Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Friday, March 02, 2007

In his epilogue to Forth to the Wilderness, James Van Every sets forth his opinion about the inner driver of the frontier people. After all, they stand out in history as a people willing to endure the most difficult set of adversities... but for what?

"Actions presenting so great a contrast to the ordinary course of human behavior indicate the power of the impulse that had gripped them. They had been moved to advance, no once, not occasionally, but again and again, into dangers as terrifying as any man can ever know. They had been sustained to endure such trials by more than a mere craving for land. They had caught a glimpse of a more complete freedom. They were people who truly valued freedom. They had come from stocks which had already set upon freedom a sufficient value to cross an ocean to a strange far land in pursuit of it. In the new world they had found a scene still cluttered with bond service, quitrents, class distinctions, legalistic inequalities. Glowing in the sky over the dark wilderness beyond the promise still beckoned.l The complete freedom they sought may have continued to elude them but the reward of seeking it had not."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

In his book Forth to the Wilderness, James Van Every records the transformation of the frontier people of America. The land and a burning desire for freedom had their effect on the frontiersmen, as well as the isolation and suffering which resulted in a near complete self-reliance. The final portion of the book focuses on their self-identity.

"The change in frontier temper first perceptible in 1766 and unmistakable by 1769 was a metamorphosis as complete as the transformation of the worm in the cocoon into a winged creature of the air. The misery-haunted inhabitants of the border who had formerly been the perpetually harried victims of seemingly implacable circumstance had suddenly begun instead to see themselves as the appointed masters of their own fate. There had been an alteration in their outlook, their deportment, and their every attitude. A change so remarkable, and one with so direct a bearing on the whole country's future, deserves some attempt at a closer examination. The phenomenon was apparent as in that isolated section of the frontier in the Valley of Virginia. It was there that the people of the border began first fully to recognize their identity as a separate people and to realize that every relief or advantage they sought was to be gained only by their own exertions."