The Innocence of the Paxton Boys
I am here today to prove to you that Lazarus Stewart and Matthew Smith are not guilty of the murder of Conestoga Indians. While both men agree that they did kill the Conestogas, what they did is justified by the aggressive behavior shown by the Indians.
I will now present evidence to prove this conclusion.
My first piece of evidence is from a speech made by Little Abraham, a Mohawk sachem, to colonial Pennsylvania officials and Indian Leaders:
"You [...] made Plantations there and spoiled their hunting grounds, they [French-allied Delawares] then complained to us [...] and [we] found their complaints to be true. [...] [...] Our advice to you is, that you send for the Senecas [and Delawares], treat them kindly."(Mombert 172-174)
From this quote, one can clearly see the fellowship amongst the Indian Tribes. Not only does Little Abraham advise the Colonials to cease settling, but also he has checked up on our doings. As I go over the next few pieces of evidence, I want you to keep in mind this fellowship.
From the "Narrative of Matthew Smith":
'[...] I cautiously crawled where I could get a view; I saw Indians armed; they were strangers; they outnumbered us by the dozens. [...] The moment we were perceived, an Indian fired at us and rushed forward [...]. [...] For no murder of our defenseless [sic] inhabitants has since happened" (Mombert 187-188)
This is eyewitness testimony stating that Captain Smith seen armed and foreign Indians in a substantial number. Now, why would there be armed Indians in a peaceful Indian village? Obviously, the Indians are not peaceful. This answer is also backed up by what happened right before the village was razed; as soon as the Indians seen a white man perceiving the activity in the Village, the Indians attacked, unprovoked. As for the final sentence in the quote, we can see that with no safe house with which to operate out of, the Indian attacks ceased.
From Lt. Governor Robert Morris's Proclamation of War:
"[...] I do hereby declare the said Delaware Indians and all others who, in conjunction with them, have committed hostilities against his Majesty's subjects within this Province, to be enemies, rebels and traitors [...]; and I do hereby require all his Majesty's subjects of this Province [...] to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, taking, killing and destroying the said Delaware Indians and all others confederated with them [...]." (Mombert 166-168)
I call this piece of evidence to show direct orders for His Majesty's subjects to kill, maim, or otherwise destroy Delaware Indians and those who help them. If these orders were followed during the first attack on the Conestoga's village, there would have never been a second attack. However, the Captains were not sure...