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In this fascinating tale of England's first two New World colonies, Bernhard links Virginia and Bermuda in a series of unintended consequences resulting from natural disaster, ignorance of native cultures, diplomatic intrigue, and the fateful arrival of the first Africans in both colonies. --from publisher description
This comparative study looks at the laws concerning the murder of slaves by their masters and at how these laws were implemented. Andrew T. Fede cites a wide range of cases—across time, place, and circumstance—to illuminate legal, judicial, and other complexities surrounding this regrettably common occurrence. These laws had evolved to limit in different ways the masters’ rights to severely punish and even kill their slaves while protecting valuable enslaved people, understood as “property,” from wanton destruction by hirers, overseers, and poor whites who did not own slaves. To explore the conflicts of masters’ rights with state and colonial laws, Fede shows how slave homicide law evolved and was enforced not only in the United States but also in ancient Roman, Visigoth, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British jurisdictions. His comparative approach reveals how legal reforms regarding slave homicide in antebellum times, like past reforms dictated by emperors and kings, were the products of changing perceptions of the interests of the public; of the individual slave owners; and of the slave owners’ families, heirs, and creditors. Although some slave murders came to be regarded as capital offenses, the laws con­sistently reinforced the second-class status of slaves. This influence, Fede concludes, flowed over into the application of law to free African Americans and would even make itself felt in the legal attitudes that underlay the Jim Crow era.
This study provides a broad examination of the overlapping conflicts and power struggles among the indigenous population, colonists, and other European peoples that shaped the American colonies. The author analyzes the origins, development, and outcomes of such conflicts and their various cultural and political impacts.
For readers of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower, a groundbreaking history that makes the case for replacing Plymouth Rock with Jamestown as America's founding myth. We all know the great American origin story. It begins with an exodus. Fleeing religious persecution, the hardworking, pious Pilgrims thrived in the wilds of New England, where they built their fabled city on a hill. Legend goes that the colony in Jamestown was a false start, offering a cautionary tale. Lazy louts hunted gold till they starved, and the shiftless settlers had to be rescued by English food and the hard discipline of martial law. Neither story is true. In Marooned, Joseph Kelly reexamines the history of Jamestown and comes to a radically different and decidedly American interpretation of these first Virginians. In this gripping account of shipwrecks and mutiny in America's earliest settlements, Kelly argues that the colonists at Jamestown were literally and figuratively marooned, cut loose from civilization, and cast into the wilderness. The British caste system meant little on this frontier: those who wanted to survive had to learn to work and fight and intermingle with the nearby native populations. Ten years before the Mayflower Compact and decades before Hobbes and Locke, they invented the idea of government by the people. 150 years before Jefferson, they discovered the truth that all men were equal. The epic origin of America was not an exodus and a fledgling theocracy. It is a tale of shipwrecked castaways of all classes marooned in the wilderness fending for themselves in any way they could--a story that illuminates who we are today.
To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, the University of Virginia Press reissues its first-ever publication. The volume’s two accounts of the 1609 wreck of a Jamestown-bound ship offer a gripping sea adventure from the earliest days of American colonization, but the dramatic events’ even greater claim to fame is for serving as the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s last major work, The Tempest. William Strachey was one of six hundred passengers sailing to Jamestown as part of the largest expedition yet to Virginia. A mere week from their destination, the fleet’s flagship, Sea Venture, met a tropical storm and wrecked on one of the islands of Bermuda. Strachey’s story might have ended there, but the castaways survived on the tropical island for eleven months and—in an act of almost incomprehensible resourcefulness—used local cedarwood, along with the wreckage of their own ship, to construct two seaworthy boats and continue successfully on their voyage. Strachey’s frankness about his fellow travelers, mutinies on the island, and the wretched condition in which they finally found Jamestown kept his document from being officially published initially, but it circulated privately in London, where one of its early readers was William Shakespeare. The second narrative in this volume, by Strachey’s shipmate Silvester Jourdain, covers the same episode but includes many fascinating details that Strachey’s does not, including some that made their way into The Tempest. Presented with modern spelling and punctuation, this great maritime drama and unforgettable firsthand look at the profound struggle to colonize America offers today’s reader the raw material that inspired Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
In The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family, 1887–1906, Virginia Bernhard delves into the unpublished letters of one of Texas’s most extraordinarily families and tells their story. In their own words, which are published here for the first time. Rich in details, the more than four hundred letters in this volume begin in 1887 in 1906, following the family through the hurly-burly of Texas politics and the ups-and-downs of their own lives. The letters illuminate the little-known private life of one of Texas’s most famous families. Like all families, the Hoggs were far from perfect. Governor James Stephen Hogg (sometimes called "Stupendous" for his 6'3", 300-plus pound frame), who lived and breathed politics, did his best to balance his career with the needs of his wife and children. His frequent travels were hard on his wife and children. Wife Sallie’s years of illness casted a pall over the household. Son Will and his father were not close. Sons Mike and Tom did poorly in school. Daughter Ima may have had a secret romance. Hogg’s sister, “Aunt Fannie,” was a domestic tyrant. The letters in this volume, often poignant and amusing, are interspersed liberally with portions of Ima Hogg's personal memoir and informative commentary from historian Virginia Bernhard. They show the Hoggs as their world changed, as Texas and the nation left horse-and-buggy days and entered the twentieth century.
In an exploration of the oceanic connections of the Atlantic world, Michael J. Jarvis recovers a mariner's view of early America as seen through the eyes of Bermuda's seafarers. The first social history of eighteenth-century Bermuda, this book profiles how one especially intensive maritime community capitalized on its position "in the eye of all trade." Jarvis takes readers aboard small Bermudian sloops and follows white and enslaved sailors as they shuttled cargoes between ports, raked salt, harvested timber, salvaged shipwrecks, hunted whales, captured prizes, and smuggled contraband in an expansive maritime sphere spanning Great Britain's North American and Caribbean colonies. In doing so, he shows how humble sailors and seafaring slaves operating small family-owned vessels were significant but underappreciated agents of Atlantic integration. The American Revolution starkly revealed the extent of British America's integration before 1775 as it shattered interregional links that Bermudians had helped to forge. Reliant on North America for food and customers, Bermudians faced disaster at the conflict's start. A bold act of treason enabled islanders to continue trade with their rebellious neighbors and helped them to survive and even prosper in an Atlantic world at war. Ultimately, however, the creation of the United States ended Bermuda's economic independence and doomed the island's maritime economy.

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