- War in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Kittanning Raid of 1756 by Brady Crytzer
In this slender but rich narrative, Brady Crytzer provides a critical introduction into the Quaker colony's descent from its idealistic pacifism into frenzied bloodletting in 1755–56. Written from selected printed primary sources, traditional secondary accounts, and some relevant recent scholarship, Crytzer aims to tell a political story as revealed by the frontispiece quote from Carl von Clausewitz's On War: "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Crytzer makes a broad and insightful argument that the Seven Years' War, in every individual theater, represented a political struggle over local issues, and that those local wars influenced the waging of the wider conflict by the empires. The tails wagged the dogs, causing the dogs to sometimes chase their tails.
The Pennsylvania "frontier" was no exception. There the Delawares and their Ohioan neighbors chose the French for allies as both the lesser of two land-hungry evils and as more militarily competent comrades following British General Braddock's inglorious defeat on his way to Fort Duquesne in 1755. Provincial Pennsylvania and its Scots-Irish and German frontiersmen were the Delawares' most present enemy, fraudulently stripping them of their farmland and hunting ground since 1737. Some moved out of the Delaware to the Wyoming Valley, while others like the war leaders Shingas and Tewea (Captain Jacobs) settled on the banks of the Allegheny River beyond the great mountain range. The French chose to contract with them as [End Page 293] a sort of cheap mercenary force to fight the British in North America, saving their troops for other battlefields. The Delawares then used their war against Anglo-Pennsylvania as a declaration of independence from the Iroquois Six Nations, in whom the English had invested Covenant Chain suzerainty over the Delawares and other Pennsylvania tribes. Crytzer spends the first third of the book chronicling the political story of the Delawares, which he culls almost entirely from traditional mid-twentieth-secondary sources (such as Sipe, Wallace, and Weslager) and a solitary note from Jean Soderlund's recent Lenape Country. Jane Merritt's At the Crossroads, Peter Mancall's Valley of Opportunity, Michael McConnell's A Country Between, Gunlog Fur's Nation of Women, and especially Amy Schutt's Peoples of the River Valleys (among other more recent scholarship) are absent, and that's too bad because they could have richly informed this political history.
Specifically, the Delawares role as "Grandfathers"—a metaphorical older and senior people to the land—to other recent refugees to Pennsylvania such as the Shawnee, Nanticokes, Conoys, Mahicans, and Mingos, shows that they were not the "tip of the tail." There were other political realities Delawares had to manage in their midst that often led to divided opinion and divided villages. For instance, Kittanning was not only home to the Delaware war leaders Tewea and Shingas, but also Shingas's brother Tamaqua, "the Beaver," as well as Shawnee and Mingo people. The Shawnee prided themselves specifically on their status as warriors. Tamaqua was older and part of a council that viewed the Delawares not only as grandfathers, but as "Women" also. The Iroquois had slapped that political label upon them in 1742 to emasculate the Delawares from deciding their own future political fate. However, the Delawares had a long history as diplomats, a role they themselves more positively defined by the female gender: that of bringing peace between warring peoples and thus elevating their own position. Age always divided Delaware men politically, and gender too created a division in this matrifocal world. While Shingas and Tewea took young Delaware warriors and a host of Shawnees to attack Scots-Irish frontier communities at Penn's Creek, Great Cove, and Fort Granville, a peace faction of older men and the women stayed behind. When Colonel John Armstrong's frontier Rangers burned and blew up their town in September 1756, they led the move downriver behind the defense offered by Fort Duquesne to Kuskuskies. There Tamaqua...