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Burgoyne Halts Scalpings

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

September 1. –We are credibly informed that Burgoyne, the chief and director of the King of Great Britain’s band of thieves, robbers, cut-throats, scalpers, and murderers of every denomination, now infesting the northern and western frontiers of several of the American United States, has not only discontinued the reward he had offered and given to the savage Tories, Indians, Britons, Hessians, Brunswickers, Waldeckers, and other profligate scum of the human race, now in his service, for the scalps they brought him, from the murdered and half murdered inhabitants, but has strictly prohibited, for the future, under a severe penalty, the practice of scalping. It must not, however, be supposed, that the chief of the ruffian band was so weak as to be in the least influenced to this prohibition by any motive of compassion or humanity; his inducements were purely political. He had found by experience, that his rewards lessened the number of his emissaries, who not only scalped some of his Tory friends, concealed among the inhabitants, but also scalped one another; and that a scalping party of a lieutenant, and about thirty men, he lately sent out, with a large number of Indians, were by the latter all killed and scalped, none of the party having been since seen or heard of, and the lieutenant’s hair, which was remarkably full, bushy and red, being known. We had intelligence by several persons, that Burgoyne had laid aside his usual practice of scalping, and strictly forbid it for the future, but we did not before know his reason for the prohibition. It is not improbable he might be apprehensive, that some of the dexterous hands about him, might take an opportunity, one time or another, and slip off his own night-cap.1


1 Pennsylvania Journal, September 10.

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