book report: Mayflower: part 2; Indian slavery

Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War brings up another atrority of the Puritans during King Philip's War: slavery.

Since the Indians were in rebellion against the colonial governments to which they had once promised their loyalty, they were, in the English view, guilty of treason and therefore deserving of death. There was another alternative, however, that had the benefit of providing a way to begin paying for the war: slavery.

Some Englishmen preferred to view this as a more humane alternative. But sending large numbers of Native men, women, and children to almost certain death on a Caribbean sugar plantation was hardly an act of mercy. One of the few to object to the policy of enslaving Indians was the missionary John Eliot. "To sell souls for money seems a dangerous merchandise," Eliot wrote. "To sell [the Indians] away from all means of grace... is he way for us to be active i destroying... their souls." Most New Englanders, however, were so terrified by the prospect of living with the enemy in their midst that they gladly endorse the policy of shipping Indian captives to the Caribbean and beyond. p.320
Unfortunately, he doesn't go much further with their motives. I want to know more how the debates went. But apparently, the church's conscience was divided and the government's need for money found sufficient justifications to overwhelm conscience.


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