Imágenes de páginas


The same inhuman barbarities now followed, that were afterwards perpetrated upon the wretched inhabitants of Montreal. “No tongue," said Colonel Schuyler, “can express the cruelties that were committed.” Sixty-three houses, and the church, were immediately in a blaze. Enciente women, in their expiring agonies, saw their infants cast into the flames, being first delivered by the knife of the midnight assassin! Sixty-three persons were put to death, and twenty-seven were carried into captivity.

A few persons fled towards Albany, with no other covering but their night-clothes-the horror of whose condition was greatly en. hanced by a great fall of snow-twenty-five of whom lost their limbs from the severity of the frost. With these poor fugitives came the intelligence to Albany, and that place was in dismal confusion, having, as usual upon such occasions, supposed the enemy to have been seven times more numerous than they really were. About noon, the next day, the enemy set off from Schenectady, taking all the plunder they could carry with them, among which were forty of the best horses. The rest, with all the cattle and other domestic animals, lay slaughtered in the streets.

One of the most considerable men of Schenectady, at this time, was Captain Alexander Glen. He lived on the opposite side of the river, and was suffered to escape, because he had delivered many French prisoners from torture and slavery, who had been taken by the Indians in the former wars. They had passed his house in the night, and, during the massacre, he had taken the alarm, and in the morning he was found ready to defend himself. Before leaving the village, a French officer summoned him to a council, and he had the great satisfaction of having all his captured friends and relatives delivered to him; and the enemy departed, keeping good their promise that no injury should be done him.;

The great Mohawk castle was about seventeen miles from Schenec. tady, and they did not hear of the massacre until two days after, owing to the state of travelling. On receiving the news, they immediately joined a party of men from Albany, and pursued the enemy. After a tedious pursuit, they fell upon their rear, killed and took twenty-five of them, and did them some other damage. Several chief sachems soon assembled at Albany, to condole with the people, and animate them against leaving the place, which, it seems, they were about to do. From a speech of one of the chiefs on this occasion, the following extract is preserved i

“ Brethren, we do not think that what the French have done can be called a victory; it is only a further proof of their cruel deceit. The Governor of Canada sent to Onondaga, and talks to us of peace with our whole house; but war was in his heart, as you now see by woful experience. He did the same formerly at Cadaraqui, and in the Senecas' country. This is the third time he has acted so deceitfully: He has broken open our house at both ends ; formerly in the Senecas' country, and now here. We hope to be revenged on them."

Accordingly, when messengers came to renew and conclude the

treaty which had been begun by Taweraket, before mentioned, they were seized and handed over to the English. They also kept out scouts, and harassed the French in


direction. We will now proceed to draw from Charlevoix' account of this affair, which is very minute, as it respects the operations of the French and Indians. Notwithstanding its great importance in a correct history of the sacking of Schenectady, none of our historians seem to have given themselves the trouble of laying it before their readers.

Governor Frontenac, having determined upon an expedition, gave notice to M. de la Durantaye, who then commanded at Michilimackinac, that he might assure the Hurons and Ottawas, that in a short time they would see a great change in affairs for the better. He prepared at the same time a large convoy to reinforce that post, and he took measures also to raise three war-parties, who should enter by three different routes the country of the English. The first assembled at Montreal, and consisted of about 110 men, French and Indians, and was put under the command of MM. d'Aillebout de Mantet and le Moine de St. Helene, two lieutenants, under whom MM. de Repentigny,D'Iberville, De Bonrepos, De La Brosse, and De Montigni, requested permission to serve as volunteers.

This party marched out before they had determined against what part of the English frontier they would carry their arms, though some part of New York was understood. Count Frontenac had left that to the two commanders. After they had marched five or six days, they called a council to determine upon what place they would attempt. In this council, it was debated, on the part of the French, that Albany would be the smallest place they ought to undertake; but the Indians would not agrce to it. They contended that, with their small force, an attack upon Albany would be attended with extreme hazard. The French being strenuous, the debate grew warm, and an Indian chief asked them - how long it was since they had so much courage.” To this severe rebuke it was answered, that, if by some past actions they had discovered cowardice, they should see that now they would retrieve their character; they would take Albany or die in the attempt. The Indians, however, would not consent, and the council broke up without agreeing upon any thing but to proceed on.

They continued their march until they came to a place where their path divided into two; one of which led to Albany, and the other to Schenectady: here Mantet gave up his design upon Albany, and they marched on harmoniously for the former village. The weather was very severe, and for the nine following days the little army suffered incredible hardships. The men were often obliged to wade through water up to their knees, breaking its ice at every step.

At four o'clock in the morning, the beginning of February, they arrived within two leagues of Schenectady. Here they halted, and the Great Agnier, chief of the Iroquois of the falls of St. Louis, made a speech to them. He exhorted every one to forget the hardships they had endured, in the hope of avenging the wrongs they had for a long time suffered from the perfidious English, who were the authors of them; and in the close added, that they could not doubt of the assistance of Heaven against the enemies of God, in a cause so just.

Hardly had they taken up their line of march, when they met forty Indian women, who gave them all the necessary information for approachng the place in safety. A Canadian, named Giguiere, was detached immediately with nine Indians upon discovery, who acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of his officers. He reconnoitred Schenectady at his leisure, and then rejoined his comrades.

It had been determined by the party to put off the attack one day longer ; but on the arrival of the scout under Giguiere, it was resolved to proceed without delay.

Schenectady was then in form like that of a long square, and entered by two gates, one at each end. One opened towards Albany, the other upon the great road leading into the back country, and which was now possessed by the French and Indians. Mantet and St. Helene charged at the second gate, which the Indian women before mentioned had assured them was always open, and they found it so. D'Iberville and Repentigny passed to the left, in order to enter by the other gate, but, after losing some time in vainly endeavoring to find it, were obliged to return and enter with their comrades.

The gate was not only open but unguarded, and the whole party entered without being discovered. Dividing themselves into several parties, they waylaid every portal, and then the war-whoop was raised. Mantet formed and attacked a garrison, where the only resistance of any account was made. The gate of it was soon forced, and all of the English fell by the sword, and the garrison was burned. Montigni was wounded, in forcing a house, in his arm and body, by two blows of a halberd, which put him hors du combat; but St. Helene having come to his assistance, the house was taken, and the wounds of Montigni revenged by the death of all who had shut themselves up in it.

Nothing was now to be seen but massacre and pillage in every place. At the end of about two hours, the chiefs, believing it due to their safety, posted bodies of guards at all the avenues, to prevent surprise, and the rest of the night was spent in refreshing themselves.

Mantct had given orders that the minister of the place should be sparcd, whom he had intended for his own prisoner; but he was found among the promiscuous dead, and no one knew when he was killed, and all his papers were burned.

After the place was destroyed, the chiefs ordered all the casks of intoxicating liquors to be staved, to prevent their men from getting drunk. They next set all the houses on fire, excepting that of a widow, into which Montigni had been carried, and another belonging to Major Coudre: they were in number about forty, all well built and furnished; no booty but that which could be easily transported was saved. The lives of about sixty persons were spared; chiefly women, children, and old men, who had escaped the sury of the onset, and thirty Indians who happened to be then in the place. The lives of the Indians were spared, that they might carry the news of what had happened to


their countrymen, whom they were requested to inform, that it was not against them that they intended any harm, but to the English only, whom they had now despoiled of property to the amount of four hundred thousand pounds.

They were too near Albany to remain long among the ruins, and they decamped about noon. 'The plunder- Montigni, whom it was necessary to carry--the prisoners, who were to the number of forty, and the want of provisions, with which they had in their hurry neglected to provide themselves, retarded much their retreat. Many would have even died of famine, had they not had fifty horses, of which there remained but six when they arrived at Montreal, upon the 27th of March following.* Their want of provisions obliged them to separate, and in an attack which was made upon one party, three Indians and six Frenchmen were killed or taken ; an attack, which, for want of proper caution, cost the army more lives than the capture of Schenectady; in which they lost but two men, a Frenchman and an Indian.



Murder of Miss Jane McCrea. This young lady “was the second daughter of James McCrea, minister of Lamington, New Jersey, who died before the revolution. Alter his death, she resided with her brother, Colonel John McCrea, of Albany, who removed in 1773 to the neighborhood of Fort Edward. His house was in what is now Northumberland, on the west side of the Hudson, three miles north of Miller Falls.

In July or August, 1777, being on a visit to the family of Mrs. McNeil, near Fort Edward, at the close of the week, she was asked to remain until Monday. On Sunday morning, when the Indians came to the house, she concealed herself in the cellar, but they dragged her out by the hair, and placing her on a horse, proceeded on the road towards Sandy Hill. They soon met another party of Indians, returning from Argyle, where they had killed the family of Mr. Bains; these Indians disapproved the purpose of taking the captive to the British cump, and one of them struck her with a tomakawk, and tore off her scalp. This is the account given by her nephew. The account of Mrs. McNeil is, that her lover, anxious for her safety, employed two Indians, with the promise of a barrel of ruin, to bring her to him; and that, in consequence of their dispute for the right of conducting her, one of them murdered her. Gen. Gates, in his letter to Gen.

* There is no doubt but that they were obliged to subsist chiefly upon their borses.

Burgoyne of 20 September, says, she was dressed to receive her promised husband.

“ Her brother, on hearing of her fate, sent his family the next day to Albany, and, repairing to the American camp, buried his sister, with one Lieutenant Van Vechten, three miles south of Fort Edward. She was twenty-three years old, of an amiable and virtuous character, and highly esteemed by all her acquaintance. It is said, and was believed, that she was engaged in marriage to Captain David Jones, of the British army, a loyalist

, who survived her only a few years, and died, as was supposed, of grief for her loss. Her nephew, Col. James McCrea, lived at Saratoga in 1823.”

Under the name of Lucinda, Barlow has dwelt upon this murder in a strain that may be imitated, but not surpassed. 'We select from him as follows:

“One deed shall tell what fame great Albion draws
From these auxiliars in her barb'rous cause,-
Lucinda's fate. The tale, ye nations hear;

Eternal ages trace it with a tear." The poet then makes Lucinda, during a battle, wander from her home to watch her lover, whom he calls Heartly. She distinguishes him in the conflict, and, when his squadron is routed by the Americans, she proceeds to the contested ground, fancying she had seen him fall at a certain point. But

“He hurries to his tent;-oh, rage! despair!
No glimpse, po tidings of the frantic fair;
Save that some carmen, as a-camp they drove,
Had seen her coursing for the western grove.
Faint with fatigue, and choked with burning thirst,
Forth from his friends with bounding leap he burst,
Vaults o'er the palisade, with eyes on flame,
And fills the welkin with Lucinda's name.
The fair one, too, of every aid forlorn,
Had raved and wandered till officious morn
Awaked the Mohawks from their short repose,
To glean the plunder ere their comrades rose.
Two Mohawks met the maid-historian hold !-
She starts, with eyes upturned and fleeting breath,
In their raised axes views her instant death.
Her hair, half lost along the shrubs she passed,
Rolls, in loose tangles, round her lovely waist;
Her kerchief torn betrays the globes of snow
That heave responsive to her weight of wo.
With calculating pause and demon grin
They seize her hands, and through her face divine
Drive the descending axe!-the shriek she seut
Attained her lover's ear; he thither bent
With all the speed his wearied limbs could yield,
Wbirled his keen blade and stretched upon ihe field
The yelling fiends, who there disputing stood
Her gory scalp, their horrid prize of blood!
He sunk, delirious, on her liseless clay,
And passed, in starts of sense, the dreadful day."

* President Allen's American Biographical Dictionary, 574.

« AnteriorContinuar »