The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture

By John C. Miller | Go to book overview

Virginia

Robert Beverley

As a historian, Beverley was most successful in dealing with his own times. He was not deeply concerned with the past: it was the present and future state of Virginia that engrossed his attention. Here he found much cause for satisfaction: in many respects, he considered Virginia to be an improvement over England. Contrasted with the mother country, the colony afforded better farmland, enjoyed more religious liberty and was blessed with a more equable climate. The "spring and fall afford as pleasant weather as Mahomet promised in his Paradise," he asserted; but he acknowledged that mosquitoes and chiggers were not mentioned by Mahomet in his inventory of the delights of heaven.


OF THE PEOPLE, INHABITANTS OF VIRGINIA

I can easily imagin with Sir Josiah Child, that this, as well as all the rest of the Plantations, was for the most part at first peopled by Persons of low Circumstances, and by such as were willing to seek their Fortunes in a Foreign Country. Nor was it hardly possible it should be otherwise; for 'tis not likely that any Man of a plentiful Estate, should voluntarily abandon a happy Certainty, to roam after imaginary Advantages, in a New World. Besides which incertainty, he must have propos'd to himself, to encounter the infinite Difficulties and Dangers, that attend a New Settlement. These Discouragements were sufficient to terrific any Man, that cou'd live easy in England, from going to provoke his Fortune in a strange Land.

Those that went over to that Country first, were chiefly single Men, who had not the Incumbrance of Wives and Children in England; and if they had, they did not expose them to the fatigue and hazard of so long a Voyage, until they saw how it should fare with themselves. From hence it came to pass, that when they were setled there in a comfortable way of Subsisting a Family, they grew sensible of the Misfortune of

____________________
Robert Beverley: "The History and Present State of Virginia". Edited by Louis B. Wright.

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The Colonial Image: Origins of American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 15
  • Part I - Arrivals 41
  • The Plymouth Plantation 43
  • A Description of New England 66
  • The New English Canaan 76
  • Letters 77
  • The Crossing to Pennsylvania! 83
  • Part II - Daily Life 99
  • Pirates in Plymouth 101
  • Thomas Morton of Merrymount 103
  • The Merrymount Colony 108
  • Edifying Incidents 113
  • An Exemplary Christian 115
  • Inoculation for Smallpox 118
  • Courtship 132
  • Marriage 141
  • On Taking a Mistress 154
  • The Speech of Polly Baker 156
  • Riding through Virginia 159
  • Part III - God and the Devil 167
  • Religious Tolerance 169
  • In Defence of Intolerance 175
  • Witchcraft in Salem 179
  • Witchcraft in Salem 185
  • Witchcraft in Salem 190
  • The Devil in the Shape of a Woman 193
  • Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 207
  • Personal Narrative 212
  • Part IV - The Indians 221
  • The Indians in Virginia 223
  • Pocahontas 231
  • The Pequot War 239
  • The Pequot War 244
  • Indian Customs and Manners 248
  • Captured by Indians 257
  • Part V - The South 291
  • Virginia 293
  • History of the Dividing Line 310
  • Part VI - Literature 351
  • Anne Bradstreet 353
  • Michael Wigglesworth 357
  • Edward Taylor 367
  • Bacon's Epitaph 370
  • Ebenezer Cook 372
  • Benjamin Franklin 377
  • Part VII - Four Colonial Views 387
  • Itinerarium Dr. Alexander Hamilton 389
  • Autobiography 419
  • Journal 437
  • Letters from an American Farmer 479
  • Bibliography 499
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