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News that the War of the Austrian Succession, which was called “King George’s War” in America and had been declared between France and England, reached Le Prévost Duquesnel on the Ile Royale (Cape Breton) on 3 May 1744. He sent Joseph Dupont du Vivier to occupy the British fishing station at Canso which capitulated on May 24. Next Duquesnel asked Du Vivier to retake Port Royal (Annapolis). He left in August with thirty men, added twenty more from Ile St. Jean, and demanded Annapolis Royal surrender, but the British commander Paul Mascarene declined to submit. Michel de Gannes arrived in October and ordered a retreat. By then French privateers led by Monsieur Dolabarats, Hertel de Beaubassin, Pierre de Morpain, and others had captured 28 English prizes.
Fort Louisbourg on the east coast of Ile Royale (Cape Breton) had a morale problem, and in December 1744 some of the Swiss troops mutinied. The English organized a combined force of 8,500 men. Two thousand New Englanders landed on the shore by the strategic fort on 11 May 1745. The French had only 560 soldiers and 800 militiamen, and they were besieged with cannons and bombs. In an assault against the Island Battery on June 6 the New Englanders had 189 men killed, drowned, or captured, but the Chevalier Charles-Joseph d’Ailleboust surrendered the Battery the next day. On June 28 the Louisbourg commander Louis Dupont du Chambon capitulated, and 4,460 soldiers and inhabitants were transported to France without their effects. By the ruse of keeping the French flag flying, the English captured three French ships worth £600,000. In July the New England fleet took over Ile St. Jean (Prince Edward Island).
Governor Beauharnois (1726-46) tried to strengthen Quebec’s defenses. The Senecas assured Chabert de Joncaire that the Iroquois nations would be neutral as long as the French did not attack Oswego. Pierre-Jacques de Tafanel, Marquis de La Jonquiere, had been appointed governor of New France (Canada), and he traveled in a convoy under the command of Jean-Baptiste de La Rochefoucauld, Duc d’Anville, who died of a stroke in September 1744 at Chebucto Bay in Acadia. Vice-admiral d’Estournelles took command, but he stabbed himself with a sword and yielded to the more experienced La Jonquiere. Already about five hundred men had died of scurvy and smallpox, and 1,500 were too weak to work. Because of the epidemic the Indians refused to help them with provisions or by hunting. La Jonquiere combined all the sick on hospital ships and took the other ships to retake Port Royal, but a storm and fog persuaded him to sail for France. In this expedition the French lost two warships, 21 transports, and 587 men without accomplishing anything. La Jonquiere sailed with a convoy of five warships; but in May 1747 they were defeated by a British squadron of seventeen ships led by admirals George Anson and Peter Warren, and La Jonquiere was taken to England.
Meanwhile Beauharnois had sent 680 Canadian militiamen from Quebec in June 1746 under the Sieur de Ramezay; but he gave up the siege of Port Royal when he found out in November that the fleet had gone back to France. Ramezay learned that New England had sent five hundred men under Col. Arthur Noble to Grand Pré in Nova Scotia and attacked there. Noble’s successor Benjamin Goldthwait surrendered in February 1747.
The Iroquois had reaffirmed their neutrality in March 1746, but Rigaud de Vaudreuil with 400 Canadians and 300 western Indians captured Fort Massachusetts in August and ravaged the area. During a council at Albany the next month Governor George Clinton persuaded the Mohawks to fight for New York. In November the Mohawks attacked a few farmers around Lake Champlain. Beauharnois summoned the Algonquins and Choctaws from the Great Lakes to a conference at Montreal in March 1747, and they declared war on the Mohawks. Canadians led by the Chevalier de Niverville attacked Haverhill, Massachusetts in March, and 780 militiamen from Montreal and Three Rivers and Indian allies led by Rigaud de Vaudreuil invaded English territory near Fort St. Frédéric in June. Saint-Luc attacked Saratoga a second time in July. During a war which was mostly fought in Europe the Canadians were not receiving enough supplies from France to improve their alliances with Indians. By the Mississippi River the Chevalier Bertet abandoned Fort Chartres and fell back to Kaskaskia.
The Sulpician Abbé François Picquet founded La Présentation mission at Oswegatchie by the St. Lawrence River in 1748, and his converts increased from six Indians in 1749 to 396 two years later in a community of nearly 3,000. They were mostly Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas because the Mohawks had been won over by William Johnson. When the Onondaga chief Canasatego, who favored Pennsylvania, died in circumstances that Conrad Weiser considered suspicious, the Catholic convert Tohaswuchdioony, known as “The Belt of Wampum,” became the leading Iroquois chief. While the French were offering a spiritual life at La Présentation and to Mohawks at Caughnawaga, the British appealed to commercial interests with their low prices at Albany and Oswego.
French commandants, wanting to make a large profit, allowed the fur traders to charge the Indians high prices, and their relations deteriorated. When Roland-Michel Barrin, the Marquis de La Galissoniere, arrived as governor-general of Canada in September 1747, he was intent on working for the public welfare and tried to limit the commerce to the trading posts at Temiskaming, Nipigon, Kaministiquia, Chagouamigon, and to the western region around Lake Winnipeg. Other trade was to be strictly limited to those with permits. He instructed Chaussegros de Léry to open a road from Montreal on the Richelieu River and build a fort at St. Jean. In the spring of 1748 the Minister of Marine, Jean-Frédéric-Phélypeaux, Comte de Maurepas, ordered the Governor of Canada to stop offensive operations. In the treaty signed at Aix-la-Chapelle on October 18 the French traded Madras, which they had captured in India, for Louisbourg. The basic situation before the war was restored as Canada’s frontiers in Acadia and Ohio were left to be decided by a commission which was appointed in 1750 and included Governor Shirley and La Galissoniere but failed to resolve the issues.
In 1749 the Minister of Marine Maurepas was replaced by Antoine-Louis Rouillé, Comte de Jouy, and he transferred the Ohio territory east of Illinois from the jurisdiction of New Orleans to Quebec. When Rouillé put Detroit under Canadian control, the Wyandot chief Memeskia, whom the English referred to as Old Briton and the French called La Demoiselle, moved to the new village Pickawillany on the Great Miami River to be closer to his British allies. La Galissoniere sent Detroit’s commander Pierre-Joseph de Céloron de Blainville on an expedition into the Ohio region with twenty French soldiers and 180 Canadians. In several places he buried lead plates to claim territory. After reaching French Creek he informed some English traders with fifty horses packed with pelts that they were trespassing. Céloron found that the Delawares, Shawnees, and Mingos along with the Miamis had become more friendly to the English. At Logstown on August 2 the Iroquois granted George Croghan 200,000 acres by the forks of the Ohio. The Comte de Raymond commanded at Fort des Miamis and reported there were three hundred Anglo-Americans in the area.
Governor-general La Jonquiere and the Intendant François Bigot arrived in August 1749, and they were both interested in their private profit. La Jonquiere reserved the two most profitable trading posts for himself, increasing competition for his favor. Their bad examples inclined Canadians to cheat the government too. Bigot granted the secretary Grasset de Saint-Sauveur the exclusive right to sell brandy to Indians. Bigot made deals with his friends Hughes Péan, Joseph Cadet, and Brassard Deschenaux, buying articles and selling them for twice as much or selling the same merchandise several times at a higher price each time. La Jonquiere ordered the defenses strengthened at Michilimackinac and had new posts built at Sault Ste. Marie, at the end of the Niagara portage, and at Fort Rouillé (Toronto) by the mouth of the Humber River. He tried to keep furs from being sold to the English at Fort Chouaguen (Oswego) and Albany. The Jesuit Tournois had been helping the Desauniers sisters sell to the English for years, but in May 1750 La Jonquiere ordered them to leave the mission village. They appealed, but the order was upheld by Rouillé in 1752. Louisiana’s Governor Vaudreuil increased the Illinois garrison from two companies to six and ordered the militia to prepare for war.
The Ile Royale was formally returned to the French on 23 July 1749, and Charles des Herbiers was appointed governor. Acadians were encouraged to move there and to the Ile St. Jean. The English founded Halifax in Nova Scotia (Acadia). Canadian Governor La Galissoniere had sent Charles Deschamps, Sieur de Boishébert, to stop the British from extending their authority from Nova Scotia to the St. John valley, and Le Loutre’s Micmacs burned buildings at Beaubassin. When the English interfered with the transfer of provisions, La Jonquiere sent a royal vessel as an escort. In four years the population of the Ile St. Jean more than tripled to 2,223 with more than twice that many farm animals. The Ile Royale developed a fishing industry worth more than two million livres. Their large fleets took cod from the Grand Banks off New Foundland, and the French sold three times as much fish as the English.
Edward Cornwallis became governor at Halifax, Nova Scotia in the spring of 1749, and soon fourteen ships with 2,576 settlers arrived. They were promised food for one year and exemption from land taxes for ten years. Cornwallis complained to Des Herbiers that the Abbé Le Loutre was urging the Indians to attack English settlements. Cornwallis sent former privateer John Rous with three British ships that forced Boishébert to withdraw up the St. John River. In June 1749 Cornwallis led an expedition to start a town at Chebucto harbor, and he offered free rent for ten years to Acadians who converted to the Protestant religion. He ordered Fort Edward constructed at Pisiquid to control the Chignecto Isthmus. In September the Abbé Le Loutre instigated the Micmacs to attack Canso, and that fall La Jonquiere sent Luc de La Corne to Chignecto with a small detachment.
In April 1750 Major Charles Lawrence led a force of four hundred men against Beaubassin at Chignecto Bay, and La Corne withdrew his forces to the north shore of the Missaguash River. When Le Loutre’s Indians burned a village and a church, Lawrence retreated; but he came back with about 700 men in September and began erecting Fort Lawrence at Beaubassin. The Acadians reacted by burning six villages and moving to French territory. The next month Captain Howe was treacherously murdered during a parley with the Micmac Etienne Batard. In 1751 the French were constructing Fort Beauséjour while troops led by Luc de La Corne camped within a mile of the British who were building Fort Lawrence.
Minister Rouillé instructed Vaudreuil to increase his permanent garrisons of troops in Louisiana to a total of 2,000 men. He sent 300 of them to Barthélemy Macarty-Mactigue who started building a new fort at Chartres near Kaskaskia in 1753. La Jonquiere sent Céloron to raise Indians to attack Memeskia’s Miamis; but they refused to join so few French, and the Governor-general merely offered a bounty for the chief’s scalp. La Jonquiere died of illness on 17 March 1752. Legardeur de Saint-Pierre continued the quest west in 1750 up the Saskatchewan River into the Rockies, building Fort La Jonquiere in 1751 in what is now Alberta. In 1752 he realized that the English from Hudson Bay had persuaded the western tribes to oppose the French venture.
Montreal’s Governor Charles Le Moyne, Baron de Longueil, administered the Canadian government until the Marquis Duquesne de Menneville arrived at Quebec on 30 July 1752. Minister Rouillé had ordered Duquesne “to drive the English from our land … and to prevent their coming there to trade.” In June about 240 Saulteurs and Ottawas led by Charles-Michel Langlade had attacked Pickawillany and killed Memeskia (La Demoiselle). Eight English traders were captured with their furs, and they were imprisoned before returning to Pennsylvania. Duquesne organized a special militia with scarlet uniforms for the middle class under elite officers. In the 1750s Joseph Marin was the commandant at La Baye, and he came into conflict with La Vérendrye at Chagouamigon for control over the headwaters of the Mississippi. After some Illinois killed a French blacksmith and three Sakis in 1753, Marin used diplomacy and brandy to persuade the Sakis, Outagamies, and Sioux not to engage in reprisals.
Cornwallis went back to England in 1752 and was succeeded by Col. Peregrine Hopson who did not try to make Acadians take an oath of allegiance. Halifax paid £10 for an Indian scalp. When Indians brought eighteen scalps to Fort Beauséjour in the summer of 1753, Le Loutre paid 100 livres for each scalp. Hopson became ill and left in October, and Lt. Col. Charles Lawrence was appointed lieutenant governor. Also in 1753 Lunenberg was founded with 1,500 Protestant immigrants from Germany and Switzerland. In 1754 Boishébert returned and built a fort at the mouth of the St. John River.
Hearing reports that English soldiers were assembling at Chouaguen, Governor Duquesne sent Villiers with 270 soldiers and Indians to Niagara. Captain Louis Billouart de Kerlérec succeeded the Marquis de Vaudreuil as governor of Louisiana in January 1753. Kerlérec met with the Choctaws at Mobile in June and later with the Arkansas who protected French ships on the Mississippi River.
Governor-general Duquesne sent Captain Pierre-Paul de la Malgue, Sieur de Marin, with 300 French marines, 1,700 Canadian militiamen, and 200 Indians to construct forts in the Ohio valley. In May 1753 Boishébert commanded the building at Presque Isle where Tanacharison (Half King) led a delegation of Mingo warriors to claim Ohio territory. Captain Paul Marin told him in no uncertain terms that the French owned that territory, and Marin gladly welcomed Shawnees who denied the Mingo claim. Tanacharison’s warning could be considered the first of three before the Iroquois declare war. Captain Marin sent other men to erect forts at Le Boeuf and Venango (Fort Machault). Supply lines were difficult, and Marin worked his men hard and died of illness himself in the fall along with four hundred others. Three hundred men were left in a garrison under Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, and the rest of the emaciated men returned to Quebec before winter. The expedition cost four million livres because of Intendant Bigot’s graft. Rouillé was so alarmed that he recalled Bigot to France in 1754.
Meanwhile Virginia had sent William Trent to meet with Indians at Logstown in August 1753, and he distributed arms and ammunition. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia received the authority from London in October to construct forts in the Ohio and to attack French invaders. He quickly sent young Major George Washington, who found Indian allies at Logstown. Philippe de Joncaire at Venango persuaded all but Half King and three other Mingos to leave Washington’s group. Washington reached Fort Le Boeuf on December 11 and delivered his letter from Dinwiddie to Legardeur de Saint-Pierre. After a few days the Presque Isle commander Louis de Repentigny gave Washington a letter which he took back to Dinwiddie.
In February 1754 Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie promised volunteers land east of the Ohio, and the next month he put Col. Joshua Fry and Lt. Col. Washington in command of an expedition to finish the fort at the forks of the Ohio, the Allegheny, and the Monongahela Rivers. Washington had trouble impressing wagons at Winchester. Captain Trent had taken twenty men from Red Stone Creek to the forks in February and started building. When the Delawares refused to trade food, Trent left to get more supplies. In April the French sent 1,000 soldiers in 300 canoes and 60 battoes under Claude-Pierre Pécaudy, Seigneur de Contrecoeur. He persuaded the 40 Virginians to “retreat peaceably.” The French bought their tools and began building Fort Duquesne.
In the spring of 1754 the Virginia Assembly created a committee to direct the spending of £10,000 they appropriated, and Dinwiddie complained that they were “in a republican way of thinking.”1 He sent Washington to Wills Creek with 159 men, but Col. Fry did not send the promised pack horses. Learning that Washington was leading a few hundred Virginians to Ohio, Contrecoeur sent a small contingent under Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville, to warn him he was in French territory. Jumonville’s group was not a fighting unit and did not even post guards. Christopher Gist reported about fifty French near Redstone Creek, and at dawn on May 28 Washington attacked them with forty men and Half King’s Mingos. According to Drouillon, Jumonville and his interpreter were reading a summons for a parley when the violence began. Half King was reported to have killed Jumonville with a tomahawk. The Virginians and the Indians with them killed nine other men, wounded one, and took twenty prisoners while only one Englishman was killed; but Monceau escaped to inform those at Fort Duquesne. This incident broke the peace between France and England.
Washington called for reinforcements and had Fort Necessity quickly erected at Great Meadows. About a hundred Indian refugees joined them, and they ran out of flour. On June 9 they were reinforced by about two hundred Virginians, and three days later Captain James McKay arrived with an independent South Carolina company. However, all the Indians, even Half King, left Washington’s impromptu fort. A quarter of their 400 men were unfit to fight. Contrecoeur sent Jumonville’s brother Louis Coulon de Villiers with 600 French and Canadians along with a hundred Indians. They attacked Fort Necessity on July 3, and the English had thirty killed and seventy wounded in the musket battles. Their ammunition was ruined by rain, and their supplies were almost gone.
Washington was offered honorable terms that allowed the Virginians and Carolinians to withdraw; but the capitulation he signed was negotiated by the Dutch Van Braam who did not know French well, and it admitted they had assassinated Jumonville. Van Braam became one of the two hostages along with Captain Robert Stobo, who managed to smuggle out valuable intelligence from Fort Duquesne. The rest were allowed to march back to Wills Creek, and the English agreed not to cross the mountains for a year. The French also captured Washington’s diary and papers. Villiers burned the buildings at Gist’s settlement and Redstone Creek before returning to Fort Duquesne.
In November the British Parliament authorized a million pounds for the army and navy with £50,000 to move two regiments from Ireland to Virginia in January. In February 1755 French Marine Minister Jean-Baptiste de Machault d’Arnouville informed Governor Duquesne that Louis XV was planning to send four battalions to Canada and two to Louisbourg. Pierre de Vaudreuil de Cavagnal was appointed governor-general of Canada in January and arrived at Quebec in June. He was the son of a governor-general but was the first to have been born in Canada. François Bigot made friends with Machault who sent him back to Quebec as intendant. The private fortunes of Vaudreuil and his secretary Saint-Sauveur began to increase.
In the spring of 1755 Admiral Edward Boscawen commanded a large fleet from England that intercepted part of the French convoy carrying 3,150 men and seized the ships Alcide and Lys with 330 soldiers. Nine companies arrived at Quebec in June. In 1755 Admirals Boscawen and Edward Hawke captured about 300 French merchant vessels and 6,000 men.
The English learned that Fort Duquesne had a garrison of only 45 men. Braddock’s aide-de-camp Washington suggested sending 1,200 men ahead to attack Fort Duquesne before it could be reinforced; but he was ill and stayed behind. Shawnees and Delawares had often been told that the English would remain east of the mountains, and Contrecoeur sent them to harass the English army on the road. On July 9 he sent Liénard de Beaujeu with 72 French marines, 146 Canadians, and 637 Indians to attack Braddock’s force. Lacking Indian help, the English had not scouted their flanks well and were ambushed a few miles from the fort. The British troops met the charge and killed Beaujeu. Jean-Daniel Dumas took command and ordered his troops to hold the narrow road while the Indians from behind trees shot down the British soldiers. Braddock refused to let his men disperse and take cover. He had three of his horses shot and two disabled before he was mortally wounded. Washington arrived for the battle and had two of his horses shot and three bullets pass through his coat and one through his hat. In this defeat 63 of 86 officers were killed or wounded, as were 914 of the 1,373 English soldiers with about 600 killed. French losses were only three officers, three Canadians, two Marines, and fifteen Indians. As the English fled, they left behind wagons, packhorses, cattle, equipment, Braddock’s papers, and £25,000 sterling in a chest.
During the retreat four days later the dying Braddock gave his command to Col. Thomas Dunbar and ordered him to destroy their provisions so that wagons could be used for wounded men, who had been able to walk or had been carried by others for two days. Dunbar continued the retreat and abandoned the heavy artillery to the numerically weaker French. He asked for winter quarters at Philadelphia with about 1,600 men, but on August 6 Major General William Shirley ordered them to move on to Albany. Most of the Indians in the Ohio territory joined the French for their own safety. Scarouady and the Delawares Shingas and Captain Jacobs went to Philadelphia, but Governor Morris told them to wait for instructions from the Iroquois council at Onondaga. In the fall Shingas and Jacobs led raids for the French in the back-country. Braddock’s papers were published by the Mercure de France and showed the British “design to take possession of Canada,” an intention the English diplomats had been denying in Paris.
Governor Shirley of Massachusetts and Lt. Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia had commissioned Major John Winslow to raise 2,000 volunteers to fight the French Acadians in Nova Scotia. Brigadier General Robert Monckton led the expedition, and 37 ships approached Fort Beauséjour in early June 1755. Commander Du Chambon de Vergor had only 150 soldiers and 240 Acadians. When word got out that Louisbourg could not send any reinforcements, a delegation of Acadians insisted the French capitulate. After two days of siege they surrendered on June 16, though Le Loutre escaped to Quebec. Villeray gave up Fort Gaspereau on the same terms, and the French turned over Fort St. John to Captain Rous a few days later. The French commandant had declared that the Acadians in the fort had been forced to serve. The Acadian settlers were ordered to turn in all their fire-arms even though many protested that they needed them for hunting. Lawrence demanded that the Acadians swear absolute allegiance to England or be deported. Acadian delegations met at a council, and on 28 July 1755 they refused. They were detained at St. George’s island for deportation to the English colonies, and none of those who had refused were allowed to take the oath and stay. On the same day the chief justice of Nova Scotia, Jonathan Belcher, handed down his decision that the Acadians who refused to take the oath were “rebels” and could be removed.
In what the Acadians called the “Grand Dérangement” 6,941 people were deported to English colonies in 46 ships, one of which was taken over by 25 exiles and sailed to Fort St. John. Some Acadians hid in the woods or fled, and 86 captives escaped from Fort Lawrence by digging a trench under the wall. At Grand Pré alone the English took 5,000 cattle and burned 255 houses and 431 barns. The contractors Apthorpe, Hancock, Baker, and Saul were friends of Shirley. They provided the transports and seized the cattle without paying compensation. Only Connecticut and Massachusetts were given notice that the Acadians were coming. Two thousand were resettled in Massachusetts. Connecticut distributed their quota of Acadians to towns while trying to keep families together; they were managed by selectmen who were in charge of helping those in need.
Some Acadians moved west and settled in Louisiana, where they were welcomed along the Mississippi coast north of the Germans and became known as Cajuns. Most of the English colonies accepted the Acadians, but Virginia and South Carolina shipped them to England, where they were imprisoned until the 1763 Treaty of Paris repatriated them to France. Many were treated as indentured servants, and some refused to work because they considered themselves prisoners of war. In Georgia the Acadians seemed to disappear, either dying of smallpox or fleeing to Louisiana or the West Indies. Boishébert managed to save some refugees from Beaubassin, Beauséjour, Memramcook, and Shepody, and about two thousand Acadians made it to Canada. In 1847 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Evangeline about the Acadian deportation.
After Braddock’s defeat in July 1755, Governor Shirley became commander-in-chief. He tried to take control of the Iroquois from William Johnson; but the Iroquois would have nothing to do with Shirley’s campaign because they said his agent Lydius was a “snake.” Shirley made the influential De Lancey family his enemy by trying to stop their smuggling between Albany and Montreal, and they withheld New York’s support. Governor Vaudreuil of Canada sent the newly arrived French troops with Canadian militia under Major General Jean Armand Dieskau to Lake Ontario. William Johnson led 400 Indians and 3,500 colonial recruits to the southern end of Lac St. Sacrement, which he renamed Lake George. There they built Fort George and Fort Edward on the upper Hudson.
Baron Dieskau with 200 French regulars, 600 Canadian militiamen, and 700 Abenakis and Caughnawaga Mohawks planned to attack Fort Edward, but the Indians refused to go against an English fort. Johnson sent Col. Ephraim Williams with 1,000 men to stop the French advance. Dieskau planned to trap them as Braddock had been, but the mission Iroquois from Caughnawaga saw Mohawks with the English and warned them by firing their muskets. In the battle on 8 September 1755 Chief Hendrick and Williams were killed right away, and the others retreated; but as the French pursued, Johnson with 1,700 men and cannons decimated the French forces. Dieskau was wounded three times and captured. The British had 262 casualties and the French 230.
Johnson’s victory made him a hero, and Parliament rewarded him with £5,000. He resigned his commission in November, but in February 1756 the Crown commissioned Johnson a colonel of the Iroquois and confirmed them as British subjects. In June he formed an alliance with a ceremony at Onondaga. The Six Nations had about two thousand warriors, more than half of them Senecas, but Johnson’s influence was mostly with the Mohawks. Vaudreuil sent the engineer Michel Chartier de Lotbiniere to examine the weak Fort St. Frédéric, and he recommended building a new fort at Carillon. Shirley remained at Chouaguen, but poor provisions and discipline led to desertions, court-martial cases, and executions. Vaudreuil met with the Senecas and other Iroquois delegates in October, and they assured him they would remain neutral and not break the peace treaty of 1701.
In March 1756 Louis Joseph, the Marquis de Montcalm, was appointed commander of New France’s forces. The same month John Campbell, the Earl of Loudoun, was appointed commander-in-chief of all British forces in America. During the winter and spring of 1756 Governor Vaudreuil sent out western Indians to raid English settlements, and four armed ships operated on Lake Ontario. In March the Canadian Chaussegros de Léry used 360 men to destroy Fort Bull near Oswego, and almost the entire garrison was massacred. To get volunteers Shirley had to promise provincials that they would serve under their own officers and would not be subjected to the severe discipline of the British army.
England declared war against France on May 17, and a month later France’s declaration of war referred to “Great Britain’s violations of international law.” The British had seized 800 French merchant ships before the war had been declared. The English colonies had at least a million people on the mainland in America while New France had no more than 75,000. Prussia and Austria changed allies in the Seven Years’ War. France was fighting the Germans in Europe while England was safer behind the channel and had a powerful navy. Samuel Johnson compared the war in America to “the quarrel of two robbers for the spoils of a passenger” in which “each is endeavoring the destruction of the other with the help of the Indians, whose interest is that both should be destroyed.”2
Louis-Joseph de Montcalm arrived at Quebec in May 1756, and Loudoun reached New York on July 23. Shirley was recalled to London and was replaced as governor of Massachusetts by his critic Thomas Pownall. François de Villiers burned Fort Granville only six miles from Philadelphia in August. Col. James Mercer commanded 1,134 men at Fort Ontario and Fort George. They were blockaded by Léry and Louis Coulon de Villiers and suffered hunger. Captain John Bradstreet with a thousand men and 350 boats transferred massive supplies from Albany to Oswego in May, and while returning in July they fought off an attack by 700 Canadians and Indians.
Montcalm marched on the three forts at Chouaguen (Oswego) in August with 1,550 regulars, 1,500 Canadian militiamen, and 250 Indians. General Daniel Webb had been sent to reinforce Oswego, but after hearing the news of Montcalm he had newly built Fort Bull burned and retreated to German Flats. Mercer abandoned Fort Ontario and tried to defend Fort George and Fort Oswego. He had his head blown off, and an hour later Col. John Littlehales capitulated. Montcalm had only thirty casualties while his forces killed about 100 men and took 1,640 prisoners including men from the regiments of Pepperell and Shirley. They also captured 137 cannons and much gunpowder and food. Montcalm had promised the Indians plunder, and after finding the rum they began by taking scalps in the hospital. They killed between 30 and 100 soldiers and civilians before Montcalm could control them.
Parliament granted New England £115,000. In January 1757 Captain Robert Rogers went to scout Fort Carillon and lost about two dozen of his rangers. Rous reported that the French had only ten ships and about 3,000 men guarding the fortress at Louisbourg; but a letter they found on a captured prize indicated that Louisbourg had a garrison of 8,000 troops with 22 warships. Holburne persuaded Loudoun to cancel the operation. Loudoun left three regiments in Halifax, sent three to the Chignecto Isthmus, and went back to New York. New England troops were sent from Albany to reinforce Fort Edward.
Governor Vaudreuil had assigned his brother François-Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil with about 1,400 men to go down the Richelieu River in March 1757 and attack Fort William Henry, but Major William Eyre refused to surrender. Rigaud managed only to destroy some boats and a sawmill. However, Montcalm’s army of 6,000 French regulars were joined by 979 western Indians and 820 Catholic Indians at Fort Carillon in July.
Montcalm marched to Fort William Henry in August and demanded surrender. General Webb nearly doubled Col. George Monro’s garrison by sending 1,000 men, and Monro held out for better terms. His 2,331 men were allowed to return to Fort Edward, and they agreed not to fight France for the next eighteen months. During the march to Fort Edward some Abenakis and other Indians killed at least a dozen English prisoners and captured about 600. The Europeans were forced to give the Indians rum which inflamed their passions. African servants and Indian allies of the English were not protected at all and were massacred as the French watched. Estimates of the total number of people killed ranged from 20 to 1,300 but was probably about 185. Some of the French were wounded before Montcalm ransomed about 400 prisoners. He stated this atrocity would be an infraction in Europe, but he did not consider it so in America. The Indians took about 200 prisoners to Montreal, where Vaudreuil traded two barrels of brandy for each prisoner. Some Indians had scalped smallpox victims and carried the infection back to their homes, probably resulting in hundreds of deaths. After this disaster the western Indians no longer fought for the French, and participation by most of the Christian converts declined also.
Soon after William Pitt gained leadership of the British government in December 1757, he ordered 2,000 more troops sent to Halifax. His intention to invade Quebec made it a war for empire. All together England sent 23,000 soldiers to America compared to France’s 6,800, and with so many provincials the Anglo-American force was nearly 50,000 men. By the fall of 1757 the British Navy had established strong blockades at Gibraltar, along the French coast, and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, reducing the supplies and soldiers reaching Canada which had less than 25,000 fighting men.
Vaudreuil let Intendant Bigot sell the booty from Fort William Henry to his friend Cadet for one-tenth the usual prices. Bigot’s clique bought wheat for five or seven livres per peck but sold it for 26 livres. When the starving people of Montreal complained, Vaudreuil threatened to imprison them. Bigot had 1,500 horses slaughtered to feed the poor. Food prices were so high that some people ate grass. The famine ended in May 1758 when eight ships from France brought seven hundred barrels of flour. The Sulpician curé in Montreal denounced the immorality of Bigot’s grande société and the balls and picnics. At a court martial in November 1757 the hostage Van Braam was acquitted, but Captain Stobo was convicted of spying at Fort Duquesne. His death sentence was commuted, and he escaped from Quebec in April 1759. His knowledge of Quebec was used to help Wolfe’s invasion.
British Prime Minister William Pitt implemented an aggressive foreign policy. He recalled Jeffery Amherst from Germany and made him commander-in-chief to attack Louisbourg, and he sent John Forbes to capture Fort Duquesne. Augustin de Drucourt commanded Louisbourg with a garrison of 3,500 men. Admiral Boscawen convoyed Amherst with 38 warships and a hundred transports carrying 12,000 soldiers. Drucourt gained thirteen more vessels with three thousand sailors, but Amherst added another 12,000 soldiers. The English landed at Louisbourg on 8 June 1758 and began the siege eleven days later. The French surrendered both the Ile Royale and Ile St. Jean on July 26. Amherst set a new pattern by refusing to grant the honors of war. The English sent 5,637 French prisoners to England and 4,000 inhabitants of Louisbourg to France. The siege had cost 170 English deaths and 102 French. The English took over the fort, but Pitt had it demolished in 1760. Amherst sent troops to Ile St. Jean (Prince Edward Island), and 3,500 people were captured and sent to France. Over the objection of Governor Lawrence, the first British assembly in Canada met at Halifax 20 October 1758. Immigrants came from Ireland and the English colonies, tripling the population of Nova Scotia to 12,998 by 1763.
Major General James Abercromby led 6,367 British regulars and 9,024 militiamen on 1,500 barges and boats up the Hudson River that were carried across land to Lake George so that they could attack Fort Carillon which was well defended by Field Marshall Montcalm with 3,260 French regulars and 400 others. In July a poorly planned frontal assault resulted in the English suffering 551 killed and 1,356 wounded while the French had only 527 casualties. Even though he still had four times as many men, Abercromby retreated to Fort William Henry. Lt. Col. John Bradstreet persuaded the general to send 5,600 troops under Brigadier John Stanwix to attack the French around Lake Ontario. Bradstreet led about 3,100 of these against Fort Frontenac in August. Its commandant, the Sieur de Noyan, had only 110 men. Bradstreet allowed them to go to Montreal, and he destroyed the fort and the French Navy on Lake Ontario; but Abercromby would not let Bradstreet advance farther.
On 14 September 1758 Major James Grant attacked Fort Duquesne with 838 men to stop the Indian raids; but François Le Marchand de Lignery met them with a thousand soldiers and Indians, and Grant had a third of his men killed, wounded, or captured. Grant himself was taken as a prisoner to Canada. The French and the Indians quarreled over the spoils, and most of the natives returned to their villages.
Brigadier Forbes sent a thousand men under John Mercer and George Washington in November against Lt. Corbiere who had only thirty Canadians and 140 Indians, but in the dark Mercer’s men and Washington’s soldiers shot at each other resulting in 38 casualties. Forbes was not good at dealing with the Indians, and gradually most of the 700 Cherokees left the expedition. Croghan had promised fifty warriors, but he arrived in November with less than fifteen. Forbes welcomed those who came with the Delaware chief Pisquetomen and Christian Frederick Post. Lignery had lost the rest of his Indians to a peace council at Kuskuski, and he decided to evacuate and destroy Fort Duquesne. Forbes arrived on November 25 to find its smoking ruins. The English built Fort Pitt where the three rivers meet, and Forbes left a garrison of 250 men. Maryland troops were deserting Fort Cumberland, and the Maryland Assembly was not sending provisions. Israel Pemberton sent four wagons with £1,400 worth of trade goods to Forbes, who was ill and went back to Philadelphia. Brigadier General John Stanwix was put in charge of Fort Pitt. Pemberton persuaded Stanwix to remove Croghan’s control over trade, and the Quaker Pemberton sent him £3,000 more in goods.
In February 1759 William Johnson proposed an expedition against Fort Niagara. In April he met with the Senecas, and the Oneida sachem Conochquiesie told his mentor Johnson that they were ready to fight the French. When Brigadier General John Prideaux arrived with 2,500 British regulars at Fort Oswego on June 27, he found Johnson and a thousand Iroquois warriors already there. Prideaux left a thousand of his men at Oswego and went with the rest and Johnson’s Iroquois to attack Fort Niagara. Captain Pierre Pouchot had sent 2,500 men to reinforce Lignery at Fort Machault and had a garrison of only 486 men, but he tried to resist the siege of Prideaux who was killed accidentally by a British mortar and was replaced by Johnson. Lignery sent 850 French and 350 Indians to relieve Fort Niagara, but they were met on the way by Lt. Col. Eyre Massey and Captain James De Lancey. Their forces included an equal number of Iroquois allies who persuaded the Iroquois with the French to withdraw from the battle. Then the English with their Iroquois allies killed at least 200 French and took 100 prisoners. Johnson met with the Niagara Seneca chief Kaendaé and agreed to let the Senecas leave the fort before he began the bombardment on July 14. Pouchot surrendered Fort Niagara on July 26, and the garrison was sent to be imprisoned at New York. After this loss the French abandoned their forts at Presque Isle, Le Boeuf, and Machault, but Governor Vaudreuil ordered Fort Lévis built near the rapids of the St. Lawrence.
General Amherst marched 12,000 men from Fort Edward to attack Fort Carillon again. Governor Vaudreuil had ordered Bourlamaque to withdraw the garrison of 2,300 to Fort St. Frédéric where on July 31 Bourlamaque destroyed that fort before going to Ile-aux-Noix. Amherst restored Carillon and renamed it Fort Ticonderoga. He tried to stem desertions with flogging and hangings.
War greatly increased Canada’s expenses which went up steadily from 6 million livres in 1755 to 30 million in 1759. At the same time the cost of necessities increased eightfold. So many people hoarded gold and silver coins that Intendant Bigot threatened prison and a fine of 1,000 crowns for refusing to accept paper money. The war in Europe and the British blockade made it difficult for Louis XV to send supplies and troops to Canada because many believed that it was a lost cause. In May 1759 two frigates and fifteen transports made it through the blockade and brought 400 recruits, munitions, and 6,000 tons of food to Quebec. Louis XV sent word that Montcalm was to have supreme command, and he had between 12,000 and 15,000 men. By 1759 the debt of Massachusetts had gone over £350,000. Yet New England, New York, and New Jersey raised nearly 17,000 provincials for the invasion of Canada.
On 27 May 1759 the English landed 8,000 men at St. Laurent while Vice Admiral Charles Saunders commanded 49 ships with 13,750 sailors. Young Major General James Wolfe commanded the 11,333 English regulars that arrived on 193 troopships. He warned the rural districts not to take up arms, or he would destroy their houses. Eight Canadian fire-ships had little effect on May 29, but Cadet’s company had gained a profit of 80,000 livres for each ship. Wolfe landed 8,500 Anglo-American troops on the Ile d’Orleans by Quebec in late June while 3,000 men landed at Beaumont. In September he ordered all the houses between Montmorency and Cap Tourmente burned, and at least 1,400 farms were destroyed. The English began bombarding Quebec on July 12, and on July 31 Wolfe sent 2,500 grenadiers against the entrenchments by Montmorency River, but they had 210 men killed and retreated. Wolfe and a third of his men suffered from fevers.
On September 13 Wolfe led a daring expedition that climbed up a narrow path at night to the Plains of Abraham. There his army of 5,000 met Montcalm’s 4,500 regulars in a traditional battle. The French lines broke and ran, resulting in 1,200 casualties to 660 English. Wolfe was killed by snipers, and Montcalm was wounded and died that night. Governor Vaudreuil instructed Claude Roch de Ramezay to surrender Quebec. On September 18 Vice Admiral Saunders and Brigadier General George Townshend signed the capitulation that granted the honors of war to the garrison and promised property rights and religious freedom to the habitants. Major General James Murray became governor of Quebec and demanded an oath of allegiance. Abenakis in October killed two of Amherst’s officers who were misusing a flag of truce to try to get a message to General Wolfe, and he sent Major Robert Rogers to destroy the Indian settlements at St. François.
Vaudreuil fled to Montreal and granted amnesty to those who took the oath or had helped the occupiers. All available militia were drafted to defend Montreal on pain of death, and François Gaston de Lévis had command of 7,000 men. On 28 April 1760 in a battle near St. Foy 3,928 French and Canadians defeated 3,866 English soldiers, killing 259 English and wounding 829 while 193 French died, and 640 were wounded. General Murray on May 26 announced that he was pardoning militiamen who laid down their arms, but those resisting had their homes burned. Murray had 2,200 men, and Lévis gave Bourlamaque 1,500 troops to guard the St. Lawrence River below the Richelieu rapids. Bourlamaque tried to keep his army together by burning the houses of deserters.
By June 1760 the English colonies had again raised nearly 14,500 men for the British effort. General Amherst was approaching Montreal from Oswego with an army of 11,000. Johnson had gained 700 Iroquois warriors by giving them £17,000 in gifts and money. Although Amherst resented this expense and discounted their value, they prevented Indians from joining the French and were excellent guides through the rapids. Captain Pouchot, who had been exchanged, delayed Amherst’s army for a week with a garrison of 300 men at Fort Lévis before capitulating. As Murray moved south toward Montreal he accepted the submission of many habitants. Two regiments from Louisbourg joined him in August. Louis-Antoine de Bougainville withdrew the garrison from Ile-aux-Noix on the night of August 27.
Montreal faced a besieging force of 18,000 English with only 2,100 soldiers who could fight and with as many who were sick or wounded. The Indians were gone, and the Canadian militiamen had returned to their homes. With little resistance Murray landed troops in the parish of Varenne by September 1. Amherst demanded that the French lay down their arms, and Governor Vaudreuil signed the capitulation on 8 September 1760. English ships transported the French troops back to France. The Canadian officers were sent to France too, but more than half returned later.
On September 22 Amherst proclaimed that French laws would be maintained along with free commerce; he repeated that all arms had to be surrendered to the occupying authorities. General Thomas Gage was appointed Governor of Montreal and Lt. Col. Ralph Burton governor of Three Rivers. King George III commended the kindness of the governors, accepted the Canadians as his subjects, and promised they would enjoy all the advantages. Picoté de Belestre surrendered Detroit to Robert Rogers and his rangers in November. The other western forts also followed the instructions of Vaudreuil and were gradually taken over by the British Navy, which took control of the fur trade.
Minister of Marine Nicolas-René Berryer investigated the financial scandal surrounding Bigot and his friends. In December 1761 a judiciary commission in France tried 55 men who were accused of extortion, monopolies, and misappropriation. Those with the largest fortunes made on the war included Bigot with 29 million livres, Vaudreuil with 23 million, Cadet with 15 million, Péan with 7 million, Controller of the Treasury Bréard with 2 million, and Saint-Sauveur with 1.9 million. Vaudreuil and his nephew were acquitted. Bigot had to pay a fine of 1,000 livres, 1.5 million livres restitution, and he had his property confiscated and was exiled for life. Louis XV’s debt in Canada was reduced from 90 million livres to 45.6 million, wiping out much of people’s savings. Canadians were no longer burdened with military service.
After the British military took over Montreal in 1760, the French officials, military, and merchants lost their positions in Canada and returned to France. Trade with France was banned except by a special permit from London officials. Most of the French Canadians went back to cultivating the land. Some preferred to take refuge in Louisiana rather than live under British government, and most of these settled near the Acadians along the Mississippi River. Until the Treaty of Paris was signed on 10 February 1763, doubt existed whether Canada would be returned to France. Security was the first concern of the British military governors. Amherst believed that giving the Indians presents made them lazy, and to save money he reduced their gifts that had regularly included ammunition. Chief Joseph Shabecholou of the Miramichi Micmacs signed a friendship treaty with the British in June 1761, but they eventually lost their land. William Johnson opened trade again at Detroit by giving a ball for ladies with gifts for Indians, but they were to be the last presents.
Governor Murray made clemency the heart of his policy in Quebec. In the previous winter his own men had suffered from lack of clothing and food. He gave the nuns who were nursing the wounded rations and firewood, though he expelled the Jesuits from the city and took over their college for the army. He appointed Canadian administrators and relied on militia captains to settle local disputes, though criminal trials were held in British military courts. Each militia officer was permitted to keep a firelock, and a parish could have up to ten muskets for hunting. During the war Canadians had been required to provide military service, unpaid labor, and food surpluses at fixed prices. Some tried to avoid surrendering their wheat to Governor Gage in Montreal for a promise of four livres per minot.
Although the Catholic Church was allowed to continue its rituals and processions, the priests had lost their government subsidies of 60,000 livres. Bishop Pontbriand died at Montreal in June 1760. The Canadian Abbé de La Corne living in Paris suggested that the new bishop be elected, and the local chapter had the same idea and chose the Sulpician grand vicar of Montreal, Etienne Montgolfier. Rome did not recognize their right of election, and Governor Murray disapproved of him. Jean Olivier Brand, the grand vicar of Quebec, had declined the position, but he was eventually persuaded to be the new bishop.
In 1761 General Amherst had about 16,000 British regulars to take over and garrison the various posts from the Atlantic coast to the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley. Pitt ordered him to send 2,000 men to the West Indies and prepare 6,000 more to invade Martinique. So Amherst asked the colonies for more than 10,000 men. Pennsylvania and Maryland recruited no more soldiers, but nine other colonies raised 9,296 men in 1761 and 9,204 in 1762. The conquest of Martinique in February 1762 ended the smuggling problem because trade with the French West Indies became legal. Amherst granted Seneca lands to his officers. The Massachusetts and Connecticut regiments began promoting settlements from the Connecticut River to Lake Champlain. New Hampshire’s Governor Benning Wentworth granted sixteen townships west of the Connecticut River, giving out more than half the land that would become Vermont. These new farms provided food for the garrisons but intruded on the Indians, who concluded that the English had lied when they promised to leave after the French were defeated.
In early 1762 Spain declared war on Britain, and on November 3 the French and Spanish made a secret treaty at Paris in which France ceded to Spain western Louisiana from the Mississippi River west and including New Orleans. In June 1762 the Comte d’Aussonville led seven hundred French soldiers who captured St. John’s on New Foundland, but three months later Col. William Amherst with 6,000 men recaptured the town. Pitt refused to give back the Ile Royale, and in the Treaty of Paris signed on 10 February 1763 France ceded all of New France to England with the exception of the two small islands St. Pierre and Miquelon off New Foundland which were used for fishing and smuggling. Spain surrendered East and West Florida but kept Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.
The French colony that had been called Canada was conquered by the British military and was bankrupt as the currency of the card money from the King of France became worthless. French merchants were also hampered by the British laws of trade and navigation that became effective after the peace. In the treaty signed in February 1763 New France was ceded to the British as far west as the Mississippi, and the western portion beyond that river was transferred to Spain. France no longer had any colony in the North American mainland. The rebellion led by the Ottawa’s Chief Pontiac was defeated by Col. Henry Bouquet’s victory at Bushy Run on 6 August 1763 that relieved the garrison at Fort Pitt. On October 7 King George III proclaimed how the new conquests were to be governed. Vacant lands in Quebec and the Floridas were offered to ex-soldiers and to other British subjects on easy terms. Settlement was forbidden west of the heads of the rivers that flowed into the Atlantic Ocean in order to preserve the hunting grounds of the Indians. The French Catholics could not serve in the colonial assembly.
James Murray had been military governor 1760-64, and he became the first governor of Quebec for the British. He was obligated to follow English law that established the Anglican Church and disqualified Roman Catholics from serving in government. The British replaced the Canadian official class, and the Anglo-Americans dominated the commercial class. The inhabitants of Canada were free to emigrate for eighteen months after the peace treaty. Historians estimate that about 2,000 native Canadians left during that period. After military law ended on 10 August 1764, Murray issued an ordinance that established two central courts, the King’s Bench for major cases and appeals and the Common Pleas for the Canadians. Catholics were allowed to serve on juries and could plead cases in the Court of Common Pleas.
An ordinance on September 17 abolished the Three Rivers District, leaving Quebec and Montreal. When the Catholic priests elected Grand Vicar Montgolfier of Montreal as bishop, Murray favored the pliable Grand Vicar Jean-Olivier Briand of Quebec who was consecrated in Paris in March 1766, the year he was unofficially approved by the British government. Briand reached Quebec on June 28, the day Murray sailed. Murray tried to resolve conflicts between the French Catholic majority and the British subjects in Quebec. Those favoring the British got him recalled in 1765, and he was replaced by Guy Carleton who arrived on 23 September 1766 and took the oath the next day. That year law officers in England decided that the Catholics of Quebec were no longer subject to the disabilities of those in the United Kingdom. Also in 1766 the Montreal fur trade began expanding when French Canadians moved past Lake Winnipeg. On 15 April 1768 a British ordinance opened up trade with the Indians.
Governor Carleton supported the leaders of the community including the clergy and seigniors. He made concessions to the Canadians so that they would become willing British subjects. In 1766 Francis Maseres was appointed Attorney General of Quebec, and he supported the authority of the imperial parliament to decide matters of religion, law, and revenue. Maseres submitted his report to Carleton on 27 February 1769, and he also approved of the policy of assimilation put forward by the Board of Trade in its report in July. Carleton became Governor-in-chief on October 25; but he was concerned about the assimilation and returned to England in 1770 and stayed there until 1774. Carleton told the Council that he would not go by class distinctions but rather he would distinguish between good and bad men. The Swiss Protestant Hector Theophile Cramahé was appointed Lieutenant Governor. A few weeks after Carleton left, Cramahé forwarded him a petition from the French Canadians asking that the laws and customs affecting their property be restored. William Knox became Under-secretary to the new Secretary of State for America in 1768, and he supported Carleton’s ideas of British power in America. Knox promoted the annexation of the Indian territory to Quebec that eventually became law in 1773. Off the Nova Scotia peninsula the Island of St. John became a colony in 1769 and had an assembly by 1773.
Between 1769 and 1772 Samuel Hearne traveled to the mouth of the Coppermine River on the Coronation Gulf of the Arctic Ocean to investigate the mines. In 1774 he established Fort Cumberland on the Saskatchewan River for the Hudson’s Bay Company. William Pink of that company had explored the upper Churchill and from York Factory by 1768. Joseph Frobisher of Montreal camped at Portage du Traite between Saskatchewan and Churchill, and with his brother Thomas and Alexander Henry from New Jersey they moved into the Churchill country by 1776. Two years later Peter Pond made it to Clearwater and the Athabaska.
The Quebec Act was passed on 18 June 1774 and changed the 1763 policy and gave the governor and his appointed council full authority in Quebec. Roman Catholics were allowed to hold office by taking a special oath, not the one of the Test Act, and the Catholic Church was even permitted to collect tithes. The property rights of the seigniors were confirmed along with French civil law, but criminal law was still British. A council was established that could legislate, but it could only tax for public buildings and roads. The boundaries of Quebec were extended to include much of what had been New France and the region between the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers where the fur traders of Montreal were still dominant. This new colony was given a governor and an appointed council. The Quebec Act went into operation on 1 May 1775.
Some Halifax merchants tried to support the American rebellion by boycotting the East India Company’s tea in the summer of 1774. Carleton returned to Canada on September 18. On 26 April 1775 Governor Carleton issued a proclamation appointing six judges for the courts established by the Quebec Act, but he had less than 800 regular troops in Quebec and not one armed ship. Martial law was proclaimed in June.
Naval Captain Hugh Palliser had become Governor of the New Foundland fisheries in 1764; but not until 1775 were his recommendations implemented in Palliser’s Act to exclude New Englanders from the fishery by a system of bounties and penalties that required fishermen to return to England.
In Philadelphia those at the Continental Congress objected to the Quebec Act and criticized the Canadians’ religion for subverting liberty. In September 1774 they approved an address to the inhabitants of Canada urging them to join the other colonies in demanding just reforms of the government, and they invited them to choose delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia that would start in May 1775. They also invited the Canadians to join their confederation, and they promised they would consider the violations of the Canadians’ rights as if they were their own. The Americans also joined together to stop imports from Britain and Ireland after December 1 and exports to those kingdoms and the West Indies after 10 September 1775.
Governor Carleton got few soldiers from the inhabitants, and a few hundred Canadians joined the invading Americans. On 10 May 1775 the Green Mountain Boys led by Ethan Allen and men from Massachusetts and Connecticut led by Benedict Arnold seized the forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain without resistance. Four days later Arnold and fifty men briefly took over St. John on the border. On June 27 Congress authorized General Philip Schuyler to invade Canada. He arrived with 1,200 troops at Fort Ticonderoga on September 4, and on the 16th General Richard Montgomery led the attack on Fort Saint-Jean. On September 25 Ethan Allen on his own initiative with 80 Canadians and 30 Americans led an attack on Montreal, but 500 British regulars defeated them and captured 39 men including Allen who was imprisoned in England.
Montgomery’s forces captured Montreal on November 13. Six days later the British fleet surrendered while Carleton escaped to Quebec. Most of the Canadians with the Americans deserted during the winter. In early December a thousand Americans besieged Quebec. Montgomery and Arnold launched an attack during a snowstorm on December 31, but Carleton’s forces held them off with a few hundred men. Montgomery and several of his officers were killed, and about 400 attackers were captured. Arnold held on in Quebec and went to Montreal in February. In March reinforcements increased his army to nearly 3,000 men, though almost a quarter were unfit because of smallpox and other diseases. Generals Wooster and Thomas arrived at Quebec City in April with less than 2,000 men with many suffering from smallpox.
Those speaking English in Canada were generally opposed to the American revolution, and an agent from Congress reported that there was no prospect of Canada sending any delegates to the Continental Congress. Nova Scotia decided to remain neutral. A merchant oligarchy dominated the Council and the Assembly at Halifax. About 10,000 British reinforcements arrived in May 1776. Carleton ordered Burgoyne and his 4,000 troops to attack the retreating Americans, and on June 15 General Arnold abandoned Montreal. The American army retreated to Crown Point by early July. The American invaders had been driven out of Canada. Americans led by Jonathan Eddy fared even worse in Nova Scotia as their attempt to take Fort Cumberland failed in November 1776. Washington realized that the British Navy was too strong for them to bring a sufficient force to Nova Scotia. Those in Nova Scotia and Acadia tended to remain neutral.
Carleton governed with the advice of his privy council that included Lt. Governor Hector Cramahé, Hugh Finlay, Thomas Dunn, John Collins, and Adam Mabane until the Legislative Council met again in Quebec in January 1777. The French party dominated for the next twelve years and was led by Mabane.
The Canadian strategy was to have the army of 6,840 men led by General John Burgoyne advance by Lake Champlain to Albany and try to contact the army of General William Howe in order to divide the American rebels in New York where many were loyal to the British. However, Howe went to Philadelphia instead. Lt. Col. Barry St. Leger led Indians from the Mohawk Valley and Loyalists supported by William Johnson’s son John and nephew Guy, John Butler, and the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. They organized the King’s Royal Regiment of New York that was called Butler’s Rangers. Of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederation only the Oneidas and Tuscaroras sided with the American revolutionaries. De Lancey’s Volunteers and the New Jersey Volunteers called Skinner’s Greens also supported the Canadians. St. Leger’s forces defeated the American militia at Oriskany but could not capture Fort Schuyler (Stanwix) and retreated. Loyalists tended to be conservatives or pacifist Quakers and Mennonites.
Burgoyne and his army took over abandoned Fort Edward on 31 July 1777. The luxurious ways of “General Johnny” Burgoyne with female followers and inadequate scouting weakened his army. They were defeated at Stillwater on September 19, and his army of 5,791 men surrendered at Saratoga on October 17. This defeat proved to be a turning point in the war as the Americans gained France as an ally; but it helped preserve Canada because neither France nor the United States would let the other take over Canada. The British burned Fort Ticonderoga before they abandoned it in November. The Marquis de Lafayette proposed the conquest of Canada, but Congress rejected the plan in January 1779. Washington’s plans to invade Canada in 1780 and 1781 were vetoed by the French. A civil war was fought in New York from 1778 to 1782, and similar fighting went on along the Ohio River. Virginians led by George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River on July 4, 1778, and ten days later a few men garrisoned Fort Sackville at Vincennes in the Illinois country. Detroit’s Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton seized Fort Sackville on December 17 for the British, but on 25 February 1779 Clark took it back and captured Hamilton. The British regained Kaskaskia before the war ended. Spain declared war against Britain on June 21 and attacked St. Louis.
Traders in Montreal joined together to form the North West Company in 1779 though they were not able to achieve a monopoly in that region. The Legislative Council had met in April 1778, and Chief Justice Peter Livius asked Governor Carleton for instructions; but when Livius favored Richard Dobie, one of Montreal’s traders opposed to Carleton, the Governor dismissed the Chief Justice on May 8. No successor was appointed for eight years.
Captain James Cook sailed through the Bering Strait to explore the polar ice pack in 1778. One of his men, John Ledyard from Connecticut, met Russian fur traders on Unalaska Island and bought furs from the natives at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island. Ledyard left Cook’s ship at Long Island, New York in December 1782 to publish his journal and promote the North Pacific fur trade.
George Germain was Secretary of State for the Colonies 1775-82. Carleton could not get along with him and resigned on 27 June 1778. Germain appointed General Frederick Haldimand to be Governor General of Canada on September 19, 1777, but he did not arrive at Quebec until 30 June 1778 to succeed the recalled Carleton. Haldimand helped the Loyalist refugees from the American war settle in New Brunswick and Ontario. Also in 1778 the British Parliament resolved never again to tax its colonies. They would have to elect legislatures to tax themselves. Count d’Estaing commanded the French fleet, and in October he issued a proclamation that was widely distributed in Canada appealing to the French. Mabane’s French party did not liberalize the laws, and the French dominated Canada. Haldimand sided with them against the mercantile minority until he returned to England in the summer of 1784. On October 25 of that year Governor Haldimand proclaimed that Mohawks and others from the Six Nations of the Iroquois who had fought for the British were to be given land between the Ontario, Erie, and Huron lakes.
The American negotiators Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams wanted to resume trade with Britain and made peace without their French ally. The British negotiator Shelburne wanted reconciliation and a commercial treaty. In the treaty signed on September 3, 1783 the British ceded the Ohio valley to the Americans. They also gave the Americans fishing rights off Nova Scotia and New Foundland with the use of unsettled land to dry and cure their fish. However, mercantilists in England managed to block the commercial aspects, and American citizens were given no commercial privileges in the British empire. The United States was supposed to recognize the rights of the Loyalists to return or receive compensation for their property, but only South Carolina made an effort to avoid the persecution that occurred in the other states. Most of the 32,000 Loyalists moved to Nova Scotia by sea, and 8,000 went to Quebec by land. About 12,000 Loyalists dominated the north shore of the Bay of Fundy. About 6,000 Loyalists from New York settled along the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers. The most prominent Loyalist was Chief Justice William Smith of New York.
The land north of Fundy was separated from Nova Scotia in 1784 as the province of New Brunswick, and Cape Breton Island became a province until it was re-united with Nova Scotia in 1820. Some Loyalists moved through the Upper St. Lawrence valley along the north shore of Lake Ontario and into the Ottawa valley which was part of Quebec until 1791 and eventually became the province of Ontario in 1867. In 1791 New Foundland got a permanent court of justice under Chief Justice John Reeves.
Governor Haldimand sued the financial agent John Cochrane and won, angering the English party. In 1784 they managed to get the Legislative Council to pass an ordinance for the right of habeas corpus, ending the reactionary regime. Haldimand left Canada in November and was replaced by Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton. He recognized the right of the merchants to have jury trials, and the civil code was reformed. After the mercantile party agitated for an assembly, Hamilton was recalled in 1785. Carleton became Baron Dorchester in 1786 and was sent as Governor-in-chief of British North America with his advisor William Smith as Chief Justice of Quebec. Smith believed that monarchical and aristocratic elements should balance out the democratic in the constitutions of the colonies. This made Smith an enemy of the French party, and the aging Dorchester could do little. In 1787 Charles Inglis became the first Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia. By that year the North West Company was dominating trade in the northwest.
In 1788 King’s College was founded in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It was endowed by an Act the next year and opened in 1790. The University of King’s College became the first university in Canada to be given a Royal Charter by George III in 1802. The University of New Brunswick had begun in 1785 but did not receive a royal charter until 1827. McGill University started in 1801 and got its Royal Charter in 1821.
In 1789 William Grenville replaced Sydney as Home Secretary and drafted a new policy for Quebec in October. He hoped to assimilate the Canadians into British constitutional government by strengthening the governor’s prerogatives and distinguishing the legislative council from the executive council. He wanted the colony to have a legislative assembly. Representative government would mean that French civil law would prevail in one province while British common law was instituted in the other. The British cabinet accepted Grenville’s plan for Canada’s
government in 1790, and in 1791 the British Parliament passed the Constitutional Act which took effect on December 26. The new Canada would be divided by the Ottawa River with the French Canadians in the eastern part called Lower Canada and the British Canadians in the western part called Upper Canada.
The colonies of Lower and Upper Canada and Nova Scotia wanted to supply the British West Indies with fish, flour, and lumber for rum, sugar, and molasses, and only gradually were these opened up to American shipping. Newfoundland also exported fish, and shipbuilding as well as lumber prospered in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Closing of the Baltic in 1807 stimulated shipbuilding in Canada, and Britain increased its tariffs on timber. Cape Breton Island had an appointed council. In the north Rupert’s Land was under a charter company.
Montreal traders explored new territories. Scottish Alexander Mackenzie and Peter Pond stayed a winter on Lake Athabaska in 1787, and two years later Mackenzie for the North West Company went down the river named after him, reaching the delta on July 10. In 1793 Mackenzie ascended the Peace River, crossed the Rocky Mountains, and descended on the upper Fraser. After encountering hostile Indians he went west by land to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first man known to have crossed the North American continent north of Mexico. The narrow mouth of the Columbia River was discovered by the American captain Robert Gray in 1792. From that year to 1794 Captain George Vancouver explored the west coast north from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In 1793 the Hudson’s Bay Company sent traders by the Albany and Winnipeg rivers to the Assiniboine River. The American expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis on 14 May 1804 and reached the mouth of the Columbia River on 15 November 1805. In 1808 Simon Fraser descended to the Pacific on the river named after him. David Thompson found his way through the passes of the Rockies north to the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan. When he finally made it to the mouth of the Columbia in 1811, he found that John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company had already arrived by sea.
The war that began in 1793 between England and revolutionary France made the issues of neutral rights and deserters from the Royal Navy critical until the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815. The British ships often seized American sailors wrongly believing they were British deserters. In November 1794 the British Foreign Secretary William Grenville negotiated a treaty with John Jay of the United States to arrange commerce with neutral rights. The British promised to evacuate their western posts by 1 June 1796. They provided for common navigation on the Mississippi, and the Americans agreed not to interfere with the Canadian fur trade in American territory. The Jay Treaty called for using judicial procedures in international affairs. After the War of 1812 ended in 1815, Canadian-American relations have been peaceful for two centuries.
Nova Scotia was governed by John Wentworth from 1792 to 1808. He was a Loyalist from New Hampshire with conservative policies, helping the oligarchs to benefit from the war. They were challenged somewhat by the naval official Cottnam Tonge from 1797 until 1807 when Governor Wentworth dismissed him and refused to accept him as Speaker. Thomas Carleton governed the island of St. John with the Loyalist cabal. James Glenie was in the Assembly 1789-1805 and criticized the oligarchy that endowed its members with Crown land. St. John became Prince Edward Island in 1799, and it gained farmers as did Cape Breton.
In 1792 Lower Canada had 145,000 French with only 10,000 English. In the elected Legislative Assembly that first met on December 17 the French Canadians outnumbered the English 34-16, but the English still had majorities by 9-7 in the Legislative Council and 5-4 in the Executive Council. J. A. Panet of Quebec was the first Speaker of the House, and King George III appointed Chief Justice Smith as the Speaker of the Legislative Council. The first parliament went on until October 15 and passed major legislation. They canceled the ancient laws of Canada, but they affirmed that no existing contract would be affected by the change. All future conflicts were to be solved by the laws of England with British rules of evidence. They protected ecclesiastical rights and maintenance of the poor. Jury trials were instituted, and they passed a law for recovering small debts. They provided funds for a courthouse and a jail in each of the four districts. The second parliament in 1793 prohibited the introduction of any more Negro slaves. In the first two years the new government had revenues of £12,664 or $61,648, but they spent about $125,000 with the imperial government providing the balance. In 1795 they spent £24,711 but took in only £10,425.
The Canadian Henri Meziere worked for the French envoy Edmond Genet and wrote the pamphlet Les Français libres a leurs frères les Canadiens to urge Canadians to become free. When the Assembly passed a militia act in 1794, riots broke out. The Alien and Sedition Act passed on 13 May 1794 authorized arrests, and an act imposed a corvée in 1796. In January 1797 a British ship captured the French ship, ironically called The Olive Branch, carrying 20,000 weapons, artillery, and ammunition for Vermont. Genet sent into Quebec agents who were arrested and tried. David MacLane organized an attempt to seize the citadel at Quebec by drugging the garrison, but he was arrested on May 10 and was hanged on July 21. Also that year a French squadron appeared off the Atlantic coast.
Bishop Jean François Hubert distributed circulars urging loyalty to the British Crown. The election of the second Assembly in 1797 increased the French majority. Governor-in-chief Dorchester was succeeded by General Robert Prescott on 27 April 1797, and he made sure the English majority continued in the councils. They were notoriously called the “Chateau clique” and made large grants of unalienated Crown land to themselves and their friends from those outside the seigneurial limits that were surveyed about 1791. They were east of Montreal and Richelieu and became known as the Eastern Townships. Loyalists settled there after 1783, and after 1791 New Englanders and New Yorkers began squatting there. None of them were granted to Canadians.
In 1793 Jacob Mountain became the first Anglican bishop of Quebec, and he promoted education for the young. Father Cazot was the last Jesuit in Canada, and he died in 1800. The Crown took over their property, and the Governor proposed using the annual income for education. In 1801 the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Learning was founded by Lt. Governor Robert Shore Milnes (1799-1805) and Bishop Mountain. Milnes wrote a report on conditions in Canada in 1800 for King George and estimated the population of Lower Canada to be 160,000 with about 38,000 militia. In 1801 the Treaty of Amiens diminished the war tensions. In 1805 Mountain formally challenged the Roman Catholic Church as the established church of Lower Canada, but the controversy faded away without a change. The English newspaper the Quebec Mercury, which started in 1805 and the bilingual Montreal Gazette which began in 1785, criticized the French party for its policy on taxes. The lawyers Pierre Bédard, Jean Thomas Taschereau, and Joseph Louis Borgia founded the French-language newspaper, Le Canadien in 1806. In 1808 they argued that the Governor’s advisors should be held accountable for their acts.
Governor General James Henry Craig (1807-11) was in the English party and instilled military discipline. The Jewish merchant, Ezekiel Hart, was elected from Three Rivers; but the majority rejected him for refusing to take the oath. They also opposed letting Judge P. A. de Bonne sit in the Assembly because it would affect his impartiality. The governing elite resented this, and it was an issue in the election of 1808 when Craig cancelled the military commissions of the owners of Le Canadien. After the new Assembly expelled Hart and Judge Bonne, Craig prorogued them in 1809. When they persisted the next year, he dissolved the Assembly. Then on 17 March 1810 he seized the press of Le Canadien, put the printer in jail, and suspended the mail. The military patrolled Quebec, and on the 19th Bédard, Taschereau, and François-Xavier Blanchet were imprisoned without trial. Laforce, Pierre Papineau, and Corbeil were also arrested in Montreal. Bédard and Blanchet were re-elected in 1810, and the Assembly had similar representation. Craig wanted to end representative government and sent his secretary H. W. Ryland to England to request revocation of the Constitutional Act. The British government declined to do that or to put the Catholic Bishop of Quebec under the Anglican. The population of Lower Canada reached 330,000 by 1812. Le Spectateur Canadien was published in Montreal starting on 1 June 1813.
Upper Canada was the first inland British colony, and settlements reached hundreds of miles from Quebec. The population increased from 14,000 in 1791 to 90,000 in 1812. Grenville appointed Col. John Graves Simcoe the first Lt. Governor of Upper Canada, and he served 1791-96. His official family included Loyalists and officeholders who were granted public lands in what was called the Family Compact. The first popularly elected Assembly in Canada met at Newark (Niagara) on 17 September 1792 with John Macdonnell of Glengary as the first Speaker of the House. The English and Loyalists dominated the Assembly. The next April the first newspaper appeared as the Upper Canada Gazette and was the official newspaper of the government. Simcoe encouraged veteran Loyalists to pioneer new institutions, and he organized the Queen’s Rangers to build roads. New settlers who took the loyalty oath could get free land. A Loyalist would get 200 acres, but ex-officers could claim up to 5,000 acres. Toronto was renamed York and became the capital in 1794. Simcoe opposed slavery and declared that he would not agree to a dishonest policy between Africans, Americans, and Europeans. No slave could be brought into the province, and no slave contract could extend more than nine years.
Simcoe was succeeded by Peter Russell 1796-99 and Peter Hunter 1799-1805. During this era the British officials and American land speculators gained the best tracts of land. Lt. Governor Francis Gore (1806-11) managed the colonial bureaucracy, though he was criticized by the Irish immigrants William Weeks, William Willocks, Joseph Willocks, and Robert Thorpe. Willocks started The Upper Canada Guardian or Freeman’s Journal in August 1807. More immigrants came to Upper Canada from the United States, and they were usually not political. Quakers and Mennonites were exempted from military service. The Canadian government continued to make annual gifts to the tribes even though most lived on American land.
The Judicature Act of 1803 helped the Montreal traders by giving the Canadian courts jurisdiction over the Indian territory. The Montreal fur trade prospered from 1796 to 1808. After a naval incident in 1807 the peaceful policies of President Jefferson prevented a war between the United States and the British. General Isaac Brock became Lt. Governor of Upper Canada in October 1811 with military and civil authority.
The United States declared war on the British on 17 June 1812, and many Americans hoped to liberate the Canadians from British rule. The fur traders from Montreal hoped to win back the Michigan and Wisconsin region for British sovereignty. British North America had less than a half million people and 6,000 regular British troops while the United States had about 7.75 million people. However, the British Royal Navy had nearly 700 warships on the high seas.
Before Governor Brock closed the session of the legislature on May 19, they authorized £12,000 for the militia, £20,000 for the needs of the time, and £30,000 for the Governor to use if war began against the United States. On June 24 Quebec and Upper Canada learned that the United States had declared war and they ordered American citizens to leave the city of Quebec by July 1 and the district by the 3rd. They placed an embargo on all ships leaving the province until July 16 and called the legislature to meet on that day. The next day the British with a few regulars and about 500 Canadians and Indians captured Michilimackinac at the northern tip of Michigan. The Upper Canada Assembly met at York on July 27, and Brock organized the Canadian war effort and asked for more funding.
General Brock brought 300 British reinforcements to Fort Malden on August 13, and he cleverly fooled the American commander William Hull into believing that 5,000 Indians were coming to fight for Chief Tecumseh. Hull had issued an appeal from Detroit to the inhabitants of Canada, but he ordered Fort Dearborn at Chicago abandoned. The Americans who left on August 15 were attacked by 500 Potawatomis, and many were killed. The next day Brock led his force of 730 British soldiers across the river to attack Fort Detroit, and they were supported by 600 Indians under Tecumseh. After seven Americans were killed, Hull surrendered the fort at Detroit and the Michigan territory, giving up about 1,600 Ohio militia, 582 regulars, 2,500 arms, 33 cannons, much ammunition, and £30,000 worth of supplies. Brock paroled the Ohio militia but kept the regulars prisoners in Canada. The Americans did not have enough popular support in New England to attack Montreal, and General Dearborn had divided his army.
In December 1812 the Loyal and Patriotic Society was formed for clothing and other needs for the soldiers and aid for their families in distress. During the war they included widows and orphans of those killed. Money was raised in England, Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Canada that came to about £17,000.
In the Niagara campaign of 1813 the Americans outnumbered the British forces by about three to one. After Brock was killed in the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, he was succeeded in command by the Loyalist Roger Sheaffe. George Prevost became Governor General of all Canada, and he met with Lower Canada’s Assembly on December 29 and persuaded them to appropriate £15,000 to equip the militia and £25,000 for general expenses. Prevost had governed Nova Scotia 1808-11 and was Governor General 1812-15 and commander-in-chief during most of the war. They lacked warships at first, but both sides built ships as fast as they could.
When Americans attacked the Canadian capital at York on 27 April 1813, Sheaffe’s forces were outnumbered; after destroying the fort and a ship they retreated to Kingston. In the next three days the Americans carried away supplies and about £2,000 from the Treasury, and they burned the public buildings with their records. On May 27 the Americans captured Fort George which was abandoned by the outnumbered British after 52 were killed, 306 were wounded or deserted, and 276 were captured.
In 1813 the American Navy led by Commodore Oliver Perry won victories and took over Lake Erie. The Americans also defeated the British in Lake Champlain and pushed them back to the east end of Lake Ontario, but they could not block the St. Lawrence route to Montreal.
American forces in the west led by General William Henry Harrison defeated the Indian confederation led by Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet, and Tecumseh was killed in the Battle of the Thames on October 5. The Americans regained Michigan and took over enough of the peninsula to trade for Wisconsin. The war in the western peninsula became a civil war, and in early 1814 the Upper Canadian militia captured settlers fighting for the Americans and executed eight for treason. The Assembly led by James Stuart impeached Chief Justice Jonathan Sewell. Canadian merchants profited from increased military contracts and the illicit trade with New England.
The British occupied Maine in early 1814. Many were killed during the Niagara campaign. The Americans captured Fort Erie on July 3. Neither side won at Lundy’s Lane on July 25 when losses on both sides were fairly even and totaled 1,731 killed, wounded, captured, and missing. The British Army besieged Fort Erie from August 4 to September 27. The Americans had to retreat from Canada, and they destroyed Fort Erie before evacuating it on November 5. The defeat of Napoleon in Europe made many British soldiers available, and the Americans were fortunate to get a peace treaty signed in Ghent on December 24. The boundaries of 1783 were kept in place as the Americans regained Maine and the country of the Upper Lakes. The United States might have been able to conquer Canada by land; but the powerful British Royal Navy deterred this because they could easily blockade the American coasts. Thus a peaceful co-existence was established that has lasted two centuries between the North American neighbors.
Governor General Prevost left Quebec on 3 April 1815 and was replaced temporarily by Gordon Drummond. Trade relations between Canada and the United States were resumed, and on May 9 an order established two ports of entry into Lower Canada at St. John’s on the Richelieu and at Coteau landing above the rapids of the St. Lawrence. Drummond’s proclamation offered a pardon to all deserters in the United States who returned to their regiments before July 7. A circular was sent to commissioners on October 14 empowering them to administer the oath of allegiance to all those coming into the province from the United States. Drummond opened the provincial legislature on 26 January 1816, and he asked for renewal of the militia act and the alien act. Common schools were established. The legislature was prorogued before the act regulating trade with the United States could be renewed; but on March 28 Drummond regulated the trade with a proclamation. Lt. Governor Francis Gore ruled Upper Canada again 1815-17; but after the Assembly challenged his ban on land grants to American refugees, he prorogued them.
On 19 June 1816 at a council which included the Ottawas, Hurons, Chippewas, Pottawatomies, Shawnees, Kickapoos, and Munsies many complained that they were not allowed to return to their hunting grounds after the war. John Coape Sherbrooke was appointed Governor General of British North America and arrived in Quebec on July 11. Louis-Joseph Papineau was unanimously elected speaker when the Assembly met on 15 January 1817. They authorized £49,716 to relieve the distress in the lower parishes. Effort was made to assist emigration from Great Britain, and many poor people came from England, Scotland, and Ireland.
In the northwest by 1808 Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, had sponsored a colony of Highland and Irish settlers on the Red River at Assiniboia that he got from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Starting in 1811 Selkirk sent out Scottish settlers and refugee Swiss mercenaries, but on 8 January 1814 Miles Macdonell, the first governor of the Selkirk settlement, provoked conflict over the pemmican trade by prohibiting exports for one year. In the summer of 1817 Selkirk provided laws that accepted English and French fur traders and their Indian wives. In September 1818 he was charged at Sandwich with breaking into and stealing property from Fort William. After the court adjourned, he left the provinces.
1. Dinwiddie Papers, I, 101 quoted in Colonial Virginia, Volume 2 by Richard L. Morton, p. 630.
2. “Observations on the Present State of Affairs, 1756” by Samuel Johnson in Samuel Johnson: Political Writings ed. Donald J. Greene, Vol. 10, p. 188, quoted in The Scratch of a Pen 1763 by Colin G. Calloway, p. 50.
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