1763 Letter from Peter Boehler to Governor James Hamilton
[Punctuation and spelling is as it appears in the original document]
To His Honour James Hamilton Esqr. Governor of the Province of Pensylvania
May it please Your Honour:
Your Honour will easily remember that at the beginning of the late Indian Troubles in the year 1755, some prejudiced men spread a false report as if our People particularly the Christian Indians then living at Gnadenhütten did favour the cruel and barbarous invasion of the Savages. But it is still in recent memory how at that time the Providence of God did clear us from that false imputation by permitting that heavy stroke to fall upon our People, then living at Mahony, whereby eleven valuable lives were lost, besides effects to the account of 2000£ and the land to this day lies waste. At that time the Christian Indians, who then inhabited Gnadenhütten fled with precipitation retired to Bethlehem, petitioned our late Governour for his Protection and were received under it, with very strong and favourable assurances; notwithstanding the threatenings from their Nation of whom they even now are in fear as well as our white fellow subjects, continued ever since faithfull to this Government.
Altho’ the above related circumstances are notorious, yet upon the breaking out these fresh Indian Troubles, and especially upon the cruelties committed by some Savages last week in our neighborhood, the above false report are spread again, and the Indians now living at Nain & Wecquetank are threatened to be destroyed notwithstanding they are absolutely innocent either of having a hand in, or aiding & abetting the late cruelties committed by the Savages, as the Ministers of Nain & Wecquetank can prove it upon the strictest enquiry, each of them having kept an exact journal since the beginning of the Troubles, where every Indian was every day & night.
If now by heedless and enraged People these innocent Indians, who recently upon their Petition Your Honours Protection confirmed to them should be destroyed, this would not only bring a Blood Guilt upon our County, but also upon notice thereof among the Savages, I fear reasonably knowing the Nain and Wecquetank Indians being guiltless, would be so enraged that they might come down in such numbers, that neither Bethlehem nor perhaps any other Place between this & Germantown might be able to make a stand against them.
Upon the above Considerations, I thought it my Duty to implore Your Honours Protection again for these friendly and innocent Indians, not doubting your Honour will in Your goodness and wisdom pour out effectual means, how the shedding of innocent blood may be prevented, and the Mischief thereby coming upon us and upon our fellow Subjects actually barred against.
I beg Leave, to assure Your Honour, that the Indians Inhabitants of Nain & Wecquetank have behaved themselves orderly and peaceably hitherto. I have well grounded hopes, that they will continue to behave so.
One thing more I think myself in Duty bound to acquaint Your Honour with viz: That the Indians also are now moving to Nazareth, although to the great Detriment in their lively hood, leaving their houses and most of their subsistence behind them, in consequence of their having been repeatedly threatened with fire & sword by some armed Parties, and that so late as yesterday. Not doubting that this letter will meet with a favourable reception from Your Honours well known goodness, permit me sir to crave your further Protection for the Brethren & Brethrens Congregations in this Province, which we hope never to forfeit by a Behaviour unbecoming of good Subjects in the Province & to assure You, that I am with due respect. May it please Your Honour
Updated: 15 September 2005