Francis Parkman.

The conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian war after the conquest of ..., Volume 2 online

. (page 12 of 31)
Online LibraryFrancis ParkmanThe conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian war after the conquest of ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 12 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ing the town, startled the indignant citizens. The
streets were filled in an instant with a rabble of
armed merchants and shopmen, who for once were
fully bent on slaughter, and resolved to put an
end to the long-protracted evil. Quiet was again
restored; when it was found that the alarm was
caused by about thirty of the frontiersmen, who,
with singular audacity, were riding into the city
on a visit of curiosity. As their deportment was
inoffensive, it was thought unwise to molest them.
Several of these visitors had openly boasted of the
part they had taken in the Conestoga murders,
and a large reward had been offered for their
apprehension ; yet such was the state of factions
in the city, and such the dread of the frontiersmen,
that no man dared lay hand on the criminals. The

1 Barton, Memoin of RUtenhou$e, 148. Bupp, Hist. York and Lancartei
Comii£$,d^2.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



150 BIOT£RS MARCH ON PHILADEIPHIA. [1764, Fbb

party proceeded to the barracks, where they re-
quested to see the Indians, declaring that they could
f oint out several who had been in the battle against
Colonel Bouquet, or engaged in other acts of open
hostility. The request was granted, but no discov
ery made. Upon this, it was rumored abroad thai
the Quakers had removed the guilty individuals to
screen them firom just punishment ; an accusation
which, for a time, excited much ill blood between
the rival factions.

The thirty frontiersmen withdrew from the city,
and soon followed the example of their compan-
ions, who had begun to move homeward, leaving
their leaders. Smith and Gibson, to adjust their
diflFerences with the government. Their departure
gave great relief to the people of the neighborhood,
to whom they had, at times, conducted themselves
after a fashion somewhat uncivil and barbarous •
uttering hideous outcries, in imitation of the war
whoop ; knocking down peaceable citizens, and
pretending to scalp them ; thrusting their guns in
at windows, and committing unheard-of ravages
among hen-roosts and hog-pens.^

Though the city was now safe from all external
danger, contentions sprang up within its precincts,
which, though by no means as perilous, were not
less clamorous and angry than those menaced from
an irruption of the rioters.* The rival factions

I David Rittenhouse, in one of his letters, speaks with great horror of
the enormities committed by the Paxton Boys, and enumerates variouf
particulars of their conduct. See Barton, Mem. of Rittenhoiise, 148.

s " Whether the Paxton men were ' more sinned against than sinning,
was a question which was a^^itated with so much ardor and acrimoi^



Digitized by VjOOQIC



1764, JFbb.J paper WARFARE. 151

turned savagely upon each other ; while the more
philosophic citizens stood laughing by, and ridi-
culed them both. The Presbyterians grew furious
the Quakers dogged and spiteful. Pamphlets,
farces, dialogues, and poems came forth in quick
succession. These sometimes exhibited a few
traces of wit, and even of reasoning ; but abuse
was the favorite weapon, and it is difficult to say
which of the combatants handled it with the
greater freedom and dexterity.^ -The Quakers



that even the schoolboys became warmly engaged in the contest. For
mj own part, though of the religious sect which had been long warring
with the Quakers, I was entirely on the side of humanity and public duty,
(or in this do I beg the question ?) and perfectly recollect my indignation
at the sentiments of one of the ushers who was on the opposite side. Uis
name was Davis, and he was really a kind, good-natured man ; yet firom
the dominion of his religious or political prejudices, he had been led to
apologize for, if not to approve of an outrage, which was a disgrace^ to a
dvilized people. He had been among the riflemen on their coming into
the city, and, talking with them upon the subject of the Lancaster mas-
sacre, and particularly of the killing of Will Sock, the most distinguished
of the victims, related with an air of approbation, this rodomontade of the
real or pretended murderer. ' I,' said he, ' am the man who killed Will
Sock — this is the arm that stabbed him to the heart, and I glory in it.' "
— Memoi* of a Life chiefly passed in Pehnsyloaniaf 40.

1 " Persons who were intimate now scarcely speak ; or, if they hap-
pen to meet and converse, presently get to quarrelling. In short, harmony
and love seem to be banished from amongst us."

The above is an extract from the letter so often referred to. A frag-
ment of the *' Paxtoniad," one of the poems of the day, is given in the
Appendix. Few of the party pamphlets are worth quoting, but the titles
of some of them will give an idea of their character : The Qu
masked — A Looking-Glass for Presbyterians — A Battle of
Plain Truth —Plain Truth found to be Plain Falsehood — The
Plain Truth Stripped Stark Naked — Clothes for a Stark Nake
—-The Squabble, a Pastoral Eclogue — etc., etc.

The pamphlet called Plain Truth drew down the especial in
of the Quakers, and the following extract from one of their re;
may serve as a &ir specimen of the temper of the combatan
how came you to give your piece the Title of Plain Truth ; il
called it downright Lies, it would have agreed better with the <



Digitized by VjOOQIC



152 RIOTERS MARCH ON PHILADELPHIA. [1764, Fbb

accused the Presbyterians of conniving at the act
of murderers, of perverting Scripture for their
defence, and of aiding the rioters with counsel and
money in their audacious attempt against the pub-
lic peace. The Presbyterians, on their part, with
about equal justice, charged the Quakers with
leaguing themselves with the common enemy and
exciting them to war. They held up to scorn those
accommodating principles which denied the aid of
arms to suffering fellow-countrymen, but justified
their use at the first call of self-interest. The
Quaker warrior, in his sober garb of ostentatious
simplicity, his prim person adorned with military
trappings, and his hands grasping a musket which
threatened more peril to himself than to his enemy,
was a subject of ridicule too tempting to be over-
looked.

While this paper warfare was raging in the city,
the representatives of the frontiersmen. Smith and
Gibson, had laid before the Assembly the memorial,
entitled the Remonstrance ; and to this a second
paper, styled a Declaration, was soon afterwards
added.^ Various grievances were specified, for
which redress was demanded. It was urged that

the Title therefore is a deception, and the contents manifestly &lse : in
short, I have carefully examined it, and find in it no less than 17 Poeitir*
Lies, and 10 false Insinuations contained in 16 pages. Monstrous, and fi*oin
what has been said must conclude that when you wrote it, Truth was
bunished entirely from you, and that you wrote it with a truly Pious
Lying P n Spirit, which appears in almost every Line I "

The peaceful society of Friends found among its ranks more than ons
iu(ih champion as the ingenious writer of the above. Two collections of
these pamphlets have been examined, one preserved in the City Library
of Phihidelphia, and the other in that of the New York liistorical Society

^ See Appendix, £.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



1761.] MEMORIALS OF THE PAXTON MEN. 153

those counties where the Quaker interest prevailed
sent to the Assembly more than their due share of
representatives. The memorialists bitterly com-
plained of a law, then before the Assembly, by
which those charged with murdering Indians were
to be brought to trial, not in the district where the
act was committed, but in one of the three eastern
counties. They represented the Moravian converts
as enemies in disguise, and denounced the policy
which yielded them protection and support while
the sick and wounded of the frontiers were cruelly
abandoned to their misery. They begged that a
suitable reward might be offered for scalps, since
the want of such encouragement had ''damped
the spirits of many brave men." Angry invectives
against the Quakers succeeded. To the " villany,
infatuation, and influence of a certain faction, that
have got the political reins in their hands, and
tamely tyrannize over the other good subjects of
the province," were to be ascribed, urged the
memorialists, the intolerable evils which afficted
the people. The Quakers, they insisted, had held
private treaties with the Indians, encouraged them
to hostile acts, and excused their cruelties on the
charitable plea that this was their method of mak-
ing war.

The memorials were laid before a committee,
who recommended that a public conference should
be held with Smith and Gibson, to consider the
grounds of complaint. To this the governor, in
\new of the illegal position assumed by the fron-
tiersmen, would not give his consent ; an assertion



Digitized by VjOOQIC



154 RIOTERS MARCH ON PHILADBLPHIA. [^64

of dignity that would have done him more honor
had he made it when the rioters were in arms
before the city, at which time he had shown an
abundant alacrity to negotiate. It was intimated
to Smith and Gibson that they might leave Phila-
delphia; and the Assembly soon after became
involved in its inevitable quarrels with the gov-
ernor, relative to the granting of supplies for the
service of the ensuing campaign. The supply bill
passed, as mentioned in a former chapter ; and the
consequent military preparations, together with a
threatened renewal of the war on the part of the
enemy, engrossed the minds of the frontier people,
and caused the excitements of the winter to be
forgotten. No action on the two memorials was
ever taken by the Assembly ; and the memorable
Paxton riots had no other definite result than that
of exposing the weakness and distraction of the
provincial government, and demonstrating the folly
and absurdity of all principles of non-resistance.

Yet to the student of human nature these events
supply abundant food for reflection. In the fron-
tiersman, goaded by the madness of his misery
to deeds akin to those by which he suffered,
and half believing that, in the perpetration
of these atrocities, he was but the minister of
divine Tengeance ; in the Quaker, absorbed by one
narrow philanthropy, and closing his ears to the
outcries of his wretched countrymen ; in the Pres-
byterian, urged by party spirit and sectarian zeal
to countenance the crimes of rioters and murder-
ers, — in each and all of these lies an embodie<l



Digitized by VjOOQIC



1764.J THE MORAVIAN CONVBRTa 155

satire, which may find its application in every age
of the world, and every condition of society.

The Moravian Indians, the occasion — and, at
least, as regards most of them, the innocent occa-
sion — of the tumult, remained for a full year in
the barracks of Philadelphia. There they endured
frightful suflferings from the small-pox, which
destroyed more than a third of their number.
After the conclusion of peace, they were permitted
to depart ; and, having thanked the governor for
his protection and care, they withdrew to the banks
of the Susquehanna, where, under the direction of
the missionaries, they once more formed a pros-
perous settlement*

1 Loddel, Part n. 281.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



CHAPTER XXVL

1764
BRADSTREBT'S ABMY ON THE LAKES.

The campaign of 1763, a year of disaster to th«
English colonies, was throughout of a defensive
nature, and no important blow had been struck
against the enemy. With the opening of the fol
lowing spring, preparations were made to renew
the war on a more decisive plan. Before the com
mencement of hostilities, Sir William Johnson and
his deputy, George Croghan, severally addressed to
the lords of trade memorials, setting forth the char-
acter, temper, and resources of the Indian tribes, and
suggesting the course of conduct which they judged
it expedient to pursue. They represented that,
before the conquest of Canada, all the tribes, jeal
ous of French encroachment, had looked to the
English to befriend and protect them; but that
now one general feeling of distrust and hatred
filled them all. They added that the neglect and
injustice of the British government, the outrages
of ruffian borderers and debauched traders, and
the insolence of English soldiers, had aggravated
this feeling, and given double effect to the restless



Digitized by VjOOQIC



f764.1 MEMORIALS ON INDIAN AFFAIRS. 157

machinations of the defeated French; \iho, to
revenge themselves on their conquerors, were con-
stantly stirring up the Indians to war. A race so
brave and tenacious of liberty, so wild and erratic
in their habits, dwelling in a countiy so savage and
inaccessible, could not be exterminated or reduced
to subjection without an immoderate expenditure
of men, money, and time. The true policy of the
British government was therefore to conciliate ; to
soothe their jealous pride, galled by injuries and
insults; to gratify them by presents, and treat
them with a respect and attention to which their
haughty spirit would not fail to respond. We
ought, they said, to make the Indians our friends ;
and, by a just, consistent, and straightforward
course, seek to gain their esteem, and wean them
from their partiality to the French. To remove the
constant irritation which arose from the intrusion
of the white inhabitants on their territory, Croghan
urged the expediency of purchasing a large tract
of land to the westward of the English settlements ;
thus confining the tribes to remoter hunting-grounds.
For a moderate sum the Indians would part with as
much land as might be required. A little more,
laid out in annual presents, would keep them in
good temper; and by judicious management all
hostile collision might be prevented, till, by the
extension of the settlements, it should become
expedient to make yet another purchase.^

This plan was afterwards carried into execution
by the British government. Founded as it is upon

1 MS. Johmon Papen.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



158 BRADSTREET'S ARMY ON THE LAKES. [1708, 17M

the supposition that the Indian tribes must gradually
dwindle and waste away, it might well have awak
ened the utmost fears of that unhappy people.
Yet none but an enthusiast or fanatic could con-
demn it as iniquitous. To reclaim the Indians
from their savage state has again and again been
attempted, and each attempt has failed. Theii
intractable, unchanging character leaves no other
alternative than their gradual extinction, or the
abandonment of the western world to eternal bar-
barism ; and of this and other similar plans,
whether the oflFspring of British or American
legislation, it may alike be said that sentimental
philanthropy will find it easier to cavil at than to
amend them.

Now, turning from the Indians, let us observe
the temper of those whose present business it was
to cudgel them into good behavior ; that is to say,
the British officers, of high and low degree. They
seem to have been in a mood of universal discon
tent, not in the least surprising when one consid-
ers that they were forced to wage, with crippled
resources, an arduous, profitless, and inglorious
war ; while perverse and jealous legislatures added
gall to their bitterness, and taxed their patience
to its utmost endurance. The impossible require-
ments of the commander-in-chief were sometimes
joined to their other vexations. Sir Jeffrey
Amherst, who had, as we have seen, but a slight
opinion of Indians, and possibly of everybody else
except a British nobleman and a British soldier,
expected much of his officers : and was at timen



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



1708, 1764.1 COMPLAINTS OF OFFICERS. 159

unreasonable in his anticipations of a prompt
" vengeance on the barbarians." Thus he had
no sooner heard of the loss of Michilliraackinac,
Miami, and other western outposts, than he sent
orders to Gladwyn to re-establish them at on(»e.
Gladwyn, who had scarcely force enough tr main-
tain himself at Detroit, thereupon writes to hia
friend Bouquet: "The last I received from the
General is of the second July, in which I am
ordered to establish the outposts immediately. At
the time I received these orders, I knew it was
impossible to comply with any part of them : the
event shows I was right. I am heartily wearied of
my command, and I have signified the same to
Colonel Amherst (Sir JeflFrey's adjutant). I hope
I shall be relieved soon ; if not, I intend to quit
the service, for I would not choose to be any longer
exposed to the villany and treachery of the settie
ment and Indians."

Two or three weeks before the above was written,
George Croghan, Sir William Johnson's deputy,
who had long lived on the frontier, and was
as well versed in Indian affairs as the com-
mander-in-chief was ignorant of them, wrote
to Colonel Bouquet : — " Seven tribes in Canada
have offered their services to act with the King's
troops; but the General seems determined to
neither accept of Indians' services, nor provincials'.
... I have resigned out of the service, and will
Btart for England about the beginning of Decem-
ber. Sir Jeffrey Amherst would not give his
consent ; so I made my resignation in writing, an^



Digitized by VjOOQIC



160 BRADSTREET'8 ARMY ON THE LAKES. [1763,1764.

gave my reasons for so doing. Had I continued,
I could be of no more service than I have
been these eighteen months past ; which was none
at all, as no regard was had to any intelligence 1
sent, no more than to my opinion." Croghan, who
could not be spared, was induced, on Gage's acces-
sion to the command, to withdraw his resignation
and retain his post.

Next, we have a series of complaints from Lieu

tenant Blane of Fort Ligonier ; who congratulates

Bouquet on his recent victory at Bushy Run, and

adds : " I have now to beg that I may not be left

any longer in this forlorn way, for I can assure you

the fatigue I have gone through begins to get the

oetter of me. I must therefore beg that you will

appoint me, by the return of the convoy, a proper

garrison. . . . My present situation is fifty times

worse than ever." And again, on the seventeenth

of September : " I must beg leave to recommend to

particular attention the sick soldiers here ; as

is neither surgeon nor medicine, it would

' be charity to order them up. I must also

Leave to ask what you intend to do with the

starved militia, who have neither shirts, shoes,

ny thing else. I am sorry you can do nothing

le poor inhabitants. ... I really get heartily

of this post." He endured it some two months

» and then breaks out again on the twenty-

1 of November : " I intend going home by the

pportunity, being pretty much tired of a service

so little worth any man's time ; and the more

I cannot but think I have been particularly

ky in it."



Digitized by VjOOQIC



1763, 1764] COMPLAINTS OF OFFICERS. 161

Now follow the letters, written in French, of the
gallant Swiss, Captain Ecuyer, always lively and
entertaining even in his discontent. He writes to
Bouquet from Bedford, on the thirteenth of Novem-
ber. Like other officers on the frontier, he con^-
plains of the settlers, who, notwithstanding theii
fear of the enemy, always did their best to shelter
deserters ; and he gives a list of eighteen soldiers
who had deserted within five days : * '* I have been
twenty-two years in service, and I never in my life
saw any thing equal to it, — a gang of mutineers,
bandits, cut-throats, especially the grenadiers. I
have been obliged, after all the patience imagin-
able, to have two of them whipped on the spot,
without court-martial. One wanted to kill the ser-
geant and the other wanted to kill me. . . . For
God's sake, let me go and raise cabbages. ' You
can do it if you will, and I shall thank you eter-
nally for it. Don't refuse, I beg you. Besides, my
health is not very good ; and I don't know if I can
go up again to Fort Pitt with this convoy."

Bouquet himself was no better satisfied than his
correspondents. On the twentieth of June, 1764,
he wrote to Gage, Amherst's successor : " I flatter
myself that you will do me the favor to have me

^ " The three companies of Royal Americans were reduced when I met
them at Lancaster to 55 men, having lost 88 by desertion in my short
Absence. I look upon Sir Jeffrey Amherst's Orders forbidding me to
continue to discharge as usual the men whose time of service was expired,
sod keeping us fbr seven years in the Woods, — as the occasion of this
unprecedented desertion. The encoiuragement given everywhere in this
Country to deserters, screened almost by every person, must in time ruin
the Army, unless the Laws against Harbourers are better enforced by
the American {provincial) government." — Bouquet to Gage, 20 June, 1764

▼OL. II. 11



Digitized by VjOOQIC



162 BRADSTREEi'S ARMY ON THE LAKES. 11764

relieved from this command, the burden and
fatigues of which I begin to feel my strength
very unequal to."

Gage knew better than to relieve him, and Bou
quet was forced to resign himself to another year
of bush-fighting. The plan of the summer's cam-
paign had been settled ; and he was to be the most
important, if not the most conspicuous, actor in it.
It had been resolved to march two armies from
different points into the heart of the Indian coun-
try. The first, under Bouquet, was to advance
from Fort Pitt into the midst of the Delaware and
Shawanoe settlements of the valley of the Ohio.
The other, under Colonel Bradstreet, was to pass
up the lakes, and force the tribes of Detroit, and
the regions beyond, to unconditional submission.

The name of Bradstreet was already well kno^vn
in America. At a dark and ill-omened period of
the French war, he had crossed Lake Ontario with
a force of three thousand provincials, and captured
Fort Frontenac, a formidable stronghold of the
French, commanding the outlet of the lake. He
had distinguished himself, moreover, by his gallant
conduct in a skirmish with the French and Indians
on the River Oswego. These exploits had gained
for him a reputation beyond his merits. He was a
man of more activity than judgment, self-willed>
vain, and eager for notoriety; qualities which
became sufficiently apparent before the end of
the campaign.*

1 In the correspondence of General Wolfe, recently published in Taitt
Uagazitw.f this distins^uished officer speaks in high terms of Bradstreet'f



Digitized by VjOOQIC



1764, June] DEPARTURE OF BRADSTREET. 163

Several of the northern provinces furnished
troops for the expedition ; but these levies did not
arrive until after the appointed time ; and, as the
service promised neither honor nor advantage, they
were of very indifferent quality, looking, according
to an officer of the expedition, more like candidates
for a hospital than like men fit for the arduous duty
before them. The rendezvous of the troops was
at Albany, and thence they took their departure
about the end of June. Adopting the usual mili-
tary route to the westward, they passed up the
Mohawk, crossed the Oneida Lake, and descended
the 0^ondaga. The boats and bateaux, crowded
with men, passed between the war-worn defences
of Oswego, which guarded the mouth of the river
on either hand, and, issuing forth upon Lake Onta-
rio, steered in long procession over its restless
waters. A storm threw the flotilla into confusion ;
and several days elapsed before the ramparts of
Fort Niagara rose in sight, breaking the tedious
monotony of the forest-covered shores. The troops
landed beneath its walls. The surrounding plains
were soon dotted with the white tents of the little
army, whose strength, far inferior to the original
design, did not exceed twelve hundred men.

military character. His remarks, however, have reference solely to the
capture of Fort Frontenac ; and he seems to have derived his impressions
^m the public prints, as he had no personal knowledge of Bradstreet.
Ihe view expressed above is derived from the letters of Bradstreet him-
lelf, from the correspondence of General Gage and Sir William Johnson,
ind from a MS. paper containing numerous details of his conduct during
the campaign of 1764, and drawn up by the officers who serred under
him.

This paper is in the possession of Mrs. W. L. Stone.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



164 BHADSTREET'S ARMY ON THE LAKES. 11764

A striking spectacle greeted them on their laud-
ing. Hundreds of Indian cabins were clustered
along the skirts of the forest, and a countless mul-
titude of savages, in all the picturesque variety of
their barbaric costume, were roaming over the
fields, or lounging about the shores of the lake.



Online LibraryFrancis ParkmanThe conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian war after the conquest of ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 12 of 31)