Digital Paxton: Digital Collection, Critical Edition, and Teaching Platform

Paxton Defense

Between February and March 1764, Paxton leaders and sympathizers crafted a defense of the massacre that appealed to prejudices against Philadelphia Quakers and fears of further frontier violence.
Matthew Smith, Declaration and Remonstrance (Philadelphia, 1764).
In exchange for disbanding at Germantown, Paxton leaders secured the right to broadcast their grievances in Declaration and Remonstrance. Their representative, Matthew Smith, read the essay as early as February 15, just a week after the marchers arrived in Germantown. Though written in haste, Smith’s grievances galvanized sympathizers who distrusted the friendly relations of Quaker and Susquehannock, and suspected that leaders intentionally withheld support from backcountry settlers. The syntactical repetition of “falsely pretended Friends” (the Susquehannock) and “falsely pretended Indian Friends” (Quakers) served to conflate Friendly Indian with Indian Friend.
Anonymous, Apology of the Paxton Volunteers (Philadelphia, 1764).
This unpublished, anonymous manuscript added visceral depictions of frontier warfare to Smith’s account. In place of native carnage (as in Franklin’s Narrative), the volunteers describe the mangled bodies of backcountry settlers. Whereas Declaration advocated for changes in settlement policies, Apology sought the vindication of the Paxtons.
Thomas Barton, The Conduct of the Paxton Men (Philadelphia, 1764).
Conduct marks a turning point in the pamphlet war. While the pro-Paxton pamphlet was originally published anonymously, it has since been attributed to Thomas Barton, an Anglican missionary from Lancaster. Barton synthesizes the apologist strategies of Declaration and Apology and provides a forceful response to Franklin’s Narrative. The pamphlet disparaged the reputation of the native victims, justified the conduct of the Paxton Boys using gratuitous scenes of frontier violence, and assailed the motives and pacifist principles of Quaker Assembly members.

This page has paths:

This page has tags:

This page references: