“Riotous And Lawless Proceedings”: Violence, Captivity, And Communication Along The Colonial Mid-Atlantic Frontier/“Great Meetings, In The Night”: An Atlantic Perspective Of The Irish Whiteboys, 1761-1765
Master of Arts (M.A.)
After the outbreak of the Seven Years War in 1755, anti-Indian violence exploded across the colonial mid-Atlantic frontier. This violence coincided with an increase in Native American captivity as tribes in the Ohio River Valley sought to assert their sovereignty over the encroaching white settlers. The article entitled, “’Riotous and Lawless proceedings’: Violence, Captivity, and Communication along the Colonial mid-Atlantic Frontier,” examines the curious cultural dichotomy of frontier residents such as James Smith, whose captivity experiences provided intimate knowledge of Native American society and culture that was later used to support violent anti-Indian extralegal groups. The author seeks to challenge the assumption that violence signals a lack of cultural understanding and instead argues that the increased violence and cultural contact between European frontier communities and Native Americans during the Seven Years War fostered a system of understanding and communication through violence. In 1761, a group of largely illiterate Gaelic-speaking poor Catholic farmers formed the Whiteboys, an extralegal society that opposed the closure of common lands by the largely Protestant, British elite. These Whiteboys are often referenced by historians as a passing symptom of political change from Jacobite thought in the early eighteenth century to the growing revolutionary fervor that would inspire the Irish Rebellion of 1798. However, the article entitled, “’Great Meetings, in the Night’: An Atlantic Perspective of the Irish Whiteboys, 1761-1765,” seeks to examine the Whiteboys themselves and place them within the context of the transatlantic Seven Years War. Relying on newspaper accounts and descriptions of violence, the author argues that both British perceptions of Whiteboy violence as well as the Whiteboys themselves were embedded in transatlantic issues of trade, empire, and colonization.
© The Author
Donovan, Sarah, "“Riotous And Lawless Proceedings”: Violence, Captivity, And Communication Along The Colonial Mid-Atlantic Frontier/“Great Meetings, In The Night”: An Atlantic Perspective Of The Irish Whiteboys, 1761-1765" (2020). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1616444344.
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