A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Monday, 10 January 2011

FRENCH and INDIAN Cruelty.

"Terrible and shocking to human nature were the barbarities daily committed by the savages, and are not to be paralleled 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 in me, at thinking on the last time of seeing that good woman. The fatal 2nd of October 1754, she that day went from home to visit some of her relations; as I staid up later than usual, expecting her return, none being in the house besides myself, how great was my surprise, terror, and affright, when about 11 o' clock at night I heard the dismal war-cry, or war-whoops of the savages, which they make on such occasions, and may be expected, Wouch, woach, ha, ha, hach, woach, and to my inexpressible grief, soon found my house was attacked by them; I flew to the chamber-window, and perceived them to be about twelve in number, 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 misfortune, having my gun loaded in my hand, I threatened 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 farther what I unhappily perceived. 'That they were no friends to the English, but that if I would come out and surrender myself prisoner, they would not kill me.' My terror and distraction at hearing this is not to be expressed by words, nor easily imagined by any person, unless in the same condition. Little could I depend on the promises of such creatures; and yet if I did not, inevitable death, by being burnt alive, must be my lot. Distracted as I was in such deplorable circumstances, I chose to rely on the uncertainty of their fallacious promises, rather than meet with certain death by rejecting them; and accordingly went out of my house with my gun in my hand, not knowing what I did, or that I had it. Immediately 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 went into my house, and plundered and destroyed every thing there was in it; carrying off what moveables they could; the rest, together with the house, which they set fire to, was consumed before my eyes. The barbarians, not satisfied with this, set fire to my barn, stable, and out-houses, wherein were about 200 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 even now to mention what I feel at the remembrance thereof.

Having thus finished the execrable business about which they came, one of the monsters came to me with a tomahawk in his hand, threatening me with the worst of deaths, if I would not willingly go with them, and be contented with their way of living. This I seemingly agreed to, promising to do every thing 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 apprehensions, and oppressed with the greatest anxiety of mind lest my unhappy wife should likewise have fallen a prey to these cruel monsters. At daybreak, my infernal masters ordered me to lay down my load, when, tying my hands again round a tree with a small cord, they then forced the blood out of my finger ends. They then kindled a fire near to the tree whereto I was bound, which filled me with the most dreadful agonies, concluding that I was going to be made a sacrifice to their barbarity.
Tomahawk is a kind of hatchet, made something like our plasterer's hammers, about
two feet long, handle and all. To take up the hatchet (or tomahawk) among them, is to
declare war. They generally use it after firing their guns, rushing on their enemies, and
fracturing or cleaving their skulls with it, and very seldom fail of killing at their first
blow".
FRENCH and INDIAN Cruelty

Exemplified in the
L I F E
And various Vicissitudes of Fortune, of
PETER WILLIAMSON

3 comments:

Diane-Sage Whiteowl said...

History does show the depravity of mankind...History does not discriminate...History shows the good & the bad of all races...History still repeats itself today!

Gorges Smythe said...

The very point I was going to make, Diane. Anyone who thinks savagery belonged only to the Indians should remember that Daniel Greathouse's murder of Chief Logan's relatives (including the cutting open of one of the pregnant women) is largely what started Dunmore's War.

Mr. Le Loup, I'm not saying this to refute your post, only to bring balance to the casual reader who might not know the rest of the story.

Le Loup said...

Oh you get no arguement from me on this one. I don't even want to think about what a bunch white people would do if the situation was reversed. People do crazy things when they get riled up and have a cause. Bad people do bad things no matter what the colour of their skin.