« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
First settlement at the German Flats — License to Purchase of Indians — Some notice of the Patent — Names of Patentees — Period of Rest—Fort at Oswego built in 1726 — Defenses near Rome — Frontier Posts destroyed by the French in 1756 — Palatine Settlement destroyed in 1757 — M. de Belletre's account of it — Not credited by one of his Countrymen—Gov. de Laney — Fort Harenieger — Alleged Apathy of the Inhabitants — Reasons for Doubting — Indian Statements — Deputy Superintendent — Indian Fidelity Questioned — Escape of the Minister — Another Attack in 1758 — Conduct of Teamsters and the Rangers — Woman Scalped — Quiet Restored by the capture of Fort Frontenac in 1758 and Quebec in 1759 — Colonial Wars — Commerce Restricted — Complaints of Colonists — Lord Camden — Mr. Pitt — Sir William Johnson — Attachment of the Palatines to the Cause of the Colonists.
The settlements at the German Flats enjoyed nearly thirtyfive years of rest, and in that time had made rapid progress in clearing their farms, building houses and barns, raising stock and establishing defenses against attacks from any hostile quarter. Governor Burnet had in 1726, although violently opposed by the governor-general of Canada, erected a fort at the mouth of the Oswego river, the good will of the Iroquois had been secured in its defense, and the fur trade with the Indians within the province, which had been chiefly engrossed by the French of Canada, was principally secured to the English. Besides the protection afforded by the fort at Oswego, there were some defenses at or near the present village of Rome; and although other frontier portions of the colony had been afflicted with the scourge of barbarous and exterminating war, these Palatines had enjoyed a long period of repose. In 1756, the English fort at Oswego was captured, and the small fortifications on Wood creek and the upper Mohawk were taken and demolished by the French; and on the 12th of November, 1757, an expedition under the command of M. de Belletre, composed of about three hundred marines, Canadians and Indians, which had traversed the wilderness by the way of Black river, attacked and destroyed the Palatine settlements on the north side of the Mohawk river at or near the present village of Herkimer. A portion of the French narrative of this expedition, with all its exaggerations and expletives, is given verbatim as a specimen of colonial bragging and French grandiloquence of that day:
"On the 11th November, at three o'clock in the afternoon, M. de Belletre, preceded as was his custom by scouts, crossed the river Corlaer [Mohawk] with his detachment, partly swimming, partly in water up to the neck. He encamped at nightfall in the woods a league and a half from the first of the five forts that covered the Palatine settlements.
"The 12th, at three o'clock in the morning, he gave his detachment the order of march and attack so as to surround the said five forts and the entire Palatine village, consisting of sixty houses.
"Though M. de Belletre knew that the English got notice the day preceding, yet that the courage of the Indians may not receive the least check, and to show them that he would not rashly expose them, he liberated an Indian of the Five Nations, whom he had until then detained under suspicion. But this savage could not injure M. de Belletre, because he commenced at the same time to attack the five forts and the Palatines' houses.
"At sight of the first fort he decided to take it by assault. The enemy kept up a most active fire of musketry, but the intrepidity with which M. de Belletre, with all the officers and Canadians of his detachment advanced, coupled with the war whoop of the Indians, terrified the English to the degree that the mayor of the village of the Palatines, who commanded the said fort, opened the doors and asked for quarters.
"M. de Belletre lost no time in repairing to the second, the third, the fourth and fifth, which were not less intimidated than the first, by his intrepidity and the cries of the Indians. They all surrendered at discretion, and were entirely burnt.
"During this time a party of Canadians and Indians ravaged and burnt the said sixty houses of the Palatines, their barns and other out buildings, as well as the water mill.
"In all these expeditions about forty English perished— killed or drowned. The number of prisoners is nearly one hundred and fifty men, women and children, among whom is the mayor of the village, the surgeon and some militia officers. We had not a man killed; but M. de Lorimer, officer, was wounded in the right side by a ball, and three or four savages slightly.
"The damage inflicted on the enemy is estimated according to the representations of the English themselves, to wit:
"In grain, of all sorts, a much larger quantity than the island of Montreal has produced in years of abundance. The same of hogs; 3000 horned cattle; 3000 sheep. All these articles were to be sent in a few days to Corlaer [Schenectady]; 1500 horses, 300 of which were taken by the Indians, and the greater number consumed for the support of the detachment.
"The property in furniture, wearing apparel, merchandise and liquor, might form a capital of 1,500,000 livres [$277,500]. The mayor of the village alone has lost 400,000 [$74,000]. The French and Indians have acquired as rich a booty as they could carry off. They have in specie more than 100,000 livres [$18,500]. One Indian alone has as much as 30,000 [$5,550]. There was likewise plundered a quantity of wampum, silver bracelets, &C., scarlet cloth and other merchandise, which would form a capital of 80,000