Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, 29 November 1756

From Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg

Copy: Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem

Bethl. 29. Nov. 56.


To wait on you at Bethlehem, on your Return from Easton to Philadelphia, would have been a great Satisfaction to many of us, who have the Honour of your Acquaintance. I flatter myself with the Opinion, that you would not have pass’d by, had your Affairs permitted any longer stay in the Country.9 And now I take this Opportunity of letting you Know by some Lines, how it goes with us here; believing, that you have a particular Care for this part of our Province, which you have seen yourself in the greatest Distress by the Injury of Times, and which has been an Object of your tender Concern. We do live at present, Thanks to God, pretty quiet; but We are careful, how to trust people, who have no God but the Devil. We are on our Guard, as much as We can; tho’ We must own, it is the Lord, and He alone, that Keeps us.

Some people at allmangel, Neighbours of that unhappy Family, which fell but lately into the cruel Hands of the Sauvages, have brought their Wives and Children to Bethlehem, to be shelterd there; and we have about Fourty of them received into our Houses here and at Nazareth, whose resp[ective] Husbands and parents are returnd to their resp[ective] Habitations, viz. to Allmangel.1

Our Indians, who just a year ago came to Bethlehem from Gnadenhütten, when they could not exspect any Thing else, but what they would be destroyed with us, have hitherto behaved quiet and inoffensive to every One, thankful for the good protection, which they have had hitherto in this Government. But I am sorry that I must mention to you, that a white Man, but last Week, fired at One of the said Indians of Bethlehem, when he was a Mile or Two of[f] in the Woods; and I do fear, that such a Thing as that, may create great Confusion among all the Indians, if not prevented.2

The greatest Hardship We meet with now, is the coming of the Sauvages from the Susquehanna to Bethlehem, and their Obstinacy, to stay here with us.3 We have no Houses nor no Room for them and must needs build Winter-Houses for them, if more should come; as We hear they intend to do, by those that are come. I fear also, we shall be oblig’d to keep watching about them Day and Night, not so much to prevent Mischief, which they might be doing, but to hinder others from hurting them, which very likely might be the Case, as people are very bitter against them. Pray, be so Kind, to consider of these Things. For us there is no Proclamation gone out, (as far as I Know) to prevent such evil Things:4 it may prove very bad to this province, if such a Thing should happen.

To have your Advice or Ordres, and to Know what to do, will oblige very much Sir your humble Servant


Endorsed: Indian. Wandern beym Wildenkriege

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9“Governor Denny and his suite” had spent the night of November 17 in Bethlehem on their way back to Philadelphia from the Easton conference. William C. Reichel, ed., Memorials of the Moravian Church (Phila., 1870), I, 274 n. BF apparently was not with them; by hurrying he could have arrived home the 18th, a day before the governor’s party reached the city. Pa. Gaz., Nov. 25, 1756.

1The captured family were the wife and four children of Johannes Adam Busz, taken in Albany Township, Berks Co. (Allemängel), on November 6. Busz, who was away from home, a daughter “being in a turnip Patch,” and a baby in a cradle had been spared. Those who had “returnd” were greeted with fresh attacks on the 28th by supposedly friendly Iroquois returning from the Easton conference. Hunter, Forts, p. 296; Pa. Gaz., Nov. 18, 1756.

2Timothy Horsfield reported the same attack to Denny, Nov. 29, 1756. I Pa. Arch., III, 76–7. Pennsylvania authorities were well aware of this problem; at the Easton conference they had warned Teedyuscung to tell his people “not to straggle about” lest they be mistaken for hostile Indians. Pa. Col. Recs., VII, 337–8.

3See the preceding document; even Teedyuscung’s wife wanted to stay in Bethlehem, because of her husband’s “debauched way of Living,” but Conrad Weiser finally persuaded her to leave. I Pa. Arch., III, 66.

4The Moravians were worried that the successive monthly suspensions of hostilities against the Indians east of the Susquehanna (Pa. Col. Recs., VII, 144, 192, 247) might have expired, thus again legalizing the murder of Indians for scalp bounties.

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