Race, Crime and Punishment in Early Republic Pennsylvania

Extract of a letter from Sunbury, Northumberland
County (Pennsylvania), dated Nov. 13.

“One of the men who murdered the Indians at Pine Creek, was tried on Saturday evening, and though a number of witnesses clearly proved the hand he had in perpetrating the horrid deed, and the confession of his counsel at the bar that confirmed it, yet, notwithstanding an express charge from the judges to bring him in guilty, the jury in a few moments returned with a verdict in his favour, and a subscription to pay the costs of the suit, that he might be immediately set at liberty; and all this from a most absurd idea, which the Attorney General, with all his endeavours, could not beat out of them, that the crime was not the same to kill an Indian as a white man: for some minuets the Chief Justice was mute with astonishment. How the State can pacify the Indians now, Heaven knows, while at this moment the other murderers are at large in this country, and no one will arrest them.”

The Glasgow Advertiser, 10 January 1791

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