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Intimidation, violence, and race in British America.

IN BRITISH COLONIES on the North-American mainland, a political and economic elite employed violence and intimidation to control white subordinates, neighboring Indians, and enslaved blacks. Contemporary laws, customs, and symbols sanctioned much of its brutality. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, colonial authorities altered their methods and strategies to accommodate changing priorities, concerns, and demographics. Lawmakers and officials were very deliberate--one might even say discriminating--in their use of violence and intimidation, carefully considering the race and economic value of the targeted individual, or group, as well as possible repercussions. By contrast, men of lesser means (especially those living in the interior) tended to be more spontaneous in their interactions with servants, slaves, and Native Americans, employing random violence, intimidating through action rather than laws or threats, and sometimes discovering that unchecked power was not in anyone's best interest.

Among the cultural baggage that English emigrants brought to America was an ignoble tradition of employing brutal methods to punish offenders and dissuade others from similar behavior. If a woman poisoned her husband in the reign of Henry VIII, she might be boiled; in Edward Vi's reign, she could be publicly burned. (1) In 1592, Frederick, Duke of Wurttemberg (1557-1608), counted "thirty-four heads of persons of distinction" on London Bridge; six years later, another foreigner reported that "above 300 are said to be hanged annually" in the city. (2) In 1606, shortly before Jamestown was planted, conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot were publically hanged, drawn, and quartered. (3) When the Mayflower sailed in 1620, English law allowed thieves' hands to be amputated, rapists to be castrated, and adulteresses' noses to be cut off. (4) In 1663, the same year that Charles II granted a charter for the Province of Carolina, twenty-three rebels convicted in the Farnley Wood Plot were hanged, drawn, and quartered at York. (5)

The English legal system was in many ways unique, but its intrinsic brutality was not. Authorities in other European countries also set grisly examples of the consequences of crime, idleness, and social or religious deviance. With every maiming or execution they sent a message, employing violence to intimidate the masses. Clemency, when shown, was simply another instrument of coercion. In earlier times, Greek philosophers had envisioned a society that relied on persuasion rather than force to maintain order; by the end of the fifteenth century such ideas seemed naive. Countries whose governments claimed an internal monopoly on power and violence had emerged. (6) Their leaders relied on sanctions--the imposition of punishments or, conversely, the validation of practices as lawful acts--as central tenets of sovereign rule. (7) As Thomas Hobbes noted in Leviathan, "The desires and other passions of man are in themselves no sin. No more are the actions that proceed from those passions, till they know a law that forbids them." (8) In theory, sanctions prevented chaos by reinforcing notions of right and wrong, of justice and injustice. In reality, they enabled ruling elites to turn the law into one of the most potent weapons in their arsenal.

Agents of many European states engaged in sanctioned violence when establishing colonies in other lands. Conquerors who planted sovereigns' banners or crosses (or both), and colonists who wielded patents or charters asserted power through "legalities," symbols, signs, and mechanisms of enforcement that lent credence to official policy and interpretation. (9) Powerful indeed was the monarch or pontiff who could decide which lands were "vacant," or which slaughters were "just wars." (10) The Inter-Caetera Papal Bull of 1493 provided justification for waging war against los indios, native "heathens" who might refuse religious indoctrination. (11) Other formalized legalities followed, foremost of which was the Requerimiento, an injunction drafted in 1512 by legal scholar Juan Lopez de Palacios Rubios to legitimize Spanish presence and conduct in America. Conquistadors read the document to native people (even in their absence) as they appropriated lands by command of the Pope and in the name of the monarchs they served. A formal invitation to accept Christianity, papal oversight, and Spanish sovereignty, the Requerimiento warned that any who refused would suffer dire consequences:
   we will come upon you and make war upon you everywhere and in every
   way that we can ... and will take from you your bodies, your wives,
   and your children and make them slaves ... and we shall take your
   goods and do unto you all the harm and evil that we can. (12)


The document was no more than a legal cover for war that appeared to give Native Americans "choice in the manner of a coming domination and destruction." (13) Later, the "Doctrine of Discovery" and princes' "Rights to Conquest" helped justify land-grab schemes in the New World. (14)

Operating in conjunction with sanctions, a broad array of legalities provided the philosophic underpinnings and rhetoric of conquest and colonization. They freed civil and military leaders on the cusp of empire from traditional constraints, legitimizing their use of force in dealing with indigenous populations, foreign rivals, enslaved laborers, and, to a lesser degree, fellow colonists. (15) The symbolic nature of some legalities made it clear that ruling elites were often communicating with each other, not with the common folk or native people they exploited. Men of rank had no need to justify their actions to their inferiors; theirs was a world of privilege where notions of supremacy legitimized the use of force. (16) Legalities established the parameters for acceptable behavior; conquest enabled the English and other Europeans to challenge and ultimately displace the "competing legalities or ... jurispractices of indigenous others." (17) As Christopher Tomlins notes regarding European law and lawmaking in America, "the act of construction is simultaneously one of destruction, notably the destruction of strangeness." (18)

As the first Europeans on the scene, the Spaniards pioneered the use of violence and intimidation in dealing with America's indigenous people:
   [Conquistadores] became like fierce wolves and tigers and lions
   [who would] dismember, slay, perturb, aflict, torment, and destroy
   the Indians by all manner of cruelty....

   They would enter into the villages and spare not children, or old
   people, or pregnant women.... Others, they would tie or bind their
   bodies all about with dry straw, and set fire to the straw and bum
   them that way.... [S]uch terrible cruelties have been done that the
   Spaniards have almost succeeded in depopulating and laying waste to
   all that great land, and slaying infinite people. (19)


The "Black Legend" that emerged from Bartolome de Las Casas' account of Spanish atrocities in the "Indies" was already established when English efforts to subdue the Irish began in the mid-sixteenth century. There, on the "Emerald Isle," the invaders' view that Roman Catholics were degenerate "papists," almost sub-human, opened the door not only to their oppression but also to unrestrained violence against them. A contemporary described the method used by Colonel Humphrey Gilbert to terrify the "savage heathen" in Munster in 1569:
   the heddes of all those ... which were killed in the daie, should
   be cutte of from their bodies and brought to the place where he
   incamped at night, and should there bee laied on the ground by eche
   side of the waie ledying into his owne tent so that none could come
   into his tente for any cause, but commonly he must passe through a
   lane of heads which he used ad terrorem. (20)


Gilbert's strategem "did bringe greate terrour to the people, when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke and friends." (21) It is significant that the English were willing to commit such atrocities against fellow Christians; religious and cultural differences fostered a psychological divide that facilitated the persecution of Gaelic "others" by their European neighbors. Knighted in 1570, Gilbert maintained that he and his men were unfettered by ethical restraints when dealing with the Irish "barbarians." (22) The sanctions he employed and the legalities he observed empowered rather than restrained Gilbert and his men. As would be the case in North America, the English proclaimed the legitimacy of their violence and denounced their opponents' use of force as illegitimate. Gilbert reasoned that "no Conquered nacion will ever yelde willenglie their obedience for love but rather for feare." (23) His sentiment recalled the advice offered by Nicolo Machiavelli in The Prince, that "love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails," the Italian thinker concluding how "it is much safer to be feared than loved." (24)

Machiavelli's maxim seems to have been the operating principle of Sir Thomas Dale after he arrived in Jamestown in May 1611. Appointed to govern the hardscrabble settlement, Dale introduced the Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall, 37 articles primarily concerned with religious orthodoxy, military discipline, labor, and trade. (25) The Lawes were meant to cow colonists into submission; 25 offenses were capital crimes. Refusal to work called for the culprit to be tied neck and heels all night; repeat offenses called for flogging and sentence to the galleys for a year. (26) When several men pilfered goods from the colony's storehouse, Governor Dale "cawsed them to be bownd faste unto Trees and so starved them to deathe." (27) Dale's successors also maintained stern discipline. Edward Sharpless was "set upon the Pillory" in James City, "there to have his ears nailed to it & cutd off." (28) Another offender had his tongue bored through and was beaten by forty guards before being ejected from the colony. When Richard Williams was executed for buggery in 1624 or 1625, a servant who said the defendant had been "put to death wrongfully" was sentenced to be "whipt from the fort to the gallows and from thence be whipt back againe, and be sett upon the Pillory and there to lose one of his eares." (29)

The threat of violence helped regulate conduct in other British colonies as well. In Maryland, female counterfeiters could be burned to death and male counterfeiters hanged, drawn, and quartered. A person who lied in Court might "lose his, or her right hand, or ... be burned in the hand." (30) The severity of such laws was mitigated by the infrequency of conviction, though social status was often a factor. Convicts, indentured servants, and redemptioners were far more likely to feel the heavy hand of justice; simply being intoxicated in the presence of a magistrate or minister could result in confinement in the stocks or up to 39 lashes. Maryland's gentry and planter class, on the other hand, were shielded from severe corporal punishments. In Pennsylvania, individuals arrested for assault (including rape) or civic disorder were subject to harsh punishments; William Penn's Great Act of 1682 stipulated that only treason and murder were punishable by death but by the time of the American Revolution every colony except Rhode Island recognized at least ten capital crimes. (31)

Authorities in Massachusetts Bay Colony were somewhat constrained by the 1641 Body of Liberties, which stated "For bodilie punishments we allow amongst us none that are inhumane, Barbarous or cruell." (32) By law, commoners could not be beaten "above 40 stripes" and a true gentleman not at all "unless his crime be very shamefull, and his course of life vitious and profligate." (33) A man could not be "forced by Torture to confesse any Crime against himself" and when tortured to identify other conspirators, "he may be tortured, yet not with such Tortures as be Barbarous and inhumane." (34) Despite such guarantees, the laws were still intimidating. Witchcraft, false worship, blasphemy, adultery, and bestiality were capital offenses, as were murder, kidnapping, and treason. Prostitutes were to be whipped through the streets and then flogged weekly in the house of correction. Thieves were usually whipped but repeat offenders could be sent to the gallows. (35) When the law did not require a specific punishment for an offense, the judge had power "to inflict penalties, according to the rule of God's word." (36) When men went to the gallows, Puritan clerics seized the opportunity to call sinners to task; sermons such as the 94-page oration delivered by Cotton Mather on the occasion of James Morgan's execution in 1686 reinforced the overlapping messages of church and +state. (37) Intimidation took on an other-worldly tone at times, but it was intimidation nonetheless. In some colonies people convicted of capital offenses were able to claim "Benefit of Clergy," an ancient privilege first reserved for clergy but later extended to all felons who could read--but just once. Colonists who claimed this privilege were branded on the left thumb so they could not escape execution using the same ploy a second time.

One group that seldom fared well in any of the colonial courts was indentured servants. (38) In 1611 Virginia's deputy governor suggested that people sentenced to death in England should be deported to his colony for three years. He later complained that the 300 disorderly persons he brought to America were riotous and mutinous and their bodies so "diseased and crazy that not sixty may be employed in labour." (39) In 1635 a member of the governor's council in Maryland described servants as "the scum of the people taken up promiscuously as vagrants and runaways from their English master, debauched, idle, lazy squanderers, jailbirds and the like." (40) In 1664 the Board of Trade contemplated the deportation of all "vagrants, rogues, and idle persons ... [and] felons who have the benefit of clergy" to the American colonies. (41) Authorities in Maryland and Virginia complained about "the great number of Felons and other desperate villains sent hither" and passed laws to restrict the importation of "jaile birds" who "deserved to dye in England." (42) Historian Michael Ignatieff estimates that by the late 1760s, 70 percent of the defendants in English capital cases were transported rather than hanged. (43) By 1775 as many as 25,000 convicts may have been shipped to the British colonies in North America. (44)

Planters in the colonies typically ignored the reciprocality that traditionally accompanied the master-servant relationship in England. (45) Although many young men and women signed indentures voluntarily, the conditions they encountered in America meant their servitude had to be maintained by violence and intimidation. Treatment of servants differed greatly from one master to another, just as it would for enslaved Africans. Although all colonies had laws that required masters to feed and shelter servants, their fare and lodging were often hideous. Insubordination or laziness often resulted in a flogging; running away was punishable by death but fugitives were typically sentenced to additional years of servitude. In Maryland, stealing a master's goods was a felony punishable by being whipped, pilloried, and fined four-fold the value of the purloined items in additional servitude. Extreme cruelty was so common that some colonies required the corpses of servants to be examined for evidence of gross abuse before they could be buried. In 1634, John and Alice Proctor were responsible for the deaths of servants Elizabeth Abbot and Elias Hinton. Elizabeth reportedly endured five hundred lashes and Elias was beaten with a rake as well as a whip. (46) The Proctors appear to have escaped prosecution. Five years later a grand jury in Massachusetts indicted Marmaduke Percy for beating his apprentice to death, but he was acquitted due to conflicting testimony and the fact that the boy seemed "ill disposed" and in need of correction. (47) John Betts, another Bay Colony resident, beat and bound his servant, forced excrement in his mouth and left him partially paralyzed. (48) Cast in a hovel without food or water, the servant soon died, yet Betts was acquitted. In 1664, Maryland planter John Grammer beat his servant with a knotted rope and then ordered his overseer to administer one hundred additional blows with a cat-o'-nine tails. (49) When the young man died, his master too was exonerated by the courts.

Colonists were entitled to certain rights under English Common Law and, in the second half of the seventeenth century, many assemblies showed an inclination to protect servants against egregious punishments. (50) Given the dwindling supply of servants and the need to act with restraint when disciplining them, more and more planters relied on enslaved Africans to plant, tend, and harvest their crops. Black workers toiled under the lash and had to settle for whatever food, clothing, and shelter was provided, no matter how inadequate. Laws were established to prohibit slave owners from administering excessive punishments--that was the prerogative of the state, but courts seldom intervened on any African's behalf. Years later, Frederick Douglass wrote about the brutality that he and other enslaved blacks endured and the "blighting and dehumanizing effects of slavery" on slaveholders. (51) The conduct of the latter gave credence to Lord Acton's observation that, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (52)

By the time John Locke espoused natural rights (1689-90), African slavery was well entrenched in Great Britain's colonies and racism was evident in its laws and courts. When three servants attempted to flee Hugh Gwyn's Virginia estate in 1640, the two whites were given thirty lashes and four years' extra service but their black companion was whipped and condemned to servitude "for the time of his natural Life." (53) Virginia and Maryland codified slavery in the 1660s and passed laws that proscribed increasingly harsh punishments for blacks. Laws against miscegenation were passed in Virginia in 1662, 1691, 1696, 1705, 1753, and 1765, though they were seldom used to prosecute slaveholders since sexual intimacy (i.e., rape) was considered a privilege of ownership. (54)

As the number of enslaved Africans and their progeny grew in the Chesapeake and Carolinas, a striped back became increasingly emblematic of enslavement. (55) Slaves were whipped regularly, but magistrates often imposed fines or other forms of restitution as substitutes for corporal punishment of whites. (56) By the nineteenth century, a whipping meant not only physical suffering but unspeakable degradation for any free man or woman in the South. (57) The presence of enslaved blacks unified southern whites; even the lowliest white person cherished his or her perceived racial superiority. Destitute non-slaveholders often brutalized African-Americans and participated in the intimidation of the black population. (58) Angela Davis maintains that if slaveholders had not maintained an absolute monopoly of violence and been able to rely on other whites "to assist them in their terrorist machinations," slavery would have been "far less feasible than it actually proved to be." (59) Davis is not entirely correct: Slaveholders relied on the whip, but theirs was not a true "monopoly of violence." Draconian laws reserved the most violent punishments, including mutilation and excruciating forms of execution, for the use of the state.

Such violence was not restricted to British America; Spanish crimes against humanity are well documented. Less-publicized abuses in French colonies have come to light in the works of scholars such as Cecile Vidal, who writes:
   Not surprisingly, the forms of violence masters used against their
   slaves influenced notions of violence throughout European society
   in Lower Louisiana. In some whites' minds, the relationship of
   domination, superiority, and inferiority that existed in slavery
   was precisely expressed through such extreme violence and through
   the excessive mistreatment masters inflicted on slaves. (60)


The first truly punitive slave code in British America was crafted in Barbados. The 1661 Act for the better ordering and governing of Negroes, a milestone in the history of racial discrimination, established a legal foundation for the oppression of that island's black majority. The preamble described Africans as a "heathenish, brutish and an uncertain, dangerous kind of people." (61) The Act's twenty-three clauses gave planters almost unlimited authority over their slaves; it contained few provisions to protect blacks. Though lawmakers fretted about "the Arbitrary, cruell and outragious wills of every evill disposed person," it was assumed that planters had a vested interest in their workers and would not harm them without good cause. (62) This made sense in theory, but reality often proved otherwise. Should a slave die as a result of "correction," his or her master faced no legal consequences. Conspiracies and open rebellions removed all restraints on white vengeance. In 1675, seventeen slaves implicated in a Barbados conspiracy were seized and hastily arraigned; eleven were beheaded and the rest burned alive. (63) In accordance with the strategy of intimidation, the beheaded conspirators were dragged through the streets and then burned alongside those unfortunates who were set to the stake. Five other slaves hanged themselves rather than face similar punishments. The Barbados slave code was intended to be preemptive, to intimidate the slave population by removing any doubt that resistance would result in excruciating punishment or an unhappy death. (64) Enslaved Africans undoubtedly regarded any violence they used as legitimate means to assert their humanity and acquire their independence; unfortunately for them, the outcomes of New World insurrections were seldom dictated by the righteousness of the rebels' cause.

In 1690, the South Carolina General Assembly passed An Act for the Better Ordering of Slaves based on the Barbadian slave code. (65) It called for brutal punishments including whipping, mutilation, and branding. Striking a white person was a capital crime. The Lords Proprietors disallowed the 1690 Act but the version that passed in the Assembly six years later provided a legal foundation for slavery. Assemblies in other colonies, most notably Virginia and Maryland, passed similar laws, but the hegemonic influence of Barbadian emigrants in South Carolina placed that colony at the forefront of legislated intimidation. As Winthrop D. Jordan observed, violence was built into the system of racial slavery but that system "rested, in the final analysis, on coercion." (66) Enslaved Africans were not the only ones being coerced; a stable slaveholding society depended on whites' willingness to perform inhumane acts without hesitation or regret. A truly effective slave code would keep Africans in utter subjection, rob them of their humanity, and legitimize violence against any who challenged authority or committed even the slightest infraction. Under such circumstances, civil authorities, slaveholders, overseers, patrollers, members of the night watch or city guard, and other whites could employ extreme varieties of intimidation and violence without any need for atonement. (67)

Black people endured abominable punishments in virtually every colony; some actions were spontaneous but others were designed for maximum effect. In 1712, approximately two dozen slaves in New York City set a fire and killed or wounded the whites who came to douse the flames. Twenty-five blacks were sentenced to death, of whom most were hanged, but newspapers revealed that a few met worse fates:
   We have about 70 Negro's in Custody and 'tis fear'd that most of
   the Negro's here (who are very numerous) knew of the Late
   Conspiracy to murder the Christians; six of them have been their
   own Executioners by shooting and cutting their own Throats; Three
   have been Executed according to Law, one burnt, a second broke upon
   the wheel, and a third hung up alive. (68)


In New York and elsewhere, authorities did their best to ensure that slaves understood the grave consequences of resistance even if they could not read the law. After a South Carolina planter killed a fugitive slave in 1732, the local justice ordered him to cut off the African's head, "fix it on a Pole, and set it up in a Cross-Road." (69) Similarly, an escaped slave convicted of burglary was hanged and his head "sever'd from his Body and fixed upon the Gallows." (70) Another runaway was "executed at the usual Place, and afterwards hung in Chains at Hang-Man's Point ... in sight of all Negroes passing and repassing by Water." (71) Such exhibitions were meant to reassure whites and to intimidate blacks. Slaves had to fear not only sadistic owners but also public officials who were determined to set examples. (72)

On 9 September 1739, twenty-one whites in South Carolina were killed by slaves in what became known as the Stono rebellion. In its wake, lawmakers passed An Act for the better ordering and governing Negroes and other Slaves in this Province--a statutory framework that regulated the behavior and interaction of blacks and whites in South Carolina for the next 125 years. (73) Under the "Negro Act," as it came to be called, "every negro, Indian, mulatto and mustizo" was deemed a slave unless they could prove otherwise, considered chattels or property, while their unfree status extended to their offspring, "born or to be born," following the condition of the mother. (74) They could not testify against whites and were allowed to defend their masters, but not themselves, from white assailants. Should a slave "grievously wound, maim or bruise" a white person, he or she would be executed in a manner "most effectual to deter others." (75) The Act mandated that "every slave who shall raise or attempt to raise an insurrection in this Province, [or] shall endeavor to delude or entice any slave to run away and leave this Province ... shall, upon conviction, suffer death." (76) Mindful that the execution of large numbers of rebellious slaves would pose disastrous financial consequences, the Assembly decided that "if several slaves shall receive sentence at one time," the justices could "mitigate and alter the sentence of any slave other than such as shall be convicted of the homicide of a white person." (77) Instead of death, slaves could receive such corporal punishment as the justices saw fit, "Provided always, that one or more of the said slaves ... shall be executed for example, to deter others from offending in the like kind." (78) Constables could force slaves to punish or even execute other slaves; those who refused were to be whipped "not exceeding twenty lashes." (79) To prevent whites from concealing the crimes of their slaves, owners were compensated up to 200 [pounds sterling] for blacks who were executed unless they were guilty of murder or "taken in actual rebellion." (80) Should a slaveholder prevent a slave accused of a capital crime from facing punishment by concealing him or selling him out of the colony, he was to be fined 250 [pounds sterling]. (81)

To prevent future uprisings, members of the South Carolina Assembly recognized that slave owners also had to be held in check. They were likewise mindful that during the recent rebellion, many blacks had intervened on behalf of whites; more than thirty enslaved Africans or African-Americans were rewarded for fighting the rebels. (82) Observing that "cruelty is ... odious in the eyes of all men who have any sense of virtue or humanity," the lawmakers included a number of provisions "to restrain and prevent barbarity being exercised towards slaves." (83) A white who willfully murdered a slave was fined 700 [pounds sterling] and barred from public office or military appointment. If a person killed a slave "on a sudden heat of passion, or by undue correction," the fine was 350 [pounds sterling]. Sadistic punishments also came at a price:
   And in case any person or persons shall willfully cut out the
   tongue, put out the eye, castrate, or cruelly scald, burn, or
   deprive any slave of any limb or member, or shall inflict any other
   cruel punishment, other than by whipping ... or by putting irons
   on, or confining or imprisoning such slave, every such person
   shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of one hundred
   pounds, current money. (84)


The Act also required that slaves be provided sufficient food and clothing, though they were barred from wearing clothes "much above the condition of slaves." (85) The final passages of the 1740 Act noted that "several negroes did lately rise in rebellion" and whites were "obliged to put such negroes to immediate death" for their own security. (86) The Act declared their actions lawful, "as fully and amply as if such rebellious negroes had undergone a formal trial and condemnation." (87) Because some of the Stono rebels were still at large, the new law established bounties ranging from 5 [pounds sterling] to 50 [pounds sterling] for the capture of fugitive slaves; lesser amounts were awarded if the runaway's scalp and two ears were furnished. (88)

Though enslaved Africans could make formidable adversaries, especially in groups, slaveholders maintained that their superior organization, weaponry, and intelligence gave them the upper hand. Such bluster masked but did not eliminate the doleful premonitions that haunted colonists in areas where large numbers of Africans and African-Americans chafed against white rule. As slave populations increased, rumors of conspiracies abounded, forcing authorities to mandate armed patrols and night watches. Curiously, whites showed no inclination to capitalize on tribal rivalries or animosities to create divisions among the Africans they enslaved, perhaps fearing that the resulting discord would overshadow any perceived benefits. Advertisements for runaway slaves often described traits such as filed teeth or scars that linked fugitives to specific tribes but slaveholders did not acknowledge those on the plantation. (89) Instead, they strove to eradicate Africans' ethnic bonds and cultural heritage by assigning Christian, classical, or invented names and providing generic clothing, foodstuffs, and living quarters. Whites optimistically assumed that their slaves' progeny would be even more submissive because they were raised in bondage. However, a steady diet of threats and heavy-handed discipline ultimately engendered resistance and contributed to a growing sense of community among Africans and their descendants.

In the spring of 1741 free and enslaved blacks and poor whites in New York were accused of setting a series of fires in lower Manhattan. Their alleged plot to seize control and murder the city's elite led to the arrest of nearly half of the city's male slaves and twenty whites. At the first trial, attorney William Smith exclaimed that "No Scheme more monstrous could have been invented." (90) In the end, thirteen African American men were burned at the stake, seventeen blacks and four whites were hanged, and seventy defendants were sentenced to transportation out of the colony. Soon afterward, slave codes in New York and New Jersey became far more draconian. (91) Concerns about cross-cultural alliances reached all the way back to Jamestown's founding; one goal of the "Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall" was to keep Englishmen away from the Native Americans who surrounded and vastly outnumbered them. Endangering the colony's "league and friendship" with local tribes was a capital offense but authorities were also concerned that Virginia's settlers might opt to "go native." When several colonists at Henrico "did runne away unto the Indyans," a military expedition retrieved them. Sir Thomas Dale showed no mercy: "some he apointed to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some to be shott to deathe, all theis extreme and crewel tortures he used and inflicted upon them to terrefy the rest for attemptinge the lyke." (92) Most southern colonies eventually adopted a strategy of "divide and conquer" to forestall alliances between indentured servants, Native Americans, and slaves, or any combination thereof. Native Americans were paid handsomely to capture runaway slaves, Africans were used to fight marauding Indians, and special punishments were reserved for whites who married or ran away with slaves or who attempted to assimilate into neighboring tribes. The last thing a planter needed was for abused servants and slaves to join forces against him or for nearby Indians to provide a refuge for fugitive blacks.

Though slaveholders could lord over individual blacks, colonial leaders usually had to deal with Native Americans collectively, i.e., as members of tribes and extended kin groups. As a result, most Indians remained beyond the reach of colonial courts and not subject to the corporal punishments doled out to poorer whites and enslaved blacks. (93) Relations were generally shaped by the balance of power between a colony and any given tribe; this often came down to sheer numbers and alliances with other Native American groups. (94) In the 1620s, Plymouth Colony, sparsely populated and poorly armed, forged treaties with neighboring sachems such as Massasoit, who agreed, "if any of his did hurt to any of ours, he should send the offender, that we might punish him." (95) If pressed, the English were willing to resort to a show of force. In 1623, Myles Standish ambushed a local sachem and mounted his head on the blockhouse as a "warning and terror" to other Native Americans who might conspire against the settlement. (96) The next decade Massachusetts Bay Colony warned colonists that anyone who wronged their Native-American neighbors "in the least kinde" would be punished, but authorities made it clear that they expected justice to be dispensed by sachems and their tribal councils with equal alacrity if the situation was reversed. (97) That colony's "Body of Liberties" stated that "Every person within this Jurisdiction, whether Inhabitant or forreiner shall enjoy the same justice and law." (98) However, authorities showed little inclination to track down and prosecute Native Americans for murders that did not involve whites, especially if the victim and assailant hailed from the same tribe or if the incident took place in a remote location. Conversely, governors and magistrates were zealous in their efforts to punish Indians who slew colonists, even if it meant coercing tribal leaders or crossing political boundaries. When several Indians committed a "most horrid murder" in Connecticut in 1665, officials jailed three Native American leaders "till the murtherers & accessories are brought forth to triall & judgmt" and warned that Indians who sheltered the suspects would be regarded "as our enimyes." (99)

If the deaths of whites were not avenged, colonists sometimes launched large-scale reprisals. In 1610, colonists from Jamestown launched a retaliatory attack on the Paspahegh tribe. They killed "fifteen or sixteen" Indians, destroyed their village and crops, and killed the sachem's children "by throwing them overboard and shooting out their brains in the water." (100) After Pequot Indians in Connecticut allegedly committed a series of "cruell murthers" in the 1630s, Puritan officials pledged to "revenge the blood of our countrimen." (101) Colonial militia and their Indian allies surrounded the Pequot camp at Mystic and shot or burned alive between 700 to 800 inhabitants. Most of the dead were women and children, a fact not lost on Indian allies of the English, who protested that "the manner of the Englishmen's fight ... is too furious." (102) After casting thirty prisoners into the sea the English forged a treaty that required the Narragansetts and Mohegans to bring any surviving Pequot "murtherers" to justice by "take[ing] off their heads." (103) The attempted obliteration of the Pequot tribe and name (which by law could no longer be used) sent a compelling message to every Indian in southern New England: Assaults on whites would invite retaliation on a scale far different from traditional Native American feuds in which kin avenged kin. Total annihilation was not out of the question. (104)

As colonies grew in population and strength, governments attempted to assert greater control over their indigenous neighbors. In 1646, Massachusetts began keeping courts to prosecute minor offences involving Indians, but their jurisdiction tended to extend no further than the bounds of white settlement. (105) Throughout the colonial period, verdicts reflected concerns about Native-American reprisals. When Plymouth Colony tried three Pokanoket Indians for the murder of John Sassamon, a Christian Indian, the magistrates allowed the jury of twelve Englishmen to consult with six of the "most indifferentest, gravest, and sage Indians" in their deliberations. (106) In 1669 a Narragansett Indian convicted of "striking Mr. Wm. Hollingworth's wife dead" was ordered to be "whipped ten stripes well laid on, and ten stripes more for being drunk." (107) It seemed a prudent verdict since Native Americans maintained that an intoxicated person could not be held accountable for his actions because "a man in this state has lost his spirit." (108)

The next year two Indians were "accused & charged with the attempt of a rape of two [white] women." (109) The surprisingly lenient outcome appears in the records of the Ipswich Quarterly Court for March, 1670:
   An Indian called Nimrod being convicted for attempting abuse to a
   married woman in her own house and threatening to kill her with a
   naked knife in his hand if she would not be quiet, was ordered to
   be whipped and wear a paper written in capital letters as ordered
   by the court in all English towns and plantations or else to be
   taken and whipped by the constable. An Indian called John,
   convicted of offering abuse to an English woman in her own house,
   was ordered to wear a paper written in capital letters when he
   comes into any English town or plantation, and if taken without it,
   to be whipped by the constable. (110)


Compared to white offenders, very few Native Americans suffered punishments such as whipping, mutilation, or branding. Not only was white jurisdiction limited, but colonial authorities may have considered Native Americans too stoic to be intimidated with corporal punishments. (111) Ritual torture was known to be an integral part of Native American culture. Captive warriors viewed torture as a test of their personal courage: "the bravest sang their defiance [and] mocked their tormentors for the inadequacy of their efforts." (112) James Adair noted that among the Creek, "Not a soul, of whatever age or sex, manifests the least pity during the prisoner's tortures: the women sing with religious joy, all the while they are torturing the devoted victim." (113) There was a certain shock value when owners subjected Africans or African Americans to excruciating tortures in front of their fellow slaves; colonists may have presumed that such methods would not have the same effect on Native Americans. (114) Another disincentive for colonists to abuse Native Americans was the prevailing "Black Legend" about Spanish brutality in America. As Jill Lepore has argued, New England Puritans intended to demonstrate the civility of the English and hold it in stark contrast to the barbarous cruelty displayed by the Spanish. (115) Over time, such comparisons became moot; authorities dealt with the realities of power politics and shifting demographics. Once the shooting started, any caution or moderation that colonial governments displayed in times of peace evaporated. (116)

During King Philip's War (1675-76), Reverend Solomon Stoddard advised the Governor of Massachusetts that Native Americans "are to be looked upon as thieves and murderers ... they act like wolves and are to be dealt withal as wolves," counseling the English to "hunt Indians with dogs, as they do bears". (117) Militia collected thirty shillings per head for all hostile Indians killed or taken, a policy originally employed to extinguish New England's population of wolves. Massachusetts eventually offered a bounty for Indian scalps, irrespective of sex or age. Native Americans sometimes faced "kangaroo courts" when they were captured. One militia leader reported that during his expedition near Pawtucket Falls, a number of Indian captives were tried: "Eleven persons we had in all, two of whom by council we put to death." (118) In the field, most executions proceeded without any pretense of due process. In western Massachusetts, English troops seized a squaw who was "ordered to be torn in peeces by Doggs." (119) When militia assaulted the Indian settlement at Hadley in 1676, they were not interested in taking prisoners or conducting mock trials; they simply killed the inhabitants in their huts or shot them as they attempted to flee. After capturing 171 Narragansett Indians, Connecticut forces murdered all of the men and ninety-two of the women and children. Their commander's expeditionary orders had been to "kill and destroy them, according to the utmost power God shall give you." (120) When Massachusetts magistrates acquitted twelve Indians of murder in 1675, the defendants had to be spirited away under cover of darkness before a lynch mob arrived. (121) Most Native-American prisoners of war met harsher fates. Plymouth Colony's magistrates sold hundreds into slavery, reserving the gallows for "any of them [who] should appeer to have had a hand in any horred murder of any of the English." (122) Massachusetts authorities also culled out certain Native-American prisoners for public execution on Boston Common. The audiences consisted mainly of colonists, so the spectacle was more for revenge than intimidation. (123) In 1676 when Metacomet was fatally shot, his corpse was dismembered, his head sent to Plymouth, his hands sent to Boston, and the rest of his torso left suspended from four different trees. (124)

In colonies dependent on slave labor, Africans were brutally punished but their lives were preserved whenever possible. Native Americans, on the other hand, were of little or no use to most colonists. The financial reckoning that protected black offenders (each of whom had monetary value) did not apply to Native Americans, except those who had been enslaved. In the first half of the seventeenth century colonial authorities had to ponder a tribe's strength and worth as allies or partners in trade before sanctioning offensive action, but as Native-American populations declined and the fur and deerskin trades petered out, Indians were valued less than the land they occupied. (125) This encouraged colonists on the periphery to behave badly. In 1676 disgruntled and impoverished planters on Virginia's frontier massacred Susquehannock and Occaneechee Indians, causing Governor Berkeley to declare them rebels. Authorities maintained that, "Infatuation and mere madnesse" drove them to "destroy and Extirpate those Amicable Indians (who are soe far from hurting them or us)." (126) That same year four Massachusetts men brutally murdered six Native-American women and children who were picking berries; the victims had been "shot through, others their brains beat out with hatchets." (127) One year later a ketch sailed into a Massachusetts harbor with two Native American prisoners on board; women rushed out of the meetinghouse and "with stones, billets of wood, and what else they might, they made an end of these Indians." The captives were supposed to be put on trial but onlookers "found them with their heads off and gone, and their flesh in a manner pulled from their bones." (128)

Pennsylvania was perhaps the only colony where reason and accommodation trumped violence and intimidation, at least temporarily. Quaker pacifism and the reciprocity Pennsylvania authorities displayed when dealing with the Lenape allowed the two races to live in relative harmony for four decades. In the eighteenth century, however, an influx of Germans and Scots Irish undermined Quaker hegemony and led to violent clashes between land-hungry newcomers and their Native-American neighbors. (129) Soon enough, Pennsylvanians emulated settlers in other colonies when it came to their interactions with members of other races. After the Paxton Boys murdered an entire village of unarmed Conestoga Indians in 1763, Benjamin Franklin penned a narrative of the "Late Massacres" and noted that "It has always been observed, that Indians, settled in the Neighbourhood of White People, do not increase but diminish continually," asking his readers, "If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?" and asserting that "the Wickedness cannot be covered, the Guilt will lie on the whole Land, till Justice is done on the Murderers." (130)

Whites were not the only ones who committed such outrages. After the 1704 Indian raid on Deerfield, Benjamin Church was distressed to see "poor children, hanging upon fences, dead, of either sex, in their own poor rags." (131) During the Stono rebellion in South Carolina, rebellious slaves severed the heads of some of their victims and left them on display. (132) When residents of Shenandoah country in Virginia were attacked by Frenchmen and Native Americans in 1758, the latter "forced from the arms of their mothers four infant children, hung them up in trees, shot them in savage sport, and left them hanging." (133) Indians on the Pennsylvania frontier reportedly pinned colonists' scalps to trees and mutilated women and children, leaving their bodies on display at crossroads. (134) Members of all races in colonial America committed atrocities, but settlers in the British colonies were notable for the sustained use of violence and intimidation not only for retaliation but frequently as part of their quest for riches.

In South Carolina a handful of avaricious individuals sparked decades of violence between Native-American tribes. Despite the fact that the deerskin trade generated enough profits to make licensed traders wealthy, some opted to purchase captive Indians and export them to the West Indies in the 1670s. The Westo tribe initially supplied prisoners taken in attacks on their adversaries; when their alliance with the English crumbled, that tribe became the target of slave raids. South Carolinians switched alliances whenever it worked to their advantage and for four decades the Indian slave trade boomed. In 1700 a Muklasa Indian noted that "the greatest traffic between the English and the savages is the trade of slaves ... the [Indian] men take the women and children away and sell them to the English." (135) Men involved in the Indian slave trade were notorious for their aggressive behavior; their brazenness stemmed from Native Americans' dependency on European wares, including guns, ammunition, and powder. (136) Some defrauded customers, beat or killed uncooperative Indians, and sold partners into slavery to settle debts. In 1651 Governor Berkeley of Virginia vilified a trader for "murthering, whipping, & burning" Indians and "taking their children by force from them." (137) Carolina's Proprietors in England denounced the colonists for causing Native Americans "to make war upon their neighbors, to ravish the wife from the Husband, kill the father to get to the Child, and to burn and Destroy the habitations of these poor people." (138) An act passed in Carolina in 1695-96 required Indians who had been "protected and defended from their enemies" by the colony to pay an annual tribute, stipulating that if an individual not furnish "one woolfes skinn, or one tigers skinn, or one beare skinn, or two catt skins," his "casique or chiefe" was to ensure that he be "severely whipped in sight of the inhabitants" of Charles Town and if an entire tribe refuse payment, it would be "declared to be out of the protection of this Government." (139)

Once separated from their tribes, Native Americans were vulnerable. In the first half of the seventeenth century, enslaved Indians could be found in nearly every colony. Lacking the protection afforded by their tribe and kin, they were exposed to the commonplace brutality that enslaved Africans endured. (140) A 1708 census showed that South Carolinians claimed ownership of 1,400 Native Americans; by 1715 as many as one-fourth of all males in the colony may have owned one or more Indians. (141) By then, Charleston had become the principal entrepot for the slave trade in North America. It was not only the volume but also the bi-directional flow of slaves that made the city distinctive; vessels carried slaves both to and from Charleston's wharfs. Every year between 1670 and 1713 the number of Indians that South Carolinians exported exceeded the number of Africans they imported. (142)

Playing tribes against each other in the Indian slave trade was risky business, as was the constant cheating and physical abuse that characterized scoundrels in the deerskin trade. Shortly after North Carolinians fought the Tuscarora, South Carolina was devastated by a pan-Indian uprising known as the Yamassee War (1715-1716). Not surprisingly, the first victims were those traders who "happen'd to be in their Towns." (143) Those who were not killed outright were put to death "in the most cruel manner in the world." (144) As Yamasee warriors attacked plantations throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Lower Creek, Apalachee, Savannah, Euchee, Cherokee, and Catawba joined in the effort "to seize the whole Continent and to kill us or chase us all out of it." (145) Carolina's Indian slave trade diminished significantly after the war but intermittent hostilities continued. New treaties, a dearth of experienced traders, and a shrinking market for Carolina Indians sounded the death knell for that heinous enterprise. Following a brief surge due to prisoners taken during the war, the export of captive Native Americans dwindled and the number of enslaved Indians on Lowcountry plantations gradually declined. (146) As a result, South Carolinians came to depend more than ever on the labor of enslaved Africans, many of whom had risked life and limb defending the colony from Indian attack. In 1717 Joshua Gee, author of the widely-read The Trade and Navigation of Great Britain Considered, informed the Council of Trade and Plantations of "the dismall condition of the Proprietary Governmt of Carolina" and warned that the colony was "in danger of becoming a land of negroes." (147)

Prior to the American Revolution, virtually every colonial administration employed violence and intimidation to control colonists as well as Native Americans and enslaved Africans. Much of that violence was embodied in colonial laws; physical abuse was a tool in the hands of men of rank and privilege. Thomas Konig postulates that "settler law" was "supreme in its own jurisdiction," shaped by ongoing interaction and negotiation involving those who lived within it and other forms of law. (148) However, colonial authorities and wealthy merchants and planters (an overlapping group) were the most influential "settlers" and ordinary freemen and the disenfranchised remained subject to laws they did not create. In a similar vein, Jack Greene's assertion that "the earliest settlers did not so much bring authority with them across the ocean as a license to create their own authorities" indicates a shift of power to the local level but even colonial rule often proved arbitrary and self-serving. (149) Though deferential behaviors may have eroded over time, appointed and elected authorities in the mainland colonies employed sanctions with the same eagerness as officials elsewhere in the British Empire. It was perhaps the wealthiest planters and merchants who best exemplified the creation of authority by transforming their economic success into social and political influence. Terri Snyder maintains that Southern planters used the law "to fashion an economy of slavery that served their needs and to shape a distinct social structure"; she and other legal historians have demonstrated that in the mainland's southern colonies "law reinforced the interests of the dominant class." (150)

The historical record makes it clear that in dealing with members of other races, colonial leaders preferred to reserve the most severe punishments for their own use. Slaves were at the mercy of colonial authorities as well as their owners. As chattels with a discernible market value, enslaved Africans and their descendents might be severely punished but seldom incapacitated or deliberately killed. If they did strike back at their oppressors they might be drawn and quartered as in Gloucester County, Virginia, in 1663, or burned alive as in New York City and Charles Town in 1741 and 1769, respectively. (151) Native Americans, on the other hand, often had to be dealt with not as individuals, but as members of tribal entities. When conflicts arose, sachems were compelled to cooperate with colonial authorities or risk deadly repercussions. Native American groups sometimes became the target of campaigns intended to entirely displace if not exterminate them. (152) The extent to which whites were able to impose their laws and collective will on their indigenous neighbors varied by time and place, but it was a dynamic that involved colonies and tribes more than individuals of either race.

Egregious violence characterized every pre-modern European society. In the course of expansionist activities during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, sanctioned violence was on display throughout the British colonies as well as New Spain and, to a lesser degree, New Netherland and New France. As colonies matured, new sanctions and restructured legalities increasingly transferred power--including the use of intimidation and violence--to the local level. However, in the last quarter of the eighteenth century the triumph of "affective individualism" in England fostered a growing disenchantment with blood sports and cruel punishments. In the newly formed United States, whipping and mutilation of white offenders gradually fell out of fashion as "enlightened" authorities looked for more humane alternatives. Drawing on the writings of Beccaria and Montesquieu, Quaker theology, and classical republicanism, revolutionaries decried "monarchical" penal laws and practices. They deemed gruesome punishments and public executions to be despotic, immoral, irrational, and counterproductive. Jefferson and others felt that excessive correction undermined justice by engendering leniency in the courtroom. Benjamin Rush maintained that executions were a perversion of state power that brutalized the general population. Newly drafted state constitutions in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont called for sentences that were "less sanguinary, and in general more proportionate to the crime." (153)

Such enlightened attitudes represented progress but they were limited in their scope. Appalling punishments and summary executions were not eliminated; rather, they were increasingly reserved for members of other races. In post-Revolutionary Virginia, slaves faced execution for seventy-one crimes from which white offenders were exempt. (154) Early abolitionists noted that the institution of slavery depended on systematic violence for its continued existence. (155) Antislavery publications produced half a century after the drafting of the Constitution catalogued horrors that were still practiced in the slaveholding south. The dramatic increase in the number of slaves from 750,000 in 1790 to approximately two million in 1830 meant that despite the trend toward rehabilitation (rather than punishment) of white criminals, there were more floggings, mutilations, and executions of blacks than at any time in the past.

During the same period Native Americans were forced to cede vast amounts of their tribal homelands and come increasingly under white scrutiny and rule. An enervation in the power of their confederacies and individual tribes opened the door to greater abuse, including assaults by homesteaders, state militia, and federal troops. The seemingly limitless conflicts with Native Americans that arose in the course of westward migration and the south's increasing economic reliance on slavery ensured that the descendents of colonists in British America continued to rely on violence and intimidation of other races for the foreseeable future, albeit under different flags and similarly racist legal systems. As long as racial minorities and other disenfranchised groups comprised part of the social landscape, sanctions and legalities favored those in power.

(1.) Miranda Wilson, Poison's Dark Works in Renaissance England, Lanham, MD: Bucknell/ Rowman & Littlefield, 2014, xviii.

(2.) Henry Benjamin Wheatley, The Story of London, London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1904, 105; "Extracts from Paul Hentzner's Travels in England, 1598," in W.B. Rye, ed., England as Seen by Foreigners in the Days of Elizabeth and James the First, London: John Russell Smith, 1865, 110.

(3.) William Blackstone noted that capital crimes in the early Stuart period generally called for death by hanging though "in very atrocious crimes other circumstances of terror, pain, or disgrace are superadded," while high treason by males called for "emboweling alive, beheading, and quartering"; treasonous women were to be burned alive (see William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 4, seventh ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press, printed for Strahan, Cadell and Prince, 1775, 376-7).

(4.) Garthine Walker, Crime, Gender and Social Order in Early Modern England, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003, 100.

(5.) Andrew Hopper, "The Farnley Wood Plot and the Memory of the Civil Wars in Yorkshire," The Historical Journal 2, 2002, 281-303.

(6.) Ancient Greek philosophers extolled the public and political sphere--the polis--where words and persuasion rather than force and violence determined outcomes. Within individual households the pater familias lorded over his wife, children, and slaves, employing violence when needed because only by exploiting their labor to master life's "necessities" could he enjoy the freedom and equality of the polis. The rise of nation-states came at the expense of the private realm; individuals and groups could use force only within parameters established by their governments (see for example Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, second edition, Chicago, IL: U. of Chicago P., 1998, 26-31). Noting Trotsky's maxim that, "Every state is founded on force," Max Weber maintained that "a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory" and the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals "only to the extent to which the state permits it"; Weber postulated that anarchy would emerge in the absence of the state and its monopoly on legitimate violence (Max Weber, "Politics as Vocation," in David Owen and Tracy B. Strong, eds, The Vocation Lectures, translated by Rodney Livingstone, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2004, xii-xiii).

(7.) John Smolenski, "The Ordering of Authority in the Colonial Americas," in John Smolenski and Thomas J. Humphrey, eds, New World Orders: Violence, Sanction, and Authority in the Colonial Americas, Philadelphia, PA: U. of Pennsylvania P., 2005, 1-18: 3-4.

(8.) Thomas Hobbes, Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan (1651), Vol. 34, Part 5, Chap. 13, The Harvard Classics, New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-14, 10-13.

(9.) Christopher L. Tomlins, "Introduction," in Christopher L. Tomlins and Bruce H. Mann, eds, The Many Legalities of Early America, Chapel Hill, NC: U. of North Carolina P., 2001, 1-18. Legalities were part of the dialectic of order and justice enmeshed in a growing body of "international law," the role of which was to uphold "the idea of an 'international society' in the conditions of 'anarchy'" (Hedley Bull, "The Importance of Grotius in the Study of International Relations," in Hedley Bull, Benedict Kingsbury, and Adam Roberts, eds, Hugo Grotius and International Relations, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1990, 65-94: 71-5).

(10.) The notion that vacant land ("vacuum domicilium") was up for grabs was a justification promoted well in advance of English colonizing enterprises. Thomas More's Utopians deemed it "an entirely just cause of war when those who possess a territory leave it idle and unproductive, denying use and possession to others who, by the law of nature, ought to be fed by it" (Thomas More, Utopia [1516], translated and edited by Dominic Baker-Smith, New York: Penguin Books, 2012, 69).

(11.) English monarchs drew on Pope Alexander VI's Inter-Caetera Papal Bull of 1493 when granting charters for colonies in North America; the language of papal documents became the "standard language of European overseas expansion" (James Muldoon, "Discovery, Grant, Charter, Conquest, or Purchase: John Adams on the Legal Basis for English Possession of North America," in Tomlins and Mann, eds, The Many Legalities, 25-46: 31-2).

(12.) The Requerimiento, 1533 Version, translated by John DuVal from appendix in Luciano Perena, La idea de justicia en la conquista de America, Madrid: Mapfre, 1992, 237-9.

(13.) James V. Fenelon, "The Struggle of Indigenous Americans: A Socio-Historical View," in Handbook of the Sociology of Racial and Ethnic Relations, Hernan Vera and Joe R. Feagin, eds, New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2007, 15-38: 20.

(14.) Ibid.

(15.) As nations staked claims to distant lands, disdain or outright hatred of collective "others" upheld the right of the dominant group to lead, command, subjugate, or exploit those viewed as alien, different, more primitive, or inferior. Rooted in ethnocentrism and fired by greed, this heterophobia significantly increased the likelihood and degree of abuse and led to tools of oppression such as the Barbados slave code and Louisiana's Code Noir (see Robert S. Wistrich, "Introduction: The Devil, the Jews and the Hatred of the 'Other'," in Demonizing the Other: Antisemitism, Racism and Xenophobia, Robert S. Wistrich, ed., New York: Routledge, 1999, 1-16: 2).

(16.) Not all legalities were aggressive, acquisitive, or punitive in nature; some simply defined relations between individuals, groups, classes, communities, or states (see Bruce H. Mann, "The Death and Transfiguration of Early American Legal History," in Tomlins and Mann, eds, The Many Legalities, 442-8: 447). Jack Greene observes that legality required the approbation or consent of the populations to which they applied; they had to "acknowledge it, obey it, and look to it for guidance and protection"; in Greene's view, the English system of legalities was "pluralistic," while, quoting Jorg Fisch, Greene considers law "the principal instrument of cultural transplantation" and less a tool of imperialism than "a concomitant of emigration," and law was not imposed upon settlers but "claimed by them"; yet, despite his insistence on the positive effect of legalities in the planting of colonies, Greene does acknowledge that "European law frequently served the conquerors as an instrument of domination and control" (Jack P. Greene, "'By Their Laws Shall Ye Know Them': Law and Identity in Colonial British America," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2, 2002, 247260); Jorg Fisch, "Law as a Means and an End: Some Remarks on the Function of European and Non-European Law in the Process of European Expansion," in European Expansion and Law: The Encounter of European and Indigenous Law in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Africa and Asia, eds W.T. Mommsen and LA. De Moor, New York: Oxford UP, 1992, 15-38: 21.

(17.) Tomlins, "Introduction," 11.

(18.) Ibid., 20.

(19.) Bartolome de Las Casas, An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies, with Related Texts [1552], trans. Andrew Hurley and ed. Franklin W. Knight, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2003, 6-9, 46.

(20.) Thomas Churchyard, A Generali Rehearsall of Warres, London, 1579, quoted in Michael Leroy Oberg, Dominion and Civility: English Imperialism and Native America, 1585-1685, Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1999, 24.

(21.) Ibid.

(22.) Language, including stereotypes, was an essential part of the "cant of conquest" employed by the English and other colonizing powers (see Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest, New York: Norton, 1975).

(23.) Sir Humphrey Gilbert, as quoted in Ben Kiernan, Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur, Melbourne: Melbourne UP, 2008, 192. Gilbert sailed for America in 1583 and claimed Newfoundland for the English crown but his ship went down on the return voyage. In the seventeenth century, Oliver Cromwell displayed a similar penchant for brutality when he battled Irish rebels in the 1640s and 1650s.

(24.) Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, New York: Sterling, 2008, 158.

(25.) Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall, etc. (1612), reprinted in Peter Force, Tracts and Other Papers Relating Principally to the origin, settlement, and progress of the colonies in North America, from the Discovery of the country to the year 1776, 4 vols, Washington, DC: Peter Force, 1836-44, 9-36.

(26.) During Elizabeth's reign, criminals sentenced to death were sometimes sent to work as galley slaves but the diffusion of sailing ships rendered this practice obsolete.

(27.) George Percy, A True Relation of the Proceedings and Occurrents of Moment Which Have Hap'ned in Virginia from the Time Sir Thomas Gates was Shipwrack'd Upon the Bermudes, Anno 1609, Until My Departure Out of the Country, Which Was in Anno Domini 1612 (1625?), reprinted in Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony: The First Decade, 1607-1617, ed. Edward Wright Haile, Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998, 505.

(28.) Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, second ed., ed. H.R. Mcllwaine, Richmond, VA: Virginia State Library, 1979, 34, 42, 93; Thomas D. Morris, Southern Slavery and the Law, Raleigh, NC: U. of North Carolina P., 1999, 455.

(29.) William E. Nelson, ed., The Common Law of Colonial America: Volume I: The Chesapeake and New England 1607-1660, New York: Oxford UP, 2008, 20-1. The complainant also forfeited all credit for time he had already served.

(30.) John T. Scharf, History of Maryland: From the Earliest Period to the Present Day, vol. 1, Baltimore, MD: John Piet, 1879, 40.

(31.) By 1820, the number of offenses punishable by death in England numbered over 220 (see David Levinson, ed., Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, vol. 1, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003, 153).

(32.) Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641, available at: https://history.hanover.edu/texts/ masslib.html, accessed 3 April 2015.

(33.) Ibid.

(34.) Ibid.

(35.) Edgar J. McManus, Law and Liberty in Early New England: Criminal Justice and Due Process, 1620-1692, Boston, MA: U. of Massachusetts P., 2009, 30-55.

(36.) Massachusetts Body.

(37.) Stephen John Hartnett, Executing Democracy, vol. 1: Capital Punishment & the Making of America, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State UP, 2010, 110.

(38.) In Louisiana, French soldiers were at the bottom of white society, just a notch above slaves in terms of status, living conditions, and vulnerability to sanctioned violence (see Cecile Vidal, "Private and State Violence Against African Slaves in Lower Louisiana During the French Period, 1699-1769," in Smolenski and Humphrey, eds, New World Orders, 92-110: 100).

(39.) W. Noel Sainsbury, Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, 1574-1660, vol. 1, London: Longman, Green Longman, & Roberts, 1860, 202; William F. Craies, "Compulsion of Subjects to Leave the Realm," The Law Quarterly Review 6, 24, 1890: 388-409.

(40.) Robert Wintour, "Letter" (1635), in Raphael Semmes, Crime and Punishment in Early Maryland, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1938, 81.

(41.) William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large, Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia ..., Richmond, VA: George Cochran, 1822, 509-510.

(42.) Scharf, History of Maryland, vol. 1, 54. More than 1,600 prisoners taken at the battle of Worcester in 1652 were among those conveyed to the Chesapeake as servants.

(43.) Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850, New York: Pantheon Books, 1978, 20.

(44.) Russell M. Lawson and Benjamin A. Lawson, Poverty in America: An Encyclopedia, New York: ABC-CLIO, 2008, 32.

(45.) Susan Dwyer Amussen, Caribbean Exchanges: Slavery and the Transformation of English Society, 1640-1700, Chapel Hill, NC: U. of North Carolina P., 2007, 128.

(46.) As quoted in Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, New York: W.W. Norton, 1975, 127.

(47.) James K. Hosmer, ed., Winthrop's Journal, "History of New England, 1630-1649," New York, 1908, vol. 1: 319-20.

(48.) As quoted in Alan Rogers, Murder and the Death Penalty in Massachusetts, Amherst, MA: U. of Massachusetts P., 2008, 10.

(49.) Semmes, Crime and Punishment in Early Maryland, 106-9. Maryland servants fared better the following century. In her study of servant petitions, Christine Daniels notes that by the eighteenth century, servants' complaints about ill-usage usually referred to neglect rather than violence (Christine Daniels, "'Liberty to Complaine': Servant Petitions in Maryland, 1652-1797," in Tomlins, Legalities, 219-49: 240-1). On a proportional basis, female servants filed more petitions (one quarter for "ill-usage") than men and were more likely to win their cases.

(50.) Greater leniency was not the case in England, where commercial success in the wake of the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 necessitated the "Bloody Code," a plethora of laws designed to protect lives and property in the absence of a regular police force. Defending the social order against "the mob, the violent, and the incorrigibly criminal," English authorities added a huge number of felonies to the list of capital crimes: In 1688 the total was about fifty; by 1765 it had risen to 160; by 1815 some 225 crimes sent men and women to the gallows (Frank McLynn, Crime and Punishment in Eighteenth-century England, New York: Routledge, 1989, xi-xii).

(51.) Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself, New York: Signet, 1997, 47.

(52.) "Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 5 April 1887," in John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, eds, Historical Essays and Studies by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, London: Macmillan, 1907, 504.

(53.) Timothy Breen, "Myne Owne Ground": Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1640-1676, New York: Oxford UP, 2004, 28.

(54.) Oscar Reiss, Blacks in Colonial America, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1997, 98-101.

(55.) Virginia's laws stated that in cases where free persons were fined, penniless servants were to be "punished by whipping, after the rate of twenty lashes for every eight dollars," unless somebody paid the fine on their behalf; no servant was to receive more than forty lashes at any one time ("Guardians, Orphans, Committees, Infants, Masters, And Apprentices," (1753 c2 16), in E. Randolph, ed., Abridgment of the Public Permanent Laws of Virginia, Richmond: Augustine Davis, 1796, 351).

(56.) "An Act for the relief of Poor Debtors," 23 June 1722, in Thomas Cooper, ed., The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vol. 3, Acts from 1716 to 1752, Columbia, SC: A.S. Johnston, 1838, 173.

(57.) South Carolina laws originally called for women convicted of bastardy to be "publicly whipped on the bare back, in the usual places in Charlestown, not exceeding thirty one stripes" ("An Act Against Bastardy," 17 September 1703, in Cooper, ed., Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vol. 2, Acts from 1682-1716, 222-7). Fugitive servants were to be whipped "not exceeding twenty stripes" ("An Act for the Better Governing and Regulating White Servants," 1 December 1717, Cooper, ed., Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vol. 3, 16). However, by the mid-1830s the legislature had outlawed branding and the use of the pillory; the whipping of white convicts was abolished in the 1840s (Elizabeth Dale, Criminal justice in the United States, 1789-1839, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011, 35.) In 1855 Senator B.F. Perry asserted that "a serious objection that I have to whipping is, that it is against the policy of our State, being a slave State, to allow the infliction of the lash upon a white man" ("Address of B.F. Perry," in The South Carolina Legislative Times: being the debates and proceedings in the South Carolina legislature at the session commencing November 185S, 33rd legislature, second session, Tuesday, 18 December 1855, Columbia: E.H. Britton & Co., 1856, 292.) The Ku Klux Klan reinvigorated the practice during Reconstruction when certain individuals were flogged "for their politics and principles of republicanism" and various offenders such as child abusers, drunkards, adulterers, prostitutes, and mothers of illegitimate children were whipped ("Testimony of Drury D. Going, Unionville, SC, 18 July 1871," in "Condition of Affairs in the Southern States: South Carolina Sub-Committee," United States Congressional Serial Set, Issue 1532, 1872, 1071).

(58.) John W. Burgess, a native of Tennessee and founder of the Political Science Quarterly, observed that " [t]he chief amount of slave whipping of which I had any cognizance was inflicted by gatherings of non-slaveholding whites ... [and i]t was the vast mass of the whites owning no slaves, who were the greatest enemy of the slaves" (John W. Burgess, "Reminiscences of an American Scholar: The Beginnings of Columbia University," New York, 1934, 4-5, in Stephen V. Ash, ed., Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 1860-1870: War and Peace in the Upper South, Knoxville, TN: U. of Tennessee P., 2006, 49).

(59.) Angela Davis, "Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves," The Massachusetts Review, 1-2, 1972, 81-100: 85.

(60.) Vidal, "Private and State Violence," in Smolenski and Humphrey, eds, New World Orders, 95. Vidal shows that, as in British colonies, whites in French Louisiana felt that excessive or unjustified violence at the hands of fellow whites implied that they were no better than slaves. Such violence placed honor and even ethnicity in question and demanded retaliation or retribution of some sort.

(61.) "Barbados Act for the better ordering and governing of Negroes," 27 September 1661, Barbados MSS Laws, 1645-1682, C.O. 30/2/16-26, in Richard S. Dunn, Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713, New York: Norton, 1973, 238. Revised and expanded in 1676, 1682, and 1688, the 1661 Act served as the model for similar legislation passed in Jamaica, Antigua, South Carolina, and Georgia.

(62.) A 1789 Parliamentary report on the laws in the West Indies stated that owners' "interest in their [slaves] Preservation, might perhaps have been judged a better Security for their good Treatment, than any Sanction of Legislative Authority" (David Barry Gaspar, "With a Rod of Iron: Barbados Slave Laws as a Model for Jamaica, South Carolina and Antigua, 16611697," in Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod, eds, Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1999, 343-66: 346-8).

(63.) Great Newes From the Barbados. Or, a True and Faithful Account of the Grand Conspiracy of the Negroes Against the English. London: 1676, 9-12, in Jerome Handler, "Slave Revolts and Conspiracies in Seventeenth-Century Barbados," in New West Indian Guide 1-2, 1982, 5-42.

(64.) "It is the certainty of being punished and not the horrifying spectacle of public punishment that must discourage crime" (Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, New York: Random House, 1977, 9).

(65.) "An Act for the Better Ordering of Slaves," 7 February 1690, in David J. McCord, ed., The Statutes of South Carolina: Containing the acts relating to Charleston, courts, slaves, and rivers, Vol. 7, Columbia, SC: A.S. Johnston, 1840, 343-7.

(66.) Winthrop D. Jordan, The White Man's Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States, New York: Oxford UP, 1974, 151-2.

(67.) Thompson Dele Olasiji, Migrants, Immigrants, and Slaves: Racial and Ethnic Groups in America, Lanham, MD: UP of America, 1995, 245.

(68.) The Boston Weekly News-Letter, 21 April 1712, as quoted in Kenneth Scott, "The Slave Insurrection in New York in 1712," The New York Historical Society Quarterly 1, 1961: 43-74.

(69.) The South Carolina Gazette, 5 February 1732, 1.

(70.) The South Carolina Gazette, 23 March 1734, 1; 13 April 1734, 1.

(71.) The South Carolina Gazette, 19 April 1739, 1.

(72.) In the nineteenth century, abolitionists publicized countless atrocities that occurred in slave states; in the twentieth century the NAACP helped secure the passage of state anti-lynching laws by citing early slave codes that permitted "the most brutal and inhumane forms of punishment--crucifixion, burning and starvation" (John D. Bessler, Cruel & Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders' Eighth Amendment, Boston, MA: Northeastern UP, 2012, 2).

(73.) "An Act for the better Ordering and Governing Negroes and other Slaves in this Province," 10 May 1740, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vol. 7, 397-417.

(74.) Ibid., 398. "In the Americas ... it was widely understood that most blacks were slaves and no slaves were white. Although there were black, mulatto and American-born slave owners in some colonies in the Americas, and many whites did not own slaves, chattel slavery was fundamentally different in the Americas from other parts of the world because of the racial dimension" (Hilary M. Beckles, "The Colors of Property: Brown, White and Black Chattels and their Responses to the Colonial Frontier," Slavery and Abolition 2, 1994, 36-51: 39).

(75.) In her analysis of race and torture in Early Modern England, Ayanna Thompson states that torture was neither a method of punishment nor a public act, but a method of interrogation "conducted in secrecy in dungeons, towers, and prisons" (Ayanna Thompson, Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage, New York: Routledge, 2013, 7). Such was not the case in the Caribbean and some North American colonies, where torture was not only a method of interrogation but also an integral part of public executions.

(76.) "An Act for the better Ordering," 402.

(77.) Ibid., 402-3.

(78.) Ibid., 403. Emphasis in the original.

(79.) Ibid., 404.

(80.) Ibid., 403.

(81.) Ibid., 403. For concealment of slaves who had committed non-capital crimes, masters were fined 50 [pounds sterling].

(82.) Edward A. Pearson, "A Countryside Full of Flames': A Reconsideration of the Stono Rebellion and Slave Rebelliousness in the Early Eighteenth-Century South Carolina Lowcountry," in Mark M. Smith, ed., Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt, Columbia, SC: U, of South Carolina P., 2005, 87-108: 97-8.

(83.) "An Act for the better Ordering," 410.

(84.) Ibid., 410-11. In 1736 William Byrd of Virginia noted that, "Another unhappy Effect of Many Negroes is the necessity of being severe ... these base Tempers require to be rid with a tort Rein, or they will be apt to throw their Rider" (Col. William Byrd to Earl of Egmont, 12 July 1736, in Peter H. Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion, New York: Norton, 1974, 224).

(85.) "An Act for the better Ordering," 412. Suitable clothes were made from "negro cloth, duffils, kerseys, osnabrigs, blue linen, check linen or coarse garlix or calicoes, checked cottons or Scotch plaids." Livery men and boys were exceptions to this rule.

(86.) Ibid., 416.

(87.) Ibid., 416-17.

(88.) Ibid., 414.

(89.) Planters did pay close attention to the region where slaves were procured because they linked African origins with temperament and agricultural skills; Charleston merchant Henry Laurens said "Gold Coast [slaves] are best; next to them the Windward Coast are prefer'd to Angolas" (Henry Laurens to Smith and Clifton, 17 July 1755, quoted in James A. McMillin, The Final Victims: Foreign Slave Trade to North America, 1783-1810, vol. 2, Columbia, SC: U. of South Carolina P., 2004, 52).

(90.) Jill Lepore, New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan, New York: Random House, 2005, 10.

(91.) Oscar Renal Williams, African Americans and Colonial Legislation in the Middle Colonies, New York: Taylor & Francis, 1998, x. Quakers in Pennsylvania took a more humane approach, imposing high tariffs on slave imports and thereby curbing the growth of the black population.

(92.) Percy, A True Relation, reprinted in Edward Wright Haile, ed., Jamestown Narratives, 505.

(93.) Although historian Alden Vaughan maintains that for crimes other than murder, Indians were "punished in the customary ways: stocks, whipping, fines, imprisonment," the evidence suggests that few Native Americans actually endured such abuse and humiliation at white hands, according to Katherine Hermes, who makes distinctions between the manner in which New England colonies dealt with Indian offenders, noting that Rhode Island preferred to deal with individuals "through their sachems" whereas other New England colonies dealt with individual Indians as persons in their own right, "albeit usually with a sachem present" (see Alden T. Vaughan, New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians, 1620-1675, Norman, OK: U. of Oklahoma P., 1995, 332; Katherine Hermes, "'Justice Will Be Done Us': Algonquian Demands for Reciprocity in the Courts of European Settlers," in Tomlins and Mann, eds, The Many Legalities, 123-49: 131).

(94.) According to Gary Nash, in the sparsely-populated settlements along the St. Lawrence River, relations between the French and Native Americans with whom they traded--particularly the Huron--were far less hostile than those between the English and their indigenous neighbors (see Gary Nash, Red, White, & Black: The Peoples of Early North America, seventh ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006, 36). The reciprocity demonstrated by French authorities and Native American sachems reflected the importance of the fur trade to both sides and the numerical and military superiority that the Indians maintained. The same could be said of the Dutch who settled near Fort Orange (present-day Albany). The situation was quite different in the lower Mississippi, where the French laid claim to lands occupied by the Natchez. Trade was incidental to French plans for settlement so relations with the Natchez quickly deteriorated, especially after French authorities demanded land cessions without compensation. The Natchez killed or captured several hundred settlers and African slaves in 1729, sparking a retaliatory campaign in which French soldiers and settlers killed more than 1,000 Natchez, burned many captives at the stake, and sold 400 into slavery in St. Dominique.

(95.) Edward Winslow, A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth (Mourt's Relation) [London, 1622], reprint, ed. Dwight Heath, New York: Corinth Books, 1963, 56. For an extended discussion of the significance of interracial murders in establishing English hegemony in southern New England, see John J. Navin, "Cross Cultural 'Murther' and Retribution in Colonial New England," in Robert Asher, Lawrence Goodheart, and Alan Rogers, eds, Murder on Trial, Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005, 33-60.

(96.) Thomas Morton, New English Canaan [Amsterdam, 1637], reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1969, 108-10.

(97.) Records of the Governor and the Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Boston, 1853-54, vol. 1, 399, as quoted in Lyle Koehler, "Red-White Power Relations and Justice in the Courts of Seventeenth-Century New England," American Indian Culture and Research Journal 4, 1979, 1-31.

(98.) Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641, 261.

(99.) Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut Prior to the Union with New Haven Colony, May 1665, ed. J. Hammond Trumball, Hartford, CT: Brown & Parsons, 1850, 294.

(100.) George Percy, "A Trewe Relacyon--Virginia from 1609 to 1612," (1625), Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine 3, 1922, 259-82. Retaliation for this and other wrongs would come years later in the form of the "Jamestown Massacre," in which nearly 350 colonists were killed in a surprise attack; this was followed by sporadic warfare ensued and, by the end of that decade, all former treaties of peace between the English and their Native American neighbors were "utterly extinct and disannulled"; in 1630 a contemporary reported that more Indians were killed than at any time "since the great massacre" (Alfred A. Cave, Lethal Encounters: Englishmen and Indians in Colonial Virginia, New York: ABC-CLIO, 2011, 129).

(101.) Lion Gardiner, Leift. Lion Gardener his Relation of the Pequot Warres, Boston: 1660, in Massachusetts Historical Collections, Third Series, 3, 131.

(102.) John Underhill, Newes from America, or, A New and Experimentall Discoverie of New England ..., London: Printed by I. D[awson] for Peter Cole, 1638, in Charles Orr, ed., History of the Pequot War: The Contemporary Accounts of Mason, Underhill, Vincent, and Gardiner, Cleveland: Helman-Taylor Co., 1897, 42-3.

(103.) William Hubbard, The History of the Indian Wars in New England from the First Settlement to the Termination of the War with King Philip, in 1677, vol. 1 [Roxbury, MA: 1865], reprint New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969, 127.

(104.) "The Hartford Treaty of 21 September 1638," in Samuel G. Drake, History of the Early Discovery of America and Landing of the Pilgrims with a Biography of the Indians of North America, eleventh ed., Boston, MA: L.P. Crown and Company, 1854, 125. The treaty stipulated that the defeated Pequots "shall no more be called Pequots but Narragansetts and Mohegans," while the Pequot River became the Thames and the Pequot camp became "New London."

(105.) Indians who lived under white scrutiny and domination included the residents of the fourteen "praying towns" in Massachusetts Bay Colony: When three Christian Indians in Natick became intoxicated, they were whipped and sent to the stocks, an outcome that Native Americans living in the interior avoided and derided (Vaughan, New England Frontier, 269).

(106.) Nathaniel Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, vol. 5, 1668-1678, Boston, MA: William White, 1856, 168.

(107.) Entry dated June 1669 in George F. Dow, ed., Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, vol. 4, 1667-1671, Salem, MA: Published by the Essex Institute, 1914, 174.

(108.) Christian Ayne Crouch, Nobility Lost: French and Canadian Martial Cultures, Indians, and the End of New France, Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2014, 77.

(109.) Entry dated March 1670 in Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, vol. 4, 1667-1671, 230-1.

(110.) Ibid. At the same session a servant who had run away "having been convicted formerly divers times and stolen from his master" was ordered "to pay 40 li [shillings] to his master, to be branded on the forehead with the letter R and to be severely whipped." Ibid. 234.

(111.) In his study of the use of torture and terror in the eighteenth-century Caribbean, Richard Price argues that the "theatrical public torture and execution" of enslaved Africans who had violated plantation or colony rules often backfired, since what was meant to "provide an Example and deterrent" was undermined by many victims' refusal to acknowledge that the executioners could cause them pain. (Richard Price, "Dialogical Encounters in a Space of Death," in Smolenski and Humphrey, eds., New World Orders, 47-65: 49-50.) Whether slaves exhibited similar stoicism in the mainland colonies is uncertain; the evidence suggests that terror-tactics were largely effective, since whites continued to rely on torture and gruesome executions to intimidate slaves well into the nineteenth century.

(112.) Ian K. Steele, Setting All the Captives Free: Capture, Adjustment, and Recollection in Allegheny Country, Montreal: McGill-Queen's UP, 2013, 199.

(113.) James Adair, Adair's History of the American Indians, ed. Samuel C. Williams, Johnson City, TN: Watauga Press, 1930, 239-42, as quoted in Theda Purdue, Cherokee Women: Gender and Culture Change, 1700-1835, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 1999, 53.

(114.) Alden Vaughan surmises that the "relative tameness" of Native-American warfare compared to that of whites "may have increased the need for symbolic destruction of the enemy through torment and mutilation of single enemy tribesmen" (Vaughan, New England Frontier, 40). Whether the paradoxical relationship between Christianity and the brutality shown to slaves is a comparable paradigm is worth considering.

(115.) Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, New York: Knopf, 1998, 9. According to Andrew Fitzmaurice, English colonists preferred to draw on natural law arguments rather than the language of conquest employed by Conquistadors; such natural law claims "underpinned the development of a commercial ideology of expansion" (Andrew Fitzmaurice, Humanism and America: An Intellectual History of English Colonisation, 1500-1625, Cambridge: Cambridge UP: 2003, 137).

(116.) Hermes describes "dispute settlement measures worked out between Algonquians and colonial powers based on the shared principle of reciprocity" and attributes their eventual erosion to the "Anglicization" of colonial society, arguing that this "demise of legal accommodation between separate sovereigns" was tied to the restoration of King Charles II Stuart in 1660, which "helped make possible a change in English colonial policy toward the Indians because it caused a debate within colonial society about the degree to which the colonies would become once again like England" (Hermes, "Justice Will Be Done Us," 148). Hermes' explanation underestimates the significance of military conquests and population shifts, with increasing numbers of Englishmen and decreasing numbers of Native Americans in the course of the seventeenth century in New England. Colonial Indian policy reflected the numerical superiority that whites had gained as well as the diminution of the fur trade. In New France, where Native Americans continued to outnumber whites throughout the seventeenth century, as late as 1664 the governing council was reluctant to prosecute an Algonkian Indian who had raped the wife of a colonist (see Nash, Red, White, & Black, 35).

(117.) Rev. Solomon Stoddard to Gov. Joseph Dudley, 22 October 1703, in New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 24, 1870: 269-270.

(118.) Robert B. Caverly, Heroism of Hannah Duston together with The Indian Wars of New England, Boston, MA: B.B. Russell & Co., 1875, 277.

(119.) Daniel Gookin, "An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians in New England in the Years 1675, 1676, and 1677," Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 2, 1836, 455, 500, as quoted in James Truslow Adams, The Founding of New England, vol. 1, Boston, MA: Little Brown & Co., 1927, 357.

(120.) Jennings, Invasion of America, 319-21.

(121.) Alan Rogers, "Murder and Due Process in Colonial Massachusetts," Supreme Judicial Court Historical Society Journal 2, 1996, 10.

(122.) David Pulsifer, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Laws, 1623-1682 [Boston: William White, 1861], reprint New York: AMS Press, 1968, 242-3.

(123.) Eric Shultz and Michael Tougias, King Philip's War, Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 1999, 109. Thirty Native Americans were hanged on Boston Common in August 1676 and fifteen or more hanged or shot the following month. Harsh as this was, it compared favorably to the actions of Capt. John Underhill, an English mercenary, who killed three Indian captives in 1645 and brought two others to New Amsterdam where they were "barbarously tortured and slain in the street in the presence of many lamenting squaws" (Mariana Griswold van Rensselaer, History of the City of New York in the Seventeenth Century, vol. 1: New Amsterdam, New York: Cosimo Inc., 2007, 235).

(124.) Metacomet's head remained on display for a quarter-century, though Cotton Mather removed the jawbone (Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana, London: T. Parkhurst, 1702, 197).

(125.) The seizure and occupation of Native-American lands was grounded in familiar conceptions of lawful authority derived from rightful possession of place through usage. These conceptions were, of course, of European origin and alien to the notions of indigenous groups who used the land but disavowed private ownership or the need to "improve" the land through cultivation, fences, buildings, etc. (Tomlins, "Introduction," 15).

(126.) "Letter from the Commissioners for Suppressing Bacon's Rebellion to the Governor and Assembly of Virginia, 27 February 1676-7," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 3, 271-7).

(127.) Noble, ed., Records of the Court of Assistants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1630-1692, vol. 1, 71, as quoted in Jenny Hale Pulsipher, "Massacre at Hurtleberry Hill: Christian Indians and English Authority in Metacom's War," The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 53, 1996, 459-86. Despite their claim that the killings were legally warranted, the four assailants were sentenced to death. Two were eventually pardoned but the other two were hanged on Boston Common on 14 September 1676.

(128.) James Axtell, "The Vengeful Women of Marblehead: Robert Roule's Deposition of 1677," The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 31, 1974, 647-52.

(129.) Dawn G. Marsh, A Lenape Among the Quakers: The Life of Hannah Freeman, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 2014, 98-105.

(130.) The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert Henry Smyth, New York: Macmillan, 1906, vol. 4, 289-92, 297-9. The Paxton Boys were Scots-Irish frontiersmen in central Pennsylvania who marched on Philadelphia to present their grievances to the legislature shortly after the "Conestoga Massacre." They justified their slaughter of peaceful Indians as retaliation for Native American actions in the French and Indian War and Pontiac's Rebellion. However, their vigilantism violated the legalities observed by Pennsylvania authorities and the illegal sanctions they employed called for sanctions against them in turn. For a discussion of the "anti-Indian sublime" that contributed to racist sentiment against Native Americans and the violence that accompanied it in colonial America see Peter Silver, Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America, New York: Norton, 2008.

(131.) Thomas Church, The History of Philip's War: Commonly Called the Great Indian War of 1675 and 1676 [Boston, 1716], reprint Exeter, NH: J&B Williams, 1843, 244.

(132.) "A Ranger's Report of Travels with General Oglethorpe, 1739-1742," Newton D. Mereness, ed., Travels in the American Colonies, New York: Macmillan, 1916, 222-3.

(133.) Samuel Kercheval, History of the Valley of Virginia, Winchester, VA: Samuel H. Davis, 1833, 105.

(134.) Matthew C. Ward, Breaking the Backcountry: The Seven Years' War in Virginia and Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA: U. of Pittsburgh P., 2004, 7.

(135.) Vernon J. Knight and Sheree L. Adams, "A Voyage to the Mobile and Tomeh in 1700, with Notes on the Interior of Alabama," Ethnohistory 28, 1981: 179-94. Chickasaw raiders received "a Gun, ammunition, horse, hatchet, and a suit of Cloathes" for just one captive (see Nairne's Muskhogean Journals: The 1708 Expedition to the Mississippi River, ed. Alexander Moore, Jackson, MS: UP of Mississippi, 1988, 48).

(136.) Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717, New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2002, 90, 200. In 1714, Alexander Longe, a South Carolina trader, literally blew up a Euchee warrior who came to his store to purchase gunpowder and incited the Cherokee to raid the Euchee town of Chestowe and seize its inhabitants for the slave trade (see Ramsey, Yamasee War, 83).

(137.) Cave, Lethal Encounters, 144.

(138.) "Col. Entry Book, Vol. 22, 16-20," Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and the West Indies, 1681-168S, ed. J.W. Fortescue, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1898.

(139.) "An Act for Destroying Beasts of Prey, and for Appoynting Magistrates for the Heareing and Determineing of all Causes and Controversies between White Man and Indian, and Indian and Indian," 16 March 1695/96, in The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, vol. 2: Acts from 1682 to 1716, ed. Thomas Cooper, Columbia, SC: A.S. Johnston, 1837, 108.

(140.) Native Americans who were hired by whites or who ventured into white settlements also put themselves at risk. South Carolina law dictated that any slave or Indian hired by a colonist would receive thirty-nine lashes for losing a boat and "for the second offence, shall forfeit and have cut off from his or their heads one ear" ("An Act to Prevent the Stealing and Taking Away of Boats and Canoes," 16 March 1695/6, in Cooper ed., Statutes, vol. 2, 105).

(141.) Colonial Records of South Carolina, vol. 2, 203-9.

(142.) William L. Ramsey, The Yamasee War: A Study of Culture, Economy, and Conflict in the Colonial South, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 2008, 165. Native Americans could be sold in Barbados for half the cost of Africans because transportation costs from Charleston to the island were less and Indian slaves were not subject to Imperial taxes. Alan Gallay estimates that "30,000 to 50,000 is likely the range of [Southern] Amerindians captured directly by the British, or by Native Americans for sale to the British, and enslaved before 1715" (Gallay, Indian Slave Trade, 299-301).

(143.) Dr. Francis Le Jau to the Secretary, 10 May 1715, in Frank J. Klingberg, ed., The Carolina Chronicle of Dr. Francis Le Jau, 1706-1717, Berkeley, CA: U. of California P., 1956, 152.

(144.) Ibid.

(145.) Thomas Nairne, author of the 1710 promotional tract A Letter from South Carolina, "suffered horrible torture, during several days, before he was allowed to die" ("George Rodd to his Employer, 8 May 1715," in Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1574-1739, vol. 28 [1714-15], ed. J.W. Fortescue, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, c. 1900, 166-69). Stephen Oatis maintains that there was no preconceived conspiracy but a series of Native American alliances set in motion by the Yamasee's decision to wage war against the South Carolinians (Stephen J. Oatis, A Colonial Complex: South Carolina's Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War, 1680-1730, Lincoln, NE: U. of Nebraska P., 2004, 112-17).

(146.) Ramsey, Yamasee War, 180. Due to captives taken during the war, the number of enslaved Native Americans in the colony actually peaked in 1724 when 2,000 toiled on South Carolina farms and plantations. Christina Snyder, Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2010, 78.

(147.) "Joshua Gee to the Council of Trade and Plantations, 18 March 1717," Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1574-1739, Item 505, Vol. 29 (1716-1717), ed. J.W. Fortescue, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, c. 1900, 271-2.

(148.) David Thomas Konig, "A Summary View of the Law of British America," William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 50, 1993, 42-50.

(149.) Greene, "Law and Identity," 251-2. Greene is less harsh in his assessment of the colonial power structure. He describes settler republics that "established pockets of authority by constructing settler legalities to preside over it." This growing independence was not without fetters: Settlers had to operate within the demands and possibilities of the societies they were seeking to organize, and they had to remain faithful to their English legal inheritance, the "many English legalities that they brought to America" (ibid.).

(150.) Terri L. Snyder, "Legal History of the Colonial South: Assessment and Suggestions," William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 50, 1993, 18-27.

(151.) "Virginia Colonial Records: The Servants' Plot of 1663," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 15, 1907-08, 38-43; "Letter from Governor Robert Hunter, 23 June 1712," in E.B. Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, vol. 5, 1707-33, Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1883, 341-342; Daniel Horsmanden, A Journal of the Proceedings in the Detection of the Conspiracy Formed by Some White People, in Conjunction with Negro and Other Slaves, for Burning the City of New-York in America, and Murdering the Inhabitants, New York: James Parker, 1774, 5-7; The South-Carolina Gazette Extraordinary, 1 August 1769, 1.

(152.) Alfred A. Cave maintains that colonial Virginia was a genocidal society in which official policy came to demand the subordination, dispossession, relocation, and segregation of the indigenous population "and on several occasions sanctioned unrestricted killing" (Cave, Lethal Encounters, xiv).

(153.) Rebecca M. McLennan, The Crisis of Imprisonment, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008, 19-22.

(154.) Harry M. Ward, The War for Independence and the Transformation of American Society: War and Society in the United States, 1775-83, New York: Routledge, 2003, 241.

(155.) Hartnett, Executing Democracy, 30.

John J. Navin is Professor of History at Coastal Carolina University. He has served as advisor of the Psi-Mu chapter since 2000, he was the Southeast Region Advisor from 2002 to 2006, and he received a Phi Alpha Theta Faculty Advisor Research Grant in 2008. His recent publications include "Mothers, Warfare, and Captivity in the Eastern Woodlands of North America, 1607-1763," in Motherhood and War: International Perspectives, Dana Cooper and Claire Phelan, eds., New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014; "Servant or Slave?: South Carolina's Inherited Labor Dilemma," Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association, Spring 2013: 77-90; and "'The Time of Most Distress': Plymouth Plantation's Demographic Crisis," The History of the Family (Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group): 2012, iFirst, 1-10.
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Date:Sep 22, 2015
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