1. Read Indians of New Netherlands Account for the Creation , available from Cengage Learning
Answer and respond to the questions to consider at the close of the document. Make sure you follow the instructions under discussion posts as specified by the syllabus.
2. Use at least two (2) sources from Ch. 4 of SFA to describe how many American colonists were beginning to think of themselves as something “other than” British by the 1750s.
4 Growth, Diversity, and Conflict 1720–1763
“Plenty of good land, and liberty to manage their own affairs their own way, seem to be the two great causes of the prosperity of all new colonies,” argued Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. In the middle decades of the eighteenth century, the American colonies enjoyed just these favorable conditions. Parliament took a laissez-faire approach to colonial govern- ment, and the colonies grew in size, population, and demographic com- plexity. As settlers pushed in from the coast to establish new farms, the growing standard of living enticed Europeans to try their luck, increasing immigration and adding to the ethnic and cultural mix.
As the colonial population grew, trade between the colonies and England soared. Raw materials crossed the Atlantic in ships that returned full of the finished goods pumping out of British factories. The colonial gentry displayed their refinement through consumption, but of course not everyone had the means to do so. In areas like the impoverished region of the colonial backcountry that Anglican minister Charles Woodmason encountered, religious revivalism spread widely. The Great Awakening induced religious enthusiasm and challenged conventional sources of spir- itual and social authority. Political authority, too, became contested as the French and Indian War reminded colonists that they were still a dependent part of the British Empire.
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4-1 | A Revivalist Warns Against Old Light Ministers
Gilbert tennent, Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry (1740)
Beginning in the late 1730s, a series of religious revivals swept the colonies. Though not part of a single or unified movement, revival ministers embraced a similar emotionally charged style designed to affect parishioners’ conscience and drive them to intense introspection. Many in the pews who heard these exhorting sermons manifested religious “enthusiasm,” behavior that was repudiated by more conservative and traditional church leaders. A divide emerged in many churches between revivalists (sometimes called New Light ministers) and their more settled counterparts (Old Lights). Prominent among the New Lights was Gilbert Tennent (1703–1764), whose famous sermon is excerpted here. Sermons like this one emboldened parishioners to challenge ministerial authority and in some cases led to church schisms and a more egalitarian religious experience.
Mark VI. 34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much People and was moved with Compassion towards them, and because they were as Sheep not having a Shepherd.
As a faithful Ministry is a great Ornament, Blessing and Comfort, to the Church of GOD; even the Feet of such Messengers are beautiful: So on the con- trary, an ungodly Ministry is a great Curse and Judgment: These Caterpillars labour to devour every green Thing.
There is nothing that may more justly call forth our saddest Sorrows, and make all our Powers and Passions mourn, in the most doleful Accents, the most incessant, insatiable, and deploring Agonies; than the melancholly Case of such, who have no faithful Ministry! This Truth is set before our Minds in a strong Light, in the Words that I have chosen now to insist upon! in which we have an Account of our LORD’s Grief with the Causes of it.
We are informed, That our dear Redeemer was moved with Compassion towards them. The Original Word signifies the strongest and most vehement Pity, issuing from the innermost Bowels.
But what was the Cause of this great and compassionate Commotion in the Heart of Christ? It was because he saw much People as Sheep, having no Shepherd. Why, had the People then no Teachers? O yes! they had Heaps of Pharisee-Teachers, that came out, no doubt after they had been at the Feet of Gamaliel the usual Time, and according to the Acts, Cannons, and Traditions of the Jewish Church. But notwithstanding of the great Crowds of these Orthodox, Letter-learned and regular Pharisees, our Lord laments the unhappy Case of that great Number of People, who, in the Days of his Flesh, had no better Guides: Because that those were as good as none (in many Respects) in our Saviour’s Judgment. For all them, the People were as Sheep without a Shepherd. . . .
The Great Awakening: Documents on the Revival of Religion, 1740–1745, ed. Richard L. Bushman (New York: Atheneum, 1970), 87–93.
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The old Pharisees, for all their long Prayers and other pious Pretences, had their Eyes, with Judas, fixed upon the Bag. Why, they came into the Priest’s Office for a Piece of Bread; they took it up as a Trade, and therefore endeavoured to make the best Market of it they could. O Shame! . . .
Natural Men have no Call of GOD to the Ministerial Work under the Gospel-Dispensation.
Isn’t it a principal Part of the ordinary Call of GOD to the Ministerial Work, to aim at the Glory of GOD, and, in Subordination thereto, the Good of Souls, as their chief Marks in their Undertaking that Work? And can any natural Man on Earth do this? No! no! Every Skin of them has an evil Eye; for no Cause can pro- duce Effects above its own Power. Are not wicked Men forbid to meddle in Things sacred? . . .
Natural Men, not having true Love to Christ and the Souls of their Fellow- Creatures, hence their Discourses are cold and sapless, and as it were freeze between their Lips. And not being sent of GOD, they want that divine Authority, with which the faithful Ambassadors of Christ are clothed, who herein resemble their blessed Master, of whom it is said, That He taught as one having Authority, and not as the Scribes. Matth. 7. 29.
And Pharisee-Teachers, having no Experience of a special Work of the Holy Ghost, upon their own Souls, are therefore neither inclined to, nor fitted for, Discoursing, frequently, clearly, and pathetically, upon such important Subjects. The Application of their Discourses, is either short, or indistinct and general. They difference not the Precious from the Vile, and divide not to every Man his Portion, according to the Apostolical Direction to Timothy. No! they carelesly offer a common Mess to their People, and leave it to them, to divide it among themselves, as they see fit. This is indeed their general Practice, which is bad enough: But sometimes they do worse, by misapplying the Word, through Ignorance, or Anger. They often strengthen the Hands of the Wicked, by promis- ing him Life. They comfort People, before they convince them; sow before they plow; and are busy in raising a Fabrick, before they lay a Foundation. These fool- ing Builders do but strengthen Men’s carnal Security, by their soft, selfish, cow- ardly Discourses. They have not the Courage, or Honesty, to thrust the Nail of Terror into sleeping Souls. . . .
Their Prayers are also cold; little child-like Love to God or Pity to poor per- ishing Souls, runs thro’ their Veins. Their Conversation hath nothing of the Savour of Christ, neither is it perfum’d with the Spices of Heaven. . . . Poor Christians are stunted and starv’d, who are put to feed on such bare Pastures, and such dry Nurses. . . . O! it is ready to break their very Hearts with Grief, to see how lukewarm those Pharisee-Teachers are in their publick Discourses, while Sinners are sinking into Damnation, in Multitudes! . . . Is a blind Man fit to be a Guide in a very dangerous Way? Is a dead Man fit to bring others to Life? a mad Man fit to give Counsel in a Matter of Life and Death? Is a possessed Man fit to cast out Devils? a Rebel, an Enemy to GOD, fit to be sent on an Embassy of Peace, to bring Rebels into a State of Friendship with GOD? a Captive bound in the Massy Chains of Darkness and Guilt, a proper Person to set others at Liberty? a
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Leper, or one that has Plague-sores upon him, fit to be a good Physician? Is an ignorant Rustick, that has never been at Sea in his Life, fit to be a Pilot, to keep Vessels from being dashed to Pieces upon Rocks and Sand-banks? ‘Is’nt an uncon- verted Minister like a Man who would learn others to swim, before he has learn’d it him- self, and so is drowned in the Act, and dies like a Fool?’ I may add, That sad Experience verifies what has been now observed, concerning the Unprofitableness of the Ministry of unconverted Men. Look into the Congregations of unconverted Ministers, and see what a sad Security reigns there; not a Soul convinced that can be heard of, for many Years together; and yet the Ministers are easy: for they say they do their Duty! . . .
My Brethren, We should mourn over those, that are destitute of faithful Ministers, and sympathize with them. Our Bowels should be moved with the most compassionate Tenderness, over those dear fainting Souls, that are as Sheep having no Shepherd; and that after the Example of our blessed LORD.
Dear Sirs! we should also most earnestly pray for them, that the compassion- ate Saviour may preserve them, by his mighty Power, thro’ Faith unto Salvation; support their sinking Spirits, under the melancholy Uneasinesses of a dead Ministry; sanctify and sweeten to them the dry Morsels they get under such blind Men, when they have none better to repair to.
And more especially, my Brethren, we should pray to the LORD of the Harvest, to send forth faithful Labourers into his Harvest; seeing that the Harvest truly is plenteous, but the Labourers are few. And O Sirs! how humble, believing, and importunate should we be in this Petition! O! let us follow the LORD, Day and Night, with Cries, Tears, Pleadings and Groanings upon this Account! For GOD knows there is great Necessity of it. O! thou Fountain of Mercy, and Father of Pity, pour forth upon thy poor Children a Spirit of Prayer, for the Obtaining this impor- tant Mercy! Help, help, O Eternal GOD and Father, for Christ’s sake!
And indeed, my Brethren, we should join our Endeavours to our Prayers. The most likely Method to stock the Church with a faithful Ministry, in the present Situation of Things, the publick Academies being so much corrupted and abused generally, is, To encourage private Schools, or Seminaries of Learning, which are under the Care of skilful and experienced Christians; in which those only should be admitted, who upon strict Examination, have in the Judgment of a reasonable Charity, the plain Evidences of experimental Religion. Pious and experienced Youths, who have a good natural Capacity, and great Desires after the Ministerial Work, from good Motives, might be sought for, and found up and down in the Country, and put to Private Schools of the Prophets; especially in such Places, where the Publick ones are not. This Method, in my Opinion, has a noble Tendency, to build up the Church of God. And those who have any Love to Christ, or Desire after the Coming of his Kingdom, should be ready, according to their Ability, to give somewhat, from time to time, for the Support of such poor Youths, who have nothing of their own. And truly, Brethren, this Charity to the Souls of Men, is the most noble kind of Charity — O! if the Love of God be in you, it will con- strain you to do something, to promote so noble and necessary a Work. It looks Hypocrite-like to go no further, when other Things are required, than cheap
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Prayer. Don’t think it much, if the Pharisees should be offended at such a Proposal; these subtle selfish Hypocrites are wont to be scar’d about their Credit, and their Kingdom; and truly they are both little worth, for all the Bustle they make about them. If they could help it, they wo’dn’t let one faithful Man come into the Ministry; and therefore their Opposition is an encouraging Sign. Let all the Followers of the Lamb stand up and act for GOD against all Opposers: Who is upon GOD’s Side? who?
The Improvement of this Subject remains. And 1. If it be so, That the Case of those, who have no other, or no better than
Pharisee-Teachers, is to be pitied: Then what a Scrole and Scene of Mourning, and Lamentation, and Wo, is opened! because of the Swarms of Locusts, the Crowds of Pharisees, that have as covetously as cruelly, crept into the Ministry, in this adulterous Generation! who as nearly resemble the Character given of the old Pharisees, in the Doctrinal Part of this Discourse, as one Crow’s Egg does another. It is true some of the modern Pharisees have learned to prate a little more orthodoxly about the New Birth, than their Predecessor Nicodemus, who are, in the mean Time, as great Strangers to the feeling Experience of it, as he. They are blind who see not this to be the Case of the Body of the Clergy, of this Generation. And O! that our Heads were Waters, and our Eyes a Fountain of Tears, that we could Day and Night lament, with the utmost Bitterness, the dole- ful Case of the poor Church of God, upon this account.
2. From what has been said, we may learn, That such who are contented under a dead Ministry, have not in them the Temper of that Saviour they profess. It’s an awful Sign, that they are as blind as Moles, and as dead as Stones, without any spiritual Taste and Relish. And alas! isn’t this the Case of Multitudes? If they can get one, that has the Name of a Minister, with a Band, and a black Coat or Gown to carry on a Sabbath-days among them, although never so coldly, and insuccessfully; if he is free from gross Crimes in Practice, and takes good Care to keep at a due Distance from their Consciences, and is never troubled about his Insuccessfulness; O! think the poor Fools, that is a fine Man indeed; our Minister is a prudent charitable Man, he is not always harping upon Terror, and sounding Damnation in our Ears, like some rash-headed Preachers, who by their unchari- table Methods, are ready to put poor People out of their Wits, or to run them into Despair; O! how terrible a Thing is that Dispair! Ay, our Minister, honest Man, gives us good Caution against it. Poor silly Souls! consider seriously these Passages, of the Prophet, Jeremiah 5. 30,31.
3. We may learn, the Mercy and Duty of those that enjoy a faithful Ministry. Let such glorify GOD, for so distinguishing a Privilege, and labour to walk wor- thy of it, to all Well-pleasing; lest for their Abuse thereof, they be exposed to a greater Damnation.
4. If the Ministry of natural Men be as it has been represented; Then it is both lawful and expedient to go from them to hear Godly Persons; yea, it’s so far from being sinful to do this, that one who lives under a pious Minister of lesser Gifts, after having honestly endeavour’d to get Benefit by his Ministry, and yet gets little or none, but doth find real Benefit and more Benefit elsewhere; I say, he may
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lawfully go, and that frequently, where he gets most Good to his precious Soul, after regular Application to the Pastor where he lives, for his Consent, and pro- posing the Reasons thereof; when this is done in the Spirit of Love and Meekness, without Contempt of any, as also without rash Anger or vain Curiosity.
Reading and discussion Questions
1. What does Tennent argue is the danger of an unconverted ministry?
2. What effect might Tennent have expected his sermon to have on those who heard it?
3. From Tennent’s description, what differences do you think he saw between New Light and Old Light ministers?
4-2 | sarah osborn on Her experiences during the Religious Revivals
Sarah OSbOrn, Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Sarah Osborn (1814)
Sarah Osborn’s (1714–1797) memoir movingly illustrates the anguish of a woman caught in the grip of religious doubt. Born in London, Osborn emigrated to America when still a child, living in Boston, then Newport, Rhode Island, where she spent most of her life. Her husband died at sea, leaving her a widow with a small child. Despite these hardships, she persevered but experienced repeated crises of faith. In the section of her memoir excerpted here, Osborn recounts the moment of her spiritual “awakening.” Osborn’s account reminds us that the religious revivals appealed to women whose experience of grace empowered them in a cul- ture where women had few if any means of formal power or authority.
Thus I continued from day to day, in such ecstacies of joy, thirsting for full sanc- tification, and more intimate communion with God; daily asking what I should render to him for all his benefits to such an hell deserving sinner; earnestly beg- ging that God would find out some way for me, that I might be made instrumen- tal in advancing his kingdom and interest in the world. O, how I dreaded being an unprofitable servant. The employment I still followed seemed to encourage me to hope God intended to make use of me for the instruction of little ones; which caused me often to bless God for placing me in that calling. And though I know that in every thing I offend, and in all come short of God’s glory; so that every performance has need of washing in the blood of Christ; yet it is a comfort to me, to this day, that I was enabled by grace to labour with the little souls, then committed to my charge; but desire to be humbled that I did no more. O, that I had been more faithful! Surely I longed that all the world, but especially those
Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Sarah Osborn, ed. Samuel Hopkins (Catskill, NY: N. Elliot, 1814), 33–37.
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dear to me by the bonds of nature or friendship, might be convinced of sin, and come to a glorious Christ. I thought I could even spend and be spent for them. I thought I could travail in birth till Christ was formed in them. And when I saw any giving themselves a liberty to sin, I could not, at some times, refrain from reproving them. Some would tell me I was turned fool, and distracted, when I said I had been a vile sinner, for every body knew I had been a sober woman all my days; and yet I used to do such things too, as well as they: And what was the matter now? Sometimes they would say, “This fit will be over quickly.” But all such answers as these, of which I had a great many, would serve to humble me yet more, and put me upon pleading for persevering grace, that I might never bring dishonor upon the name of God. And indeed, all the trials I met with, which were various, had, through the abounding goodness of God, this effect, to quicken me yet more.
But Satan had still a desire to sift me as wheat. He assaulted me daily; but those words of the blessed Jesus were frequently applied for my support, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” One night in particular, when watching with a dear friend, who was sick, Satan assaulted me in as furious a manner, seemingly, as though he had appeared in bodily shape, though with my bodily eyes I saw nothing. I believe the combat lasted, at least, two hours, as fierce as though I had talked with him face to face. He again ranked all my sins before my eyes, telling me it was impossible, notwithstanding my great hopes, for me ever to be saved. He was still sure of me, and would not let me go. I should surely turn back again, and worse than ever. It is impossible to relate the tenth part of the fiery darts he flung at me. But I was composed, not in the least daunted; but could prove him a liar in every thing he suggested, by scripture, which flowed into my mind, as though I had learned it all by heart. Never had I such a variety of scrip- ture texts at my command in all my life, either before, or since. There was noth- ing he could allege against me, but if I knew it was true, I immediately subscribed to it; and then flew to the particular properties of the blood of Christ, which I found sufficient for me. Thus I overcame him by the blood of the Lamb; and was left, in the issue, filled with the consolations of the blessed Spirit; triumphing over Satan; blessing and praising God for delivering me out of the hand of this cruel tyrant; adoring the lovely Jesus. And thus I spent the remainder of that night. O, how sweet it was to me! I longed for more strength to praise and love; and even to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.
Thus I continued for some time, rejoicing and resolving, by assisting grace, to press forward, and by all means to make my calling and election sure. Then I wrote my experience to be communicated to the Church; and I was admitted, February 6, 1737, to partake of that holy ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. But it is impossible for me to express the ecstacy of joy I was in, when I saw myself there, who was by nature a child of wrath, an heir of hell, and by practice a rebel against God, a resister of his grace, a piercer of the lovely Jesus, unworthy of the crumbs that fall; yet, through free grace, compelled to come in, and partake of children’s bread. It was indeed sweet to me to feed by faith on the broken body of my dear- est Lord. Surely it did humble me to the dust, and filled me with self abhorrence,
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as I meditated on his sufferings and death, and knew my sins to be the procuring cause. But when I came to take the cup, and by faith to apply the precious proper- ties of the blood of Christ to my soul, the veil of unbelief seemed to drop off, and I was forced to cry out, “My Lord, and my God,” when I beheld the hole in his side, and the prints of the nails. And I could not but, in the words of Peter, appeal to him, [“]Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” O then I was admitted, with the beloved disciple, to lean on his breast! O, astonishing grace, and unspeakable joy, to see God reconciled to me, in and through him; and he bidding me welcome to his table! The Holy Spirit, by his powerful influences, applied all this for my strong consolation. O, what a feast is this, when intimate communion with the glorious God is thus obtained! When strong covenant engagements with him are renewed; I being assured that he was my God, and giving myself, body and soul, to him forever, and rejoicing in him as my only portion forever more. Surely, I thought, I could never enough adore the lovely Jesus for appointing such an ordinance as this.
ReADinG AnD DisCussiOn QuesTiOns
1. How does Osborn describe the conversion experience?
2. What evidence can you see here of the reaction from others who witnessed her religious awakening?
3. Why does Osborn choose to devote so much of her memoir to her spiritual struggles? What audience was she writing for?
4-3 | Anglican Minister on the Manners and Religion of the Carolina Backcountry
CharleS WOOdmaSOn, Journal (1766–1768)
Charles Woodmason’s (1720–1789) experiences in the South highlight key themes of this period, not least of which is the cultural diversity of the colonies. As an Anglican minister, Woodmason served at different times two divergent groups: the planter class in Charleston, and then later the religiously diverse and scattered settlements of the South Carolina back- country. The Church of England (Anglicanism) was the established church in South Carolina, but that hardly mattered to the frontier Presbyterians and Baptists, many of whom resented the well-heeled Anglicans who controlled power and purse. In this excerpt, Woodmason describes his work on the Carolina frontier.
Saturday September 3) Rode down the Country on the West Side the Wateree River into the Fork between that and the Congaree River — This is out of my Bounds — But their having no Minister, and their falling (therefrom) continually
The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution, ed. Richard J. Hooker (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953), 60–63.
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from the Church to Anabaptism, inclin’d me to it — The People received me gladly and very kindly. Had on Sunday 4 — a Company of about 150 — Most of them of the Low Class — the principal Planters living on the Margin of these Rivers.
Baptiz’d 1 Negroe Man — 2 Negroe Children — and 9 White Infants and married 1 Couple — The People thanked me in the most kind Manner for my Services — I had very pleasant Riding but my Horse suffered Greatly. The Morn- ings and Evenings now begin to be somewhat Cool, but the Mid day heat is almost intolerable — Many of these People walk 10 or 12 Miles with their Children in the burning Sun — Ought such to be without the Word of God, when so earnest, so desirous of hearing it and becoming Good Christians, and good Subjects! How lamentable to think, that the Legislature of this Province will make no Provision — so rich, so luxurious, polite a People! Yet they are deaf to all Solicitations, and look on the poor White People in a Meaner Light than their Black Slaves, and care less for them. Withal there is such a Republican Spirit still left, so much of the Old Leaven of Lord Shaftsbury and other the 1st principal Settlers still remains, that they seem not at all disposed to promote the Interest of the Church of England — Hence it is that above 30,000£ Sterling have lately been expended to bring over 5 or 6000 Ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the Scum of the Earth, and Refuse of Mankind, and this, solely to ballance the Emigrations of People from Virginia, who are all of the Established Church. —— 50 [miles]; [total] Miles 2846
It will require much Time and Pains to New Model and form the Carriage and Manners, as well as Morals of these wild Peoples — Among this Congregation not one had a Bible or Common Prayer — or could join a Person or hardly repeat the Creed or Lords Prayer — Yet all of ’em had been educated in the Principles of our Church. So that I am obliged to read the Whole Service, omitting such Parts, as are Repetitious, and retaining those that will make the different Services some- what Uniform — Hence it is, that I can but seldom use the Litany, because they know not the Responses.
It would be (as I once observ’d before) a Great Novelty to a Londoner to see one of these Congregations — The Men with only a thin Shirt and pair of Breeches or Trousers on — barelegged and barefooted — The Women bareheaded, bare- legged and barefoot with only a thin Shift and under Petticoat — Yet I cannot break [them?] of this — for the heat of the Weather admits not of any [but] thin Cloathing — I can hardly bear the Weight of my Whig and Gown, during Service. The Young Women have a most uncommon Practise, which I cannot break them off. They draw their Shift as tight as possible to the Body, and pin it close, to shew the roundness of their Breasts, and slender Waists (for they are generally finely shaped) and draw their Petticoat close to their Hips to shew the fineness of their Limbs — so that they might as well be in Puri Naturalibus1 — Indeed Nakedness is not censurable or indecent here, and they expose themselves often quite
1Puri naturalibus: puris naturalibus, or naked.
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Naked, without Ceremony — Rubbing themselves and their Hair with Bears Oil and tying it up behind in a bunch like the Indians — being hardly one degree removed from them — In few Years, I hope to bring about a Reformation, as I already have done in several Parts of the Country. . . .
I would not wish my worst Enemy to come to this Country (at least to this) Part of it to combat perpetually with Papists, Sectaries, Atheists and Infidels — who would rather see the Poor People remain Heathens and Ignorants, than to be brought over to the Church. Such Enemies to Christ and his Cross, are these vile Presbyterians. . . .
Thus You have a Journal of two Years — In which have rode near Six thou- sand Miles, almost on one Horse. Wore my Self to a Skeleton and endured all the Extremities of Hunger, Thirst, Cold, and Heat. Have baptized near 1200 Children — Given 200 or more Discourses — Rais’d almost 30 Congregations — Set on foot the building of sundry Chapels Distributed Books, Medicines, Garden Seed, Turnip, Clover, Timothy Burnet, and other Grass Seeds — with Fish Hooks — Small working Tools and variety of Implements to set the Poor at Work, and promote Industry to the amount of at least One hundred Pounds Sterling: Roads are making — Boats building — Bridges framing, and other useful Works begun thro’ my Means, as will not only be of public Utility, but make the Country side wear a New face, and the People become New Creatures. And I will venture to attest that these small, weak Endeavours of mine to serve the Community, has (or will) be of more Service to the Colony, than ever Mr. Whitfield’s2 Orphan House was, or will be. On which he has [Ms. torn, one word missing] Twelve Thousand Pounds Sterling (by [Ms. torn]) from which Mankind has not been twelve pence benefitted.
ReADinG AnD DisCussiOn QuesTiOns
1. How does Woodmason’s Anglicanism shape his observations of non-Anglicans he encountered on the western frontier of South Carolina?
2. Based on Woodmason’s comments, why might backcountry Carolinians have resented his efforts to minister to them?
3. What can Woodmason’s journal teach us about the cultural, religious, and class diversity of mid-eighteenth-century colonial society?
2“Mr. Whitfield” is the Reverend George Whitefield, the most popular Great Awakening minister in the colonies. Wherever he preached, Whitefield took up a collection for an orphanage he founded in Georgia.
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4-4 | Franklin Calls for Colonial Unity
Benjamin Franklin, Albany Plan of Union (1754)
The tension that Charles Woodmason (Document 4-3) witnessed between the established religious authority in South Carolina and those who resisted its control was just one of the many complex divisions that existed within and among Britain’s North American colonies. Over the course of the eighteenth century, colonists’ attachment to local rule and self-government presented a challenge to British efforts to maintain control and colonial unity, especially in the 1750s when Britain was again at war with France. In 1754, Benjamin Franklin drafted the Albany Plan of Union urging the disparate colonies to ally together for common cause. Though Franklin’s plan failed to materialize, it introduced key concepts that would later influence the American constitutional government.
It is proposed that humble application be made for an act of Parliament of Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government may be formed in America, including all the said colonies, within and under which government each colony may retain its present constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows.
1. That the said general government be administered by a President- General, to be appointed and supported by the crown; and a Grand Council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several Colonies met in their respective assemblies.
2. That within — months after the passing such act, the House of Repre- sentatives that happen to be sitting within that time, or that shall [be] especially for that purpose convened, may and shall choose members for the Grand Council, in the following proportion, that is to say,
Massachusetts Bay 7 New Hampshire 2 Connecticut 5 Rhode Island 2 New York 4 New Jersey 3 Pennsylvania 6 Maryland 4 Virginia 7 North Carolina 4 South Carolina 4 48
3. — who shall meet for the first time at the city of Philadelphia, being called by the President-General as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment.
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1927).
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4-4 Franklin, Albany Plan of Union 91
4. That there shall be a new election of the members of the Grand Council every three years; and, on the death or resignation of any member, his place should be supplied by a new choice at the next sitting of the Assembly of the Colony he represented.
5. That after the first three years, when the proportion of money arising out of each Colony to the general treasury can be known, the number of members to be chosen for each Colony shall, from time to time, in all ensuing elections, be regulated by that proportion, yet so as that the number to be chosen by any one Province be not more than seven, nor less than two.
6. That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year, and oftener if occa- sion require, at such time and place as they shall adjourn to at the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at by the President-General on any emergency; he having first obtained in writing the consent of seven of the mem- bers to such call, and sent duly and timely notice to the whole.
7. That the Grand Council have power to choose their speaker; and shall neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sitting longer than six weeks at one time, without their own consent or the special command of the crown.
8. That the members of the Grand Council shall be allowed for their service ten shillings sterling per diem, during their session and journey to and from the place of meeting; twenty miles to be reckoned a day’s journey.
9. That the assent of the President-General be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, and that it be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution.
10. That the President-General, with the advice of the Grand Council, hold or direct all Indian treaties, in which the general interest of the Colonies may be concerned; and make peace or declare war with Indian nations.
11. That they make such laws as they judge necessary for regulating all Indian trade.
12. That they make all purchases from Indians, for the crown, of lands not now within the bounds of particular Colonies, or that shall not be within their bounds when some of them are reduced to more convenient dimensions.
13. That they make new settlements on such purchases, by granting lands in the King’s name, reserving a quitrent to the crown for the use of the general treasury.
14. That they make laws for regulating and governing such new settlements, till the crown shall think fit to form them into particular governments.
15. That they raise and pay soldiers and build forts for the defence of any of the Colonies, and equip vessels of force to guard the coasts and protect the trade on the ocean, lakes, or great rivers; but they shall not impress men in any Colony, without the consent of the Legislature.
16. That for these purposes they have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imposts, or taxes, as to them shall appear most equal and just (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the sev- eral Colonies), and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the
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people; rather discouraging luxury, than loading industry with unnecessary burdens.
17. That they may appoint a General Treasurer and Particular Treasurer in each government when necessary; and, from time to time, may order the sums in the treasuries of each government into the general treasury; or draw on them for special payments, as they find most convenient.
18. Yet no money to issue but by joint orders of the President-General and Grand Council; except where sums have been appropriated to particular purposes, and the President-General is previously empowered by an act to draw such sums.
19. That the general accounts shall be yearly settled and reported to the sev- eral Assemblies.
20. That a quorum of the Grand Council, empowered to act with the President-General, do consist of twenty-five members; among whom there shall be one or more from a majority of the Colonies.
21. That the laws made by them for the purposes aforesaid shall not be repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws of England, and shall be transmitted to the King in Council for approbation, as soon as may be after their passing; and if not disapproved within three years after presentation, to remain in force.
22. That, in case of the death of the President-General, the Speaker of the Grand Council for the time being shall succeed, and be vested with the same powers and authorities, to continue till the King’s pleasure be known.
23. That all military commission officers, whether for land or sea service, to act under this general constitution, shall be nominated by the President-General; but the approbation of the Grand Council is to be obtained, before they receive their commissions. And all civil officers are to be nominated by the Grand Council, and to receive the President-General’s approbation before they officiate.
24. But, in case of vacancy by death or removal of any officer, civil or mili- tary, under this constitution, the Governor of the Province in which such vacancy happens may appoint, till the pleasure of the President-General and Grand Council can be known.
25. That the particular military as well as civil establishments in each Colony remain in their present state, the general constitution notwithstanding; and that on sudden emergencies any Colony may defend itself, and lay the accounts of expense thence arising before the President-General and General Council, who may allow and order payment of the same, as far as they judge such accounts just and reasonable.
ReADinG AnD DisCussiOn QuesTiOns
1. What are the key elements in Franklin’s plan of union? How does he envision the colonies working together?
2. What need was the plan of union designed to meet?
3. Why do you think the plan failed to garner enough support to bring it into effect?
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4-5 State of the British and French Colonies in North America 93
4-5 | Colonists Argue for an Alliance with indians Against the French
State of the British and French Colonies in North America (1755)
As we saw in Chapter 3, relations between British colonists and Native Americans were strained throughout the eighteenth century. Native American peoples resented colonial encroachment, but many also realized the futility of prolonged resistance and forged alliances when doing so suited their interests. For their part, the American colonists quickly recognized the key role that native peoples could play in defending themselves from French assaults as the French and Indian War began in 1756. In this source, published just before hostilities with France were formalized, an anonymous author argues for the necessity of befriending native peoples.
The necessity of using indians in War, and of Gaining Their Friendship
The next preliminary point to be effected, is to secure the Indians in our interest; on account, as well of recovering and extending our trade, as of securing our col- onies against the attack either of French or Indians.
Their way of making war and fighting is quite different from the European. They do not draw into the open field but shoot from behind trees; and are exceed- ing dextrous both at hitting their mark and sheltering themselves from the ene- mies fire or pursuit: for, there is no room for horse in countries overgrown with woods, which gave occasion to this way of fighting; and there is no overtaking them on foot they run so swiftly.
Therefore, in case of any war, either with Indians alone, or where they are auxiliaries, we must have Indians to oppose Indians. They must be fought with their own way. Regular forces being wholly unacquainted with their way of making war can be of no service against them: they are only of use to defend a fort, or to support Indian forces against regular troops. Besides, being used to fire from walls, they scorn to shoot from behind trees; and would rather die than go out of their own road to practise such a low kind of military art. Not considering that the nature of the country, which is, as it were, one continued wood, requires that way of going to war, and that of all the methods of fighting that is best which is safest.
The French of Canada know the importance of Indians on this account, and therefore never undertake any expedition without them. A memorable deliver- ance taught them this caution. In 1687 the marquis de Nonville, governor of Quebek, having landed 2100 men at Tierondoquot, 300 of them Indians, with design to surprize the chief village of the Sennekas, whom he intended to destroy; was surprized himself in the woods, within a mile of the place, by 500 of that nation: who starting suddenly from the ground where they had lain flat, raised the war shout, and discharged their musquets. This put his troops into such a consternation, that they began to run on every side; and in the confusion fired on
State of the British and French Colonies in North America (London: A. Millar, 1755), 69–75.
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one another, while the Sennekas fell on pell-mell. So that had not the French Indians, acquainted with their way of fighting, come up, all must have been destroyed; and the French, very likely, driven out of Canada, for the whole force of it was employed in this expedition.
The French, since that time, make use of Indians more than ever: and since they make use of them, there is still the more reason why we should; unless we had men enough of our own trained to their manner of making war.
Besides; the advantage of having the Indians our friends, may be inferred from the mischiefs they have done ourselves as well as the French; and the dan- ger they have put the colonies in, both from within and without, when our ene- mies. Altho’ the English, by dint of numbers, were able to support the wrongs which they did the Indians, and either destroyed or subdued them within the colonies; yet it cost them much blood and labour before they effected it, particu- larly in Virginia and New England; especially this last colony: where made such vigorous efforts at several times, and continued the war with so much obstinacy, even tho’ much reduced by them; that the English, notwithstanding their great superiority in numbers, were scarce able to withstand them, and but for certain lucky incidents, might have been driven out of all their settlements. Those who left the country, preserve to this day their ancient animosities; and being joined by the other eastern tribes, continue to harrass the borders of the English, and do them all the mischief they can. They are now the more able to take revenge with more safety to themselves; as, having a large country to retreat in, they cannot be so easily surrounded by the English, and oppressed by numbers as they were when inclosed within the colonies, where it would have been better to have kept them by good usage. . . .
In 1687, the English Indians, to revenge some ill usage, by the instigation of the French, invaded the frontiers of New England, and commenced a war, which all the powers of the country could not extinguish in ten years.
I shall produce but one instance more to shew what mischief the Indians may be able to do us, when our enemies. In the war, carried on about 1718, by the Spanish Indians against Carolina (the two provinces then being in one) this col- ony unable to defend itself against them, either by their own force, or that of the other colonies joined with them, were obliged at last to crave assistance from England, before they could do any good against them, as hath been mentioned before. Does not this confirm what has been already suggested of the danger the colonies would be in for want of Indians, should the French at any time invade them with their confederate Indian nations? In short, an Indian war has always been dreaded, as it has always been fatal to the colonies.
All the colony writers recommend the gaining the Indian friendship, as a matter of great importance to them. One of Carolina says, that the province is much strengthened by them; and that if trained to fire arms they would be very useful to that province, not only in case of an invasion to repel the enemy, but also by drawing other Indians to the English interest, or else destroying those who were not to be gained.
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4-5 State of the British and French Colonies in North America 95
It must be confessed, that they are of great use, in either defending or invad- ing a country. They are extremely skilful in the art of surprizing, and watching the motions of an enemy: they always know where to find you; but you never know where to find them: they disperse themselves thro’ a country singly, or in very small parties, and lie on the lurch, to pick up stragglers, or procure intelli- gence: in which they act with an astonishing patience and indefatigableness, beyond any thing which an European could undergo; remaining in one place, and often in one posture, for whole days and weeks together, till they find an opportunity to strike their stroke, or compass their design, whatever it may be.
“Every Indian,” says Mr. Kennedy,1 “is a hunter; and as their manner of making war, by skulking, surprizing, and killing particular persons and families, is just the same as their hunting, only changing the object, every Indian is a disci- plined soldier. Soldiers of this kind are always wanted in the colonies in an Indian war [or when Indians are employed] for the European military discipline is of little use in these woods.” There is, therefore, an indispensible necessity of making use of Indians in our wars, unless we had men enough of our own trained in that fort of military exercise.
The French, indeed, have a great number of such people called Courieurs de Bois, as expert in the Indian way of fighting as the Indians themselves, as hath been taken notice of before; and therefore might be able to do without Indians, altho’ they make use of them. But this is an advantage which the colonies have not; for, altho’ in the southern provinces there may be a good many men, as expert in the Indian way of fighting, as the French Courieurs de Bois, yet they are under no kind of discipline or command, except those of the considerable Indian traders, their masters; and therefore cannot properly be considered as any pub- lick force or real strength. In the northern colonies New England being sur- rounded with hostile Indians, and having still some within itself of the same race, necessity has produced rangers among the inhabitants, without whom there could be no dealing with such enemies. But New York depending on the neigh- bourhood of the five nations for its security, and making the French their factors with the Indians, by selling their goods to them, had few or no rangers at all before that illicit traffic at Albany was prohibited, and the trade laid open in 1720; since which time the young men being encouraged to go among the Indians, the only way of breeding rangers, that province begins to be furnished with them. Altho’ rangers are so numerous among the French, that they might do without the Indians, yet they not only cherish those who live in the country inhabited by themselves, but seek the friendship of all the nations round about them, far and near. On the contrary, the English do neither, especially in the northern colonies: for they have not only exterminated all Indian nations who formerly dwelt in the countries now possessed by them, but instead of making friends of those who
1mr. kennedy: Archibald Kennedy, the author of The Importance of Gaining and Preserving the Friendship of Indians to the British Interest Considered (1752).
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live in the neighbourhood of the colonies, are at variance with them all, excepting the six nations and their allies, whom yet they seem industrious rather to dis- oblige than keep in their interest; altho’ they have been all along the chief, and to New York the only defence against the French, and their numerous tribes of Indians.
ReADinG AnD DisCussiOn QuesTiOns
1. What advantage does the author suggest the native peoples bring to the colonial cause?
2. What difference in war-making does the author see between European and Native American warriors?
3. What does this source suggest about the changing relationship between colonial Americans and the native peoples they encountered?
4-6 | The north Carolina Regulators Protest British Control
Petition from the Inhabitants of Orange County, North Carolina (1770)
New tensions arose in the years immediately following the British and American victory during the French and Indian War (1754–1763). To pay their large war debt, the British Parliament began imposing more taxes and regulations on the colonies, inciting colonial resistance. At the same time, in the western regions of colonies such as North and South Carolina, debt- laden farmers protested political, judicial, and economic policies disadvantageous to their interests. Disciplined mobs formed in these western regions to protest the use of British forces to defeat them and the prejudicial court actions that, in many cases, deprived them of their farms. This Regulator movement, though ultimately unsuccessful, revealed the class conflicts that divided colonists and pitted British subjects in America against royal representatives and their colonial dependents. While Regulators destroyed property, refused to pay taxes, and disrupted government, they also issued petitions and drew on the language of rights to plead their case.
The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Orange County humbly sheweth, That as it is a Maxim in our Laws that no Law Statute or Custom which are
against Gods Law or principalls of nature can be of any validity but are all null. If therefore Laws themselves when against Reason and Justice are null and
void much more the practice used by men in the Law which is contrary to the Law as well as Reason Justice and Equity ought to be condemned and surely it is against Justice Reason and Equity to exact Taxes and extort Fees that are unlaw- ful from the poor industrious Farmers — Yet these are but a few of a great many more evils of that nature which has been of a long time our sad case and
The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. VIII, 1769 to 1771, ed. William L. Saunders (Raleigh, NC: Josephus Daniels, Printer to the State, 1890), 231–234.
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4-6 Petition from the Inhabitants of Orange County, North Carolina 97
condition and to such a degree general among so many of the men of the Law that we quite despaired of any redress being to be had that way. But as you the Governor Kings Attorney Generall and other Gentlemen of the Law pledged to us your words your honours your oaths that we could and should be redressed by the Law it would be tedious as well as unnecessary to recite the world of fatigue expence and Trouble that we have been at to obtain redress in that way but in vain — for though so many of the Officers as has been convicted yet we can obtain none of our money back — but instead of refunding they still continue to take the same Fees James Watson and John Butler excepted — And notwithstand- ing the wheels in this work run so heavy we have so many of the Court Party against us yet we might nevertheless [have gained] our point could we have obtained Jurors of unprejudiced Men — for though the Law impowers the Justices of the Inferior Courts to appoint the Jurys yet it was to the end they might be chosen of unprejudiced Men, this was the spirit end and design of the Law — But it has so happened that too many of our Justices are partys concerned some of them being insolvent high Sheriffs themselves and others insolvent Sheriffs securities, yet under all this disadvantage as we labored against this very unfair dealing the goodness of our course and the uprightness of our Intentions gained ground with such Justices as was not parties concerned and for some Courts past a few of the Jurors was unprejudiced Men, but at our last Inferior Court Tyree Harris and Thomas Lloyd took a most notorious and bare faced advantage of choosing the Judges [juries] on the first day of the Court contrary to the known and usual custom and have made up the Jury mostly of Men well known to be prejudiced in favor of extortionate Officers and of such Officers themselves. Tyree Harris at whose instance we suppose it was done was high Sheriff for the years 1766 & 1767, whose accounts are yet unsettled, and likely we may be sued by the Treasurer as well as the Vestry to the Court besides almost may we believe every under Sheriff he had is inditable for their Extortions and exactions of Tax[es] and most of them have already been found guilty and though they attempt to make you believe the charge against them for exacting 4d 0d & a shilling extraordinary from ignorant Men Women and in remote neighbour- hoods to be a false charge yet it is not only notoriously known to be the truth by hundreds of people from whom and among whom they exacted it, but at the same time they exacted 4d more from every man in the County in the very same Tax and though this was what we had some Item of from the very beginning yet we could never come at the certainty thereof till now, we think it can be proved beyond all doubt and this is a very particular matter of great weight and moment as it was one immediate cause of the rise of the mob and for which reason we suppose the most strenuous methods has been used to hinder it from coming to light. In the next place Thomas Lloyd may also be said to be a party concerned as he is one of the insolvent Sheriffs Securities and likewise the Justice who commit- ted H. Husband without a Warrant proof of any crime and without a Mittimus, besides all this he has been Vestry Man and Church Warden frequently these Ten years past and more during which time the Vestry accounts are unsettled and irregularly kept and large Ballances behind. Thomas Hart being the only Sheriff
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that ever settled which was for 1762, the particulars of whose accounts is also kept from the eyes of the public, all which is contrary to Law and for which neglect the Church Wardens and Clerks are indictable.
Mr Chief Justice you at our last Court seemed to be somewhat prejudiced against us in a speech that you made in which you signified your Jealosie that we acted through Malice, Ambition &c: But concluding if what we did was from motives to promote Justice detect Extortion &c: for the publick good that you wished us all the success imaginable and heartily concurred with us in our undertaking. Oh that you might be sincere and could but a known our hearts. However be that as it will your Speech could not but afford us consolation and encouragement to persevere for we could lay our hands on our hearts and call God to witness in ourselves that this was our whole sole end and purpose and that too out of pure necessity to keep ourselves and innocent helpless Neighbors from utter ruin our whole properties having become quite insecure as well as our characters — As the two persons who was indicted last Court for perjury by rea- son they had indicted and witnessed against Extortions are two honest innocent men — Yea we need say no more but that we know these two men are honest men of good characters and innocent of that charge, whereas on the contrary to pick the whole country there cannot be found men of much worse characters than many or most of those who have sworn against them. As for the objection that some pretend to make (to wit) that it is hard to find Jurymen but what is prejudiced to one side or t’ other this objection has not the least foundation in Truth or Reason Absolutely no more than if a gang of horse thieves had been numerous and formidable enough to have engaged the same attention and con- cern of the publick — for those Extortioners and Exactors of Tax are certainly more dangerous than those Thieves and in the next place they and all who espouse their cause knowingly are as to numbers inconsiderably small, only that they have the handling the Law chiefly in their own hands — our late Elections help to prove this Diversion; we carried our Elections for Vestrymen twenty five to one — The consequence of not trying these men subject to Law is wooden shoes and uncombed hair — What sense or reason is there in saying any are prej- udiced to our side for what is it we have done — we have labored honestly for our Bread and studied to defraud no man nor live on the spoils of other mens labors nor snatched the Bread out of other mens hands. Our only crime with which they can charge us is vertue in the very highest degree namely to risque our all to save our Country from Rapine and Slavery in our detecting of practices which the Law itself allows to be worse than open Robbery — It is not one in a hundred or a thousand of us who have broke one Law in this our struggle for only common Justice which it is even a shame for any Government or any set of Men in the Law once to have denyed us off — Whereas them as has acted the most legally are the most torn to pieces by the Law through malicious prosecutions carried against them.
To sum up the whole matter of our Petition in a few words it is namely these that we may obtain unprejudiced Jurys, That all extortionate Officers Lawyers and Clerks may be brought to fair Tryals — That the Collectors of publick money
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Comparative Questions 99
may be called to proper settlements of their accounts, namely the Sheriffs for the years 1764, 1765, 1766 & 1767 to which time the taxes was generally collected (a small part of the last year excepted) the refusing to settle for which or give us any satisfaction occasioned the past disturbances — If We cannot obtain this that we may have some security for our properties more than the bare humour of offi- cers, we can see plainly that we shall not be able to live under such oppressions and to what extremities this must drive us you can as well judge of as we can ourselves, we having no other determination but to be redressed and that to be in a legal and lawful way — As we are serious and in good earnest and the Cause respects the whole Body of the people it would be loss of time to enter into argu- ments on particular points for though there is a few men who have the gift or art of reasoning yet every man has a feeling and knows when he has justice done him as well as the most learned.
Therefore that Justice which every man will be ashamed to own that ever he denyed us of when in his power to grant is the prayer of our Petition and your Petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.
Signed by 174 Subscribers.
ReADinG AnD DisCussiOn QuesTiOns
1. Identify the specific grievances that Regulators in Orange County have against the royal government of North Carolina.
2. How do the Regulators frame their argument in this petition? Who was the audi- ence for the petition?
3. What does the Regulator movement reveal about colonial politics on the eve of the Revolution?
■ C O M P A R A T i v e Q u e s T i O n s ■
1. What were the major sources of conflict affecting colonial American society dur- ing the middle decades of the eighteenth century?
2. To what extent did religion unite or divide colonial society?
3. Why was colonial unity so difficult to achieve in these years?
4. How and to what extent did considerations of class define or enhance the con- flicts of this period?