Dirck Wesselse Ten Broeck in Schenectady
The following are excerpts of Ten Broeck's involvement in Schenectady:
A few days previous:
"Resolved that Mr Dirk Wesseles and Capt Johannes Wendel Justice of ye Peace goe thither & Conveen ye Company together and consult what measures they are to take upon occasion if an enemy should come, to ye end there may be unity in such extremityes & ye Inhabitants there are ordered to submitt to what ye sd gentn and ye head officers of there Toune shall Conclude upon, upon there oun Perill."
A few days subsequent to the massacre at Schenectady, Pieter Schuyler, mayor, and Dirk Wessels Ten Broeck, recorder of Albany, and Kilian Van Rensselaer, Patroon of Rensselaerswyck, addressed the following appeal to the Governor Bradstreet and Council of Massachusetts. This letter as well as one from Capt. Bull, was answered by the Governor and Council on the 27th of February.
"Albany ye 15th day of febr, 1689/90.
"To our great greeffe and Sorrow we must acquaint you with our Deplorable Condition there haveing never ye Like Dreadfull massacre and murther been Committed in these Parts of America, as bath been acted by ye french and there Indians at Shinnectady 20 miles from Albanie Betwixt Saturday and Sunday Last, at 11 a clok at night. A Companie of Two hundred french and Indians fell upon said village and murther'd Sixty men women and Children most Barbarously, Burning ye Place and Carried 27 along with them Prisoners, among which the Leift of Capt. Bull Enos Talmadge & 4 more of sd Company were killed & 5 taken Prisoners ye Rest being Inhabitants and above 25 Persones there Limbs frozen in ye flight.
"The Cruelties Committed at sd Place no Penn can write nor Tongue Expresse, ye women big with Childe Rip'd up and ye Children alive throwne into ye Flames, and there heads Dash'd in pieces against the doors and windows.
"But what shall we say we must Lay our hands upon our mouth and be silent. It is Gods will and Pleasure and we must Submitt, it is but what our Sinns and Transgressions have Deserv'd. And since Generally humane things are Directed by outward means, so we must ascribe this sad misfortune to ye factions and Divisions which were amongst ye People and there great Dissobedience to there officers for they- would Obey no Commands or keep any watch, so yt ye Enemie haveing Discovered there Negligence and Security by there Praying maquase Indians (who were in sd Place 2 or 3 Days before ye attaque was made) Came in and Broak open there verry doors before any Soule knew of it, ye Enemy Divideing themselfs in 3 severall Companies Came in at 3 severall Places no gate being shutt, and Seperated themselfs 6 or 7 to a house and in this manner begunn to Murther spareing no man till they see all ye houses open and masterd, and so took what Plunder they would, Loading 30 or 40 of ye Best horses and so went away about 11 or 12 a Clock at noon on Sabbath day.
"It was as if ye heavens Combined for ye Destruction of ye Poor Villadge; That Saturday night a Snow fell above knee Deep and Dreadfull cold, and ye Poor People yt Escaped and brought us ye news about break of day did so much Increase ye numbers of ye Enemy that we all Concluded there was a Considerable Army comeing to fall upon our City as was affirmed were upon there March hither; we being told not only then but ye day drat they were 1900 att Least, we sent out some few horse forthwith after after we had Recd ye news, but scarcely could get throw ye Deep Snow, some whereof gott to yt De Solato [desolate] Place, and there being some few maquase here in Towne we got them to goe thither with our men in Companie to send messengers in all haste to ye Maquase Castles, and to Spye where the Enemy went, who were not very free to goe ye Snow being so Deep and afraid of being Discovered by there Tract; but comeing to ye Village were in such Consternation seeing so many People & Catle kill'd and Burnt, that it was not Effected till 2 days after, when we heard yt ye Maquase knew nothing of it, upon which messengers were sent, and the Maquase of ye first and 2d Castle came downe in 24 houres whom we sent out with some of our young men in Pursute of ye Enemy: afterwards ye Maquase of ye 3d Castle came downe who are also gone out, but are afraid will not overtake them, & which is worse if they doe fynde them fear will doe them no great hurt ye Indians amongst them being all of ye kindred of our Indians; for ye Policy of ye french is so great that they Declar'd to some of ye Maquase which they founde at Shinnechtady that they would not doe the Maquase harm Yea if they should burn and Destroy never so many houses at Canida and kill never so many french, they would not touch a hayr of there head; for there Governr had such an Inclination to that People he would live in Peace with them; nay to gain the hearts of ye Maquase whatever they Desyred at Shinnechtady was graunted ye women and Children that were left alive upon there Desyre were Released and saved, ye very houses where ye Maquase lay at were saved upon there Request, so that they leave no stone unturned to bring ye Indians to there Devotion.
"The 40 Maquase that were out as Skouts at ye Lake whom we furnish'd with Powder and Lead to lye there a Purpose, we must Conclude have knowne nothing of ye Enemies Comeing; for they had Posted themselfs at one of ye Passages, and before they had sent men to ye oyr Passage ye Enemy was Past by, which we must Impute to there negligence.
"The sd French had Belts of wampum along with them which they showed to a maquase Squae at Shinnechtady which they Design'd to have given to our Indians upon Proposealls of Peace if they had met with any upon ye way, soe yt we must Conclude they want nothing but a Peace with our Indians to Destroy al the sd Parts.
"Our Maquase have got one of there Indians Prisoner whom they have Tortur'd and afterwards have Released him, but Delivered him into our Custody; for we feard he would make his Escape and Runn away to ye Enemy; ye sd Indian Confesses that there were 600 men Preparing to come out upon this Place or N. England, and one hundred men were gone out against Skachkook Indians which Was Besides this 200 men; & that this Company had been 22 days from Canida.
"After ye French had done ye Principall mischieffe at Shinnechtady Capt. Sander a Justice yt lives cross ye River was sent for by ye Capt. of ye French, who had Put himself in a Posture of Defence in his fort with the men that he could get by him; when 13 came there and told him they should not fear for there orders was not to wrong a Chicken of his, upon which Capt Sander Ordered them to lay downe there arms, and so were let in where they Left one man for a hostage & Capt. Sander went to there Commander who told him he had Commission to come and Pay a Debte which they owed; Col Dongan our govr. had stirrd up our Indians to doe mischief at Canida, & they had done the same here; and Pulling his Commission out of his Bosom told he was strikley Charged not to doe any harm to him or his, since he but Especially his wife had been so Charitable to ye french Prisoners, so yt Capt Sander saved sundrey houses from being burnt and women & Children from being Carried away; But ye Snow was so Extream Deep yt it was Impossible for any woman to march a mile, so they took none but men and boys that could march.
"As soon as ye Maquase of ye first and 2d Castle came downe and see ye Ruines of Shennechtady were Verry much griev'd The 2 Principall Captns said to Mr Wessels and some oyr gent. yt were sent from Albany to Dispatch ye Christians and Indians away in Pursute of ye french. Now you see your Blood spilt, and this is ye beginning of ye miseries if not suddenly Prevented. Therefore write to all them that are in Covenant with us Vizt. New England Virginia and all ye English Plantaçons of America to make all Readinesse to master Canida early in the Spring with Great Shipps Else you cannot live in Peace You Say ye King is a great king, and you are Very numerous here in this Country farr above ye French you are so But now is the time to show it, else ye more you are ye greater shame it is to suffer ye French to be master; and then we and all the 5 nations yea all ye farr nations must acknowlege ym for a great People and master of ye french if you now Subdue it. But hitherto we see ye french are the Souldiers they have been at ye northwest and killd ye English there; They have killd ye Indians at ye Sinnekes Country and now they come here and kill ye Dutch meaning ye Inhabitants of Shinnechtady who were formerly of ye Dutch nation. They are Victorious wherever they goe. Them of N. England have told us they would Destroy Canida, we have much Depended upon there great Promises since we know they are Potent Enough to doe it, & now we know there is open warr. If we were but assured yt ye English would minde theree Interest now and make Ready against ye spring we would keep them in alarm, we must goe hand in hand and Destroy the french, we hope yt ye Governr with men is come which you have often told us off. You told us also yt ye king of England was so Potent that he had Blokt up the french havens; yet ye French govr is come & we hear nothing of yours. In ye mean time we goe out now with Sixty Maquase of ye first & 2d Castle 25 River Indians Besides ye Christians and above 100 men of ye 3d Castle are comeing to morrow, we will Pursue ye Enemy and doubt not but to overtake them too; and Rescue ye Prisoners.
"Now Gentn The Indians Speak well yet we are Satisfyed by all there actions that they will side with ye Strongest and ye Indians yt are among ye French are all of our Indian Relations, so yt it cannot be Imagined that they will Destroy or anoy; Therefore if there majes subjects doe not Rise like one only man against ye French there Majes Interest in these Parts will be Destroyed, and they once being Rooted out all oyr Evills which Spring from them as the fountain will be quashed, the Longer we stay the worse it will be, for we must doe it at last and then probably after we have lost many hundreds of our People which would be fitt to help in such an Expedition; we have felt ye smart of that nation and Pray God our neighbours may not come to ye same Disaster, we are Satisfyed they did not Design to Destroy Shinnectady but all our out Plantations but fyndeing them so secure sett upon them & left the oyr untoucht thinkeing they could never Escape there Cruelties.
"Dear neighbours and friends we must acquaint yu yt never Poor People in ye world was in a worse Condition then we are at Present, no governour nor Command no money to forward any Expedition and Scarce men enough to maintain ye Citty and we must Conclude there only aim is this Place which once being attaind ye 5 nations are Rent from ye English Crown & in Stead of being a Bulwark to these Dominions as hitherto they have Proov'd will help to Ruine and Destroy the Countrey and Lay all waste. We have here Plainly Laid ye Case before yu and doubt not but you will so much take it to heart and make all Readinesse in ye Spring to Invade Canida by water. We Pray God Continually for ye arriveall of our Govr without which we can doe but litle haveing enough to doe to keep ye Indians to our side with great Expense; for these Distractions and Revolutions at N: Yorke hath brougt us into a miserable Condition, That without yr assistance and the 50 men from N. Yorke we should not be able to keep ye Place if any Enemy came wee begg an answer with al haste yt we may Satisfy ye Indians, we write to N: Yorke and oyr Parts of our mean Condition. We long much to hear from yr honrs haveing sent an Indian Expresse ye 15 January last with what papers Related to ye Indians at yt time, since when our messengers are come from onnendage and ye Indians al declare to be faithfull to this governmt. We have writt to Col Pynchon to warn ye upper townes to be upon there guarde feareing yt some french & Indians might be out to Destroy them. We have no more to add in these Troublesome times but yt we are
Your most humble & obedt servts
ye Convention of Albanie
Pr Schuyler, Mayor