Page images

The sav

ages offer a blood atonement.

Kieft demands the

Chap. X. Voorst, as he was quietly thatching the roof of one of Van

der Horst's houses. The chiefs had hastened to seek coun1643

sel of De Vries. They dared not go to Fort Amsterdam, for fear Kieft would keep them prisoners; but they were willing to pay two hundred fathoms of wampum to the widow of the murdered man, "and that should purchase their peace."** They offered the full expiation which Indian justice demanded-a blood-atonement of money; and the custom, so universal among the red men of America, was in singular accordance with the usage of classic Greece.t

At length, persuaded by De Vries, who answered for their safe return, the chiefs accompanied him to Fort Amsterdam. Explaining to Kieft the unhappy occurrence at Hackinsack, they repeated their offer of a “just atone

ment." The director inexorably demanded the murderer. murderer. Imitating the example of Massachusetts in the case of

the Pequods, he would be content with nothing but blood. But the chiefs could not bind themselves to surrender the criminal. He had gone two days' journey off, among the Tankitekes ;" and, besides, he was the son of a chief. Again they proposed an expiatory offering of wampum to appease the widow's grief. “Why do you sell brandy to our young men ?" said the chiefs.

66 They are not used to it-it makes them crazy. Even your own people, who are accustomed to strong liquors, sometimes become drunk, and fight with knives. Sell no more strong drink to the Indians, if you would avoid mischief.”. With this, they took leave of the director, and returned to Vriesendael ; and Kieft soon afterward sent a peremptory message to Pacham, the crafty chief of the Tankitekes, to surrender the refugee.

But before Pacham obeyed the mandate, more serious

* De Vries, 166; Hol. Doc., iii., 107 ; Breeden Raedt, 16; Bancroft, ii., 289.

"If a brother bleed,
On just atonement we remit the deed ;
A sirė the slaughter of his son forgives,
The price of blood discharged, the murderer lives."

Pope, Iliad, ix.
De Vries, 166 ; Hol. Doc., iii., 108; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv., 10; Alb. Rec., ii., 212.


River In




events occurred. In the depth of winter, a party of eighty Chap. X. or ninety Mohawk warriors, “ each with a musket on his

1643. shoulder," came down from the neighborhood of Fort Orange, to collect tribute from the Weckquaesgeeks and The MoTappans. The river tribes quailed before the formidable tack the Iroquois. No resistance was offered by the more numerous but subjugated Algonquins; seventy of whom were killed, and many women and children made prisoners. Half-famished parties fled from West Chester to Manhat- The tributan, where they were kindly entertained. In their despair, ages scek four or five hundred of the cowering tributaries flocked to Vriesen

dael, PavoVriesendael, to beg assistance and protection. The pa- nia, and troon told them, however, that the Fort Orange Indians

66 friends of the Dutch," who could not interfere in their wars. Finding his house full of savages, and only five men besides himself to defend it, De Vries went, in a canoe, through the floating ice, down to Fort Amsterdam, to ask Kieft to assist him with some soldiers. The director, however, had none to spare. The next day, 21 Feb

troops of savages,” who had come down from Vriesendael, encamped near the “oyster banks” at Pavonia, among the Hackinsacks, who were “full a thousand strong.” Some of them, crossing the river to Manhattan, took refuge at “Corlaer's Bouwery," where a few Rockaway Indians from Long Island, with their chief, Nainde Nummerus, had already built their wigwams.*

In this conjuncture, public opinion at Manhattan was Public opindivided in regard to the policy to be observed toward the hattan. savages. Now that they were fugitives from the dreaded Iroquois, and felt grateful for the temporary protection which they had received from the Dutch, the river Indians could easily be won to a sincere friendship, thought De Vries and a majority of the community. But there were other spirits-active, unquiet, panting for war, who, though few, were aided by the influence of Van Tienhoven, the astute provincial secretary. As Kieft was dining, at Shrovetide, at the house of Jan Jansen Dam, one of the 22 Feb.

[ocr errors]

ion at Man.

* De Vries, 177, 178; Hol. Doc., ii., 375; iii., 109; Breeden Raedt, 15.

Petition for
leave to at-
tack the
to the di-

C#ap. X “Twelve Men,” the host, with Adriaensen and Planck, two

of his former colleagues, assuming to speak in the name of 1643.

the commonalty, presented a petition to the director, urging instant hostilities against the unsuspecting savages. Van Tienhoven, who had drafted the petition, well knew the temper of his chief. The Indians, it was argued, had not yet made any atonement for their murders, nor had the assassins of Smits and Van Voorst been delivered up. While innocent blood was unavenged, the national character of the Dutch must suffer. God had now delivered their enemies into their hands; “We pray you," urged the petitioners, "let us attack them; to this end we offer our persons, and we propose that a party of freemen and another of soldiers be dispatched against them at different


[merged small][ocr errors]

The sanguinary director was delighted with the prospect of war; and, “in a significant toast," announced the approaching hostilities. Just one year before, Kieft had dissolved the board of “ Twelve Men,” and had forbidden any public meetings without his express permission. He had, moreover, distinctly denied that the Twelve Men had any other function than simply to give their advice respecting the murder of Smits. But now that a self-constituted committee, falsely claiming to represent the Twelve Men elected by the commonalty, counseled violence, the director rashly resolved to make the savages " wipe their chops." They had unanimously refused to pay the contribution he had imposed ; and, seeing himself deprived of this source of revenue, "of which he was very greedy," Kieft was charged with now devising other means “to satisfy his insatiable avaricious soul.”+

Van Tienhoven and Corporal Hans Steen were, therefore, promptly dispatched to Pavonia to reconnoitre the position of the savages. But Domine Bogardus, who was invited to the council, warned Kieft against his rashness. La Montagne begged him to wait for the arrival of the

24 Feb.

* De Vries, 178; Breeden Raedt, 15; Hol. Doc., il., 374 ; iii., 146, 220; O'Call., i., 266, 419; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv., 10, 11. † De Vries, 178; Breeden Raedt, 15; ante, p. 329 * De Vries, 178; Hol. Doc., ii., 161, 174; iii., 110; V., 51, 52 ; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv., 10.

ed against his rash

next ship from the Fatherland, and predicted that he was Cuar. X. building a bridge over which, before long, “war would

1643. stalk through the whole country." De Vries protested Kieft warnthat no warlike steps could be taken without the assent of the commonalty; and that the advice Kieft had re-ness. ceived was not that of the Twelve Men, of whom he was the president. The destruction of the colonies at Swaanendael and at Staten Island, and the bootless expedition against the Raritans, were held up as warning examples. The Dutch colonists in the open country, it was urged, were all unprepared, and the Indians would wreak their vengeance on the unprotected farmers. It was all in vain. Taking De Vries with him into the great hall which he had just completed at the side of his house, Kieft showed him all his soldiers ready reviewed,” to pass over the river to Pavonia. 6 Let this work alone,” again urged De Vries; “you want to break the Indians' mouths, but you

will also murder our own people."** All remonstrance was idle. The director doggedly re- All remon. plied, “ The order has gone forth; it can not be recalled.” vain. Van Tienhoven had reconnoitered the position of the savages at Pavonia, and his “false report” had confirmed Kieft's resolution. ; Orders were issued to Sergeant Rodolf to lead a troop of soldiers to Pavonia, and “ drive away and destroy” the savages who were "skulking” behind the bouwery of Jan Evertsen Bout. A similar commission 25 Feb. directed Adriaensen, with a force of volunteers, to attack "a party of savages skulking behind Corlaer's Hoeck," and “act with them in every such manner as they shall deem proper."

“ The commonalty solicit,” was the false pretense by which Kieft endeavored to screen himself from any unhappy consequences of his bloody purposes; which his impious orders declared were undertaken in the full confidence that God will crown our resolutions with success."

† Alb. Rec., ii., 210, 211 ; Hol. Doc., ill., 148, 201 ; V., 333, 334 ; O'Call., i., 267, 268 ; ii., N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 278; ii., 300.



During the night between the twenty-fifth and twenty

sixth of February, the tragedy which Kieft and his coad1643.

jutors had been meditating, was terribly accomplished. Crossing over to Pavonia, Rodolf cautiously led his force of eighty soldiers to the encampment of the refugee Tappans, near the bouweries of Bout and Wouterssen. About midnight, while the savages were quietly sleeping in fancied security from their Mohawk subjugators, the murderous attack commenced. The noise of muskets mingled with the shrieks of the terrified Indians. Neither age nor sex were spared. Warrior and squaw, sachem and child, mother and babe, were alike massacred. Daybreak scarcely ended the furious slaughter. Mangled victims, seeking safety in the thickets, were driven into the river; and parents, rushing to save their children whom the soldiery had thrown into the stream, were driven back into

the waters, and drowned before the eyes of their unrelentMassacre at ing murderers. Eighty savages perished at Pavonia. “I

sat up that night,” said De Vries, “ by the kitchen fire at
the director's. About midnight, hearing loud shrieks, I
ran up to the ramparts of the fort. Looking toward Pa-
vonia, I saw nothing but shooting, and heard nothing but
the shrieks of Indians murdered in their sleep.” A few
minutes afterward, an Indian and a squaw, who lived
near Vriesendael, and who had escaped from Pavonia in a
small skiff, came to the kitchen fire, whither De Vries had
returned with an aching heart. “ The Fort Orange In-
dians have fallen on us," said the terrified savages,
we have come to hide ourselves in the fort."
time to hide yourselves in the fort-no Indians have done
this deed. It is the work of the Swannekens--the Dutch,"
answered the humane De Vries, as he led the undeceived

fugitives to the gate, “where stood no sentinel,” and Attack on watched them until they were hidden in the woods. In at Coriaer's the mean time, Adriaensen and his party had surprised

the Weckquaesgeek fugitives at Corlaer's Hook, and murdered forty of them in their sleep. The carnage of that awful night equaled in remorseless cruelty the atrocities,

66 and 66 It is no


« PreviousContinue »