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Early Modern Virginia

Early Modern Virginia: Reconsidering the Old Dominion

Douglas Bradburn
John C. Coombs
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Early Modern Virginia
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays on seventeenth-century Virginia, the first such collection on the Chesapeake in nearly twenty-five years, highlights emerging directions in scholarship and helps set a new agenda for research in the next decade and beyond. The contributors represent some of the best of a younger generation of scholars who are building on, but also criticizing and moving beyond, the work of the so-called Chesapeake School of social history that dominated the historiography of the region in the 1970s and 1980s. Employing a variety of methodologies, analytical strategies, and types of evidence, these essays explore a wide range of topics and offer a fresh look at the early religious, political, economic, social, and intellectual life of the colony.

    ContributorsDouglas Bradburn, Binghamton University, State University of New York * John C. Coombs, Hampden-Sydney College * Victor Enthoven, Netherlands Defense Academy * Alexander B. Haskell, University of California Riverside * Wim Klooster, Clark University * Philip Levy, University of South Florida * Philip D. Morgan, Johns Hopkins University * William A. Pettigrew, University of Kent * Edward DuBois Ragan, Valentine Richmond History Center * Terri L. Snyder, California State University, Fullerton * Camilla Townsend, Rutgers University * Lorena S. Walsh, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

    eISBN: 978-0-8139-3170-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xi)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Lorena S. Walsh

    Early Modern Virginiacontinues in a long tradition of edited volumes showcasing new research on the Chesapeake. The first such volume (Law, Society, and Politics in Early Maryland) appeared in 1977, incorporating essays stemming from a conference held at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis in 1974. Another edited collection (The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century), dealing with both Virginia and Maryland, followed two years later containing essays resulting from a second regional history conference also held in 1974 at College Park, Maryland. This book presented the most innovative new work on Chesapeake history and continues up to the present...

  6. The Eschatological Origins of the English Empire
    (pp. 15-56)
    Douglas Bradburn

    In 1612 an important front in the long struggle between Satan and the saints, in the mind of many Englishmen, was a little military camp in a country the English called Virginia. Twice a day, officers of the guard would lead the motley collection of settlers in a prayer of exhortation, begging God to help them “build up the walls of Jerusalem.” They were engaged, as Sir Thomas Dale, “high marshall” of the colony, enthusiastically acknowledged, “in Religious Warfare.”¹ They had left their homes because of God’s “motion & work in our hearts,” with the intention “principally to honor thy...

  7. Mutual Appraisals The Shifting Paradigms of the English, Spanish, and Powhatans in Tsenacomoco, 1560–1622
    (pp. 57-89)
    Camilla Townsend

    In the early years of the Virginia colony, as the settlement teetered on the edge of extinction, two sets of people watched every move the English made and drew their own conclusions. Messengers flew back and forth to Powhatan, paramount chief of the tribes of Tsenacomoco, reporting every detail. Across the sea in Madrid, Philip III received a deluge of reports from his ambassador in England, who had found that sailors returning from Jamestown could often be induced to speak for a fair price. Some who had Powhatan’s ear urged him to step up the attacks against the strangers; the...

  8. The Rise and Fall of the Virginia-Dutch Connection in the Seventeenth Century
    (pp. 90-127)
    Victor Enthoven and Wim Klooster

    In March 1651, Virginia governor William Berkeley denounced the 1650 Act of Navigation in the strongest possible language: “The Indians, god be blessed round about us are subdued; we can onely feare the Londoners, who would faine bring us to the same poverty, wherein theDutchfound and relieved us; would take away the liberty of our consciences and tongues, and our right of giving and selling our goods to whom we please.”¹ As this observation reveals, Dutch maritime and commercial connections had been vital for the survival of the fledgling colony. The Dutch had “relieved” the Virginians in two...

  9. “To Seeke for Justice” Gender, Servitude, and Household Governance in the Early Modern Chesapeake
    (pp. 128-157)
    Terri L. Snyder

    In the autumn of 1666, a young woman named Joan Powell boarded a ship at Bristol bound for England’s North American colonies. Powell was about twenty when she made this journey, and her reasons for doing so probably were unexceptional. Like the three hundred other men and women who left Bristol that year, she likely faced few prospects in England and ventured to the Chesapeake for better opportunities. Either at port or on board Powell indentured herself to Henry Smith, and as she accompanied him to his home in Accomack County, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, her hopes may have dampened...

  10. Deference, Defiance, and the Language of Office in Seventeenth-Century Virginia
    (pp. 158-184)
    Alexander B. Haskell

    In 1794, the Reverend Devereux Jarratt looked back nostalgically on his childhood in New Kent County, Virginia, recalling the “regard and reverence” that people then “paid to magistrates and persons in public of-fice.” Unlike the “high republican times” of the 1790s, when Jarratt believed there was “more leveling than [was] . . . consistent with good government,” settlers in the 1730s and 1740s knew their places better and were more apt to give respect where respect was due, especially when an office was held by a recognized gentleman. “We were accustomed to look upon what were called gentle folks as...

  11. Middle Plantation’s Changing Landscape Persistence, Continuity, and the Building of Community
    (pp. 185-206)
    Philip Levy

    Over the winter of 1609–10 the English colonists of James Fort fell on the hardest times possible. All manner of social collapse, chaos, and even man eating became the norm in the small settlement. In the end, they buried their possessions (as well as their less delectable fellows) and took to the sea. They were stopped by a newly arrived English resupply fleet, whose leadership re-established the outpost and returned to colonizing. Gradually the repaired fort developed anew, grew to be a town, and in time became as thriving a colonial city as one could expect in a salty...

  12. “Scatter’d upon the English Seats” Indian Identity and Land Occupancy in the Rappahannock River Valley
    (pp. 207-238)
    Edward DuBois Ragan

    Attachment to place was and remains the core of Rappahannock Indian identity. The Rappahannock’s sense of place along the Virginia river that bears their name shaped their sense of themselves, their community, and their place in the world. When external forces threatened the Rappahannock, they typically responded with varying degrees of accommodation and resistance. For example, before English settlement, the Rappahannock participated with other Tidewater Algonquians in a broad shared regional culture, just as they resisted Powhatan’s efforts to dominate them socially and politically. After English settlement, the Rappahannock continued to seek balance between accommodation and resistance, just as English...

  13. Beyond the “Origins Debate”: Rethinking the Rise of Virginia Slavery
    (pp. 239-278)
    John C. Coombs

    In a series of lectures delivered during the fall of 1970, Wesley Frank Craven offered an insightful critique of the already extensive historiography then available on the development of slavery in seventeenth-century Virginia. “In my own review of the literature, old and new,” the great scholar of the colonial South observed, “I am struck by the thought that American historians have been so largely concerned with the question of the Negro’s status, with the origins of the institutions of slavery, as to be indifferent to other questions they might have investigated.”¹

    Although Craven was addressing the state of inquiry as...

  14. Transatlantic Politics and the Africanization of Virginia’s Labor Force, 1688–1712
    (pp. 279-299)
    William A. Pettigrew

    In the early eighteenth century, a visit to London offered many opportunities for a Virginia gentleman. He could seek employment within the colonial administration, or promotion if he had already secured a position, or he could undermine rival office seekers. He could also make arrangements for receiving slave shipments to stock his tobacco plantations at home in the colony. In a 1711 letter dispatched from London to Virginian Philip Ludwell, the Reverend Stephen Fouace described how Ludwell’s father, also named Philip, was “very earnest for getting you the business of negro consignments tho’ he is afraid that will prevent and...

  15. Conclusion: The Future of Chesapeake Studies
    (pp. 300-332)
    Philip D. Morgan

    This impressive collection of essays, coupled with recent conferences commemorating Virginia’s quadricentennial in 2007 and the 375th anniversary year of Maryland’s founding in 2009, suggest that there is a resurgence of interest in the history of the early Chesapeake.¹ Now is an especially appropriate time for considering the importance of this region in the Atlantic world. What is its role likely to be? What directions are scholars likely to pursue? Where do we go from here?

    As befits a historian, I cannot look forward without looking backward. My retrospective musings have me revisiting the introduction toColonial Chesapeake Societythat...

  16. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 333-336)
  17. Index
    (pp. 337-350)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 351-352)