Horrors of History Part Four – More Evil and Choices
Don’t Turn Evil, Part Seven – More Evil That Men Do
Copyright 2010 M.A. Golding
English colonists in Virginia fought back after the treacherous Powhatan attack on March 22, 1622 “a date that deserves to live in infamy”. In May, 1623, over two hundred Powhatans were poisoned (the poison was prepared by Dr. John Potts, a future governor of Virginia) and killed with guns and swords during a “peace conference”, the date of which also “deserves to life in infamy”.
The English might have been inspired by tales of the crimes of Hengist, legendary founder of England. If so, the evil that Hengist may have done killed people after 1,200 years.
But if the Virginia poisoning was remembered it would be more as an inspiration than a crime. As late as 1864 to1865, General James Carleton (“he was the best of Indian fighters, he was the worst of Indian fighters”), fighting the hostile Western Apaches, allegedly suggested that the Arizona settlers should treacherously kill Apaches at peace conferences.
The ensuing treacherous massacres, whose dates “deserve to live in infamy”, inflamed the hatred of the Western Apaches for another seven years of cruel war.
Carleton and the settlers may have been inspired by the crimes of Dr. Potts and Hengist, 241 and 1,400 years earlier. Of course there were much more recent crimes that might have inspired -- or warned -- them.
On September 7, 1835, a “date that deserves to live in infamy” the Sonora state government, desperate to APPEAR to do something to end Apache raids but unwilling or unable to pay for any effective or humane policy with any chance of working, offered a bounty for scalps of Apache warriors. Other Mexican states followed with bounties for Apache or Comanche scalps that were often repealed and reinstated up until the 1880s.
Professional scalp hunters, mostly Americans, got Apache scalps the easy way. They invited Apaches to trade or to peace conferences and treacherously massacred them. They eliminated relatively peaceful Apaches and the survivors hated Mexicans even more.
The first scalp hunter atrocity was at the mining town of Santa Rita de Cobre, New Mexico, where James Johnson’s men shot their concealed cannon into an unsuspecting crowd of Chief Joan Jose Compas’s Mimbres Apaches and swarmed in to kill and scalp on April 22, 1837, another “date that deserves to live in infamy”. Mangus Coloradas, the new Mimbres chief, struck back and many ranches in New Mexico were abandoned in terror. Even Santa Rita itself, allegedly the source of almost all the copper in Mexican coins minted between 1800 and 1840, was abandoned.
That disaster alone should have been enough to end all scalp bounties.
Historians wonder how General Carleton could have some something as stupid as encouraging the Arizona settlers to repeat the Mexican atrocities of recent decades which had failed so spectacularly. Apparently he convinced himself that evil treacherous massacres would work better this time.
Don’t Turn Evil, Part Eight – More Powhatan Choices
Copyright 2010 M.A. Golding
The Second Anglo-Powhatan War of 1622 to 1632 could have changed the course of American History if different choices were made.
The Dutch built trading posts for the fur trade beginning in 1614.
A small group of pilgrims founded the first New England colony at Plymouth in 1620.
In 1624 thirty families became the first permanent Dutch settlers in New Netherlands.
Opechancanough, paramount chief of the Powhatan Confederacy, probably did not think it was wrong that his brother had subjected many chiefs and tribes to his rule. Did he ever give independence back to them? If subordination was good enough for Opechancanough’s weroances, subordination would have been good enough for him.
The Powhatans could have chosen to become subordinates to the English in return for English friendship. The Powhatans could have given the English surplus corn in tribute so that the English planters could make their laborers work full time on the tobacco crops. The tobacco planters could grow bigger crops on the same area of land and need less Powhatan land.
The Powhatans and the English could have subjected neighboring tribes to their joint authority. Powhatan villages closest to the English could have been moved to conquered lands to watch the conquered tribes, freeing their old lands for English use.
Or Opechancanough should have offered the submission of the Powhatans to the mighty Iroquois in return for Iroquois help against the Virginia Colony.
The Iroquois could have sent any army to Virginia to help the Powhatans, and the Dutch fur traders might have helped the Iroquois.
The ships which came to the small Dutch trading posts were usually armed with at least a few small cannon which would have been highly useful against Jamestown. If the Iroquois got the aid of Dutch ships the Virginia Colony would fall to them.
And if asked to help the Iroquois against the Virginia Colony the Dutch could have asked for Iroquois help against the possible rivalry of the Plymouth Colony.
A few hundred Iroquois warriors or a few Dutch ships would have been enough to defeat Plymouth. And a few Dutch ships could have sailed a few hundred Iroquois warriors to Plymouth, bypassing the possible interference of the New England tribes such as the Pequot or the Wampanoag.
If Opechancanough had thought of submitting to the Iroquois in return for aid against the Virginia Colony, he could have started a chain of events resulting in this discussion being written in Dutch!
As the Second Anglo-Powhatan War dragged on for years more and more Dutch and others, potential Iroquois allies and potential English enemies, settled in the New Netherlands, and Dutch ships sailed there more and more often.
If someone had suggested getting Iroquois help as the war dragged on, what Powhatan would have doubted the power of the Iroquois? And if any had, who would have doubted the ever increasing potential power of the Dutch who traded with the Iroquois?
Don't turn evil? Why I am already there. Consider how it is that all the good things in life are demonized. This is because we are too afraid to have them. Sure, you might torment some people along the way. That's the high price of it all. Dominating those you can and reaping the benefit. It's like one ant colony killing off another. Human history is hardly different from most of what is going on all around us. We put a bit more thought into what we do, though not always.
New profile: Northerner
In the event that I get deleted, I leave the maintenance of my fanclub to Huhlo.