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Statement of the Grievances of the People of Pittsburgh



Pittsburgh, June 25th, 1774.

The distressed inhabitants of this place have just cause to charge their present calamity and dread of an Indian war entirely to the tyrannical and unprecedented conduct of Doctor Conolly, whose design, as we conceive, is to better his almost desperate circumstances upon the distress of the public, and the ruin of our fortunes, as will appear from the following facts:

1st. On the 25th day of January last, a number of disorderly persons assembled themselves here in consequence of his advertisements, (as militia,) who, when dispersing, wantonly and maliciously fired upon some friendly Indians in their huts on the Indian shore, which conduct, together with so unexpected an appearance of so many people in arms, at a time when they expected no hostile intentions on our part, greatly alarmed them, as appeared by a complaint made by them at a council with Alexander McKee, Esq˙, Indian Agent, and some of the inhabitants of this place, a few days after.

2d. Michael Cresap, in vindication of his own conduct, alleges, that it was in consequence of a circular letter from said Conolly, directed to the inhabitants on the Ohio, that he murdered the Indians, and that in a manner that savage ferocity could scarcely equal, and in cold blood, without the least provocation, amongst whom was some Delawares that had been employed by Mr˙ William Butler to carry goods and hands to the relief of his brother, who was at that time in the Indian country, all which property they have been deprived of to a considerable amount. Also, every part of said Conolly' s conduct to our friendly Indians convinces us that he means to force them to a war, as he both refuses to protect, and endeavours to murder those, that, at the risk of their lives, came with our traders to


protect them, and to deliver assurances of their friendship to the publick, which can be produced if required.

3d. A large body of armed men broke open Mr˙ Mackay' s and Mr˙ Smith' s back yard gates, and rescued the villain Reily, who was sworn constable for Westmorland County at that time, and was confined for abusing said Mackay in his own house; five of those men presented their guns at Mr˙ Mackay and Mr˙ Smith. Also, one of the party struck at Mr˙ Mackay with his gun and broke it in pieces, while another presented his rifle through his parlour window, swearing that he would shoot down Mrs˙ Mackay if she did not immediately set open the doors of her house; upon which she fled, but was immediately assaulted by one Aston (a Captain of said Conolly' s appointment) with a drawn sword, who stabbed her in the arm. Mr˙ Spear was also abused, and scratched, by said Aston, at the same time.

4th. Said Conolly, with an armed force of two hundred men, surrounded the Court House, &c.

5th. He sent Aeneas Mackay, Devereux Smith, and Andrew McFarlane, Magistrates, under an armed guard, to Staunton jail, in Virginia, then proceeded to shoot down our cattle, sheep and hogs, taking, by force of arms, any part of our property he pleases; also, pressing our horses without applying for them, or rendering any satisfaction to the sufferers for so doing.

6th. He sent an armed guard to town to plunder the house of Mr˙ Devereux Smith, but was prevented by Mr˙ William Butler at the risk of his life.

7th. He, Conolly, with his whole force, came to the house of Mr˙ Mackay, broke open his gates, and pulled down a log stable and sheep house, threatening to pull down his dwelling house if he thought proper. He came again, accompanied by one of his officers, to Mr˙ Mackay' s, and abused him in a blasphemous, outrageous manner, threatening to send him in irons to Virginia the next day.

8th. He sent an armed guard to town with a general search warrant to search every house in town without exception, for the effects of a man that died the evening before in their fort, that some of themselves had robbed his corpse off. In the course of their search they broke open a chest in a man' s house that bears a good character here, and took out several articles, and at the same time insulted the owner.

9th. He sent a party who robbed Mr˙ Joseph Spear' s carriers of one horse load of gunpowder, about six miles from town, which was sent by said Spear for the use of the inhabitants of this county, if necessity required. This robbery was committed by a party headed by the aforesaid Aston, who beat and insolently abused the person who had said powder in charge, when he demanded a receipt for the same.

These are but a few of the many distresses we labour under, and without protection and speedy redress cannot long support ourselves under such grievances, persecution and tyranny.