Printable Version

The Schenectady Massacre
Digital History ID 95

Author:   Richard Ingoldsby


Although the popular retrospective view emphasizes whites or Europeans fighting to dispossess Indians of their land, in the crucial colonial years, when European colonists could have suffered devastating defeat, various Indian nations were allied with France or England or Spain. One of the key goals of England's "forest diplomacy" was to forge alliances with Indian peoples against the French.

The struggle between Britain and France was motivated not only by the prospects of economic profit, but also by religion, national honor, and dreams of empire. A major battleground in this contest took place in upstate New York, where the English formed an alliance with the Iroquois to disrupt French trade in the interior.



I have sent for you upon an Extraordinary occasion, to assist in an Expedition for ye Reducing Canada, which you have So much Long'd for, That neighbourhood you know hath been of a long time Very Troublesome to you, & many of her Majesty's good Subjects In these Parts.

We will not now Enumerate the many Perfidious and base actions they [the French] have been guilty off. We have whole Volumes full of Complaints which you have made to us of their Treacherous dealings. The French of Canada have killed, Imprisoned, Carried away, and Transported your People, burnt your Castles, and used all means which lay in their Power to Impoverish you, and bring you to a low and miserable Condition.

They have not only Seduced your People, and Enticed them away form your Country, but Encouraged even your own Brethren to make war upon you, on purpose to weaken you.

They have Set the Far Indians upon you and furnished them with arms and Ammunition in order to Destroy you. The Pains they have taken to accomplish your Ruin hath been Indefatigable.

They encroached upon your rights and Liberties by building Forts upon your Land against your wills, Possessing the Principall Passes and hunting Places, whereby all your hunting (your only Support) was rendered not only Precarious, but dangerous.

Their treacherously murdering of Montour, one of your Brethren, before your Faces, in your own Country this Summer is an Evident mark of their Insolence and how they Intend to use you. Most of these and other things having been truly Represented to the Great queen of Great Britain [Queen Anne] (who is victorious over the French King in Europe). She hath taken them into her Royal Consideration and has been Graciously Pleased (notwithstanding the vast Expence her Majesty is daily at in Carying on this necessary just war against France in Europe) to Send over at a great charge a Considerable Fleet, with men, Ammunition, Provision, and Artillery and other things necessary for ye Effectuall Reducing of Canada, to Redeem you from that Bondage and Slavery the French designed to bring you under. I must therefore Earnestly exhort you to be cheerful and resolute in joining with all your Strength with her Majesty's Forces....

This will be the only and Effectual means to Procure a firm and durable Peace and quiet Possession of our Settlements for us, and for you and your Posterity for ever....<

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Propositions made by the Honorable Colonel Richd. Ingoldesby

Copyright 2021 Digital History