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REVIEW OF A MASSACRE IN LANCASTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, IN 1763.
"This treaty has been since frequently renewed, and the chain brightened, as they express it, from time to time. It has never been violated on their part, or ours till now. Vol. VI. No. 8.
As their lands by degrees were mostly purchased, and the settlement of the white people began to surround them, the Proprietary assigned them lands on the manor of Conestogoe, which they might not part with. There they have lived many years in friendship with their white neighbours, who loved them for their peaceable, inoffensive behaviour.
"It has always been observed that Indians, settled in the neighborhood of white people, do not increase but diminish continually. This tribe accordingly went on diminishing, till there remained in the town or manor, but 20 persons-seven men, five women and eight children, boys and girls.
"Of these, Shebaes was a very old man, having assisted at the second treaty, held with them by William Penn, 1701; and ever since continued a faithful friend to the English; he is said to have been an exteeding good man, considering his education, being naturally
of a most kind, benevolent huts were set on fire, and most temper. of them burnt down!
"This little society continued the custom they had begun when more numerous, of addressing every new Governor, and every descendant of the first Proprietary, welcoming him to the province, assuring him of their fidelity, and praying a continuance of that favour and protection which they had hitherto experienced. They had accordingly sent up an address of this kind to our present Gov. ernor, John Penn, Esq. on his arrival; but the same scarce delivered when the unfortunate catastrophe happened, which we are about to relate.
"The magistrates of Lancaster sent out to collect the remaining Indians, brought them into the town, for their better security against any farther attempts; and, it is said, condoled with them on the misfortune which had happened, took them by the hand and promised them protection. They were put into a work-house, a strong building, as the place of greatest safety.
"On Wednesday the 14th of December, 1763, fifty seven men, from some of our frontier townships, who had projected the destruction of this little commonwealth, came all well mounted, and armed with firelocks, hangers and hatchets, having travelled through the country in the night to Conestogoe manor. There they surrounded the small village of Indian huts, and just at break of day, broke in upon them all at once. Only three men and two women and a young boy were found at home
the rest being out among the neighbouring white people. These poor defenceless creatures were immediately fired upon, stabbed and hatcheted to death! The good Shebaes among the rest, cut to pieces in his bed. All of them were scalped, and other wise horribly mangled. Then their
"These cruel men again assembled themselves; and hearing that the remaining 14Indians were in the work-house at Lancaster, they suddenly appeared before the town on the 27th of December. Fifty of them armed as before, dismounting, went directly to the work-house, and by violence broke open the door, and entered with the utmost fury in their countenances. When the poor wretches saw they had no protection nigh, nor could possibly escape, and being without the least weapon of defence, they divided their little families, the children clinging to their parents; they fell on their faces, protested their innocence, declared their love of the English, and that in their whole lives they had never done them injury; and in this posture they all received the hatchet! Men, women and children were every one inhumanly murdered in cold blood!
"The barbarous men who committed the atrocious fact, in defiance of government and
of all laws human and divine, and, to the eternal disgrace of their country and their colour, then mounted their horses, huzzaed in triumph, as if they had obtained a victory, and rode off unmolested!
"The bodies of the murdered were then brought out, exposed in the street till a hole could be made in the earth to receive and cover them. But the wickedness cannot be covered, and the guilt will lie on the whole land till justice is done to the murderers. The blood of the innocent will cry to heaven for vengeance."
"But these people, being chiefly presbyterians, seem to think they have a better justification-nothing less than the word of God. With the Scriptures in their hands and mouths, they can set at nought that express command-' Thou shalt do no murder,' and justify their wickedness by the command given to Joshua to destroy the heathen! Horrid perversion of Scripture and religion to father the worst of crimes on the God of love and peace!"
The name neither of the writer nor the printer was given with this Narrative, but the Historian says they were "supposed to be as nearly connected as FRANKLIN and HALL."
As this horrid massacre took place in Pennsylvania, and as it is known that the religious principles and pacific policy of William Penn had occasioned peace for 70 years between the white people and the Indians; it will
be natural for many to askHow came this peace. to be interrupted? To this inquiry it may be answered, that several causes cooperated to produce the deplorable result; but the principal cause was this-an inundation of foreigners came into the province with the principles and spirit of war, and excluded the Quakers from that share in the government which they had formerly possessed.
The presbyterians, who murdered the harmless tribe, are represented as deluded fanatics. Under the influence of a malignant enthusiasm they destroyed their poor Indian brethren as an acceptable sacrifice to the FATHER OF MERCIES. But how dreadful is that delusion which led professed Christians to believe that God could be pleased to see them engaged in murdering his heathen children! this delusion however was not confined to the 57 murderers of the Conestogoe tribe, it was spread in a greater or less degree over the other provinces. It became, also, a kind of hereditary disease, which perhaps has not been wholly exterminated to this day. There
now not many of our countrymen who would approve the massacre in Pennsylvania; but is it certain that the wars with the Indians in our own time will appear less abhorrent to future generations, than the massacre of the friendly tribe does to us? We blush for deluded men who could so wantonly exterminate a harmless people. Why
do we not blush for the butcheries of our age? How often have rulers authorized the invasion of provinces, with as little justice and as little cause of offence, on the part of the invaded, as there was in the case of the massacre in Lancaster county!
Will any plead that the perpetrators of this atrocious deed had no authority from any gov. ernment for what they did, and that this makes an essential difference between their conduct and the usual murders of the innocent in time of war? Let it then be supposed, that the same harmless tribe had been slaughtered by an order of some government: would this order have rendered the deed less unjust and horrible? If it would in any degree have abated the criminality of the immediate agents, would it not also have exposed the rulers who ordered the slaughter to the just vengeance of Heaven, and to the abhor
rence of all good men? Yet how many hundreds of instances might be collected from history, in which murders of the innocent, equally atrocious and inhuman, have been ordered by rulers, who bore the name of Christians, and still gloried in such horrible exploits.
THERE is scarcely any topic which has been more frequently the subject of doubtful and anxious contemplation, or has given rise to more bold and unjustifiable speculations concerning the moral govern ment of God, than the little. regard which seems to be paid to personal character in the distribution of temporal enjoyments. Men frequently indulge the sentiment, and sometimes have not hesitated to affirm, that it is utterly in
Wanton butcheries of the innocent, in the wars of rulers, are regarded as things of course, as unavoidable events, and always to be expected. The people of each nation have been disposed to excuse them in their own troops, or to cover them with a cloud of military glory, But such clouds will be dispersed; the Sun of righte ousness and peace will shine and the murders of war will yet appear in their true colours. Then the instigators of such scenes of barbarity and violence, will be numbered with the bewildered wretches who murdered the Conestogoe Indians.
WHEREFORE DO THE WICKED LIVE AND PROSPER?
consistent with the rectitude of divine government to distribute favors with a promiscuous hand to the just and the unjust. Why, say they, is not sentence against an evil work speedily executed? Why are bold offenders permitted to trample with impunity on every moral and religious right? Why is successful villainy allowed to insult the tears, and riot in the distresses of humble and injured innocence?
A little reflection will conwince us that there is nothing in the circumstances attending the condition of the unrighteous that can impair our confidence in the moral government of God. We do not however deny that success frequently attends the wicked and that they thrive with all the luxuriance of the green bay tree. But it is nevertheless certain that men do not sufficiently discriminate between the means of happiness and happiness itself. A man may have all those possessions that are usually means of happiness, and yet be completely wretched. For it is the mind only which can furnish the principles of real enjoyment. Can popular applause confer any happiness on the wretch who is oppressed with the remorse and fearful apprehensions of a guilty conscience? Will the recollection of vast possessions soothe the guilty mind trembling at the near prospect of the opening tomb? Conscience will arraign the culprit at her bar, and subject him to the penalties of a spirit wounded with remorse and wrung with despair. In fact, there is scarcely any crime whose indulgence does not contain the seeds of its own punishment. The votaries of licentious pleasure purchase a transient gratification at the expense of their health and fortune. The envious man is continually wounding himself with the thorns which he has planted in his own pillow. He who indulges a spirit of pride is the most dependent of all
men, being obliged to trust his happiness to the caprice of every person with whom he is connected. Perhaps he may be endued with the robes of office and abound in the possession of wealth, and yet be liable to have the exclamation forced from him-"all this availeth me nothing," merely because some Mordecai withholds his tribute of respect.
Who would accept the miser's wealth, if he must also possess the miser's soul?— Doomed to suffer the most abject poverty in the midst of profusion-to be pointed at abroad, and to be distracted at home by the contending passions of desire and fear. The sons of riot and dissipation may deceive the unthinking multitude by their noisy mirth, but it is like the irrational and frenzied joy of the maniac who dances to the music of his chains Guilty indulgencies will be succeeded by the pangs of remorse-and it will generally be found that the observation of a heathen philosopher is perfectly correct"As malefactors," he says, "when they go to punishment carry their own cross, so wickedness generally carries its own torment with it."
We see then that punishment overtakes the wicked in this life, much more frequently than is usually imagined. But even admitting what is frequently asserted, that bad men do not come into trouble more than others; still we can discover reasons abun
dantly sufficient to satisfy us of the propriety of delaying