By Jeffrey Glover
In many debts of local American historical past, treaties are synonymous with tragedy. From the beginnings of cost, Europeans made and broke treaties, frequently exploiting local American loss of alphabetic literacy to control political negotiation. yet whereas colonial dealings had devastating effects for local humans, treaty making and breaking concerned struggles extra complicated than any easy contest among invaders and sufferers. The early colonists have been frequently forced to barter on Indian phrases, and treaties took a bewildering array of shapes starting from rituals to gestures to pictographs. whilst, Jeffrey Glover demonstrates, treaties have been overseas occasions, scrutinized via far off ecu audiences and framed opposed to a historical past of English, Spanish, French, and Dutch imperial rivalries.
To determine the that means in their agreements, colonists and Natives tailored and invented many new sorts of political illustration, combining rituals from tribal, nationwide, and spiritual traditions. Drawing on an archive that incorporates written records, published books, orations, panorama markings, wampum beads, tally sticks, and different applied sciences of political accounting, Glover examines the robust impression of treaty making alongside the colourful and multicultural Atlantic coast of the 17th century.
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Extra resources for Paper Sovereigns: Anglo-Native Treaties and the Law of Nations, 1604-1664
In Chapter 4, I examine how fur traders used Native treaties to assert rights to trade in North Atlantic waters. The question of who owned the seas was sharply contested in the early decades of English colonization. Before permanent English settlements were established, the English crown frequently asserted mare liberum, or the right to universal free trade, as a way of making inroads against Spanish claims. By 1630, the crown had begun to assert mare clausum, or exclusive rights to waters off the North American coast.
Planting crosses on islands or at other inland portals was a common way in which Europeans advertised claims to other Christians32 (see Figure 1). In planting the cross, Newport recoups some of the face he lost when he conceded to the king’s wishes to travel no farther. The moment is a dramatic expression of English power, made even bolder by its disregard for Parahunt’s previous order to the party. Yet Archer does not depict the cross as a unilateral assertion of English power. Instead, it is a means for getting Parahunt’s consent to the English presence, and, from the English point of view, establishing possession under the law of nations.
12 The moment dramatizes the great king’s consent to the English presence. But Archer also seems worried that his version of events might not be believed on the other side of the Atlantic. Archer’s narrative is interspersed with parenthetical asides that translate the Indian’s words into English and assure the reader that he means what he says. ”13 If doubts about the “understanding” between Newport and the king remain, the gift of the gown, complete with dramatic embrace, surely removes them. Hand on his heart, the king makes plain his love for the English in his own language, helpfully translated by Archer.
Paper Sovereigns: Anglo-Native Treaties and the Law of Nations, 1604-1664 by Jeffrey Glover