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the future; I suppose Mr. Rallé, who has been the great Incendiary in all this Affair has acquainted you with his narrow Escape; he will do well to take warning by it & return to his own Countrey, or at least to Canada, and no longer abuse his profession by Stirring up the Indians of this Country to Acts of Hostility, which if Continued in, will finally end in their ruin.
“I shall be glad if upon this Remonstrance Your future conduct towards this Government and the Indian Tribes Dependent thereon, Especially those of Norridgewock and Penobscot may be such as to give me Occasion to say, what I would willingly do, That I am Sir “Your very humble Servt.
This expedition of Westbrook, coupled with the arrest of Castin's son, acts fully warranted by existing circumstances, furnished the savages with a suffi. cient pretext to extend their depredations, and we are told by Ralé, that they resolved to destroy the English habitations near them. “They chanted the war,” he says, “ among the Hurons of Lorette, and in
. This letter is a copy made by the author from the original in the office of the Public Records, London.
all the villages of the Abnaki nation,” and “Norridgewock was the place appointed to assemble the warriors in order to concert their project together.”
In June, 1722, all was in readiness, and the first blow was struck. The savages, proceeding to the mouth of the Kennebec on the 13th, destroyed some small buildings of the English, and then continuing up the river, says Ralé,“ plundered and burnt the new houses which the English had built.” They, however, abstained from slaughter and liberated all their captives but five, whom they retained as hostages.
Doubtless in this act they followed the advice of their older men, who ever counseled moderation ; but moderation is not a savage virtue, and, intoxicated with success, they soon entered upon a wholesale destruction of the English settlements. On the following July, Capt. Harmon, who was stationed at Arrowsic with a small force, having discovered that the settlement of Brunswick was on fire, at once proceeded in two whale boats to its relief. As he made his way through the darkness with muffled oars, he perceived lights on Pleasant Point, and landing cautiously, he came upon eleven canoes of the savages, who had been engaged in the destruction of Brunswick. They had been enjoying one of their infernal orgies, the torturing of a prisoner, Moses
Eaton, of Brunswick, whose tongue they had cut out, and whose legs and arms they had also severed from his body, and now exhausted by the exercise of their ferocious passions, they were lying about their fires unsuspicious of the proximity of an avenger of their victim.
The moment was opportune, and Harmon, cautiously advancing his small force, the chief reliance of the settlers of the vicinity, came suddenly upon them; indeed, Penhallow tells us that he “stumbled over them as they lay asleep." The attack was sudden, yet in the darkness most of them escaped. A large body of savages, however, were encamped not far away, and aroused by the sound of guns, they fired upon the English in the darkness but without execution. Deeming it prudent to avoid risking a battle so far from his base of supplies, and upon ground where the savage was at home, after burying the mutilated body of Eaton, Harmon hastened back to the de. fense of Arrowsic.
Let us see Ralé's account of this transaction. He says, after relating the first attack of the savages, in which they burnt a number of dwellings and released all of their prisoners but five, suppressing all allusion to the destruction of Brunswick and the murderous work which followed, “This moderation
of the Indians, however, had not the desired effect. On the contrary, a party of English having found sixteen Abnakis asleep on an Island, made a general discharge on them, by which five were killed and three wounded."
So strong were Ralé's prejudices against the English, that it was impossible for him to relate fairly any incident respecting them. The savages, who slowly tortured to death their English prisoners, he saw through a mist, which gave them an appearance of primeval simplicity, while the English heretics, seen through the same medium, took on the shape of ugly satyrs. This is but a single instance of the manner in which Ralé described the events connected with the wars between his savages and the English, and it is no exaggeration to say, that hardly an incident of these wars involving the character of the English related by him and Charlevoix, the latter of whom cooked without question everything which came to his net, will bear critical analysis, or a comparison with historical documents of the times.
This act of Harmon has been criticised by several of our writers, who have listened too readily to Charlevoix, as impolitic and cruel, but they certainly cannot have considered the existing conditions. Harmon's act was cruel only because all war is cruel. The
English settlers were surrounded by terrible perils, and knew, from years of bitter experience, the merciless nature of the foe with whom they had to deal; a foe who surprised sleeping hamlets, and destroyed old and young with fiendish cruelty. Though in their first attack there had been no blood shed on either side, no resistance having been made, the imperiled settlers realized that war had begun with a pitiless foe, and self preservation was the question uppermost in their minds. In this condition of affairs we should not expect them to weigh questions of ethics with the same care which we, in the seclusion of our closets, bestow upon them. That injury might not be done to those savages friendly to the English, Governor Shute in his proclamation of war, issued on the 25th of July, 1722, notified them, that none would be molested, who reported within forty days to the nearest military post, and those within the English lines were ordered to remain peaceably at home and not to harbor the enemy.
Although the French could not openly enter into the conflict, they secretly supplied the savages with arms, and encouraged them to pursue the war. The result was, that along the English borders the same scenes of desolation and cruelty were enacted, that had characterized former savage wars.