Friday, January 29, 2010

Collected [Amusing] Quotes from Alan Taylor's "American Colonies"

I'm doing some reading for my early American history class, and the chapter about Jamestown is a gold mine of good quotes. Here are the ones that made me pause.

"English colonizers had a peculiar confidence that their economic self-interest served God." Those silly English

"'A more damned crew hell never vomited.'" Why don't people talk like this anymore?!

"The Virginia Company naively instructed the colonial leaders never to allow the Indians to see any English die, lest the natives learn that the colonists were 'but common men' rather than immortals." Wow... seriously? Dumb.

"When seventeen colonists imposed themselves on one village [to request food], the natives killed them, stuffed their dead mouths with maize as a sign of contempt, and left the corpses for their countrymen to discover." Now that's bad-ass.

"Convicting a laborer of stealing two pints of oatmeal to allay his hunger, the leaders had a long needle thrust through his tongue, to keep him from ever eating again. Chained to a tree, the convict slowly starved to death, a vivid and lingering example to terrify his fellow colonists." Jesus... imagine being that guy. Imagine being the dude that had to thrust the needle through his tongue. *shudders*

"During the 17th century, the Chesapeake's leading men... were very touchy about their origins, qualifications, and conduct. When Richard Crocker accurately but recklessly denounced two Virginia councillors as extortioners, the council put him into the public pillory with his ears nailed to the wooden frame." Dude went too far. I can see him there now, saying, "Too soon?"

"...the family household, which the English called a 'little commonwealth'... If a servant, child, or wife killed his or her master, the law considered the culprit guilty of 'Petit Treason' as well as murder." Well, now you're just fucking around.

"In 1648 a Virginian marveled that only one in nine immigrants died during their first year, compared with one in four during the preceding generation." Womp.

That's all for now. As I continue to read I'll add more. =P

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