Rebellion 1774     
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Bartram's Travels, Frontispiece
Bartram's Travels, frontispiece. Bartram completed his expedition in 1774 and circulated his account among friends, but his book was not published until 1791. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-95229.
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The Seminoles slide ticker

In the Seminoles themselves, Bartram saw a complete projection of the noble savage:

"They seem to be free from want or desires. No cruel enemy to dread; nothing to give them disquietude, but the gradual encroachments of the white people. Thus contented and undisturbed, they appear as blithe and free as the birds of the air .... [their] visage, action, and deportment ... form the most striking picture of happiness in this life...." [full excerpt]

While Bartram's descriptions seem nave today, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries they were celebrated as an image of man's ideal nature. His passages on the Seminoles particularly influenced the English Romantics Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. In fairness to Bartram, it should also be noted that he met the tribe during a golden age and based his observations on a warm, personal experience.

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Sources: Bartram Travels 210, Fagin 128-200.
Background: Outline  l  Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 - Background: 1693-1812
spacer spacer African Connections
Spanish Influence
British Reaction
The Seminoles
Section Conclusion
 + Early Years: 1832-1838
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion


Bartram, the Seminoles, and the Romantics

Excerpt from Bartram's poetic description of the Seminoles