Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 386

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Page 386

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 386 SOUTHWARD HO !
" The work was done with little reservation at the designated
period. But a few days before the massacre, the Indians suc-
ceeded in taking captive the Baron De Graffenreidt and John
Lawson, the surveyor-general of the province, whose book of
travels, a highly-interesting narrative, constitutes one of the best
of our Indian authorities of the South, and should be in every
good American library.
These distinguished persons, totally unsuspicious of danger,
were engaged in an exploring expedition up the Neuse. Their
vessel was a mere dug-out, a cypress canoe of native manufacture :
and they were accompanied only by a negro, who paddled the
canoe, right and left. They landed at evening with the view
of encamping, when they were suddenly surrounded by more than
sixty Indians. They were made prisoners and marched off to
a village some distance up the river´┐Ża march that occupied the
whole night. Here the tribe and their neighbors met in solemn
consultation on the fate of their prisoners. The baron was an
intruder, but Lawson was an invader. As it was after his sur-
veys that they found their lands appropriated, they assumed him
to be the source of the evil of which they complained. Both the
captives underwent a severe preliminary beating, the better to
prepare them for what was to follow. They were then deliber-
ately doomed to the fire torture, carried to the field of sacrifice,
kept there in durance vile, and in the most gloomy apprehensions
for a day and night, when the number of the savages having
greatly increased to behold the spectacle, the preparations were
immediately begun for carrying the terrible judgment into effect.
The orgies and phrensied brutalities of the Indians may be
imagined. The hour for execution came. The parties were
bound to the stake ; but at this moment the baron pleaded his
nobility, appealing to the chiefs for protection, for that he too
was a chief.
Strange to say, the appeal was entertained. They concluded
to spare his life : but no entreaty could save Lawson and the
negro. They were subjected to the fiery ordeal, and perished
by a terrible and lingering death, protracted to their utmost capa-
city to endure, with all the horrid ingenuity of savage art. Then
followed the general massacre, which spread consternation