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«By Robert Hilliker M. A., Brown University, 2003 B. A., University of British Columbia, 2000 Thesis Submitted in partial fulfillment of the ...»

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Such publicity is especially important given the contested status of the Americas in the early seventeenth century. Not only were England and France latecomers to the Transatlantic colonial enterprise—with both Spain and Portugal long and well established at the point when England and France made their first decisive forays onto the continent (1607 and 1606 being, respectively, the years in which the first permanent, mainland American colonies were established by these two countries)—they were also subject to internal debates about how best, or even whether, to carry out colonizing missions of their own. Any number of groups angled to have their views and interests reflected in the official and unofficial practice of American colonization—merchants, fishermen, ecclesiastical authorities, secular intellectuals, and even governmental functionaries all had their own opinions, many focused more on trade advantage and the increasing of customs revenues than on the possibilities of extensive settlement. Read against this background, Lescarbot’s and Morton’s texts must be understood as arguments in favor of a particular vision of colonization, one that linked the settlement of the Americas with the consolidation of imperial power and national identity.

We must also understand these texts as participating in contemporary religious debates as well. Lescarbot is an interesting case in this regard, because his early career was fueled by his connections with prominent Counter-Reformation figures, including members of the Ligue Catholique. His first two publications, produced shortly after he received his Licentier ès Droits in Toulouse, celebrate the negotiation and ratification of the 1598 Treaty of Vervins, overseen by Alessandro de’ Medici, the Cardinal of Florence, which established peace between Spain and France. These works, as Éric Thierry notes, affirm the Treaty as “une œuvre de l’Eglise de Rome, une Pax Romana vers laquelle Dieu a conduit les rois de France et d’Espagne” (60).51 They also appear to have helped him gain a position in the Parlement de Paris the following year.

Several subsequent translations, undertaken by Lescarbot on behalf of the arch-ligueur Geoffroy de Billy, Abbot of St. Vincent of Laon, evince his continuing concern with the restoration of the unity of the Catholic Church as well as his emergent concern with ritual “a work of the Church of Rome, a Pax Romana towards which the kings of France and Spain were driven by God” (translation mine).

practices. One of them treats the submission of (a portion of) the Russian Orthodox Church to the authority of Pope Clement VIII and another is of Pastorum Instructiones [Instructions for Pastors] by Charles Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan and a central figure at the Council of Trent. However, the suppression of the latter translation by de Billy seems to have cooled Lescarbot’s ardor for the cause of the Counter-Reformation.

This paved the way for his introduction by one his clients, Jean de la Rocque, to Pierre du Gua de Monts, an ethnic Italian Huguenot whom Henry IV had granted, in 1603, a monopoly over the trade with and colonization of “New France.” Of course, at that moment, New France was more an intellectual construct than a reality, as the French had only a single settlement in the Americas, the ill-fated “île de Sable” colony, the remnants of which would transfer to the Port Royal site, in modern-day Nova Scotia, in 1606.

Thus began Lescarbot’s relationship with a number of Protestant associates of Henry IV—who had himself converted to Catholicism in 1598—and, simultaneously, his interest in the colonization of the New World.52 By 1606, when Poutrincourt, another of Lescarbot’s clients, had obtained a grant from de Monts to settle at Port Royal, Lescarbot was ready to leave for a “New” France that he hoped would be less corrupt than the old one (H. P. Biggar History 1.x). Lescarbot, while no longer involved in the CounterReformation, nevertheless maintained a missionary zeal that found ready outlet in the New World. As Thierry notes, “[i]l est convaincu d’appartenir à un groupe d’élus devant œuvrer pour diffuser la perfection chrétienne” and this conviction was grounded in an Ultimately, these relationships would stand Lescarbot in good stead when he became a diplomatic envoy to Switzerland and helped encourage the political union of the Catholic and Protestant cantons.

insistence on the importance of elaborating and adopting “des codes d’autocontrainte” (120).53 Thus, Lescarbot’s continued belief in the role of behavior in establishing a religious and political unity came to be linked with the development of a transatlantic French empire.

Though Lescarbot never ceded his abiding interest in the proselytization and religious conversion of the Native Americans, he tempered his religious fervor with a belief in the supremacy of the secular political state. As he says at one point in his Histoire, citing “un bon et ancien évêque,” “Ecclesia est in Republica, non Respublica in Ecclesia” (1.1.215).54 Thus, while the religious aspects of Lescarbot’s colonial project pitted him against the commercial interest of Basque fishermen and Dutch fur traders on one side, his secular political bent meant an increasing opposition to the Jesuits on the other.

Lescarbot’s general mistrust of the Jesuits stemmed not only from his belief that they had little respect for the governments of individual political states, but his suspicion—one commonly held in France at the time—that they had played a role in the 1610 assassination of Henry IV. Lescarbot’s ire found further fuel in the wrangling of Jesuit Father Pierre Biard, who militated against Poutrincourt’s ongoing involvement in the Port Royal colony and derided the early colonists’ precipitous conversion of the local Native Americans.55 Such religious controversies, however, had little impact on Lescarbot’s “He was convinced that he belonged to an elect group compelled to work for the diffusion of the Christian religion”; “codes of self-constraint” (translation mine).

“The church is in the republic, not the republic in the church.” The “good and ancient bishop” he cites is St. Optatus, Bishop of Milevia, whose De Schismate Donatistarum includes the phrase in a slightly different form: “Non enim respub[lica] est in Ecclesia, sed Ecclesia in rep[ublica] est.” (3.81).

For a full discussion of this issue see Paolo Carile’s “Lescarbot e Biard: La prima ‘querelle’ sull'evangelizzazione in Nouvelle-France ovvero lo sguardo impedito.” success as an administrator, a diplomat, and, finally, a land-owning member of the gentry.

Morton’s career was rather less successful than Lescarbot’s, in large part because he seems not to have benefited from his political connections to the gentry in the same way that Lescarbot had. Morton was, like Lescarbot, a trained lawyer, having been a member of Clifford’s Inn. Morton’s departure for the Americas likewise seems to have been fueled by frustration with the legal system—Morton and his wife had unsuccessfully fought a lawsuit with her son from a previous marriage over portions of her first husband’s estate in 1623—as much as by the possibilities for advancement in the New World. Morton arrived in New England in 1624 and, during the next few years, succeeded in antagonizing the Puritan colonists enough that they shipped him back to England twice, in 1628 and 1630, on charges of illegally selling arms and ammunition to the Native Americans. The second time, the Puritans arranged things so that Morton would see his habitation burn to the ground from his cell in the ship that transported him back to England.

Morton’s attempts at revenge against the Puritans were made possible by his acquaintance with such well-positioned figures as Sir Ferdinando Gorges, chair of the Council for New England, and Archbishop William Laud, member of the Privy Council and head of the Lords Commissioners for Plantations. Laud was, in particular, a close collaborator with King Charles I during his eleven-year “Personal Rule” to bring about the unification of Church and state, a cause aided by the publication and enforcement of the revised 1633 Declaration of Sports, which covered all manner of ritual practices.

Laud and Gorges employed Morton after his expulsion from New England to prosecute a quo warranto for Charles, who sought to have the Massachusetts Bay colony’s charter revoked.56 Though this case was successful, Morton (and Charles for that matter) never succeeded in removing the Puritans from New England. As Orgel notes, Charles may have held sway over the English courts, but without tax revenues to maintain his army such legal decisions were unenforceable (79). Morton thus returned to New England in 1643, only to be imprisoned by the Puritans a third time—“in his dotage” at the age of 69, Cohen notes (4)—before being released and settling in Agamenticus, Maine, where he died in 1647.

While Lescarbot’s career outstripped Morton’s, in the end, however, he too suffered a setback in his colonial ambitions. In 1607, Henry IV, under pressure from Dutch traders and French Catholic leaders, revoked de Mont’s monopoly on trade in New France, thereby undermining the financial basis for the settlement at Port Royal. The trifling outcomes of Morton’s and Lescarbot’s colonial efforts, when measured against the colonial possibilities envisioned in their texts, thus expose the gap between national, royal, and imperial interests—or, put in slightly different terms, between conflicting visions of empire—revealing the problems of assuming that these are one and the same.

And yet, their writings work to further imperial power by promoting a body of traditional customs as a means of policing the boundaries of national identity, even as their metropolitan and colonial interlocutors (and competitors) thwart their material aims.

A quo warranto, literally “by what warrant,” was a form of legal procedure by which the monarch of England could call upon a person, persons, or a corporate body to provide proof of their right to a particular office, franchise, or privilege.

In order to argue that colonization was the right thing for the nation to do, and they were the right men to do it, Lescarbot and Morton construct in their writings a figure of the orthodox national self: someone who speaks the right language, observes the right customs, and respects the right authorities—all the while vehemently opposing those who stand in their and their nation’s way, including people who are themselves, at least from a geographical perspective, members of those nations. Their arguments, even if they failed to sway the monarchs to whom, in part, they were addressed, nevertheless became an important part of the ongoing dialogue about religious and national identities, with their focus on custom taking part in a reconception of identity as something that is produced, rather than inborn; mobile, rather than fixed; and transmissible, rather than incommunicable.

In the remainder of this chapter, I examine how Morton and Lescarbot use ritual performance as a means of justifying colonial expansion, symbolically incorporating Native American peoples and carefully establishing the grounds for monarchal authority over the New World. I then situate these ritual performances in the context of the publications which record them and the larger discourse on custom and identity of which they are a part, starting with Lescarbot’s response to Michel de Montaigne’s paradigmatic writings on custom, wherein he challenges the notion that custom necessarily acts to alienate and divide people from each other and insisting upon the possibility of civilization as a process of positive cultural transmission—a possibility which could only be realized, however, if carried out by those properly suited for the task. I likewise examine Morton’s response to William Wood’s New England’s Prospect, showing how Morton uses his critique of Wood’s theory of the origin of the Native Americans to radically rethink English identity and, paradoxically, defend a very traditional conception of that identity, thereby positioning the Puritan colonists outside the margins of English society. What Morton and Lescarbot share, then, is not only their use of ethnography to link the cause of colonization with the production of national identity, but their studied response to competing conceptions of identity expressed by their fellow countrymen.

Taken together, they show us the early development of a potent and rhetorically supple ethnographic discourse that would go on to play a dominant role in seventeenth century French and English debates about the impact of North American colonization.

“A TRUTH OF APPEARANCES” One of the many virtues of Orgel’s The Illusion of Power is the total absence of the word “culture” from its pages. Given the course of the study of the masque since that volume’s publication—and the course of New Historicism, with which it is indelibly associated— that fact becomes all the more striking. In order to understand the difference this absence makes, we need look no further than Orgel’s conclusion, where he simultaneously underlines the failure of Charles I’s court masques to produce anything other than “a truth of appearances” with its “assert[ion of] power … through analogies” and points out that “the Puritan invective against royal theatricals reveals, ironically, an accurate sense of their most powerful effects” (88). Orgel hereby maintains a carefully restricted opposition between the “authority” of symbolic language use (broadly construed to include not only legislation and political exhortation, but also painting, acting, and other forms of representative art) and its “power” to drive people to act in certain ways and produce certain material effects; as he notes in his discussion of King Charles’ period of “Personal Rule,” a “government’s power depends on its ability to enforce its authority” (79). This decidedly partial opposition, which establishes the terms under which “power” and “authority” can sometimes coincide, sometimes not, would be virtually unthinkable once one has acceded to a Geertzian concept of culture.

As evidence of this, witness Geertz’s own study of Balinese court theater in Negara, in which, as Adam Kuper has noted, “[c]ulture is epitomized by … royal rituals” (116).

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