Re: New world populations

MBAWilliam (
22 Dec 1994 23:05:43 -0500

> I haven't heard of TB invested blankets, but Europeans were proud enough
> of their endeavors with smallpox infested blankets to document it quite
> often. In addition, they obviously knew of the insidious effect of such
> diseases, as I recall Mourt (1622) brags, they motivated their
> neighbors by claiming to keep the *plague* chained up in a cellar, to
> unleash at their will.... Whose to say that they didn't do as they
> threatened? Granted, encircling and burning pallisaded villages such as
> Fort Mistick, making sure to shoot any escapees of course, was just as
> effective as a few well placed blankets...
> MB Williams
>If the use of infected blankets was documented quite often, then it
should be >easy for us to find actual examples. This hasn't been the case.
Mourt's (1622) >statement appears to have been only a threat used to
intimidate natives. Fort >Mistick is an example of brutal warfare, but
warfare accounts for only a small >percentage of the rapid population

>Most agree that disease was the culprit. The important question becomes
>whether this was inadvertent or intentional. I am more than ready to
place the >blame on the responsible parties if something besides rumor and
suspicion can >be found. If you know of actual places and dates, please
share! Otherwise we >are stuck with these emotional arguments that go

Emotional arguments, aside, its seems we are slipping into our old habit
of Eurocentricism here...Places and Dates? I assume you mean then, the
*written European record*? Good thing we didn't require European Jews to
have written documentation of every attrocity that occured in Nazi
Germany...Then again, that is the argument many Holocaust critics use,
isn't it? Native American oral tradition, which, then again, you may term
*rumour*, is rife with the *intent* of European and their diseases...But
to get back to 17th Century New England, although disease did decimate a
number of the smaller groups (intentional or otherwise, over 85% mortality
in fact), to excuse the burning of Fort Mistick as an act of *warfare*
truly trivializes the episode. In fact, it was the first in a series of
attempts to eradicate the Pequots, who had not suffered greatly in the
epidemics...The colonial assembly even put bounties on Pequot heads...
Over 3000 were killed at Mistick, the Fairfield Swamp or elsewhere, the
rest sold into slavery to white settlers, Mohegans or plantation owners in
the West Indies.... If this is not intentional genocide, could you give me
a more appropriate example? (And I do have many, many European citations
for these events, if you're interested, as it is my area of research)...
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident here in New England... it
happened a mere 30 years later, this time to the other powerful,
wampum-producing group (relatively unscathed by epidemics), the
Narragansetts...Something called King Philips War?

MB Williams

MB Williams