Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2000 - History - 463 pages
This book is an award-winning historian's beautifully written reconstruction of how Europeans lived in peace and war with Indians on America's colonial frontier. They've been with us since the mythic past, when Hermes carried messages From the gods to the Greeks and Deganawidah with his disciple Hiawatha built the Great League of Peace among the Iroquois. They are the goal-between, the shadowy figures who moved between us and them, linking different worlds. On the Pennsylvania frontier they were German and Delaware, Irish and Iroquois, French and Shawnee, with names like Weiser, Shickellamy, Montour, and Osternados. These were the "woodsmen," wise in the ways of the American woods, knowledgeable about the other, able to navigate the treacherous shoals of misunderstanding and mistrust. From the Quaker colonies founding in the early 1680s into the 1750s, they did the hard, dirty work that helped maintain the fragile "long peace" between Indians and colonists. But, skilled as they were in the alchemy of translation and negotiation, they could not prevent the sickening plummet from piece to war after 1750. The bloodshed and hatred of frontier conflict at once made go-betweens obsolete and taught the harsh lesson of the woods: the final incompatibility of colonial and native dreams about the continent they shared. Long erased from history -- overlooked even in Benjamin West's famous painting of William Penn's legendary encounter with the Indians -- the go-betweens of early America are recovered here in vivid detail. - Jacket flap.
 

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INTO THE AMERICAN WOODS: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier

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A pathbreaking scholarly work, by one of the nation's leading historians of the interaction between Native Americans and European newcomers in early America. In this deeply researched book, Bancroft ... Read full review

Into the American woods: negotiators on the Pennsylvania frontier

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More than 100 pages of notes and acknowledgments testify to the extensive research on which this book is based. Merrell (The Indians' New World, Univ. of North Carolina, 1989), a prize-winning ... Read full review

Contents

Fitt Proper Persons to Goe Between Paths to the Woods
54
Finding Friends Woodslore 16991723
106
That Road between Us and You Passages through the Woods
128
The Lessons of Brinksmanship Woodslore 17281743
157
A Good Correspondance Conversations
179
In the Woods Woodslore 17551758
225
A Sort of Confusion Treaties
253
The Killing of Young Seneca George 1769
302
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
317
ABBREVIATIONS
321
NOTES
329
INDEX
439
Copyright

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Page 433 - Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (New York: WW Norton & Company, 1975); Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982). 21. Joan W. Scott, "The Evidence of Experience," Critical Inquiry 17 (Summer 1991): 776.
Page 20 - We went out door; brethren, you came a great way to visit us, and many sorts of evils might have befallen you by the way, which might have been hurtful to your eyes and your inward parts ; for the woods are full of evil spirits. We give you this string of wampum to clear up your eyes and minds, and to remove all bitterness of your spirit, that you may hear us speak a good cheer.
Page 33 - Interpretation of whatever, is said to him by either of us, equally allied to both ; he is of our Nation, and a Member of our Council, as well as of yours. When we adopted him, we divided him into two equal Parts : One we kept for ourselves, and one we left for you.

About the author (2000)

James H. Merrell is professor of history at Northwestern University and the author of (Norton), winner of the Bancroft Prize.

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