The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial by James Axtell

By James Axtell

Colonial North the United States used to be not just a battleground for furs and land, but in addition for allegiances or even souls. within the three-sided fight for empire, the English and French colonists have been locked in heated festival for local allies and spiritual converts. Axtell sharply contrasts the English efforts to "civilize" the Indians with the French willingness to just accept local existence, and divulges why the fight for regulate over the continent turned a desirable contest of cultures among wise competitors lasting approximately a hundred and fifty years.

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Obviously, conquest was seen as the likeliest road to conversion. 1 3 Initial d oubt about the bona fide place of religion in the French plan is raised by the character of the instruments chosen: Cartier and Roberval were allowed to d raw their pool of colonists from the nation's prisons-fifty convicts for Cartier, an unlimited number for Roberval. It is not d ifficult to imagine how the Indians responded to the religious lure of men who were murderers and thieves and women who had prostituted themselves, sold their daughters, and murdered their sons-in-law.

Since the 1 534 voyage had not discovered an easy passage to the Orient, Francis sent Cartier and three ships to continue the search the following year. The crew of 1 1 0 included the two I ndian interpreters, Domagaya and Taig­ noagny, but no Catholic priests. Knowing that his I ndian guides had come down a great river to fish on the Gaspe, Cartier set out to probe the length of Anticosti Island, which he had previously taken for a peninsula. But not before exploring the coast of Labrador to "make sure that no strait existed along the north shore"; the spicy dream of Cathay lingered even as the air filled with the coniferous fragrance of a new world.

To be in league with the devil, the shaman wore a small black bird above his ear as a badge of office and a medicine pouch at his side. Reproduced by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Those Poor Blind Infidels 19 Finally, in all the woodland tribes, especially the northernmost groups that depended on large game animals for much of the year, tribesmen came together in lesser or greater numbers to prognosticate the location of game, changes in the weather, and even the outcome of war.

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