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. I said a short prayer and had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thank God Almighty. —William Byrd II, Secret Diary, 17101 T W o Suicide and Seasoning in British American Plantations In the summer of 1710, an enslaved woman owned by Virginian William Byrd II escaped into the woods. Her fellow slaves reported to him, incor- rectly as it turned out, that she had drowned herself. other details suggest that she was recently imported, and like other newly arrived Africans in British America, was considered to be at an elevated risk for suicide.2 She may

Introduction The Issue of Empire in the Literary Self-Understanding of British Americans In 1675 Benjamin Tompson, New England's civic poet, depicted in verse the declensions of his country, particularly the transgressions that had pro- voked "New Englands Crisis." King Philip, the Indian sachem who had instigated the "crisis," would have been startled to discover that his peo- ple had risen to express providential displeasure at New Englands grow- ing commitment to the global consumer culture. Because "Old Pompion" (pumpkin) was no longer "Saint" and

120 the post and newspaper in british america a communication system in crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In the opening chapters of this study, I described the many dif- ferent agents that stoked the American crisis: town meetings and commit- tees, “votes” and declarations, bodies, rhetoric and ideas. In this chapter I will consider the media- communication system of the British Empire, seeking to understand how it also functioned as a mediator of the American crisis. Be- cause of the dispersed

Poetry, Politics, and Commerce in British America, 1690-1750

contents Acknowledgments ix Introduction: Communication and the American Crisis 1 1 1 Th e Invention of the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Popular Declaration 31 2 1 Th e Protocols of the Declarations and the Eclipse of Royal Power in Massachusetts in 1773 75 3 1 Th e Post and Newspaper in British America: A Communication System in Crisis 120 4 1 Th e Whig Network Scales Up: Infl ecting the Crisis from Williamsburg 161 5 1 “A Chain of Freedom Has Been Formed”: Th e First Continental Congress Develops into the Hub of an Intercolonial Network 194 6 1


List of Figures / ix Acknowledgments / xi P r O L O g U e / Anna’s Leap / 1 i N T r O d U C T i O N / The Problem of Suicide in North American Slavery / 7 O N e / Suicide and the Transatlantic Slave Trade / 23 T wO / Suicide and Seasoning in British American Plantations / 46 T H r e e / Slave Suicide in the Context of Colonial North America / 64 F O U r / The Power to die or the Power of the State? The Legalities of Suicide in Slavery / 82 F i v e / The Paradoxes of Suicide and Slavery in Print / 101 S i x / The Meaning of Suicide in Antislavery


| ISBN 9780226533285 (cloth : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780226533315 (pbk. : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780226533452 (e- book) Subjects: LCSH: Cigarette industry—United States—History. | Cigarette industry— China—History. | British American Tobacco Company—History. | British- American Tobacco Co. (China)—History. Classification: LCC HD9149.C5 U5535 2018 | DDC 338.7/679730973—dc23 LC record available at ♾ This paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48- 1992 (Permanence of Paper). For Finn, Always


O R A C L E S O F E M P I R E O R A C L E S O F E M P I R E Poetry, Politics, and Commerce in British America, 1 6 9 0 - 1 7 5 0 David S. Shields T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F C H I C A G O P R E S S Chicago and London DAVID S. SHIELDS is associate professor of English at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London © 1990 by The University of Chicago All rights reserved. Published 1990 Printed in the United States of America 99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90

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Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South after the Civil War by Carole Emberton The Republic Afloat: Law, Honor, and Citizenship in Maritime America by Matthew Taylor Raffety Conceived in Doubt: Religion and Politics in the New American Nation by Amanda Porterfield Planters, Merchants, and Slaves Plantation Societies in British America, 1650– 1820 T r e v o r B u r n a r d The University of Chicago Press Chicago and London T r e v o r B u r n A r d is professor in and head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University