Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Yamasee & "à petit feu"

From Jackson's Way, by John Buchanan, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001, pg. 18:

    On 14 April [1715] Thomas Nairne, William Bray, and Samuel Warner met at the Yamasee town of Pocataligo [South Carolina] to offer the Indians redress of grievances. The traders Bray and Warner were on an official mission. They had brought warnings to Charleston and had been sent to Pocataligo to head off a rising. Nairne had learned of the planned uprising independently and had come from his plantation on Saint Helena Island. They slept that night in Pocataligo. On Good Friday morning they were awakened by war cries and seized by warriors painted red and black. William Bray and Samuel Warner were killed immediately. But for Thomas Nairne the Yamasee reserved a special treatment, as befitted an important man who had won honors in war.
    He was stripped and tied to a stake, probably with the customary thong that allowed him some freedom of movement. Splinters were stuck into his body and lighted. The Indians would have watched him closely. If he showed signs of fear, or begged for mercy, they would have laughed at him, for that was their way. A fire was built. Not a large fire. That would have ended his travail too quickly. For three days he was roasted "à petit feu" (a small fire). On the third day he died.