Cole, Peter S. Caudell, eds. Radner, 18—20 Fiona Stafford and Howard Gaskill, eds. Pittock, 25—26 Gerald Newman ed. Landsman, 27—28 Laurence B. McCullough ed. Sher, 28—29 Peter J. Griswold, Jr. Moore, 33 Anthony W. Devine and J. Young, Eds.
Peter Williamson (memoirist) - Wikipedia
Ross, ed. Whatley, Eds. Sher No. Emerson, 17—18 Murray G. Spencer, 23 John W. Hook and Donald Mackenzie , William B. Preston, 28—29 Horst W. Drescher, ed. Willems ed. Pittock, 34 Edward G. Durie, 21—22 T. Burke, Jr. Wehrli, Jr. Osborne, Braxfield: The Hanging Judge? Livingstone and Charles W. Withers, eds. Geography and Enlightenment , reviewed by Richard B. Sher, 43—44 No. Richman, eds. Peterson, Constance M.
Indian Captive, Indian King
Greiff, and Maria M. Sher, 47—48 No. Hanson, 17—18 Eric J. Macinnes, Marjory-Ann D. Harper, and Linda G. Fryer, eds. Milne, ed. Frischer and Iain Gordon Brown, eds. Withers and Paul Wood, eds. Stewart, 33—34 Paul Wood, ed. Carpenter, The Dissemination of the Wealth of Nations in French and in France, — , reviewed by Deidre Dawson, 36—37 David Hume, Essais moraux, politiques et litteraires, et autres essays , reviewed by L.
Bongie, 37—38 Mark G. Spencer, ed. Klemme, ed. Barnett Cochran, 19—20 Peter Millican, ed. Gordon Tait, ed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. About Google Book Search Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful.
Google Book Search helps readers discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. He who reads the life of Peter Williamson will find it fraught with much useful instruction. The language in which it is narrated is a sufiicient proof that its author was no designing man, who intended to impose on the credulity of the vulgar, and satiate their appetite for the marvellous, by the account of his sufferings. And what possible indemnification can be made to the man who thus gives up his all? Such a remu- neration is incompatible with our very nature ; for to deprive us of the liberty of will, is to take away all morality firom our actions.
In a word, a convention which, on the one part stipulates absolute authority, and on the other implicit obe- dience, is in itself futile and contradictory. But here let us observe, that their crime assumes a blacker die when we take into consider- ation the circumstance that these indentures were never proposed until they had actual possession of the bodies of their victims ; it matters not how this possession was obtained, whether by cajol- ing artifices, or absolute violence, they were in durance, and no.
Think, reader, for a moment, that your brother, the companion of your sports, the friend of your heart, one night disappeared and was seen no more — that the grief and sorrow of your parents were bringing them fast to the grave ; and that, though years might roll, they brought no tidings of their lost child ; and that their last prayers were breathed for the ever-lost boy.
And this was many a brother's — many a parent's lot. All their high hopes would be crushed, all their youthful day-dreams would vanish as airy phantoms, and the cruel reality of their hopeless situation would mock all their fancied prospects of future worldly bliss. It would be well if we could say as much of every class of subjects.
There is a race whose only crime is their complexion, and whose only vice is their want of education — a want which their iron-hearted oppressors will not allow to be supplied — and this race is liable to tenfold greater calamities than did ever befal our infatuate fellow-citizens of Aberdeen, even when the practice of kidnapping was carried on in its most villainous extent.
The slaves in the West Indies — for it is to them we allude — are the objects of the sympathy of Christendom. Already have the most of its states declared the crime of man-stealing to be piracy, and therefore punishable with death ; but still the nefarious traffic is pursued, and in spite of the vigilance evinced by our cruisers, thousands are dragged from their homes to wear out a listless life of dreary solitude. V and prejudice so strongly warp the minds of the planters, that justice and morality are excluded, and rapine and oppression necessarily domineer in their breasts.
It has been often argued that the slaves in the West Indies are not the victims of oppres- sion, that they are well treated, and, in many cases, that they live more comfortably than our artisans do at home. But grant- ing that it were the case that the slaves were well treated, what does it bear against the general argument? Nothing at all ; for it will not matter whether the chain with which he is fettered be made of iron or of gold, it is equally strong. The wretch who is secured with a silken cord is as much a prisoner as he who is bound with hemp.
HE reader is not here to expect a large and useless detail of the transactions of late years, in that part of the world where, ever bince my infancy, it has been my is fortune to have lived. Was it in my. And as a plain, impartial, and succinct narrative of my own life, and various vicissitudes of fortune, is all that I now shall aim at, I shall herein confine myself to plain simple truth, and, in the dictates resulting from an honest heart, give the reader no other entertainment 8 than what shall be matter of fact ; and of such things as have actually happened to me, or come to my own knowledge in the sphere of life in which it has been my lot to be placed.
Not but I hope I may be allow- ed, now and then, to carry on my narrative from the information I have received of such things as relate to my design, though they have not been done or trans- acted in my presence. It being usual in narratives like this, to give a short account of the author's birth, education, and juvenile exploits, the same being looked upon as necessary, or at least a satisfactory piece of information to the curious and inquisitive reader, I shall, without boasting of a family I am no way entitled to, or recounting adven- tures in my youth to which I was entirely a stranger, in a short manner gratify such curiosity ; not expecting, as I said before, to be admired for that elegance of style, and profusion of words, so universally made use of in details and histories of those adventurers who have of late years obliged the world with their anecdotes and memoirs, and which have had scarce any other exist- ence than in the brains of a bookseller's or printer's garreteer, who, from fewer incidents, and less surprising matter, than will be found in this short narrative, have been, and are daily enabled to spin and work out their elaborate performances to three or four volumes.
Know, therefore, that I was born in Hirnlay, in t ie Parish of Aboyne, and County of Aberdeen, North Britain, if not of rich, yet of reputable parents, who supported me in the best manner they could, as long as they had the happiness of having me under their inspection ; but fatally for me, and to their great grief, as it afterwards proved, I was sent to live with an aunt at Aberdeen.
When under the years of pupillarity, playing on the quay, with others of my companions, being of a stout, robust constitution, I was taken notice of by two fellows belonging to a vessel in the harbour, employed as the trade then was by some of the worthy merchants in the town, in that villainous and execrable practice called Kidnapping; that is, stealing young children from their parents, and selling them as slaves in the plantations abroad.
Being marked out by these monsters of impiety as their prey, I was cajoled on board the ship by them, where I was no sooner got, than they conducted me between the decks to some others they had kidnapped in the same manner. At that time I had no sense of the fate that was destined for me, and spent the time in childish amusements with my fellow sufferers in the steerage, being never suffered to go upon deck whilst the vessel lay in the harbour, which was until such a time as they had got in their loading, with a complement of unhappy youths for carrying on their wicked commerce.
In about a month's time the ship set sail for America. The treatment we met with, and the trifling incidents which happened during the voyage, I hope I may be excused from relating, as not being at that time of an age sufficient to remark anything more than what must occur to everyone on such an occasion. However, I lO cannot forget that, when we arrived on the coast we were destined for, a hard gale of wind sprung up from the S. K, and, to the captain's great surprise he not thinking he was near land although having been eleven weeks oh the passage, about twelve o'clock at night the ship struck on a sand-bank off Cape May, near the Capes of Delaware, and to the great terror and affright of the ship's company, in a short time was almost full of water.
The boat was then hoisted out, into which the captain, and his fellow villains — the crew — got with some difficulty, leaving me, and my deluded com- panions, to perish, as they then naturally concluded inevitable death to be our fate. Often, in my dis- tresses and miseries since, have I wished that such had been the consequence, when in a state of innocence ; but Providence though proper to reserve me for future trials of its goodness.
Thus abandoned and deserted, without the least prospect of relief, but threatened every moment with death, did these villains leave us. The cries, the shrieks, and tears of a parcel of infants, had no effect on, or caused the least remorse in the breasts of these merciless wretches. Scarce need I say, to which to give the preference ; whether to such as these who have had the opportunity of knowing the Christian religion; or to the savages hereinafter de- scribed, who profane not the gospel, or boast of humanity, and if they act in a more brutal and butcherly manner, yet it is to their enemies, for the sake of plunder and the rewards offered them, for their principles are alike, the love of sordid gain being both their motives.
The ship being on a sandbank, which did not give way to let her deeper, we lay in the same deplorable condition until morning, when, though we saw the land of Cape May, at about a mile's distance, we knew no what would be our fate. The wind at length abated, and the captain unwiU- II ing to lose all her cargo , about ten o'clock, sent some of his crew in a boat to the ship's side to bring us on shore, where we lay in a sort of a camp, made of the sails of the vessel, and such other things as we could get.
The provisions lasted us until we were taken in by a vessel bound to Philadelphia, lying on this island, as well as I can recollect, near three weeks. Very little of the cargo was saved undamaged, and the vessel entirely lost When arrived and landed at Philadelphia, the capital of Pennsylvania, the captain had soon people enough who came to buy us. What became of my unhappy com- panions I never knew ; but it was my lot to be sold to one of my countrymen, whose name was Hugh Wilson, a North Briton, for the term of seven years, who had in his youth undergone the same fate as myself, having been kidnapped from St.
Johnstown, in Scotland. As I shall often have occasion to mention Philadelphia during the course of my adventures, I shall, in this ' place, give a short and concise description of the finest city of America, and one of the best laid out in the world. This city would have been a capital fit for an empire had it been built and inhabited according to the pro- prietor's plan.
Considering its late foundation, it is a large city, and most commodiously situated between the Delaware and Schuylkill, two navigable rivers. The former being two miles broad, and navigable miles for small vessels. It extends in length two miles from the one river to the other. There are eight long streets two miles in length, all straight and spacious. The 12 houses are stately, very numerous being near , and still increasing, and all carried on regularly accord- ing to the first plan.
It has two fronts to the water, one on the east side facing the Schuylkill, and that on the west facing the Delaware. The Schuylkill being navigable miles above the falls, the eastern part is most populous, where the warehouses some three stories high , and wharfs are numerous and convenient All the houses have large orchards and gardens belonging to them. In the centre of the city there is a space of ten acres, whereon are built the state-house, market-house, and school-house.
The former is built of brick, and has a prison under it.
- Prescription for Herbal Healing, 2nd Edition: An Easy-to-Use A-to-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies.
- Praying with Angels.
- American domestic workers.
- On this day in Scotland: Peter Williamson.
- See a Problem?.
- Peter Williamson (memoirist) | Revolvy;
The oldest church is Christ Church, and has a numerous congregation ; but the major part of the inhabitants, being at first Quakers, still continue so, who have several meeting-houses, and may not improperly be called the church, as by law established, being the originals. The quay is beautiful, and feet square, to which a ship of tons may lay her broadside. Near the town, and on the spot which separates it from the Schuylkill, where that river falls into the Delaware, is found black earth of a great depth, and covered with vegetation ; and which, it is evident, has been recently left by the water; It has all the character of land perfectly new, and as yet scarcely raised from the bed of the river.
This land is used for meadows, and is in great estimation.
It is acknowledged, however, to be extremely unhealthy. Be- tween that and Wilmington, the quality of the stone is quartzose ; ocher is also to be found in an imperfect state. As the advantages this city may boast of has 13 rendered it one of the best trading towns out of the British empire, so in all probability it will increase in commerce and riches, if not prevented by party, faction, and religious feuds, which of late years have made it suffer considerably.
The assemblies and courts of judicature are held here, as in all capitals. The French have no city like in all America. Happy was my lot in falling into my countryman's power, as he was, contrary to many others of his call- ing, a humane, worthy, honest man. Having no children of his own, and commiserating my unhappy condition, he took great care of me until I was fit for business, and about the 12th year of my age sent me about little trifles, in which state I continued until my 14th year, when I was more fit for harder work.
During such my idle state, seeing my fellow-servants often reading and writing, it incited in me an inclination to learn, which I intimated to my master, telling him I should be very willing to serve a year longer than the contract by which I was bound, if he would indulge me in going to school ; this he readily agreed to, saying that winter would be the best time. It being then summer, I waited with impatience for the other season ; but to make some progress in my design, I got a primer, and learned as much from my fellow-servants as I could.
At school, where I went every winter for five years, I made tolerable proficiency, and have ever since been improving myself at leisure hours. My father-in-law, in order to establish us in the world in an easy, if not affluent manner, made me a deed of gift of a track of land, that lay unhappily for me as it has since proved on the frontiers of the province of Pennsylvania, near the forks of Delaware, in Berks county, containing about acres, 30 of which were well cleared, and fit for immediate use, whereon was a good house and barn.
The Pennsylvanians little imagined at first that the Indians, guilty of such outrages and violence, were some of those who pretended to be in the English interest, which, alas! Some, indeed, carry a bag with biscuit or Indian corn therein, but not unless 15 they have a long march to their destined place of action. Terrible and shocking to human nature were the barbarities daily committed by the savages, and are not to be parsJleled in all the volumes of history! Scarce did a day pass but some unhappy family or other fell victims to French chicanery and savage cruelty. Terrible indeed it proved to me as well as to many others ; I that was now happy in an easy state of life, blessed with an affectionate and tender wife, who was possessed of all amiable qualities, to enable me to go through the world with that peace and serenity of mind which every Christian wishes to possess, became on a sudden one of the most unhappy and deplorable of mankind; scarce can I sustain the shock, which for- ever recoils on me, at thinking on the last time of see- ing that good woman.
The fatal 2nd of October, , she that day went from home to visit some of her rela- tions. They making several attempts to get in, I asked them what they wanted. They gave me no answer, but continued beating, and trying to get the door open. Judge, then, the condition I must be in, knowing the cruelty and merciless disposition of those savages should I fall into their hands.
To escape which dreadful mis- fortune, having my gun loaded in my hand, I threat- ened them with death if they should not desist. But how vain and fruitless are the efforts of one man against the united force of so many, and of such merciless, undaunted, and bloodthirsty monsters as I had here to deal with. One of them that could speak a little English, threatened me in return, "That if I did not come out, they would burn me alive in the house ; " telling me further, what I unfortunately perceived, " That they were no friends to the English, but if I would come out and surrender myself prisoner, they would not kill me.
Little could I depend on the promises of such crea- tures, and yet if I did not, inevitable death, by being burned alive, must be my lot. Im- mediately on my approach, they rushed on me like so many tigers, and instantly disarmed me. Having me thus in their power the merciless villains bound me to a tree near the door ; they then went into the house, and plundered and destroyed everything there was in it, carrying off what moveables they could ; the rest, together with the house, which they set fire to, was 17 consumed before my eyes.
The barbarians, not satis- fied with this, set fire to my barn, stable, and outhouses, wherein were about bushels of wheat, six cows, four horses, and five sheep, which underwent the same fate, being all entirely consumed to ashes. During the conflagration, to describe the thoughts, the fears, and misery that I felt, is utterly impossible, as it is even now to mention what I feel at the remembrance thereof. This I seemingly agreed to, promising to do everything for them that lay in my power, trusting to Providence for the time when I might be delivered out of their hands.
Upon this they untied me, and gave me a great load to carry on my back, under which I travelled all that night with them, full of the most terrible appre- hensions, and oppressed with the greatest anxiety of mind lest my unhappy wife should likewise have fallen a prey to these cruel monsters.
They then kindled a fire near the tree whereto I was bound, which filled me with the most dreadful agonies, concluding I was going to be made a sacrifice to their barbarity. This narrative, O reader! To take up the hatchet or tomakawk among them, is to declare war. Permit me therefore to proceed : not by recounting to you the deplorable condition I was then in, for that is more than can be described to you, by one who thought of nothing less than being immediately put to death in the most excruciating manner these devils could invent.
The fire being thus made, they for some time danced round me after their manner, with various odd motions and antic gestures, whooping, hallooing, and crying in a frightful manner, as it is their custom.
Having satisfied themselves in this sort of their mirth, they proceeded in a more tragical manner, taking the burning coals and sticks, flaming with fire at the ends, holding them near my face, head, hands, and feet, with a deal of monstrous pleasure and satisfaction, and at the same time threatening to bum me entirely if I made the least noise or cried out. Thus tortured as I was, almost to death, I suffered their brutal pleasure without being allowed to vent my inexpressible anguish otherwise than by shedding tears, even which, when those inhuman tormentors observed, with a shocking pleasure and alacrity, they would take fresh coals, and apply near my eyes, telling me my face was wet, and that they would dry it for me, which indeed they cruelly did.
Having at length satisfied their brutal pleasure, they sat down round the fire, and roasted their meat, of 19 which they had robbed my dwelling. When they had prepared it, and satisfied their voracious appetites, they offered some to me ; though it is easily imagined I had but little appetite to eat, after the tortures and miseries I had undergone, yet was I forced to seem pleased with what they offered me, lest, by refusing it, they had again resumed their hellish practices.
What I could not eat I contrived to get between the bark and the tree where I was fixed, they having unbound my hands until they imagined I had eat all they gave me ; but then they again bound me as before, in which deplorable condition was I forced to continue all that day. When the sun was set they put out the fire, and covered the ashes with leaves, as is their usual custom, that the white people might not discover any traces or signs of their having been there. Thus had these barbarous wretches finished their last diabolical piece of work, and shocking as it may seem to the humane English heart, yet what I under- went was but trifling, in comparison to the torments and miseries which I was afterwards an eye-witness of being inflicted on others of my unhappy fellow creatures.
Going from thence along by the river Susquehana for the space of six miles, loaded as I was before, we arrived at a spot near the Apalachian mountains, or Blue Hills, where they hid their plunder under logs of wood. And, oh, shocking to relate! I think I may properly call it, to the aggrandizing the ambition of a king who wrongly styles himself Most Christian! For, had these savages been never tempted with the alluring bait of all-powerful gold, myself, as well as hundreds of others, might still have lived most happily in our stations.
If Christians countenance, nay, hire those wretches to live in a continual repeti- tion of plunder, rapine, murder, and conflagration, in vain are missionaries sent, or sums expended, for the propogation of the gospel. But these sentiments, with many others, must, before the end of this narra- tive, occur to every humane heart. Therefore to proceed — Not contented with what these infernals had already done, they still continued their inordinate villainy, in making a general conflagratoin of the bam and stables, together with all the com, horses, cows, and every thing on the place.
Thinking the young man belonging to this unhappy family would be of some service to them in carrying with them. They cut the skin round as much of the head as they think proper, sometimes quite round from the neck and forehead, then take it m their finders and pluck it off, and often leave the unhappy creatures, so served, to die in a most miserable manner.
Some who are not cut too deep in the temples and skull, live in horrid torments many hours, and sometimes a day or two after. The scalps, or skins thus taken off, they preserve and carry home in triumph, where they receive, as is said before, a considerable sum for every one. My fellow-sufferer could not long bear the cruel treatment which we were both obliged to suffer, and complaining bitterly to me of his being unable to proceed any farther, I en- deavoured to condole him as much as lay in my power, to bear up under his afflictions, and wait with patience till by the divine assistance we should be delivered out of their clutches ; but all in vain, for he still continued his moans and tears, which, one of the savages per- ceiving, as we travelled on, instantly came up to us, and with his tomahawk gave him a blow on the head, which felled the unhappy youth to the ground, where they immediately scalped and left him.
The sudden- ness of this murder shocked me to that degree, that I was in a manner like a statue, being quite motionless, expecting my fate would soon be the same : however, recovering my distracted thoughts, I dissembled the uneasiness and anguish which I felt, as well as I could, from the barbarians ; but still, such was the terror that I was under, that for some time I scarce knew the days of the week, or what I did, so that, at this period, life indeed became a burden to me, and I regretted being saved from my first persecutors, the sailors.
The horrid fact being completed, they kept on their course near the mountains, where they lay skulking four or five days, rejoicing at the plunder and store they had got. When provisions became scarce, they made their way towards Susquehana, where still, to add to the many barbarities they had already com- mitted, passing near another house inhabited by an unhappy old man, whose name was John Adams, with his wife and four small children ; and, meeting with no resistance, they immediately scalped the unhappy wife and her four children, before the good old man's eyes.
Inhuman and horrid as this was, it did not satiate them ; for when they had murdered the poor woman, they acted with her in such a brutal manner, as decency, or the remembrance of the crime, will not permit me to mention; and this even before the unhappy husband, who, not being able to avoid the sight, and incapable of affording her the least relief, entreated them to put an end to his miserable being ; but they were as deaf and regardless to the tears, prayers, and entreaties of this venerable sufferer, as they had been to those of the others, and proceeded in their hellish purpose of burning and destroying his house, bam, cattle, hay, com, and every thing the poor man a few hours before was master of.
In vain, alas! And during such his pious ejaculations, his infernal plagues would come round him, mimicking his heart-rending groans and piteous wailings. One night after he had thus been tormented, whilst he and I were sitting together condoling each other at the misfortunes and miseries we daily suffered, twenty scalps and three prisoners were brought in by another party of Indians. They had unhappily fallen in their hands in Cannocojigge, a small town near the river Susquehana, chiefly inhabited by the Irish.
These prisoners gave us some shocking accounts of the murders and devastations committed in their parts. The various and complicated actions of these barbarians would entirely fill a large volume, but what I have already written, with a few other instances which I shall select from their information, will enable the reader to guess at the horrid treatment the English, and Indians in their interest, suffered for many years past.
I shall therefore only mention in a brief manner those that suffered near the same time with myself. This party, who now joined us, had it not, I found, in their power to begin their wickedness as soon as those who visited my habitation, the first of their tragedies being on the 25th day of October, , when John Lewis, with his wife and three small children, fell sacrifices to their cruelty, and were miserably scalped 24 and murdered, his house, bam, and everything he pos- sessed, being burned and destroyed. On the 28thy Jacob Miller, with his wife and six of his family, together with everything on his plantation, underwent the same fate.
The 30th, the house, mill, bam, twenty head of cattle, two teams of horses, and everything belonging to the unhappy George Folke, met with the like treatment ; himself, wife, and all his miserable family, consisting of nine in number, being inhumanly scalped, then cut in pieces and given to the swine, which devoured them. I shall give another instance of the numberless and unheard-of barbarities they related of these savages, and proceed to their own tragical end.
In short, one of the substantial traders belonging to the province, having business that called him some miles up the country, fell into the hands of these devils, who not only scalped him, but immediately roasted him before he was dead ; then, like cannibals for want of other food, eat his whole body, and of his head made what they called an Indian pudding. From these few instances of savage cruelty, the deplorable situation of the defenceless inhabitants, and what they hourly suffered in that part of the globe, must strike the utmost horror to a human soul, and cause in every breast the utmost detestation, not only against the authors of such tragic scenes, but against those who through perfidy, inattention, or pusillani- mous and erroneous principles, suffered these savages at first, unrepelled, or even unmolested, to commit such outrages and incredible depredations and mur- ders : for no torments, no barbarities that can be exercised on the human sacrifices they get into their power, are left untried or omitted.
The three prisoners that were brought with these additional forces, constantly repining at their lot, and almost dead with their excessive hard treatment. The poor creatures, almost famished for want of sustenance, having had none during the time of their elopement, were no sooner in the clutches of the barbarians, than two of them were tied to a tree, and a great fire made round them, where they remained till they were terribly scorched and burnt; when one of the villains, with his scalping knife, ript open their bellies, took out their entrails, and burnt them before their eyes, whilst the others were cutting, piercing, anjd tearing the flesh from their breasts, hands, arms, and legs, with red hot irons, till they were dead.
The third unhappy victim was reserved a few hours longer, to be, if possible, sacrificed in a more cruel manner : his arms were tied close to his body, and a hole being dug deep enough for him to stand upright, he was put therein, and earth rammed and beat in all round his body, up to the neck, so that his head only appeared above the ground ; they then scalped him, and there let him remain for three or four hours in the greatest agonies, after which they made a small fire near his head, causing him to suffer the most excruicating torments imaginable, whilst the poor creature could only cry for mercy in killing him immediately, for his brains were boiling in his head.
Inexorable to all his plaints, they continued the fire, whilst, shocking to behold, his eyes gushed out of their sockets, and such agonising torments did the unhappy creature suffer for near two hours, till he was quite dead! They then cut of his head and buried it with the other bodies, my task being to dig the graves, which, feeble and terrified as I was, the dread of 26 suffering the same fate enabled me to do. I shall not here take up the reader's time, in vainly attempting to describe what I felt on such an occasion, but continue my nan-ative as more equal to my abilities.
A great snow now falling, the barbarians were a little fearful lest the white people should, by their traces, find out their skulking retreats, which obliged them to make the best of their way to their winter quarters, about two hundred miles farther from any plantations or inhabitants; where, after a long and tedious journey, being almost starved, I arrived with this infernal crew. The place where we were to rest, in their tongue, is called Alamingo. Dancing, shooting, and shouting were their general amusements; and in all their festivals and dances they relate what successes they have had, and what damages they have sustained in their expeditions, in which I became part of their theme.
The severity of the cold increasing, they stript me of my clothes for their own use, and gave me such as they usually wore themselves, being a piece of blanket, a pair of mogganeSy or shoes, with a yard of coarse cloth to put round me instead of breeches. To describe their dress and manner of living may not be altogether unacceptable.
That they in general wear a white blanket, which, in war time, they paint with various figures, but parti- cularly the leaves of trees, in order to deceive their enemies when in the woods. Their mogganes are made of deer-skins, and the best sort have them bound round the edges with little beads and ribbands.
They esteem them easy to run in. Breeches they never wear, but instead thereof two pieces of linen, one before and another behind. The better sort have shirts of the finest linen they can get, and to these some wear ruffles; but these they never put on till they have painted them of various colours which they get from the pecone root and bark of trees, and never pull them off to wash, but wear them till they fall to pieces. The men have no beards, to prevent which they use certain instruments and tricks as soon as it begins to grow.
The hair of their heads is managed differently, some pluck out and destroy all, except a lock hanging from the crown of the head, which they interweave with wampum and feathers of various colours. The women wear it very long twisted down their backs, with beads, feathers, and wampum, and on their heads most of them wear little coronets of brass or copper; round their middle they wear a blanket instead of a petticoat.
The females are very chaste, and constant to their hus- bands, and if any young maiden should happen to have a child before marriage, she is never esteemed after- wards. As for their food they get it chiefly by hunting and shooting, and boil or roast all the meat they eat. Their standing dish consists of Indian com soaked, then bruised and boiled over a gentle fire for ten or twelve hours. Their bread is likewise made of wild oats, or sun-flower seeds. Set meals they never regard, but eat when they are hungry. Their gun, tomahawk. They generally in war decline open engagements ; bush fighting or skulking is their discipline ; and they are brave when engaged, having great fortitude in enduring tortures and death.
In times of peace they visit the plan- tations inhabited by the whites, to whom they sell baskets, ladles, spoons, and other such trifles, which they are very expert in making. Nor would they at any time be guilty of such barbarous depredations as they are, did not those calling themselves Christians entice them thereto with strong liquors, which they are vastly fond of, as well as by the pecuniary rewards which they gave for the scalps.
If ambition cannot be gratified, or superiority obtained, otherwise than by the death of thousands, would it not, in those who seek such airy phantoms, and are so inordinately fond of their fellow creatures' lives, savour a little more of humanity, to have them 29 killed instantly, and, if they must have proofs of murder, scalped afterwards, than by allowing and encouraging such merciless treatment, render themselves as ob- noxious, cruel, and barbarous, to a humane mind, as the very savages themselves?
However, they some- times suffer by their plots and chicanery laid for the destruction of others, it often happening that the traders or emissaries sent to allure them to the execution of their schemes, rightly fall victims themselves ; for, as they always carry with them horse-loads of rum, which the Indians are fond of, they soon get drunk, quarrel- some, and wicked, and in their fury often kill and destroy their tempters : a just reward for their wicked designs ; nay, it had such an effect on them, that when so intoxicated, they even burn and consume all their own effects, beating, wounding, and sometimes killing their wives and children ; but, in disputes among them selves, when sober, they are very tenacious of decorum, never allowing more than one to speak at a time.
Profane swearing they know not in their own language how to express, but are very fond of the French and English oaths. The old people, who are by age and infirmities rendered incapable of being serviceable to the com- munity, they put out of the world in a barbarous and extraordinary manner; an instance of which I had, whilst among them, an opportunity of seeing practised, on an old Indian. Before whom being come, and having nothing to say for himself as how indeed could he prove himself young? This was soon after 30 executed on him in the following manner : he was tied naked to a tree, and a boy, who was to be his execu- tioner, stood ready with a tomahawk in his hands, to beat his brains out ; but when the young monster came to inflict the sentence, he was so short of stature that he could not lift the tomahawk high enough, upon which he was was held up by some others, a great concourse being present ; and then, though the young devil laid on with all his strength, he was not for some time able to fracture the old man's skull, so that it was near an hour before he was dead ; thus are they, from their youth, inured to barbarity!
When they found no remains of life in him, they put him into a hole dug in the ground for that purpose, in which he stood upright. Into his left hand they put an old gun, and hung a small powder-horn and shot-bag about his shoulders, and a string of wampum round his neck ; and into his right hand a little silk purse with a bit of money in it ; then filled the hole round, and covered him over with earth. This I found to be the usual manner of treating the old of both sexes ; only that the women are killed by young girls, and put into the ground with nothing but a ladle in one hand, and a wooden dish in the other.
They are very strict in punishing offenders, especially such as commit crimes against any of the royal families. They never hang any ; but those sentenced to death are generally bound to a stake, and a great fire made round them, but not so near as to burn them immediately ; for they sometimes remain roasting in the middle of the flames for two or three days before they are dead.
After this long digression, it is time to return to the detail of my own affairs. At Alamingo was I kept near two months, until the snow was off the ground. A long time to be amongst such creatures, and naked as I almost was! Thus did I for near two months endure such hardships of cold and hunger as had hitherto been unknown to me.
My liberty of going about was indeed more than I could have expected, but they well knew the imprac- ticability of my eloping from them. Seeing me outwardly easy and submissive, they would sometimes give me a little meat, but my chief food was Indian corn, dressed as I have above described. Notwith- standing such their civility, the time passed so tedious on, that I almost began to despair of ever regaining my liberty, or seeing my few relations again ; which, with the anxiety and pain I suffered, on account of my dear wife, often gave me inexpressible concern.
At length the time arrived when they were preparing themselves for another expedition against the planters and white people ; but before they set out they were joined by many other Indians from Fort Du Quesne, well stored with powder and ball they had received from the French. As soon as the snow was quite gone, and no traces of their vile footsteps could be perceived, they set forward on their journey toward the back parts of the province of Pennsylvania, leaving their wives and children behind in their wigwams.
They were now a terrible and formidable body, amounting nearly to My duty was to carry what they thought proper to load me with, but they never entrusted me with a 32 gun. We marched on several days without any thing particular occurring, almost famished for want of provisions ; for my part I had nothing but a few stalks of Indian com, which I was glad to eat dry ; nor did the Indians themselves fare much better, for as we drew near the plantations they were afraid to kill any game, lest the noise of their guns should alarm the inhabitants.
When we again arrived at the Blue Hills, about thirty miles from Cannocojigge, the Irish settlement before mentioned, we encamped for three days, though, God knows, we had neither tents, nor any thing else to defend us from the inclemency of the air, having nothing to lie on by night but the grass. Their usual method of lodging, pitching, or camping by night, being in parcels of ten or twelve men to a fire, where they lie upon the grass or bushes, wrapt up in a blanket, with their feet to the fire.
During our stay here a sort of council of war was held, when it was agreed to divide themselves into companies of about twenty men each; after which, every captain marched with his party where he thought, proper. I still belonged to my old masters, but was left behind on the mountains with ten Indians, to stay until the rest should return; not thinking it proper to carry me nearer Cannocojigge, or the other plantations.
Here being left, I began to meditate on my escape ; and though I knew the country round extremely well, having been often thereabouts with my companions, hunting deer and other beasts, yet was I very cautious of giving the least suspicion of such my intention. However, the third day after the grand body left us, my companions or keepers thought proper to visit the mountains in search of game for their subsistence, leaving me bound in such a manner, that I could not 33 escape. Observing them to be in that somniferous state, I tried various ways to see whether it was a scheme to prove my intentions or not; but after making a noise and walking about, sometimes touching them with my feet, I found there was no fallacy.
To prevent which, I resolved, if possible, to get one of their guns, and if discovered, to die in my defence rather than be taken ; for that purpose I made various efforts to get one from under their heads where they usually secured them but in vain. Frustrated in this my first essay regarding my liberty, I dreaded the thoughts of carrying my new design into execution ; yet after a little considera- tion, and trusting myself to the Divine protection, I set forward, naked and defenceless as I was.
A rash and dangerous enterprise! Such was my terror, however, that in going from them I halted and paused every four or five yards, looking fearfully towards the spot where I had left them, lest they should awake and miss me ; but when I was about two hundred yards from them I mended my pace, and made as much haste as I could to the foot of the mountains, when on a sudden I was struck with the greatest terror and amaze at hearing the wood-cry, as it is called, and may be expressed Jo hau!
Jo hau! The bellowing of lions, the shrieks of hyenas, or the roarings 34 of tigers, would have been music to my ears in com- parison to the sounds that then saluted them. They having now missed their charge, I concluded that they would soon separate themselves, and hie in quest of me. The more my terror increased, the faster did I push on ; and scarce knowing where I trod, drove through the woods with the utmost precipitation, sometimes falling and bruising myself, cutting my feet and legs against the stones in a miserable manner, but though faint and maimed, I continued my flight until break of day, when, without having any thing to sustain nature but a little corn left, I crept into a hollow tree, in which I lay very snug, and returned my prayers and thanks to the Divine Being, that had thus far favoured my escape.
But my repose was in a few hours destroyed at hearing the voices of savages near the place where I was hid, threatening and talking how they would use me if they got me again — that I was before too sensible of to have the least rest either in body or mind since I had left them. However, they at last left the spot where I had heard them, and I remained in my circular asylum all that day without further molestation. At night I ventured forward again, frightened and trembling at every bush I past, thinking each twig that touched me to be a savage.
The third day I concealed myself in the like manner, and at night I travelled on in the same deplorable condition, keeping off the main road used by the Indians as much as possible, which made my journey many miles longer, and more painful and irksome than I can express. Whether to move forward or to rest where I was I knew not, so distracted was my imagination.
In this melancholy state, revolving in my thoughts the now inevitable fate I thought waited on me, to my great consternation and joy, I was relieved by a parcel of swine that made towards the place I guessed the savages to be, who on seeing the hogs, conjectured that their alarm had been caused by them, and very merrily returned to the fire, and lay down to sleep as before. As soon as I perceived my enemies so disposed of, with more cautious step and silent tread I pursued my course, sweating though winter, and severely cold with the fear I had just been relieved from.
Bruised, cut, mangled, and terrified as I was, I still, through the divine assistance, was enabled to pursue my journey until break of day, when thinking myself far off from any of those miscreants I so much dreaded, I lay down under a great log, and slept undisturbed till about noon, when getting up, I reached the summit of a great hill with some difficulty, and looking out if I could spy any inhabitants of white people, to my unutterable joy I saw some, which I guessed to be about ten miles distant.
This pleasure was in some measure abated by my not being able to get among them that night ; therefore, when evening approached, I again recommended myself to the Almighty, and composed my weary mangled limbs to rest. In the morning, as soon as I awoke, I continued my journey towards the nearest cleared lands I had seen the day before, and about four o'clock in the afternoon arrived at the house of John Bell, an old acquaintance, where knocking at the door, his wife, who opened it, seeing me in such a frightful condition, flew from me like lightning, screaming into the house.
This alarmed the whole family, who immediately fled to their arms, and I was soon accosted by the master with his 36 gun in his hand. But on my assuring him of my innocence as to any wicked intentions, and making myself known for he before took me to be an Indian , he immediately caressed me, as did also his family, with a deal of friendship, at finding me alive, they having all been informed of my being murdered by the savages some months before.
No longer able to support rtiy fatigued and worn out spirits, I fainted and fell to the ground. From which state having recovered me, and perceiving the weak and famished condition I then was in, they soon gave me some refreshment, but let me par- take of it very sparingly, fearing the ill effects too much would have on me.
They for two or three nights very affectionately supplied me with all necessaries, and carefully attended me until my spirits and limbs were pretty well recruited, and I thought myself able to ride, when I borrowed of these good people whose kindness merits my most grateful return a horse and some clothes, and set forward for my father-in-law's house in Chester county, about miles from thence, where I arrived on the fourth day of January, ; but scarce one of the family could credit their eyes, believing, with the people I had lately left, that I had fallen a prey to the Indians.
Great was the joy and satisfaction wherewith I was received and embraced by the whole family ; but oh, what was my anguish and trouble, when inquiring for my dear wife, I found she had been dead near two months! This fatal news, as every humane reader must imagine, greatly lessened the joy and rapture I other- wise should have felt at my deliverance from the dread- ful state of captivity I had been in. The news of my happy arrival at my father-in-law's house, after so long and strange an absence, was soon spread round the neighbouring plantations by the eountry people who continually visited me, being very 37 desirous of hearing and eagerly inquiring an account of my treatment and manner of living among the Indians, in all which I satisfied them.
Soon after this my arrival, I was sent for by his excellency Mr. Morris, the governor, a worthy gentleman, who examined me very particularly as to all incidents relating to my captivity, and especially in regard to the Indians, who had first taken me away, whether they were French or English parties. Having satisfied his excellency in such particulars as he requested, the same being put into writing, I swore to the contents thereof, as may be seen by those who doubt of my veracity, in the public papers of that time, as well in England as in Philadelphia.
Having done with me, Mr. Morris gave me three pounds, and sent the affidavit to the assembly, who were then sitting in the State-house at Philadelphia, concluding on proper measures to check the depredations of the savages, and put a stop to their barbarous hostilities on the distressed inhabitants, who daily suffered death in a most deplor- able condition ; besides being obliged to abscond their plantations, and the country being left desolate for several hundred miles on the frontiers, and the poor sufferers could have no relief, by reason of the disputes 38 between the governor and the assembly.
The former was led by the instructions of the proprietor, which was entirely against the interest of the province, so that it caused great confusion among the people to see the country so destroyed, and no preparations making for its defence. However, on receiving this intelligence from his excellency, they immediately sent for me. When I arrived, I was conducted into the lower house, where the assembly then sat, and was there interrogated by the speaker, very particularly, as to all I had before given the governor an account of This my first examination lasted three hours. The next day I underwent a second for about an hour and a half, when I was courteously dismissed, with a promise that all proper methods should be taken, not only to accommodate and reimburse all those who had suffered by the savages, but to prevent them from committing the like hostilities for the future.
Now returned, and once more at liberty to pursue my own inclinations, I was persuaded by my father-in- law and friends to follow some employment or other ; but the plantation from whence I was taken, though an exceeding good one, could not tempt me to settle on it again. What my fate would have been if I had, may easily be conceived. And there being at this time as the assembly too late for many of us found a necessity for raising men to check those barbarians in their ravag- ing depredations, I enlisted myself as one, with the greatest alacrity and most determined resolution to exert the utmost of my power in being revenged on the hellish authors of my ruin.
Interesting Conversations About Extraordinary People.
General Shirley, governor of New England, and commander-in-chief of his Majesty's land forces in North America, was pitched. Into a regiment immediately under the command of 39 this general, was it my lot to be placed for three years. Being then very weak and infirm in body, though possessed of my resolution, it was thought advisable to leave me for two months in winter quarters, at the end of which, being pretty well recruited in strength, I set out for Boston to join the regiment, with some others likewise left behind ; and after crossing the river Delaware, we arrived at New Jersey, and from thence proceeded through the same by New York, Middleton, Mendon in Connecticut, to Boston, where we arrived about the end of March, and found the regiment ready to receive us.
Boston being the capital of New England, and the largest city in America, except two or three on the Spanish continent, I shall here subjoin a short account of it. It is pleasantly stituated, and about four miles in com- pass, at the bottom of Massachusetts Bay, into which there is but one common and safe passage, and not very broad, there being scarce room for the anchorage of sail It is guarded by several rocks, and above a dozen islands ; the most remarkable of these islands is Castle Island, which stands about a league from the town, and so situated that no ship of burden can approach the town, without the hazard of being shattered in pieces by its cannon.
It is now called Fort William, and mounted with pieces of ordnance ; more, which were given to the province by Queen Anne, are placed on a 40 platform, so as to rake a ship fore and aft, before she can bring about her broadsides to bear against the castle. According to a com- putation of the collectors of the light-house, it appeared there were 24, tons of shipping cleared annually.