Contributions of the Iroquois, 9
karl h schwerin (schwerin@UNM.EDU)
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 10:29:11 -0600
At the end of the French & Indian War in 1763 British officials drastically
cut the gifting allowed by their Indian agents. The Iroquois were no
longer crucial as a buffer between French and English territories, and
they were no longer in a position of maintaining the balance of power.
Rumors began to spread that the British intended to enslave the
Indians. At the same time, settlers continued to move into their territory.
Chief Pontiac went to war against the squatters. Nervous colonists from
Paxton in western Pennsylvania attacked the Indian settlement at Conestoga
and massacred the inhabitants. Franklin was outraged, characterizing the
Paxton men as "Christian White Savages." He helped organize an impromptu
militia of Quakers and traveled westward to put down the frontier
insurgents. "As Franklin later explained in a letter to Lord Kames, the
"I wrote a pamphlet entitled A Narrative &c (which I think I sent
you) to strengthen the hands of our weak Government, by rendering
the proceedings of the rioters unpopular and odious. This had a
good effect, and afterwards when a great Body of them with Arms
march'd towards the Capital in defiance of the Government, with
an avowed resolution to put to death 140 Indian converts under
its protection, I form'd an Association at the Governor's
request....Near 1,000 of the Citizens accordingly took arms;
Governor Penn made my house for some time his Head Quarterws, and
did everying by my Advice."
Although he saved the lives of the 140 Indians, Franklin made many enemies
among the frontier whites (Johansen 1982:81-82).
Karl Schwerin SnailMail: Dept. of Anthropology
Univ. of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131
There are people who will help you get your basket
on your head because they want to see what is in it.
-- African proverb