THE VOYAGES OF DAVID DE VRIES by Charles McKew Parr

THE VOYAGES OF DAVID DE VRIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The English in Virginia are very hospitable, but they are not proper persons to trade with. . . . They say in their language, 'He played him an English trick' and it is like a pat on the back."" Thus Dutch sea captain David de Vries in 1644, fighter, merchant, sometime patroon, whose voyages in the interests of country, religion, and trade were detailed in his Journal published in 1655. At a time when competition for colonies, rather than merely mercantilism, was spurring oceanic enterprises, de Vries travelled to the Arctic, the Mediterranean, the Monsoon Seas, the Americas--battling pirates, hostile nationals, weather; attempting to plumb the modus vivendi of native peoples. Of most interest, however, is de Vries' semi-diplomatic ventures among the Dutch and English settlements of the Atlantic coast. The inefficient, callous management of the Dutch colonies by the West India Company and the unrealistic response to aggressive English settling suggest why the Dutch hold was relatively brief. De Vries was constantly appalled by the brutal and provocative treatment of the Indians, particularly by the director general of Fort Amsterdam, William Keift. His own appreciation and respect for the Indians was enlightened, free of hostility or sentimentality. Although Mr. Parr's scholarship and selectivity are exemplary, one wishes for a first rate translation of the diary. Unfortunately, the resumes are somewhat plodding while de Vries was a remarkable adventurer.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1969
Publisher: Crowell