Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Colonial New York: A History

I prefer Hogwarts: A History, but I will have to content myself with Michael Kammen's Colonial New York: A History (1975):
His summons would almost seem to be an ultimatum: "Elect and make choice of two proper and fit persons to repair forthwith to this city, empowering them as your representatives to consult, debate and conclude all such matters and things as shall be thought necessary for the supply of this government in this present conjuncture, of which you are not to fail, as you will answer the same at your peril." Surprisingly, there was no response to this decree; whether the reason was apathy or fear of treason and subsequent retribution we do not know. Leisler issued new writs on April 8, and this time an assembly was elected.
Zzzzzzz. When I have to read a book like this one, I am thankful that time will pass whether I get through it or not, and that no matter how painful my Thursday seminar may be, it will end eventually.

My favorite passage:
"Here in 1649 a group of Connecticut Indians attacked the tiny settlement and massacred Phoebe Halsey, the wife of Thomas. Her ghost is said to hover still over the house and its charming herb garden" (38).
I am intrigued by the idea that one can "massacre" a single person, but it's really the "charming herb garden" that gets me. Who ever said antiquarianism is dead?

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