Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Infortunate

I just finished reading a book called the Infortunate, the voyage and adventures of William Moraley. First let me mention that this was so much easier to read than Ecological Imperialism. The book is about this man named William, and because of his financial woes decides to come to America. His father had recently died and felt he should inherit his father's estate, that was left to his mother. He tried to sue his mother and lost. He signs a contract to be a indentured servant where he will work for 3-7 years for a designated master. In return, the master will provide payment for the passage across the Atlantic, daily food, shelter, clothes and freedom dues at the end of the contract.

William arrived in Pennsylvania and New Jersey territory around 1729 at age 30. His master was Isaac Pearson who was a master clockmaker. Which is what William's main profession. He also was a farmer, silversmith, goldsmith, blacksmith and button maker. The Infortunate book is basically his journal of his adventure.

When he arrived in Philadelphia he describes the city in great detail from the abundant food sources to how the city streets are aligned. Even mentions that there are no holidays only the King's birthday and Christmas day for the religious people.

He tells of the many people that he met along his travels. He leaves Philadelphia and arrives in Burlington, NJ where his master lives. Says that the family consisted of the master, wife and 2 daughters, a nephew, a negro slave, a bought servant, and himself. Again he goes into great details about the city and it's surroundings. Slaves were seldom made free because the masters had to provide money upon their freedom. Also, if any servant was caught after they escaped (which 3 left) they had to make up 2 days for every day there were gone.

In Chapter 7 he writes about the Indians. It is my impression that he thought the Indians to be a bunch of drunks because they had Rum. When you read the chapters William himself loved sitting down with a drink.

He wasn't very good with the women either. He met a woman and became engaged. Except his friends stole his gold ring the night before and she dumps him. At his death there is no record of him ever being married.

After he became a free man he had accumulated a lot of debt and several times narrowly missed being arrested and found himself in New York where he met a man named Don Roderigo de Almeria of Velential. The chapter on him actually made me laugh. Don Roderigo studied law and had some money and stature. He meets a girl name Jaquelina. Finally gets approval from her father and they become engaged. His brother comes to town and ends up marrying her. He leaves town on a ship, gets captured by pirates, becomes a slave for 3 years. His Dad finds out, sets him free with 500 pistols, comes back, brother dies, sees Jaquelina, who professes her love and they marry. She dies, he can't handle it so he converts to religion and goes to London to renounce the Church of Rome. Now that is a hard life. William writes about all these adventures but never really write about the day to day trials until the end when he makes it back to London.

He finally reunites with his mother who had remarried for the 3rd time. When she dies, her final will states that she wants everything sold, including the home. The remaining money is to be divided into monthly payments for William. He was not happy. In fact, he ends up arrested because he gets into a fight with one of the executors. The charges are dropped. The money from the estate was never enough for him to be an independent master clockmaker or own property or be allowed to vote as a freeman. Later he has a nervous breakdown, most likely because he was extremely poor. He died at the age of 62 in Newcastle without a will.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Continuing on

In class we opened by talking about the group of puritans that were in this town. They thought of themselves to be "Godly". One of the questions was, what made them think they were godly? I think that no one has the right to say they are godly because we all are the natural man and are destined to make mistakes. What I believe that can help us get to a godly state is only through the redemption of Jesus Christ. In class we had an open discussion of the different religions that split off from the Roman Catholic church. In the most part it was a peaceable discussion. There is one young lady who was very vocal about her beliefs or unbeliefs, I'm not sure what she was saying. For the people of 1620 their entire lives revolved around the church and the community. They were God fearing people. In our day today, there are people the same way. However, we live in a country now where we can cohabitate with each other and agree to disagree. One person in the class mentioned that back then you could justify hanging someone just for the fact that they disobeyed a rule or law or didn't believe as the rest of the group. Now we can't do that. Religion was a huge part of the community back then and I believe it is just as important today. Religion to me is not just a Sunday thing. It is a part of who you are when you make that commitment.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Opening My Eyes

I am learning a lot of new things in my history class. I have been reading a booked called A New England Town 100 years. It's about a group of people who are Puritans that came to America between 1620-1629. They came from Roxbury and Watertown. They wanted to create a town called Contentment but was overruled by General Court. The town is Dedham, Massachusetts. There was a Covenant set in place for all those to live in this community. You had to live by these covenants. The Court had given the Puritans a grant of 200 square miles. This included untouched wilderness, lakes, hills, forests, indians, rock and wolves. The Indians that were already there were easily persuaded to give up their claim for a small fee. So the covenants were: 1. to fear and have reverance to Almighty God, 2. Mutually and severally promise themselves and to each other profess and practice one truth according to perfect rule, the everlasting love, 3. Labor to keep to keep off from us all contrary minded, walk in peaceable conversation, 4. If there was a dispute it would be submitted and resolved by the selectmen, 5. Each pay for their fair share in common good, 5. also they pay the minister by a tax. They came to America because they were being persecuted in England for falling away from the Church. When in fact they ended up doing the exact same thing here in America. Only a select few were allowed into this community. You would have to go through a serious background check in front of the community. I have to end this but will continue my thoughts in a few.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 4th Discussion

For a week now I have continued to think about the discussion that we had in history class about West Africa and Slavery. I have learned so much in one week than I can remember the 4 years of high school. I think what caught my attention the most was the trading posts along West Africa and the Canary Islands. They were first used to trade gold, ivory, spices, and other goods. When the Europeans and the tribal leaders figured out that human slavery was more profitable the posts became a means to trade people and all those goods. Here at a trade post slaves would be tortured, put into dungeons. Then iron shackles were put on their wrists and ankles. One of the posts is El Mina which is in Ghana. Another place is Goree Island. At both of the locations which are still there today to visit is an area called 'The Door of No Return". This was the last stop for captives before they were stripped, branded, marched to a slave ship and never return to Africa.

Something that surprised me was the number of slaves that were recorded. 10-12 million. With approximately an additional 1-2 million perishing before they reached their destination. Also, I always assumed that the US received a majority of the slaves, when in fact, the US only received approx. 500,000.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Feeling 16 again

Yesterday I was looking for my history book "Out of Many" on the internet and found out that my 16 year old son is using the same book in his AP History class. I am sure that you can imagine the jokes that I heard from my husband and children yesterday. My only thought was "Great! I just saved myself $110.00"!!!

Classical Music

One of my classes is "Appreciation to Music". We are studying European Classical music. I thought it was all too fitting to add some of it on this blog because in history class we were talking about the Europeans and how much influence they have on the world. Some of the first classical music appeared in New York around 1777, right about the time to usher in the Revolutionary time period. I have no idea the history of the songs but found them interesting to listen to. Honestly, when I first heard we were studying classical I was ok with it. It can be relaxing but sometimes too relaxing. The only composer that I heard of was Mozart and Bach. What do you think of the music?

Friday, August 28, 2009

US History to 1877

Today was my second day of history class. We have been asked by our professor "Corky" Reinhard to create a blog where we will keep a daily journal. It makes me laugh when he calls upon me as a "desperate housewife". I do hope by the end of the semester he can remember my first name, but until then "desperate housewife" it is. It could be a lot worse. In class today we discussed the first reading assignment we were given. The book is called 'Ecological Imperialism" by Crosby. I have to be honest, the first time I opened the book I fell asleep by time I got to page 12. I have not finished it, but since we discussed different parts of the book in class I have a different perspective and will try to read the whole thing. The parts that I have read start with Pangaea and the way the land changes. It talks about Europeans and their need to explore new things bringing along with them different diseases that would destroy some of the areas that they invaded or discovered. I was impressed to read about all the different people in the world that were affected by the Europeans. Good and bad. I really need to read the book all over again.

I have a bit of anxiety about this class because Corky is asking that we write a 5-10 page essay for the mid-term. It's several weeks away but I have not written a paper for school in over 20 years. In fact, I don't even remember writing a 1 page paper let alone 5. I'm in trouble!