 to the Loyalist influx that began on a large scale in 1782. For many years, historians of this era concentrated their efforts on two principal questions, Why did the New England Planters fail, in significant numbers, to join the American Revolution? What differentiated the Planters from the later Loyalist migrants?¹ These remain significant issues, and yet the historiographical context for considering them has shifted markedly in recent years. The change is owed in part to the publication since 1987 of four...


    • 11 Chronologies, Counterfactuals, Trajectories, and Encounter 1604
      (pp. 193-204)

      The failure of the French settlement at St Croix Island during the winter of 1604–5, coming hard on the heels of the disasters encountered by the earlier French colony on Sable Island, had profound consequences. It was a crucial setback, in that it was instrumental in persuading the French state that commercial interests must be pursued without colonial settlement. The commitment of the state to the colonizing plans of the de Monts expedition had always been insecure, with the powerful minister the duc de Sully the leading sceptic. Severe critics of the enterprise were also found among competing merchants...

    • 12 Champlain: Longevity and Commemoration
      (pp. 205-220)

      In Canadian popular memory, Samuel de Champlain is often remembered as a colonizer and a leader of colonization in what is now Canada. Many books have been written about Champlain, and their subtitles are often revealing. ‘Father of New France’ was the sobriquet chosen by Samuel Eliot Morison for the subtitle of his biography of Champlain published in 1972, and it echoed a phrase used many years before by N.E. Dionne.¹ ‘Founder of New France’ had been the designation selected by both Charles W. Colby and Ralph Flenley for early-twentiethcentury biographies published respectively in 1915 and 1924.² Morris Bishop’s classic...

    • 13 Reflections on Seventeenth-Century Acadia
      (pp. 221-232)

      One hundred years ago, when those who were so inclined commemorated the anniversaries of events such as the de Monts/Champlain landings of 1604 and the foundation of Port Royal in 1605, they did so with every apparent sign that they were confident in what they were commemorating and why they were doing so. What could be more beneficial in its results, for those who were staging commemorations in the early twentieth century, than the arrival in this part of the world of the bearers of European civilization? And who could be more daring and intrepid than transatlantic voyagers such as...

    • 14 Epilogue
      (pp. 233-236)

      The processes that flowed throughout northeastern North America following the era of the establishment of French colonization at the beginning of the seventeenth century were complex, unpredictable, and full of contingencies. The development of colonial habitation, except in geographically restricted enclaves, was never a linear phenomenon. Imperial exchanges were characterized by fluid social relations, and a continuing process of negotiation and renegotiation. Aboriginal engagement proceeded from extensive territorial control and a military capacity that was tenaciously applied to the underwriting of diplomatic activity. Of course, across the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, broad changes took place. Colonial populations increased, and they...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 237-280)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-308)
  12. Index
    (pp. 309-322)