Military Governors and Imperial Frontiers c. 1600-1800: A Study of Scotland and Empires

By A. Mackillop; Steve Murdoch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
JAMES GLEN AND THE INDIANS
Alex Murdoch

Professor W. Stitt Robinson's biography of James Glen was published in 1996, presenting a rounded survey of all aspects of Glen's life. Some account was taken, for instance, of Glen's Scottish associations and long identification with the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow.1 Robinson wrote, however, from the primary perspective of an historian of the British American southern frontier, and was in effect building upon his 1979 monograph, The Southern Colonial Frontier, 1607–1763.2 There is nothing wrong with that perspective, which allowed Robinson to pursue very interesting lines of enquiry regarding Glen's achievements as a diplomat in negotiations with native American peoples and as an imperial administrator attempting to defend royal prerogative in America. The purpose of this essay is to try to build on Robinson's work by further pursuing the influence of Glen's Scottish origins and identity on his career in North America.

This is particularly evident in Glen's success as a negotiator with the well-established tribes of native Americans he encountered when he arrived in South Carolina in 1743. Glen was a member of a family long prominent in Linlithgow and his background was indisputably Lowland. But he took with him to America the Scottish experience of living near enough to the Highlands to be aware of the frontier between different cultures, languages, and economies and indeed environments. We do not have a record of any direct experience of living in the Highlands during Glen's early life in Scotland. Robinson does record, however, that Glen was a friend of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, whose ideas on legal and political reform in the

____________________
1
W. Stitt Robinson, James Glen: From Scottish Provost to Royal Governor of South Carolina (Westport, Connecticut: 1996). See my review in Scottish Historical Review, 77 (1998), 111–113.
2
W. Stitt Robinson, The Southern Colonial Frontier, 1607–1763 (Albuquerque, New Mexico: 1979).

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