In February 1754 Virginia 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 20 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 brought their tools and began building Fort Duquesne.
On 9 May 1754 Benjamin Franklin published the news received from George Washington that the French had expelled the British from the fort they were constructing at the forks of the Ohio River. Franklin reported how the French and Indians had been building forts and attacking people on the western frontier. He concluded the article,
The confidence of the French in this undertaking seems
well-grounded on the present disunited state of the British colonies,
and the extreme difficulty of bringing so many different
governments and assemblies to agree in any speedy
and effectual measures for our common defense and security;
while our enemies have the very great advantage
of being under one direction, with one council, and one purse.
Hence, and from the great distance of Britain,
they presume that they may with impunity violate
the most solemn treaties subsisting between the two crowns,
kill, seize and imprison our traders,
and confiscate their effects at pleasure
(as they have done for several years past),
murder and scalp our farmers, with their wives and children,
and take an easy possession of such parts of the British territory
as they find most convenient for them;
which if they are permitted to do, must end in the destruction
of the British interest, trade, and plantations in America.1
This article was accompanied by what is considered the first political cartoon in America showing a snake cut into eight pieces representing seven colonies and New England with the words “Join, or die.”
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.”2 Washington went 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. Gist reported about 50 French near Redstone Creek, and at dawn on May 28 Washington attacked them with 40 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 20 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 200 Virginians, and three days later Captain James McKay arrived with an independent South Carolina company. 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 30 killed and 70 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 they 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. A North Carolina regiment of 450 men was poorly armed and paid with paper money that other colonies would not accept. After a mutiny and desertions, Col. James Innes disbanded them in August.
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. Also in 1755 nearly 5,000 men from Massachusetts enlisted, and Connecticut raised 3,300 men for the war. Rhode Island tried to raise volunteers by offering a bounty but had to resort to conscription. In 1755 Rhode Island elected Stephen Hopkins as governor, and he financed the military with bills of credit that came to be called “Crown Point” money.
On 14 April 1755 the governors of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia met at Alexandria, Virginia with Major General Edward Braddock, Admiral Augustus Keppel, William Johnson, and Benjamin Franklin. Braddock appointed Johnson to coordinate the efforts of the Iroquois allies. Johnson operated from Crown Point and sent George Croghan with 50 Mingo warriors to help the general. Braddock also approved an expedition into Acadia and put Brigadier General Robert Monckton in command. Braddock told Governor Shirley to reinforce Fort Chouaguen at Oswego and prepare to attack Niagara. Governor James Glen of South Carolina had been excluded from the meeting, but his province raised the first £6,000 that was given to Braddock for the campaign. Braddock treated the provincials with contempt, plundering them to get his supplies. British officers inflicted strict punishments, usually 300 lashes for a minor offense. Enlisted men were given 1,000 lashes for stealing, being asleep on sentry duty, or for refusing to turn out with the guard.
General Braddock moved his army of 2,500 to Winchester and in June to Fort Cumberland, leaving seventy miles to go with no road to Fort Duquesne. Braddock asked Franklin to procure wagons and horses for his expedition. Franklin published an advertisement explaining how much they would be paid and that they would not be required to fight. In conclusion he warned that if they did not provide them, the Hussar John St. Clair with soldiers might take them. Because they did not know Braddock, Franklin gave his personal bond. He had discussions with Braddock and warned him about Indian ambushes. After Braddock’s defeat Franklin was sued for lost wagons, but General Shirley set up a commission that eventually paid the claims.
The Mingo warriors brought their families; but Braddock did not like his officers and men getting involved with the women, and he ordered the families to depart. All but eight of the Mingo warriors left also. Governor Dinwiddie had promised 400 warriors from the southern tribes, but his feud with South Carolina’s Governor Glen prevented that. Governor Shirley assigned Col. Lydius to recruit Iroquois, but they considered him a “snake” and a “devil” for having cheated them out of land for Connecticut. Croghan also arranged for a delegation of Delaware chiefs led by Shingas who later reported that Braddock said, “No savage should inherit the land” and that he “did not need their help.”3
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 about 2,100 English and American 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. Gov. 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. 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. Lawrence did not write to the Board of Trade about the deportation until October, and they showed their approval by promoting him to full governor.
Acadians called it a “Grand Dérangement” that 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 Acadians were coming, and 2,000 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. They 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 2,000 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. 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, 700 Abenakis, and Caughnawaga Mohawks planned to attack Fort Edward, but the Indians refused to go against an English fort. William Johnson sent Col. Ephraim Williams with 1,000 men to stop the French advance. Dieskau planned to trap them as they had Braddock, 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 2,000 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; 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.”4
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 30 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. The Rhode Islanders sent north of Albany were discharged in November; but smallpox had spread, and some of them took it back to their towns. Samuel Ward wrote a pamphlet on behalf of William Greene against Governor Hopkins who sued him but lost and had to pay court costs. Greene was elected Rhode Island governor; but he died, and the Assembly chose Hopkins who served four more years before losing to Ward. In January 1757 Captain Robert Rogers went to scout Fort Carillon and lost about two dozen of his rangers. Two months later General Loudoun caused economic hardships when he imposed a trade embargo on all the colonies by prohibiting all ships from leaving ports except for official military purposes. In May the Virginia Burgesses refused to grant money for the army until the embargo was removed. Governor Dinwiddie gave in, and Maryland’s governor soon lifted the embargo too.
General Loudoun used force to get quarters for his officers and men in Albany, Philadelphia, and Boston. Shirley had paid to quarter soldiers, but Loudoun made Albany’s 329 families accommodate 1,300 men without compensation. Loudoun met Vice Admiral Francis Holburne at Halifax in July 1757. While they were waiting there, 200 soldiers died of disease, and 500 more were hospitalized. 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. He 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. 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 18 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. Montcalm 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. In November the Massachusetts Governor Pownall had sided with the General Court against Loudoun’s quartering of soldiers in Boston. On December 24 the Massachusetts Assembly invited the legislatures of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire to meet in February 1758 to decide what military measures to take. Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts opposed this republican plan, and they could not agree. Furious Loudoun summoned the governors to Hartford in late February and insisted that the six northern colonies raise 6,992 soldiers.
The Massachusetts legislature was refusing to raise 2,128 men in March when Pownall received two letters from Pitt that replaced Loudoun with James Abercromby and promised that the ranks of provincial officers would be respected and that King George II would pay for the expenses of the war. The next day the Massachusetts house voted for 7,000 men. Connecticut voted to raise 5,000, Rhode Island 1,000, New Hampshire 800, New York 2,680, Pennsylvania 2,700, and Delaware 300. Because the colonies could not draw on a poor underclass as in England, the wages for soldiers needed to be comparable to civilian workers. Also America did not have as much money in circulation, and farmers could be reduced to poverty by heavy taxes. In Virginia the House of Burgesses offered a bounty of £10 for each volunteer and quickly raised 1,850 men. 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 3,000 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 on 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 the 26th, 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 which many believed 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. 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. The English began bombarding Quebec on July 12, and on the 31st 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. In September he ordered all the houses between Montmorency and Cap Tourmente burned, and at least 1,400 farms were destroyed.
On September 13 General 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. British Major General James Murray became governor of Quebec and demanded an oath of allegiance. In October after two of Amherst’s officers, who were misusing a flag of truce to try to get a message to General Wolfe, were killed by Abenakis, Amherst 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. 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 large 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 September 8. 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, and 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.
The Minister of Marine Nicolas-René Berryer investigated the financial scandal surrounding Bigot and his friends, and in December 1761 a judiciary commission in France tried 55 men accused of extortion, monopolies, and misappropriation. Those who had made the largest fortunes 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 under the British were no longer burdened with military service.
Following the tradition started by Ben Franklin in 1731 in Philadelphia, in 1754 six members of the New York Society founded a subscription library in New York City, and two years later Boston started a subscription library.
William Johnson persuaded the Six Iroquois Nations to attend a conference in 1755. That year he was appointed Superintendent of Indian affairs and was given £800 cash and £2,000 a year for gifts to win over the Iroquois. In September he led the victory over French forces at Lake George. Johnson met with the Six Nations at Onondaga in June 1756, and he persuaded the old Delaware chief Nutimus to negotiate. Most of the Delawares ignored Johnson because they were following Teedyuscung. At that conference Johnson announced that he had been made a baronet. That month Teedyuscung met with the French at Niagara, but Captain Pierre Pouchot barely had enough provisions and arms and so only gave him promises. Teedyuscung then went to Pennsylvania and met with Quakers.
New York became the supply depot for arms and equipment, and many merchants became rich from war profiteering. Lord Loudoun came to New York City in July 1756, and housing the British soldiers was a crisis for the next year. Governor Charles Hardy (1755-57) cooperated with De Lancey who preceded and succeeded him. The Assembly enacted a Stamp Act and renewed it through 1760. Because sailors preferred the profit on privateers, some of the British navy deserted. In the spring of 1756 armed marines came on shore to impress men for sea duty. In May 1757 Loudoun had 3,000 men block off New York City, and in one night they took 800 men, of which half were pressed into duty. In 1758 the British had about 25,000 soldiers and 14,000 sailors in America, stationed mostly in New York and Boston. In February 1759 the New York Assembly agreed to provide and supply 2,680 men, but they had to offer each recruit a bonus of £15. New York also commissioned 48 privateers with 5,670 seamen. With so many soldiers and sailors in New York prostitution increased greatly. The government of New York spent about £250,000 on this war and in 1765 still owed £115,000. Yet about 70 New York privateers took more than 600 prizes worth over £1,400,000 that went to about 150 investors and the sailors. By 1762 New York had a fleet of 477 ships.
After the French built Fort Venango in northwest Pennsylvania, New Jersey was assigned a quota of 120 men and £500 for defense. The Assembly refused Governor Belcher’s requests for aid and declined to send delegates to the Albany conference. In October 1754 they authorized £500 to aid royal troops if they came to New Jersey. The Assembly also voted to supply 500 men for Col. Peter Schuyler’s regiment to help General Braddock. After his defeat New Jersey in December 1755 appropriated £10,000 in bills of credit to construct blockhouses and provide soldiers, and the Assembly added another £17,500 in bills the following May. Belcher asked for a thousand men, but the Assembly only provided 500 more.
After Belcher’s death in August 1757 the senior councilor John Reading deferred to the Assembly when they authorized £80,000 in bills of credit. The house offered volunteers a bounty of £12 in order to bring the New Jersey regiment up to a thousand men, and they voted to build barracks in five towns to house 1,500 soldiers. Francis Bernard arrived as the new governor in June 1758. More than 40 people had been killed by Indians in the previous two months. Bernard increased the frontier guard to 150 men, and the Assembly voted £1,600 to be raised by a lottery in order to promote a peace treaty with the Indians. In 1759 the Board of Trade approved the money spent to support a regiment of a thousand men and 200 frontier guards. Thomas Boone of South Carolina was governor of New Jersey briefly in 1760 until Josiah Hardy arrived. After the threat was over, New Jersey did not want to spend money on defense. Hardy was eventually dismissed for not following his instructions to raise enough troops and for appointing judges on good behavior instead of “at the King’s pleasure.” Ben Franklin’s 33-year-old son William was appointed governor of New Jersey in February 1763.
In October 1754 Robert Hunter Morris, a New Jersey proprietor, replaced James Hamilton as deputy governor of Pennsylvania under the absent Thomas Penn. The Assembly commissioned some members to borrow £5,000 from the Loan Office to help General Braddock’s expedition against Fort Duquesne, and Franklin did the same to help Massachusetts’ Governor Shirley’s campaign against Crown Point. By then Quakers were only about one-fifth of the population though they still held two-thirds of the Assembly. After General Braddock’s disastrous defeat by the Monongahela River in 1755, the Assembly appropriated £1,000 that the western settlers could use to buy weapons; but the Quakers were not willing to give guns to the Wyandots. In October a German settlement had fourteen people killed and eleven missing, and on the 31st Delaware chief Shingas and some Shawnees slaughtered about half the people at Great Cove in Cumberland. A raid on Tulpehocken on November 15 was the first incursion east of the Susquehanna River. Quakers sent money in December to help the Moravian bishop Augustus Spangenberg take care of refugees.
Governor Morris refused to sign a tax bill for £60,000 because it did not exempt the proprietary estates. Ben Franklin wrote the response of the Assembly, arguing that the bill was equitable and just. He asked if the veto was based on the Governor’s own judgment or was in obedience to the proprietors. Eventually Morris admitted that he was bound by Thomas Penn to oppose any tax on proprietary estates. The proprietor Penn required a personal bond of £5,000 from each governor that could be forfeited if the governor deviated from his instructions. In the Assembly’s response on November 11 Franklin wrote that if the proprietary instructions have to be observed, whether they are just or unjust, then all debating and reasoning are in vain. The people of Pennsylvania were taking steps for defense “consistent with the just rights of free men.” Then Franklin wrote the often quoted statement:
Those who would give up essential liberty
to purchase a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety.5
The Governor was allowed to grant £5,000 from the proprietors for colonial defense without construing it as a tax, and the Assembly then passed the defense bill. The Militia Act that Franklin authored was passed on November 25, and the Assembly appointed a committee of seven to manage the funds with Franklin as its chairman. They met every day and ordered 300 men to be enlisted in Pennsylvania. Because of opposition Franklin wrote “A Dialogue between X, Y, and Z” in December to explain how the militia would function. Essentially it was similar to the Association of 1747 with the important difference that this was legislated and funded by the provincial government.
Governor Morris persuaded Franklin to take charge of building a line of forts on their northwestern frontier, and he easily raised 560 men. He got the men to attend daily prayers by giving out the rum allotment just after the prayers. When the officers of the regiment chose Franklin as colonel, he accepted.
The commissioners visited the Moravian community in Bethlehem, and Franklin met their leader Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg. Although they had founded the community in 1741 as pacifists, they had collectively decided to organize the town’s defenses with a stockade and arms and ammunition they had bought from New York. Bethlehem practiced communal living, and they had the first municipal waterworks in America. The Indians had so terrorized much of Pennsylvania that Franklin even wrote a letter to Conrad Weiser suggesting that they use fierce dogs against them as the Spaniards did. Large rewards were offered for Indian scalps, and Franklin used dictatorial power to organize defense in Northampton County. The militia companies elected Franklin as their colonel, and their demonstrations in front of the Governor’s house persuaded Morris to confirm his commission. After this the proprietor Thomas Penn told Morris that electing officers had taken power away from the King. Officers of the Crown canceled the Militia Act and repealed the commissions in October 1756.
Only seven peaceful Quakers voted against the military expenditure. John and Israel Pemberton and John Woolman led a protest against the tax and wrote “An Epistle of Tender Love and Caution to Friends in Pennsylvania,” asserting they would refuse to pay the war tax on grounds of conscience and were ready to suffer the consequences. A test oath was proposed to remove conscientious Quakers from the Assembly, and in England it was supported by the proprietor Thomas Penn; but English Quakers worked out a compromise that Pennsylvania Friends would withdraw from politics for the duration of the war. Governor Morris tried to stop the Acadian refugees from landing in Pennsylvania, but the Assembly voted to give them protection and provisions. Quakers welcomed them for having refused to take an oath to George II, and the Assembly supported this because of Anthony Benezet’s efforts.
On 14 April 1756 Governor Morris and his Council declared war on the Delawares and Shawnees, offering a bounty for scalps, and the Assembly cooperated with the garrisoning of forts with militia. The following week Quakers met with Scarouady and other Indian leaders at the home of Israel Pemberton. He and five other conscientious Friends resigned from the Assembly in June, ending the 74 years of pacifist government called the Holy Experiment. Although it was not permanently successful, they had demonstrated that a pacifist government could sustain itself even on a frontier with a vastly different type of people (Indians). They were overcome by a world-wide war between two imperial powers.
The reward for the heads of the Delaware chiefs Shingas and Captain Jacobs was 700 dollars. Governor Morris in August secretly sent Lt. Col. John Armstrong with 300 Pennsylvanians to attack the Ohio Delawares at Kittanning (Attigué). They suffered more than forty casualties but recovered eleven English captives and killed a dozen including Jacobs who was burned to death in his house. That month Col. William Denny arrived as the new governor, and he attended the peace conference at Easton with Israel Pemberton and Ben Franklin in November. Denny asked the Delawares if the governor or people of Pennsylvania had ever harmed them, and Teedyuscung brought up the infamous Walking Purchase of 1737 and asked for a grant of 2,500,000 acres for the eastern Delawares in the Wyoming Valley. The fraudulent deal threatened the proprietary control of Thomas Penn, and he tried to strengthen the alliance with the Iroquois League.
In December 1756 the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting organized the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures. When the Assembly appropriated only £300 for diplomacy, they raised more than £2,000 to help the Governor make a peace treaty with the Delawares and Shawnees on the Susquehanna at the second Easton conference in August 1757; this was extended to other tribes the following year. Some Friends refused to pay the tax or serve in the militia and were fined. Governor Denny approved an increase of £30,000 in the public credit. Military expenses for 1757 were estimated at £127,000, and the Assembly appropriated £100,000. Within a year most of the settlers had abandoned the Cumberland Valley where 174 people had been killed. In the Susquehanna Valley 318 had been killed, including 22 soldiers and 14 volunteers. The Assembly complained that the ports of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York were closed but those of Maryland, Virginia, and New England remained open.
The Pennsylvania Assembly objected to the restrictions put upon the Deputy Governor by the royal instructions, and in February 1757 they voted to send Benjamin Franklin as their agent to London. That year he criticized the feeble campaign of General Loudoun who delayed his sailing to England and whom he compared to the signs of St. George that showed him on a horse but never going anywhere. He blamed Loudoun for distressing their trade with a long embargo on exports, keeping supplies from being obtained by lowering prices to favor contractors from whom he profited, and neglecting to inform South Carolina that the embargo was ended, causing their ships to be damaged by worms.
In March 1758 levies up to 2,700 men were authorized to support the expedition led by Brigadier General John Forbes to take Fort Duquesne, and troops were promised land bounties on the Ohio River. Col. George Washington wanted to go by the road Braddock had used in Virginia, but Pennsylvanians insisted on a new road in their province. Forbes wanted more Indian allies, but he had difficulty supplying and controlling 700 Cherokees. When their chief Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter) tried to leave the expedition, he was arrested as a deserter. Forbes eventually released him, and that summer most of the Cherokees went home. The Moravian missionary Christian Frederick Post traveled twice to the Ohio country in diplomatic efforts, meeting with Tamaqua (King Beaver), Shingas, and other chiefs to keep the Delawares and Shawnees as allies and the Six Nations neutral. Shingas had been told by a trader that the French and English intended to kill all the Indians and divide their land. In a friendly manner Tamaqua advised the English to go back over the mountains and stay there.
About 500 Indians attended the third Easton conference in October 1758. Chief Teedyuscung did not help his case when he became drunk and belligerent, and the treaty confirmed the dominance of the Iroquois over him and his Quaker allies. Penn restored to the Iroquois the land west of the Allegheny mountains that Conrad Weiser had purchased at Albany. The Delawares and Shawnees felt they had their manhood restored when they were allowed to relate to Pennsylvania independently without having to be represented by the Iroquois. The Quakers’ Friendly Association demanded that a boundary be fixed between the colonial and tribal territories, and this important peace treaty included the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Johnson’s deputy Croghan. The Ohio Indians were no longer hostile to the English. By the time Forbes arrived in November, the French had abandoned and destroyed Fort Duquesne. Forbes renamed it Fort Pitt which would be ten times the size of Fort Duquesne. Charles Thomson was secretary at the Easton Treaty, and in 1759 he explained the Quaker policy of friendship and respect for the Indians in his “Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians from the British interest.”
John Woolman was born in Northampton, New Jersey in 1720 in a Quaker family. His autobiographical Journal is a literary classic. He is best known for his opposition to slavery which was still practiced in Pennsylvania by some Quakers and others. Woolman‘s conscience was awakened to this evil when he was a clerk at a New Jersey store in 1742 and was asked to make out a bill of sale for an African woman. In 1754 he published Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes. That year Anthony Benezet condemned slaveholding in his Epistle of Caution and Advice Concerning the Buying and Keeping of Slaves. The Quakers’ Yearly Meeting of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware Friends in 1754 declared that slave-keeping hardens the heart. At the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758 Woolman persuaded the Friends to pass a resolution urging everyone to free their slaves, and they began excluding from their business meeting anyone buying or selling slaves. In 1762 in Some Considerations on Keeping Negroes, Part Second he noted that slavery corrupts the white people who hold slaves. He worked for emancipation at Yearly Meetings until his death in 1772.
The Board of Trade did not relate to many colonial issues, but they were concerned about the relations with the Indians. Franklin presented Teedyuscung’s complaint about the injustice of the 1737 Walking Purchase that was perpetrated by the proprietors. In February 1759 Governor William Denny approved a bill for £100,000 that levied taxes on the surveyed lands of the proprietors but not on their unsurveyed lands. In England the Penns opposed the bill, and the Board of Trade decided for the proprietors and against Franklin in June. The final decision was up to the Privy Council. Franklin informed Chief Justice Mansfield that repealing the bill would make the paper money circulating in Pennsylvania worthless and ruin the province and that the proprietors’ lands were not being taxed at a higher rate. Mansfield persuaded the Privy Council, and the Pennsylvania Assembly won the right to tax the land. In June 1759 the Pennsylvania Assembly persuaded Governor Denny to sign a bill that taxed the proprietary estates in common with those of the people. Franklin assured the Council that this was equitable, and later an inquiry agreed.
In 1759 James Hamilton agreed to be governor as long as he could approve laws that taxed the proprietary estates. That year Pennsylvania planned to raise a force of 3,060 men, and the legislature loaned Brigadier Stanwix £50,000 for military operations. By 1760 Philadelphia had 23,750 people and was the largest city in the English colonies by more than 5,000. The province saved money by giving criminals the choice of exile or prison. Murderers, rapists, and robbers could be hanged, and cadavers were dissected for medical research. In 1761 the Assembly authorized 500 troops but went home without appropriating any funds to supply them.
Richard Peters observed that the western tribes were acknowledging the Ohio territory as belonging to the Six Nations. Johnson held a hearing at Easton in June 1762 on Teedyuscung’s charge that the Walking Purchase was a fraud. The Delaware chief told Governor Hamilton that he would accept £400 worth of goods, and he wanted Pennsylvania to build them a settlement in the Wyoming Valley with a trading post and teachers to instruct them in reading and writing. Johnson arranged an agreement that resolved the issue, gained the Delawares as military allies, and made him an ally of Thomas Penn. Two months later Governor Hamilton and others met with chiefs from the Delawares, Shawnees, Nanticokes, Conoys, Kickapoos, Weas, Potawatomis, and all of the Six Nations in a conference at Lancaster. The Indians in Ohio had released captives from the war. They compromised on the Indian war trails; but the English refused to give up their forts because they were still at war with the French.
Attacks by Indians made Carlisle the western limit for settlers, and in 1763 the Pennsylvania Assembly funded 700 soldiers until the summer harvest was completed. The Assembly postponed giving relief to Philip Martsloff who had his wife and five children murdered and his entire farm burned by Indians. Those in the back country complained that the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks had twenty-six representatives in the Assembly to only ten from Lancaster, York, Cumberland, Berks, and Northampton. On April 19 some arsonists, probably men from the Susquehanna Company, burned the cabins of the Delawares in the Wyoming Valley, killing Teedyuscung. His son Captain Bull protested this in Philadelphia. In the late summer some drunk Pennsylvania militiamen murdered Captain Bull’s cousin who had been baptized Zacharias. On October 15 Captain Bull led a Delaware war party that killed 26 Yankee settlers in the Wyoming Valley and burned their homes. About 80 volunteers from Lancaster County marched to the Wyoming Valley and found ashes and the bodies of mutilated victims. Quakers organized charity for the Indians that they would continue for many years. On October 21 the Assembly passed a supply bill of £24,000 to keep provincial troops in the field until the first of December.
The little town of Paxton had been burned by Indians in 1755, and many were upset by the massacre of settlers in the Wyoming Valley during Pontiac’s war in the late summer of 1763. On December 14 about fifty Scotch-Irish Presbyterians from Paxton and other frontier towns went to Conestoga and murdered six peaceful Indians, setting fire to their huts. Governor John Penn ordered their arrest, and the Lancaster magistrates had the remaining Conestogas put in a public workhouse for their protection. In late December the Paxton Boys, as they called themselves, murdered those fourteen pacifist Conestogas who were kneeling and protesting their innocence. Governor Penn offered a reward of £200 for information about the ringleaders. The murderers threatened other Indians who came to Philadelphia for protection. The Moravians had Christian Indians living at Nain, and the missionary Bernhard Adam Grube led 127 to Philadelphia to be housed in barracks; but they were threatened by soldiers and were taken to the pest-houses on Province Island.
Benjamin Franklin arrived in London on 27 July 1757 with his son William and two slaves as servants. Lord Granville was president of the Privy Council and assured him that the royal instructions as amended by the Council and signed by the King are the law of the land for the colonies. Franklin argued that their laws were made by their assemblies and had to be approved by the King; but once they became laws, the King could not alter or repeal them. After disagreeing with Granville’s view that the Crown could make laws for the colonies without the consent of their legislatures, Franklin began meeting with the proprietors Thomas and Richard Penn. He submitted written complaints that the Penns put unreasonable restraints on the Deputy Governor which infringed the rights of the Assembly, which in time of war should not be reduced to either giving up the liberties of the people or losing the country to the enemy. The proprietors were expecting people to defend proprietary properties while the proprietors themselves were refusing to contribute their fair share.
A crisis came in January 1758 when they were discussing whether Thomas Penn could veto the commissioners chosen by the Assembly for negotiating with the Indians. Franklin argued that the Assembly was the provincial equivalent of the House of Commons and cited the Charter of Privileges granted by William Penn in 1701. Thomas replied that his father did not have the power to grant those privileges because of the royal charter. Franklin answered that then the people had been cheated, deceived, and betrayed, but Thomas Penn said it was their own fault. Franklin was aghast and felt contempt at his insolence and because he was meanly giving up the character of his father that the people trusted. After that the Penns refused to meet with Franklin, and in November they rejected his complaints. Franklin, enamored by his stay in England, proposed that the Assembly apply for a charter directly from the Crown to replace the proprietors, but this went nowhere.
Having learned from his experience with the Hemphill case, Franklin wrote a letter in December 1757 warning that criticizing the religion of others may make things worse and is like spitting against the wind. If people do not believe in providence that may influence life, “there is no motive to worship a deity, to fear its displeasure, or to pray for its protection.”6 One is not likely to change human sentiments on religion. He believed that many weak and ignorant people need the motives of religion to restrain them from vice and to support their virtue in practice until it becomes habitual. Knowing that men are so wicked already, he wondered how much worse they might be without religion.
In 1758 Franklin took the persona of Father Abraham to give moral advice in The New-England Magazine. He noted wryly that advice is one valuable thing that is given much more than it is taken. He observed that people usually err in their conduct not so much through ignorance of duty but because of “inattention to their own faults or through strong passions and bad habits.” Franklin recommended self-examination every day to discover faults, “acknowledge them to God, and humbly beg of him not only pardon for what is past, but strength to fulfill your solemn resolutions of guarding against them for the future.”7 The ancient Pythagoras had suggested daily self-examination.
Franklin analyzed how many vices resemble virtues. Careful prudence is needed to discern pride from a generous spirit, superstition from true religion, worthy ambition from unworthy self-sufficiency, government from tyranny, liberty from licentiousness, subjection from slavery, covetousness from frugality, and prodigality from generosity. Every person who wants to be wise needs to notice carefully one’s own actions, thoughts, and intentions. Because people tend to be partial to themselves he advised choosing a friend or monitor who is free to point out one’s failings and the remedies. One should accept these interpretations of misconduct patiently and thankfully and work to reform them. Beware of the first acts of dishonesty that are presented under disguises with plausible reasons that by degrees may tend to grow into more dishonest acts. Franklin concluded that the best way to seem good is to be really good.
Franklin performed an experiment by laying cloth of different colors on the snow in the sun to show that the darker the color the more heat was absorbed as indicated by how much snow melted under the cloth. Thus he recommended that in warm climates people can keep cooler by wearing white or light-colored clothing. He also persuaded the physician William Heberden to write a pamphlet with instructions on inoculation for smallpox. Franklin wrote a preface and sent 1,500 copies to his printing partner David Hall to give away. Franklin loved music and learned how to play the harp, guitar, and violin. He invented the glass armonica with a foot petal that was played with the fingers. In 1762 he sent a letter about it to Giambatista Beccaria. The new instrument was popular for a while as Mozart, Beethoven, and other composers wrote music for this armonica; but after 1800 it became obsolete.
In the spring of 1760 Franklin published a pamphlet in London arguing that the British should keep Canada rather than the West Indies island of Guadaloupe, and he included most of his article “Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind.” To leave France in possession of Canada would likely lead to more conflict. With so much land for farming there was little danger that the colonies would compete against the English in manufacturing. They would not likely unite against the mother country when they had not been able to do so to fight the French. Franklin did add that such a revolt was possible but only if they suffered “grievous tyranny and oppression.”
Franklin enjoyed talking with various intellectuals in England and Scotland where he met Henry Home Kames, Adam Smith, and David Hume. To Kames he wrote that the British empire could become even more grand and stable because America is “broad and strong enough to support the greatest political structure human wisdom ever yet erected.” He recounted a “Parable against Persecution” he had written in 1755 in which God reprimands Abraham for not tolerating a man with different religious beliefs for one night when God had done so for 198 years. Franklin wrote to David Hume a story about tolerance in which a mayor in a Puritan town patiently allows those who want to have a maypole to have one and those who do not want a maypole not to have one. Then he suggested a similar approach for an authority asked to decide a dispute between those arguing whether some souls are eternally damned or not.
When Parliament granted the American colonies £200,000 per year for military expenditures, the Pennsylvania Assembly designated Franklin to receive their £30,000 allotment and instructed him to invest it in the stock market. Friends recommended the stock-broker John Rice. In late 1761 Franklin was ordered to sell the stocks. The market had gone down so far that they lost nearly £4,000. Rice embezzled funds and forged documents to cover his losses and fled to France. After peace was agreed, the French extradited Rice to England where he was tried and hanged. In the summer of 1761 Franklin and his son William visited Holland and Flanders. Ben noted that on Sundays the Dutch went to plays, enjoyed music, and diverted themselves in various ways without any apparent repercussions from an angry deity. William developed a good relationship with the new king George III who appointed him governor of New Jersey in August 1762. That month Benjamin sailed for America after having enjoyed five years in London, the second largest city in the world (after Beijing) that had more than thirty times as many people as Philadelphia, the largest city in the English colonies.
After he returned to Philadelphia in November 1762, the Assembly thanked Franklin the following February for helping to secure the credit of paper money that was spreading in the country. He noticed that the war economy and paper currency had caused prices in Pennsylvania to double or triple. He was glad to get home to his wife Deborah, but he spent several months traveling to resume his duties as postmaster.
Franklin was outraged by the Paxton Boys’ murder of peaceful Indians, and in January 1764 he wrote “A Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County.” He noted that these Indians were remnants of the Six Nations and had made a treaty of friendship with the original proprietor William Penn, and up until these recent atrocities it had never been violated by either side. The first six victims included two women, a young boy, and Shehaes who had assisted with the second treaty in 1701. Franklin described the others and explained that they used English names to honor people they respected. Franklin asked if it was right to seek revenge against all Indians for what those in other tribes had done. He wrote,
The only crime of these poor wretches seems to have been,
that they had a reddish brown skin and black hair;
and some people of that sort, it seems,
had murdered some of our relations.”8
Franklin reviewed how Homer had written about the sacred duties of hospitality, and Muhammad had reprimanded his men for killing captives. He also cited examples how native Americans gave protection to strangers. Now 140 Indians were under the protection of the Pennsylvania government, and he exhorted people to redeem the honor of the province by supporting the laws so that justice may be done by punishing the wicked and protecting the innocent.
Governor John Penn came to Franklin’s house and offered him command of the militia, but he chose to support the authority of the Governor. On the same day the Governor had requested it, the Assembly had passed a Riot Act. In early February 1764 about 250 Paxton Boys marched toward Philadelphia and gathered at Germantown, announcing that they were going to kill all the 140 Indian converts who had taken shelter. Penn asked Franklin and three men to meet with the leaders. After the rioters learned the city was defended, they persuaded them to go home and promised their concerns would be brought before the Pennsylvania Assembly. Governor Penn proclaimed a bounty for both male and female Indian scalps, and after meeting privately with the rioters he dropped all inquiries into the murders. Franklin and the Assembly then felt even more contempt for the proprietary government. Having defended the rights of the Indians, Franklin would lose the next the election.
George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to the French in July 1754 and then withdrew to Wills Creek in Maryland territory to begin building Fort Cumberland. The Maryland Assembly authorized £6,000 for what they called the “French and Indian War,” and Cresap raised a company of riflemen. Maryland took an official census in 1755 and counted 153,505 people, including 44,539 African slaves and 8,851 European indentured servants. In December of that year five ships brought 900 Acadians to Annapolis; but the province of Maryland had statutes discriminating against Roman Catholics, and four of the ships were sent away to other colonies. The other Acadians suffered a harsh winter, but some found relief in Baltimore and Oxford on the Eastern Shore.
After Braddock’s defeat in July 1755 Maryland ordered its troops to retreat from Fort Cumberland east to Fort Frederick. They authorized £40,000 in 1756 by levying twelve pence per hundred acres on all land including the proprietary estates with Roman Catholics paying double. The following winter Loudoun sent soldiers to be billeted on the upper Eastern Shore. When he sent five more companies to Annapolis the next year, Governor Horatio Sharpe complained. Maryland’s quota for defense was fixed at 500 men. They raised the troops in 1757, but conflicts in the legislature prevented them from being supplied and paid.
The House of Delegates disciplined a justice of the peace and asserted its right to investigate the actions of those with executive power. Jonas Green had revived the Maryland Gazette in 1744, and he published the defeated bill of 1757 and other political commentaries. An article in the London Chronicle raised 29 questions about Maryland’s proprietary government in Franklin’s polemic style. Their Assembly insisted on taxing proprietary salaries at 5%, and so nine bills for military spending were rejected by the Governor’s Council between 1756 and 1762. The salary of the Proprietor was £12,000 a year, and the proprietary administration was also costing Maryland about £12,000 annually. The Anglican clergy received subsidies of £8,000 a year, and many complained that unworthy clerics were appointed by the Bishop of London. In 1762 the lower house claimed the exclusive right to propose money laws. In the ten meetings of the Assembly during the war years, four had passed no laws at all.
The Virginia House of Burgesses appropriated £20,000 for defense in August 1754; but they added a rider of £2,500 for their agent Peyton Randolph, and the Council rejected the emergency bill. Eventually the Board of Trade approved Dinwiddie’s pistole fee, but they made important exceptions for patents on less than one hundred acres, for lands of imported families, for lands beyond the mountains, and on future patents over one thousand acres. In October the House of Burgesses levied a poll tax to pay for a grant of £20,000 to the military. Dinwiddie met at Williamsburg with governors Arthur Dobbs of North Carolina and Sharpe of Maryland. When Dinwiddie lowered Washington’s rank to captain, he resigned from the militia. Washington became an aide to General Braddock during the march on Fort Duquesne, and he fought heroically during the defeat by the Monongahela River.
After learning of Braddock’s defeat near Fort Duquesne in July 1755, Dinwiddie sent three companies of rangers to guard the frontier. The Burgesses raised £40,000 with another poll tax for a force of 1,200 men. They had already enacted a law to provide workhouses for the poor, and in August they put a price limit on Indian corn. The Governor commissioned Washington a colonel in August and put him in command of all Virginia forces. In the past year 21 people had been killed beyond the mountains, and nine prisoners were taken. Tobacco production was not doing well, and the price had gone up. In October the Assembly passed the Two Penny Acts that made it easier to pay tobacco debts with money. Dinwiddie refused to approve new paper money and dissolved the House for a new election.
Washington wrote to the Governor for more forces, and Dinwiddie called out half the militia in the western counties, about 4,000 men. Military service could still be avoided by paying a fine of £10 to hire a substitute. Out of 230,000 people in Virginia, 27,000 were enrolled in the militia. The General Assembly raised £25,000 to protect the frontiers, and a new poll tax of two shillings annually for three years was levied. In the fall of 1755 the Governor of Nova Scotia sent about 1,150 French Acadians to Virginia; but they were unpopular, and the following April the Assembly voted to send them to England.
In February 1756 Col. Washington got permission to visit the American commander William Shirley about the officer commissions because British captains still outranked him. That summer Washington tried to instill discipline by punishing with lashes fighting among the troops, drunkenness, profanity, and malingering. Those deserting during battle could be hanged. At the end of the year Peter Randolph and William Byrd III persuaded Catawbas and Cherokees to fight with the English by promising to build what became Fort Loudoun at Winchester, and about 400 Indians arrived in April 1757. The following spring the Assembly increased the Virginia force to 2,000 men. Dinwiddie was ill and was replaced by Francis Fauquier who reported in June that the second regiment of a thousand men under Col. Byrd had joined Washington at Winchester.
On 24 July 1758 friends helped Washington get elected to the House of Burgesses by buying people large amounts of liquor. On the night of September 13 the British Major James Grant lost 22 officers and 278 men while probing around Fort Duquesne. As General Forbes approached Fort Duquesne, Washington proposed advancing with three brigades. On November 24 the French destroyed Fort Duquesne and retreated. The next day Washington claimed the remains for England, and Forbes stationed a hundred Virginians and a hundred Pennsylvanians as a garrison at what would be called Fort Pitt and later Pittsburgh. Washington managed to claim a large portion of the 200,000 acres allotted to the veterans, leaving less for the enlisted men.
Virginia contributed a total of £120,000 to the war effort, and their treasury notes guaranteed by taxes amounted to £539,962. In February 1759 Governor Farquier sent home all the militia and soldiers except the regiment and four companies of rangers. British Major General Jeffery Amherst asked Virginia to maintain their forces. At first the Assembly refused to appropriate more money for war, but then they authorized £52,000 in treasury notes for war expenses to maintain 1,500 men until December—1,200 under the Governor and 300 rangers on the frontier. During the summer they signed several treaties with the Indians. After the Cherokees attacked Fort Prince George to recover their hostages, in May 1760 the Assembly voted to raise 700 men with £32,000 of treasury notes to relieve the besieged garrison.
Col. Byrd led Virginian and North Carolinian troops while Grant led an army from South Carolina. Byrd resigned in the summer of 1761 and was replaced by Lt. Col. Adam Stephen who made peace with Cherokees in December 1761. General Amherst had contempt for the Indians and wanted to hunt them down with dogs, and he even suggested exterminating them by giving them blankets infected with smallpox. He stopped the annual gifts to the Indians, cut off their supply of ammunition, and prohibited the importation of rum. In his proclamation of 7 October 1763 King George III reserved the Allegheny watershed for the Indians and forbade any purchases there. Those trading with the Indians had to have a license from a colonial governor.
The Anglican parsons were receiving more from the government by the Two Penny Act than they had ever received before; but if they had been paid in tobacco, they would have received three times as much. Reverend John Camm led the parsons’ cause by appealing to the Bishop of London and the Board of Trade, and on 10 August 1759 George II had disallowed the Two Penny Act which was contrary to the instructions given to Governor Farquier. Camm delayed several months in returning to Virginia and in giving the documents to Farquier. Thus the new law was still in effect. Camm and four other ministers brought suits to be paid the difference despite the hard times.
The most famous trial involved James Maury in Hanover County. Col. John Henry ruled in his favor, and in December 1763 the jury was to decide how much the plaintiff was to receive. Testimony indicated the amounts involved; but in his closing argument the judge’s son, Patrick Henry, spoke for an hour arguing that the King had annulled a salutary law and so had degenerated into a tyrant and forfeited his subjects’ obedience. He accused the clergy of being enemies of the state and suggested they be stripped of their appointments. Young Henry called for an award of one penny for the damages, and in five minutes the jury reached that verdict. According to William Wirt the people lifted Henry on their shoulders in triumph. Maury reported that Henry told him he made the speech to become popular.
In 1755 Governor Glen of South Carolina agreed to meet the lame Cherokee emperor Conocautee (Old Hop) halfway, and each brought about 500 men to Saluda. There in July the Cherokees transferred feudal overlordship of all their lands (360,000 square miles) to the King of England for gifts worth about 325 dollars. The Cherokees would still sell their lands in future treaties, but Glen believed he had established English sovereignty.
Separate Baptist preachers Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall in November 1755 moved to the backcountry of North Carolina where they gathered a congregation at Sandy Creek. They soon increased from 16 members to 606, and Baptists from this mother church spread in the South.
During the five years of war between 1755 and 1760 the Assembly of South Carolina appropriated £100,656 sterling for the military. In June 1756 William Henry Lyttelton arrived at Charles Town as the new governor. The conservative William Wragg consistently argued for royal prerogatives in the Council. Lyttelton suspended him in November, and a month later the Board of Trade and the Privy Council dismissed Wragg. In 1756 about 1,150 French Acadians came to South Carolina; but they were not welcomed, and by 1760 only 210 remained. Fort Loudoun on the Little Tennessee was completed in April 1757. That year the Assembly appropriated funds for a regiment of 700 men, but only 300 enlisted. South Carolina had so many slaves that they feared a rebellion if too many soldiers left the colony. Many complained that the Cherokees were being cheated and debauched with rum, the only commodity some could afford.
The Board of Trade appointed Edmund Atkin as the first superintendent of Indian relations in the south; but he did not get to South Carolina until March 1758 because he spent many months following John Campbell Loudoun around the northern colonies trying to get his instructions. Atkin took presents to the 400 Cherokee allies fighting in Virginia. Three Cherokees were killed by mistake in an ambush, and by September only sixty Cherokees still remained with General Forbes in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of Cherokees returned home with the muskets given them by General Forbes. Atkin made a treaty with the Choctaws in July 1758, and he made sure they received their supplies. A Creek warrior nearly killed him with a hatchet, but he renewed the English alliance, winning over some of the Creek chiefs who had been pro-French. Atkin tried to negotiate trade reforms, but he received little help from the governors. When the Cherokee war broke out, Atkin was ignored. He resigned from the Council and retired to his plantation where he died in October 1761.
In 1758 South Carolina had 1,500 British regulars. Some Cherokees wanted vengeance for those killed in Virginia. A spy learned that the Cherokees would go to war against the English if the Creeks killed all the English in their territory. In November 1758 Governor Lyttelton compensated the Cherokees for their warriors killed by Virginians. A band of Cherokees raided settlements on the Yadkin and Catawba rivers in April 1759 while the chiefs Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter) and Round O tried to keep the peace. Attakullakulla had visited England in 1730. Governor Lyttelton refused to supply the presents and ordered an embargo on gunpowder shipments until murderers were surrendered. The Cherokees besieged Fort Prince George in September 1759, but the next month a large delegation asked Lyttelton for ammunition. Half the Council advised taking hostages until the murderers of 24 colonists were delivered. Lyttelton seized Chief Oconostota and the 31 envoys and arrived in December with 1,500 men at Fort Prince George where measles and smallpox were spreading. Lyttelton renewed the treaty with Attakullakulla who handed over three murderers. Lyttelton ordered the commander to retain 21 hostages and returned to Charles Town.
The Cherokees resented their envoys being held hostage and killed forty or fifty settlers. In January 1760 they ambushed the commander at Fort Prince George, and against orders the Cherokee hostages in the fort were shot to death. Lyttelton appealed to Virginia’s Governor Fauquier and to General Amherst to send troops. When Lyttelton was promoted to be governor of Jamaica, Lieutenant Governor William Bull Jr. took over until Thomas Boone arrived in December 1761. Lt. Col. Archibald Montgomery arrived at Charles Town with 1,200 Highlanders in April 1760 and marched with 350 South Carolina troops to Fort Prince George in June. They burned five Cherokee villages and killed or captured more than a hundred warriors, but on June 27 they were ambushed in the Little Tennessee Valley and suffered a hundred casualties before retreating back to Prince George.
Fort Loudoun had been under siege since March, and Attakullakulla even moved his family into the fort to try to bring peace. Captain Paul Demere surrendered on August 8, and chiefs Oconostota and Cunigatogae promised the garrison safe conduct. Two days later they were under Cherokee escort when in revenge for the killing of the hostages 700 Indians murdered 22 men and three women while capturing the rest. The prisoners were kept in the Overhill Towns until the war ended. Oconostota and Ostenaco spoke for peace to 2,000 Cherokees at Nequassee in September. In 1760 the British gave South Carolina a quota of 500 recruits, but they did not enlist a single man.
Lt. Col. James Grant arrived in January 1761, and he marched to Fort Prince George with 1,650 regulars and 600 Carolinians to punish the Cherokees for the treachery at Fort Loudoun. In June they were attacked by a thousand Cherokee warriors who killed eleven and wounded 52 while losing twice as many men. This exhausted most of the Cherokees’ ammunition. Grant’s army then destroyed 15 towns and the crops in the Little Tennessee and Tuckaseegee valleys, driving about 5,000 starving Cherokees into the mountains. The Cherokee Council sued for peace in August, and on December 17 Attakullakulla agreed to a treaty that restored English property (including slaves) and trade, excluded the French, allowed the English to build forts anywhere, and called for the punishment of criminals. No Indian without permission could go more than 40 miles below Fort Prince George. General Amherst forbade trading in the Indian villages. Even at the forts the trading of alcohol was prohibited, and the sale of ammunition was limited.
Governor Boone nominated John Stuart to replace Atkin in January 1762. Stuart was married to Susannah Emory, who was part Cherokee, and he was skilled at negotiating with Indians. When the Fort Loudoun garrison surrendered in 1760, Attakullakulla had traded his arms and clothes to Oconostota for Stuart. Boone initiated a new law that in May 1762 established at Keowee near Fort Prince George a public monopoly over the Cherokee trade. In September 1762 Boone refused to administer the oath of office to Christopher Gadsden who had criticized British commanders in the Cherokee war because of an election technicality; but in December an Assembly report asserted their right to judge elections as the representatives of the people, and they resolved not to conduct business. In April 1763 Governor Boone opened the territory south of the Altamaha River to land grant applications. In September the Assembly agreed to meet because the Creeks were about to revolt. They drew up a petition to the Crown complaining about Boone and then went home.
The 1763 Treaty of Paris removed the French, and this bothered the Creeks. King George III called a conference of four southern governors that met at Augusta in November. Stuart distributed presents worth £5,000 sterling to 846 Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Catawbas. Future Indian trade was to be conducted by the South Carolina government to avoid abuses, and the Catawbas accepted a reservation of 15 miles square. South Carolina had spent more than £200,000 sterling or £6,500,000 currency on the war, and in 1761 the tax bill went over £300,000 currency. Because South Carolina had enlisted only 57 men in 1762, the English Treasury gave them only £285 sterling in compensation. In 1762 a minister estimated that of the 46,000 Africans in South Carolina only 500 were Christians. In 1750 Jews had organized one of the earliest congregations in America. Boone left for England in May 1764, and Lieutenant Governor William Bull Jr. restored friendly relations with the Assembly.
When Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia asked for aid against the French in 1754, South Carolina raised a regiment of 750 men and constructed forts. The northern counties refused to circulate the new currency or pay taxes, and South Carolinians had to drive cattle and hogs to Virginia. The new royal governor Arthur Dobbs arrived in October and called for new elections. The northern counties happily sent their five representatives. Sam Swann was speaker from 1743 until 1762 except in December 1754 they elected John Campbell. The £6,000 appropriated for a public school was diverted to defense; a hundred men served for nearly two years in the north and fifty men in the west. Shubeal Stearns came from Boston, and in 1755 he settled by Sandy Creek and gathered a Baptist congregation of more than 600 members. That summer the American postmaster-general Benjamin Franklin appointed the printer James Davis as postmaster in New Bern, and in October the Assembly authorized a mail run between Suffolk and Wilmington. By 1756 Davis was publishing the North Carolina Gazette, which cost sixteen shillings per year and lasted six years.
Granville’s agents perpetrated frauds that caused riots in his territory starting in January 1759. The Board of Trade annulled the new court law that repealed the law of 1746, leaving North Carolina with no functioning legal system. Disorders continued in Edgecombe, Halifax, and Granville counties. Finally in May 1760 the Assembly and the Governor agreed on a court bill. The Cherokees and Creeks had declared war against the English in 1759, and they attacked Fort Dobbs the following February. In July the Assembly raised a force of 300 men and organized the militia. By 1763 North Carolina had about 100,000 colonists and more than 10,000 Africans. The populations of the native Americans had greatly declined. On a reservation of 10,000 acres on the Roanoke River remained about a hundred Tuscarora braves, twenty Saponas, and twenty Meherrin braves. Smallpox reduced 300 Catawba warriors to sixty braves with an equal number of women and children. In 1763 the Board of Trade was still denying permission to use the £6,000 in John Starkey’s bill for a school.
The royal governor of Georgia was given a salary of £600 a year, and in 1756 it was raised to £1,000. The governor was instructed to act with the advice and consent of his Council which was also the Upper House. The Commons House of Assembly was elected by voters who had at least 50 acres. Initially to be an Assemblyman one had to own 500 acres. Navy Captain John Reynolds was appointed governor and arrived in October 1754. He found a militia of 756 men that was badly equipped, and it was reorganized. Reynolds went to Augusta to meet with Creek chiefs, but he left after ten days. When they arrived late, William Little distributed gifts; but they were disappointed. The first Assembly met in January 1755, and Edmund Gray challenged the election of several members. This failed, but four members in his faction were expelled for election irregularities. So Gray and his followers moved to the territory south of the Altamaha River. The Assembly passed a strict slave code that was similar to those in other colonies. If the government killed or executed a slave, it had to pay £50 to the owner or for a crime half of it to the victim. In 1758 the Assembly prohibited slaves from working in skilled professions such as carpentry and masonry. That year Georgia established the Anglican Church, divided the colony into eight parishes, and levied taxes to pay the clergy £25 a year as a salary and to help the poor.
William Little was a navy surgeon, and Governor Reynolds appointed him private secretary, clerk for the Assembly, the Crown, and the General Court as well as commissary for Indian affairs and justice of the peace. In September the Council accused Little of consorting with their enemies, extortion in the General Court, and other illegal actions. Instead of removing Little, Reynolds expelled his critic Clement Martin from the Council. The Governor dissolved the Georgia Assembly in February 1756. He tried to move the capital to the Ogeechee River, and this made him even more unpopular. In the fall he and Little manipulated the election to get a favorable Assembly, including some from the Gray faction. Little was chosen speaker and in 1757 was sent to London with documents, but they were captured at sea by a French privateer. The Board of Trade let Reynolds resign and resume his position in the navy where he eventually became an admiral.
After visiting for two weeks with South Carolina’s Governor William Lyttelton, Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Henry Ellis arrived in February 1757 to replace Reynolds. Ellis prorogued the Assembly until Reynolds and Little departed. The Assembly met in June. Ellis arranged for a hundred troops to be transported from South Carolina in July, and the building of fortifications began in August. He convinced the Assembly to double the tax rate to raise £500 a year, and he approved a bill for £630 in paper bills and accepted the £7,000 in paper money issued in 1755. To increase the population the Assembly passed his proposal to promise debtors from other colonies, except South Carolina, that they would be protected from collections for seven years. In October 1757 Lt. Governor Ellis received a large Creek delegation with elaborate ceremonies. When the Cherokees attacked South Carolina in January 1760, he strengthened the forts and urged the Creeks to fight the Cherokees. When Creeks killed some Georgia traders near Augusta in May, Governor Ellis conciliated them to prevent a general Creek war. Georgia was not involved in the French and Indian War, claiming poverty and local threats from Indians, Florida, and Louisiana as excuses for not contributing. Ellis suffered from the hot weather in Georgia, and he left in November to ask for military support from New York.
James Wright had been attorney general of South Carolina for ten years and then spent three years in England representing the colony. In October 1760 he arrived as lieutenant governor of Georgia and succeeded Ellis as governor in November. England’s approval of £7,410 in paper money helped business. At the behest of his Council, Wright suspended Chief Justice William Grover for refusing to attend Council meetings. In 1762 James Johnston established a printing press and was appointed the colony’s official printer. Wright organized the Indian trade by licensing designated traders in each town. He cooperated with Indian Superintendent John Stuart to standardize the trade in the southern colonies. The peace treaty of 1763 removed the Spanish from Florida and the French from Alabama, and this helped Georgia have better relations with the Creeks. Pledges of friendship were renewed in a treaty at Augusta on November 10 in which the Creeks ceded 2,400,000 acres to Georgia. This opened the land between the Savannah and Ogeechee rivers to settlers. The southern boundary was moved from the Altamaha River to the St. Mary’s River. South Carolina’s Governor Thomas Boone granted 56 people 90,000 acres in the territory between the rivers before the Board of Trade forbade him to make grants south of the Altamaha. Between 1752 and 1763 the royal province of Georgia granted 390,645 acres of mostly coastal and island property.
By 1760 the northern colonies had 40,033 slaves, but in the southern provinces there were 285,773. In 1763 Massachusetts had 5,214 Africans out of a total population of 235,810. By then New York had nearly 10,000 slaves, South Carolina about 70,000, and Virginia, the most populated colony, had about 170,000 slaves.
In 1760 the British customs official, Comptroller Weare, wrote “Observations on the British Colonies on the Continent of America.” He believed that British commerce needed the dependency of the American colonies, and he warned that the colonial population would surpass the mother country within a half century. He was concerned that democratic government would end distinctions of rank and that paths to wealth and independence would be opened to all men. To maintain the colonial market he wanted to stop smuggling and competitive colonial manufacturing. He felt these reforms should be made while the British army was still in the colonies. Otherwise the maturing colonies would soon break away. They must check the tendency toward freedom and democracy by curtailing the power of the assemblies, and the British should no longer let the colonies unite. The king should pay the salaries of governors and councils while appointing chief justices and attorney generals. He even suggested that they should give Canada back to the French so that the colonies would need British protection and could be subordinated.
John Adams noted the rumors that England was going to demolish the charters and subordinate them to royal governments, and his friend Jonathan Sewall said they must resist them by force. Adams believed that the British would not remove their liberties as long as the war was in progress. Rumors that town meetings might be overthrown caused twice as many people to vote in Massachusetts in 1760 as had the year before.
In 1760 a group of 63 Boston merchants hired the lawyers Oxenbridge Thacher and James Otis Jr. to oppose the issuing of new writs of assistance by George III that would allow customs officials to search private buildings without a court order. In February 1761 Chief Justice Thomas Hutchinson convened the Superior Court to consider the writs of assistance and general search warrants. Otis argued that every Englishman was entitled to security in his own house from unreasonable searches. He claimed that acts of Parliament which violate the Constitution or natural equity are void and that courts of law may judge the validity of the statutes. In the 1610 case of Dr. Bonham, who was imprisoned for practicing medicine without a license, Edward Coke had argued that common law controls the acts of Parliament and can judge them void. The emotional speech of the young Otis made him popular, and he was elected to the Assembly in May. In 1762 he wrote his Vindication of the Conduct of the House of Representatives. The younger Otis argued that the Molasses Act of 1733 was unconstitutional and that it and similar laws could not be enforced even by 20,000 British troops and their navy. He quoted Locke that government by consent should exist for the good of the people. The most important privilege is for the people to decide their own taxes.
According to John Adams, Hutchinson was appointed chief justice instead of James Otis Sr. because of the writs controversy. Adams foresaw these conflicts leading to civil war and separation. The historian Hutchinson noted that the King’s one-third share from the Molasses Act was to be used in the colony, but it had not been collected. The House and Council decided to sue for the money, and Governor Francis Bernard tried to block the suit. The House reduced the funds for the Superior Court and refused to pay Chief Justice Hutchinson any salary. They dismissed William Bollan and appointed Jasper Mauduit as their agent in England. In their instructions to Mauduit in June 1762 the House asserted that they should be under no laws or restraint except by their own legislature established by consent of the commonwealth. Adams argued that their liberties depended on free elections and that to judge wisely men needed to enlarge and open their minds by reading.
The House objected when the Governor and Council armed a ship to protect fisheries without their consent. After news of the 1763 peace treaty arrived, James Otis Jr. spoke at a town meeting to affirm their rights as Englishmen. According to Hutchinson he deplored the conflicts that had arisen and believed that Britain and the colonies had mutual interests which he hoped would keep them united. Troops from Massachusetts had enlisted to serve at Halifax until 1 May 1763; but when General Amherst extended their service, the General Assembly objected and demanded they be released.
During this war Connecticut raised its bounty for enlistment gradually from thirty shillings to seven pounds. The colony issued about £340,000 in bills of credit while using tax measures to retire them, and reimbursements from England helped retire most of the bills by the end of the war. Connecticut prohibited smallpox inoculation in 1761 because the inoculated were contagious for a time. In 1763 Parliament passed the currency act that put New England money on a silver standard one-third below sterling.
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 in 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 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. 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. They concluded that the English had lied when they promised to leave after the French defeat.
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 700 French soldiers who captured St. John’s on New Foundland, but three months later Col. William Amherst with 6,000 men regained 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.
Neolin, which means “Four” or “Enlightened One,” of the western Delawares in the upper Ohio Valley began prophesying about 1760 that they should abstain from alcohol and from trading with the Europeans while returning to their traditional hunting. He claimed that he had visions of the Master of Life, who told him that he loved the French but that the English were his enemies and that they should drive them back to their own lands. In the next few years his teachings and ritual purifications spread to Chippewas, Miamis, Ottawas, Potawatomis, Shawnees, Wyandots, Senecas, and Onondagas. The Quaker trader James Kenny wrote about the Delaware prophet in October 1761, and he described a drawing on a deerskin depicting paths from Earth up to Heaven with diversions to hell caused by trading with the English. In March 1763 he reported that the prophet had a new plan of religion. Neolin said they should teach their boys to use bows and arrows and to live on dried meat and a purifying drink of herbs that caused vomiting. The old people were to eat only corn. They would not trade with the Europeans until the period of fasting and purification ended.
Pontiac described the extensive visions of the prophet Neolin when he journeyed to Heaven and back. In a dream Neolin walked for eight days with his musket and trading kettle. He saw two wide roads that lead to fire but took a narrow road to a white mountain where he met a woman in radiant garments who spoke Lenape (Delaware). She told him to take off his clothes and bathe, and Neolin proceeded naked to the top where he found three villages. A handsome man dressed in white led him to the Master of Life. The Creator took his hand and gave him a hat bordered with gold to sit on, warning him that the worst flaw of the colonists was greed. The Master of Life said he is the Creator, and he forbade adultery, polygamy, and fighting among Indians. He opposed the war dance because it honored an evil spirit (manitou). He criticized the occupation of the land by whites and said the Indians had become evil. The Creator condemned drunkenness but did not oppose all drinking. He urged them to drive the British away but recommended that they become literate. He gave Neolin a written prayer, which he could not read, that they were to memorize and recite in the morning and at night. Indians were to greet each other by shaking their left hands, which are closer to the heart. Neolin returned, put on his clothes, and went to the village chief who could read the prayer.
General Amherst stopped the gifts to Indians to save money and because he thought this would make the Indians earn their own living; but his not letting the Indians have ammunition made their hunting more difficult. The French gave presents, and the Indians considered the gifts as rent and tolls for the use of their tribal territory.
In the spring of 1761 the Senecas sent Kiasutha and Tahaiadoris to Fort Detroit to plan an organized attack against English forts. They passed a large red war belt to the Ottawas, Hurons, Chippewas, and other tribes. If the Delawares, Shawnees, and Miamis joined the conspiracy and took over the western forts, they thought they could isolate the English forces west of the Appalachian Mountains. On June 16 a Wyandot told Captain Donald Campbell at Fort Detroit of the plot, and he called the local tribes together to inform them that he knew what was planned. When Col. Henry Bouquet was told at Fort Pitt, he called in Tamaqua and other Delaware chiefs to persuade them it was a bad idea. General Amherst was not concerned and said,
I know their incapacity of attempting anything serious,
and that if they were rash enough to venture upon any designs,
I had it in my power not only to frustrate them,
but to punish the delinquents with entire destruction,
which I am firmly resolved on whenever any of them give me cause.9
The trader George Croghan was aware that the Six Nations felt they were being treated badly because the English were not letting the Senecas travel through their own country, because traders were not permitted to go to them, because the selling of powder and lead to them had been prohibited, and because the General was giving away their land to settlers. William Johnson was concerned that Kiasutha and Tahaiadoris were trying to start a war without the approval of the Iroquois Council. He planned to travel to Detroit for a grand council and asked General Amherst for trade items to use as presents. When Amherst eliminated the gun powder, lead, knives, and flints, Johnson argued that they needed ammunition for their hunting livelihood. Amherst gave in, and Johnson took ammunition to Detroit. Major Henry Gladwin arrived there on 1 September 1761, but he was suffering from malaria. Johnson came two days later, and Croghan had already gathered delegates of the Ottawa, Huron, Potawatomi, Chippewa, Miami, Shawnee, and Delaware nations. Johnson later admitted that his strategy in this case was to keep the Indians from uniting by making them jealous of each other.
When the Ohio Delawares met with the Iroquois at Easton, Pennsylvania in August 1762, the Seneca chief Kinderutie declined Governor James Hamilton’s request for a trading post on the Susquehanna. He complained that the English had broken their promise by building a large fort and houses at Pittsburgh. Croghan wrote that the Indians believed that the English building of so many forts and keeping ammunition from them meant that they were going to attack the Indians as soon as their captives were released. For this reason the Indians tried to retain English prisoners. Also that summer 36 armed Mingos and Senecas presented a certificate from Croghan and asked for food from Francis Gordon at Fort Venango because they had not eaten for three days. They had to plunder sheep to force him to oblige.
By 1763 the British had about a million and a half colonists on the North American continent. William Johnson said that there were about 50,000 Indians with 10,000 warriors, though scholars consider his estimate low. General Amherst commanded about 8,000 soldiers, but only about 2,000 of them were in the western forts.
On or about 21 April 1763 commandant Henry Gladwin at Fort Detroit executed a Panis slave woman for being an accomplice to murder, and he let her body remain hanging as an example. Pontiac held a war council in his village on April 27, and they sent ten men to reconnoiter Fort Detroit on May 1. They did this while Pontiac and about thirty others did a ceremonial dance in the fort. A second council on May 5 decided to take the fort by stealth, and they sent messages to the Ottawas, Ojibwas, and Mississaugas in the north. The Miamis, Piankashaws, Delawares, Shawnees, Mingos, and Wyandots were already involved, though Chief Teata of the Catholic Wyandots remained aloof.
On May 7 Pontiac and about 300 Indians entered Fort Detroit hiding sawed-off guns under their robes. Pontiac was to give a signal by turning a wampum belt from the white to the green side; but so many armed soldiers were present that he did not do it. In their camp the Indians searched for the informer and beat a woman nearly to death. Two days later Pontiac tried to enter the fort with 400 warriors, but Gladwin said he would admit no more than 60. At that point most of the French abandoned the fort. A few hours later Pontiac’s men began shooting at the fort. The next day some Wyandots offered to mediate. They and some chiefs asked to meet with Col. Donald Campbell. Gladwin agreed; but when they left, two Potawatomis were taken hostage. The Wyandots sang a war song, and some French and Indians went to consult with Pierre Joseph Neyon de Villiers at Fort de Chartres in the Illinois country. Pontiac recognized Antoine Cuillerier as the commandant of Detroit. The Ojibwa chief Wasson seized Campbell to revenge a battle death and murdered him. This made Pontiac furious, and Amherst ordered Gladwin to put all Indian captives to death.
The Ottawas, Wyandots, Ojibwas, Potawatomis, and Miamis captured five posts using surprise tactics before news arrived that Fort Detroit was under siege. Fort Sandusky was taken on May 16 and Fort St. Joseph on May 25 by entering for a council. Soldiers were lured out of Fort Miami, and it was captured on May 27. On June 2 Ojibwas and Sauks used a lacrosse game and chased a ball toward the open gate, rushed in, and killed 15 British soldiers and one civilian, capturing the rest. Later they executed five soldiers. The Senecas took over Fort Venango and Fort Le Boeuf, and they besieged Fort Niagara. Fort Presque Isle had a strong blockhouse with about 60 men, but on June 19 some 250 Ottawas, Ojibwas, Wyandots, and Senecas attacked with fire arrows. To avoid the burning of the blockhouse the English surrendered and were told they could go to Fort Pitt. Most were murdered when they came out; but the Wyandots took six people to Gladwin in Detroit. The eastern Mississaugas remained neutral. Thirteen forts had been assaulted by Indians or evacuated by the British by late June.
The Delaware chiefs Tamaqua, Shingas, Weindohela, and Daniel met with Thomas Calhoun and fourteen disarmed men at Tuscarawas on May 27. The fourteen were ambushed, but Calhoun escaped. The Delawares attacked Fort Pitt on June 22, but they began negotiating two days later. According to an account book at that meeting two chiefs were given two blankets and two handkerchiefs that had been infected with smallpox. General Amherst ordered the use of smallpox as a weapon on July 7, and six days later Col. Henry Bouquet agreed.
Another siege of Fort Pitt began on July 27. Fort Ligonier and Fort Bedford also held out, but other forts in the region were abandoned. Daniel led 18 warriors to attack settlers in the Susquehanna Valley. They joined eight other raiders and killed at least 18 people including three children while suffering only one death. The hostile Indians kept supplies from getting to Fort Pitt. In the late summer the Susquehanna Delawares attacked the New England settlers in the Wyoming Valley. Col. Bouquet gathered nearly 500 Royal Americans at Carlisle to take supplies, but they were attacked near Bushy Run on August 5 by Indians who were running out of ammunition but managed to kill 50 and wound 60. Most of the flour was abandoned to carry the wounded, and Bouquet arrived at Fort Pitt with 390 men. The Ohio Indians abandoned the siege of Fort Pitt.
During the summer the British used the schooner Huron to bring supplies and men to Fort Detroit and to blast Pontiac’s village. Pontiac was ready to negotiate peace by the end of July because he believed the war was futile. Gladwin allowed Captain James Dalyell to lead a surprise attack on Pontiac’s village on July 31 with 247 soldiers. Pontiac learned of the plan and was prepared. In the battle of Bloody Run the English suffered 18 killed and 40 wounded, but only six of Pontiac’s warriors were killed. This victory brought another hundred warriors to reinforce Pontiac. The British ship Michigan was wrecked in Lake Erie on August 28, and a week later the Huron was attacked by 350 warriors; but the ship escaped, and Gladwin renamed it Victory. Pontiac learned in September from the French that their King Louis XV had in fact given their territory to the British. Most of the Senecas remained neutral, but on September 14 several hundred Genesee Senecas killed more than 70 soldiers in the Niagara area.
On 7 October 1763 King George III divided his acquired territory into Quebec, East Florida, and West Florida but reserved the western territory for the Indians, proclaiming
that the several nations or tribes of Indians
with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection
should not be molested or disturbed in the possession
of such parts of our dominions and territories as,
not having been ceded to or purchased by us,
are reserved for them, or any of them, as their hunting grounds.10
On October 11 the Mississauga chief Wabbicomigot began negotiating peace with Gladwin who six days later also talked with the Chippewa chief Wasson and Manitou of the Ottawas. On October 20 Major John Wilkins led 600 troops to relieve Fort Detroit, but they were attacked on Lake Erie and turned back. Pontiac’s forces were running out of ammunition, and by the end of October the Ottawas had negotiated an informal truce with Gladwin. Pontiac said that all his men had “buried their hatchets.” Pontiac and 150 of his followers went to resettle a village ninety miles from Detroit.
In this war that would go on for another year or so, more than 400 English soldiers were killed while about 2,000 settlers lost their lives. General Amherst learned of his requested transfer on October 7, and he sailed for London on 18 November 1763. His replacement, Major General Thomas Gage, had fought Indians with Braddock and used diplomacy administering Montreal. He would improve the British policy toward the Indians by relying more on the Indian Superintendent William Johnson.
1. “Join or Die” by Benjamin Franklin, The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754 in Benjamin Franklin Writings ed. J. A. Leo Lemay, p. 376-377.
2. Dinwiddie Papers, I, 101 quoted in Colonial Virginia, Volume 2 by Richard L. Morton, p. 630.
3. Empire of Fortune by Francis Jennings, p. 154-155.
4. “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.
5. “Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755” in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin ed. Leonard W. Labaree et al, Volume 6, p. 242.
6. “Letter to ——, December 13, 1757” in Benjamin Franklin Writings ed. J. A. Leo Lemay, p. 748.
7. “A Letter from Father Abraham,” The New-England Magazine, August 1758 in Benjamin Franklin Writings ed. J. A. Leo Lemay, p. 512.
8. “Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County of a Number of Indians, Friends of this Province, by Persons Unknown” by Benjamin Franklin in Benjamin Franklin Writings ed. J. A. Leo Lemay, p. 546.
9. Jeffery Amherst to Sir William Johnson, August 9, 1761, Johnson Papers, 3:514-516 quoted in Never Come to Peace Again by David Dixon, p. 88.
10. Documents of American History ed. Henry Steele Commager, p. 48.
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