War in the Peaceable Kingdom

War in the Peaceable Kingdom
Oil on Canvas
48 x 66 inches

For inquiries, please contact the artist at info@adrianmartinez.com or call 484-273-8352.

War in the Peaceable Kingdom

This painting dramatically visualizes the ambiguities and contradictions of European and American Indian relations in southeastern Pennsylvania during Humphry Marshall’s lifetime.

A country lane surrounded by lush forest under a cloudless sky serves as the bucolic backdrop for the chaos in the foreground. A small group of American Indians emerge from the dense smoke. Are they attacking a white settlement or returning to their own destroyed village after a hunting trip? The five warriors depicted here could be in conflict with the Iroquois, the English, the French, or other European settlers. Tragically, at different times, they could have been fighting all of the above.

One warrior holding a wooden war club has a French trade knife hanging from his neck. They all wear traditional leather moccasins and leggings with European-style shirts and waistcoats of cotton, linen or wool. Most are armed with Pennsylvania rifles – Indian marksmanship was legendary. After almost two hundred years of European contact, the Indians who lived along the eastern seaboard became a hybrid culture that, at times, operated in an accommodating holding pattern with settlers. Often, however, they fought a rearguard action.

The burning beam on the far right, the leaning trees in the distance, and the barely discernible tree trunk in the dark forest to the left, create parallel diagonals. This compositional device works as a visual metaphor for the implacable force moving the warriors forward.  The wind is blowing in the opposite direction carrying the roiling smoke that will engulf these men and they, like their culture, tribe, and homeland, will soon disappear.

Lenape and Quaker Relations

In 1681, William Penn received a royal charter for Pennsylvania from King Charles II. Penn, a Quaker, envisioned for his colony the peaceful integration of European settlers and local native tribes. Much of Penn’s land was “held” by the Lenapes (Delawares). Penn wanted to maintain his business interests and live up to his religious principles, so he offered what he saw as fair and reasonable terms for the land and treated the Lenapes with respect. At first, it seemed as though the two cultures could form a mutually beneficial relationship, although that relationship was based on Penn’s assumption that he rightfully had sovereign rule over the land.

For centuries, the way of life for people of the Delaware Valley was stable. Although violence was endemic with most tribes, their culture included hunting, fishing, and agriculture, while moving seasonally among various camp sites. The arrival of the Europeans changed that. Smallpox, and other diseases as well as the introduction of European technology such as steel knives, guns and gunpowder proved devastating to American Indians. By the late 1600s, the Delawares are estimated to have lost over two thirds of their numbers to disease, famine and war. Indians also faced the overwhelming advance of settlers hungry for their land.

When William Penn arrived in America in 1682, there were likely less than 1,000 European settlers in Pennsylvania.  Forty years later there were over 37,000 and by 1750 that number had reached 175,000. By the mid-1800s, the majority of Lenapes had been driven west to the Ohio River Valley. They, along with the remnants of other tribes, settled in what became western Pennsylvania.  They were not alone. The French/Canadians from the north, the British from the east and the south and the Iroquois all wanted the right to sell, settle in, or control access to this land. With so many conflicting interests, violence was inevitable.

The French and Indian War, begun in 1755, was partly a continuation of a struggle for world dominance between the British and French, but for the Lenapes and Quakers in Pennsylvania it was their moment of truth. The Lenapes joined forces with the French in order to drive out the British. In the ensuing years, atrocities were committed by both Indian and white frontiersman. In 1756, the Royal Governor of Pennsylvania declared war on the Delawares and set the first of several generous bounties for Indian scalps. Although there were only eight recorded payments for these scalps, the bounties were an effective political expedient condoning genocide. Pennsylvania Quakers withdrew from a government they could no longer endorse.

The Revolutionary War completed the estrangement of Quakers from positions in government and resulted in the violent removal of almost all indigenous people from Pennsylvania. Today one can see that despite the best of intentions and their progressive approach, the Quaker mission was based on their belief in the cultural superiority of whites.  And that in spite of European objectives that were benevolent or violent, the long term consequences for American Indians in the east were the same, total disenfranchisement from their homeland forever.

The Examination of Indian Hannah

The Examination of Indian Hannah
Oil on Canvas
66 x 48 inches

For inquiries, please contact us at info@adrianmartinez.com or by calling 484-273-8352.

The Examination of Hannah Freeman

On July 28, 1797, Moses Marshall, as justice of the peace and overseer of the poor, summoned Hannah Freeman to the new Chester County courthouse in West Chester.  Officially, he wanted to interview her to determine which township was liable for her support under the poor laws. Her testimony would also provide Moses Marshall with the authority to commit her to the soon-to-be-built Chester County poorhouse.

Since her health started to fail a few years earlier Hannah, who was most likely in her late sixties, received food and shelter from a long list of local Quaker families, including the Marshalls, whom she had lived amongst and worked for all of her life. They agreed to provide for her welfare until her death and to pay for her burial. This was an act of affection and benevolence, but it also marked the end of Hannah’s previously independent life. It is also probable that these Quaker families were aware of the fact that, in this dependent state, Hannah Freeman would no longer have any legal claim to land that still belonged to the Lenape. Moses Marshall and his fellow Quakers had a vested interest in the designation of Hannah Freeman as a pauper and “the last of the Lenape.”

This tragic moment in the life of Hannah Freeman is imagined, in this painting, as taking place in Old Caln Meeting House, built in 1726. The ancient and stark simplicity of Old Caln, made gentle with age, is used to create a severe and abstract angularity which comes across as menacing. The muted color combination, consisting of a limited pallet of only four colors (white, black, red and yellow), reinforces the somber atmosphere as Hannah Freeman, described in one Quaker document as “an ancient woman of the Delaware Tribe,” stands before the three Quaker figures, her friends and neighbors, who are participating in the final and successful non-violent disenfranchisement of the American Indians in Chester County.

The Doctors

The Doctors
Oil on Canvas
48 x 66 inches

For inquiries, please contact the artist at info@adrianmartinez.com or by calling 484-273-8352.

The Doctors

In this painting the artist has imagined a lush garden and turbulent sky as the dramatic and dreamlike setting for Humphry Marshall’s house. The two-story stone structure designed and built by Humphry in 1773, still stands today in Marshallton. Jutting out from the second floor is a recreation of Humphry’s observatory which was demolished in the 1800s. The interior of the observatory is depicted in Portrait of Humphry Marshall.

In the foreground we see Dr. William Baldwin (left), Dr. William Darlington (middle) and Dr. Moses Marshall (right). Humphry Marshall and Moses Marshall were inspired and taught by William and John Bartram (all pictured in Botanists in Bartram’s Garden), and in this painting, some 35 years later, Moses is passing his knowledge on to the next generation. Although Moses Marshall did not have an active medical practice in his later years, he was still known locally as Dr. Marshall. Both Darlington and Baldwin wished to distinguish themselves from their forebears, but they were also particularly interested in paying tribute to them.

William Darlington, a physician in West Chester, published the first comprehensive biography of Humphry Marshall in 1849. He spent years trying to get Humphry Marshall’s letters and papers from the Marshall family and met with success only when Marshall’s second wife, Margaret, passed away and control of the letters was given to the more cooperative Dr. Moses Marshall, Jr. (the son of Moses Marshall). Darlington’s determination to preserve the legacy of the Marshalls was instilled in him by his friend William Baldwin. Baldwin, also from Chester County, met Moses Marshall during a visit to Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Moses shared with Baldwin his love of plants, and gave him many tours around the botanical garden he maintained with an aging Humphry. Baldwin may or may not have met Humphry Marshall, but there is no doubt that he absorbed from these visits a passion for botany and passed that love to his friend Darlington in a continuing chain of inspiration.

Downings’ Town

Downings’ Town
Oil on Canvas
48 x 66 inches

For inquiries, please contact the artist at info@adrianmartinez.com or call 484-273-8352.

Downings’ Town

In 1776 the second Continental Congress authorized army personnel to build several “forage magazines” in Pennsylvania in order to store provisions for the troops. One such structure was built in Milltown, also called Downings’ Town, located west of Philadelphia at the midway point along the great road to Lancaster. This small village was settled in large part by English Quakers whose peace testimony mandated that they not support any military actions. This put them in a difficult economic position when asked to sell their goods to the continental army. However, a chronic lack of funding made one’s willingness to sell a moot point. Private Joseph Plumb Martin, a continental soldier sent to Downings’ Town to forage in the winter of 1777, said in his diary that the process was “…nothing more nor less than to procure provisions from the inhabitants …at the point of the bayonet.”

The Continental army also looked to Pennsylvania to supply much needed iron. Thanks to local iron deposits there were more than 70 iron furnaces and forges operating in Pennsylvania during the war. Huge swaths of native forest were leveled to get the charcoal needed to keep these furnaces running. No forge or furnace operated in Downingtown. Roughly 20 miles north, Warwick Furnace was an important source of cannon, shot and musket repair for Washington and his troops.

In the background of Downings’ Town you see a furnace with the dramatic pile of slag created in the smelting process. The chaos of the furnace stands in sharp contrast to the peaceful gathering of people on the right. Humphry and Moses Marshall are engaged in casual conversation with a female member of the Downing family and a soldier from the Continental army. Humphry occasionally made trips to Downingtown to collect materials he was sending or receiving from Philadelphia, and it was in Downingtown that Moses met William Baldwin, his eventual protégé. In 1776, however, Moses had just begun studying to be a doctor, skills he would put to the test when caring for wounded soldiers after the Battle of the Brandywine.

The story of this painting is of the contrast between the peaceful aspirations of Quakers and the present reality of war. It also addresses the still present tension between the need for change and growth and the need to protect and preserve the environment. Humphry Marshall was observing, naming, planting and documenting the native trees and shrubs of Pennsylvania while the hungry expansion of industrialism altered the landscape forever.