John Nelson, Merchant Adventurer: A Life between Empires

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byRichard R. Johnson

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John Nelson was an entrepreneur born in the mid-seventeenth century--a man, in Richard Johnson's words, "operating ahead of the government and settled society from which he came," who "responded to conventions and conditions derived from several different and often competing cultures." ForNelson, this meant trading out of Boston to the French and Indians of Canada, pursuing his family's dreams of the proprietorship of Nova Scotia, and promoting schemes of espionage and military conquest on both sides of the Atlantic. In the course of a long and adventurous life, Nelson served asmiddleman between Canada and New England; led an uprising that toppled the royal government of Massachusetts in 1689; and passed years in French prisons, including the Bastille, and then at court in London as a player in the complex European diplomacy of the time. Nelson's career reveals in boldcolors the political and economic pressures exerted upon colonial America by the expansion and bitter conflict of European empires--he himself complained of being "crusht between the two Crownes." Yet it also shows how one man fashioned a life as "spy, speculator, multinational merchant,memorialist, politician, prisoner, parent, friend, and gentleman." Gracefully written and widely researched, the book is both a fine example of the new Atlantic history and a vivid recounting of the fortunes of an exceptional individual.

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John Nelson was an entrepreneur born in the mid-seventeenth century--a man, in Richard Johnson's words, "operating ahead of the government and settled society from which he came," who "responded to conventions and conditions derived from several different and often competing cultures." ForNelson, this meant trading out of Boston to th...

Richard R. Johnson is at University of Washington, Seattle.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.62 × 5.75 × 0.83 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195065050

ISBN - 13:9780195065053

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"Admirable research industry to put together a skeletal life, and attractive prose style to add a bit of flesh, and vast knowledge of how England's seventeenth-century empire worked to sustain his argument regarding the key role of entrepreneurs."--Yankee Puritans