1640-1643

1640-1643.

The Dutch, too, as we have to some extent seen already, felt the horrors of Indian warfare. Kieft, the Dutch director-general, a man cruel, avaricious, and obstinate, angered the red men by demanding tribute from them as their protector, while he refused them guns or ammunition. The savages replied that they had to their own cost shown kindness to the Dutch when in need of food, but would not pay tribute. Kieft attacked. Some of the Indians were killed and their crops destroyed. This roused their revengeful passions to the utmost. The Raritan savages visited the colony of De Vries, on Staten Island, with death and devastation. Reward was offered for the head of anyone of the murderers. An Indian never forgot an injury. The nephew of one of the natives who twenty years before had been wantonly killed went to sell furs at Fort Amsterdam, and while there revenged his uncle's murder by the slaughter of an unoffending colonist. Spite of warlike preparations by Kieft and his assembly in 1641-42, the tribe would not give up the culprit. The following year another settler was knifed by a drunken Indian. Wampum was indeed offered in atonement, while an indignant plea was urged by the savages against the liquor traffic, which demoralized their Young men and rendered them dangerous alike to friend and foe. But remonstrance and blood-money could not satisfy Kieft. At Pavonia and at Corlaer's Hook[1] the Dutch fell venomously upon the sleeping and unsuspecting enemy. Men, women, and children were slaughtered, none spared. In turn the tribes along the lower Hudson, to the number of eleven, united and desperately attacked the Dutch wherever found. Only near the walls of Fort Amsterdam was there safety. The governor appointed a day of fasting, which it seems was kept with effect. The sale of liquor to the red men was at last prohibited, and peace for a time secured.

Soon, however, the redskins along the Hudson were again up in arms. The noted Underhill, who with Mason had been the scourge of the Pequots, came to the fight with fifty Englishmen as allies of the Dutch. Not waiting to be attacked, the Indians laid waste the settlements, even threatening Fort Amsterdam itself. At a place now known as Pelham Neck, near New Rochelle, lived the famous but unfortunate Mrs. Hutchinson, a fugitive from the persecuting zeal of Massachusetts. Here the implacable savages butchered her and her family in cold blood. Her Little granddaughter alone was spared, and led captive to a far-off wigwam prison. Only at Gravesend, on Long Island, was a successful stand made, and that by a woman, Lady Deborah Moody, another exile from religious persecution, who with forty stout-hearted men defended her plantation and compelled the savages to beat a retreat.
See also: 1638-1642
[1] Now in the New York City limits, just below Broadway Ferry, East River.

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