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"Book Review: Albion’s Seed"

The review was interesting to me because of some of the nuggets from the book that were cited. Examples:

The average family size in Waltham, Massachusetts in the 1730s was 9.7 children.

Wasting time in Massachusetts was literally a criminal offense, listed in the law code, and several people were in fact prosecuted for it.

Three-quarters of 17th-century Virginian children lost at least one parent before turning 18.

Virginia governor William Berkeley probably would not be described by moderns as ‘strong on education’. He said in a speech that “I thank God there are no free schools nor printing [in Virginia], and I hope we shall not have these for a hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divuldged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both!”

Fischer argues that the Quaker ban on military activity within their territory would have doomed them in most other American regions, but by extreme good luck the Indians in the Delaware Valley were almost as peaceful as the Quakers. As usual, at least some credit goes to William Penn, who taught himself Algonquin so he could negotiate with the Indians in their own language.

Colonial opinion on the Borderers [aka the Scots-Irish] differed within a very narrow range: one Pennsylvanian writer called them “the scum of two nations”, another Anglican clergyman called them “the scum of the universe”.

Traditional Borderer prayer: “Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn.”

 

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