Gateway to the Classics: Peter of Amsterdam by James Otis
Peter of Amsterdam by  James Otis

An Attack by the Indians

The Indians remained quietly on Nutten Island until nightfall, when they came into New Amsterdam again, went directly to Master Van Dyck's house, and killed him.

One of his neighbors attempted to lend him aid, and was stricken down in short order,—not, however, before he had given an alarm. Such soldiers as had been left in the fort, together with the men of the city, hastened with true courage to the scene of the murder, where a small battle took place, in which three Indians were killed outright, and many wounded.

It was as if the savages needed only this to send them upon the war path again; but instead of making any attack upon New Amsterdam, where were so few to oppose them, they went to the plantations nearby, killing or capturing men, women, and children, burning dwellings and destroying crops.

Yet this was no more than we had threatened to do to the Swedes, and without such cause as the savages had.

During the three days that the Indians remained near New Amsterdam, so the messenger said, more than one hundred persons had been killed, and nearly twice as many carried to a dreadful captivity. The buildings on twenty-eight of the plantations were burned and the crops destroyed utterly.

It needed not that this man who had come to us pale with terror, and fearing lest on his return he should find those whom he loved butchered, should tell us into what condition the city was plunged because of such a state of affairs. We could see, in our minds, the people of New Amsterdam as they cowered like sheep before wolves, unable to flee.

There was no place for them to go, save into the wilderness where lurked brown men who were thirsting for revenge, and they were unable to do more than make the merest show of defence, owing to the fact that Director Stuyvesant had taken with him nearly all the able-bodied men, and a goodly portion of the weapons, to the end that he might do much the same as were the savages doing.

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