History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 5

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX.
AFTER THE FRENCH ALLIANCE.
JUNE–DECEMBER 1778.

CONFINED between ridges three miles apart, the Susquehannah, for a little more than twenty miles, winds through the Valley of Wyoming. Abrupt rocks, rent by tributary streams, rise on the east, while the western declivities are luxuriantly fertile. Connecticut, whose charter from Charles II. was older than that of Pennsylvania, using its prior claim to lands north of the Mamaroneck river, had colonized this beautiful region and governed it as its county of Westmoreland. The settlements, begun in 1754, increased in numbers and wealth till their annual tax amounted to two thousand pounds in Connecticut currency. In the winter of 1776 the people aided Washington with two companies of infantry, though their men were all needed to protect their own homes. Knowing the alliance of the British with the Six Nations, they built a line of ten forts as places of refuge.

The Seneca tribe kept fresh in memory their chiefs and braves who fell in the conflict with the New York husbandmen at Oriskany. Their king, Sucingerachton, was, both in war and in council, the foremost man in all the Six Nations. Compared with him, the Mohawk, Brant, who had been but very lately known upon the war-path, was lightly esteemed. His attachment to the English increased to a passion on the alliance of America with the French, for whom he cherished implacable hate. Through his interest, and by the blandishments of gifts and pay and chances of revenge, Colonel John Butler lured the Seneca warriors to cross the border of Pennsylvania under the British flag.

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