Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ben Franklin on the Paxton Indian Massacre

"That agreeable to the command of the prophet, they have "fought for their bretheren, their sons, their daughters, their wives and their houses."-That in this contest, many of them have lost their dearest relatives; their houses, their lands, their all; and from a plentiful independent people have been reduced to misery and want.
That they have been treated as aliens of the commonwealth, and denied a just and proportionable share in legislation: for that out of 36 members which the eight counties in the province send to the assembly, the three counties of Philadelphia, Chester, and Berks, where the Quakers are chiefly settled, return 26 of that number; while the 5 remaining counties, where these LORDLY RULERS could have no chance of getting elected, are suffered to fend but the other ten.
That by this iniquitious policy, the inhabitants of these five frontier counties, altho' a great majority, have been rendered unable to act in defence of their lives and properties; and therefore have lain for above eight years at the mercy of a cruel savage enemy and an unrelenting Quaker faction: Whereas had they been justly represented in Legislation, instead of presenting PACIFICK ADDRESSES to the Assembly, telling them that "the raising large sums of money, and putting them into the hands of COMMITTEES, who might apply them to purposes inconsistent with their PEACEABLE TESTIMONY, was in its consequences destructive of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. Instead of doing this I say, -the first great Law of Nature, that of SELF-DEFENCE, would have been administered to the people upon the first alarm of danger, and the hands of the HARDY AND BRAVE would have been felt at Liberty, 'til they had taken ample Vengence of their MURDERES. That they have often, in the most supllient manner, laid their grievances before the Assembly; and instead of being redress'd, have been abused, insulted, and even by some members of that venerable House, deem'd as unworthy of protection, as "A Pack of insignificant SCOTCH-IRISH, who if they were all killed, could well enough be spared.""
-The Conduct of the Paxton Men, by Ben Franklin; signed, "-Dated from my farmhouse, March 17th, 1764; A day dedicated to LIBERTY and ST. PATRICK"