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Gifts in the Commercializing Indian Trade

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Chapter Summary

As truly commercial relations were established, traders and their creditors were forcing the hands of participants who were not blind to the nature of exchange and the relationships they could now expect from these peddlers, traders and merchants among them. Although the colonial record suggests some of the violence, chicanery and strong arming arising with these trading ventures inland, a critical counterpoint eventually emerged in the Northeastern Woodlands moderating exchanges. As both French and English companies attempted to reconcile their rising, or falling, prices to the Indian trade, they continued to freely employ these quite distinctive purchasing traditions. The French Jesuit historian, Pierre de Charlevoix, believed the French system was ultimately more offensive, that of buying by preference the best of an Indian's stock, and quite arbitrarily assigning little value to the rest.

Keywords: Dutch traders; European commerce; French trading territories; Indian trade



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