The competition with the French, the drive for settlement beyond the Appalachians, and struggles with the British.
Archive for the ‘Colonization’ Category
NOTABLE REBELLIONS IN US HISTORY
As you review, consider what patterns emerge among these various uprisings, riots, and rebellions.
“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.”– Thomas Jefferson
Good golly, what if he had gotten his wish????
1663- Slave Uprising in Gloucester County, Virginia. in which both slaves and white indentured servants joined together to fight against their masters. Note that this occurred barely forty years after it was believed that the first Africans arrived on a Dutch ship in what would eventually be the United States.
1676- Bacon’s Rebellion breaks out when former indentured servants on the Virginia frontier. Economic pressures had led former servants to only be able to procure land for themselves on the frontier, where they were subject to attack at any moment from Indians upon whose lands they were often squatting. When the colonial government refused to help them defend themselves, grievance spilled over. That summer and fall, a force under Nathaniel Bacon carried out indiscriminate attacks on Indians, whether friend or foe. But the grievances of Bacon’s men included more than Indian attacks for they also bitterly resented the privileges the elite FFVs enjoyed and their access to power, and especially criticized the governor, William Berkeley. Therefore, when Bacon’s attempt to negotiate better treatment for those on the frontier failed, he and his men marched on Jamestown itself and burned it along with several plantations. Who knows what would have happened if the rebellion hadn’t disintegrated when Bacon suddenly died of dysentery? Twenty-three of the rebels were hanged by Governor William Berkeley. See http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p274.html and, for a copy of Bacon’s “Declaration in the Name of the People,” see “http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5800“.
1689- After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 led to the overthrow of King James II, an armed uprising stormed the fort of Boston seeking the overthrow of Sir Edmond Andros in the Dominion of New England. Andros had angered colonists by attempting to limit self-government, encouraging the adoption of the Church of England in place of the Puritan faith, strict enforcement of the Navigation Acts, and by enforcing these decrees with British soldiers who were perceived as being unruly and needlessly violent and disrespectful. Andros was arrested by the mob, and the short-lived Dominion of New England collapsed after only three years. Cotton Mather and other leading citizens issued a “Declaration of Grievances” outlining why the colonists were justified in resenting the imposition of the Dominion.
1689-91- Leisler’s Rebellion was led by militia captain Jacob Leisler in lower New York and was another outgrowth of the Glorious Revolution, much like the rebellion in Boston. New York was also made part of the Dominion of New England, and colonists there didn’t like it any better than those in Boston. Leisler overthrew the rule of the Lt. Governor, and created a new government based on direct representation. Leisler claimed to be maintaining power in the name of the new, Protestant rulers of England, William and Mary. However, when William and Mary appointed a new overseer, Leisler refused to give up power, and British troops captured him. He and his son-in law were convicted of treason, hanged, and then beheaded while still alive. Click HERE for a brief (1 minute!) video about Leisler’s Rebellion.
1677-79- The Culpeper or Albemarle Rebellion broke out in response to stricter enforcement of the Navigation Acts after the end of salutary neglect. A group of frontiersmen led by John Culpeper and George Durant in the Albemarle region of South Carolina imprisoned the deputy governor and other royal officials, including customs inspector (collector of taxes, never a popular person) Thomas Miller. They then elected their own legislature, elected Culpeper governor, and ran things for two years. Miller eventually escaped from jail, made it back to England, where he informed the Lords Proprietors of the events. Culpeper was arrested and tried for rebellion, but was acquitted, in part because one of the Lords Proprietors defended him and justified the rebellion due to the harshness of the colonial officials. After this rebellion, one of the Lords Proprietors himself took over as governor.
1712- Slave Uprising in New York City in which about 25 armed slaves killed nine whites. Seven hundred were arrested. About twenty of the rebels were executed.
1739- The Stono Rebellion was another slave uprising led by a slave named Cato from Stono, South Carolina. On September 9, 20 slaves met and planned to escape to freedom. They broke into a store, killed the two shopkeepers, and stone guns and the ingredients for ammunition. Reportedly, 60 to 100 slaves eventually ran into a white militia called out to repel them as they marched toward Spanish Florida. At least forty blacks and twenty-one whites died during the battle. As a result, South Carolina enacted a much harsher slave code that no longer allowed slave to assemble in groups or learn to read, among other things. This was the largest uprising of slaves prior to the Revolution. See http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/jb/colonial/stono_1 or http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p284.html
1741- The New York Conspiracy was another slave rebellion in New York City that was feared, although it is doubtful whether any actions took place. Thirty-one slaves and four white accomplices were executed for supposedly planning an uprising.
1763-66- Pontiac’s Rebellion broke out at the conclusion of the French and Indian War and raged throughout the Ohio Valley which had just been acquired from France for Britain. At the urging of an Indian religious leader who promised success if Indians would return to traditional ways, an Ottawa tribal chief named Pontiac soon gathered a confederation of Chippewa, Miami, Huron, Potawatomie, Delaware, and Seneca Indians to fight the establishment of British forts in the region. Ultimately, the Indians captured eight forts before the uprising lost force, and in 1766 a treaty was concluded. In response to this rebellion, however, the Proclamation of 1763 was issued by the British, enraging colonists, especially those who wished to settle in the rich Ohio River Valley. (Pontiac’s Rebellion also caused a violent uprising on the Pennsylvania frontier known as…
1763-64- The Paxton Boys Uprising was a series of attacks by frontiersmen who were angered by Pontiac’s Rebellion. These predominantly Scots-Irish groups attacked any Indian settlements, regardless of whether they had attacked whites or not. When the Pennsylvania governor issued arrest warrants for the Paxton boys after they attacked a peaceful settlement of Conestoga Indians, killing six outright and later taking 14 captive (who were also later killed), the Paxton Boys then attacked a village of Indians who had been converted to Christianity by Moravian missionaries. When the Indians fled to Philadelphia and were protected by the government, the Paxton Boys then marched on Philadelphia in 1764, causing a panic in the City of Brotherly Love. Only Benjamin Franklin’s negotiations with representatives from the Paxton Boys caused the march to break up. Nonetheless, tension between hardscrabble frontiersmen (westerners) and wealthier, more politically connected citizens (easterners)was obviously not something that was solved after Bacon’s Rebellion, as this uprising demonstrated. (see p. 90 in your text)
1766-71- The Regulator Movement was an uprising in the Carolinas, once again between western frontier settlers and their wealthier, politically connected eastern counterparts, also known as the War of Regulation. It was felt that the laws and regulations that were enforced by the government were not fairly administered. This discontent was fed by the scarcity of money on the frontier. Eventually governor William Tyron called out the militia, and 2000 Regulators and 1,000 militia members fought at the Battle of Alamance on May 16, 1771. Although numerically superior, discipline and strategy was on the side of the better-trained militia, and after a two hour battle in which nine were killed on each side, the Regulators were defeated. See http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/nc/ncsites/Alamance.htm or this previous post on the blog for more info. (see p. 90 in your text)
1764- Ethan Allen was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys, a military resistance unit that was formed among settlers who did not want to see the takeover of what is now Vermont and New Hampshire by New York. Using armed resistance, the Green Mountain Boys established a de facto government in lieu of the royally sanctioned authority of New York, which issued warrants for their arrest. When New York sent surveyors into the area they were forcibly detained and even beaten. When the Revolution broke out, however, the Green Mountain Boys and Ethan Allen fought as a Vermont militia in the war, and when Vermont declared itself an independent nation in 1777, the Green Mountain Boys formed the basis for the Vermont Army.
1773- The Boston Tea Party. Tea Tax from Champagne Charley Townsend. Dudes in the Sons of Liberty dressed like Indians (not convincingly, but points for effort). Six thousand pounds of tea floating around in Boston Harbor in just under three hours. British East India Company enraged even without Captain Jack Sparrow involved. Port of Boston closed as part of the Intolerable Acts.
1786-87- Shays’ Rebellion broke out in western Massachusetts in the wake of a depressed national economy after the end of the Revolutionary War. Many of these farmers who had returned from the war practically penniless, and they greatly resisted the high property taxes that forced many of their number into foreclosure. Hardworking men saw their farms sold, and if that did not raise enough to pay off all their debts, they were subjected to the humiliation of court and possibly debtors’ prison. They feared that they would eventually become tenant farmers working for wealthy, well-connected landowners. Thus a strong populist flavor permeated the reasoning of the rebels. Daniel Shays was a decorated Revolutionary War veteran who led the insurrection. He and his men marched on the debtors’ courts and forced them to close, which then alarmed creditors such as merchants and bankers, obviously. The problem was that the Confederation Congress could find no way to fund an army to restore order. The governor of Massachusetts, James Bowdoin, eventually had to use private funds to put down the insurrection. After a failed attempt to seize an arsenal, the rebellion collapsed, and many of its leaders fled to Vermont, which was not yet a state. Nonetheless, eventually 200 rebels were prosecuted for treason in 1787, and fiver were sentenced to hang. The governor lost re-election to John Hancock in the aftermath, and the five rebels sentenced to hang were paraded in front of the gallows before being given a last-minute pardon. Shays was pardoned as well, eventually, and died of old age. Shays’ Rebellion led many to conclude that the Confederation was too weak, and that radical measures would have to be taken to prevent similar uprisings in the future. The eventual consequence? The Constitutional Convention in 1787. But leftover anger from the rebellion caused Massachusetts to barely vote to ratify the new Constitution when it was put to a vote of the people in 1788. See http://www.calliope.org/shays/shays2.html.
1794- the Whiskey Rebellion began in 1794 in Pennsylvania over a 1791 tax that was imposed upon whiskey distillers that was viewed as unjust, and especially unfair to small producers, who had to pay by the gallon, versus large distillers who paid a flat fee. Western farmers particularly resented this tax because it seemed to punish their habitual practice of turning their excess crops into whiskey to be sold. The tax was part of Hamilton’s financial plan to pay off the national debt (and promote the power of the federal government). After the protests turned into shooting and tarring and feathering of tax collectors, President Washington declared martial law and activated an army of militiamen from several states numbering almost 13,000. Washington and his former Revolutionary War aide Hamilton personally took control of the force and marched into western Pennsylvania. Once there, the main force of rebels melted away, but twenty alleged participants were arrested, and two were later sentenced to death for treason, although Washington commuted their sentences claiming one was an idiot and the other was crazy. The person who claimed leadership, a “Tom the Tinker,” was never found. This rebellion marked one of two times that a president has actually commanded troops in person, and showed that the federal government was strong enough to maintain itself, in contrast to that under the Articles of Confederation. Another consequence was that the common people came to feel that the Federalist party was out of touch with their concerns. The Whiskey Tax stayed on the book until 1803, although it was very difficult to collect, and many distillers then moved into the wilds of Kentucky and Tennessee, where they used corn instead to make bourbon.
1800- Gabriel Prosser’s rebellion was to be led by Gabriel and his brother Martin in Virginia. They gathered 1,000 slaves and armed them with the intention of attacking the capital of Richmond. Prosser’s plan was leaked to authorities after weather caused a delay in enacting the planned attack, and Prosser and several of his followers were executed.
1811- St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana was the location of a slave rebellion in January of this year in which 500 slaves rose up. One hundred slaves died in the ensuing mayhem.
1816- Fort Blount, Florida was the site of a battle between US Army forces and a combined force of 300 runaway slaves and Indians.
1822- Denmark Vesey’s Uprising was led by a free black man in Charleston, South Carolina, and was over before it began, as a slave informed his master of the plan before ti was actually enacted. The plan was believed to involve thousands of free and enslaved blacks, the mere possibility of which stunned local white officials. Vesey and thirty-six other conspirators were hanged after a very long series of trials.
1831- Nat Turner was convinced by a solar eclipse in February of 1831 that it was a sign from God that he should kill his master to free himself. By August, he completed his plans for a hoped-for uprising, and proceeded to kill his master and his family. Only 75 slaves joined his rebellion, however, and 3,000 whites turned out to put down the insurrection. After Turner and his small force was stopped, about 100 other slaves apparently unconnected with the resurrection were killed as well as tensions and emotions ran high. Turner was executed on November 31, after hiding for six weeks.
1859 –John Brown leads a raid with 21 other men on a federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry on October 16, Virginia, hoping to use the weapons to create a massive slave uprising. Although Brown captured the arsenal, the plot failed, and he was arrested by a force of Marines led by Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, who had been on leave nearby. Brown was tried, for treason against the state of Virginia and executed, making him a “martyr for abolitionism.”
1861-1865- Civil War, or as many Southerners liked to call it, “the War of Northern Aggression” (shudder) or “the Late Unpleasantness.” Do I really need to explain this one?
1863- The New York City Draft Riots erupted on July 11-13, 1863. The city was in the control of a powerful Democratic machine, and thus the Enrollment Act of Conscription which the Republican Lincoln passed was universally hated, including by the governor of New York. Unfortunately, the first draftees were being enlisted just as the news of the horrors of Gettysburg made the papers. Riots then broke out, predominantly among the Irish of the city , many of whom had no desire to fight to free blacks who would then compete with them for jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder. The damage from the riots was later estimated at more than one and a half million dollars, and no one knows exactly how many people died in the violence. In the end, Lincoln had to divert troops from fighting the Civil War to restore order in New York, and they had to remain in place to keep the peace. It is estimated that the hated conscription law only raised 150,00 men, most of them substitutes. See http://www.civilwarhome.com/draftriots.htm.
1875-77- A General Labor Strike spread nationwide, centered primarily in the railroad industry. This strike had been building for several years, especially since the depression of 1873. Workers forced to live in company towns suddenly saw their wages cut, often by at least 10%. In one instance, in 1875, the Reading Railroad cut wages to 54% of the 1869 levels, resulting in a strike that lasted 170 days. This was known as The Long Strike. The labor unrest of the Long Strike of 1875 extended into the coal industry as well. A secret society known popularly as the Molly Maguires (its formal name was the Workingmen’s Benevolent Association) made up primarily of Irish who worked in the railroad industry, was blamed for various actions of violence during the strike, and eventually nineteen were tried and executed for their activities. See http://www.providence.edu/polisci/students/molly_maguires/ for more info.
1892- Homestead Strike– Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead, Pennsylvania steel plant was the site of a violent confrontation between striking workers and Pinkerton detectives after the workers armed themselves and occupied the plant. When the Pinkertons tried to attack via the Monongahla River, they were fired upon and captured. The Pennsylvania State Militia then attacked and won the release of the Pinkerton detectives, and the union was ruthlessly crushed.
1909-12- The Black Patch War erupted over a specific rich tobacco grown in western Kentucky and Tennesse that the Duke Tobacco tried to monopolize. Independent farmers responded to the monopolistic practices with an armed uprising that involved “Night Riders” attacking anyone or anything affiliated with the Duke Company. It took three years for the violence to end.
Race riots: Too many to describe but here are some of the more famous ones after the turn of the 20th century:
Atlanta, GA 1906
East St. Louis, IL 1917
Tulsa, OK, 1921
Harlem, NY 1935
Detroit, MI 1943
Beaumont, TX 1943
Los Angeles, CA (the Zoot Suit Riots) 1943
Harlem, NY 1963
Watts, CA 1965
Detroit, MI, 1967
Newark, NJ 1967
Baltimore, Chicago, Louisville and Washington DC in the wake of the assassination of MLK
Los Angeles, CA 1992 (after the Rodney King incident)
1. In 1763, a definite shift occurred in British-colonial relations when _________ assumed control of colonial policy. (129,d)
A. Charles Townsend
B. Lord North
C. George Grenville
D. William Pitt
E. King George III
2. Under mercantilist doctrine, British currency policies enforced in the colonies were intended to primarily benefit (128,d)
A. backwoods farmers.
B. British merchants.
C. Virginia tobacco planters.
D. the British Crown.
E. New England merchants.
3. The Navigation Acts, as written, aroused colonial resentment because they (128,d)
A. prevented the colonists from developing a mature, self-sustaining economy.
B. forced the South to adopt a single crop as the basis for their economy.
C. favored the northern colonies at the expense of the southern colonies.
D. forced the American colonists to engage in economic activity which was not profitable.
E. all of the above.
4. The “radical whigs” were most opposed to, and feared, (127)
B. a written constitution
C. a too powerful parliament
D. too much democracy
E. the arbitrary power of the monarchy
5. The British Crown’s (officially the King, but actually often the Prime Minister acting on the King’s behalf) right to use the royal veto over colonial legislation (128)
A. was opposed by many members of the British Parliament.
B. prohibited colonists from participating in the Atlantic slave trade.
C. was used sparingly by the British government.
D. was used frequently to overturn laws passed in colonial assemblies.
E. was what finally provoked the War of Independence.
6. The first Navigation Laws were specifically designed to (128, b)
A. encourage the American colonies to experiment with growing new crops.
B. enable the colonists to maximize the profits they could earn through the sale of their trade goods.
C. foster a colonial economy that could offer healthy competition with Britain’s economy.
D. eliminate Dutch shippers from the American carrying trade.
E. support the mapping of Atlantic trade routes.
7. Before 1763, the Navigation Laws (128, d,b)
A. were loosely or rarely enforced in the American colonies.
B. were stringently enforced in Britain’s Indian colonies.
C. were aggressively enforced in the American colonies.
D. were more detrimental to the British mainland rather than the colonies.
E. were effective at putting American smugglers out of business.
8. The first law ever passed by Parliament for raising tax revenues in the colonies was (129,d)
A. Stamp Act
B. Townshend Act
C. Quartering Act
D. Declaratory Act
E. Sugar Act
9. All of these were benefits Americans gained from mercantilism before 1763 EXCEPT (128, d)
A. the protection of the greatest navy and army in the world without any cost to the colonists.
B. Americans were allowed to trade freely with other countries on the open market.
C. some British merchants were not allowed to compete with Colonial merchants, giving the Americans a virtual monopoly.
D. Virginia tobacco planters enjoyed a monopoly of the British market.
E. London paid high prices for ship parts made by colonial shipbuilders.
10. Mercantilists believed that (127,d)
A. power came from a small but concentrated colonial empire.
B. the mother country produced raw materials and the colonies produced the finished good.
C. a mother country needed to import more than export.
D. a country’s power was determined by the amount of gold and silver in its treasury.
E. colonies were a drain on the mother country and should be curtailed.
After the Seven Years’ War (the French and Indian War here…) here’s a map of how territory swapped hands…
Professor John Demos of Yale University wrote this article for American Heritage magazine. This article was adapted from his book, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story From Early America.
Our traditional picture of colonial New England is essentially a still life. Peaceful little villages. Solid, strait-laced, steadily productive people. A landscape serene, if not bountiful. A history of purposeful, and largely successful, endeavor.
And yet, as historians are learning with ever-greater clarity, this picture is seriously at odds with the facts. New England had its solidity and purposefulness, to be sure. But it also had its share of discordant change, of inner stress and turmoil, and even of deadly violence. New England was recurrently a place of war, especially during the hundred years preceding the Revolution. The French to the north in Canada and the various Indian tribes on every side made determined, altogether formidable enemies. The roster of combat was long indeed: King Philip’s War (1675–76), King William’s War (1689–97), Queen Anne’s War (1702–13), Father Rasle’s War (1724–26), King George’s War (1744–48), and the French and Indian War (1754–63). Most of these were intercolonial, even international, conflicts, in which New England joined as a very junior partner. But there were numerous other skirmishes, entirely local and so obscure as not to have earned a name. All of them exacted a cost, in time, in money, in worry—and in blood.
Much of the actual fighting was small-scale, hit-andrun, more a matter of improvisation than of formal strategy and tactics. Losses in any single encounter might be only a few, but they did add up. Occasionally the scale widened, and entire towns became targets. Lancaster and Haverhill, Massachusetts; Salmon Falls and Oyster River, New Hampshire; York and Wells, Maine: Each suffered days of wholesale attack. And Deerfield, Massachusetts—above all, Deerfield—scene of the region’s single, most notorious “massacre.”
The year is 1704, the season winter, the context another European war with a “colonial” dimension. New France (Canada) versus New England. (New York and the colonies farther south are, at least temporarily, on the sidelines.) The French and their Indian allies have already engineered a series of devastating raids along the “eastern frontier”— the Maine and New Hampshire coasts. The English have counterattacked against half a dozen Abenaki Indian villages. And now, in Montreal, the French governor is secretly planning a new thrust “over the ice” toward “a little village of about forty households,” a place misnamed in the French records “Guerrefille.” (An ironic twist just there: Deerfield becomes “War-girl.”)
Deerfield is not unready. Like other outlying towns, it has labored to protect itself: with a “stockade” (a fortified area, at its center, inside a high palisade fence), a “garrison” of hired soldiers, a “watch” to patrol the streets at night, and “scouts” to prowl the woods nearby. Indeed, many families are living inside the stockade. Conditions are crowded and uncomfortable, to say the least, but few doubt the need for special measures. The town minister, Rev. John Williams, conducts an extraordinary day of “fasting and prayer” in the local church—“possessed,” as he reportedly is, “that the town would in a little time be destroyed.”
The attack forces—French led, largely Indian in rank and file—set out in early February. Steadily they move southward, on frozen rivers and lakes, with one hard leg across the Green Mountains. They have snowshoes, sleds to carry their supplies, and dogs to pull the sleds. The lower part of their route follows the Connecticut River valley till it reaches a point near what would later become Brattleboro, Vermont. Here they will strike off into the woods to the south, leaving dogs and sleds for their return. They are barely a day’s march—twenty miles—from their objective. The rest they will cover as quickly and quietly as possible. Surprise is their most potent weapon. The people of Deerfield, though generally apprehensive, know nothing of this specific threat. On the evening of February 28, the town goes to sleep in the usual way.
Midnight. Across the river to the west the attackers are making their final preparations: loading weapons, putting on war paint, reviewing plans. The layout of Deerfield is apparently known to them from visits made in previous years by Indian hunters and traders. Presently a scout is sent “to discover the posture of the town, who observing the watch walking in the street,” returns to his comrades and “puts them to a stand.” (Our source for the details of this sequence was a contemporary historian, writing some years after the fact.) Another check, a short while later, brings a different result. The village lies “all … still and quiet”; the watch evidently has fallen asleep. It is now about four o’clock in the morning, time for the attackers to move.
Over the river, on the ice. Across a mile of meadowland, ghostly and white. Past the darkened houses at the north end of the street. Right up to the stockade. The snow has piled hugely here; the drifts make walkways to the top of the fence. A vanguard of some forty men climbs quickly over and drops down on the inside. A gate is opened to admit the rest. The watch awakens, fires a warning shot, cries, “Arm!” Too late. The attackers separate into smaller parties and “immediately set upon breaking open doors and windows.”
he townspeople come to life with a rush. Some find opportunities to escape by jumping from windows or roof lines. Several manage to flee the stockade altogether and make their way to neighboring villages. In half a dozen households the men leave families behind in order to rally outside as a counterforce. In others there is a frantic attempt to hide.
The minister’s house is a special target, singled out “in the beginning of the onset”; later John Williams will remember (and write about) his experience in detail. Roused “out of sleep … by their violent endeavors to break open doors and windows with axes and hatchets,” he leaps from bed, runs to the front door, sees “the enemy making their entrance,” awakens a pair of soldiers lodged upstairs, and returns to his bedside “for my arms.” There is hardly time, for the “enemy immediately brake into the room, I judge to the number of twenty, with painted faces and hideous acclamations.” They are “all of them Indians”; no Frenchmen in sight as yet. The minister does manage to cock his pistol and “put it to the breast of the first Indian who came up.” Fortunately—for both of them—it misfires. Thereupon Williams is “seized by 3 Indians, who disarmed me, and bound me naked, as I was in my shirt”; in this posture he will remain “for near the space of an hour.”
With their chief prize secured, the invaders turn to “rifling the house, entering in great numbers into every room.” There is killing work too: “some were so cruel and barbarous as to take and carry to the door two of my children and murder them [six-year-old John, Jr., and six-week-old Jerusha], as also a Negro woman [a family slave named Parthena].” After “insulting over me a while, holding up hatchets over my head, [and] threatening to burn all I had,” the Indians allow their captive to dress. They also permit Mrs. Williams “to dress herself and our children.”
By this time the sun is “about an hour high” (perhaps 7:00 A.M.). The sequence described by John Williams has been experienced, with some variations, in households throughout the stockade: killings (especially of infants and others considered too frail to survive the rigors of life in the wilderness); “fireing houses”; “killing cattle, hogs, sheep & sacking and wasting all that came before them.” In short, a village-size holocaust. When John Williams and his family are finally taken outside, they see “many of the houses … in flames”; later, in recalling the moment, he asks, “Who can tell what sorrows pierced our souls?”
The Williamses know they are destined “for a march … into a strange land,” as prisoners. And prisoners are being herded together—in the meetinghouse and in a home nearby—from all over town. However, one household—that of the militia leader, Sgt. Benoni Stebbins—has mounted a remarkable resistance. Its occupants are well armed and fiercely determined; moreover, the walls of this house, “being filled up with brick,” effectively repel incoming fire. The battle (as described in a subsequent report by local militia officers) continues here for more than two hours. The attackers fall back, then surge forward in an unsuccessful attempt “to fire the house.” Again they retreat—this time to the shelter of the meetinghouse—while maintaining their fusillade all the while. The defenders return bullet for bullet, “accepting of no quarter, though offered,” and “causing several of the enemy to fall,” among them “one Frenchman, a gentleman to appearance,” and “3 or 4 Indians,” including a “captain” who had helped seize John Williams.
In the meantime, some of the attackers with their captives begin to leave the stockade. Heading north, they retrace their steps toward the river. Then a stunning intervention: A band of Englishmen arrives from the villages below (where an orange glow on the horizon “gave notice … before we had news from the distressed people” themselves). “Being a little above forty in number,” they have rushed on horseback to bring relief. They stop just long enough to pick up “fifteen of Deerfield men.” And this combined force proceeds to the stockade, to deliver a surprise of its own: “when we entered at one gate, the enemy fled out the other.” Now comes a flat-out chase—pell-mell across the meadow—the erstwhile attackers put to rout. The Englishmen warm, literally, to the fight, stripping off garments as they run. (Later the same soldiers will claim reimbursement for their losses—and record details of the battle.) They inflict heavy casualties: “we saw at the time many dead bodies, and … afterwards … manifest prints in the snow, where other dead bodies were drawn to a hole in the river.”
They make, in sum, a highly successful counterattack. But one that is “pursued too far, imprudently.” For across the river the French commanders hear the tumult and swiftly regroup their own forces. The riverbank affords an excellent cover for a new stand; soon a “numerous company … [of] fresh hands” is in place there, concealed and waiting. On the Englishmen come, ignoring the orders of the officer “who had led them [and] called for a retreat.” On and on—the river is just ahead, and the captives are waiting on the other side—into the teeth of a withering “ambuscade.” Back across the meadow one more time, pursued and pursuers reversing roles. The English are hard pressed, “our breath being spent, theirs in full strength.” Their retreat is as orderly as they can make it, “facing and firing, so that those that first failed might be defended”; even so, “many were slain and others wounded.” Eventually the survivors regain the stockade and clamber inside, at which “the enemy drew off.” They will appear no more.
It is now about 9:00 A.M. A numbness settles over the village. The fires are burning down. There is blood on the snow in the street. The survivors of the “meadow fight” crouch warily behind the palisades. The townspeople who had escaped start to filter back in through the south gate. Time to look after their wounded and count their dead.
Viewed from close up, the carnage is appalling. Death—by gunshot, by hatchet, by knife, by war club—grisly beyond words. And the torn bodies on the ground are not the whole of it; when the survivors poke through the rubble, they find more. Casualty lists have entries like this: “Mary, Mercy, and Mehitable Nims [ages five, five, and seven, respectively] supposed to be burnt in the cellar.” Indeed, several cellar hideouts have turned into death-traps; in one house ten people lie “smothered” that way.
And then the wounded. One man shot through the arm. Another with a bullet in his thigh. Another with a shattered foot. Yet another who was briefly captured by the Indians, and “when I was in their hands, they cut off the forefinger of my right hand” (a traditional Indian practice with captives). A young woman wounded in the Stebbins house. A second with an ankle broken while jumping from an upper-story window.
There are, too, the lucky ones, quite a number who might have been killed or injured (or captured) but managed somehow to escape. The people who ran out in the first moments and fled the town unobserved. A young couple and their infant son whose “small house” was so small that the snow had covered it completely. A woman who lay hidden beneath an overturned tub. A boy who dived under a pile of flax. Some of this is remembered only by “tradition,” not hard evidence, but is too compelling to overlook. Here is another instance, passed through generations of the descendants of Mary Catlin: “The captives were taken to a house … and a Frenchman was brought in [wounded] and laid on the floor; he was in great distress and called for water; Mrs. Catlin fed him with water. Some one said to her, ‘How can you do that for your enemy?’ She replied, ‘If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him water to drink.’ The Frenchman was taken and carried away, and the captives marched off. Some thought the kindness shown to the Frenchman was the reason of Mrs. Catlin’s being left. …” (Mary Catlin was indeed “left,” the only one of her large family not killed or captured. And this is as plausible an explanation of her survival as any.)
Thus Deerfield in the immediate aftermath: the living and the dead, the wounded and the escaped. Tradition also tells of a mass burial in the southeast corner of the town cemetery. Another “sorrowful” task for the survivors.
Soon groups of armed men begin arriving from the towns to the south. All day and through the evening they come; by midnight there are “near about 80.” Together they debate the obvious question, the only one that matters right now: Should they follow the retreating enemy in order to retake their captive “friends”? Some are for it, but eventually counterarguments prevail. They have no snowshoes, “the snow being at least 3 foot deep.” The enemy has “treble our number, if not more.” Following “in their path … we should too much expose our men.” Moreover, the captives themselves will be endangered, “Mr. Williams’s family especially, whom the enemy would kill, if we come on.”
The day after, “Connecticut men begin to come in”; by nightfall their number has swelled to fully 250. There is more debate on whether to counterattack. However, the “aforesaid objections” remain—plus one more. The weather has turned unseasonably warm, “with rain,” and the snowpack is going to slush. They “judge it impossible to travel [except] … to uttermost disadvantage.” Under the circumstances they could hardly hope “to offend the enemy or rescue our captives, which was the end we aimed at in all.” And so they “desist” once again. They give what further help they can to “the remaining inhabitants”—help with the burials and with rounding up the surviving cattle. They prepare a report for the colony leaders in Boston, including a detailed count of casualties: 48 dead, 112 taken captive. (Another 140 remain “alive at home.”) They leave a “garrison of 30 men or upwards” in the town. And the rest return to their home villages.
Meanwhile, the “march” of the captives, and their captors, is well under way: through the wilderness on to Canada. There is extreme privation and suffering on both sides. The French and Indians are carrying wounded comrades. The captives include many who are physically weak and emotionally stricken: young children, old people, pregnant women, lone survivors of otherwise shattered families. Food is short, the weather inclement, the route tortuous.
The captors, fearing a possible English pursuit, push forward as rapidly as possible. Any who cannot keep up must be killed and left by the trail “for meat to the fowls of the air and beasts of the earth.” Among the first to suffer this fate is the minister’s wife. Still convalescent following a recent pregnancy, she nearly drowns in a river crossing, after which, according to John Williams, “the cruel and bloodthirsty savage who took her, slew her with his hatchet at one stroke.” In the succeeding days another seventeen of the captives will be similarly “dispatched.”
Later in the journey the French and the Indians separate. And later still the Indians, who now hold all the captives, subdivide into small “bands.” At one critical juncture Reverend Williams is marked for execution by revenge-minded kinsmen of the “captain” killed at Deerfield; a rival chief’s intervention saves him. His five surviving children are scattered among different “masters” and, surprisingly, are “looked after with a great deal of tenderness.”
There are two additional deaths —from starvation—as the various bands move farther north, but sooner or later ninety-two captives reach Canada. Some, like John Williams, are ransomed “out of the hands of Indians” by French officials; others are taken to Indian “forts” and encampments throughout the St. Lawrence River Valley.
Almost immediately their relatives and friends in New England begin efforts to secure their release. But the process is complicated, and progress is painfully slow. Eventually some fifty-three will be returned home, with John Williams as one of the last among them. His subsequent account of his experiences, published under the imposing title The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion, will make him famous throughout the Colonies.
His daughter Eunice will become equally famous, but for a different reason: she declines to return and spends the rest of her long life among the Indians. She forgets her English and adjusts completely to Indian ways; she marries a local “brave” and raises a family. Another fifteen or so of her fellow captives will make a similar choice, and still others stay on with the French Canadians. These are the captives unredeemed: a source of sorrow, and of outrage, for the New Englanders.
In fact, efforts to bring them back will continue for decades. “Friends” traveling back and forth quite unofficially, and full-fledged “ambassadors” sent from one royal governor to the other, seek repeatedly to force a change. In some cases there are direct—even affectionate—contacts between the parties themselves. Eunice Williams pays four separate visits to her New England relatives. Each time they greet her with great excitement and high hopes for her permanent “return,” but there is no sign that she even considers the possibility. She acknowledges the claims of her blood, but other, stronger claims draw her back to Canada. She has become an Indian in all but blood, and she prefers to remain that way. She will become the last surviving member of the entire “massacre” cohort.
The destruction of Deerfield came nearer the beginning than the end of the Anglo-French struggle for control of North America. And was barely a curtain raiser in the long, sorry drama of “white” versus “red.” But it left special, and enduring, memories. Well into the nineteenth century New England boys played a game called Deerfield Massacre, complete with mock scalpings and captive taking. A curious bond grew between Deerfield and the descendants of those same Canadian Indians who had formed the attack party, with visits back and forth on both sides. And particular “massacre” memorabilia have been carefully—almost lovingly—preserved to the present day.
Indeed, Deerfield today recalls both sides of its former frontier experience. It remains an exquisitely tranquil—and beautiful—village, its main street lined with stately old houses (twelve of them open to the public). But its most celebrated single artifact is an ancient wooden door, hacked full of hatchet holes on that bitter night in the winter of 1704.
Here is a link to a chart that shows what happened to those in Deerfield: http://www.babcock-acres.com/Misceallaneous/deerfield_captives_of_1704.htm
This is an excerpt of the famous sermon by the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. It was given in Enfield, Massachusetts (which is now in Connecticut) in 1741. This is a good example of the types of sermons used to revive religious piety during the First Great Awakening. Here is a link (http://edwards.yale.edu/major-works/sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-god/) to other works of Jonathan Edwards from Yale University.
As you read, consider what Edwards is trying to do with his descriptions, and note the vivid imagery employed.
Jonathan Edwards, 1741
…The observation from the words that I would not insist upon is this. “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God’s mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.
1. There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?
2. They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God’s using his power at any moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, “Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?” (Luke 13:7). The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God’s mere will, that holds it back.
3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. “He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18). So that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell; that is his place; from thence he is. “Ye are from beneath” (John 8:23). And thither he is bound; it is the place that justice, and God’s word, and the sentence of his unchangeable law assign to him.
4. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.
So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such a one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under them.
5. The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him. They belong to him; he has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The Scripture represents them as his goods (Luke 11:12). The devils watch them; they are ever by them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back. If God should withdraw his hand, by which they are restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would be hastily swallowed up and lost.
6. There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God’s restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them. The souls of the wicked are in Scripture compared to the troubled sea (Is. 62:20). For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;” but if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God’s restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into a fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.
7. It is no security to wicked men for one moment, that there are no visible means of death at hand. It is no security to a natural man, that he is now in health, and that he does not see which way he should now immediately go out of the world by any accident, and that there is no visible danger in any respect in his circumstances. The manifold and continual experience of the world in all ages, shows this is no evidence, that a man is not on the very brink of eternity, and that the next step will not be into another world. The unseen, unthought-of ways and means of persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and inconceivable. Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noonday; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell, that there is nothing to make it appear, that God had need to be at the expense of a miracle, or go out of the ordinary course of his providence, to destroy any wicked man, at any moment. All the means that there are of sinners going out of the world, are so in God’s hands, and so universally and absolutely subject to his power and determination, that it does not depend at all the less on the mere will of God, whether sinners shall at any moment go to hell, than if means were never made use of, or at all concerned in the case.
8. Natural men’s prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the care of others to preserve them, do not secure them a moment. To this, divine providence and universal experience do also bear testimony. There is this clear evidence that men’s own wisdom is no security to them from death; that if it were otherwise we should see some difference between the wise and politic men of the world, and others, with regard to their liableness to early and unexpected death: but how is it in fact? “How dieth the wise man? even as the fool” (Eccl. 2:16).
9. All wicked men’s pains and contrivance which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from hell one moment. Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.
But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who heretofore have lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are undoubtedly gone to hell; and it was not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive: it is not because they did not lay out matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive, and when they used to hear about hell, ever to be the subjects of that misery: we doubtless, should hear one and another reply, “No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself: I thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came upon me unexpected; I did not look for it at that time, and in that manner; it came as a thief: Death outwitted me: God’s wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hereafter; and when I was saying, Peace and safety, then suddenly destruction came upon me.”
10. God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment. God certainly has made no promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from eternal death, but what are contained in the covenant of grace, the promises that are given in Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. But surely they have no interest in the promises of the covenant of grace who are not the children of the covenant, who do not believe in any of the promises, and have no interest in the Mediator of the covenant.
So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.
So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire bent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.
The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ. That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.
You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the goodstate of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.
Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God’s enemies. God’s creatures are good, and were made for men to serve God with, and do not willingly subserve to any other purpose, and groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of him who hath subjected it in hope. There are black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor.
The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose. It is true, that judgment against your evil works has not been executed hitherto; the floods of God’s vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the mean time is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath; the waters are constantly rising, and waxing more and more mighty; and there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, that holds the waters back, that are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If God should only withdraw his hand from the flood-gate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury, and would come upon you with omnipotent power; and if your strength were ten thousand times greater than it is, yea, ten thousand times greater than the strength of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it.
The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However unconvinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, Peace and safety: now they see, that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows.
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment….