The ignorant Indians of the tribe, whose chief had thus summarily, and, as they felt, unjustly been put to death, had all their savage instincts roused to intensity. They regarded the strangers at the fort as instigating the deed and responsible for it. They resolved upon bloody vengeance.
A party of warriors, thoroughly armed, came stealing through the glades of the forest and approached the unsuspecting fort. All the men were at work in the fields excepting one, who was left sick at home. There was also chained up in the fort, a powerful and faithful mastiff, of whom the Indians stood in great dread. Three of the savages, concealing, as far as they could, their weapons, approached the fort, under the pretence of bartering some beaver skins. They met Hossett, the commander, not far from the door. He entered the house with them, not having the slightest suspicion of their hostile intent. He ascended some steep stairs into the attic, where the stores for trade were deposited, and as he was coming down, one of the Indians, watching his opportunity, struck him dead with an axe. They then killed the sick man. Standing at a cautious distance, they shot twenty-five arrows into the chained mastiff till he sank motionless in death.
The colonists in the field, in the meantime, were entirely unaware of the awful scenes which were transpiring, and of their own impending peril. The wily Indians approached them, under the guise of friendship. Each party had its marked man. At a given signal, with the utmost ferocity they fell upon their victims. With arrows, tomahawks and war-clubs, the work was soon completed. Not a man escaped.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER.
Friendly Relations Restored.—Wouter Van Twiller New Director.—Captain Elkins.—Remonstrance of De Vrees.—Claims for the Connecticut.—The Plymouth Expedition.—A Boat’s Crew Murdered.—Condition of the Colony in 1633.—Emigration to the Connecticut.—Emigrants from Holland.—The Red Rocks.—New Haven Colony Established.—Natural.—Indian Remonstrance Against Taxation.—Outrage upon the Raritan Indians.—Indian Revenge.
De Vrees very wisely decided that it would be but a barren vengeance to endeavor to retaliate upon the roaming savages, when probably more suffering would be inflicted upon the innocent than upon the guilty. He therefore, to their astonishment and great joy, entered into a formal treaty of peace and alliance with them. Any attempt to bring the offenders to justice would of course have been unavailing, as they could easily scatter, far and wide, through the trackless wilderness. Arrangements were made for re-opening trade, and the Indians with alacrity departed to hunt beaver.
A new Director was appointed at Manhattan, Wouter Van Twiller. He was an inexperienced young man, and owed his appointment to the powerful patronage he enjoyed from having married the niece of the patroon Van Rensselaer. Thus a “raw Amsterdam clerk,” embarked in a ship of twenty guns, with a military force of one hundred and four soldiers, to assume the government of New Netherland. The main object of this mercantile governor seemed to be to secure trade with the natives and to send home furs.