Due to the character of this important work by Canadian historian Gerald Therrien as continuation of the line of discoveries published in How the Nation Was Won (1630-1754), the editors of the Canadian Patriot recommends that readers of the following series become familiar with the thesis laid out by Graham Lowry in the aforementioned book in order to take the most out of the scholarly work featured below by Mr. Therrien.
-The Canadian Patriot
By Gerald Therrien
Introduction (excerpt from How the Nation Was Won)
Chapter 1 – 1753, the Road Begins
Chapter 2 – 1757, the Road travels to London
Chapter 3 – 1759, the Road to Quebec
Chapter 4 – 1761, the Road through Pontiac’s War
Chapter 5 – 1764, the Road around the Royal Proclamation
Chapter 6 – 1766, the Road to Fort Stanwix
Chapter 7 – 1769, the Road to the Grand Ohio Company
Chapter 8 – 1773, the Road to the Revolution
The Approaching Conflict
From “How the Nation Was Won” (p.464-465) – H. Graham Lowry
The year 1751 marked a turning point in American colonial history. The surge of nation-building aspirations which had begun during the 1740s, was being transformed into specific plans of action, which the British monarchy clearly intended to prohibit. Britain’s dilemma was that it had no reasonable grounds for doing so, as Franklin and others were quick to point out. American mobilizations beginning with the Louisburg campaign had also changed colonial self-perceptions, such that British attempts at political repression were more likely instead to promote the idea of independence. Even before the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, it was also no secret to Americans, that Britain encouraged French and Indian attacks against any attempts to develop the frontier. Since Louisburg, however, it was not so evident in London, that the French threat would hold America in line.
New colonial initiatives, to secure the vast territory beyond the Appalachian Mountains, developed rapidly after 1751. They proceeded from a clear strategic assessment, and were designed to open the West, with or without Britain. Under authority of the Ohio Company, plans were pushed forward to colonize the new lands. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Lord Thomas Fairfax, and Robert Dinwiddie became leading coordinators of the drive, which was strengthened by Dinwiddie’s assuming office as governor of Virginia, in November 1751. Measures were pursued to secure the friendship of the Indians of the Ohio country, and forts began to be constructed to defend the territory against the French. Scouting expeditions proceeded far down the Ohio River, and gathered intelligence on boating conditions all the way to its junction with the Mississippi.
Politically, the road ahead led to inevitable confrontation with either France or Britain, and perhaps both. But the Americans’ strategy was brilliant, and contained a fateful trap for Britain, from which there was no imperial escape. Were France to yield to American claims to the Ohio country, then only Britain could stand in the way of a great nation-building enterprise. For Britain to chose such a course – an extremely difficult one at best – would simply intensify America’s movement toward independence. On the other hand, if the French attacked the new settlements, the Americans would fight. Were Britain to defend its colonial claims, it would thus endorse the opening of the West, and would have to abandon its own policies of containment. Britain’s only remaining option – refusing to fight in support of the colonies – would immediately destroy its political hold over them, and lead as surely to their independence.
The story of how this trap was set belongs to the second volume of this work. Once it was sprung, the political dynamic leading to the American Revolution was fully in motion. It was sprung on May 28, 1754, by Colonel George Washington of the Virginia militia, when his troops engaged a body of French soldiers at Jumonville Glen, east of the Allegheny River. That victorious skirmish marked the beginning of the French and Indian War. There were those in Britain who recognized the trap, and they spent the next twenty years trying to wriggle out of it – to no avail.
After the news reached London, Horace Walpole, the brother of old “Bob Booty,” wrote, “The volley fired by a young Virginian in the backwoods of America set the world on fire.” In America, Benjamin Franklin convened a colonial congress at Albany, to begin work on a plan of union. In support of the project, Franklin published America’s first political cartoon. Widely reprinted at the time, it later became a symbol of the American Revolution. The cartoon portrayed a serpent, divided into segments representing the separate colonies, over the motto, “JOIN, or DIE.”
Chapter 1 – 1753: the Road Begins
On October 19, 1745, Jonathan Swift, one of America’s great allies, passed away at the age of seventy-seven. He had been suffering with Miniere’s disease for the past ten years, during which time he had also suffered a stroke. Yet, he still had lived long enough to be able to see Georg Handel perform the Messiah, for the very first time, in April 1742 at the Musick Hall in Dublin, using the choir of St. Patrick’s (with Dean Swift’s permission). Before he died he would also hear of how the American colonists had finally captured Fort Louisbourg in June 1745.
The capture of Louisbourg in 1745, with the British now taking control of the St. Lawrence, made goods very expensive at the French trading forts between Quebec and New Orleans. Together with the treaty agreement between the Iroquois and the colonies of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland in 1744, this created an opportunity for the American colonies to now expand into the Ohio River valley. Whoever commanded the Ohio, held the key to the watersheds of the Allegheny, Wabash and Ohio rivers; the principal route to the Mississippi River and the west; and access to that new frontier between the Appalachians and the Mississippi. With the Ohio in hand, New France’s lifeline with Louisiana would be cut, and the French and Indian encirclement of the American colonies would be ended. America had three roads to the Ohio: one road by water from Albany and Fort Oswego – which would also cut off the French from access to the Ohio country from New France, and two roads to cross the mountains – from Pennsylvania and from Virginia.
However, in 1748 by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the French had Louisbourg returned to them, and commissioners were to be appointed to settle the Ohio boundaries. Similarly, in 1713 the treaty of Utrecht gave Nova Scotia to Britain, ‘according to its ancient boundaries’, with British and French commissioners meeting in Paris to fix the boundaries. After filling four large volumes with evidence, the commissioners then dispersed, having solved nothing. The French settlers still living in Nova Scotia (Acadians), kept their land and continued to practice their own religion, as the British did not want them to leave and open up the area to American settlers. So for the next forty years, the British forgot about their wretched little garrison there at Fort Anne, leaving it to its own resources to survive. But, the New Englanders increasingly used Nova Scotia as a convenient spot for fishermen to get firewood and water and to dry their catch of cod (while keeping on the lookout for French-inspired Indians hunting for scalps to be sold at French posts). When the British returned Louisbourg to the French in 1748, the French would begin two new forts on the Chignecto Isthmus (connecting modern-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) – Fort Beausejour, on the west side of the Missaguash River on the south side of the isthmus, and Fort Gaspereau, on the north side of the isthmus – thus conceding all land east of the Missaguash River as British territory. In September 1750, the British under Major Charles Lawrence landed on the east side of the Missaguash, across the river from Fort Beausejour, and began building Fort Lawrence. The Abbe Le Loutre and his band of Micmacs burned Beaubassin, on the west side of the Missaguash, to drive the French settlers into French-claimed territory !
Lord Halifax of the Board of Trade also began a new settlement at Chebucto, Nova Scotia (to be named Halifax, by Cornwallis who would lead the expedition there). While promising free land, arms and ammunition, tools, and rations for one year, very few from rural England went, most settlers being the poor and sick of London. When most of these people were gone, either by death or desertion within the first three years, they were replaced by poor people from the Rhineland, French protestants, and an influx of ex-servicemen from Britain, in order to check the stream of American colonists to the area.
Before the Anglo-French war (King George’s War) ended in 1748, George Croghan, a Pennsylvania trader taking advantage of the trade goods famine, had a trading post on the Cuyahoga River at Lake Erie, a post at Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie (50 miles from Fort Detroit), another post at Logstown, 15 miles from the Forks of the Ohio and, now started a new post at Pickawillany on the Great Miami River. Meanwhile, seeing the Pennsylvanian intrusion into the Ohio valley, in 1749 the French government placed La Belle Riviere (Ohio River) under the jurisdiction of the Governor-General of New France, who, that June, dispatched a force on a tour of the Ohio country. In 1751, a French attempt against Pickawillany failed when few Indians at Fort Detroit volunteered to join. Because the Iroquois stood in the way, few French soldiers, settlers or traders had entered the Ohio country. (1)
The French had rarely used the Ohio River, preferring to sail to Lake Michigan and either from Fort La Baye and the Fox River via portage to the Wisconsin River, or from Fort Chicago via portage to the Illinois River, to reach Fort Chartres and the Mississippi River. The French now began to stir the Iroquois’ wrath against the Catawbas. A border war of redskins would cloak French troop movements and furnish an excuse for occupying strategic Ohio points. The Jesuits were also seeking to renew their residence at Onondaga Lake among the Iroquois. To stop this plan of the Jesuits, William Johnson, who had been American colonel of the Indian forces and kept the supply to Fort Oswego during King George’s war, (and was the nephew of Peter Warren – the commander of the naval forces in the capture of Louisbourg) purchased from the Iroquois a tract of two miles wide around Onondaga Lake (including the lake). An Indian council was held in Albany in July 1751, which included the council of New York and the Six Nations, as well as representatives of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Carolina, and six sachems of the Catawbas of the southern frontier.
In Virginia, the Ohio Company had built a storehouse at Wills Creek on the Potomac River in 1749, and over the next two years sent Christopher Gist to explore the Ohio valley and plan for future settlements. By the spring of 1752, the Ohio Company of Virginia had built a trading post called Gist’s Plantation, 50 miles west in the Youghiogheny valley and proposed a treaty council at Logstown with the Iroquois to gain approval for a trading post at the forks of the Ohio. But in June of 1752, a few days after the Logstown conference ended, the French, along with Ojibwa and Ottawa Indians from Michilimackinac, attacked and destroyed the post at Pickawillany, and the Pennsylvania traders evacuated the Ohio valley.
Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia asked the Board of Trade for money to build posts on the Ohio. Forging ahead with their plans for settlement, the Ohio Co. quickly built a new post, Red Stone Fort, at Red Stone Creek on the Monongahela River, 12 miles west of Gist’s Plantation, and just 37 miles from the Forks.
In response, in October 1752, the French governor-general announced his intention to build four new forts between Lake Erie and the Forks of the Ohio – Fort Presque Isle, Fort de la Riviere au Boeuf, Fort Machault, and Fort Duquesne, to stop the Virginians. The construction, beginning in the spring of 1753, would require two years and the mobilization of two thousand men from the troupes de la marine and from the colony’s militia, with the total size of New France’s population of about eleven thousand able-bodied men between the ages of sixteen and sixty. (Four hundred workers lost their lives by accident or disease during the construction.) The French, having to enter the Ohio country before a war was declared, were to stop the advance of the Americans and to deny them access to the west.
The Americans at Fort Oswego watched the French move men and supplies and notified William Johnson. (Johnson had been appointed as New York’s Indian agent in 1746, but resigned over non-reimbursement of expenses in 1750, and was appointed in 1752 to Governor Clinton’s Crown Council.) With a British officer and five men lurking in the woods for four months, at constant risk of losing their scalps, watching the French build the first two forts and a portage trail between them, and although the American colonies outnumbered the Canadians twenty to one, the British did little to meet the French threat. Dinwiddie, the Governor of Virginia, had only a British directive instructing the Colonial governors to demand withdrawal of the French; and if it came to that, to repel force by force. In July 1753, the Ohio Company commissioned Trent, Cresap and Gist to start work on a post at the forks. By August, the French had completed the first two forts (Fort Presque Isle on Lake Erie and Fort Le Boeuf on French Creek) and the 25-mile portage between them; had begin Fort Machault where French Creek emptied into the Allegheny River; and now began moving 12,000 pieces of supplies and 1,300 men to Fort LeBoeuf in preparation for their move to the Ohio. But by November, with the drying up of French Creek and the coming of winter, the French would have to wait until next spring to continue their next step – a fort at the fork of the Allegheny and the Ohio rivers.
Watching the French invasion of the Ohio, the Iroquois (conquerors of the Ohio country) appointed Tanaghrisson as the spokesman of the Ohio Indians, who called a council at Logstown, inviting agents of both the French and English to present their cases to the Ohio chiefs. Since the resignation of Johnson as Indian agent for New York, the Indian Commissioners in Albany had been re-instated to oversee the subsequently deteriorating relations with the Iroquois, who tried petitioning Governor Clinton that Albany was more interested in trade with Montreal, except for the rum trade in the Mohawk valley, and wanted the liquor trade stopped.
Cadwallader Colden, a New York Crown Councillor and author of ‘History of the Five Indian Nations’ in 1747, in a 1751 report on the present state of Indian affairs, attacked the Albany commissioners, claiming they ignored the Six Nations and strengthened the French cause by trading with Montreal. Archibald Kennedy, another New York councillor, in a 1751 pamphlet, described the Albany commissioners as Dutch mercenaries who for the sake of profits colluded with the French.
In June 1753, a group of Iroquois led by Mohawk chief Hendrik travelled for a meeting in New York City with grievances of land fraud, diplomatic neglect (i.e. presents), and the rum trade, which were causing an increase in famine, poverty, and out-migration to Canada. The Iroquois felt that this meant that the British had broken the Covenant Chain, the treaty between the British and the Iroquois. (Since the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, the French had recognized the Iroquois as British subjects.) This Iroquois dependence on the British crown had legitimized the British territorial claims in the Ohio Valley. The British had now allowed these claims to be jeopardized. (When news of this reached London, the Board of Trade would send back word to the colonial governors, ordering them to convene an inter-colonial conference to mend the broken chain.)
When reports of the French actions reached Dinwiddie in Virginia, he called the General Assembly into session. Dinwiddie accepted the offer of service from a 21 year-old major in the Virginia militia, George Washington, and sent him along with Gist (as scout), van Braam (as interpreter), 4 frontiersmen, and a band of Indians led by the Seneca chief, Tanaghrisson. Leaving Williamsburg November 1, 1753, they travelled first to Fort Machault, and then to Fort Le Boeuf, with a letter from Dinwiddie demanding the French leave their posts. While waiting for the French to respond, Washington noted their defences, men, and canoes and later drew up a map of the area. After the French refused, and sent Washington back with their answer, Dinwiddie, with only the British directive, decided to raise troops, march to the forks and occupy it, before the French resumed their invasion next spring.
In January 1754, Washington and Trent received their orders to enlist 100 men each and march them with all speed to the forks of the Ohio. Washington was to enlist his men in Virginia, while Trent was to enlist his men from among the 300 frontiersmen who every year went to the Ohio country to trap and trade. The House of Burgesses finally voted £10,000 for the Ohio expedition. Dinwiddie promised to distribute 200,000 acres of tax-free Ohio land among the volunteers. Dinwiddie, to show the imminence of a French command of the Forks, had Washington’s journal of his trip to Fort Le Boeuf published and distributed throughout the colonies. Britain, with Crown funds, would now promise to send one company of Independent troops from South Carolina and two companies from New York to help Virginia. By February, Trent had put up a storehouse at Redstone Creek on the Monongahela River as an operational base; brought in supplies and provisions for the fort at the fork; and delivered 14 horse-loads of presents to the Ohio Indians. Trent and 40 militiamen would now load rafts with tools and pole down the river to its junction with the Allegheny River to begin a fortified strong-house, which would be finished by the middle of April and named Fort Prince George.
At the same time, in mid-January, 500 French regulars and militia left Quebec, picking up 300 more troops at Montreal, along with orders to take possession of the Ohio River and to destroy all work of the American colonists, arriving in March at Presque Isle. After being joined by 350 additional men at Fort Machault, on April 1st, 600 French troops began their descent to the forks, where the 36 armed men at Fort Prince George surrendered to them on April 16th. With all reinforcements now sent there, 1100 French troops, militia and Indians began construction of Fort Duquesne.
Meanwhile, on April 2nd, Washington received orders to stop recruiting and proceed to march 250 miles with all possible speed to Trent’s assistance at the forks and to complete the fort. Arriving at Wills Creek, still over 100 miles along an old Indian trail from the forks, and finding none of the promised additional supplies or wagons or horses, the 22 year old now Lt. Colonel Washington, with his 159-man force, learned of the surrender to the French, and pondered his next move. Dinwiddie’s instructions has stated ‘in case any attempts are made to obstruct the work or interrupt our settlements by any persons whatsoever, you are to restrain all such offenders, and in the case of resistance to make prisoners of or kill and destroy them’. On May 9th, when word of the surrender reached Philadelphia, Ben Franklin’s ‘Pennsylvania Gazette’ published a report, ending with Franklin’s famous cartoon of a snake divided into eight pieces, with the caption beneath – ‘Join, or Die’.
Washington decided to push on as far as possible, set up a forward base and then wait for the promised reinforcements – 100 more Virginians, 350 Independents from North Carolina, 200 from Maryland and 2 Independent companies from New York – and with these additional 800 men to capture the French fort. Leaving Wills Creek en route to Redstone Creek storehouse, on May 23rd they camped at Great Meadows and received word that the French were marching to meet them. The French had sent out a small detachment of around 30 men from Fort Duquesne to demand that Washington depart from French territory or force would be used. On May 28th, Washington with 40 men and Tanaghrisson with his band of Indians advance and attacked the French, killing 10, wounding 1, taking 21 prisoners, and 1 escaping back to Fort Duquesne. On June 8th the three remaining companies of Virginia’s militia, about 180 men, arrived, and on June 14th one company of South Carolina Independents about 50 men, arrived. On June 16th, with about 400 men and very little supplies, the now full Colonel Washington started out again for Redstone, but without the South Carolina Independents, who refused to take orders from a buckskin colonel, or to lend a hand at building the road or any menial labour. Washington reached Gist’s settlement on June 28th. (Gist had brought 11 settlers earlier that spring to begin this settlement.) On June 30th, after hearing reports that a large French force of 500 men and 150 Indians had arrived at Redstone Creek, Washington decided to return back to Great Meadows, and with little time, to build a circular stockade with a few trenches, which they named Fort Necessity. With no Independents nor Indian allies arriving, and with only 300 fighting men, on July 4th, Washington was attacked by the French forces. After an all-day battle, with one-third of his men killed or wounded, with the French expecting 500 more Indian reinforcements in the morning, and with no hope for victory, Washington was forced to surrender, being allowed to march off with the honour of war, taking with them all their weapons and as much property as they could carry, while agreeing to return all prisoners(2), and promising to keep out of the Ohio country for one year.
Meanwhile, the inter-colonial conference, meeting in Albany since June 19th, was now having Benjamin Franklin prepare its final draft of a Plan for Union, not knowing what had happened in the middle of the Ohio country.
Franklin at Albany
The story is told that the British called for an inter-colonial conference to repair the broken relations with the Six Nations (Iroquois). The real story is more complicated, though, (and much more truthful).
In September 1753, Lord Halifax, head of the Board of Trade overseeing the colonies, sent the new governor of New York with instructions to the colonial governors ordering them to convene an inter-colonial conference. However, his instructions read “… and that nothing may be wanting to convince the Indians of the sincerity of our intentions, you will do well to examine into their complaints they have made of being defrauded of their lands”, “… but when the Indians are disposed to sell any of their lands the purchase ought to be made in His Majesty’s name and at the public charge”, and “ … to take care that all the Provinces be comprised in one general Treaty to be made in his Majesty’s name – it appearing that the practice of each Province making a separate Treaty for itself in its own name is very improper and may be attended with great inconveniency to His Majesty’s service.” It would seem that the real intent of the British was not to deal with the problem of the French and the Indians, but to deal with the problem (sic) of ensuring colonial dependence on the empire.
Henry McCulloh, a collector of royal revenues in North Carolina, upon returning to London, wrote a report to the Board of Trade in December 1751, insisting that to deal with the French, the British would have to curb colonial self-government and to restore colonial dependence.
While Virginia Governor Dinwiddie, trying to organize an inter-colonial response to the French invasion of the Ohio country, urged the Board of Trade that an Act of Parliament was necessary to compel the colonies to contribute to the Common Cause independently of the assemblies, however, Massachusetts Bay Governor Shirley, in his reports to the Board of Trade, believing that the conquest of Canada would tighten the Crown’s grip on the colonies, blamed his failure to conquer Canada on the disunion in the colonies and their stubborn assemblies that refused to fund his efforts. Shirley advocated colonial union because he too, like McCulloh, believed it would restore colonial dependence, but this union would be impossible to achieve without ‘a well concerted scheme’ enforced by the Crown. (Shirley had been one of the British commissioners trying to settle the boundaries of Acadia, and had married the daughter of his French landlord in Paris).
Lord Halifax(3), the head of the Board of Trade, wrote two reports in April 1754 (The Proceedings of the French in America of which Great Britain has cause of complaint, and, Proposals for Building forts etc. upon the Ohio and other rivers in North America) that saw the breaking of the Covenant Chain as an opportunity to take military and Indian affairs out of local hands and place them in royal hands. The British could stop each colony’s independent pursuit of Indian diplomacy and trade, and place Indian affairs under imperial administration; and it could organize the military occupation of contested regions and curb colonial military autonomy.
When the new governor, Sir Danvers Osborne, committed suicide shorting after arriving at New York, the acting governor DeLancey (a member of New York City’s mercantile elite and a supporter of the Albany crowd) sent out invitations in December to the governors of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia to attend a conference to be held at Albany in June 1754. DeLancey, however, was more interested in preserving New York’s (i.e. Albany’s) control of Indian affairs and the fur trade; wanted to ask the Iroquois’ permission for building 2 new forts on the New York frontier, and to expel all Frenchmen living and trading among them; and wanted the other colonies to contribute to this. All the colonies sent commissioners to attend, except New Jersey – since it had never been party to trade or diplomacy with the Iroquois in the past, and Virginia – which had already planned a May conference with several southern Indian nations. Almost 200 Indians attended the Albany conference, as well as some Caughnawagas who were in Albany, and who would certainly carry news of the conference back to Canada. Between June 19th and July 11th, thirty-two meetings were held by the commissioners, which also included Thomas Pownall (invited by DeLancey) who acted as agent for Lord Halifax of the Board of Trade, and Benjamin Franklin, one of the commissioners from Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s Indian relations had engaged Franklin’s attention in 1753, when he travelled to the frontier town of Carlisle for a conference with Indians from the Ohio Valley in October, and listened to their complaints about abuses in the fur trade. After requesting from James Bowdoin of Boston a copy of the Massachusetts law governing that colony’s Indian trade, he joined with fellow assemblyman Isaac Norris in proposing a similar plan for their colony. Franklin also asked Cadwallader Colden for information on New York’s management of the Indian trade. Earlier in 1751, when Franklin had received a manuscript copy of Archibald Kennedy’s ‘The Importance of Gaining and Preserving the Friendship of the Indians to the British Interest, Considered’, with Kennedy asking for Franklin’s comments, his comments were sent to Kennedy and also Colden. When Kennedy’s essay was published in May 1751, Franklin’s comments in which he endorsed Kennedy’s scheme for a Crown appointed Indian superintendent and also added his own recommendations for a colonial union, were attached as an appendix. Further, Dr. William Clarke of Boston, a close associate of William Shirley, wrote to Franklin in May 1754, on the need for colonial union and included some notes on a pamphlet he was writing on the current crisis. Franklin’s essay ‘Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind’ would appear as an appendix to William Clarke’s pamphlet ‘Observations on the Present Conduct of the French’ in 1755.
With this also in mind, Franklin arrived in New York City on June 5, 1754 with his other Pennsylvania commissioners. While waiting for three days before their boat trip to Albany for the conference, Franklin drafted a proposal for colonial union – ‘Short Hints Towards a Scheme for Uniting the Northern Colonies’, and sent it to New Yorkers James Alexander and Cadwallader Colden, outlining his idea of a governor general and a grand council, regulating inter-colonial military and Indian affairs, the fur trade, frontier fortifications and new western settlements.
After the Mohawks’ delayed arrival, DeLancey gave the opening speech on June 29th and ended the treaty negotiations with his closing speech on July 8th. In the end after six meetings, the Six Nation Indians merely received DeLancey’s promise of continued investigation of alleged land fraud, but also received gifts and presents, including 400 guns and 30 barrels of gunpowder, which needed 30 wagons to haul away. The Iroquois also sold land to their neighbours in the Mohawk Valley – one purchase to 35 German colonists of 12,000 acres, and another purchase of 32,000 acres to a Scottish Indian trader. A large purchase was made by the Penn family of all Iroquois land west of the Susquehanna River to the Ohio and north to lake Erie. Richard Peters and John Penn, the Penn family’s agents at the conference, also exposed a controversial sale to the Susquehanna Company of the Wyoming Valley on the upper Susquehanna River, done through John Lydius, an Albany trader notorious for smuggling goods to and from Montreal.
On June 13th, just before the Albany Congress would convene, ministers of the British government were gathered to discuss a recent letter from William Shirley of his hopes that the colonial delegates would cement a general union between all his Majesty’s colonies upon the continent, and the ministers decided that Lord Halifax and the Board of Trade should prepare such a plan of concert, although not in time to alter its instructions for the Indian conference at Albany. On June 24th, after the commissioners had drafted DeLancey’s opening speech, a motion was passed ‘that the commissioners deliver their opinion whether a union of all the colonies is not at present absolutely necessary for their security and defence’.
Occurring independently of the Indian negotiations, and without instructions from the Board of Trade, the commissioners appointed a committee, with one member from each delegation to prepare such a plan, which met twice (June 25th and 28th) before submitting its draft to the commissioners on the afternoon of the 28th. This draft assured that under this ‘One General Government’ each colony would continue to govern itself internally according to its particular charter or constitution ‘as so many separate Corporations in one Common Wealth’, and thus distanced its proposal from that of the Board of Trade, that called for revoking colonial charters to reduce the colonies to a uniform system of royal government. This draft was debated daily until July 9th, when the committee appointed one of its members, Benjamin Franklin, to prepare the final draft.
On June 10th, they voted for the plan unanimously (except for DeLancey) and voted to lay it before their respective constituents for their consideration and to send copies to those colonies not represented at the congress. The commissioners then wrote another document – ‘Representation of the Present State of the Colonies’ – reflecting their concern with asserting Britain’s sovereignty over regions contested by the French.
One item remained – DeLancey’s proposal for building two forts on the New York frontier. The commissioners agreed that several forts were necessary but that the colonies were not likely to fund them in their present disunited state, and recommended putting it off until they knew the fate of the Albany Plan, thus perhaps exacting some revenge on DeLancey.
Before ending their proceedings, on July 11th they heard a speech from William Johnson, who proposed building forts among the Iroquois and garrisoning them with soldiers, smiths, schoolmasters, missionaries, and military officers who could act as commissaries for the fur trade and fix prices for Indian goods to eliminate fraud; and a speech from Thomas Pownall, the agent of the Board of Trade.
DeLancey forwarded the proceedings of the conference along with the commissioners’ Plan of Union and accompanying report on the present state of the colonies, and also copies of the speeches of Johnson and Pownall to the Board of Trade.
Just before the Congress adjourned, news of Washington’s surrender on the Ohio reached Albany, and hastened the commissioners homeward to counsel their colonies to join in the general defence.
None of the colonial governments approved the Albany plan, declaring that it endangered its liberties and rights, and its charter privileges (though no one was specific about which rights, liberties and privileges that the Albany Plan would destroy) while keeping a close eye on the response of the British Privy Council.
Governor Shirley wrote to Franklin about his objections to the Albany Plan because he believed it encouraged the same inclination toward self-government that made the colonies difficult to rule and put forward his own plan for union. Franklin responded in three letters (in December 1754), with his criticism of Shirley’s plan and asserting the colonists’ constitutional liberties as British subjects.
Braddock at the Ohio
At the same time as the Albany Congress was convening, the British cabinet charged the Board of Trade with drafting a Plan of Concert for the colonies, which it did on August 9th, where the Crown would appoint a commander-in-chief, who would also oversee Indian trade and diplomacy. On September 26th London decided to send two Irish regiments to America and appointed General Edward Braddock as the Crown’s Commander-in-Chief.
Shortly after his arrival, on April 14th, 1755, Major General Braddock called a meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, with William Johnson, his newly-appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, Thomas Pownall, agent for the Board of Trade, Commodore Keppel, and colonial royal governors, (Dinwiddie of Virginia, Dobbs of North Carolina, Morris of Pennsylvania, Sharpe of Maryland, Delancey of New York and Shirley of Massachusetts Bay) to put into effect a plan prepared by the Duke of Cumberland, a man who had never been to America nor shown the slightest interest in its conditions. The plan was to simultaneously attack Fort Duquesne by Braddock, Fort Niagara by Governor Shirley, Crown Point by Johnson, and Fort Beausejour by Monckton – even though France and Britain were still at peace.
London opposed any attempt to conquer New France, seeming to merely push back French encroachments in the disputed territory. To repeat, Lord Halifax’s plan – to stop each colony’s independent pursuit of Indian diplomacy and trade, placing Indian affairs under imperial administration; and to organize the military occupation of contested regions and curb colonial military autonomy – was proceeding to put the Ohio valley, the Mohawk valley, and Nova Scotia under British army command, placing the British army as a buffer between New France and the American colonies, with the British oligarchs now being able to orchestrate both (France and Britain) to stop the expansion of the Americans.(4)
Braddock’s plan against Fort Duquesne was the usual siege ritual: a few shattering salvos followed by surrender of the fort. For this strategy, Braddock insisted on having the huge cannon from Keppel’s ship – four 8” howitzers and four 12-pounders, and on dragging these monstrous guns over 100 miles of mountain roads. Burdened with having little wagons to haul his military supplies and provisions, Braddock desperately turned to Benjamin Franklin for help, who within two weeks organized 150 wagons, 600 draft horses, and 259 pack-animals. Arriving at Fort Cumberland, Braddock found no fresh provisions for his troops. Again, it was Benjamin Franklin who secured funds from the Pennsylvania Assembly to buy food. George Croghan arrived with 50 Indian warriors, along with their women and children. But when Braddock ordered all Indian women to leave, the Indian warriors obliged but did not return, except for Scarooyady, the Delaware chief, and his son, and 6 Iroquois, leaving Braddock with only 8 Indians as scouts or guides for an army that was totally ignorant of how to fight in the woods (as compared to the French with their hundreds of Indian warriors). The French, meanwhile, had sent 3,000 troops to Quebec, and began sending reinforcements to Fort Duquesne, which would now have 500 French troop and 1000 Indian warriors.
On May 29, 1755, Braddock’s army finally began to leave Fort Cumberland, a whole month having been lost, with first sending out 600 pioneers to widen the road for the following three divisions (the 44th Regiment of British regulars, which left on June 7th; the Independent Companies of Virginia and Maryland and the South Carolina Rangers – including one young frontiersman Daniel Boone, escorting the artillery and ammunition, which was far too heavy for the wagons, which left June 8th; and the 48th Regiment with the provision wagons, pack horses, and a herd of oxen and milk cows, which left June 9th ), with the line of march stretching out for three or four miles over roads hacked out of the wilderness, scarcely wagon-wide, with no room to deploy and manoeuvre in case of attack from what might be lurking in the surrounding impenetrable forest. On June 18th, after moving along only 20 miles, at a rate of two miles a day, Braddock called a council of war. When the meeting was over, Braddock consulted privately with George Washington, a volunteer lieutenant-colonel, serving without pay, with no command, as an aide to the general. Washington advised that the most important thing was to reach the Ohio before French reinforcements got through from Canada to Fort Duquesne and to press on with all possible speed. Braddock decided to split his army into two, with one division a flying column of 1200 men, the artillery train and all provisions on pack-horse, leaving behind one division to follow with all the wagons and supplies. By July 8th, Braddock was within 10 miles of the fort. The French knew that they must attempt a surprise attack against the British before their huge siege cannon took aim at the fort. On July 9th, 250 French troops, dressed for bush fighting, and 600 Indian warriors left Fort Duquesne to ambush Braddock.
On meeting the British, the French troops held the centre while the Indian warriors enveloped the British flank. The British advance forces found it impossible to advance against the centre and fearing encirclement by the Indians, fell back into the vanguard that was trying to advance to their assistance, while the baggage train blocked the rear, and threw the column, jammed into a narrow twelve-foot road, into confusion while being fired upon from an ever-tightening arc. The American troops instinctively broke ranks and were fighting from behind rocks and trees, when the British regulars, mistaking them in the confusion for Indians, fired on them repeatedly. (Washington estimated that two-thirds of Virginians either killed or wounded were from ‘our own cowardly dogs of soldiers’.) In the rout of the British, of 1460 men, 421 were wounded and 456 were killed, including General Braddock himself (of 86 officers, only 23 were neither killed nor wounded), leaving behind all their artillery, provisions, supplies and stores, 100 oxen and 500 horses, and the general’s military chest containing £25,000 in gold and all his official papers(5). The French had 8 killed and 8 wounded, and the Indians, suffering 27 killed or wounded, left for home.
When the retreating troops met up with the rear division, numbering 2,000 troops combined, a demoralized and frightened Colonel Dunbar, instead of attacking a now defenceless French fort with no Indian allies, immediately burned, destroyed, or buried everything in sight – wagons, supplies, ammunition, and back tracked as fast as he could to Fort Cumberland. Washington, who lost two mounts and had his hat and clothes riddled with bullet holes, and was the only unwounded member of Braddock’s staff, had Braddock buried in the road and had the army march over it, to hide any trace of its location, and prevent the body from being exhumed and mutilated by the Indians.
Refusing the urging of Governor Dinwiddie for an immediate return to Fort Duquesne with his 1,600 able men of the two Irish regiments as well as the Independent American companies, on August 2nd, Dunbar decided to abandon Fort Cumberland and marched with all his men to Philadelphia, and demanded the city provide them with winter quarters, although it was the middle of summer! Dunbar’s withdrawal stripped Virginia of both men and arms. Dunbar’s two battered and beaten (and well rested) regiments were sent to Albany that autumn, as Britain decided to let the western frontier shift for itself.
The survivors of the Virginia militia stayed at Fort Cumberland, and Dinwiddie offered to make Colonel Washington the commander in chief of Virginia’s military forces. Washington would spend the next three years trying to defend the settlements along the Shenandoah Valley from attack by the French Indian raiding parties, which forced thousands of settlers to flee their farms. (The French forts were used by the Indians to obtain weapons and ammunition, and to exchange prisoners, scalps and loot for trade goods). The frontier settlers had to organize their own defence, building small ‘private’ forts where neighbours could flee in case of attacks, and raising bands of rangers as professional Indian fighters. Washington organized the frontier defences, running a line of forts along the east slope of the Allegheny mountains. Pennsylvania took similar measures, under Benjamin Franklin and George Croghan, building an unbroken chain of forts garrisoned by paid troops, to harbour refugees and to accommodate the border patrol.
Monckton at Acadia
After the April meeting with Braddock in Alexandria, Virginia, Governor Shirley was to supply 2,000 provincial troops in Massachusetts (two battalions under John Winslow and George Scott) and to send them to join Monckton at Fort Anne in Nova Scotia. These troops sailed from Boston on May 23, 1755, arriving two days later where they were joined by a fleet and 250 British regulars from Halifax. Monckton sailed with this force on June 1st, landed and marched toward Fort Beausejour to prepare for a siege of the French fort of 160 French regulars and 300 Acadian recruits, who were threatened with death by the French commander if they refused. On June 14th, the French received word from Fort Louisbourg that they could not send any help as they themselves feared an attack from the British. After the British began their initial shelling on June 16th, the French immediately surrendered Fort Beausejour, with the regulars granted permission to be transported to Fort Louisbourg. On the 18th, Winslow with 500 men was sent 12 miles to the other side of the isthmus to Fort Gaspereau with its 30 French regulars and entered the fort. One week later, the British forces sailed to Fort St. John (along with the transports of French regulars from the two captured forts) and on June 25th, upon approaching, the French blew up their weapons and fled. The British now controlled all of Nova Scotia with its 20,000 French Acadians and 3,000 Micmacs.
As part of the terms of capitulation signed by Monckton, the French Acadians were pardoned. However, Nova Scotia’s Lt. Gov. Lawrence had not signed nor confirmed it. When Acadian deputies from the Minas settlements travelled to Halifax, petitioning the confiscation of their boats and the surrendering of all their arms, since these were necessary for hunting, they were ordered to take an ‘unconditional’ oath of allegiance, were refused time to go home and consult their neighbours, and when they refused without the exemptions, were imprisoned, and all Acadians were ordered deported and distributed among the American colonies, (Lawrence presumed as indentured servants).
Early August, as news of Braddock’s defeat at the battle of Monongahela arrived, the roundup and imprisonment of all the Acadians began. All land, livestock, and harvested grain was forfeited to the British crown, and all homes and barns were burned. Although the American officer, Maj. Gen. Winslow, had no love for this task, he was under orders from Lt. Governor (Major) Lawrence. By December 1755, the destruction was complete and nearly 6,000 Acadians were gone. The rest of the Acadians fled to Isle St. Jean and Isle Royale, or parts of Quebec.
Upon hearing of his deportation orders, Lawrence, who had been Lt. Governor since 1753, was promoted by London to full Governor.
Shirley at Niagara
Governor Shirley’s campaign was to recruit 2,500 colonists into two regiments and to proceed through the Mohawk valley to Fort Oswego and then by boat to attack the French post at Niagara, cutting the French supply lines from New France to the Ohio forts, Fort Detroit and the western posts. The two regiments reached Albany in early July, and along with 500 men of Schuyler’s New Jersey provincial regiment, which he took away from Johnson’s forces, embarked from Schenectady for Oswego. While Johnson’s campaign against Crown Point would travel through land and Indians under French control, Shirley would travel through friendly Six Nation territory, with nothing to fear from the Indians. Still, Shirley sent Lydius and Alexander with rum and presents to lure away Iroquois parties from Johnson’s campaign, while Johnson would need all the Indians he could get. Shirley also told the Iroquois that Johnson’s commission as Superintendent of Indian Affairs came from him, to further lure warriors away from Johnson (whereas Johnson’s appointment had come from Braddock). Shirley also appointed Lydius as Colonel over the Six Nations, as a further usurpation of Johnson’s command.(6) Three long weeks later, Shirley’s force of 1500 men reached Oswego on August 2nd. Maj-General Shirley was now Commander-in-Chief, upon learning of Braddock’s death in Ohio. (Shirley’s own son, William, who was Braddock’s secretary, also died at the battle of Monongahela.)
Captain Bradstreet had gone in advance to Oswego with two companies and 300 carpenters and had completed the agreed-upon number of boats, ready for the lake trip to Niagara. Shirley had decided to take 600 men to attack Niagara and leave the rest to guard Oswego, fearing an attack from the French at Fort Frontenac. However the large vessels would only hold half the number of men that Shirley required, but Shirley would not start without 600 men. Before more boats could be built, the usual September storms began to roar across the lake. Finally, on October 24th, Shirley would abandon his attempt on Niagara and retire to Albany with most of his men, leaving 700 at the Oswego garrison with inadequate supplies for the winter.
Johnson at Lake Champlain
Johnson’s campaign was to capture Fort Frederic (Crown Point) and to drive the French from Lake Champlain, and to protect the colonies from any attack by the French through this, the easiest route from New France. While Shirley’s campaign came out of Braddock’s war chest, Johnson’s campaign would be met by the colonies, with militias supplied by New York and Rhode Island (under Maj. General Johnson), by Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut (under Brig. General Lyman), and by New Hampshire, all meeting together at Albany.
Hampered by the lack of supplies there, after Shirley had taken his pick, and unable to recruit more than 600 Indians, due to Shirley’s meddling, Johnson could not leave Albany before August 8th. Although Johnson had never disposed troops in the field, had never been under fire, and had only one regular officer to advise him, he led his 3,500 men north to Lydius’ trading post on the Hudson River, to build and garrison a fort, naming it Fort Edward. Leaving behind the 500 New Hampshire militiamen to complete the fort, on August 26th he set out for the southern tip of Lac St. Sacrement, naming it Lake George, and on arriving on the 28th, began to lay out a camp, calling it Fort William Henry, that would be large enough to hold 5,000 (as he was expecting additional reinforcements) and to begin boat building for the projected attack on Fort Frederic.
From the capture of Braddock’s papers at the battle of Monongahela, the French were well informed of the British plans to attack Fort Niagara and Fort Frederic. Seeing that Shirley would be too late to make an attempt against Niagara, the French, instead of attacking Fort Oswego, sent, in addition to the garrison of 1,200 troops, an additional 280 regulars, 800 Canadien militia, and 700 Indians under Baron Dieskau to Fort Frederic to battle Johnson. On Sept 3rd, with an attack force of 1,500 men (200 regulars, 700 militia and 600 Indians) Dieskau left Fort Frederic on Lake Champlain, by way of South Bay and Wood Creek, and on Sept 7th, arrived at Johnson’s road at a point halfway between Fort Edward and Fort William Henry. Upon hearing reports of the presence of French troops, Johnson sent out 1,000 men (800 militia and 200 Indians) led by Colonel Williams and Mohawk Chief Hendrik, to defend Fort Edward and protect his supply line. On Sept 8th, Dieskau ambushed these troops, engaging them at the front while surrounding them on the flanks. Both Williams and Henrik were killed in the battle. Hearing the sound of the firing, Johnson sent Colonel Cole and 300 Connecticut men to help the retreat back to the barricades of the camp. Dieskau, chasing the broken companies back to the lake, began his attack on the camp, but could not overcome the colonists, and was forced to withdraw from the battle. The militia from Massachusetts Bay leaped over their defences and chased the French survivors into the woods. Dieskau, already shot four times, propped up against a tree and giving orders, was captured. Later, 600 militia from Fort Edward would attack and chase a remnant French force. 260 of Johnson’s forces were killed and almost 100 wounded – a similar number were lost by the French who returned to Fort Frederic. Johnson had been shot in the thigh, leaving Lyman in command.
A wounded Johnson was worrying about how many men the French still had at Fort Frederic; his loss of men; his lack of supplies, tents, blankets and ammunition; the rising of the rivers due to autumnal floods and the storms on Lac St. Sacrement (Lake George); the loss of his Indian warriors who had returned home and would not fight again this year; his council of war warning him against an attack on the French; and receiving nasty letters from Shirley who had bogged down at Oswego, was back in Albany and wanted to blame Johnson for all his problems. Johnson now decided that a better trained and supplied army than his had been crushed on the Monongahela, that the British couldn’t withstand two such blows in the same year, that November was not the time to move on a well fortified post, and that he would garrison the two forts, making Albany safe from French attack.
‘After all, he had won the only victory of the year, defeated an illustrious soldier, and commanded in the first purely American victory over regular European troops.’ The British were forced to reward Johnson for his victory with a baronet.
However, as was discovered later by Surgeon Thomas Williams, the bullets used by the French were poisoned by a solution of copper and yellow arsenic. As for Johnson’s wound, the bullet remained in his leg and gave him intense and protracted pain. In December, not wanting to remain under Shirley’s command, Johnson resigned his commission, but remained as Colonel of the Albany county militia.
Britain and France at War
In January 1756, Britain and Prussia pledged to unite forces against any aggressor who might disturb the peace of Germany. In May, France and Austria pledged to come to each other’s aid should either come under attack in Europe. Shortly thereafter, France launched an attack on Minorca, Britain’s naval base in the Mediterranean, and war between Britain and France was formally declared.
In March 1756, 350 French troops, militia and Indians annihilated the 100-man garrison at Fort Bull, cutting off the supply line to Fort Oswego. (Johnson sent a relief force but it was too late.) In May, Shirley was at Albany, and decided that he didn’t have enough troops to launch both a drive to attack Fort Frederic and a drive to defend Fort Oswego. He wanted a drive on Fort Frederic and promised to try to strengthen Oswego. General Winslow was to lead the provincial troops against Fort Frederic (while the regular forces remained to garrison Fort Edward). Johnson was busy trying to recruit Iroquois for the attack on Fort Frederic, who were reluctant unless the British regulars would join with the provincial troops and who felt open to attack from the French as long as the British failed to protect Oswego. Captain John Bradstreet (of Nova Scotia, who had been at Louisbourg in 1745) was sent to resupply Fort Oswego with provisions for six months, and when he returned to Albany, he warned that a large French force was descending on Oswego.
By July, Britain had replaced Governor Shirley with Lord Loudoun, and with General Abercrombie as commander in chief.(7) Loudoun was invested with powers almost equal to that of a viceroy, being placed above all colonial governors, and now uniting the colonies under military rule. While Shirley had met the colonist’s refusal to provide quarters for his troops by paying for their shelter and provisions, Loudoun simply seized what he needed, by force. The colonial legislatures were forced to build barracks for the troops whom Loudoun wished to quarter. Loudoun also demanded that the colonial legislatures raise soldiers, which would be placed under the command of regular regimental officers (colonial field officers would have to serve under regular officers of lower rank than themselves). Loudoun reached Albany on July 29th, and a few days later, General Webb was sent to Fort Oswego.
On August 10th, 3,000 French troops, militia and Indians, under Montcalm, cut off Oswego from land communication, sunk two vessels to check escape by water, and encircled the fort with trenches. The day after the commanding officer, Colonel Mercer, was killed, on August 14th the fort surrendered, with 1600 women, children, and men (both soldiers and civilians) being taken prisoner back to Montreal. The fort and everything that could not be carried away, was burnt. On the 14th, upon learning of Oswego’s surrender, Webb found himself at the Oneida carrying place (near where Fort Bull had been) and not wanting to take a chance against the French, turned back. But, while on the way back, Webb burned every fort that he could find, so that they wouldn’t be seized by the French (!!!), until he finally reached Johnson and his militia, at Fort Herkimer. When word of the defeat at Oswego reached Loudoun, and now fearing an overwhelming French army would now be assembled in the Champlain valley, he cancelled the plans to send Winslow against Fort Frederic. (After bitter experiences with both Monckton and Loudoun, General Winslow quit the army and returned to Massachusetts).
The next year, 1757, Loudoun’s new plan was to use the provincials to back up the two regular regiments as garrison troops at Fort Edward (over 1,000 men) and Fort William Henry (2,500 men), to prevent an attack on Albany, his campaign headquarters, while he took the remaining regiments (4,000 men) to be joined by Howe (with 6,000 men and 16 ships of the line) to attack Louisbourg. To prevent the flow of intelligence to the French, in March 1757, Loudoun placed an embargo on all shipping from North American ports until seven days after the invasion fleet sailed from New York. Since the fleet did not sail until June 20th, all economic activity in the colonial ports ceased for almost four months! But the expedition never got past Halifax, as Loudoun wasted a whole month (which it was claimed was due to foul weather and a delay in the arrival of the Royal navy squadron). With 22 French ships of the line with 1,360 guns, and with 7,000 ground troops at Louisbourg, Loudoun was unwilling to confront a superior force and so he abandoned the attempt and sailed back to New York!
The French, confident that Fort Louisbourg could take care of itself, and aware that the British drew men away for Loudoun’s wasted attempt against Louisbourg, meanwhile, assembled 8,000 French troops, militia and Indians (over 2,000 Indians from 50 different tribes) at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga).
General Webb still had almost 6,000 men under his command at Albany, Fort William Henry, Fort Edward and the other forts along the Mohawk River. On July 23rd, the French attempted an attack on Fort Edward to test the defences there, taking 32 scalps. On July 27th, the French next attacked 22 British boats on Lac St. Sacrement (Lake George), where 160 died and another 160 were taken captive back to Montreal. At the end of July, 6,000 French troops and Indians proceeded down Lac St. Sacrement (Lake George) to Fort William Henry. Part of the force went down the western shore until it was at a place between Fort William Henry and Fort Edward and could cut off communication between the two forts, while the other part went by boat down Lake St. Sacrement (Lake George) to within a couple miles of Fort William Henry, where Lt. Colonel Monro now had an additional 1,000 men sent from Fort Edward. On August 3rd the French infiltrated the forest, set up a siege camp and began bombardment of the fort. General Webb, with 1,600 men at Fort Edward, hearing the cannons day after day at Fort William Henry (only 14 miles away), did nothing! When Johnson heard of the French attack, he immediately set out from his home (8) with the militia and Indian allies for Fort Edward, and requested permission to lead a force to the relief of Fort William Henry.
Webb refused him and sent a messenger with instructions for Monro to surrender. Monro refused to surrender and instead kept fighting. Finally, on August 9th, he asked for reinforcements. General Webb, while receiving an additional 2,000 reinforcements at Fort Edward, did not think it “prudent” to assist and Monro was forced to surrender. The next day, the 2200 surrendering troops, while marching toward Fort Edward, were attacked by the Indians, some were killed and scalped, and some 500 were taken prisoner, with only 1,400 reaching Fort Edward. The French then destroyed Fort William Henry and, with their Indian allies now gone home with their loot, didn’t attack Fort Edward but returned to Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga). Webb had wanted to burn Fort Edward and retreat to Albany, until Howe arrived with a regiment of regulars!
The frontier settlements along the Mohawk River were now open to French and Indian scalping parties. On November 27th, 300 French and Indians attacked German Flatts (near Fort Herkimer) looting and burning 65 houses, killing 40 and taking 150 captive, while the garrison of British regulars, fearing they were outnumbered, did nothing! The Iroquois, the only Indian nation not on the side of the French, were remaining neutral, because the British had failed to protect Oswego leaving them open to attack by the French, and without any new forts being built and garrisoned to replace the forts destroyed by the French, what would protect their families while they were away fighting. The British regulars tried to use the German Flatts attack to discredit Johnson’s policies as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Loudoun blamed the Six Nations for the loss and threatened to smash them. However, George Croghan’s report to General Abercrombie (9) stopped Loudoun from destroying the Covenant Chain with the Iroquois. Monro’s own report on the fall of Fort William Henry caused the recall of Loudoun and Webb to London. (10)
Back in 1745, with the capture of Louisbourg, the Ohio valley was finally being opened up to the American colonial settlements through Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Now in 1757, as if following a script, Louisbourg had been taken from the colonists and returned to the French (to remain the main French naval base to harass the American coast); the French were allowed to take the Ohio valley (the opening to the west); Fort Oswego (the colonists’ door to the great lakes) and the Mohawk valley was given to the French; the alliance with the Iroquois (and the Ohio Indians) was near an end – even though a conference had been held at Albany to repair it; Nova Scotia, in return, was given to the British – to cleanse of Acadians (while Fort Louisbourg remained untouched); the colonists` frontier settlements were under constant attack from the French and their Indian allies – with no help from the British; the French and Indians again encircled the American colonies, as the French flag flew on the rivers and lakes from Louisiana to Louisbourg. Only a change in British policy (like the work earlier accomplished through the friends of America’s great ally, Jonathan Swift) could save her from losing not only the Ohio, but, the entire continent lying behind it.
The Assembly finally, finding the Proprietaries obstinately persisted in manacling their deputies with instructions inconsistent not only with the privileges of the people but with the service of the Crown, resolved to petition the King against them, and appointed me their agent to go over to England to present and support the petition.”
On July 27, 1757, Benjamin Franklin arrived in London, after landing at Falmouth, and “stopping a little by the way to view Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain”.
- (1) The Iroquois confederacy lived in the area from the Hudson River, west to Lake Erie, and from the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, south to Pennsylvania (the area of modern-day upstate New York) and also had sovereignty over the tribes in the Ohio country. During the 1740’s, the western Seneca Mingos along with the Shawnees and Delawares moved into the Ohio country, which had been depopulated for nearly one hundred years, since it was conquered by the Iroquois during the Beaver wars. In 1748 the Iroquois appointed Tanaghrisson, a Seneca chief, to speak on behalf of the Ohio Indians.
- (2) Washington surrendered two hostages, Captain Jacob Van Braam and Captain Robert Stobo, to quarantee the delivery of the prisoners to Fort Duquesne. While a prisoner, Stobo made a drawing of Fort Duquesne, which was smuggled out, by a friendly Indian, and given to General Braddock.
- (3) George Montagu-Dunk, Lord Halifax, Master of the Buckhounds, was President of the Board of Trade from 1748 until 1761.
- (4) Compared to the population of the American colonies of over 1 million, with a population in New France of only 60,000 (with 8,000 at Quebec, 4,500 at Montreal, 800 at Trois Rivieres – and a 75% rural population), France was much more concerned with her sugar-producing islands in the Caribbean, with 60,000 at Guadeloupe, 80,000 at Martinique, and 190,000 at St. Dominique (90% of which were slaves). Yet, why were the French sending troops to defend New France, while leaving no defence for their Caribbean colonies? How long could the French keep the Americans out of the Ohio valley, before the British would have to step in to do it?
- (5) In these official papers, was a map of Fort Dusquesne with the incriminating signature of Robert Stobo, who, along with fellow prisoner Van Braam, was now to be put on trial in Quebec for breaking his oath while a prisoner at Fort Duquesne and communicating military information to General Braddock.
- (6) Lydius had been part of the notorious Wyoming Valley land swindle against the Iroquois.
- (7) In October, Shirley would be replaced as Governor of Massachusetts Bay by Thomas Pownall, the former agent for the Board of Trade, and Shirley would have to sail for London to defend himself from the charges of wrongdoing brought by Lord Loudoun.
- (8) Fort Johnson was still guarded by cannon sent by his uncle, Sir Peter Warren after his capture of Louisbourg in 1745.
- (9) Croghan was Johnson’s chief deputy in Indian Affairs who had also worked with Benjamin Franklin in Pennsylvania.
- (10) Monro died suddenly in November, and the Scotsman was buried inside St. Peter’s church in Albany.
Chapter 2 – 1757, the Road travels to London
London – July 1757
Following Braddock’s defeat, the raids of French-allied Indians terrorized settlers and created a massive refugee crisis as the frontier emptied of population. The frontier counties of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania lost between one-third and one-half of their populations, either killed or captive, between 1755 to 1758.(1) Virginia responded by resurrecting its provincial regiment, with Washington at its head at Winchester, to try to stop the chaos and flow of refugees. Maryland abandoned Fort Cumberland for Washington to defend and made Fort Frederick, 45 miles west of Baltimore, the limit of frontier defences.
Pennsylvania lacked a militia and had no way to protect any of its settlement from attack, since the Quaker party refused to violate the Peace Testimony by voting funds for defence, and the proprietary party demanded the Penn family’s immunity to taxation, even for purposes of defence. In November 1755, Benjamin Franklin brokered a deal, whereby the Penn brothers agreed to make a £5,000 “gift” to match the legislative appropriation of £55,000 “for the King’s use” – leaving both to save face, and allowing Pennsylvania to now raise troops and build forts. In April 1756, Pennsylvania finally declared war, and in the election that summer, almost all the old-time Quakers quit the Assembly to keep from being stumbling blocks to the war effort, but the governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, refused to approve a defence bill that included taxation of the proprietary estates. Since the attacks on the Pennsylvania frontier settlements came from Indians, both in the Ohio valley (the western Delawares) and in the Wyoming valley (the eastern Delawares), Israel Pemberton and his fellow Quakers organized the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures, trying to end the raids by diplomatic means, and arranged a meeting with the Governor and Teedyuscung, chief of the eastern Delawares in July 1756. The Friendly Association offered the Delawares advice and also financial support, which finally lead to the Treaty of Easton in July 1757. Teedyuscung agreed to have peace between the eastern Delawares and Pennsylvania, to be allies against the French, and to help in pursuing negotiations with the Ohio Delawares. Pennsylvania Governor Denny pledged an official examination of the Walking Purchase (1737) and to creation of a reservation for the eastern Delawares in the Wyoming Valley to compensate for the land they lost in the Walking Purchase, which had been negotiated between the Iroquois, acting as overlords of the Delawares, and the Penn brothers. For this treaty to hold, they would have to bring the Iroquois into the discussions, through Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Johnson, and would have to deal with the problem of the proprietors of Pennsylvania, the Penn brothers.
When the new governor, William Denny, like his predecessor, also refused to approve the defence bill, the Pennsylvania Assembly sent Benjamin Franklin, accompanied by his 26-year old son William, to London to negotiate with the Penns. Thomas Penn was the ¾ proprietor, while his brother Richard was ¼ owner. When Thomas had earlier left America (for good) to return to Britain, he renounced the religion of his father (William Penn), joined the Church of England, married the daughter of the Earl of Pomfret, and lived the life of an aristocrat.(2) Thomas Penn had tried to undermine Franklin’s mission before Franklin had even left for London – trying to persuade the Postmaster General, Sir Everard Fawkener, to withhold support from Franklin as deputy postmaster general of the colonies, and then also turning Pennsylvania’s regular agent, Richard Partridge, against Franklin. Penn was convinced that few people in Britain were even aware of Franklin’s work in electricity (Franklin had been accepted for membership in the Royal Society in 1756), and that Franklin didn’t know the influential political figures who could settle the dispute that Penn did, and Penn was busy poisoning many officials against him.
Soon after Franklin arrived, in July 1757, he was introduced, through his friend Peter Collinson (a Quaker merchant and botanist who had supplied Franklin with an electrical tube in the 1740’s and who brought Franklin’s experiments to the attention of the Royal Society), to another influential Quaker merchant, John Hanbury, who introduced him to Lord Granville, the president of the Privy Council. Franklin’s meeting with Granville did not go well as they quickly disagreed over how binding upon a colony the king’s instructions to a governor were. Then, not long after his meeting with Granville, through a personal letter of introduction from Israel Pemberton, a powerful Quaker political figure in Pennsylvania, Franklin met Dr. John Fothergill, a botanist and influential English Quaker, who arranged a meeting between Franklin and the Penn brothers in mid-August. According to Franklin, the Pennsylvania Assembly was to Pennsylvania what the House of Commons was to Great Britain. Thomas Penn asserted that there was nothing in the charter that granted the Assembly any such privilege. Franklin countered that this privilege had been granted to them by William Penn in the 1701 Charter of Privileges. Thomas responded that the charter from the Crown had given his father no power to grant such privileges, and if Pennsylvanians had been taken in by promises his father could not legally make, then that was their mistake. This infuriated Franklin. The proprietors requested that Franklin put the Assembly’s position in writing, which he did, delivering to them, on August 20th a document labelled “The Heads of Complaint”, which was based on a report made to the Assembly by a seven-member committee on February 22, 1757. The Penns found it highly objectionable, but promised a speedy response. The Penns turned the negotiations over to their attorney, former Pennsylvania agent Ferdinand John Paris, who, hoping to slow the negotiations to a snail’s pace, advised them to turn the “Heads of Complaints’ over to the king’s attorney general, Charles Pratt, and solicitor general, Charles Yorke, for a legal opinion regarding proprietary authority. (That opinion was not forthcoming until November 1758, and Thomas Penn’s promise of a speedy response would take well over a year before Franklin received an answer!)
Around this time, Franklin began having a ‘humming noise in my head’ and ‘seeing little faint twinkling lights’ and ‘a tenderness around the head’. Franklin, suffering this illness for eight weeks, was treated by Dr. Fothergill, and was still feeling its effects as late as January 1758.
Then, articles began appearing in the English press criticizing Pennsylvanians and their assembly. Franklin was convinced that the Penns were behind the articles, but since he was still trying to negotiate with them, he couldn’t answer in his own name, and answered through his son, William, whose rebuttals attacked the proprietors for tax-dodging and for maligning the Quakers in the assembly. These were published on September 20th 1757, in the London Chronicle, a popular evening newspaper owned and printed by William Strahan, who had now become close friends with Franklin in London, after having corresponded with him for the last fourteen years.(3)
In February 1758, William Smith, the provost at the Pennsylvania Assembly and a strong Penn supporter, who had been put in jail for libelling the Assembly, appealed the King in Council for relief. The Privy Council ordered hearings for April 20th. The Penns, with a team of lawyers, argued the case on Smith’s behalf, while Franklin managed the case for the Assembly. Franklin sought out the highly respected attorney Richard Jackson for his opinion on the constitutional questions raised by the Penns’ attorneys urging the council to curtail certain privileges claimed by the Assembly. (The Privy Council would not render their absurd decision until June 1759!)
In a letter to Israel Pemberton, John Fothergill would write that Franklin’s ‘obstructions were next to insurmountable, because great pains had been taken and very successfully to render him odious’. Since little political business was conducted in London in summer, Franklin made plans for some travel and relaxation. He and Billy, who was taking time off from his studies at Middle Temple where he was seeking admission to the bar, were “kindly entertain’d in the Colleges” at Cambridge.(4)
They then journeyed to the Midlands, where in July they visited the ancestral homes of the Franklins in Ecton, Wellingborough, and Banbury and made up genealogical charts. Franklin also went to Birmingham to look for his wife’s ancestors. With a letter of introduction from John Michell, Greek and Hebrew professor at Cambridge University, Franklin met Matthew Boulton(5). He also met Birmingham printer John Baskerville. Then Franklin and his son headed for Tunbridge Wells to join Richard Jackson at the fashionable vacation spa to restore his health and ‘to improve and increase Acquaintance among Persons of Influence’.
Louisbourg – July 1758
When the Massachusetts Bay Assembly invited the other New England colonies to join them in appointing commissioners who would meet and determine what their respective colonies would contribute to the coming campaigns, Lord Loudoun summoned the governors of the four New England colonies plus New York and New Jersey to meet at Hartford on February 20th, 1758 to dress them down for allowing such impertinence in their assemblies and to inform them of the numbers of men that each colony must provide.
On March 10th, after refusing to raise the 2,128 men that Loudoun had demanded, the Massachusetts Bay Assembly received two letters from the new Secretary of State, William Pitt.(6) The first letter recalled Lord Loudoun as commander in chief, to be succeeded by Major General Abercrombie. The second letter informed them that colonial officers would now be subject only to command of regular officers of their own rank or higher, and that the crown would henceforth pay for equipment and provisions of all the men to be raised and reimburse the colonies for other expenses. The next morning, Massachusetts Bay voted to raise 7,000 men! Whereas Loudoun had been refused 7,000 troops by the northern colonies, they now voted to raise more than 23,000 provincials! (The provincial troops were to do garrison duty and road- and fort- building, to free up the British regulars to fight.) Together, these 23,000 provincials, along with the 20,000 regular troops and the tens of thousands of navy and marine troops already posted in the British colonies, were equal to the entire population of New France! Although these measures of Pitt’s were a vast improvement, his military plans still remained essentially the same as those given to Braddock – a simultaneous attack on Fort Duquesne (under Brigadier General John Forbes), an attack on Fort Ticonderoga (under Major General Abercrombie) and an attack on Fort Louisbourg (under Major General Jeffrey Amherst), all the while using the conflict to put the colonies (and the Ohio country) under imperial control.
Admiral Edward Boscawen and his fleet of 20 ships-of-the–line, 18 frigates and 100 transports, sailed, with Major General Amherst and his troops, to join the British ships already at Halifax. On June 1st, the British fleet with 29 ships and almost 12,000 sailors and marines, and carrying Amherst and his 12,000 regulars and 500 Rangers,(7) sailed into Gabarus Bay near Fort Louisbourg. Earlier that spring, the French were able to slip past the British blockade and send 5 ships with 680 troops and another 680 Swiss mercenaries to their Governor at Louisbourg, the Chevalier de Drucour, who now had 2,500 troops and 1,000 militia, plus the five ships and 3,500 sailors and marines guarding the harbour, to defend Fort Louisbourg – being outnumbered by more than three to one. Drucour had 2,000 men, supported by hidden guns, at entrenchments spread out along the four miles of possible landing points.
The British plan called for three thrusts – on the right under Brigadier Whitmore, on the centre under Brigadier Lawrence, and the left under Brigadier James Wolfe. The French batteries opened fire to block Whitmore and Lawrence. When Wolfe attempted to land his troops, the fire from the French troops was so heavy, that he was forced to order a retreat, until he noticed that three boats, under cover of heavy smoke of the French guns, had rowed and landed at a small sandy cove covered by rocks, and ordered the rest of his division to row for the same place.(8)
This decisive action forced the French to retreat to the fort, and allowed the British to land and unload their siege artillery, and then slowly build up a ring around the fortress and begin a sustained siege. On July 27th the French surrendered, and 6,600 French troops embarked in British vessels and sailed out of Louisbourg to be held in Britain and exchanged for British prisoners held by the French. Boscawen claimed his transports badly needed refitting, and new provisions were needed which would have to be acquired and stowed on board, and prisoners had to be disposed of, and ….and….and….! On August 8th, Amherst and Boscawen wrote to William Pitt that an operation against Quebec was not practicable. Amherst ordered the 4,000 civilians of the town deported to France, and then ordered the rounding up and deportation of the entire French populations (another 4,000 men, women and children) of Ile Royale, Ile St. Jean, the Gaspe and Miramaki area, and of Ste. Anne and Fort St. Jean in the St. John River area – with their towns destroyed and burnt.(9)
This time, unlike 1745, Louisbourg would not be given back to the French, but who, like 1745, would ‘miraculously’ avoid any attack on their main colonies in New France – Quebec and Montreal.
Lawrence, as also Governor of Nova Scotia, would organize the resettlement of Acadian lands, mostly by New Englanders, who succeeded in getting Nova Scotia’s first elected assembly in 1758, though without Lawrence’s approval. It was said that Lawrence died of pneumonia after over-indulging at a banquet in Halifax in 1760.
Fort Carillon and Fort Frontenac – July 1758
Major General Abercrombie had assembled his army of 6,000 regulars and light infantry, with 10,000 provincials, boatmen and rangers, at Fort Edward, north of Albany, by the end of June, due to delays. On July 5th, the largest army ever seen in America began to move up Lac St. Sacrement (Lake George) in 1,500 bateaux, barges and whale-boats to attack the French, under Montcalm with 3,600 men and almost no militia or Indians, at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga). Upon reaching the northern end of the lake, Brigadier General Howe and a battalion (guided not by Rogers’ Rangers, but by Gage’s light infantry), moved to bypass Fort Carillon and attack Fort Saint Frederic (Crown Point), which would cut off Montcalm’s line of supply and also his line of retreat. But, with unskilled guides (Gage’s light infantry) and with the thick forest bewildering the troops, in a skirmish with 300 French scouts (although only 50 of the French escaped while the other 250 French were killed or captured), Howe was shot and killed while leading the advance. Abercrombie brought back Howe’s advance division and then took two days (!!!) to move his reunited army over the portage for an attack on the fort. There was now no cut-off of supplies to the French at Fort Carillon, who had limited provisions and could have been starved out with one weeks wait. The French had hastily built an entrenchment outside of the stone fort, with a wooden breastwork and an abattis of tangled, uprooted trees and sharpened spikes. Against the advice of Captain John Stark of the New Hampshire Rangers who was sent to report on the French defences, instead of an artillery attack on these defences, Abercrombie ordered a frontal attack!!! While the Rangers initially drove the French back behind the embankment, the attack by the British regulars could not get through the abattis in the face of the rain of bullets from the French lines. With British casualties of 1,944 (while the French had 527), Abercrombie, while still having 12,000 men – most of whom had not been engaged in the assault (including William Johnson who had just arrived from the Mohawk valley with 440 Indians), and while still outnumbering the French by three to one, immediately retreated to Fort William Henry, leaving behind provisions in their haste, and he was not prepared to renew the offensive, or even to rebuild Fort William Henry. However, thanks to Lt. Colonel Bradstreet who commanded the boatmen in the retreat down Lake George, a rout was turned into an orderly retreat, with the Rangers covering the rear of the British retreat in case of a French pursuit !!!
Prior to Abercrombie’s campaign, Bradstreet had submitted a proposal for an attack on Fort Frontenac simultaneously with the attack on Fort Carillon, which had been endorsed by Howe, but instead Abercrombie had simply sent Brigadier General Stanwix to build a fort on the upper Mohawk River. After the defeat at Fort Carillon, Bradstreet revived his proposal. Now, Abercrombie instructed Bradstreet to reocuppy Oswego, and “if practicable” to attack Fort Frontenac, destroy the shipping there and pose obstacles along the French lines of communications to the west. Bradstreet was allowed to assemble a force of 5,000 provincials at Schenectady and set off to join Stanwix at the Oneida Carrying Place between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek-Lake Oneida. On August 13th, they reached the former Fort Bull, which had been destroyed by the British in the retreat after the fall of Fort Oswego. Lt. Colonel Bradstreet would leave for Oswego with 2,500 provincials along with 500 Independents, Rangers, boatmen and Indians (including 27 Royal artillery – the only British regulars in the almost all-American force), while Brig. General Stanwix would remain with the other 2,600 men to build Fort Craven. On August 22nd, Bradstreet and his troops in 123 bateaux and 95 whale-boats sailed from Oswego (the first time since 1756 that a British force had been there) for Fort Frederic. On August 27th, after 2 hours of firing from the eight British guns, the Americans (without a single loss of life), received the surrender of the French fort, where they found only 110 men (with half of those being either merely employees or carpenters) – all the other troops had been sent to Fort Carillon. The French troops and civilians were allowed to leave for Montreal with a promise that an equal number of British and Americans held captive in New France would be released. Bradstreet and his troops then burned the homes, storehouses, vessels in the harbour and whatever booty couldn’t be taken, and demolished the stone walls of the fort. With French reinforcements on their way from Montreal, Bradstreet did not remain but returned to Stanwix at Fort Craven, where 1,000 men would be left and the rest of the troops would return to Albany.
Bradstreet, who was promoted to Colonel, would publish a pamphlet praising himself and attacking Abercrombie for not following up his victory by launching an expedition to seize the remaining French posts on the Great Lakes. Abercrombie didn’t build a new fort at Frontenac, or even rebuild the one at Oswego! Even though the French lost their fort and so much supplies at Fort Frontenac, when they reached the destroyed fort, did not rebuild it, but instead constructed new ships of war at Presentation, and sent the men to strengthen Fort Niagara, and again, ‘miraculously’ avoided an attack on their colonies in New France.
Abercrombie would be recalled to London and promoted to Lieutenant General, with Jeffrey Amherst appointed the new commander in chief of British forces in North America.
Fort Duquesne – October 1758
Brigadier General John Forbes arrived in New York in March 1758, to begin the drive against Fort Duquesne. By May, 3,000 provincial troops had been promised by Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, in addition to regular troops of 13 companies of Highlands being sent from Britain and several new companies of Royal Americans (recruited from recent German immigrants). The regular troops and the Pennsylvania troops would travel from Carlisle, Pennsylvania by the trader route to Shippensburg, Loudon, and Lyttletown to Raystown. Colonel Henry Bouquet, from the Royal Americans, was sent to Raystown, arriving on June 24th, to build a rear base with a fort, named Fort Bedford, with storehouses to receive more than three months’ provisions for 5,000 men, and a hospital, and to be a place of rendezvous where the various troops would be assembled for the joint march to the Ohio. The Virginia, Maryland and Carolina troops would gather at Fort Cumberland under Colonel George Washington, who was ordered to open a road (30 miles) between that Fort Cumberland and head-quarters at Fort Bedford.(10)
Forbes plan was to reject Braddock’s strategy of a quick thrust from Fort Cumberland, but to build a new road from Raystown to Fort Duquesne: a road that would proceed in short stages, building fortified depots at frequent intervals – he would only go as fast as he could set up supply posts (!!!), and as he neared Fort Duquesne, he would establish a strong fortified base from which to launch the attack – one that he could retreat to, in case of defeat!!! Washington began long and repeated remonstrances against this plan, arguing that Braddock’s road only needed partial repairs and showed, by clear calculation, that an army could reach Fort Duquesne by that route in thirty-four days, whereas the extreme labour of opening a new road across mountains, swamps and densely wooded country would detain them so late that the season would be over before they could reach the fort. Forbes wanted to also avoid Braddock’s problem of the lack of Indian allies. Forbes had been convinced by both the new Pennsylvania Governor Denny, a former army officer, and by the work of Israel Pemberton, of the need to negotiate directly with the Ohio Indians (the Delawares and the Shawnees). In May 1758, the Friendly Association had sent their agent, Christian Frederick Post, a Delaware-speaking Moravian preacher, to make contact with the western Delawares in the Ohio country. He was able to arrange a meeting between Governor Denny and both Teedyuscung, of the eastern Delawares, and Pisqueton, of the western Delawares, where they had agreed to a treaty conference in Easton, in October. Forbes appealed for authorization to proceed, to General Abercrombie, who as commander in chief was Indian Affairs Superintendent William Johnson’s superior as well as General Forbes’, and who was desperate for any success anywhere after the debacle at Fort Carillon, and who agreed on June 23rd.
General Forbes was a sick man, gravely ill, and some days so weak that he could not leave his bed, and had to be carried in a litter whenever he did travel. With Forbes still in bed in Carlisle, Colonel Bouquet, a Swiss soldier of fortune, was the actual field commander of the campaign. On July 31st, Colonel Bouquet received the final go-ahead from Forbes to begin work on the new road, over one hundred miles, from Raystown, over Allegheny Mountain, over Laurel Ridge, over Chestnut Ridge, with a target date to arrive at Fort Duquesne by September 1st !!! By September 1st, they were still not over the “break neck passage of Laurel Hill”, still fifty miles from Fort Duquesne – not even half way there!!! Meanwhile, Forbes had finally arrived at Fort Bedford, in a sling between two horses. Washington had been sending men to clean up Braddock’s road to keep the French guessing and divert their attention from the route the British were actually following to the Ohio, while the French were confident the British would hardly be fools to build a new road over the worst part of the Mountains when a good one already existed. (Washington’s scouts had reported that the whole force at Fort Duquesne, Indians included, did not exceed 800 men – it would have been captured by now if Washington’s early campaign had been done). Forbes now ordered Washington to come with his troops from Fort Cumberland over the completed road to Fort Bedford and join him. With the troops becoming restless at the slow pace, Bouquet received permission from Forbes to abandon the cautious step-by-step plan, and send Colonel James Burd and a 1,000 man force over the mountains immediately, without waiting for the road over Laurel Hill to be finished, and establish a base at Loyalhanna, a small Indian village.
With the appearance of troops at Loyalhanna, the French no longer doubted what the British were up to. Although 350 militia from Montreal and 600 men from Illinois had been sent to Fort Duquesne, and the other Ohio posts were ready to send aid if needed, with the French loss of Fort Frontenac and the loss of their supplies, and with shortages of food and supplies in New France itself, any provisions for Fort Duquesne would have to come from Illinois. (Supplies would also be needed to feed the Indians who gathered at Fort Duquesne with their families.) Montcalm, back in New France, while estimating that with 15,000 French troops in America compared to 50,000 British troops (with an estimate of between 4,000 to 12,000 of them on the way to the Ohio), was reporting that “without a miracle” so small a force could not preserve from the Belle Riviere to Lac St. Sacrement and also attend to the defence of the colonies at Montreal and Quebec, and that to abandon Fort Duquesne would be more advantageous than not, to New France. Marchand de Ligneris, Captain of the Marine Troops at Fort Duquesne, which had to be repaired after a summer flood had nearly carried it off the point, knew that this small wooden fort at the forks of the Ohio could not withstand a siege. His plan was to delay the British advance until snow blocked the passes, to force Forbes into winter quarters and to delay a decision until next spring. Scalping parties of Indians were now sent out to attack work crews and outposts near Loyalhanna. Forbes, on the other hand, had by now succeeded in alienating the 300 Cherokee allies sent to him from South Carolina, and so now he had no Indian scouts to gather intelligence of French movements.
In order to check the raiders and calm his terrified men, Colonel Bouquet sent Major James Grant and 800 men from Loyalhanna to raid the French fort directly (a strategy that had been previously argued against by Washington, who said that an irruption into the enemy’s country with a small party of regulars couldn’t be sent without a cumbersome train of supplies which would discover it to the enemy). Arriving at Fort Duquesne on September 14th, Major Grant sent the 400 Virginians to the rear to guard the baggage, marshalled his 100 Highlanders, 100 Maryland and 100 Pennsylvania provincials in front of the fort, and sent another 100 Highlanders, with drums beating and pipes skirling, across the open ground to cut off a French sortie from the fort. De Ligneris opened the gates of Fort Duquesne and turned loose his troops and Indians (possibly 800 in all), and overwhelmed the Highlanders, causing panic and confusion. On hearing the noise, the Virginians hurried to the front, but became entangled with the fleeing troops and with an attack on the flanks by Indians hid in ambush, the confusion was irretrievable, and the whole detachment was put to rout, with the British having almost 300 killed or captured, while the French had only 8 killed and 8 wounded.
After Grant’s disaster, many of the French-allied Indian deserted them – to hunt for winter provisions, and the French, expecting an eventual attack by 6,000 British troops, knew they must attack the British post to try to delay their advance. On October 12th, after three weeks of marching and reconnoitring the post at Loyalhanna, the French under Captain Aubry with 500 Canadiens and 100 Indians opened an attack on guards near the post. The British under Colonel Burd, sent 500 Highlanders and provincials out against the attackers but were forced back into the retrenchments. As the battle ensued, the French with only muskets and bayonets against 1,500 British troops at the post with cannon and coehorns, were forced to retire. The French (who suffered only 2 killed and 7 wounded compared to the British losses of 12 killed, 18 wounded and 30 missing) left the next morning with all the horses from the Loyalhanna post, destroying those that they could not take with them, and returned to Fort Duquesne.
The Easton Treaty – October 1758
Meanwhile, that same October, 500 Indians from 13 nations, the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, William Johnson’s deputy George Croghan, Israel Pemberton from the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures (the Quaker organization that had been working for the last year to arrange this council), all met in Easton, Pennsylvania, where a treaty was concluded on October 25th and 26th. English captives were to be returned, the Pennsylvania governor promised to deal directly with the Ohio Indians, Pennsylvania traders would open a trading post at the forks of the Ohio, an inquiry would be held into the Walking Purchase by the Privy Council, a decision to allow a Wyoming Valley reservation for the eastern Delawares would be decided by the Grand Council of the Iroquois, the Penns were to rescind a deal made with the Iroquois at the Albany Congress and to establish a new boundary between the Penns’ lands and that of the Iroquois. However, Forbes wanted peace with the Ohio Indians as his highest priority, and so agreed that settlers would be forbidden to settle lands west of the Allegheny Mountains!!!
On September 20, 1758, Pennsylvania’s agent in London, Benjamin Franklin, petitioned the King in Council, concerning the complaints the Delaware Indians and their chief, Teedyuscung, had against the Penns, arguing their fraudulent agreements with the Indians had been a major cause of the murders of settlers by the Indians during the current war. Franklin also arranged for the publication of a pamphlet, written by one of his allies in Pennsylvania, Charles Thomson, entitled ‘An Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Shawanese and Delaware Indians’, to correct, for the people in Britain, the wrong impressions that the proprietors had made concerning their dealings with the Indians. Franklin also had other damaging information about Indian affairs published in the London Chronicle, the newspaper owned by his friend William Strahan, highlighting the Penns’ dismal record in Indian relations while showing that Pennsylvania had contributed its share to the current war effort.
Fort Duquesne – November 1758
On November 5th, Forbes, carried in a litter, and the whole army arrived at Loyalhanna from Fort Bedford. Washington had been given command of a division, to keep in the advance of the main body to clear the road, scout ahead and repel Indian attacks. By now, the cold was setting in, snow covered the top of the mountains and campaigning season was hurrying to a close, as Forbes might lose most of his troops when their terms of enlistment expired on December 1st. With reports of 1,000 French troops at Fort Duquesne, Forbes wanted to, at least, get within striking distance before the end of November. On November 11th, Forbes called a council of war, which decided that an attack should be put off till next spring.
The next morning, the French attacked Loyalhanna again with a small force. To meet the French, Forbes sent Washington and 500 Virginians and Mercer with another 500, who unexpectedly met in the darkness, mistook each other for the enemy and opened fire, while Washington stood between them shouting to cease fire, barely escaping with his life. While 14 were killed and 26 wounded, they did capture a French raider, a British renegade named Johnson who was a member of the garrison at Fort Duquesne, who to avoid facing death, told them that only 500 French and Canadien troops and almost no Indians were left at Fort Duquesne. (De Ligneris had decided that no attack would be made that winter and, because of dwindling supplies, sent the Detroit and Illinois troops back to conserve the supplies for the 300 who would hold the fort through the winter.) Forbes immediately reversed the decision of the war council and ordered a force of 2,500 men in three divisions to head for the French fort. The first division, under Montgomery, with a brigade of axe-men to clear the road, the second division, under Washington, to provide cover for them, and the third division of Royal Americans, under Bouquet, to bring up the artillery, left Chestnut Ridge on November 15th, travelling with only provisions on their back, with no wagons, tents, or unnecessary gear. By November 22nd, they stopped at Turtle Creek, only twelve miles from the fort, to make a fortified base, to wait for the rear division and to prepare for the final assault.
When it was reported to de Ligneris that the British were only 12 miles away, he called a council of war, where it was decided to evacuate the fort, and de Ligneris followed the orders that he had received from New France earlier that summer, if the British approached the fort. The small store of trade goods were sent to the Indians at Conchake, the artillery was loaded onto bateaux and sent down the Ohio to Fort Massiac and Fort Chartres with Captain Aubry and his men, the remaining regulars and militiamen were given eight days rations to retreat, with de Ligneris, to Fort Machault , and the fort was blown up and set on fire. The next day, on November 25th, 1758, Washington with the advanced guard entered the fort and planted the British flag on the smoking ruins. It was five years ago, in November 1753, when Washington first left Williamsburg, to travel to the Ohio with a letter from Dinwiddie, demanding that the French leave. Forbes ordered that a new fort was to be constructed and renamed Fort Pitt, and garrisoned by 200 men from Washington’s regiment under Colonel Mercer.(11)
On November 26th, Forbes turned over command to Bouquet, and was carried on a six-week journey all the way back to Philadelphia in a litter. He died in March 1759, and was buried at Christ Church in Philadelphia, but not before warning the new commander in chief, Jeffrey Amherst, of the “Virginians and Pensilvanians … both aiming at engrossing the commerce and Barter with the Indians, and of settling and appropriating the immense tract of fine country” around Fort Pitt. Forbes had succeeded in gaining a fort on the Ohio, but left it with orders to burn the fort, sink the boats, and march to Fort Ligonier, in case of attack(!!!), while forbidding any settlers west of the Allegheny Mountains(!!!) and with no plans to proceed further against any other French posts in the Ohio or Illinois countries. The French still had access to the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and from Fort Machault, their fort on the Allegheny River upriver from Fort Pitt, they could launch raids on Fort Bedford and Fort Ligonier. The French ‘miraculously’ avoided any attacks on New France itself, whether from Louisbourg, or from Lake Champlain, or from the Ohio, while the British had an army in America bigger in number than the entire population of New France. If it seemed that the British army was not for use against the French, then who was it for use against?
Israel Pemberton opened a store at Fort Pitt in the spring of 1759, in order to supply the region’s Indians with trade goods at fair prices. Pennsylvania’s assembly also opened several trading posts to trade with the Indians (blankets, knives cooking utensils). Settlers could claim unoccupied Indian lands, not settled or under cultivation.(12)
(12) Josiah Franklin Davenport, Benjamin Franklin’s nephew, would manage the provincial store at Pittsburgh from 1761 to 1765.
Having abandoned all hope of attaining rank in the regular army, Washington had intended to retire from military life at the close of this campaign and resigned his commission at Christmas 1758. He had been elected earlier in July 1758 to the House of Burgesses as the representative from Frederick County, and was now engaged to be soon married to the widow, Mrs. Martha Custis.
London – November 1758
Since William Franklin was now a law student at Middle Temple (he would be admitted to the bar in November), and had to be more careful in lending his name to his father’s cause, Benjamin Franklin, under the pseudonym ‘A.B.’, wrote a letter published in the London Chronicle on September 19, 1758, asking twenty-nine questions of Lord Baltimore, Maryland’s proprietor, showing the deception that the Baltimores’ (the Calverts’) estates were taxed on the same basis as the estates of all other Marylanders, and asking if an inquiry was needed into the nature and conduct of these Proprietary Governments (meaning both the Calverts in Maryland and the Penns in Pennsylvania). The next day, September 20th, Benjamin Franklin, petitioned the King in Council, concerning the complaints the Delaware Indians and their chief, Teedyuscung, had against the Penns, arguing their fraudulent agreements with the Indians had been a major cause of the murders of settlers by the Indians during the current war. Franklin also arranged for the publication of a pamphlet, written by one of his allies in Pennsylvania, Charles Thomson, entitled ‘An Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Shawanese and Delaware Indians’, to correct, for the people in Britain, the wrong impressions that the proprietors had made concerning their dealings with the Indians. Franklin also had other damaging information about Indian affairs published in the London Chronicle, the newspaper owned by his friend William Strahan, highlighting the Penns’ dismal record in Indian relations while showing that Pennsylvania had contributed its share to the current war effort.
In early November, the legal opinion was given by the King’s attorney general, Charles Pratt, and solicitor general, Charles York, on proprietary authority (which the Penns had requested after receiving Franklin’s ‘Heads of Complaint’ report last August), was sent to Franklin on November 27th. In answer to Franklin’s reply, the Penns said that since Franklin could settle nothing without consulting the Pennsylvania Assembly, they would deal directly with the Assembly and have no more correspondence with him! Franklin then persuaded well-respected barrister Richard Jackson to organize his thoughts on the Pennsylvania Charter and produce a pamphlet entitled “An Historical Review of the Constitution of Pennsylvania”, which Franklin had printed early in 1759. In February, Franklin again petitioned the Privy Council about the complaints of the Delaware Indians against the Penn brothers. The Privy Council simply referred the petition to the Board of Trade.
In March 1759, the Pennsylvania Assembly passed a Supply Bill, which the governor refused to sign because it contained a provision for taxing the proprietor’s (Penns’) property. Under pressure from General Amherst, and a bribe(?) from the Assembly (the Assembly voted money for the governor’s support as well, and while the Supply Bill contained a provision for taxing the proprietary estates, it allowed a credit for the £5,000 “gift” which the Penns had made earlier), Governor Denny signed the Supply Act on April 17th. When word of this reached London, the Penns petitioned the Privy Council for disallowance, and Franklin would have to defend the Assembly’s actions. The Penns would now look for a new governor, finding one in James Hamilton, from an influential family in Pennsylvania, who just happened to be in London, after hand-delivering William Smith’s petition to the Privy Council in 1758. On April 30th, Parliament voted the appropriation to the colonies for their support in prosecuting the war, and Franklin had to do everything that was necessary to obtain Pennsylvania’s share of the grant. On May 15th, the Board of Trade held their hearings regarding Franklin’s petition on behalf of the Delaware Indians, and on June 1st, the Board sent its report to the Privy Council recommending that the matter be handed over for investigation to Sir William Johnson, the King’s Indian Superintendent. (Johnson later exonerated both the Iroquois and the Penns of any fraud in the Walking Purchase.) On June 26th, the Privy Council finally rendered a decision on the William Smith petition, ruling that the libel (by Smith) was aimed at an expired Assembly and that the newly elected Assembly had no right to act for its predecessor!!! (Smith had long since been released from jail and was protected from re-arrest by Pennsylvania’s chief justice, William Allen.)
On May 10th 1759, in the London Chronicle, Franklin wrote a letter, signed ‘A New Englandman’, in which he attacked certain letters that appeared in the press, that were denigrating the provincial troops which Franklin showed were just as good as the Regulars.
With government business in London beginning to slow down for the summer, Benjamin (and William) Franklin made plans for a trip to Scotland, wanting to go in person to thank the faculty at the University of St. Andrews for awarding him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, in February 1759, for his contributions in the field of electricity. “The Scotland tour was the idea of Dr. Patrick Baird of the University of St. Andrews, who had lived in Philadelphia and been a member of Franklin’s Junto. Baird had organized the Rector of St. Andrews, David Shaw, to confer upon Franklin an honorary degree.” Franklin would henceforth be referred to as Doctor Franklin.
On the way to Scotland, Franklin passed through Birmingham and again visited John Baskerville, Matthew Boulton and his friends there. While in Scotland, Franklin also visited Edinburgh and Glasgow. While in Glasgow, Franklin made the acquaintance of the young musical instrument maker, James Watt. (In 1773 Watt would become partners with Matthew Bouton, in developing the steam engine.) Next door to Watt’s repair shop, was that of the Foulis brothers: Andrew and Robert. The Foulis brothers were protégés of Francis Hutcheson.*(See Note) Since 1743, the Foulis brothers had worked with the university to publish the ancient classics in Latin and Greek. However, they did publish a new English translation of Thucydides, by Rev. William Smith, in 1759, and personally presented a copy of it to Dr. Franklin. (The only other available English translation of Thucydides was the one done by Thomas Hobbes!) Four years later, in 1763, these two brothers would publish one other English translation of a Greek classic – the first available English translation of one of Plato’s dialogues – The Republic, done by Rev. Hary Spens, which was thus made available to a new generation of young intellectuals in America.
And also, while Franklin was in Glasgow that summer, nearby, about 30 miles away, in the village of Alloway, Robert Burns had been born earlier that year, on January 25, 1759.
* Special Note on Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746) *
Francis Hutcheson had been a professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1730 until his death in 1746. Prior to moving to Glasgow, Hutcheson ran a private school for the dissenting population in Dublin, called the Dublin Academy, from 1719-1729. While there, he also wrote the occasional article for the Dublin Weekly Journal, edited by James Arbuckle. Arbuckle enjoyed the friendship of Jonathan Swift, by whom, being lame and sprightly, Swift nicknamed him ‘Wit upon Crutches’. Hutcheson wrote two important articles: “Reflections Upon Laughter (1725) – his attack on Hobbes, and ‘Remarks upon the Fable of the Bees’(1726) – his attack on Mandeville, whom he detested.
Swift was to write ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ in the same year, 1726; while a young Benjamin Franklin was in London – on his first visit – from 1724 to 1726.
- (1) Some captured adult males were sold by the Indians to the French as agricultural labourers or artisans, while captured women and children were adopted into native populations, without whom Indian societies and economies couldn’t have continued to function.
- (2) Whereas William Penn had averaged £400 or less in annual income from land sales and died deeply in debt, his heirs raked in an average of over £7,000 in income from their dealings in Pennsylvania real estate every year from 1713 through 1760.
- (3) Strahan was trying to persuade Franklin to move to Britain permanently, and offered to bet him that he could convince Deborah, who refused to cross the seas, to cross the Atlantic with one letter. In December, Strahan wrote Deborah to say that the ladies of London had their eye on Franklin, and, since he was far from home and might get lonely, she had better come to London to protect her interests. (This letter, although written in jest, has been used by Franklin’s enemies as a slander that he was a womanizer.)
- (4) Franklin conducted evaporation experiments with John Hadley at Cambridge.
- (5) Matthew Boulton would start the Lunar Society with his friends in Birmingham, and together with partner John Fothergill would build the Soho Works manufactory. (Please read: The Franklin School Starts Modern England by Anton Chaitkin)
- (6) William Pitt inherited both his wealth and his seat in the House of Commons from his grandfather, Thomas “Diamond” Pitt, who while president from 1698 to 1709 of Fort St. George (governor of Madras) for the British East India Company, purchased a rough diamond of 410 carats from a local merchant for £20,000, which was cut and later sold, through the agency of John Law, to the Regent of France for £135,000.
- (7) Pitt had also ordered the formation of six new companies of Robert Rogers’ Rangers, and for the 600 Rangers to be at Halifax for the campaign on Fort Louisbourg.
- (8) At Louisbourg, 500 Rangers were organized into a battalion, along with 500 Highlanders, under Captain George Scott. It was this battalion that saved the day by being the first to land and force the enemy retreat. Wolfe, who had previously formed a low opinion of the Rangers, revised his estimate upward.
- (9) This was the Acadian population that had fled the burning and deportation begun by Major Charles Lawrence in 1755, and now completed with Brigadier General Lawrence, under General Amherst, in 1758-59, and called the ‘ethnic cleansing of Acadia’.
- (10) Washington sent Major Lewis and two companies to Fort Bedford, dressed in light Indian hunting garb, instead of the scantily supplied regimental clothing, due to the oppressively warm weather, as a pattern of dress for the expedition.
- (11) By August 1759, Captain Harry Gordon, General Stanwix’s chief engineer, arrived with his artisans, building a sawmill, lime and brick kilns, blacksmith forges, and with miners digging for coal and limestone. The fort would be able to house up to 1000 men, would have five bastions connected by curtain walls, and would be surrounded by a complex of ditches, walls, ramparts, ravelins and redoubts and would take until the end of 1760 to be practically finished. The village around the fort was called Pittsburgh.
Chapter 3 – 1759, the Road to Quebec
In January 1756, at the Convention of Westminster, King George II of Britain and of Hanover, and his nephew, King Frederick of Prussia pledged to unite forces against any aggressor who might disturb the peace of ‘Germany’. In May 1756, King Louis XV of France and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, at the Convention of Versailles, pledged to come to each other’s aid in the event that either should come under attack on the continent of Europe. Shortly thereafter, France launched an attack on Minorca, Britain’s naval base in the Mediterranean, and the war between Britain and France was formally declared. In August 1756, Prussia invaded Saxony and absorbed its army into theirs. The Seven Years War in Europe began.
Since 1757, when France sent two armies, totalling 100,000 troops into Hanover and Saxony, it also had to keep troops on its northern coast to prevent any invasion from Britain, (the British launched attacks on the French ports of St. Malo and Cherbourg to divert more French troops there), while the French also tried to send more troops to New France. The British, however, sent no troops to the continent, but sent only subsidies to aid its ally Prussia, and also imported 20,000 German mercenaries from Hanover and Hesse to man Britain’s Channel defences. While pinning France down on the continent, the British could try to assemble the overseas pieces for building an empire.
In June 1757, at the battle of Plassey, the British East India Company defeated the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, the French East India Company, and gained the enormous wealth of the Bengal treasury and a massive source of foodgrains.(1)
In 1758, the British captured the French slaving stations at the Senegal River, and later at the Gambia River. In November 1758, with 10 ships and 6,800 men, the British sailed to attack the French Caribbean islands. After abandoning an attack on Martinique, the British finally captured Guadeloupe on May 1, 1759, after a six-month long battle, and just days before the arrival of a French naval force, and also the arrival of French troops from Martinique. On hearing of the capitulation of Guadeloupe, the French made no attempt to relieve the island but sailed away.
In 1759, the population of Martinique was 80,000, and of Guadeloupe was 60,000 – 90% of the population was slaves on the sugar plantations. In 1759, the population of New France was 70,000 – 75% rural, and 25% urban, with 8000 at Quebec, 4500 at Montreal, and 800 at Trois Rivieres. (Some people, in France, as well as Britain, considered Guadeloupe more important than New France.)
In North America, the British plans were to send Wolfe with 8,000 men to attack Quebec, and to send Amherst with 11,000 men to attack Forts Carillon and St. Frederick and then proceed down Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River to attack Montreal.
Johnson at Fort Niagara
Amherst was to use his own judgement with regard to an attack on Fort Niagara, only if there was sound reason for it, and not until Fort Duquesne, now named Fort Pitt, had been ensured – Pitt had concern for the fort that bore his name. Although William Pitt had laid small emphasis upon an attack on Niagara, the Americans, especially William Johnson, were firm in their insistence that such an attack should be made on what they thought was economically and strategically the most important post in the west, and thus cutting off supplies to the rest of the western French posts and ending any French plans at reinvading the Ohio country. Amherst finally decided in favour of an expedition against Niagara, sending Prideaux with 5,000 men to attack Fort Niagara, then to return to Oswego to descend down the St. Lawrence River to Montreal, at the same time that Amherst would approach Montreal from the south.
In April 1759, two ships of war, which had been built by the French at La Presentation (near Fort Frontenac), were launched to restore their naval superiority on Lake Ontario. Reinforcements of 2,500 men were sent to Fort Niagara, that were then sent to the western posts to continue raids on British convoys to Fort Pitt. If the French could draw more attention to a threatened attack on Fort Pitt, the British might be less disposed to attack Quebec. But before any attack on Fort Pitt could be attempted, the French had received news of the British attack on Fort Niagara, which had only 500 men, and had to abandon all of their western posts and send all their strength back to help defend the fort.
Brigadier General Prideaux, with the smallest number of men and the largest, most complicated of the three British campaigns, was assigned William Johnson as second-in-command. Johnson met him at Oswego with almost 1,000 Indian warriors (nearly four-fifths of the fighting strength of the Iroquois and the largest Indian column ever mustered in British America). With 2,200 regulars and 3,200 provincials, Prideaux dropped men behind to garrison the numerous depots, left 1,000 provincials under Colonel Haldimand HaldimanHto rebuild Fort Oswego, and on July 1st, left with 2,400 men in bateaux, hugging the south shore of Lake Ontario towards Niagara. However, on June 29th, a French force of 1,100 men (mostly militia) left the post at La Presentation, picked up more men at Fort Frontenac, and sailed to Oswego, landing there on July 4th, to use an attack on Oswego in order to postpone the British attack on Fort Niagara. Haldimand had not expected them and the provincial troops had not completed their entrenchments, when the French attacked. After two days of fighting, the French attack was defeated when the Americans began using their three cannons, forcing the French to retreat back to La Presentation.
Meanwhile, on July 6th, Prideaux and his troops landed near Fort Niagara and began a siege, with the French under Pouchot trying to hold out until reinforcements could arrive from the west. On July 21st, Prideaux was killed by an explosion from a bursting of one of his own cannons, and Johnson assumed command and continued the siege.
On July 24th, Ligneris from Fort Machault and D’Aubry from Fort Detroit arrived with 600 troops and 1,000 Indians down the Niagara River to help Pouchot at Fort Niagara. Johnson had intelligence of their coming, through his Indian scouts, and quickly detached about 450 men to build a log breastwork and abatis across the road that lead from the river to the fort. The French-allied Indians were convinced by Johnson’s Indian allies, not to take part in the battle. The next morning, when the 600 remaining French troops charged the British position in an attempt to break through to the fort, the British fired at the French from behind the barrier, while Johnson’s Indians fired on their flanks from woods on the side of the road. The French lost about 200 men and had 120 taken prisoners, and those that escaped made their way back to Detroit. When news of the battle loss reached Pouchot, and he was offered a personal guarantee of safety from Johnson, he surrendered the fort, and over 600 French were taken prisoner from Fort Niagara. The women and children were placed under the charge of a French priest and sent to the nearest French post. On the 26th, the male prisoners were sent by boat to Oswego and then to New York and on to Britain.
On the 28th, Haldimand arrived from Oswego to take command, but Johnson refused to give it up. 100 New York provincials were left at Niagara to rebuild the fortress and repair the ship building facilities. Johnson tried to stir General Gage, the commander of the northern district at Albany, to slip down the St. Lawrence River to attack La Presentation or Oswegatchie, but Gage would not budge.
Johnson then began establishing friendly diplomatic relations with the local Indians, the Chippewas and the Messessagas, intending to settle an alliance with the Indian nations north of Lake Ontario. Johnson also helped Croghan with money for the Pennsylvania Indians to insure safe journey for the supply trains bound for Fort Pitt. In August 1759, Croghan invited the Ottawas, Chippewas and Hurons to a conference at Fort Pitt, where the Delawares and Shawnees recalled the hatchet, which they had sent to their western cousins, and buried it. The western nations – Ottawa, Chippewa and Huron – promised not to fight against the British. In September 1759, Croghan had a conference with the Ottawas and the Miamis, where they smoked the peace pipe and also promised not to take up the hatchet against the British. In September 1759, Captain Harry Gordon, General Stanwix’s chief engineer, arrived and began building the new Fort Pitt.
Johnson stayed at Oswego until the middle of October, establishing Fort Ontario to cut-off France’s western forts from contact with New France. The French would now burn their forts – Fort Presque Isle, Fort Le Boeuf and Fort Machault – retreat back to New France and leave the Ohio country.
Amherst at Lake Champlain
The French had watched the British spend the winter stockpiling supplies at Fort Edward in anticipation of a spring offensive, then watch General Amherst spend the spring stockpiling more supplies, obtaining men and money from the various colonies, laying out encampments between Albany and Fort Edward, and constructing boats for the advance down Lake George (Lac St. Sacrement). By June 21st, 1759, Amherst had assembled 7 battalions of regulars, 9 battalions of provincials, and 9 companies of rangers, (numbering 6,236 men in total), dragging wagons and whaleboats, arriving at the foot of Lake George.
Amherst would then take another month, detaching 1,000 men to construct and man a new fort, Fort George, on the site of the old Fort William Henry, while also raising the sloop Halifax, which had been sunk the year before. Amherst finally embarked down Lake George towards the French Fort Carillon on July 22nd, the flotilla being led by the rangers.
At Fort Carillon, Bourlamaque had 2,300 men and 800 militia, but his orders were not to make a last ditch stand but to remain at Carillon long enough to oblige Amherst to lay siege and then to retire to Fort St. Frederic, and then likewise to Fort Ile-aux-Noix to make a stand. The next day, July 23rd, Bourlamaque took to the boats, but left behind 400 men to keep Amherst busy digging trenches and drawing up field pieces. On the night of the 26th, Rogers and his men were sent out to cut a log boom, which the French had thrown across the lake, when the fort erupted like a volcano. Hebecourt and his 400 men, while detonating the powder magazine and setting fire to the fort, left Fort Carillon under cover of the explosion and retreated in boats to join Bourlamaque at Fort St. Frederic. (Rogers did force ashore at least 10 escaping French boats) But, Amherst refused to pursue, and stopped to repair the fort. Amherst detached over 1,000 men to build a new fort at the abandoned Carillon, named Fort Ticonderoga; began surveying the South Bay for a new road; and supervised the building of a new spruce beer brewery (used to fight scurvy).
Bourlamaque remained at Fort Frederic only until July 31st, when Rogers’s scouts watched the French blow up the walls of Fort St. Frederic, and retreat down the lake to Fort Ile-aux-Noix, at the north end of Lake Champlain, where he had around 3,000 men and militia, and a small navy (the 10-gun Vigilante, a converted merchant schooner and 3 xebecs with 8 guns each) to harass and watch the British.
Amherst sent forward neither army nor reconnaissance until August 3rd, when he sent Robert Rogers and a ranger unit to view the damage, before setting out himself with the army on August 4th. On arriving, Amherst detached another 800 men to build and man a new fort at Crown Point (with a garden, and fences to keep in the cows), and to build a road to Fort Ticonderoga. Although he now received reports of the victory at Niagara, Amherst would not move forward against Fort Ile-aux-Noix until he had armed sailing ships – to protect his boats moving up Lake Champlain. Amherst, while at Ticonderoga, had already ordered a 20-gun brigantine and a 6-gun radeau, and now needed an additional 16-gun vessel (!!!), which would take another two months to build, rig and arm – until October when the coming winter weather would put an end to any advance up lake Champlain. Amherst also began to build a new road – 77 miles from Crown Point to Fort Number 4, on the upper Connecticut River in New Hampshire, (he claimed) to secure access to supplies and reinforcements from New England (!!!)
While the French were building new palisades at Fort Ile-aux-Noix, Amherst looked as if he were prepared to spend the whole campaigning season in superintending building construction, rather than soldiering. Amherst felt that Wolfe would fail and the French would attack him at Crown Point. On August 8th, he sent two British officers with 4 Indian scouts, under a flag of truce – with the pretext that they were carrying a peace offer to Indian settlements along the route, through the woods to communicate with Wolfe, but they were seized by an Abenaki hunting party (this was reported to him in a letter sent to him by Montcalm written at Quebec on August 30th and received Sept. 10th). In reprisal, on Sept. 13th, Amherst, while remaining at Crown Point, sent Rogers and 200 rangers on a raid down Lake Champlain, past the small French navy and troops at Fort Ile-aux-Noix (where the French were to find and burn his boats and provisions), then overland through wet boggy ground, past a series of forts on the Richelieu River, eastward on the south side of the St. Lawrence River and finally, after 150 miles through this wildness, to destroy the St. Francois Indian settlement(2). On October 6th, after killing the inhabitants and burning the village, the Jesuit priest and 20 captured women and children were sent scurrying, and Rogers and his 141 men(3), with their only provisions being corn found in the village, had to split into smaller parties and return by a different route, through a now-fully-alerted country, pursued by French and Indian troops, up St. Francois Riviere, Lac Memphremagog and on to the Connecticut River and eventually, on October 31st, Rogers arrived at Fort Number 4. Within a half-hour, men with provisions were sent looking for the remaining rangers. Rogers was to lose 49 men on the return trip from St. Francois. He would spend the next months fighting the British army in Albany and New York to have his accounts paid.
Thinking that Rogers’s expedition had drawn most of Bourlamaque’s Indian warriors away from Ile-aux-Noix, leaving the French without their Indian scouts to gather intelligence, and having finally completed the construction of two large ships, a brig and a schooner, and a considerable number of bateaux, on October 11th, Amherst finally ordered his men on board the boats to move down Lake Champlain against Fort Ile-aux-Noix. Near the Aux Quatre Vents islands, there was a short engagement between the British bateaux and the three French xebecs. When the French tried to retreat northwards, the wind changed and the French sought shelter in a nearby bay for the night. When the British ships returned after an unsuccessful chase of the French schooner, the French bateaux were spotted, and the British ships anchored at the bay entrance. During the night, the French captains scuttled their xebecs and marched overland back to Ile-aux-Noir (where the French had only one schooner left of their little fleet).
But the British had to wait several days, as the now cold and stormy weather made it impossible for Amherst to move on Fort Ile-aux-Noir. Now, upon hearing the news of Wolfe’s death and Quebec’s fall(4), Amherst feared that the French army would be moved to Montreal (his intended target), and he decided to withdraw back to Crown Point on October 19th. Amherst began making preparations to send the regulars to winter quarters and to send the provincials home, and after leaving behind a skeleton garrison, including 2 ranger companies, left the new unfinished fort at Crown Point for New York on November 25th.
Wolfe at Quebec
The French did not send any ships-of-the-line (they were kept for defence of the French coast), but instead sent two French navy frigates and one supply ship, along with 17 merchant ships and privateer frigates, to Quebec with the supplies and provisions (needed due to the harvest failure in New France in 1758). Between May 10th and 23rd, two frigates and most of the other supply ships slipped past the 10 British ships which had been sent from Louisbourg to blockade the St. Lawrence (only 3 ships were captured by the British) and arrived at Quebec with the needed provisions and over 400 soldiers. Montcalm now commanded over 12,000 men (2900 regulars, 3800 Montreal militia, 3000 Quebec militia, 1100 Trois Rivieres militia, plus 1500 sailors and even 35 Royale Syntaxe (Jesuit seminarians), plus over 1,000 Indians. Montcalm sent the supplies 50 miles upstream from Quebec, creating a supply depot (and to which they could retreat if Quebec had to be evacuated). Montcalm would try to make Wolfe wear himself out in attacks on Quebec’s entrenched defences, and hold out until the freezing up of the river forced Wolfe’s fleet to withdraw, preventing them from conquering all of New France in a single campaign, and preserving a foothold in New France to assist the French government during peace negotiations.
After finishing preparations at Louisbourg, Wolfe arrived at the St. Lawrence and landed at St. Laurent, on the Ile d’Orleans, on June 26th with 8,500 regulars and 3 companies of American rangers, all aboard a fleet of 119 vessels – including 22 ships-of-the-line, 5 frigates, 18 sloops and a long train of transports, supply ships, ordinance vessels, private American traders’ vessels – and 13,500 sailors (along with the 10 ships that had been sent earlier to blockade). A patrol of rangers landed first. On June 28th, the French attempted an attack on the British ships at Ile d’Orleans with fire-ships. On June 30th, Monckton and 3,000 British troops landed at Beaumont, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Quebec, again with the American rangers leading the way, and defeated a French force of only 600 militia and Indians. And on July 8th, Townshend and Murray, with the rest of the troops, landed at Montmorency on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, east of Quebec and Beauport. The French would send small detachments of militia and Indians to harass them.
On July 12th, after a French attack on the British at Beaumont failed, the British, now at Point Levis, began a bombardment of Quebec, an almost uninterrupted bombardment that would last two months. Wolfe began shelling, not defensive lines or walls of the fort, but began shelling the town itself, (with, eventually, as many as 29 pieces), as Quebec’s buildings were shattered or burned, while Wolfe waited for Amherst to arrive by land from the south.
On July 18th, Admiral Charles Saunders was able to slip six ships upstream past the French guns at Quebec. Montcalm would have to send troops and guns to now guard against a British landing on the shore west of Quebec, where if the British did land, they could cut off Montcalm’s supply lines with the Jacques Cartier supply depot and with Montreal.
On July 20th, Wolfe ordered, and a few hours later, cancelled a landing attempt. Wolfe instead sent Colonel Guy Carleton, with Captain Robert Stobo(5) as his guide, on a raid of Pointe aux Trembles. As the British continued to slip more ships upstream past Quebec, the French made another attempt with fire-boats on the British ships that remained anchored off Point Levis. Wolfe threatened the French, that “if the enemy presume to send down any more fire-craft, they are to be made fast to two particular transports in which are all the Canadians and other prisoners, in order that they may perish by their own base inventions”.
On July 26th, Wolfe, having returned to Montmorency, attempted an attack on Quebec, with Murray and 2,000 men, by fording the Montmorency River at a place above the falls, but while they camped there for the night, were ambushed by Indians and militia, with 200 killed or wounded, and had to retreat.
On July 31st Wolfe attempted another attack on Quebec from Montmorency, this time on a redoubt and gun battery on a narrow beach near the mouth of the Montmorency River. Wolfe proposed to land and capture it, which would bring down Levis’ forces west of the Montmorency, and finally draw out Montcalm and his army from Beauport down to the beach for the general engagement that Wolfe so desired and which Montcalm was avoiding. (The plan was opposed by his three brigadiers and also by the navy). When the British landed in more than 300 boats, the French quickly abandoned the redoubt and retreated up the cliffs where sharpshooters picked off the British climbers, who were later shot at by Montcalm’s canons. When a thunderstorm and torrential rains made it impossible to fire their muskets and impossible to climb the muddy banks, and because they were stalled on shore with a rising tide, Wolfe was forced to retreat – just as Townsend and 2,000 men had crossed over from the tidal flats below the falls, and now joined in the full retreat. The British lost 443 men, while the French lost but 60.
In addition to the continued bombardment of Quebec, Wolfe now launched attacks on the surrounding undefended farming settlements along the St. Lawrence River, burning churches, houses, barns, mills – everything – leaving 1400 farmhouses in ashes, killing and scalping the inhabitants.(6) Wolfe’s attack on defenceless civilians was loathed by his own three brigadiers – Monckton, Murray and Townshend – with Townshend even threatening Wolfe with a parliamentary inquiry. Wolfe, meanwhile, was in very bad health, suffering from rheumatism and kidney stones, relying on opiates to urinate, being bled regularly, and had taken to bed.
On August 25th, Murray returned to Wolfe at his stone farmhouse at Montmorency. Murray, with a force of 1200, had twice unsuccessfully tried a landing at Pointe aux Trembles to try to cut the French supply lines, and at Deschambault had burnt a large French warehouse containing arms, ammunition and baggage before he withdrew. On his return, he brought news of the capture of Niagara and Ticonderoga.
On August 27th, Wolfe finally sought the advice of his three brigadiers (the first time since the beginning of the campaign) for an attack upon Beauport on the north shore. All three disagreed with Wolfe, who finally agreed with their plan. Instead, they wanted to concentrate troops on the south shore, then cross the river and secure a bridge-head, and cut the lines of communication between Montcalm at Quebec and his supply depot at Jacques Cartier.
Wolfe then ordered 1600 troops downstream to burn more villages, and the British began evacuating the camp at Montmorency. The British still had six thousand fit men left out of the eighy-five hundred he had brought from Louisbourg.
Montcalm, on word of Ticonderoga, sent Levis with 700 militia and 100 regulars to Montreal in case Amherst advanced, not knowing he was still constructing his navy to sail against the four ships the French at Fort Ile-aux-Noix on Lake Champlain. Bougainville was given a flying column of 800 foot-soldiers and 200 horse-men to move up and down the north shore, west of Quebec, following the movement of the British ships. 2000 were left to garrison Quebec, and Montcalm remained with the rest of the army along the Beauport shore, east of Quebec.
On September 5th, five battalions of British troops marched west along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River to where it met the Etchemin River, to embark on ships that had previously passed by the French guns at Quebec and were now anchored upriver at Cap Rouge. On September 7th, three more battalions, aboard more than 20 transports and ships, rode the tide upriver past Quebec’s guns, and joined them at Cap Rouge. Wolfe now had over 3000 men at Cap Rouge – with the remaining troops left to guard the hospital and supplies at Ile d’Orleans and to guard the batteries at Point Levis. Wolfe selected Anse-au-Foulon as the landing point – on advice from Robert Stobo.
On September 13th, at 2 A.M., Wolfe and 1800 men left the ships and boarded the 36 flatboats to move downriver with the ebbing tide, and steer for the cove on the north shore (Anse-au-Foulon). The brigadiers and the remaining troops would follow later aboard the flatboats and larger ships. As the boats approached the north shore, the French sentries there allowed them to pass, thinking they were Cadet’s(7) expected supply barges from Cap Rouge for the relief of Quebec. After bringing the boats to shore, the British followed a narrow track, angling up the face of the 200-foot bluff, where, at the top, they surprised and quickly subdued a small group of sentries – Vergor and only 30 men.(8)
*(Some historians suspect treason by Bigot and his crime ring – that arranged for Vergor to be guarding the Foulon, while Bougainville was lured away from his post, that fateful night.)*
By early morning 4,500 British troops stood on the Plains of Abraham, before the walls of Quebec. Montcalm arrived at Quebec from Beauport along with all available soldiers (1,500 troops were left behind to guard the lines there) – 4,500 French troops, flanked by militia and Indian snipers in the bushes and cornfields. With no ditch in front of the western walls, and no gun-ports pierced through the western walls and the wall itself too weak to withstand an attack, Montcalm had no choice but to battle the British. At 10 AM, the French advanced to meet the British, whose line held while the French line pulled apart. Within fifteen minutes, the French troops were now in full retreat and escaped from the charging British to Beauport – thanks to the militia and Indian snipers. After less than a half hour battle, both sides had about 600 dead or wounded. Wolfe, wounded in the wrist and chest, bled to death on the edge of the field. Montcalm, his belly and leg torn open by grapeshot from a 6-pound gun, was brought back to the town, where he later died, and was buried at the Ursuline chapel.
Bougainville and 2000 men approached from the west, but met Townshend’s two battalions and withdrew. With Monckton badly wounded in the chest, Townshend assumed command and ordered his troops to begin digging trenches in front of the fort, and to haul up the slope the big naval guns; and the siege continued. Vaudreuil, the Governor of New France, now assumed command and left behind a skeleton force of militia to hold the town as long as possible, with draft articles of surrender when food ran out or when the British stormed the walls. He ordered the army to evacuate the Beauport lines, leaving behind their supplies and food – which could have been used to feed the people left in Quebec (who only had four days of food left), and to skirt north of the British lines and to march upriver to join forces with Levis, the commander in charge of Montreal. Levis met them at Jacques Cartier four days later on the 17th, took command of the army and immediately ordered a march back to Quebec on the 18th. But before he reached Cap Rouge that evening, word reached him that Quebec had surrendered, and Levis, with no artillery for a siege, instead returned and built a fort at Jacques Cartier, and with most of the army retreated to Montreal, preparing to move against the British at Quebec in the spring, if reinforcements and artillery could be sent from France at the earliest moment in the spring.
The British meanwhile would have to live in a town ruined by their own bombardment, and survive a brutal winter on the limited provisions (no fresh food, only tough salt pork) that the fleet could put ashore before it left for Britain before the river started to ice up. (By next April, almost 1000 of the men would die of scurvy.) Over the winter, almost 6000 Canadiens would come in from the countryside to Quebec, to hand over their arms and swear allegiance to the British King – they seemed to hate Vaudreuil and Bigot more than the British!!!
Murray became military governor of Quebec (left with only 5000 fit, of the 7000 men, and with only 2 sloops and 3 transports, until spring) and evacuated the bases at Ile d’Orleans and Point Levis, floating the siege guns across the river to be now used for the defence of Quebec. Monckton sailed to New York to recuperate, while Townshend sailed home with Saunder’s fleet. But, Townshend missed Wolfe’s funeral. When aboard the returning fleet, Admiral Saunders learned that the French fleet was loose in the Bay of Biscay, being pursued by Admiral Hawke, and turned to follow Hawke. Although they arrived too late, on November 20th, in a raging storm Hawke’s twenty-three battleships defeated twenty-one French men-of-war (13 escaped) in the dangerous waters of Quiberon Bay, France. Prior to that battle, on August 19th, 1759, the British navy, with fourteen ships under Admiral Boscawen, defeated the 12 ships of the French (only 2 ships escaped while 2 were destroyed, 3 captured, and 5 were blockaded), at the battle of Lagos (Portugal).(9) France was now deprived of ships needed either for an invasion of Britain, or, to save New France.
When word of the fall of Quebec reached Pitt on October 16th, Wolfe was praised in London as a hero, but meanwhile his mother was trying to claim money owed him. The War ministry claimed that Wolfe was given the temporary rank of Major-General, held only in America, and that when he died he reverted to his permanent rank of colonel, and would only be paid as a colonel for the entire campaign.
On the European continent, it was not going well for the Prussians, Britain’s ally in the war. Although the French were defeated by the Hanoverians at Minden(10) on August 1st, 1759, which prevented the French from sending troops to aid the Austrians against the Prussians, the Russians defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Kay on July 23rd, a combined Russian-Austrian force defeated the Prussians at the battle of Kunersdorf on August 12th, and the Austrians defeated the Prussians at the battle of Maxen on Nov. 21st(11).
Murray at Montreal
The French, at Montreal, had been planning a spring offensive (with their 7,000 men of regulars, marines and militia) against the British at Quebec. The offensive would be timed to arrive at Quebec just as the ice was breaking up and the arrival of the expected ships from France with supplies and reinforcements (and before the British ships arrived).
Amherst planned a three-pronged attack on Montreal, which he had discussed with Thomas Pownall, former agent of Lord Halifax and the Board of Trade, and now Governor of Massachusetts. Amherst proposed that he and 11000 men would proceed from Oswego down the St. Lawrence River, and Havilland with 3500 men would proceed from Crown Point down Lake Champlain, to meet Murray(12), who would proceed down the St. Lawrence River from Quebec, where he had been left with two sloops and three transports, and only 3,800 able men.
On April 20th, with the river now open at Montreal, Levis began to move upstream toward Quebec, with his army aboard 2 frigates and a small fleet of ten transports, and a supply ship and a schooner with supplies and artillery. Along the way, Levis was joined by two battalions of regulars and by three hundred Indians. At St. Augustin, they left the river, due to ice, and marched the rest of the way to Quebec, circling wide of Cap Rouge to Lorette and then southward, arriving at Ste. Foy on the 27th.
When Levis arrived on the Plains of Abraham on April 28th and began to dig trenches (redigging the trenches that had been dug by Townshend, and had been filled in by Murray), Murray marched his troops out of the fort and advanced through snow and ice and slush to attack the French. Murray sent McDonald’s company of rangers through the woods to attack the French on their right, but they were caught in an ambush by the French militia and Indians (only Moses Hazen and a few rangers managed to escape).
The French now attacked the exposed British flank which gave way and Murray ordered a retreat back inside the fort. Of the 3800 of Levis’s army that fought, 193 were killed and 640 wounded, while of Murray’s force of 3800, 259 were killed and 829 wounded.
The French struggled building a line of entrenchments and erecting batteries to fire on the British – moving cannon from their boats, now at the Foulon, up the cliff to the plains. The British cut new embrasures in the stone wall, for more guns to fire on the French – moving cannon up from the town to the fort. A British frigate arrived at Quebec on May 9th, and on May 11th, Levis opened fire and Murray replied. On the evening of May 15th, a British ship of war, a frigate and a schooner now arrived at Quebec, and the next morning the British ships advanced above the Foulon and scattered Levis’ fleet, running one frigate ashore, and chasing the other frigate until at Pointe-aux-Trembles, running out of powder, the French frigate surrendered. Levis and his army retreated to Montreal, leaving Dumas and 1500 men at Pointe-aux-Trembles and at Jacques Cartier to watch Murray’s movement. By this time, the French fleet of one frigate escorting the merchant supply ships and bringing 400 troops, arrived from France. But, not wanting to be caught by the British fleet in the St.Lawrence if they sailed on to Quebec, instead sailed to the Bay of Chaleur. They were found by the British ships from Louisbourg(13) and in a battle on July 8th, the French were defeated and forced to flee into the woods.
On July 13th, Murray embarked his 2400 men aboard 32 warships and transports, with nine floating batteries, and a trail of barges and bateaux. Murray left before two expected regiments arrived from Louisbourg, and before Stobo arrived with dispatches from Amherst. (Stobo would catch up with him sixty miles upstream.) As Murray and his fleet moved upriver, they were followed on shore, by Dumas and his men, with brief exchanges of gunfire at Jacques Cartier and at Deschambault, and Murray sometimes landed to disarm the villagers and to demand oaths of neutrality. At Sorel, at the mouth of the Richelieu River, the point at which communication could be established with Haviland’s forces on Lake Champlain, Bourlamaque hurried with two battalions from Montreal to quickly throw up some defence works along the shore. Murray remained at Sorel for several days, bombarding Bourlamaque’s positions, and dispatching a raiding party to burn the houses and lay waste most of the parish, before moving on upriver, while Bourlamaque now hurried to Longueuil, on the south shore opposite Montreal. On August 27th, Murray anchored off of the island of Ste. Therese, near Montreal, waiting for the other armies to arrive, with Dumas and Bourlamaque watching him from both banks of the river.
Haviland at Montreal
Before beginning his march on Montreal, Haviland sent Major Rogers and his rangers to proceed down Lake Champlain, to slip by the French Fort Ile-aux-Noix and to strike at Forts St. Jean, Ste. Therese and Chambly. On June 1st, Rogers and 220 men and Indians landed at the mouth of the Richelieu River, where he was met by 350 French troops marching from Fort Ile-aux-Noix. Rogers lost 17 men with 11 wounded, while he estimated 40 French dead. Rogers then marched around the French fort, and proceeded north to Fort St. Jean. On June 15th, the garrison at Fort St. Jean was alert to his attack, so Rogers instead marched north to Fort Ste. Therese, and with a surprise attack, captured the fort without firing a shot, taking 24 soldiers prisoner, while sending the 78 inhabitants of the fort to Montreal. After burning the fort and the boats and wagons, Rogers marched back, around Fort Ile-aux-Noix, and returned to his waiting ships at the mouth of the Richelieu, and by June 23rd, arrived back to Haviland, still at Crown Point.
On August 11th, Haviland finally began moving his grand fleet of small craft and 3500 men down Lake Champlain. On August 16th, after meeting the French fleet from Fort Ile-aux-Noix which fled after a brief skirmish at the mouth of the Richelieu River, the British army landed. The advance, under Colonel Darby with his two companies of regulars and Major Rogers with his four companies of rangers, seized the ground opposite the fort, and the rest of the army moved up and erected batteries. Darby`s regulars and Rogers’s rangers then broke through the French booms that blocked the river, and captured the French vessels. On the 23rd, Haviland, having now set up cannons on both sides of the river, began bombarding the fort. Bougainville had 1400 inside the garrison, but with only 775 regulars for fighting. On August 25th, Bougainville now received orders from Governor Vaudreuil that his men were needed for the defence of Montreal.
During the evening of the 27th, Bougainville and most of his men crossed the river and set out on foot for Fort St. Jean, to join the other troops there, and to then assemble at Longueuil, near Bourlamaque’s forces. On August 28th, LeBorgne, who had been left behind at Ile-aux-Noix with 40 men, and believing that Bougainville was safe from pursuit, surrendered the fort.
Haviland did not rush after Bougainville, but moved cautiously. Waiting until the 29th, Haviland first sent Rogers’s entire force, of six companies of rangers and two companies of Stockbridge Indians, in pursuit of the French troops, with his advance limited to Fort St. Jean, 20 miles away. Rogers found the fort abandoned and in flames. Rogers set off after the French and overtook their rear guard, but when the French crossed the L`Acadie River and destroyed the bridge, Rogers was forced to return to the burnt Fort St. Jean on the 31st and wait for Haviland. Haviland cautiously ventured down to Fort Ste. Therese (that Rogers had destroyed earlier that June) and made a breast-work to defend against a surprise French attack. Darby and Rogers were sent to attack the stone fortress at Chambly. The small French garrison surrendered without a fight on September 1st. Haviland sent Rogers ahead to Montreal, and on September 7th, Haviland`s army arrived there to meet Murray.
Amherst at Montreal
First at Albany, and later at Oswego, Amherst made his preparations cautiously and slowly, including the building of two new warships. After leaving Schenectady on June 12th, he arrived and rested at Oswego on July 25th. By the end of July, Amherst was ready, with the advance, led by Haldimand, sent down the lake on August 7th, and the embarkation completed by August 10th, with 5586 regulars and 4479 provincials, and 706 Indians under William Johnson(14). By August 16th, at Pointe-au-Baril they fought and captured a French ship and repaired it for their own use. On the 18th, the British erected batteries on several nearby islands and began bombarding the defences of Fort Levis. The French guns were able to cripple Amherst’s two ships and recapture their ship that Amherst had captured. On the 23rd, Amherst now used a new battery of big 24-pounders, which one by one, knocked out of action the French guns. On the 25th, the French surrendered the fort, where its garrison of 300 men had held up Amherst for seven days.
Amherst spent several days repairing the damage he had done to the fort, and renamed it Fort William Augustus. He also recovered and repaired one of his ships, and raised and repaired the captured French ship, and set on again downriver on August 31st. He successfully ran the Long Sault rapids, but at the Cascades rapids, lost 84 men, 37 bateaux of men and artillery, 17 whaleboats and one galley. On September 6th, Amherst finally reached Lachine and encamped, joining Murray, and the next day Haviland, at Montreal.
Montreal, with only 2500 troops – Montrealers refused to take up arms, the militia had returned home, the country people had joined the British by taking an oath of neutrality, the Indians were all gone – were surrounded by 17000 British troops. Its walls had been built to keep out Indians, not to withstand a bombardment. As both Amherst and Murray were preparing to advance on Montreal, Bougainville was sent as a messenger from Vaudreuil to ask for terms of surrender. (Vaudreuil and Bigot had prepared a 55-article surrender document, and were sure it was only a temporary surrender – hadn’t the English handed Canada back to them in 1632, for $240,000?) On September 8th, articles of capitulation were signed by Vaudreuil and Amherst, and the whole garrison of Montreal and all other French troops in Canada (including Acadia and the western posts) must lay down their arms and shall not serve during the present war. The French troops and all officials who wanted to, would be shipped to France within 15 days.(15)
Murray asked one of the departing French officers, Malartic, “Do you think we will give Canada back to you? If we are wise, we will not keep it. New England needs something to rub up against. Our best way to give them that is by not retaining this country.”
Amherst sent Rogers and two companies of rangers to General Monckton at Fort Pitt, where Rogers was joined by one company of regulars, and with Croghan (under orders from Johnson to assist Rogers)(16) to demand the surrender of Fort Detroit. The French commander Bellestre, already having known of the surrender of Canada, had reduced his garrison by sending a detachment of regulars to New Orleans.
The French garrison surrendered on November 28th and on December 3rd, 1760, Croghan, with Rogers(17), held a three day conference with the Ottawa, Huron and Potawatomi Indians of the Detroit area to welcome their new allies. Croghan obtained release of British captives from the Indians.
Franklin at London
Franklin was back in London at the end of October 1759, from his trip to Scotland, trying to obtain Pennsylvania’s share of the British Parliament’s appropriations to the colonies for their support in prosecuting the war. On September 27th, 1759, the Pennsylvania Assembly passed a bill authorizing Franklin to take Pennsylvania’s share and deposit it in the Bank of England. The Penns became angry that they should have no control over the money, and that Franklin should be named to receive it, and they took steps to prevent Franklin from receiving the money.
Franklin, while involved in this bitter fight with the proprietors, now became involved in a great national debate – the issue over whether Britain should make peace with France without regard to advantage OR whether they should demand Canada or Guadeloupe. In parliament, Pitt had asked, “Some are for keeping Canada; some Guadeloupe; who will tell me which I shall be hanged for not keeping?” Those who were opposed to keeping Canada thought that the neighbourhood of a hostile colony on the north was necessary for the maintenance of the dependency of America.
On November 24th, Franklin published in the London Chronicle, “A Description of Those Who at any Rate Would Have a Peace with France”, where he attacked the ‘peace-at-any-price’. On December 27th, Franklin published in the London Chronicle a tongue-in-cheek article that Canada should not be restored under any circumstances – “Humourous Reasons for Restoring Canada”.
In April 1760, in another stroke of genius, Franklin had published, anonymously, a 58-page pamphlet called “The Interest of Great Britain Considered With Regard to her Colonies and the Acquisitions of Canada and Guadeloupe”. Remembering Louisbourg – after it had been captured, only to be returned back to France in the peace – he argued that Britain must keep Canada and forget any thought of returning it to France, and he refuted the argument of those who wanted to give Canada back to France and keep Guadeloupe instead. Either highly favourable or harshly critical of Franklin’s pamphlet, the controversy became intense, producing at least sixty-five pamphlets and countless newspaper articles and letters. Franklin’s anonymity was to be short-lived.
The Penns were now petitioning nineteen laws passed by the Pennsylvania Assembly between September 1758 and October 1759 (including the Supply Act, which taxed proprietary estates, and the Agency Act, which placed Franklin in charge of Pennsylvania`s share of the Parliamentary grant). Franklin prepared Pennsylvania`s case before the Board of Trade. Hearings were held at the Board of Trade on May 21st and 22nd on the Supply Act, and on May 23rd and June 3rd on the Agency Act and the other 17 laws. On June 5th, the Board deliberated and ordered a report, which was sent to the Privy Council on June 24th. The report by Lord Halifax and his four colleagues recommended disallowance of the Supply Act and five other laws, the approval of the Agency Act and 12 other laws, and urged the Crown to take steps “to restrain the Powers of the Assembly” and “protect the Rights of His Majesty”.
On July 4th, Franklin`s attorneys petitioned the Privy Council for a hearing to voice their objections to the Board of Trade`s report. Franklin also wrote to Prime Minister Pitt “imploring his protection of the Province”.
Meanwhile, the Privy Council’s Committee for Plantation Affairs had begun its review of the report with its final hearing on August 27th and 28th. When the hearings had ended, Franklin was approached by Lord Mansfield, chief justice of the Court of the King’s Bench, and the two men worked out a compromise regarding the taxation of the proprietary estates. On September 2nd, 1760, the Privy Council rendered its final order. Of the laws objected to by the Penns, six were disallowed. Thirteen of the nineteen laws were allowed to stand, including the Agency Act and the Supply Act, which was allowed to stand if it included six alterations and amendments – including the compromise worked out by Franklin and Mansfield.
With the end of seven straight months of work on the preparations, hearings, and waiting for the final decision on the Penns’ petition, in the fall of 1760, Franklin had another memorable and enjoyable trip to northern England, while returning to London through Cheshire, Wales, Bristol and Bath.
(1) In June 1756, the Nawab had captured the British East Company’s Fort William, at Calcutta, where the British prisoners of war were kept in a small cell, which became known as the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’, until the British under Lt. Col. Robert Clive drove out the Nawab’s troops in January 1757.
(2) Rogers had previously proposed an attack on St. Francois to stop the French and Indians’ bloody attacks on the New England frontier settlements, which was rejected, until the Indians’ effrontery of seizing two British officers.
(3) Before reaching St. Francois, Rogers had previously sent back almost 50 men to Crown Point due to sickness or injury, and a request for provisions to be sent to Fort Number 4 for his return trip, “if any”.
(4) Stobo had been sent by Wolfe with dispatches to Amherst, but was captured by the French, before he was freed and finally reached Amherst with the news.
(5) To refresh our memory: In July 1754 at Fort Neccesity, Washington surrendered two hostages, Captain Jacob Van Braam and Captain Robert Stobo, to guarantee the delivery of the French prisoners to Fort Duquesne (the French prisoners were never returned). While a prisoner, Stobo made a drawing of Fort Duquesne, which was smuggled out, by a friendly Indian, and given to General Braddock. In July 1755, after the rout of the British, the French captured General Braddock’s military chest containing all his official papers. In these papers, was a map of Fort Duquesne with the incriminating signature of Robert Stobo, who, along with fellow prisoner Van Braam, was now to be put on trial in Quebec for breaking his oath while a prisoner at Fort Duquesne and communicating military information to General Braddock. However, Stobo, being sentenced to have his head cut off, escaped from Quebec in a stolen canoe with seven other prisoners, with the help of Simon Stevens of Rogers’ Rangers, and arrived at Louisbourg in the spring of 1759, and was then sent to join Wolfe at Ile d’Orleans, as he would be one of the men who could best offer advice, being familiar with the defences of Quebec (as was Patrick Mackellar, the chief engineer at Oswego when it surrendered to the French in August 1756, who was taken prisoner to Quebec where he remained for a year, and had later been made chief engineer with Wolfe in 1759).
(6) Wolfe had been in Scotland in 1745 (and for most of the next 10 years), putting down the Jacobite rebellion, where he learned the business of cold-blooded killing, as an aide-de-camp to General ‘Hangman’ Hawley. After the fall of Louisbourg in 1758, Wolfe was sent to lay waste to the French fishing villages along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
(7) Cadet was the Commissary-General, trained by Bigot. Cadet had asked Bougainville to send the barges that night.
(8) Vergor was with his father, the governor of Louisbourg, when he surrendered to the British in 1745. Vergor had studied graft and corruption there under Bigot, the Intendant at Louisbourg. (At Louisbourg, the men had mutinied and thrown Bigot in jail). Vergor was later made commander at Beausejour, which he surrendered to the British in 1755. Vergor was later made a captain of colonial marines at Quebec, where Bigot was now the Intendant. There were supposed to be 100 men guarding the Foulon, but there were only 30, because Vergor had allowed them to go home and work on their farms – on condition that once they had gathered their own produce, they would work free on Vergor’s own farm.
(9) A young slave, participated in the engagement on the English side, including an account of the battle in his autobiography, ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano’.
(10) At this battle, the father of Lafayette was killed.
(11) On November 10th, 1759, Friedrich Schiller was born in Marbach, Wurttemberg, while his father, a military doctor, was away in the war.
(12) After reporting to Amherst at Albany on June 15th, 1760, Stobo was sent by Amherst to give the plan to Murray.
(13) Pitt won George II’s approval that Louisbourg, the fortress together with all the works and defences of the harbour, be most effectually and entirely demolished, meeting its end during the autumn of 1760.
(14) At Fort Levis, Johnson met with deputies from the Indian nations and tribes inhabiting the country around Montreal, where the Indians agreed, in exchange for an offer of protection, to remain neutral. Later at Montreal, treaties would be made with the nine nations of Indians in Canada, and Captain Daniel Claus (Johnson`s future son-in-law) would remain in Montreal as deputy superintendent of Indian affairs in charge of Canadian Indians.
(15) Vaudreuil, Bigot, Cadet and 20 other officials went to the Bastille for a year, before being brought to trial for fraud, waiting another two years for judgement. Vaudreuil was acquitted and awarded the Grand Cross of St. Louis and pensions of 12,000 livres, retiring to his family chateau. Bigot was found guilty and fined 1,500,000 livres (which he paid, even after all his possessions were confiscated), banished from France and went to live comfortably at Neuchatel (Neuchatel, near the oligarchical nest of Geneva, was the property of the King of Prussia) . Cadet was found guilty, fined 6,000,000 livres (which he paid) and banished (which was later lifted). Levis went back to war, fighting against Prussia, and later became a Marshal of France and Duc de Levis. Bourlamaque became governor of Guadeloupe. And Bourgainville, whose treatise on the integral calculus made him a Fellow of the British Royal Society, later would command the first French squadron to sail around the world (doing it before James Cook, Wolfe’s chief petty officer and hydrographer, who also tried but was killed by angry natives in Hawaii). Bourgainville would later become the commander of the French fleet that helped Washington and Lafayette force the surrender of Cornwallis!
(16) Croghan had accompanied Colonel Bouquet, when Bouquet established British posts at the abandoned and destroyed former French posts at Venango, Le Boeuf and Presqu’Isle, and had invited the neighbouring Indians to a conference at Fort Pitt in August. The conference was attended by 1000 Indians from Delawares, Shawnees, Mingoes, Ottawas, Chippewas, Potawatomies, Hurons, Miamis and Kickapoos, where a message from General Amherst was read, promising a restoration of trade and assurances that Britain had no design on their land.
(17) Rogers and his partners bought 20,000 acres of land along Lake Superior, from the Indians, in hopes of finding the rich copper mines that the Indians had talked of.
Chapter 4 – 1761, the Road through Pontiac’s War
London – 1761
When Benjamin Franklin returned to London in the autumn of 1760 from his trip to northern England and Wales, he received the news of the French capitulation of Canada of September 8th, 1760. On October 25th, a heart attack killed George II, and his twenty-two year old grandson became King George III.(1)
Meanwhile, in Spain, Charles III, who was now king after Ferdinand VI had died in August 1759, concluded a ‘Family Compact’ between Spain and France, which included a promise to enter the war as France’s ally, if the war was not concluded by May 1st, 1762. While Prime Minister Pitt pressed for a declaration of war against Spain, this was unacceptable to the new king, George III, who wanted to end the war, and Pitt resigned on October 5th, 1761. George III could now replace Pitt, whom he hated, with the Earl of Bute, his tutor. However, Britain nonetheless declared war on Spain on January 4th, 1762.
Prior to Pitt’s resignation, the British navy had seized the French Caribbean sugar island of Dominique in June 1761. Between February and March 1762, the British navy continued seizing the other French sugar islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, and Grenada, and then blockaded the harbour and began the siege of the Spanish port of Havana, Cuba, from June 7th until it surrendered on August 13th, 1762. The British now traded slaves (from the French slaving stations in east Africa that the British had captured in 1758) for sugar grown on the now-British sugar islands in the Caribbean. Before anyone in the Philippines knew that Britain and Spain were at war, a British East India Company’s naval force had sailed from Madras to attack Manila, and stormed and plundered the city.(2)
At the end of December 1761, Elizabeth of Russia died, and now Peter III withdrew Russia from the war and made peace with Prussia. Six months later, his wife Catherine overthrew him, and allied Russia with Austria again! Russia then captured Prussia’s last port on the Baltic. Britain, now under Lord Bute, threatened to withdraw subsidies to Frederick, if Prussia didn’t pursue peace.
Benjamin Franklin now prepared to return home to America. While staying at Craven Street, he had a laboratory installed at the back of his first-story rooms, where, among other experiments and work, he invented bifocal spectacles, invented equipment to measure the temperature of sea water at different depths – so enabling him to later draw the first map of the Gulf Stream, invented the glass armonica – for which Mozart and Beethoven composed, perfected his lightning rod conductor – by experimenting with different metals, refined his Franklin stove, and discovered the positive and negative charge of electricity.
In April 1762, Franklin was awarded an honourary Doctor of Civil Law at Oxford University and his son William was awarded an honourary Master of Arts. William was also about to marry Elizabeth Downes, daughter of a Barbados sugar planter (on September 4th), and about to be installed as royal governor of New Jersey (through his connections with Lord Bute). Benjamin Franklin hurriedly left Britain at the end of August without being able to witness either event, and arrived in Philadelphia on November 1st, 1762.
Two days later, on November 3rd 1762, at Fontainbleu, preliminary articles of peace were agreed to, and on February 10 1763, a treaty of peace was signed between France, Spain and Britain. (At Fontainbleu, faced with losing Canada, France made a secret treaty with Spain, to give to Spain the country known as Louisiana, as well as New Orleans.) Britain acquired all of France’s possessions east of the Mississippi, except New Orleans (with the French left in possession of Louisiana, even the British possession of Canada would not free the frontier settlements from being annoyed by the Indians!!); and acquired Florida as far as the Mississippi, from Spain. France recovered her sugar islands, except Grenada and the Grenadines; and Spain recovered Havana. And, due in large part to Franklin’s efforts, Canada was not restored to France, but became part of the British North American colonies.
On February 15th, 1763, the Treaty of Hubertusburg ended the war in Europe between the exhausted states of Russia, Austria and Prussia – restoring the status quo from before the war!!!
With the ‘Seven Years War’ (as it was called in Europe) now ended, seven-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart left Salzburg on June 9th 1763, for his three-and-a-half-year ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe.
The Ohio Country – 1761
After accepting the French surrender of Fort Pontchartrain at d’Etroit (Fort Detroit) on December 3rd 1760, Robert Rogers sent 20 rangers, on December 7th, to take over the French posts southwest of Detroit – Fort St. Philippe (Fort Miamis) and Fort Ouiatenon. The following day, on December 8th, Rogers and 35 rangers, set out for Fort Michilimackinac to force its surrender too, but due to ice and bad winter weather, were forced to turn back to Fort Detroit. Rogers then returned to New York, to fight with British General Amherst’s secretary for settling his accounts – hoping to be reimbursed for loans he had taken to pay his men, which had put him deep in debt.
At Fort Detroit, William Johnson’s chief deputy George Croghan, after helping to outfit Rogers for his trip to Fort Michilimackinac and sending Montour and some Indians with him, sent another assistant with a French officer to bring in the French who were scattered among the Shawnees on the Ohio. After inviting the Six Nations (Iroquois) to attend a great meeting with all the other western Indian nations, to be held at Fort Detroit that summer, Croghan returned to his base at Fort Pitt. In February 1761, Croghan also wrote to Johnson that the governor of Louisiana was spurring on the Cherokee Indians for war against the British.
In February 1760, the Cherokee had attacked Fort Prince George, in South Carolina. In May, General Amherst sent Colonel Montgomery and 1,200 regulars, who burnt the lower Cherokee towns and crops, but were ambushed at Echoee pass in June, when they tried to enter the middle Cherokee towns, and Montgomery retreated back to Fort Prince George. In June 1761, Colonel Grant and 2600 men captured and destroyed 15 middle Cherokee towns, along with their food supplies, and forced the Cherokee to negotiate a peace treaty and three Cherokee leaders would travel to London and meet George III. (Amherst sent Rogers to South Carolina, arriving in August).
In May 1761, Croghan went to New York to confer with Johnson about Indian affairs in the west. Afterwards, Johnson met with General Amherst who decided that Johnson and Croghan would travel to Fort Detroit to hold a grand conference with the Indians. Also, Amherst would send a detachment of soldiers to complete the occupation of the western outlying posts – Forts Michilimackinac, La Baye, St. Joseph and the new fort at Sandusky, and to relieve the rangers at Forts Miamis and Ouiatenon.
In June 1761, Captain Campbell at Detroit learned of a plot by two Seneca chiefs to meet with the Delawares and Shawnees of Ohio, and also with the Ottawas, Hurons, Chippewas and Potawatomies of Detroit, to propose an assault on the British forts. Campbell informed Fort Pitt, Fort Niagara and Fort Presqu’Isle of the plans, and sent for the chief of the four local tribes – to tell them that he knew what the Senecas wanted. The four chiefs said they would not fight the British and the Senecas were told to go home.
On July 5th, 1761, Johnson left his home on the Mohawk River, for Detroit. While on the way, Johnson was informed of the plan by two Seneca chiefs for war on the British.(3) At Niagara, Johnson met with the Seneca. Also travelling to Detroit were Major Gladwin and 300 Royal American troops, who met Johnson at Niagara. At Johnson’s request, Gladwin increased his detachment by 60 men and 2 officers from Fort Niagara, to reinforce Captain Campbell at Fort Detroit.
While on the way, Johnson also received fresh instructions from General Amherst, who ordered him to give up the practise of purchasing the good behaviour of the Indians by presents, and to keep them scarce of ammunition. (Johnson considered this so dangerous that he did not even hint of this new policy when he met with the Indians at the conference.) By early September, Johnson arrived at Detroit with plenty of presents for the Indians, however, and on September 9th, the Grand Council began with William Johnson, his deputy George Croghan, his secretary Guy Johnson, Captain Campbell, and the two confederacies (the Iroquois and the Ottawa) – 13 nations represented by 1500 persons – “Wiandots, Sequenays, Ottawas, Chipeweighs, Powtewatamis, Kickapous, Twightwees, Delawares, Shawanese, Mohicons, Mohocks, Oneidas and Senecas”. Johnson spoke of not depriving any nation of any lands to which they had a lawful claim and spoke of promoting an extensive commerce, for the security and protection of which troops were now on their way, occupying such posts as have been surrendered. When the council ended on September 18th, Johnson drew up regulations for trade(4) and instructions to the commanding officers of the western posts, and then returned to Fort Johnson, arriving on October 30th, having at least staved off an Indian war (until they were in a far better position to meet the challenge).
On September 9th 1761, Captain Henry Balfour left Detroit with 120 men, travelled to the northern tip of lake Michigan to Fort Michilimackinac and left Lieutenant Leslye and 28 men there on September 28th. The fort had been abandoned by the French in the fall of 1760, taking the garrison to Fort Chartres. Balfour next travelled south on lake Michigan and visited Fort La Baye, which was likewise abandoned, renamed it Fort Edward Augustus, and left Ensign James Gorrell in command with 17 men on October 12th. Balfour next proceeded across the lake to Fort St. Joseph, whose French garrison had long since departed, and left Ensign Schlosser in command with 15 men on November 9th. Balfour now returned overland to Fort Detroit.
The new blockhouse at Sundusky was finished late in November, and Lieutenant Meyer remained to command it with 15 men.
Meanwhile, in October, Ensign Holmes was dispatched with 15 men from Detroit to Fort Miami to relieve Lieutenant Butler and his rangers. On November 6th, Lieutenant Jenkins and 20 men were sent to Fort Ouiatenon to relieve Ensign Wait and his rangers.
Below Fort Ouiatenon, which guarded the southwestern extension of Canada, was the high land (Terre Haute), which marked the boundary between Canada and Louisiana, where the French remained to make trouble. Even with the capitulation of Canada, France and Britain were still at war, and France still held Louisiana, which included the forts on the Mississippi and Fort Vincennes on the Wabash, and the French were suggesting to the Indians that a new French expedition against the British was on its way.
In London, policy for the Ohio was about to change. On March 21st 1761, Lord Halifax resigned as president of the Board of Trade – and the power of the Board was reduced. On October 9th 1761, the Earl of Egremont, brother-in-law of George Grenville, became Secretary of State for the Southern Department (overseeing the board of trade) and was now in charge of American affairs. The new report from the Board of Trade, issued on November 11th, stated in part that “the granting of lands hitherto unsettled and establishing colonies upon the frontiers before the claims of the Indians are ascertained appears to be a measure of the most dangerous tendency”, and that this should be stopped. Colonel Bouquet at Fort Detroit on October 13th, had issued a proclamation, approved by General Amherst, prohibiting all settlements west of the mountains, and requiring permission from the commander-in-chief for any future settlements. New instructions for the colonial governors were sent on December 2nd, forbidding the governors to “pass any grant or grants to any person whatever of any lands within or adjacent to the territories possessed or occupied by the said Indians or the property possession of which has at any time been reserved to or claimed by them”. The purchase of lands from the Indians had been taken out of the hands of the colonies and become a function of the imperial government. Both the Ohio Company, the Loyal Company and the volunteers from Virginia, were stopped from claiming their land grants in the Ohio country. And all this, before a treaty of peace was made with France!!! The British had decided that the French, regardless of the outcome of any peace treaty, were no longer able to stop the westward expansion, beyond the Alleghenies, of the American colonists, and the British plan would now be to use and manipulate the Indians as the means to block their access to the Ohio.
By early 1762, the British government had also decided to maintain a standing army of 20 battalions (ten thousand troops) for service in North American – for the commander-in-chief, to provide for military defence, to manage Indian affairs, and to control land purchases and any future colonization.
The Ohio Country – 1762
Thomas Hutchins, a young native of New Jersey, who had studied surveying and cartography, arrived at Fort Detroit toward the end of April 1762, bound on a mission for George Croghan to map the Great Lakes. When Hutchins returned at the end of September from his extensive mapping tour, he reported that the northern Indians were ‘disappointed in their expectations of my having presents for them’, and that ‘the traders were not allowed even to take so much ammunition with them to enable those Indians to kill game sufficient for the support of their families’. Croghan wrote to Johnson that the western tribes believed the French rumour that the British were preparing them for annihilation, being deprived of ammunition to defend themselves. Johnson would report to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, in July 1763, ‘but as these nations are warlike, numerous and accustomed to receive considerable and good treatment from the French for permitting them to occupy the several posts, to the northward and westward of the Detroit, which custom I was in no wise able to continue to them, they began to look on our friendship as not very interesting’. And that the Indians ‘have been greatly encouraged by some officers sent amongst them from the Governor of New Orleans’. Johnson, in a letter to Colden, Acting Governor of New York, in July 1763, wrote that on the first alarm when he issued the necessary orders to the militia, ‘they are but very ill provided with ammunition, it being a very dear and scarce article here’. With Amherst’s disastrous new policy towards the Indians, the French at New Orleans were taking advantage of the Indian’s discontent, to fan the flames of revolt.
During the summer of 1762, Johnson met at Easton with Teedyusung, a chief of the Delawares, who was advised by Israel Pemberton. This meeting was requested by the Privy Council in response to the petition of Benjamin Franklin on behalf of the Delawares, in regard to complaints of land fraud by the Penns. The Penns were represented at the meeting by Richard Peters and Benjamin Chew. George Croghan was the official secretary and interpreter. The Delawares withdrew their complaint when it was showed that 40 miles is not an uncommon rate of walking for a one and a half days journey of an Englishman. The Delwares won their complaint against the Connecticut Company purchase by John Lydius, with the Six Nations arguing that the usual manner of selling lands was in a general council, not as Lydius did – by dealing one by one.
Also during 1762, down in the Ohio valley, a psychopathic Delaware was having strange visions and exhorting others to change their way of living – to purify themselves from sin (by the use of emetics and abstinence from carnal knowledge of the other sex); to quit the use of fire arms; and to live in their original state before the Europeans came to their country. From reports from traders and former captives, it seemed that this ‘Prophet’ had learned a smattering of Christianity (the Jesuit variety), which after meditation and self-induced visions he adapted for Indian consumption. And it was also reported that several years earlier, some strange Indians from the west visited the Delaware towns, and told of their own people who used only bows and arrows and had no dealings with the Europeans.
In late October 1762, Croghan learned of a secret council at the Ottawa village near Detroit, by the chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas, Hurons, Potawatomies and other tribes from around Lake Superior accompanied by two Frenchmen. When this was reported to General Amherst, it was dismissed. Amherst had just ordered a reduction in the expenses and personnel of the Indian department under Johnson, stopping the presents which Croghan had been giving to the Indians (because the fort commanders could not!)
In December 1762, Croghan received news that the Shawnees had received a war belt and a hatchet from the French on the Illinois. In March 1763, Ensign Holmes at Fort Miami discovered another war belt that the Senecas had given to the Delawares, who gave it to the Shawnees, who gave it to the Miamis. Holmes persuaded the Miamis to give it to him. Johnson believed that the belt had been given to the Senecas by the French.
The Ohio Country – 1763
In February 1763, Major Gladwin, commander at Fort Detroit with two companies of Royal Americans (120 men) and one company of Queen’s Rangers (22 men)(5), heard news of the end of hostilities between France and Britain, announcing it to the French habitants in hope that they would stop encouraging discontent among the Indians.
In 1757, Robert Rogers had called his ranger corps, the Queen’s Rangers, which was disbanded after Pontiac’s war, in September 1763.
But on May 5th 1763, Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, held a war council of the Ottawas with the Hurons and Potawatomies to plan an attack on the British, by entering the fort (with hidden weapons) to ask Gladwin for a council, and at a given signal to fall upon the unsuspecting British. Being informed of the plot (most likely by Jacques Duperon Baby), Gladwin doubled the usual number of sentries and assembled, under arms, all other soldiers not on guard duty on the parade grounds. Pontiac and 300 Indians entered the fort with the excuse of holding a council to complain of the deaths of six of their chiefs during the last winter. Gladwin made presents of six suits of clothes, along with some bread and tobacco, and the council ended and the Indians returned to their villages.
On May 8th, Pontiac visited Gladwin and gave him a peace pipe (with the intention of returning to smoke the peace pipe as an excuse to again try a surprise attack on the British from inside the fort). When Pontiac and his warriors crossed the river, the next day, in 65 canoes and then arrived at the fort, Gladwin would not let them in the fort all at once, but only Pontiac and a few others. Enraged, Pontiac ordered his warriors back to their villages.
Since Pontiac was unable to attack those in the fort, he began attacking the (British) farmers and families outside the fort (the French farmers and families were not to be attacked), and then the Indians circled the fort, shooting at the British while hiding behind any houses, barns and fences outside the fort. On May 10th, Pontiac called a council of French and Indian leaders at the house of Antoine Cuillerier (brother-in-law of the former French commandant, Bellestre). It was decided to propose to Gladwin an end to hostilities while terms of peace were discussed. However, when Gladwin sent out two officers to speak with Pontiac, the officers, Captain Campbell and Lieutenant McDougall, were held as prisoners, and Pontiac then demanded that the British must leave in their two boats, but must leave behind all their goods and supplies. Two men who had been sent from Fort St. Joseph were captured by the Indians and killed. Two traders, who had arrived from Fort Niagara, were also captured by the Indians, along with all their supplies, which included 17 barrels of gunpowder. Gladwin fired on barns and houses outside the fort to destroy any protection for Pontiac to use in firing on the fort. While inside the fort, all surplus food was taken from the French habitants and put into a communal storehouse.
On May 14th, another council of Indian and French leaders was held – this one solicited by the French Jesuit missionary. The next day, Pontiac dispatched parties to promote attacks at Fort Sandusky and Fort St. Joseph. On May 16th, Fort Sandusky fell, after a surprise attack by Ottawas and Hurons, who entered the blockhouse after asking to speak to the commander. All fifteen men, as well as the store merchants, were killed, and Ensign Pauli was brought as a prisoner to Pontiac.(6)
On May 25th, a party of Potawatomies arrived at Fort St. Joseph from Detroit, saying they were visiting relatives in the area and wished to greet the commander, Ensign Schlosser. Once inside the blockhouse, in the surprise attack all of the fifteen-man garrison were killed except for Schlosser and six other men, and the fort was plundered and the captured men were taken to Pontiac at Detroit.(7)
On May 18th, another council of French and Indians was held, to threaten that the French habitants living outside the fort must supply the Indian warriors with food. Since Pontiac knew nothing of conducting a siege, it was decided to send some of the French to the French fort on the Illinois, to request a French officer to guide them in the siege. On the 19th, they left, but with instructions from Pontiac to promote attacks on Fort Miamis and Fort Ouiatenon, along their way. On May 27th, the embassy arrived at Fort Miamis. Lured out of the fort, to help an ill Indian squaw in a nearby cabin, Ensign Holmes was ambushed and killed. The others in the fort surrendered and were carried as prisoners to Pontiac at Detroit. Continuing on, at Fort Ouiatenon, the embassy requested Lieutenant Jenkins to meet several Indian chiefs in council at a
Cabin outside the fort. Upon entering the cabin, he was seized, and it was demanded that he surrender or be killed. Jenkins and the twenty-man garrison were taken prisoner down to Fort de Chartres.(8)
On May 21st, the British sent one of their sloops down river from Fort Detroit, in order to convoy an expected reinforcement to the fort. Pontiac led two attempts, with 400 warriors in 30 war canoes to attack the sloop. Fearing a third attack, the sloop sailed away to Niagara. Pontiac then sent a band of Indians along the north shore of Lake Erie to intercept whatever might be coming from Fort Niagara. Lieutenant Cuyler of the Queen’s Independents, ignorant of any Indian trouble, had left Niagara on May 13th with 96 men (Independents and Royal Americans) and 139 barrels of provisions in ten bateaux.
On May 28th, after landing at Point Pelee, they were attacked by Pontiac’s warriors. Cuyler managed to escape with 40 men and only nine barrels of provisions in two bateaux, and sailed across the lake to Fort Sandusky. Finding it burnt, they returned to Niagara. The Indians then brought their prisoners and booty to Pontiac, and on May 30th, while rowing insultingly past Fort Detroit, the soldiers in one of the boats were able to escape to the other anchored British sloop, with the boat containing seven barrels of provisions. During the Indians’ celebration that followed, all the prisoners were killed. On June 2nd, Pontiac sent 200 warriors on a mission against Fort Presqu’Isle, while still having about 870 warriors to besiege Fort Detroit.
On June 2nd, at Fort Michilimackinac, a thirty-five man-garrison commanded by Captain Etherington, the Chippewas began a game of lacrosse against some visiting Sauks on the sand outside the fort. Ignorant of the Indian war, soldiers and officers strolled out to watch the game. During the game, when the ball went over the stockade, the Indians ran pell-mell after it, past the sentries into the fort, where they grabbed weapons concealed by their squaws who had wandered into the fort, and began massacring the surprised soldiers and traders – plundering their goods which included 50 barrels of gunpowder. Twenty soldiers were killed on the spot, and four other soldiers, as prisoners, were later killed by another chief, to make up for his missing the surprise attack. Captain Etherington, Lieutenant Leslye, eleven soldiers and two traders were taken prisoner to L’Arbre Croche, a northern Ottawa village. After the surrender of Fort Michilimackinac, Etherington sent word, via a party of Ottawas, to Lieutenant Gorrell at Fort LaBaye, ordering him to bring his garrison to L’Arbre Croche. Gorrell summoned to council the neighbouring Sauks, Foxes, Menominees and Winnebagoes, who were not interested in Pontiac’s war, and told them he must leave the fort in their hands.(9) On June 21st, Gorrell and his seventeen-man garrison, along with some Indian allies, who accompanied them to speak with the Chippewas and Ottawas, left Fort LaBaye and crossed Lake Michigan to L’Arbre Croche. Gorrell met with the Ottawas and persuaded them to take their prisoners to Montreal and receive a large reward for them. On July 18th, they left for Montreal, via the Ottawa River, reached there less than four weeks later and turned in their semi-captives.
The Delawares received a war belt from the Hurons at Sandusky, informing them that Fort Sandusky was taken and that Fort Detroit was under attack. On May 28th, the Delawares, joined by the Mingoes, fell on Colonel Clapham’s little settlement, 25 miles below Fort Pitt, killing five people. The next day, at Fort Pitt, they killed two soldiers at the sawmill. Captain Ecuyer, commanding in the absence of Colonel Bouquet, ordered all settlers to move into the fort for protection, formed the men into two companies of militia, and burned all the buildings outside the fort which might give protection to the Indians – over 200 houses and huts. (The Indians burned George Croghan’s new home up the river.) Fort Pitt, with its 250 soldiers (half Royal Americans and half Pennsylvania militia) was now besieged by over 400 Delaware and Shawnee warriors. On June 2nd, an Indian party attacked Fort Ligonier, and later, Fort Bedford.
Around June 16th, the Senecas, who had now joined the war, attacked Fort Venango, butchered the entire fifteen-man garrison, burned the blockhouse, and roasted to death Lieutenant Gordon. On June 18th, the Senecas then attacked Ensign Price and his thirteen-man garrison at Fort Le Boeuf. At night, Price and eleven men were able to escape and make their way to Fort Pitt. On June 19th, the Senecas were joined by the 200 Indians (Ottawas, Hurons and Chippewas) sent by Pontiac, and they attacked Ensign Christie and his twenty-nine-man garrison at Fort Presqu’Isle. After two days of fighting, it was agreed to permit the garrison to retire to Fort Pitt, but as soon as the surrender was complete, the soldiers were divided among the four tribes as prisoners and taken away.(10)
On June 24th, the Delawares, Mingoes and Senecas renewed their attack on Fort Pitt. A chief and a warrior met with the Indian commissary and advised him to surrender, before a great army of Indians reached there. Captain Ecuyer urged them instead to make peace and gave them a present of two blankets and a handkerchief … from the hospital where smallpox had broken out!!!(11)
Not a single British post now remained in the west, except the besieged Fort Pitt and the besieged Fort Detroit.
On June 30th, the sloop Michigan returned to Fort Detroit from Fort Niagara with reinforcements of 50 men and ammunition, and 150 barrels of provisions. On July 1st, Pontiac called for a meeting with the heads of the French families and asked the French to now join in the fighting – about 300 French, both within and without the fort would be willing. On July 2nd, Lieutenant McDougall, held prisoner by Pontiac since May 10th, along with two traders, escaped from the Indians and reached Fort Detroit. On July 4th, Gladwin sent out troops to destroy the entrenchments that had been thrown up by the Indians and their new French allies. During the rout of the party of Indians and French by the British, one Indian – a nephew of a Chippewa chief, was killed and scalped. In revenge, Captain Campbell, also held a prisoner by Pontiac since May 10th, was killed. Fearing a similar fate, Ensign Pauli, the former commander at Fort Sandusky, escaped across the river to Fort Detroit. On July 6th Gladwin sent the sloop Michigan upstream to shell Pontiac’s camp. The Potawatomies, worried of a similar shelling of their village, promised Gladwin that they would deliver all their prisoners in exchange for the Potawatomi chief that the British held prisoner. When they returned with ten prisoners (three traders and seven soldiers) in exchange for their chief, one of the traders said that the Indians still had other prisoners, and Gladwin changed his mind about the exchange.
The Hurons, also worried that their village was vulnerable to shelling, delivered Ensign Christie, former commander at Fort Presqu’Isle and eight other prisoners to Gladwin in return for peace.
On July 9th, Pontiac, on a plan suggested by one of the Frenchmen, tried a fire-boat attack on the British sloop and schooner, which failed. On July 11th, another fire-boat attack by Pontiac failed. The next day, Gladwin sent the schooner Michigan to Niagara for provisions and another reinforcement of fifty men.
On July 28th, the French embassy returned to Pontiac from the Illinois country, with a message from Villiers, commandant of Fort de Chartres, who advised the French to take no part in the hostilities, and who told Pontiac he could send no help, because he had heard rumours that peace between France and the United Kingdom had been signed. On the same day, Captain Dalyell arrived from Fort Niagara with reinforcements.
Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the commander-in-chief of British armed forces in North America, who was waiting impatiently to receive permission from London to go home, had received reports from Captain Ecuyer and Major Wilkins of the attacks on Fort Pitt and Fort Detroit, and had considered the rumours to be rubbish. Meanwhile, news of the massacre on the frontier circulated though the colonies, as the Pennsylvania Gazette of June 9th, published an extract of a letter from Fort Pitt, and this was republished by the other colonial papers.(12)
Finally, on June 16th, Amherst dispatched his own aide-de-camp, Captain Dalyell, to Albany to collect reinforcements there and along the route west, and when he reached Niagara to leave only as many men as necessary to defend the fort and to proceed to Fort Detroit with the others. At Albany, Dalyell picked up Major Robert Rogers and twenty-one provincials, as well as several companies of regulars, and reached Fort Niagara with 220 men on July 6th. At Niagara, Dalyell demanded all of the remaining regulars of Major Wilkins, but finally settled for forty of them. Dalyell was so eager to be off, that he would not wait for the schooner that was sent from Fort Detroit to escort him. He travelled along the south shore of Lake Erie until Presqu’Isle where he stopped to inspect the ruins of the fort there, and continued to Sandusky Bay, where he ventured inland past the ruined fort there and destroyed the Huron village of Junundat, and finally reached Detroit on July 28th, thanks to the fog as he passed by the Indian villages on the river, and arrived at the fort in twenty-two boats with 260 men – more men than Gladwin commanded within the fort.
Although he was under Major Gladwin, Captain Dalyell argued with him over tactics, and urged that he be allowed to lead a surprise attack on Pontiac’s encampment (about three miles way). Although far outnumbered by the Indians and with the road to Pontiac’s camp lined with spies, still Dalyell had the ear of General Amherst, and so Gladwin reluctantly agreed to Dalyell’s plan.
On July 31st at 2:30 a.m., Dalyell and 247 men (including Major Rogers and his company of Queen’s Rangers) marched up the river road, followed alongside by two gunboats, each with a swivel gun. As they approached a narrow timber bridge crossing Parent’s creek (about two miles from the fort), Pontiac and over 400 warriors were spread out in a wide arc, waiting for them. Pontiac then sent 250 braves back around through the woods to cut off the British retreat. As the British crossed the bridge, Pontiac launched a surprise attack on them, as the British were confused in the darkness. At the sound of the first shots, Rogers took cover in a nearby house, using it as a blockhouse and preventing the Indians from closing in on their flank. Dalyell was forced to retreat. But his retreat was held up by the Indians, now at his rear, and while he was forced to lead a charge against the Indians who were between him and the fort, he was killed. As the Indians were scrambling out of the way, the retreat was protected by Roger’s defence post, leaving Rogers, at last exposed. The armed boat routed the Indians enough so that Rogers and his men could withdraw. The British had 20 killed, including Dalyell,(13) and 37 wounded, in the battle of Bloody Run (as the creek was called afterwards).
On August 5th, the schooner Huron returned from Fort Niagara with a further enforcement of sixty men, and with eighty barrels of provisions. On August 15th, the schooner Huron and the sloop Michigan sailed away to Fort Niagara. After receiving another 200 warriors, Pontiac now moved his encampment down to the River Rouge, south of the fort, to be in a better position to intercept any more incoming vessels from Fort Niagara, and, he began to make plans to strike a blow at the other end of Lake Erie, to break up the source of supplies to Fort Detroit.
Meanwhile, about the same time in June that he had dispatched Captain Dalyell, General Amherst had sent Major Campbell to gather some light companies from New York to be sent to Philadelphia, should Colonel Bouquet need reinforcements to take west to Fort Pitt. Although most of Amherst’s army had been disbanded at the end of the war with France, regiments returning from the siege of Havana provided him with men, and Bouquet was given 460 men, from two Highlander regiments and from the Royal Americans,(14) and a small party of rangers, along with wagons and 340 horses loaded with flour. They left Carlisle on July 18th, passing through the deserted posts of Fort Loudon, Fort Littleton and Juniata, and finally reached Fort Bedford on July 25th. On August 2nd, they reached Fort Ligonier, where they left behind the wagons, oxen and artillery. They were now two days march (40 miles) from Fort Pitt.
On the evening of July 26th, the Indians had crawled up to the walls of Fort Pitt, and began digging in with their knives – ringing the fort with foxholes, and from the foxholes opened fire at dawn, which continued uninterrupted for five days and nights. On the morning of August 1st, the foxholes were empty and the Indians began an exodus away from Fort Pitt. Firing by the Indians at Fort Pitt had now ceased, as the Indians withdrew to attack the relief column coming under Bouquet.
On August 5th, at Edge Hill (25 miles from Fort Pitt), Bouquet was suddenly attacked by Delawares, Shawnees, and Mingoes, along with some Hurons from Sandusky. The assault broadened until the troops were surrounded – the soldiers camped on the hilltop in a circle, barricaded by pack-saddles, fallen trees or anything providing a cover, with the wounded (surrounded by bags of flour) and the pack-horses in the centre. After battling all day, the firing ceased during the night, and the Indians resumed the battle the next day. Sensing a weakness in part of the circle, the Indians charged what they thought was a thinning of the rank. But at the height of the clash, two companies, sent on a secret detour through the woods, reappeared and tore into the flank of the Indians, surprising them and forcing them to turn back towards the woods, when they were struck again by two more companies, following upon their rear, and the Indians dispersed into the forest. Bouquet then moved his men on a mile to Bushy Run, where water was available for the thirsty and wounded troops. At the Battle of Bushy Run, Bouquet had 50 killed, 60 wounded, and 5 missing. Bouquet destroyed all the flour, as the remaining horses were needed to carry the wounded. On August 10th, they arrived at Fort Pitt. The Delaware and Shawnee Indians returned to the Muskingum and Scioto Rivers, and only a few Indians showed themselves around Fort Pitt again.
On August 16th, the Michigan with its cargo of wounded men, and the Huron arrived at Niagara, to be reloaded with provisions and return to Fort Detroit (the Michigan was also to carry Lieutenant Montresor and seventeen men). The Huron reached Detroit on September 2nd and anchored at the mouth of the Detroit River, while it disembarked six Mohawks that William Johnson had sent to talk to the Hurons. The next morning, two Frenchmen went on board to sell greens to the crew, and afterwards returned to Pontiac to report that the ship’s captain had only eleven men, as crew and guard on the ship. That night 340 Ottawas and Chippewas, in canoes, swarmed the schooner and tried boarding it. In close fighting, the captain and one soldier were killed, and four were wounded, with six men left to beat back the attack before the Indians called off the attack, fearing an explosion (upon hearing that the last man would blow up the ship). The Indians suffered 8 killed and 20 wounded. The next day, Gladwin had the ship brought to the fort with its 47 barrels of flour and 160 barrels of salt pork. On September 8th, the Huron left to return to Niagara.
Meanwhile, the Michigan had also left Niagara to travel to Detroit, when, in the middle of the lake, the Michigan sprang a leak and the winds drove it on shore at Catfish Creek. On September 2nd, a reinforcement of 100 men arrived from Fort Schlosser (at Niagara), to help until the sloop could be repaired. The next day, they were attacked by a band of Ottawas and Chippewas (who had earlier be sent by Pontiac to destroy the fort at Presqu’Isle) and three men were killed. Later, on September 6th, it was found that the sloop was irrecoverable. Montresor’s men worked on completing a small fort at the site for protection from any further Indian attacks. On July 16th, another detachment of 240 men arrived from Fort Schlosser, and the schooner Huron also arrived, on its way back from Detroit. The sloop was taken apart and was rafted back to Niagara. The reinforcements returned to Fort Schlosser. The Huron was loaded with Montresor and his detachment, and the remaining 185 barrels of provisions, and set sail for Detroit, arriving there on October 3rd, and then hurriedly sent back to Niagara for more supplies (as Gladwin only had enough flour for three more weeks).
At the same time, between 300 to 500 Senecas were laying in ambush along the portage – a winding nine-mile road between Fort Niagara (a landing place at the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario) and Fort Schlosser, a landing place on the Niagara River at the top of the falls (for the ships on Lake Erie). On September 14th, a convoy of 25 horses and ox-drawn wagons wound down the trail from Fort Schlosser to Fort Niagara, escorted by thirty men, when they were ambushed. The teams broke away in stampede and plunged over the abyss onto the rocks below. The men, caught amid the frightened animals, and trapped between the attacking Indians and the chasm behind them, were almost all killed, as only two escaped. Hearing the firing, two companies at the landing place (80 men) advanced toward the convoy when they too were ambushed, and only a few escaped back to Fort Niagara. In all, 73 men were killed and eight men were wounded in the worst lost of life for the British during Pontiac’s war.
On September 7th, William Johnson opened another conference with the Iroquois at his home in the Mohawk valley, with a delegation from eight nations in Canada coming, but only six Senecas attended (from two villages that hesitated to join the fighting). Johnson urged them to strike the western tribes themselves, but this plan was nullified by Amherst, who replied to Johnson that he would not employ any Indians.
Further, raging from his losses to Pontiac, Amherst would write in letters to Colonel Bouquet, “Could it not be contrived to send the small pox among the disaffected tribes of Indians?” and, “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” Or, Amherst would order Captain Gardiner and his troops going west, “You will therefore take no prisoners, but put to death all that fall into your hands.”
At Detroit, the Mississaugi chief Wabbicomigot had arrived from Canada on October 1st to meet with Pontiac, and then requested to meet with Gladwin, holding council with him inside the fort on October 11th, 12th and 13th. On the 14th, the Chippewas went into the fort to turn in six prisoners as evidence of their desire for peace. The Potawatomies followed, in an effort to get their last remaining prisoner from Gladwin. On October 17th, a delegation of Chippewas and Ottawas entered the fort together for peace talks. Then a Frenchman, claiming to be from the Illinois country, arrived and brought news to Pontiac that he could expect a detachment of French troops and forty packhorses loaded with ammunition and goods – this lie appeared to be the last subterfuge of the renegade French at Detroit to keep the war going a little longer. As the first snow of the year fell, the last of the Potawatomies departed, and 10 canoes of Chippewas and Ottawas left to hunt to provide food for their families. Pontiac made a final appeal for war in a grand council on October 20th, being only partly successful. On October 23rd, a delegation of Chippewas went back to the fort to continue their peace talks.
On October 29th, Cadet Dequindre of Illinois arrived at Detroit with letters from Major de Villiers to Pontiac, to the French habitants, and to Major Gladwin. The French and British had made peace, there would be no help sent from the French in Illinois, and Fort de Chartres was to be delivered up the British. As a result, over the next four days the habitants sold 8,000 pounds of their hoarded wheat to Gladwin’s needy garrison. And on October 31st 1763, Pontiac dictated a message to Dequindre, which was translated into French and which Pontiac signed, and which was sent to Gladwin, that Pontiac’s people were ready to speak with him about peace. Gladwin refused to let Pontiac enter the fort, as he feared for the chief’s safety. Pontiac and nine of his men left to accompany Dequindre back to Illinois country.(15)
It was exactly ten years ago, on November 1st 1753, that a young twenty-one year old George Washington left Williamsburg to deliver a message to the French that they must leave the Ohio country. The French and Indian War was now over – but what would the peace look like?
On November 11th, the Hurons returned to Detroit and brought word to Gladwin of the attack at Niagara on September 14th. On October 20th, a second attack had been made by the Senecas, at the Niagara portage, on Major Wilkins’ 600-man expeditionary force as the troops were preparing to embark in boats for Detroit – eight were killed and eleven wounded. Later, when Wilkins’ force finally left Niagara in boats, they encountered a violent storm off Point aux Pins. Seventy men drowned, two boats and occupants were missing, and 18 boats with 52 barrels of provisions and all the ammunition were lost. The officers decided to turn back to Niagara. Gladwin now lacked the provisions for the winter, and deciding to keep only a garrison of 250 men, he ordered all the others to be sent to Niagara.
On November 20th, 240 men, commanded by Major Rogers, in 19 bateaux left for Niagara. (The Senecas meanwhile had attacked the landing at Niagara again on November 5th, killing seven and capturing two – the last battle of the war.) The Indians had lost between 80 and 90 of their best warriors, while the British had lost almost 450 men. Of the civilians, George Croghan estimated that the Indians ‘killed or captivated not less than two thousand … and drove thousands to beggary and the greatest distress.’(16)
Gladwin sent a message to General Amherst in New York, “but if your Excellency still intends to punish them further for their barbarities, it may be easily done without any expense to the Crown by permitting a free sale of rum, which will destroy them more effectually than fire and sword.” But Gladwin would not receive a reply from Amherst. Sir Jeffrey had finally received His Majesty’s permission to return to Britain, held a hurried conference with William Johnson at Albany on Indian affairs, summoned General Gage from Montreal to take command of British forces in North America – leaving all his cares and problems on his desk for Gage, and left America on November 17th, never to return.
At the same time that Amherst was preparing to leave, George Grenville and Lord North were first devising the plan of raising revenue by the sale of stamps to the colonists.
After the signing of the treaty of peace with France, Lord Bute decided to resign his ministry, and that the new ministry would be led by George Grenville, Lord Halifax and the Earl of Egremont. In April 1763, Lord Bute was replaced as Prime Minister by George Grenville. Both of Grenville’s Secretaries of State – Earl of Egremont for the Southern department, and Lord Halifax for the Northern department, (along with Bute’s protégé, the young Earl of Shelburne, heading the Board of Trade) were conferring on a new policy for the colonies and for the newly acquired territories of Canada – both the St. Lawrence river settlements of Quebec and also the western country. On April 5th 1763, Egremont sent a policy directive to the President of the Board of Trade, Lord Shelburne, stipulating the outlines of the program for the new territories – restricting settlements and guaranteeing no encroachment on Indian (i.e.Ohio) lands. Egremont proposed that the Ohio country be assigned to the military government of Quebec, and instructed the Board of Trade to draw up the necessary papers to inform the colonial governors. On August 5th, Shelburne and the Board of Trade issued its report on a comprehensive colonial policy, but proposed instead that the Ohio country should be placed under the jurisdiction of the Commander in chief. When Egremont died suddenly that August, Lord Halifax took over the Southern department, with the Earl of Sandwich now at the Northern department. Lord Shelburne resigned and was replaced with the Earl of Hillsborough as president of the Board of Trade. In September, Halifax instructed the Board of Trade, now under Hillsborough, to complete a proclamation regulating the Ohio country, and the Royal Proclamation was issued on October 7th 1763, stating (in part):
Whereas We have taken into Our Royal Consideration the extensive and valuable Acquisitions in America, secured to our Crown by the late Definitive Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris the 10th Day of February last …
“The Government of Quebec bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a Line drawn from the Head of that River through the Lake St. John, to the South end of the Lake Nipissim; from whence the said Line, crossing the River St. Lawrence, and the Lake Champlain, in 45 Degrees of North Latitude, passes along the High Lands which divide the Rivers that empty themselves into the said River St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Sea; and also along the North Coast of the Baye des Chaleurs, and the Coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosieres, and from thence crossing the Mouth of the River St. Lawrence by the West End of the Island of Anticosti, terminates at the aforesaid River of St. John (17)…
And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, 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 to them or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds.
“We do therefore, with the Advice of our Privy Council, declare it to be our Royal Will and Pleasure that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our Colonies of Quebec, East Florida or West Florida, do presume, upon any Pretence whatever, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass any Patents for Lands beyond the Bounds of their respective Governments as described in their Commissions: as also that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our other Colonies or Plantations in America do presume for the present, and until our further Pleasure be known, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass Patents for any Lands beyond the Heads or Sources of any of the Rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the West and North West, or upon any Lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them
“And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid. “And We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of our Displeasure, all our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved without our especial leave and Licence for that Purpose first obtained.
“And We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the Countries above described or upon any other Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements….”
So, after ten years of war, of fighting for the Ohio country, and of fighting and defeating the French, and of fighting and defeating the Indians, the victorious British King now has banned any and all colonial settlements west of the Appalachian mountains;
And, since he couldn’t give all this land back to France, he has given it all back to the Indians;
And, although all the Ohio country was given to the Indians, the Board of Trade would not authorize William Johnson to begin peace procedures until the Indians had received a thorough drubbing;
And, since the French and Indian war had paralysed all activity of the Ohio Company(18), and the Loyal Company(19), and that now were unable to break through the rules of this new Proclamation;
And, although the Dinwiddie Proclamation of 1754 (20) had offered land – 200,000 acres in the Ohio valley, to enlist Virginian volunteers in the war – including George Washington, that land was also gone.
And so now, something would have to change; and now, someone would have to find a new way to settle the Ohio country.
(1) Benjamin Franklin, with his son William and his close friend Richard Jackson, had left London on August 15th, 1761, on a tour of the United Netherlands (Holland) and the Austrian Netherlands (Flanders), visiting the large cities, when they had to hurray back to London to attend the coronation of George III, on September 22nd, as Franklin did not want to miss what he thought would be the one chance in his lifetime to witness a coronation.
(2) The insurrection by the people of the Philippines confined the British to Manila, until it was returned to Spain in 1764.(3) Of the Six nations, the Seneca were the most influenced by the French Jesuits.
(4) Prices were quoted in terms of the number of buckskins, from which we derive our slang term “bucks”.
(5) The Royal Americans was a new regiment raised in 1758, out of the German and Swiss immigrants in British North America.
(6) Pauli would later escape into Fort Detroit on July 4th.
(7) Schlosser was handed over to Gladwin on June 14th.
(8) Beyond Fort Ouiatenon was Louisiana territory.
(9) In 1762, Lieutenant Gorrell made treaties with the Menominee, Winnebago, Ottawa, Sauk, Fox, and Iowa; and later, in 1763, with the Sioux.
(10) Later, on July 9th, only Christie, a woman and one soldier were delivered to Gladwin at Fort Detroit.
(11) Smallpox raged among the Delawares, Mingoes and Senecas all that summer, and was still prevalent the next spring.
(12) News would reach Britain when the London Chronicle received an American newspaper and on July 16th published the news of an insurrection at Fort Pitt and Fort Detroit.
(13) The Indians found Dalyell’s body, cut out his heart and wiped it in the faces of their prisoners, cut off his head and mounted it on a pole. The next day, Jacques Campau recovered the remains of his body and took them to the fort for burial.
(14) Many of the Highlander regiments were still suffering from the after-effects of tropical diseases contacted in Cuba the previous year.
(15) The French had invited the Indians to retire to the other side of the Mississippi. Due to Lord Bute, the peace treaty would say that the boundary of Louisianna should pass along the easternmost outlet of the Mississippi (with New Orleans on the west bank!), for the use of the French traders on the Mississippi and the Illinois.
(16) Besides attacking the forts, the Indians raided the cabins of settlers exposed on the western edge of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. War parties numbering from twelve to fifty warriors ravaged independently up and down the frontier, usually following river valleys. Virginia had raised 1000 militia for defence (in companies of 300 men), to pursue war parties, recover any prisoners and loot, as well as killing some of the Indians. Pennsylvania raised a militia of 700, but they were not to engage in any offensive operations or to move beyond the settled parts, and to protect the farmers while they gathered in their crops.
(17) The French settlements in the western territories – now given to the Indians, were completely ignored.
(18) Two hundred thousand acres were granted to the Ohio Company in 1749, on condition that the company settle two hundred families in seven years and erect a fort and maintain a garrison; the remaining three hundred thousand acres were to be granted on condition that three hundred more families settle there within the next seven years. The company was prevented from meeting the terms of the grant that called for settling two hundred families.
(19) The Loyal Company of Thomas Walker, John Lewis, John and Thomas Meriwether, and 43 others, were granted 800,000 acres by the Virginia council in 1749.
(20) Lt. Governor Dinwiddie had left for Britain due to health reasons in January 1758, and had been replaced by Lt. Governor Francis Fauquier.
Chapter 5 – 1764, the Road around the Royal Proclamation
During the summer of 1763, before the British had time to consider and determine upon its policy toward the new acquisitions, the Mississippi Land Company was formed for the purpose of planting a colony in the Illinois country. Some of the original members were the Washingtons – George, Samuel and John; the Lees – William, Thomas, Francis Lightfoot, Richard Henry, and Arthur; Henry and William Fitzhugh; Presly Thorton and Benedict Calvert. There were thirty-eight subscribers to the agreement, who maintained an agent in London to solicit from the crown a grant of two million five hundred acres of land on the Mississippi river and its tributaries, the Wabash and Ohio rivers – to settle and cultivate commodities most wanted by Great Britain, but also to establish a buffer – to cut off the French on the west side of the Mississippi river from any political and commercial relations with the Indians. Although the proclamation would later forbid any settlements in the country beyond the mountains, the Company continued to solicit its grant.
When Pontiac’s uprising broke out, many traders who were scattered throughout the woods were massacred or taken captive and their goods seized. The two biggest losers were the firms ‘Baynton and Wharton’ (mostly Quakers) and ‘Simon, Trent, Levy and Franks’ (mostly Jews). George Croghan, trying to recoup his own losses, worked with Wharton and Trent to present a memorial to General Amherst, and then decided to attempt to secure payment of their losses in London. In December 1763, Croghan, Trent, Wharton, and eight other traders and merchants met in Philadelphia to form plans, and agreed to engage Croghan, who was about to leave for London, and Moses Franks, a merchant in London, as agents to present a memorial to the Board of Trade on behalf of all the traders and merchants who had incurred losses in 1754 and in 1763 (called the ‘Suffering Traders’). In spite of all their efforts, the attempt failed.
1764 – Franklin in Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin returned to Philadelphia on November 1st 1762, to a hero’s welcome. Doctor Franklin, as he was now known, had claimed only £714 in expenses for the five years he lived in London, and he returned the rest of the £1500 that the Assembly had given him. Astonished at how little he had spent, the Assembly refused to accept the return of the remainder, but instead voted to pay him an additional £2241.(1) As well as being deputy postmaster general for the colonies, a month earlier he had been elected in absentia to a seat in the Pennsylvania Assembly. When William and his new bride arrived in Philadelphia from Britain in February 1763, Dr. Franklin went with them to New Jersey to help William launch his new career as royal governor.
After giving some attention to his private affairs due to his long absence, Dr. Franklin, as postmaster-general in America, spent five months travelling through the northern colonies for the purpose of inspecting the post offices. Along with his daughter Sally, he journeyed in his light carriage as far as New Hampshire, (with a saddle horse for Sally), meeting his old friends along the way and being detained by their hospitality.
Dr. Franklin was still corresponding with his friends in Britain, including Richard Jackson, who had succeeded Dr. Franklin as agent for Pennsylvania. In March 1763, Dr. Franklin had written to Jackson, asking him of his interest in joining him in trying to obtain a grant of land in America west of the Appalachians for a western colony, as there was an “unaccountable Penchant in all our people to migrate westward”. Also early in 1763, Samuel Finley, president of the College of New Jersey, sent one of his former students, James Lyon, to see Dr. Franklin with a scheme for a settlement on the Mississippi, although Dr. Franklin would become suspicious of Lyon and see his scheme as very crude and quite absurd, even though Lyon had a great number of subscribers. However, with the Indian unrest in the Ohio country, any colonization effort there would be too risky for the time being.
In 1763, a grandson of Daniel Coxe, court physician to William III, claiming the rights to a huge land grant in the Carolinas and Georgia called the Heath Grant, approached Dr. Franklin for help in securing the grant, promising him a share in return, and Dr. Franklin referred him to Richard Jackson, who worked to establish the validity of the claim.(2)
Early in 1764, Dr. Franklin and John Hughes joined a land project in Nova Scotia, headed by a Virginian Alexander McNutt and surveyor Anthony Wayne. Dr. Franklin’s share in the enterprise entitled him to 11,000 acres out of two 100,000 acre grants.
On October 31st 1763, John Penn, the son of Richard Penn and nephew of Thomas Penn, was made the Governor of Pennsylvania. In 1763 the Penn brothers also sent two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, to mark the boundary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.(3) This survey would not only block Virginia`s claim to the Ohio, including Pittsburg, but it would put control of the Ohio country
into the personal hands of the Penn brothers!!! Dr. Franklin was now to be in another battle with the Penns.
Seeking revenge for plunderings and killings by the Delawares on the frontier settlements, on December 14th, fifty-seven men under Lazarus Stewart, from the towns of Donegal and Paxton on the Pennsylvanian frontier, attacked a small band of twenty Indians who had long settled at Conestoga, killing and scalping six of them, including the chief. When Governor Penn issued a proclamation for the arrest of the offenders, the ‘Paxton boys’ defied the proclamation, marched into the town of Lancaster, where the remaining Indians from Conestoga had sought refuge, and murdered the remaining fourteen Indians on December 27th. Alarmed at these events, the friendly Indians of the province – about 140 of them, fled to Philadelphia for protection, and some of the insurgents threatened to march there and put them all to death.
Dr. Franklin wrote a Narrative of the late Massacres in Lancaster County, to relate the facts to the people, and to appeal to the inhabitants:
Let us rouse ourselves, for shame, and redeem the honour of our province from the contempt of its neighbours; let all good men join heartily and unanimously in support of the laws, and in strengthening the hands of the government; that justice may be done, the wicked punished, and the innocent protected; otherwise we can, as a people, expect no blessing from Heaven; there will be no security for our persons or properties; anarchy and confusion will prevail over all; and violence without judgment dispose of every thing.”
Convinced that the provincial government intended to take no effective steps to protect people on the frontier from Indian attacks, the ‘Paxtoneers’ held meetings and appointed delegates to proceed to Philadelphia to demand justice for the men of the frontier. About six hundred armed backwoodsmen, including the delegates and also some companies of rangers, set out for Philadelphia in January 1764. Upon learning of their approach, Governor Penn rushed to Dr. Franklin’s at midnight for help, and for a time used Dr. Franklin’s house as his headquarters to deal with the crisis! There being no regular militia, at the request of the governor, Dr. Franklin formed a military association – nine companies were organized, and nearly a thousand citizens embodied themselves under arms. On finding the ferries on the Schuylkill guarded and the city defended by a superior force of militia, the ‘Paxtoneers’ halted at Germantown, six miles away. A delegation, headed by Dr. Franklin, was sent to Germantown to hold conferences with the frontiersmen, who appointed a committee to prepare a memorial of their grievances. When it was promised that the Pennsylvania Assembly and the Governor would consider all their grievances, they voted two persons to be the bearers of their complaints, and the rest returned home.
Later, the Governor declined to support the measures recommended by the inhabitants (to stop the distresses they suffered from the savages murdering defenceless families) and no further steps were taken. Dr. Franklin feared that the government was unable to keep the peace, and because of Governor Penn’s attitude, the people would not rally to his support again, as Pennsylvania moved toward anarchy and confusion. Dr. Franklin had another reason to get rid of the Penns.
On December 22nd 1763, the Pennsylvania Assembly moved to honour a request by General Amherst for 1000 men to help fight the Indians. The Governor refused his assent, and demanded amendments – including the Governor`s sole right to appointment of officers and requiring all trials to be by a court-martial, not by judges and juries in the courts of law. The bill was lost. Dr. Franklin wrote an account of the failed proceedings and the unjustifiable conduct and designs of the proprietary party.
Two weeks later, the Assembly voted to raise £55,000 to supply these troops, and on February 24th passed a bill containing provisions for this appropriation. Governor Penn rejected this bill, due to objections regarding the taxation of the proprietary estates – even though the bill complied with four of the six stipulations made at the Council Board, and went against the compromise that had been worked out by Robert Charles and Dr. Franklin at Privy Council hearings four years before! On March 14th the Assembly offered a new bill, which Governor Penn also refused to sign. With the Indians invading the border, the troops had to be supported and the Assembly consented to the bill on the Governor`s terms. Dr. Franklin had yet another reason to rid Pennsylvania of the Penns.
On March 24th, Dr. Franklin wrote and circulated for signatures the ‘Petition of the Pennsylvania Freeholders and Inhabitants to the King’, for removing proprietary government, and in April, wrote a tract, Cool Thoughts on the Present Situation of Public Affairs, in which he described the evils of proprietary government and the only remedy – substituting a royal government in its stead.
On May 23rd, the Pennsylvania Assembly named a committee to draft a petition to the king. Dr. Franklin was on the committee and he had already written a petition, which on May 24th was then deliberated on, resulting in several changes, and on May 25th a ‘great majority’ agreed to it (only three voted against it). The next day, Isaac Norris, the speaker, sent word that the previous two days had overtaxed his constitution and that he could not attend. Dr. Franklin was unanimously elected to replace Norris. As the new speaker, Dr. Franklin signed the final version of the petition.
After two months of bitter fighting over the supply bill, and with Dr. Franklin as the new speaker, the Assembly gave ground, and several changes were made which Governor Penn had insisted upon, and the bill was signed by Governor Penn on May 30th. On June 1st, Thomas and Richard Penn had written to their nephew, Governor John Penn, to accept the Assembly’s interpretation of the Privy Council’s order regarding taxation of the proprietary lands, but he made no public announcement of it, withholding it until after the election in October. The proprietary party circulated a counter petition, against the change in government, lying that a change would cost £100,000. Dr. Franklin knew that the matter would be decided by the election, and as the leader of the anti-proprietary party took most of the battering from the anti-royal party, and was attacked in ‘five scurrilous pamphlets and three copperplate prints’. Dr. Franklin was voted out,(4) but the majority of the last assembly remained.
However, the proprietary party did not rid themselves of an active and troublesome opponent in the Assembly, as they had hoped for, by defeating Dr. Franklin in the election. At the end of October, the Assembly voted 19 to 11, to send Dr. Franklin back to Britain as co-agent, to help Richard Jackson promote the petition. The eleven published a protest against Dr. Franklin, which he answered on November 5th in ‘Remarks on a Late Pamphlet’.
On November 8th 1764, Dr. Franklin departed from Chester, and sailed for London.
1764 – The Ohio Country
In the spring of 1764, George Croghan was in London, being sent by William Johnson to give the Lords of Trade a memorial on Indian affairs. While he was before the Board of Trade, Lord Halifax sought his opinion on the project of some men to establish a colony in the Illinois country. When Croghan returned to America, he discussed this matter with Johnson and with his friends in Philadelphia – but little was known of the Illinois country. Later that July, the Board of Trade would send to William Johnson their plan for the future management of Indian affairs – but nothing was mentioned of the Illinois colony.
Early in the spring of 1764, saying that he had not surrendered but had only called a truce, Pontiac and his followers moved to the Illinois country to stir up the Illinois confederacy, to resist the British when they should approach from Warm Town (New Orleans). Leaving Detroit, Pontiac travelled past the empty Fort Miami, where a dozen French families lived, and past the empty Fort Ouiatenon and its fourteen French families. In March, travelling now into Louisiana, Pontiac paid his respects to Captain St. Ange, at Fort Vincennes, where 100 French families were settled. In April, Pontiac met with Major De Villiers(5) at Fort de Chartres, with its small French settlement, and several other French settlements nearby, including Kaskaskia with its 80 houses. (Some Frenchmen in the area were lying to the Indians that a French army was being sent to fight the British in the Illinois.) Pontiac then set up a settlement on the Maumee river.
On March 20th, 500 British regulars under Major Loftus, coming up the Mississippi had been attacked and forced to turn back, 240 miles from New Orleans, by a party of Tunicas, Ofogoulas, Choctaws and Avoyelles. Gage suggested, to Major Farmar at Mobile, a strategy of setting the southern tribes against the northern tribes. John Stuart, superintendent of Indian affairs in the south, reported that Pontiac was trying to unite the northern and southern tribes to fight the British.
General Gage’s punitive expedition against the Delawares and Shawnees would be carried out by Colonel Bradstreet, attacking the Delaware and Shawnee while he went from Fort Niagara to Fort Detroit, and by Colonel Bouquet, attacking the Delaware and Shawnee villages from Fort Pitt.
Bradstreet left Albany in late June, was joined by Johnson along the way, and arrived at Niagara on July 8th 1764, where Johnson would hold a peace conference with the Indians.(6) Fourteen hundred Indians from the Six Nations and from the Chippewas, Ottawas and Nipissings (from around Fort Michilimackinac), the Menominees (from around Fort LaBaye) and the Hurons (from around Fort Detroit) all gathered at Niagara. The Senacas were punished by the loss of four miles of land on both sides of the Niagara River. The Indians were told they could have trade goods by compelling the belligerent tribes to return to the paths of peace. The Iroquois would provide warriors as scouts to accompany Bradstreet.
After the council, Bradstreet embarked from Niagara with 1200 men in early August. But four days after leaving Niagara, rough weather forced them ashore near Presqu’Isle, where they met some Indians who claimed to be deputies from the Delawares and Shawnees. On August 12th, Bradstreet made a peace treaty with them and they promised to bring in their prisoners to Sandusky within 25 days.(7) Believing that he had made peace, Bradstreet called off his attack on the Delaware and Shawnee villages, and continued on to Fort Detroit.
At Fort Detroit, Bradstreet installed Lieutenant Colonel John Campbell to relieve Major Gladwin, sent off a detachment under Captain William Howard to garrison Fort Michilimackinac, and then held a conference with the Ottawas, Hurons, Chippewas, and Potawatomies from September 5th to 7th. They were granted a peace treaty, requiring only that they acknowledge themselves subjects of King George,(8) and turn in their captives.
Bradstreet now returned to Sandusky to meet the Delawares and Shawnees who were supposed to be there, to hand in their captives, but he was greeted by no one. Gage ordered Bradstreet to move against the Delaware and Shawnee villages straightaway. Bradstreet pleaded that it was too late in the season (!) to reach the Scioto villages, and left to return to Niagara. On the trip back, storms drove the boats of 1400 provincials ashore, who had to tread the untracked forest back to Niagara. Gage considered Bradstreet’s expedition to be a costly blunder, without punishing the Delaware and Shawnee.
Colonel Bouquet, finally reached Fort Pitt, and on October 1st, with 1500 Pennsylvania militia, marched westward into the Muskingum valley, the heart of Delaware country. Bouquet demanded sincere protestations of submission, demanded all the prisoners that they held, and demanded hostages while their chiefs travelled to William Johnson to sign a treaty. The Delawares, as well as the Shawnees, Mingoes and Hurons (from Sandusky) respected this display of power and capitulated, wherever he went. He then sent a Delaware and a Shawnee to the nations on the Maumee and Wabash to advertise their submission. Having accomplished his purpose, Bouquet returned to Fort Pitt with over 200 captives, and 100 more promised.
1765 – The Ohio Country
Upon Croghan’s return from London in 1764 and the failure to receive compensation for the Suffering Traders of ’54 and ’63, it was decided that, as a last resort, to try to secure restitution through a land grant from the Six Nations. Johnson refused to demand from these Indians a grant for depredations committed by the French and ‘their’ Indian allies in 1754. Plans for the reorganization of the Suffering Traders of 1763 (only) were drawn up. This company was composed of 23 merchants and traders, with total claims of over £85,000. Croghan and Governor Franklin were also made (secret) members in the ‘Indiana Company’. George Croghan was now sent by William Johnson to proceed to Illinois and prepare the Indians for British occupation. After Croghan left Philadelphia on January 24th 1765 to travel to Fort Pitt, his convoy was attacked and destroyed by the ‘Black Boys’ – frontiersmen who blackened their face and dressed as Indians. These frontiersmen, after the burning of their homes and scalping of their loved ones, objected to the reopening of trade with the Indians, to making them presents, and to letting them have guns and ammunition. Croghan then had to borrow goods from the trading firm of Trent, Simon, Levy and Franks, and finally arrived at Fort Pitt for a conference with the Indians in May.
In February 1765, the two Delaware deputies (sent by Colonel Bouquet) arrived at Johnson Hall. William Johnson then sent for the Senecas to attend the meeting. After first attending a meeting of the Iroquois confederacy at Onondaga, 127 Senecas, along with two Delaware deputies from Chenussio, arrived at Johnson Hall on April 27th. With many of the Six Nations in attendance, and some Caughnawagas, over 900 Indians were there. At this meeting, though not empowered to settle anything definitely, Johnson drew out their views on establishing a new boundary along the Ohio river. On May 10th, a peace treaty was concluded with the Ohio deputies – permission was granted to British troops to pass through their country; the Pennsylvania traders were to be given a grant of land as restitution for their injuries and losses during the war; and all remaining prisoners were to be delivered, which was done by June 19th.
Also at the end of June, Lord Adam Gordon, a supporter of Lord Bute and a future commander-in-chief of the army in Scotland, was visiting Johnson Hall. In October, when Gordon returned to London, he would take with him, William Johnson’s son John, to be educated as a gentleman (sic)! John became a knight in 1765 (and a staunch supporter of the king), shortly after he reached Britain under the guidance of Lord Gordon. When he returned in 1767, he did not, however, accede to his father’s wish to groom him as the next superintendent of northern Indians, for he preferred the diversions of a country gentleman.
From New Orleans, Major Farmar sent Lieutenant John Ross and four others to Fort de Chartres to persuade the Illinois to accept peacefully the coming of the British garrison, arriving there on February 18th, 1765. Ross could do nothing until the Illinois tribes came in from hunting, and then St. Ange assisted him in calling an Indian council for April 4th with the Kaskaskias, Peorias, Cahokias, Michigameas, Osages and the Missouries. An Indian spokesman said that they did not want to see the British in Illinois and favoured continuing the war. Seeing he could accomplish nothing further, Ross set off back down the Mississippi. The next day, Pontiac arrived at Fort de Chartres.
At the end of May, George Croghan, accompanied by Lieutenant Alexander Fraser, prepared to leave Fort Pitt, to proceed to Illinois and prepare the Indians for British occupation. (As little was known about the Illinois country, Croghan kept a private journal wherein he described minutely the nature of the country.) Croghan was delayed as he tried to procure a delegation of Iroquois, Delaware and Shawnee chiefs to accompany him. Impatient, Fraser and a small crew, set off on March 22nd, arriving at Fort de Chartres on April 17th (ten days after Ross had left), and spoke with St. Ange about an Indian council. But first, he met with the Illinois chiefs. Secondly, he met privately with Pontiac. Then, he addressed a council of more than 500 assembled Indians, telling them that the French king had indeed concluded a peace with the British king; that the Shawnees, the Delawares and the Senecas had made peace with the British; that the Ottawas at Detroit had made peace with Bradstreet; and he urged them to send deputies to meet Croghan and his delegation of Iroquois, Shawnees and Delawares, who were on their way and would stop at the mouth of the Wabash river to meet them. Pontiac agreed, and so Fraser bought them 130 pots of French brandy and a steer to barbeque. On April 24th, a delegation of chiefs prepared to go and meet Croghan.
But Croghan was still at Fort Pitt, receiving the last of the captives from the Indians. It was not until May 7th, when 500 chiefs and braves eventually all arrived for a council, where Croghan told them that no trade would be open to the Indians until they had sent deputies to William Johnson. (By the end of June, four Shawnee deputies, accompanied by a number of Delawares and Mingoes, arrived at Johnson Hall, and on July 13th, a peace treaty was signed.) A French convoy arrived from Warm Town (New Orleans), with goods that included a great quantity of gunpowder, and announced the lies that the governor of Louisiana has sent a war belt to all the Indian nations to strike at the British; that the king of France was going to declare war on Britain within the month; and that he was sending these traders to them with ammunition. Then on May 18th, the chiefs who had gone to meet Croghan, returned without having seen or heard anything from him. They decided that before they began war anew, Fraser and his men would be sent back down the Mississippi. The next night, Fraser secretly sent his men away, staying behind himself to try to convince Pontiac to wait for Croghan, before Fraser himself left on May 29th.
In early June, Major Farmar sent Pierce Sinnott, John Stuart`s deputy in the southern Indian department, to Illinois with gifts for the Indians. And with the demand that the coming British garrison be allowed peaceable possession. Some Frenchmen were now spreading a new lie that the British wanted to oust the Illinois confederacy and settle the hated Cherokees there. Sinnott had to flee in the night.
Croghan finally left Fort Pitt on May 15th, along with 14 Shawnee and Delaware, and arrived at the mouth of the Wabash on June 7th. Croghan now sent two Indians to Fort de Chartres with a letter. But the next day, Croghan`s camp was attacked by a party of 80 Kickapoos and Mascoutens. Two British and three Shawnees were killed and almost all of the rest were wounded, and taken as prisoners to Vincennes, and then to Fort Ouiatenon on the 23rd of June. On June 30th, the Kickapoo and Mascouten chiefs, returning from the Illinois, released Croghan and his party, claiming the warriors had been sent by the French to attack Croghan and that it was Cherokees that were with him. The Seneca, Delaware and Shawnee deputies were released and then were sent by Croghan to Fort de Chartres. Croghan now counselled with the Wabash tribes and obtained their consent to British possession of the post in their country. The Miamies also sent their chiefs to Croghan to make peace.
On July 18th, Croghan prepared to move westward to meet Pontiac, while Pontiac and four Illinois deputies had already left with the Seneca, Delaware and Shawnee to meet Croghan. They all went to Ouiatenon to hold a council, where Pontiac declared that he had been deceived by the French, and so made a peace treaty. Croghan had been instructed to send Pontiac to William Johnson for a conclusive ceremony, and Pontiac promised to go in the spring. Deeming it unnecessary to now travel to Fort de Chartres, on July 25th, Croghan left for Fort Detroit, with Pontiac and several other chiefs, picking up along his way, the remaining captives from among the Miamies and Ottawas on the Maumee river.
On August 17th, they reached Fort Detroit, where a large body of Ottawas, Chippewas, Hurons and Potawatomies were meeting (in response to the invitation issued by Bradstreet a year ago). But before Croghan and Lieutenant Colonel Campbell met with them, they first met with the deputies of the Miamies, Weas, Piankashaws, Kickapoos and Mascoutens. On August 27th, Croghan and Campbell then met with Pontiac and the tribes of the Ottawa confederacy – the Ottawas, Chippewas, Hurons and Potawatomies, where they buried the hatchet and smoked the pipe of peace. On September 26th, Croghan left Detroit for Niagara, to go and report to Johnson and Gage.
On October 9th, British troops under Captain Thomas Stirling, having left Fort Pitt, took possession of Fort de Chartres, renaming it Fort Cavendish. St. Ange removed the French garrison across the river and moved northward to the new settlement of St. Louis, there to await the coming of the Spaniards. He was followed by many of the habitants and Indians of the Illinois country.
1765 – The Stamp Act in London
On December 10th 1764, Dr. Franklin arrived at his residence on Craven Street. However, he found the time was inopportune to press the matter of the petition for royal government upon the attention of the Privy Council. The Stamp Act was soon to be passed by Parliament, and Franklin decided to postpone the presentation of the petition to a more favourable date. Faced with raising £200,000 to pay for garrisoning 10,000 troops in America, George Grenville had pushed through Parliament the Currency Act on April 19th 1764(9), and the Sugar Act(10) on September 29th 1764, as part of Britain’s attempt to totally control all trade of the colonies.(11)
In America, efforts had begun to try to limit the use of British goods and to promote domestic manufactures. Dr. Franklin was convinced that the ill effects from the Sugar Act in America would soon produce similar ill effects in Great Britain, and thus cause the law to be repealed. With Parliament in recess until January 10th 1765, Dr. Franklin worked on his currency-revenue plan with Thomas Pownall, the former governor of Massachusetts, with the idea of showing it to Prime Minister Grenville before Parliament could enact the Stamp Act(12).
Dr. Franklin was chosen as one of four colonial agents to see Grenville and offer an alternative to the Stamp Act, and the meeting was held on February 2nd 1765. The other three agents proposed the traditional requisition system – the method favoured by most Americans – whereby each colony responded to particular requests from the Crown when there was a need for men or supplies. If Grenville accepted this proposal, Dr. Franklin planned to abandon his currency-revenue scheme. Grenville rejected the agents’ proposal.
Dr. Franklin and Pownall sent their currency proposal(13) to Grenville in writing on February 12th, but Grenville gave it little, if any, consideration and pushed ahead with the Stamp Act.
Richard Jackson, co-agent with Dr. Franklin for Pennsylvania, as a member of the House of Commons spoke forcefully against the Stamp Act, on February 6th, on the floor of the House of Commons. He argued that while Parliament possessed the right to pass the act, it should refrain from doing so. Jackson asserted that a direct tax imposed on Americans by a body in which they were not represented would threaten their liberties and the liberties of all Englishmen.
Grenville’s Stamp Act passed the House of Commons on February 21st, and passed the House of Lords on March 8th, receiving royal approval on March 22nd – to take effect on November 1st 1765.
The Quartering Act was passed on May 15th 1765, but not before Dr. Franklin succeeded in securing a word change that excluded billeting in private homes – instead requiring colonial governors to rent vacant buildings for use as barracks.
But, in July 1765, the Grenville government was dismissed by George III, and was replaced with a new ministry around Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquess Rockingham. Penn supporters in Pennsylvania were reporting that the ministers with whom Dr. Franklin might have had some influence had been replaced with members who were friends of the Penns. The Earl of Halifax was replaced by Henry Conway as Secretary of State for the Southern Department; the Earl of Sandwich was replaced by the Duke of Grafton at the Northern Department; and the Earl of Hillsborough was replaced by Lord Dartmouth at the Board of Trade.
Dr. Franklin’s political enemies in Pennsylvania convinced enough people that Dr. Franklin favoured the Stamp Act and a mob threatened to tear down his house (as well as the houses of his allies Joseph Galloway and Samuel Wharton, and the house of John Hughes, the man Dr. Franklin had recommended as stamp agent for Pennsylvania). Members of the Quaker party managed to raise 800 White Oaks (as Dr. Franklin’s mechanic supporters were called) to stand against the mob, which eventually disbanded. But, in the Pennsylvania elections in October 1765, of the thirty-six assemblymen chosen, twenty-eight were still in favour of Franklin’s plan for royal government to replace the Penns. Meanwhile, the Penn’s brother-in-law, Lord Pomfret, Lord of the Bedchamber, had received assurances from the king that the proprietors would not be asked to yield their right to govern Pennsylvania.
In November 1765, the Privy Council deferred action on the Pennsylvania Assembly’s petition for royal government. Richard Penn thought it would be deferred ‘for ever and ever’.
Also in London that year was Robert Rogers. Early in 1764, General Gage had claimed that Major Robert Rogers had been a volunteer and was therefore entitled to no pay – disregarding instructions left from General Amherst to give Rogers full pay. In March 1764, Gage finally agreed to give Rogers full pay, but he denied any knowledge of any funds due to Rogers for advances that Rogers had made to his men, and Gage told Rogers that he didn’t want to hear anything more about his financial troubles. After being rescued from jail for debts, by some fellow soldiers, Major Rogers left in March 1765 for London, to seek help for the debts he had incurred during the war. While in London he published two books, ‘The Journals of Major Robert Rogers’ and ‘A Concise Account of North America’ – where he wrote of the value of the newly won country to Britain. While there, he also sought the help of Dr. Franklin, who had offered to write Rogers a recommendation, and Rogers also submitted a plan to the Board of Trade, to discover the Northwest Passage – proposing his appointment as commandant at Michilimackinac as necessary for the project. On October 12th, Henry Conway, Secretary of State, wrote to General Gage that the King ordered the appointment of Major Rogers to command Fort Michilimackinac. After being presented to the King at Court on October 17th 1765, Rogers soon returned to America.
1765 – The Stamp Act in America
On May 29th 1765, the Stamp Act had become a subject of discussion in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Patrick Henry, a young lawyer, rose to introduce resolutions that declared that the General Assembly of Virginia had the exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants and that whoever maintained the contrary should be deemed an enemy to the colony. (Occupying his seat, was George Washington.) Eventually four of the resolutions were passed. In response, Lieutenant Governor Fauquier dissolved the assembly and issued writs for new elections.
On June 6th, the Massachusetts assembly resolved that “it was highly expedient, there should be a meeting, as soon as might be, of committees from the house of representatives or burgesses in the several colonies, to consult, on the present circumstances of the colonies, and the difficulties to which they were and must be reduced, and to consider of a general congress – to be held at New York the first Tuesday of October.” This invitation was sent to all the colonies.
In the summer of 1765, a group of Boston artisans, shopkeepers and businessmen formed the ‘Loyal Nine’ to oppose the Stamp Act. The Loyal Nine oversaw a truce between two rival gangs, and deployed them under Ebeneezer MacIntosh, a shoemaker. On August 14th, effigies of Andrew Oliver, who had received the appointment of stamp distributor of Massachusetts, together with Lord Bute, were hung from a tree in one of the streets of Boston. The sheriff refused the order of the chief-justice (Andrew Oliver was his brother-in-law) to take down the figures, and the council declined to interfere. That night, MacIntosh and several hundred men, took down the images, and carried them to the newly erected stamp office, which they immediately razed. They then moved on to ransack Oliver’s dwelling, demolishing the windows and furniture, and then burned the effigies on Fort Hill. When Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson arrived with the sheriff, the men were disbursed. The next day, Oliver resigned, but he was obliged that evening, to make a public recantation at a bonfire which the populace had kindled. On August 26th, the records and files of the court of admiralty were destroyed, and the house of Hallowel, the comptroller of customs, was broken into, the crowd breaking the furniture and freely drinking of his choice wines in the cellar. The crowd then proceeded to the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor (who had been alerted and escaped before the arrival of the rioters) tore the paintings from the wall, destroyed the plate, and scattered his large and valuable library of books and manuscripts to the winds. They did not depart until the interior of the building was completely destroyed.
On August 27th, a crowd built a gallows near the Town House in Newport, Rhode Island, where they carried effigies of Augustus Johnson, the stamp distributor for Rhode Island, and two other local figures, Dr. Thomas Moffat and lawyer Martin Howard. The effigies were hanged and then burned. Johnson’s resignation saved his home from destruction, but that night the crowd attacked the houses of Moffat and Howard – destroying walls, fences, art, furniture and wine.
On August 26th, a crowd paraded an effigy of Zachariah Hood, the stamp distributor for Maryland, through the streets of Annapolis in a one-horse cart while a bell tolled mournfully. The procession ended just outside the city’s gates, where the mob whipped, pilloried, hanged, and burned the effigy. Hood, returning from business in London, arrived at Annapolis on September 2nd, where a gathering of three to four hundred townspeople razed the small warehouse Hood had rented and was repairing to store his imported merchandise. The Maryland Governor, Horatio Sharpe, arranged for a British warship to keep the stamped paper on board, safe from the Annapolis mobs. After hiding locally for a few days, Hood escaped to New York City.
On August 30th, the New York Gazette had issued a call for all stamp collectors to resign their commissions. Fearing violence and threats to his life, William Coxe, the appointed stamp distributor for New Jersey, resigned on September 2nd.
On September 12th, a group of citizens in Portsmouth, New Hampshire hung an effigy of George Meserve, the stamp distributor for New Hampshire, along with an effigy of the British Prime Minister, and another depicting the devil. That night, the people of Portsmouth dragged the three effigies to Hay Market, and set them on fire. Meanwhile, Meserve was arriving at Boston on a ship from Britain, but was unable to get off the ship because a group from Boston thought it contained a cargo of British stamped paper. When Meserve announced his resignation as stamp agent, while aboard ship, the crowd cheered and carried him off to a local tavern. When Meserve arrived home in Portsmouth, he was met by an irate crowd and forced to stand on the balcony of the Old Statehouse and resign his post for a second time.
On September 19th, Jared Ingersoll, appointed the stamp distributor for Connecticut, was travelling to Hartford for a special session of the General Assembly, when he was confronted by a large and angry crowd near Wethersfield. They demanded his resignation, threatening severe bodily harm if he refused. Fearing for his life, he resigned.
On October 2nd, the invited delegates from the colonies met in New York to discuss the Stamp Act. Nine would be represented at the congress. Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia (that were prevented by their governors by continued adjournments from sending delegates), and New Hampshire (although they didn’t attend), signified by letters their willingness to acquiesce in whatever measures the convention might adopt. After fourteen days, they adopted a declaration of rights, a petition to the king, and a memorial to both houses of parliament.
On October 18th, a ship from London arrived at Charleston, South Carolina with a suspected cargo of stamps. Early the next morning, in the middle of Broad Street and Church Street in Charleston, there appeared an effigy of the stamp distributor that was suspended on a gallows, with a figure of the devil on its right hand, and on the left a boat with a head (and a blue bonnet) stuck upon it. In the evening, the effigies were taken down, put in a cart drawn by horses, and a procession of two thousand people accompanied it to the house belonging to George Saxby (the supposed distributor of stamps) where they asked if there was any stamp papers in the house. After finding no such papers, and no Mr. Saxby, the cart then proceeded to the Green, where the effigies were burned. Lieutenant Governor William Bull had the papers taken to Fort Johnson and had the garrison reinforced. On October 26th, William Saxby, arrived by ship, and having been informed of what had happened, instead of coming up to the town, went ashore at Fort Johnson, where a great crowd assembled. Mr. Saxby expressed great concern that his acceptance of an office of inspector of the duties (not of distributor of the stamps) had proved so odious and disagreeable to the people, and in order to restore the public peace made a voluntary offer to suspend the execution of his office till the determination of the King and Parliament of Great Britain should be known, upon an united application to be made from his Majesty’s Colonies for a repeal of an Act that had created so much confusion. Mr. Caleb Lloyd, who was then also at Fort Johnson – having gone there for his own safety, made a like voluntary declaration in regard to his office of stamp distributor.
On October 30th, in Williamsburg, Virginia, an excited crowd gathered before the coffee-house on the Duke of Gloucester Street. The governor, accompanied by the speaker and other officials, went thither to greet the newly arrived stamp commissioner, a Virginian named Mercer, and found him on the point of being mobbed. The crowd, composed of the best citizens of Williamsburg and planters of the neighbourhood, loudly threatened to rush in, but he promised to give a prompt answer to the demand for his resignation and Governor Fauquier’s coolness quieted the rioters, who finally allowed the stamp commissioner to go off under his guardianship. Next day, Mercer resigned.
On October 31st, the merchants of New York held a meeting and two hundred merchants and traders signed an agreement not to buy any British merchandise after January 1st, until the repeal of the stamp act. A week later, four hundred merchants of Philadelphia signed a similar agreement. On December 9th, two hundred and fifty merchants in Boston also signed an agreement to import no goods from Britain until the stamp act was repealed
Warned by the example of the other appointees, McEvers, the stamp distributor for New York resigned. In July, General Gage had ordered down a company of the 60th regiment from Crown Point for the defence of Fort George. On the arrival of the first cargo of stamps toward the end of October, (acting) Lieutenant-Governor Colden had the stamps (and himself!) conveyed to the fort for greater security.
On the 1st of November – the day for the stamp act to go into operation – early in the evening, the Sons of Liberty, numbering several thousand, appeared before the fort and demanded the stamps. On being refused, they proceeded to the open fields, where they erected a gibbet, and hung effigies of the lieutenant-governor and of Lord Bute. After a time, the effigies were taken down and carried in a torch-light procession to the fort. Being refused entrance to the fort, the crowd broke into Colden’s carriage-house, brought forth the family coach, placed inside it the two effigies, and paraded them around the city, returned to the gate of the fort, where they hung the effigies from another gibbet. A bonfire was made of the effigies, with part of the wooden fence surrounding the Bowling Green, together with the lieutenant governor’s coach, a single horse chair, two sleighs, and several light vehicles. The next day, Colden caused a large placard to be posted up, signed by the deputy secretary of the council, stating that he (Colden) would have nothing more to do with the stamps, but would leave them to Sir Henry Moore Bart, who was then on his way from London to assume the government. The Sons of Liberty demanded that the stamps be delivered to the hands, threatening to storm the fort. After considerable negotiations, the stamps were deposited in the City Hall. The new governor announced that he had suspended his power to execute the stamp act, and he had the fort dismantled.
On November 16th, Dr. William Houston, recently appointed as stamp distributor for North Carolina, arrived at an inn, in Wilmington for a short visit. A crowd of three or four hundred people accompanied by drums and flags, appeared at the inn and then escorted Houston to the courthouse where, in the presence of Wilmington’s mayor and several aldermen, he was told he would have to resign as stamp distributor. Not having sought or wanted the position in the first place, Dr. Houston resigned on the spot. The crowd then carried Houston in an armchair back to the inn and toasted him with ‘the best liquors to be had’.
The New York Sons of Liberty then tracked down the stamp distributor from Maryland, Zachariah Hood (who had fled Maryland, had been given refugee by Governor Holden and was hiding in New York City) and were about to return him to Maryland. In early November, Hood finally resigned.
A few weeks later, John Lamb, of the NY Sons of Liberty, went to Philadelphia and with assistance of the “Heart and Hand Fire Company” forced the resignation of John Hughes, the stamp distributor for Pennsylvania and Delaware – the last Stamp Agent then in America.
On January 3rd, when the stampmaster, George Angus, and the stamped paper first arrived in Georgia, Savannah’s port was clogged with over 60 ships. To load and unload cargoes, ship captains and merchants needed official bills of lading–documents subject to the Stamp Act. To reopen the port, Savannah merchants agreed to pay the tax so the ships could be unloaded. This was the only case where Georgians paid the stamp tax (for sixty ships between January 17th and 30th). The country people, being outraged at this, gathered for a march on Savannah. Governor Wright decided the stamps, which no longer had buyers, were not safe, and rushed the stamps out to a British warship and moved them to Fort George on Cockspur Island, where they remained out of circulation until the act was repealed. George Angus remained in Savannah for only one day, but his first and only official act was to resign.
The Stamp Act prescribed a direct tax of one penny per sheet on newspapers and required that the newspapers be printed on stamped paper purchased from government agents. In addition to the tax, these provisions raised the spectre of censorship; if a newspaper proved troublesome to the authorities, its supply of paper could be cut off. Some newspapers shut down until the stamp tax could be rescinded, while some newspapers refused to purchase stamped paper and published in defiance of the law.
The only newspaper in North America known to have used the stamped paper was the Halifax Gazette – the only newspaper in Halifax, started in 1752 by John Bushell from Boston, and then taken over by Anthony Henry, when Bushell died in 1761. In November, Henry’s apprentice, Isaiah Thomas, ran a sheet with the impressed stamp upside down in the upper left hand corner of page two instead of the intended position, at the lower right of the first page. Further, closely “framing the stamp was a black block print of a devil with a huge pitchfork aimed at the stamp, at the top and bottom of which was the inscription ‘Behold me the Scorn and Contempt of AMERICA, pitching down to destruction. D–ils clear the Way for B–s and STAMPS.'” The British, in response, withdrew the government’s patronage from the paper (the Halifax Gazette closed down) and they imported a rival printer, Robert Fletcher, who ran the Nova Scotia Gazette. Isaiah Thomas had to flee back to Boston. On October 13th, there appeared hanging on the gallows behind the Citadel hill, the effigies of a stamp-man (Archibald Hinshelwood was the stamp distributor for Nova Scotia), accompanied with the devil and a boot (the boot was meant to represent Lord Bute).
The Quebec Gazette, Canada’s only newspaper, a bilingual paper started in 1764 by two Americans, William Brown and Thomas Gilmore, former co-workers from Philadelphia, was forced to suspend operations while the stamp tax was in force. Canada still remained under a British military government.
In 1765, the British colonies in the West Indies were Jamaica, and the Bahamas, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Tobago and Tortola. There was some resistance here too. For example, in St. Kitts, stamped papers stored at a merchant’s house were torched by a crowd of over 300 people and the stampmaster, William Tuckett, was forced to resign. And in the port of Kingson, Jamaica, captains threatened to bypass the island if the Act were to be enforced and so were allowed to trade without stamped papers. In Jamaica, a stamp duty had been imposed from 1760 to 1763 – to provide revenues to fund the militia in the face of a slave revolt!!!
- (1) Others would still claim that the Franklins had lived extravagantly in London!
- (2) The Privy Council would rule the claims of the Coxe family invalid in 1769.
- (3) It was completed as far as Mount Morris before being abandoned due to hostility of the Indians in 1767.
- (4) While his critics cheated in the election with ‘double tickets’ and ‘whole boxes of forged votes’, Dr. Franklin lost by 26 votes out of 4000 votes cast.
- (5) On April 21st 1764, King Louis informed Louisiana governor Aubry that France had given the Louisiana country to Spain. DeVilliers would leave the Illinois country by the middle of June, and St. Ange would take command of Fort de Chartres with a reduced garrison of forty men.
- (6) In April, a successful attack on Kanestio, had brought the Senecas to Johnson Hall to sign a preliminary peace treaty. Johnson had then sent out embassies saying that all the Six Nations (Iroquois) were now united with the British, and inviting all the hostile Indian nations to a great peace council at Niagara in July.
- (7) This treaty was discarded by Gage, as the Delaware and Shawnee were continuing to attack and murder settlers on the frontier. Bradstreet was told by Gage that he should have gotten the Indians to consent to a suspension of arms, and sent them on to see Johnson to settle and conclude a peace treaty.
- (8) This ran counter to the policy (of the last hundred years) of engaging the Indians as allies, not as subjects. Gage allowed this treaty to stand however.
- (9) The Currency Act forbid the colonies from issuing their own paper currency.
- (10) The Sugar Act was to replace the Sugar and Molasses Act of 1733, which was set to expire. It placed a tax in the colonies on the imports of sugar, textiles, coffee and indigo; and doubled the duty on foreign goods reshipped to Britain.
- (11) The Customs Act of 1763 permitted the use of the navy to end the direct trade of the colonies with the foreign West Indies and other countries of Europe, and to force all colonial trade through Britain.
- (12) The Stamp Act required that many printed materials (legal documents, newspapers, and others) had to be produced on stamped paper, produced in Great Britain, and carrying an embossed revenue stamp. And had to be paid for in British currency, not in colonial currency!
- (13) The plan called for Parliament’s authorization of a legal-tender paper currency that would be administered through loan offices to be established throughout the colonies. The loan offices would lend bills of credit to borrowers at 6% interest on the security of real estate mortgages, with net proceeds from the interest going to the Crown (instead of taxes). The bills would circulate as legal tender, thus expanding the currency supply in the colonies.
Chapter 6 – 1766, the Road to Fort Stanwix
1766 – the Ohio Country
On Croghan’s return from the Illinois country late in 1765, he stopped off at Johnson Hall and persuaded Johnson to write to the Board of Trade to recommend the establishment of a colony in the Illinois country. Croghan and Johnson had a plan to purchase cultivated lands of French inhabitants of Illinois villages who might leave the country after the occupation by the British, and to found a valuable colony. Croghan and Johnson tried to interest General Gage in their plan. General Gage shortly thereafter proposed to London, his own scheme to settle the lands in the Illinois vacated by the French, but to do this, only as a way to supply the fort there, so as not to drain any provisions from elsewhere. Gage also proposed a military governor be appointed for the Illinois country. (Later, Gage would oppose any such settlements).
Croghan also wrote to Dr. Franklin (on December 12, 1765) about his trip to the Illinois and the agreement with the Indians for reparations to the suffering traders, and he enclosed a copy of his ‘official’ journal of his trip through the Illinois country in 1765. William Franklin also wrote to his father (December 17, 1765) about Croghan’s trip and the agreement with the Indians to ‘settle a boundary between them and us’, ‘as far back as the Ohio’! On February 25th 1776, Croghan would again write to Dr. Franklin and send him a copy of his ‘private’ journal of his Illinois trip, and he also enclosed a copy of his long explanatory letter to William Johnson.
In Philadelphia, Croghan conferred with Governor Franklin, John Baynton, Samuel Wharton, Joseph Wharton, Joseph Wharton Jr., George Morgan, John Hughes and Joseph Galloway, where they conceived the idea of forming a land company to purchase such lands at the Illinois villages as the French might desire to sell, as well as to obtain a grant for one million two hundred thousand acres of land in the Illinois country, to establish a colony with a civil government. On March 29 1766, the articles of agreement for the ‘Illinois Company’ were drawn up. Croghan signed for William Johnson, who was made a member, and Dr. Franklin would be invited to become a member and was given the right to add the names of two or three influential Englishmen as members. The purpose was to apply for a royal grant of one million two hundred thousand acres in the Illinois country, and to propose settlement of a colony there. William wrote to his father about the company on April 30th. On May 10th, Dr. Franklin replied to William that ‘I like the project of a colony in the Illinois country, and will forward it to my utmost here.’ Sir William Johnson wrote to Dr. Franklin on July 10th, informing Dr. Franklin about his upcoming meeting with Pontiac, and also enclosed his scheme for establishing a colony in the Illinois country.
At the end of April 1766, George Croghan had left William Johnson at Johnson Hall, travelled to New York to consult with General Gage and to ask Gage for £3000 in presents for the Indians, and then travelled to Fort Pitt. From Fort Pitt, George Croghan sent his assistant, Hugh Crawford, to escort Pontiac and the western Indian chiefs safely to Fort Ontario, at Oswego, for an Indian council with William Johnson. Crawford arrived at Detroit on May 6th 1766 and set about calling in the chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas, Potawatomies and Hurons, who were delegated to attend the congress. Pontiac arrived at Detroit in early June. Crawford and his party of forty left Detroit on June 20th, and reached Fort Niagara July 1st. At Fort Erie, Pontiac met Major Rogers, who was on his way as the new commander to Fort Michilimackinac.
By July 4th Pontiac had arrived at Fort Ontario, at the mouth of the Onondaga river. Johnson arrived on July 23rd, and the congress opened the next day, with Pontiac speaking on behalf of the western nations, and lasted until July 31st. Pontiac arrived back at Detroit on August 31st, and moved on to his village on the Maumee river, where he received a belt of war wampum from the French officers across the Mississippi river (Captain St. Ange at St. Louis). Other belts were also sent to the chiefs between Fort Detroit and Fort Michilimackinac, with the lie that the French king was sending an army under a Spanish officer and the Indians should be ready to strike the British when the word was given. Pontiac refused the war belt.
In May, at Fort Pitt, Croghan had written to General Gage warning him of the danger of another Indian war. With the end of Pontiac’s war, and with the Indian tribes north of the Ohio now more intent on fighting the Indian tribes south of the Ohio, settlements were starting up, along the Monongahela valley (the land claimed by the old Ohio company), in violation of the 1763 proclamation. The Americans wanted a new boundary with the Indians, one that was moved westward from the 1763 boundary at the mountains.
Instead, in May 1766, General Gage wrote to Governor Penn of Pennsylvania asking him to remove all Pennsylvanians who had illegally settled west of the mountains. Governor Penn asked Governor Fauquier in Virginia for his cooperation. Both governors issued proclamations warning the settlers to leave. Governor Penn and Governor Sharp of Maryland wrote to William Johnson requesting his influence with the Six Nations, in favour of allowing their commissioners to run a boundary line over the Alleghenies between the proprietaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
At Fort Pitt, Croghan was preparing to leave and had persuaded a delegation of fifty Indians to accompany him to Fort de Chartres. In early 1766, in anticipation of peace with the Indians, the Philadelphia trading firm of Baynton, Wharton and Morgan employed numerous wagons and 600 packhorses to move provisions and trading goods on the road from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. They also carried shipbuilding supplies over the mountains, where shipbuilders were engaged to build sixty-five bateaux, to be operated by three hundred boatmen on the Ohio river. (During 1766, Gage estimated £50,000 worth of goods were sent westward.) On the spring flood, the boats floated down the Ohio en route to the Illinois country. (Through Dr. Benjamin Franklin, the batteaux and cargoes were insured by Richard Neave and Son, merchants in London.) The second convoy of boats sent down on June 18th by Baynton, Wharton and Morgan, was commanded by the junior partner George Morgan, and was accompanied by George Croghan sent by William Johnson, and Captain Harry Gordon sent by General Gage. The first stop was at the mouth of the Scioto river, where Croghan met with two hundred Shawnee and distributed presents.
The next stop was at ‘Great Licking Place’ where they examined the vast bone-yard, where numerous animals from time immemorial had been attracted by the salt deposits there. There were some remarkable bones that resembled the bones of elephants, teeth which weighed for pounds, and ivory tusks six feet long. Croghan took with him some of the best specimens, which he later sent to London to Dr. Franklin, which he presented to the Royal Society.
They finally arrived at Fort de Chartres on August 20th, and Croghan called for a conference with the Illinois Indians. In a preliminary conference at Kaskaskia, the northern and western confederacies made peace. On August 25th, the chiefs and warriors of eight nations, comprising some twenty-two tribes, met with Croghan and the deputies from the Six Nations, and the Delawares and Shawnees that had accompanied Croghan. A general peace and alliance was declared between the British and the Indian nations – except three tribes with whom the French had sufficient influence to keep them from the conference, and present were distributed. The chiefs who had attended the conference soon persuaded these absent tribes to enter the peace and on September 5th, they came to Fort de Chartres and announced their friendship with the British.
Croghan found most of the officers and soldiers were suffering from ague and malaria fever. Having contracted the fever himself, instead of attempting the tiresome journey overland to Pittsburg, Croghan borrowed a bateau and accompanied Captain Gordon down the Mississippi, touching at New Orleans, Pensacola, Mobile, Havanna, and Charleston, and arriving at New York in January 1767, where he tendered his resignation as Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs to General Gage – because of the new attitude of the British ministry and Gage towards the Indian department, where all ‘superintendents should take the orders of the commander in chief’, and where ‘the country on the westward of our frontier quite to the Mississippi was intended to be a desert for the Indians to hunt in and inhabit, and Gage was ordered not to incur any farther expense’.
On January 27th 1767, Croghan would write to Dr. Franklin in London, informing him of his resignation and would enclose a copy of his report to General Gage of the Illinois country. Croghan suspected that Gage wished to relinquish possession of the Illinois and wanted to inform Dr. Franklin, that, “I assure Sir, I am constrained, from my long Acquaintance with Indian Affairs and from the Sincerest Regard, for the Future Peace of Our Colonies – plainly to inform you, That if the British Nation does abandon Our Possession in the Illinois—It will be, but a very short Time, before we are engaged in, a most bloody and expensive War, with all the Western Nations; As it is the Interest of the French, to create such a Rupture, with all Expedition; For so soon, as That begins, Those Nations will all carry their Peltry to the Illinois, to Trade with Them”.
Croghan’s losses and expenses from the attack in 1765 was over £1700, which Gage refused to pay. Croghan had to enlist the help of Dr. Franklin, to send a memorial to the Lords of the Treasury. (In April 1767, William Johnson was able to persuade Croghan to withdraw his resignation, but thereafter Croghan’s main interests ceased to be associated with his official position.)
1766-68 – Robert Rogers and the Northwest Passage
On January 6th 1766, Rogers arrived back in New York where he delivered letters to General Gage, from Henry Conway, the Secretary of State, and from Viscount Barrington, Secretary of War, stating that Gage would reopen the settlement of Rogers’s accounts, and Gage would appoint Rogers as commander of Fort Michilimackinac. In March, an enraged General Gage made Rogers ‘Captain Commandant’ of Fort Michilimackinac, serving under the commanding officer at Fort Detroit, and put Rogers under the direction of William Johnson regarding Indian affairs. In April 1766, hearings on Rogers accounts were reopened in New York. But Gage again denied Rogers his claim of £12,000 – for his expenses and for advances he made to his men. Gage refused to even let Rogers see the final report, denying him an opportunity to answer the alleged defects.
But supposedly, in late April 1766, a French sailing vessel bound for France from San Domingo put into New York harbour. A ‘gentleman’ who had letters, from a ‘Mr. Hopkins’, delivered to him by a passenger on the vessel, brought the letters to General Gage. Gage assumed they were from Captain Joseph Hopkins, the former commander of the Queen’s Rangers. (Hopkins had barely escaped a court martial, when he was accused, in a statement signed by fourteen officers, of ungentleman-like behaviour towards his men – the first signature on the statement was that of Major Rogers !!! Hopkins went to London to seek a reward for his services during the war, and when he couldn’t get what he regarded as his just dues, he went over to the French.) This rambling letter, supposedly for Rogers, assured him that if he preached independence to the New Englanders and ingratiated himself to the Indians, he would be rewarded by the French! Gage, with his distrust of all colonials – especially after the recent protests over the Stamp Act, and with his personal animosity toward Rogers, the most popular colonial soldier in the war – would use this letter to begin his plot to spy on, and to entrap and destroy Rogers.
On June 3rd 1766, Rogers arrived at Johnson Hall, to receive his instructions from William Johnson, and left for Niagara. At Fort Erie, Major Rogers met Pontiac, who was on his way to meet William Johnson. Rogers then left for Detroit and on to Fort Michilimackinac. With him were James Tute, a former ranger captain, to be his right-hand man, Jonathan Carver, a former captain of the Massachusetts provincials (who although fifty-six years of age had taught himself surveying and mapmaking) to be used on the expedition for the northwest passage, and his wife, Elizabeth.
On August 10th 1766, Rogers arrived at Fort Michilimackinac – a small, weather-beaten stockade surrounding a few houses, some fur-traders’ sheds and a church. On September 2nd, Rogers sent Carver, and later sent Tute, with instructions to discover the Northwest Passage, if any such passage there be, or, in the alternative, to discover the great river Ourigon that falls into the Pacific Ocean. They followed the old trade route from Fort Michilimackinac along the northern shore of Lake Michigan and Green Bay to Fort La Baye, across a portage to Ouisconsin river to Prairie du Chien, where Tute wintered. Carver continued up the Mississippi to the St. Pierre river and wintered there.
Rogers then sent emissaries to the various Indian tribes notifying them of his appointment. Rogers had a conference on September 26th with the Chippewas, headed by seven chiefs, and on October 10th with over a hundred Ottawas, and chided them for their ever-appearing story about a French army landing at the mouth of the Mississippi ready to march northwards next spring to seize the western posts.
In May, Rogers wrote a memorandum stating how the fur trade at Michilimackinac was beneficial to manufacturing and shipping of Great Britain as well as the merchants of Quebec province, that it helped to keep the Indians friendly, and that traders should be allowed to go among the Indians – contrary to the rules that restricted trade to the post. Rogers concluded that Michilimackinac and the dependent territory should be made a separate government, with its own governor and council. The Michilimackinac traders also recommended Rogers’s plan in a letter to the Board of Trade, and urged the merchants at Montreal and Quebec to approve it too. This smacked up against the British policy of 1763 – keeping this huge new territory without any form of government – except the British army, to please the Indians and discourage settlers, keeping the settlements along the Atlantic coast – within the reach of the British navy!
In May 1767, Carver rejoined Captain Tute at Prairie du Chien and travelled northward up the Mississippi river to the Chippewa river. At this juncture, instead of following Rogers‘s orders – to ascend the St. Pierre river, then portage to a tributary of the Missouri river, and follow the Missouri to its source and portage to the Ourigan river, because of a shortage of provisions, Carver and Tute travelled via the Chippewa river and portages to the south shore of Lake Superior, then around the west end of the lake and arrived at Grand Portage, without ‘one mouth full of provisions left‘, and following the north shore of the lake, they returned to Fort Michilimackinac in August.
Carver and Tute also had instructions to urge Indian leaders they met on their journey, to come to Michilimackinac. On June 15th, Rogers first held a grand council with the nearby tribes – Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa and Missisauga, to ask their help in making peace. Finally on July 2nd, Rogers held a grand council with the principal men of all bands – Chippewa from Sault St. Marie, Chippewa from Kaministiquia river, Chippewa from Wood lake, Chippewa from La Point, Chippewa from Rainy lake, Chippewa from Nipigon lake, Cree from Winnipeg lake, Sioux, Foxes, Menominee, Sauk, Winnebago, and Minnewake. Over a thousand Indians came.
Meanwhile, that summer, the Delawares and Shawnees had called for a general council of the western tribes, where the delegates were to send an appeal to St. Ange at the French fort at St. Louis, for ammunition and assistance in resisting any settlers, who came over the Alleghenies. The council was postponed until the next spring, when Pontiac refused to attend.
During Rogers’s councils with the Indians, one of William Johnson’s Indian commissaries, Benjamin Roberts, arrived. Through his acquaintance with Sir John Johnson, William Johnson’s son, Roberts had solicited a position in the Indian department. Roberts brought news to Rogers, of Gage’s instructions that Rogers was to incur no further expenses on Indian affairs and Gage had instructed William Johnson not to pay any more drafts drawn by Rogers. Roberts began to write Gage a series of complaints about Rogers. Rogers had quarrelled with his secretary, Nathaniel Potter, after Potter refused to take his proposal to London, and they parted company. Potter now turned to Roberts, and they concocted a wild story that Rogers was planning to turn traitor, and that Rogers was carrying on secret correspondence with the French, and that Tute and Carver were part of the plan. Potter left Michilimackinac on August 30th.
Roberts continued quarrelling with Rogers, claiming that he was not under Rogers’s command, until Rogers finally sent Roberts to Fort Detroit. Roberts continued travelling eastward, while spreading his falsehoods about Rogers. In response to Roberts’s lies, Gage sent Croghan to Fort Detroit with orders removing Rogers from his command, and Gage ordered Johnson to dishonour Rogers’s drafts!!!
On September 27th, Potter arrived at Daniel Claus, William Johnson’s deputy in Montreal, with a packet of letters from Roberts, and in an affidavit, swore that Rogers intended to retire to the French, and that Rogers threatened his life when Potter refused to join his scheme!!! Potter then boarded a ship for Britain but died at sea on the way. Potter’s affidavit was sent to Gage, and on the basis of this transparent mixture of half-truths, lies, insinuations and suppositions, on October 19th Gage sent orders that Rogers was to be arrested as a traitor. When the orders arrived at Fort Michilimackinac on December 6th, Rogers very calmly surrendered, confident of his ability to prove his innocence. Rogers and Elizabeth were held under guard with no visitors until the schooner came in the spring. When a young Frenchman(!) concocted a story that Rogers was planning to have the Indians rescue him and get him to New Orleans – a story that he was told by Rogers’s orderly who overheard Rogers musing to his wife(!), Rogers was then put into solitary confinement, and put into irons – irons prepared by the Indian commissary’s blacksmith. The garrison officers sent letter after letter trying to outdo each other in damning Rogers – to thus deny any connection they had with Rogers. Meanwhile, in London, Rogers had lost his patron, when Charles Townshend died suddenly on September 4th, 1767.
On May 21st, 1768, the schooner arrived at Fort Michilimackinac, where Rogers, still in chains, was carried on the boat and put into the hold to lay on the ballast stones for ten days, until the schooner arrived at Fort Detroit on June 5th. Still in chains, Rogers was brought to Fort Erie on June 19th, and then taken to Fort Niagara on June 29th. At Niagara, on doctor’s advice, Rogers’s chains were removed and Elizabeth was allowed to see him. Fearing sympathy for Rogers in New York, Gage would hold the trial in Montreal. Afraid that a civil trial, which alone had jurisdiction over treason, would rule out most of the evidence as hearsay, Gage drew up new articles of accusation for a court-martial. When Rogers was sent to Montreal, Elizabeth went to Boston to seek evidence to discredit Potter, and the press’s first defence of Rogers appeared, since the news of his ‘treason’. Rogers arrived in Montreal on July 17th, and was finally permitted to consult an attorney – but was denied the privilege of talking to him in private or to interview witnesses. Rogers could use counsel in the preparation of his case, but not in the actual trial. The trial opened October 20th, before a panel of British officers. After seven days of testimony by the prosecution, Rogers presented his defence. After the final day of the hearings on October 31st 1768, the judges’ verdict was not guilty.
Gage received the news on November 4th, but waited until December 19th, to write to Carleton in Montreal to release Rogers from confinement, though he was still to be considered under arrest. In March 1769, the Deputy Judge-Advocate of England wrote to Gage to approve the opinion of the court, which Gage repeated in the General Orders of May 1st. When Rogers was finally released to leave Montreal, he went to New York, where Gage would give Rogers no pay as commandant, but gave him permission to go to London – with creditors on his heels, Rogers could only hope for redress from the British government.
Note: On July 18th 1769, Rogers sailed for London. He would spend the next six years trying to petition for his back pay and reimbursements for his expenses, including two years in debtors prison, before finally being awarded retirement pay as major and funds to return to America, leaving Gravesend on June 4th 1775.
1766-68 – Franklin in London, Gottingen and Paris
Early in 1766, Dr. Franklin received letters from his son, William, governor of New Jersey, about a land scheme in the Illinois country. Dr. Franklin also received letters from William Johnson and George Croghan. Dr. Franklin also sought to add to his land holdings in Nova Scotia by applying for an additional grant of 20,000 acres, which was approved on June 26th 1767, on condition that Dr. Franklin settle the area within ten years.
In February 1766, Dr. Franklin received a letter from Matthew Boulton on the progress of his ‘fire’ engine. During that winter, Joseph Priestley came to London from Warrington, where he was a classical tutor in a dissenting academy and had already begun his studies in electricity. Dr. Franklin, never too busy to help a young man of promise, undertook to furnish the books that Priestley needed for his history of electricity, and also told him details of the kite experiment that had not been communicated to the Royal Society. Dr. Franklin read the manuscript of Priestley’s book as it was written, and the next year, in 1767, Priestley published The History and Present State of Electricity.
On January 14th 1766, the Pennsylvania Assembly, believing that the Currency Act of 1764 would throttle the Pennsylvania economy, approved a petition calling upon Parliament to rescind the act. Upon receiving the petition, Dr. Franklin drafted a bill that provided for the repeal of the act and for a new system of colonial currency (which was similar to the plan he had sent to Grenville the previous year).
During hearings on the Stamp Act and the uproar it had caused, the new Rockingham government questioned various people in the House of Commons. On February 13th 1766, Dr. Franklin was queried for four hours, where he defended the Americans’ cause.
When he was asked “But suppose Great Britain should be engaged in a war in Europe, would North-America contribute to the support of it?”, as part of his reply, Dr. Franklin stated, “ … I know the last war is commonly spoken of here as entered into for the defence, or for the sake of the people of America. I think it is quite misunderstood. It began about the limits between Canada and Nova Scotia, about territories to which the Crown indeed laid claim, but were not claimed by any British Colony; none of the lands had been granted to any Colonist; we had therefore no particular concern or interest in that dispute. As to the Ohio, the contest there began about your right of trading in the Indian country, a right you had by the treaty of Utrecht, which the French infringed; they seized the traders and their goods, which were your manufactures; they took a fort which a company of your merchants, and their factors and correspondents, had erected there, to secure that trade. Braddock was sent with an army to re-take that fort (which was looked on here as another encroach-ment on the King’s territory) and to protect your trade. It was not till after his defeat that the Colonies were attacked. They were before in perfect peace with both French and Indians; the troops were not therefore sent for their defence. The trade with the Indians, though carried on in America, is not an American interest. The people of America are chiefly farmers and planters; scarce any thing that they raise or produce is an article of commerce with the Indians. The Indian trade is a British interest; it is carried on with British manufactures, for the profit of British merchants and manufacturers; therefore the war, as it commenced for the defence of territories of the Crown, the property of no American, and for the defence of a trade purely British, was really a British war – and yet the people of America made no scruple of contributing their utmost towards carrying it on, and bringing it to a happy conclusion.”
The examination ended with these last two questions. “What used to be the pride of the Americans?” “To indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great-Britain.”
“What is now their pride?” “To wear their old clothes over again, till they can make new ones.”
Dr. Franklin’s friend, William Strahan, obtained a transcript of the Doctor’s examination and sent it to David Hall, who printed and sold it. While in London, Franklin’s portrait was commissioned by his friend, Edinburgh wine merchant Robert Alexander, from Alexander’s protege – Scottish artist David Martin. (Franklin obviously liked the portrait, which was exhibited to London audiences in the spring of 1767, for he commissioned a slightly modified replica and shipped it home to Philadelphia.)
Also, from the time that the news reached London of the reaction in the colonies to the Stamp Act until the time of his questioning in the House of Commons, Dr. Franklin was engaged in unleashing his propagandist pen in a letter-writing campaign to the press of London, using a variety of pseudonyms, to defend the Americans’ case against the Stamp Act.
August 23, 1765 – ‘A Virginian’ : a reply to Mr. Pym
September 5, 1765 – ‘A Virginian’ : a second reply to Mr. Pym
December 15 1765 – ‘F.B’ : a reply to Tom Hint
December 23, 1765 – ’F.B.’ : a second reply to Tom Hint
December 28, 1765 – ‘N.N’ : a reply to Vindex Patriae
January 2, 1766 – ‘Homespun’ : a second reply to Vindex Patriae
January 2, 1766 – ‘Pacificus Secundus’ : a reply to Pacificus
January 7, 1766 – ‘N.N. : communicating Massachusetts documents
January 11, 1766 – ‘N.N.’ : on the tenure of the manor of East Greenwich
January 13, 1766 – ‘F.B.’ : a third reply to Tom Hint
January 15, 1766 – ‘Homespun’ : further defense of Indian corn
January 23, 1766 – ‘A Friend of Both Countries’ : more arguments against the Stamp Act
January 23, 1766 – ‘Pacificus’ : Pax Quaeritur Bello
January 29, 1766 – ‘N.N.’ : a reply to Vindex Patriae
February 8, 1766 – ‘A Lover of Britain’ : a preface to three letters to William Shirley
February 13, 1766 – ‘Pacificus’ : on chastising the colonies
February ?, 1766 – ‘F.B.’ : The Frenchman and the Poker
In a few months, when the news spread across the Atlantic and through the colonies, Dr. Franklin became a hero, for on March 14th 1766, the Rockingham government secured the repeal of the hated Stamp Act. Dr. Franklin advised Pennsylvanians not to gloat over the repeal of the detested stamp act, but instead to express appreciation to friendly British merchants who had helped, to cooperative British officials and to the Crown. Dr. Franklin’s suggestion prompted the Pennsylvania Assembly to adopt an address to the king expressing gratitude for repeal.
With the repeal of the stamp act, while the means of British policy towards the colonies may have changed, the ends of British policy had not. Britain preferred that ‘spare people who want lands remove to those vacant lands in the southern parts of the continent’, to produce the staple commodities and those raw materials required for manufacturing purposes in Britain. In his speech on the repeal of the Stamp Act, William Pitt affirmed, “that if the Americans should manufacture a lock of wool or a horse shoe, he would fill their ports with ships and their towns with troops”. Dr. Franklin and Richard Jackson had therefore argued in their pamphlet in 1760 for the retention of Canada (including the Ohio country part of Canada) – “that the increase of territory would mean cheap land, a colonial farming community, and the postponement of a manufacturing era”. While the British might view settlement in the west as a means for ‘preventing’ manufacturing in America (as American manufactures had slowly begun to grow with the boycott of British manufactures due to the Stamp Act), Dr. Franklin viewed the settlement of the west as merely a ‘postponement’ of manufacturing. While the opening of the west could provide a needed market for either American or British manufactures, the western country had still to be won first.
On April 12th 1766, Dr. Franklin wrote a petition ‘to the honourable the Knights Citizens and Burgesses of Great Britain in Parliament assembled’ against the shipping of felons to the American colonies, including felons from Scotland. Dr. Franklin suggested that if the act was extended to allow felons to be sent from Scotland, that it should be extended further, to allow the American colonies to send their felons to Scotland !!!
In June 1766, the Duke of Grafton, Secretary of State for the Northern Department resigned, and with talk of reorganizing colonial affairs, all American business at Whitehall had come to a standstill.
After two very busy years of work in London, the sixty-year-old Dr. Franklin decided to take a vacation, with Dr. John Pringle, on a tour of Holland and the German states. Leaving on June 14th, they travelled to Pyrmont in Hanover (Hanover, like the colonies, had the same king), where Dr. Pringle wanted to drink the waters – famous for their iron, and Dr. Franklin – more for the air and exercise. They met Freiherr von Munchhausen, who gave them letters to various learned men at the University of Gottingen. They also met Rudolf Erich Raspe, who in 1765 “had just edited and published the first edition ever of Leibniz’s suppressed manuscript, New Essays on Human Understanding, in which Leibniz had systematically torn apart the colonialist apology of John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding”, and with it, an introductory essay by Abraham Kastner, whom Dr. Franklin was also to meet.
* (Please read FIDELIO, Spring 2003 – From Leibniz to Franklin on ‘Happiness’ by David Shavin) *
The Royal Society of Sciences at Gottingen (Konigliche Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften) elected Dr. Pringle and Dr. Franklin to membership and they attended a meeting at Gottingen on July 19th.
In Hanover, they also met Johann Friedrich Hartmann, head of the royal hospital, who showed them his electrical apparatus. Dr. Franklin was interested in a contrivance called a pulse-glass, and took one back with him to London, where he arrived on August 16th. The Pennsylvania elections of October 1766 again left Dr. Franklin’s supporters in control, and also brought a new speaker, Dr. Franklin’s ally, Joseph Galloway. The Pennsylvania Assembly, reappointed Dr. Franklin and Richard Jackson as agents, and, like the three previous assemblies, believed it was necessary to seek royal government. On November 29th, the London Chronicle published Dr. Franklin’s letter ‘On the Price of Corn and Management of the poor’, signed Arator.
Before Dr. Franklin had left on his trip, his cousin Thomas Franklin, a dyer in Leicestershire, with his thirteen year-old daughter Sarah (another Sally) came to see him. Mrs. Stevenson, Dr. Franklin’s landlady, persuaded him to leave the girl under her care for a little schooling and improvement. Sally would remain at Craven Street, with Mrs. Stevenson and her daughter Polly, for most of the next seven years until she married a farmer, James Pearce. Polly would marry Dr. William Hewson in July 1770. Also living with Dr. Franklin, when not at school, was his grandson Temple, the illegitimate son of William Franklin born in 1760. Dr. Franklin’s partnership with David Hall ended in 1766 and with it an annual five hundred pounds, and now with the job of postmaster general as his main source of income, for him as well as his wife and daughter. And so, while some British ministers were talking of removing him from the post office, and others were talking of promoting him to some government post where he could be silenced, Dr. Franklin lived as frugally as possible while remaining in London.
However, while Dr. Franklin was away in Hanover, the Rockingham ministry collapsed and on July 30th, was replaced by a ministry led by William Pitt, or as he must now be called, Lord Chatham.(1) The new Secretary of State for the Southern Department was Lord Shelburne, who was married to the niece of Thomas Penn’s wife. Henry Conway remained the Secretary of State for the Northern Department, after replacing Lord Grafton when he resigned earlier in May. And the Earl of Hillsborough was back as head of the Board of Trade.
One of the plans of the new Chatham ministry concerned the East India Company – with its army of 15,000 men overseeing 20 million subjects and a revenue, clear of all expenses, of £1,600,000 a year!!!
One faction in the company wanted to maintain and extend the territorial possessions; while another faction in the company (allied with Chatham’s supporters) thought that the company should be limited to trade, and that the territorial possessions should be taken over by the imperial government – so that the immense riches of the east would flow into the treasury to pay the debt of Great Britain. The Old Whigs, whose support had been bought by the appointment of some of them to office, resigned from the government in November, and all efforts to reduce the company ended in a compromise very favourable to that company. Chatham himself withdrew from London due to ill health, and the weakened ministry was now led by the Duke of Grafton.
Parliament met on January 16th 1767, and Charles Townshend, the chancellor of the exchequer, presented his first budget, which included the usual land tax of four shillings; but, in opposition to the administration, the Grenvilles, the Bedfords, and the Rockinghams, all united to reduce the land tax from 4 to 3 shillings. The loss to the government’s revenue would be considerable. Townshend set to work to devise a means for meeting the deficiency of half a million thus created. On January 26th he declared himself a firm advocate of the principle of the Stamp Act that was repealed a few months before by Rockingham’s ministry, of which he had himself been a member; and, to the astonishment of his colleagues, pledged himself to find a revenue in America nearly sufficient for the purposes that were required. And a new debate over raising revenues from America began. In March, during a cabinet meeting, Charles Townshend, demanded the abandonment of the country west of the mountains to the Indians, the confinement of settlement to the east of the mountains, and the concentration of troops to the eastern seaboard – to reduce the American expenses; and a plan for the raising of revenues in the colonies.
Dr. Franklin presented to one of the ministers, a paper on the Legal Tender of Paper Money in America on February 13th. On April 9th, the London Chronicle printed his letter, Reply to Coffee House Orators, signed A Friend to Both Countries. On April 11th, the London Chronicle printed his letter, On the Propriety of Taxing America, signed Benevolus. And on April 18th, the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser printed his letter, Right, Wrong and Reasonable. In June, his Remarks on the Board of Trade’s Report relative to American paper money was published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle and the Pennsylvania Gazette.
On May 12th, Townshend introduced his measures for dealing with America (to go into effect on November 20th 1767). The Revenue Act placed duties on 72 items, imported from Britain into any colony or plantation in America. The list of goods included crown, plate, flint, white and green glass, white and red lead, painters colours, tea, and, of course, paper – 63 different types of paper. However, with regards to the Revenue Act duty on tea, the Indemnity Act removed, for five years, the inland duties on East India Company teas imported into Britain, and, also allowed a drawback of duties for East India Company teas exported to any British colony or plantation in America. And the Customs Act set up the American Board of Customs Commissioners to better secure, with a more speedy collection of, the new duties. It was decided that the revenues would be used to pay the salaries of some colonial governors and some judges, making them independent of their assemblies, which had previously paid these salaries. (Before the duties could go into effect, Charles Townshend unexpectedly died on September 4th.)
In a letter to his son, William, on August 28th, Dr. Franklin related: “Last week I dined at Lord Shelburne’s, and had a long conversation with him and Mr. Conway (there being no other company), on the subject of reducing American expence. I took the opportunity of urging it as one means of saving expence in supporting the out-posts, that a settlement should be made in the Illinois country.” “We had a good deal of farther discourse on American affairs, particularly on paper money.” “I write this in a great hurry, being setting out in an hour on another journey with my steady good friend Sir John Pringle. We propose to visit Paris.” At Versailles they were presented to meet the king. (Dr. Franklin’s 1751 Experiments and Observations on Electricity had been translated into French and published by Dalibard in 1752, where the experiments were successfully carried out, in the presence of the king Louis XV. Dalibard brought out a second enlarged edition of Dr. Franklin’s book in 1756.)
At Paris, they visited the church of Notre Dame, viewed an exhibition of pictures, went to theatres to hear plays and operas, and using letters of introduction from Durand, the French minister in London, met ‘many learned and ingenious men’ – M. D’Alibard, who had first carried out Franklin’s suggestion and had got lightning from a cloud; Joseph-Etienne Berthier; Abbe Chappe d’Auteroche, an astonomer, met at the home of the Marquis de Coutanvaux; the Marquis de Mirabeau; and Francois Quesnay, physician to the king (and leader of the school which the next year began to be called the physiocrats). At the request of his friends at Paris, Dr. Franklin wrote a paper on lightning and the way Americans secured their houses from it. When Dr. Franklin returned to London, he would send to Dr. Jacques Barbeau Dubourg, a physician in Paris, a copy of Joseph Priestley’s book on the history of electricity, as well as a copy of his examination before the House of Commons of February 1766. Dr. Franklin arrived back in London on October 8th, when Dr. Pringle had to hurray back to deliver the pregnant queen of her fifth child, and found that Townshend had died and was replaced with Lord North. (On October 29th, Dr. Franklin’s daughter Sally would marry Richard Bache, and their son, Benjamin Franklin Bache, would be born on August 12th 1769.)
On September 11th 1767, Shelburne presented his paper on colonial policy to cabinet, which he and Conway had discussed in August with Dr. Franklin,(2) and it was then sent on to the Board of Trade on October 5th for its review. The paper proposed that the Indian establishment with its superintendents, deputies and commissaries, be abolished and that the colonies take charge of Indian affairs. It also proposed to leave only eight frontier posts, garrisoned by four battalions – leaving the other eleven battalions for use on the eastern seaboard, and that these forts might be given into the hands of the colonies to maintain. It proposed the establishment of three colonies – at Detroit,(3) on the Ohio, and in the Illinois country.
The Board of Trade’s report on this would not be done until March 1768. When the Board of Trade’s report was sent to the Privy Council on March 18th, it recommended that trade with the Indians be returned to the management of the colonies, but it also recommended keeping the offices of Indian superintendent to handle political affairs with the Indians. It proposed to keep only three posts – Detroit, Michillimackinac and Niagara. In regards to proposals for colonization, the board recognized that ‘in fact they have nothing less in view, than the entire possession and peopling of all that country, which has communications with the Rivers Mississippi and St. Lawrence’. It therefore recommended only a gradual extension of settlement to the Indian boundary line.
Late in 1767, due to the unstableness of the Grafton ministry, the Bedfordites were brought into the ministry, one of their conditions on joining being that the office of secretary of state for southern affairs should be divided, and a new ‘secretary of state for the colonies’ be created. Shelburne would remain at the southern department and on January 20th 1768, the former President of the Board of Trade, Wills Hill, Lord Hillsborough, would become the first Secretary of State for the Colonies. John Pownall, elder brother of Thomas, and who had been the secretary of the Board of Trade since 1745, was made Hillsborough’s under-secretary of state for the American department.
Finally, on December 23rd, the Board of Trade recommended that the boundary line be established by solemn compact with the Indians (which had been promised to them by William Johnson in the spring of 1765). The Privy Council agreed, and on January 5th 1768, Shelburne authorized William Johnson to carry it out, with general instructions to consult with the various governors.
On November 24th, the London Chronicle published Dr. Franklin’s letter, signed F.B., on smuggling. On December 15th, the London Chronicle printed his letter, signed F+S, on American Longevity. And on January 7th 1768, Dr. Franklin had published in the London Chronicle, signed F+S, his ‘Causes of the American Discontents before 1768’, although it was slightly changed (to be more cautious) by the editor, Griffith Jones.
On January 21st, the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser printed his letter, On the New Office of Secty of State for the Colonies, signed Old England in its senses. In the January Gentleman’s Magazine, Dr. Franklin’s letter, Subjects of Subjects, signed A.B., was printed. In the April Gentleman’s Magazine was printed his letter, On the Laboring Poor, signed Medius. And in April, the London Chronicle printed his letter, Reply to a Portugal Merchant, signed F+S.
Having read John Dickinson’s ‘Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania’, which began appearing in the Pennsylvania Chronicle on November 5th 1767, Dr. Franklin had the letters published in the London Chronicle, and added his own preface on May 8th 1768.
On August 18th, the London Chronicle printed Dr. Franklin’s letter, Queries, signed N.M.C.N.P.C.H. On August 25th, the Public Advertiser, printed his letter, On Civil War, signed N.N. On September 24th, the London Chronicle printed his letter, Answers to the Late Queries on the Colonies, signed An American. On September 28th, the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser printed his letter, On Sinecures, signed Expositor.
In February, Dr. Franklin met with Lord Hillsborough to discuss the repeal of the Currency Act, and the petition for replacing the proprietary government of Pennsylvania with a royal one.(4)
Dr. Franklin had become well known in Georgia through articles about him in the South Carolina Gazette, published by Peter Timothy in Savannah. Georgia had not had an agent since William Knox was dismissed as agent in November 1765 for supporting the Stamp Act. When the upper house and lower house could not agree on a new agent, Dr. Franklin was put forward as a compromise candidate by the lower house to end the feud. The upper house went along and the Governor assented, and Dr. Franklin became the official agent for Georgia on April 11th 1768. In October 1768, Franklin was again reappointed by the Pennsylvania assembly as one of its agent, and to continue to seek for a change to royal government. And on November 8th 1769, the New Jersey House of Representatives unanimously chose Dr. Franklin as their agent in London, replacing Henry Wilmot, the solicitor for the Penns(!)
1767-68 – William Johnson and the Ohio Country
In March 1767, Johnson sent messengers to the Six Nations inviting them to a meeting at German Flats, New York. By May, nearly 800 Indians arrived and they agreed to grant permission for a new boundary line to be surveyed, and for deputies to be sent to accompany the surveyors while running the boundary. They also promised that if a deputation of Cherokees would meet them at Johnson Hall, they would ratify a peace treaty with them. Governor Fauquier of Virginia had requested that Johnson try to reconcile the Six Nations with their traditional enemy, the Cherokees, (for with the Indians fighting among themselves, how could they possibly be used to stop the new settlements west of the mountains!)
Johnson also had learned that belts were being passed secretly from village to village in the Ohio country, and a great council of twelve nations was to be held at the mouth of the Scioto river. Johnson sent Croghan to investigate and meet with the Indians at Fort Pitt, at Fort Detroit and at the Scioto river. Croghan learned that the Scioto meeting had been postponed until next March (1768) and that the purpose was to make a peace among the tribes and to organize a confederacy of northern and western nations. Croghan reported to Johnson that in his opinion nothing would now prevent a war except an Indian land purchase. Croghan also presented the situation to the Pennsylvania assembly, which in February 1768, voted £3000 for pacifying the Indians – £1300 of it was sent to Johnson as a condolence present for the Six Nations who had lost some members through murders in Pennsylvania, and £1200 were to be used for presents to moderate the resentment of the Ohio Indians.
In October 1767, Johnson drew up for the perusal of the lords of trade, a highly elaborate and carefully digested review of the past and present state of Indian trade and relations, consisting of more than 1100 folios. In December, three Cherokee chieftains, accompanied by six warriors and an interpreter, arrived in New York, sent forward by sloop to Albany, and arrived by horseback at Johnson Hall on December 30th, to stay until the Six Nations had been notified of their arrival.
In February 1768, Johnson sent Croghan on a mission to the Ohio Indians, to send invitations to the Ohio tribes to meet him at Fort Pitt. On April 26th, Croghan opened the conference, with Colonel Reed and twelve officers, the Indian commissary McKee, the two Pennsylvania commissioners John Allen and Joseph Shippen, and over 1100 Indians (Delawares, Shawnees, the Six Nations, and also some Wyandots, Muncies and Mohicans). With the use of the £1200 in presents (from Pennsylvania), Croghan was able to settle all their grievances, except the removal of settlers – that settlement postponed until the proposed Indian purchase should be made.
In February, Johnson finally received the news from London, authorizing him to settle the boundary with the Six Nations. When the Six Nations and their allies, 760 of them, assembled at Johnson Hall at the end of March, this news from London was communicated to them. After an eight-day conference, a peace treaty was reached with the Cherokee deputies, and presents (from the Pennsylvania assembly), were distributed to all. The Six Nations chiefs promised to be ready whenever they should be summoned to aid in a council for the land purchase and to set the boundary. For the western confederacy Indians, now without the support of the Iroquois confederacy, and without a leader – Pontiac refused the advances of the French and Spaniards, and remained true to his word that he gave to Johnson,(5) their congress of the western tribes came to naught.
Later, Johnson would select September 20th 1768, for the meeting of the congress at Fort Stanwix (Fort Stanwix being the most central location), and messages were sent to notify the Iroquois and their dependents, and the governors of the interested provinces.
On September 19th, Johnson with his three deputies – Guy Johnson, Daniel Claus and George Croghan, along with Governor Franklin and Chief Justice Fredrick Smith from New Jersey, arrived at Fort Stanwix with twenty bateaux, loaded with presents. (New York sent no delegates because they thought that Johnson would take care of their interests.) Waiting for them was Thomas Walker, the commissioner from Virginia. The next day, Governor Penn and the commissioners Richard Peters and James Tilghman, from Pennsylvania, arrived. Samuel Wharton and William Trent, representing the ‘Suffering Traders’ were also present. On the 24th, the congress was opened, as thirty-two hundred Indians arrived. Six days were consumed by the deputies in private conferences, and by Johnson in informal councils. On November 1st, William Johnson, with the governors and commissioners in council, received the Indians’ report, through their speaker, on the line that they had fixed as the boundary.(6) The line started at the point where the Cherokee river emptied into the Ohio river – considered by the Iroquois to be their boundary with the Cherokees, proceeded up the Ohio river to a point several miles up from Fort Pitt, and then in a northeasterly direction to Fort Stanwix!!!
The treaty was witnessed and signed on November 5th, 1768. The treaty also considered the claim to lands in Pennsylvania (the Wyoming lands on the upper Susquehanna river) by Lydius to be unjust, and his deeds to it as invalid, and gave these lands to the proprietors of Pennsylvania, as well as a tract of land, called the ‘new purchase’ – an area that included the land south of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers to the Pennsylvania border, an area that overlapped the land grant of the Ohio Company. The treaty also confirmed three prior grants of 200,000 acres of land on the Allegheny river, given to George Croghan in 1749. And, finally, the treaty gave a tract of land between the Little Kenawha river and the Monongahela river to the ‘suffering traders’. The sum of £10,000 in goods and money was then paid to the Six Nations as consideration for the land ceded. William Johnson had opened the door to the west once more.
Fort Stanwix, shortly afterwards, would be dismantled by the order of General Gage!
1768 – The Townshend Acts in America
At a town meeting in Boston on October 28th 1767, an agreement was pledged, by all who would sign, to patronize colonial manufactures and to not purchase a long list of articles, imported from Britain. Other towns in Massachusetts voted to follow the Boston agreement. In Rhode Island, at a town meeting in Providence on December 2nd, and at a town meeting in Newport on December 4th, similar non-importation agreements were adopted. Other towns in Rhode Island followed the agreement. Soon, towns in Connecticut were passing non-importation agreements. Meetings were held in New York and Philadelphia to discuss the Boston actions. Beginning in December, the Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania began to be published serially in the newspapers of various colonies, urging a wider plan for non-importation.
On December 22nd, a town meeting in Boston voted instructions for their representatives at the General Court to petition the king. In January 1768, the Massachusetts House of Representatives sent a petition to the king asking for a repeal of the Townshend Acts.
On February 11th 1768, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a circular letter against the unconstitutionality of the Townshend Acts, written by Samuel Adams, in which ‘the great evils to which the inhabitants of America were subjected from the operation of several acts of parliament imposing taxes upon them’ were set forth, and then sent the letter to the other sister colonies, asking their cooperation. On March 18th, the anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act, effigies of customs commissioners Charles Paxton and William Burch were hung on the Liberty tree. The commissioners begged Commodore Hood to send a warship to Boston for their protection, which he immediately did.
On March 1st, the Boston merchants agreed to refrain for one year from importing British merchandise, if the merchants at New York and Philadelphia should take the same action. On March 26th, a heated meeting of the Philadelphia merchants was held, but the meeting adjourned without any action taken. In April, the merchants of New York agreed to not import any goods from Britain – provided Boston should continue and should Philadelphia adopt similar measures by the second Tuesday in June.
By April 14th the Virginia House of Burgesses had agreed on a petition to the king, a memorial to the House of Lords and a remonstrance to the House of Commons. Since the Virginia governor, General Amherst resided in Britain, and since the lieutenant-governor Farquier had died in March, the acting lieutenant-governor, was a Virginian, John Blair. Like Massachusetts, Virginia sent a circular letter to the other colonies urging them to take similar measures. At the end of July, Hillsborough would remove General Amherst as governor of Virginia (which he had received as a reward upon his return to Britain in 1763) and appoint Baron Botetourt as the new Governor.
On April 21st, Hillsborough sent a letter to the colonial governors in America, instructing them to dissolve the colonial assemblies if they responded to the Massachusetts circular letter, and, Hillsborough sent a letter to the governor of Massachusetts instructing him to have the House of Representatives revoke the letter. On June 8th, Hillsborough sent instructions to General Gage to order one or more regiments from Halifax to Boston, accompanied by seven men-of-war. Hillsborough also sent instructions for the navy to order one frigate, two sloops and two cutters to patrol Boston harbour.
Then on June 10th, customs officials seized the Liberty, a sloop owned by Boston merchant John Hancock, on allegations that the ship had been involved in smuggling. Bostonians, already angry because the British navy had been impressing local sailors, attacked the customs officers, who had to flee to the British warship, and from there to Castle William, an island fort, for protection, where they appealed to Hillsborough for help. After a cabinet meeting concerning this, on July 27th, Hillsborough ordered an additional two regiments from Ireland be sent to Boston. Hancock’s sloop was confiscated and used by customs officials (until it was burned by angry colonists in Rhode Island the next year.) Eventually the charges against Hancock, with John Adams as his lawyer, were dropped – in a highly publicized trail in a vice admiralty court that began in October and lasted almost five months.
On June 30th, the Massachusetts House had voted not to comply in revoking their circular letter, and the next day Governor Bernard dissolved the legislature. By the end of June, New Jersey on May 6th, Connecticut on June 10th, and Maryland on June 24th had all voted petitions to the king. (South Carolina had given instructions to its agent in April.) New Hampshire sent a petition to the king on August 27th.
On August 1st, Boston merchants, acting without agreement with merchants in other ports, organized a non-importation agreement, suspending importation of certain British goods for one year starting January 1st 1769. On August 27th, the merchants of New York City signed a non-importation agreement, to last until the repeal of the Townshend duties, and sent a copy to the Philadelphia merchants.
On September 22nd the Pennsylvania Assembly sent a petition to the king and both houses of Parliament praying for repeal of the act. (In August, Hillsborough defiantly refused to give Pennsylvania royal government.) On November 1st, the Philadelphia merchants sent a memorial to the merchants and manufacturers of Britain, urging them to seek a repeal of the duties. The merchants then pledged to adopt a non-importation agreement in the spring, if their appeal failed.
On September 7th, Gage had received Hillsborough’s orders for troops from Halifax, and on October 1st two regiments (of about 800 men) sent from Halifax began disembarking in Boston. On November 16th, the two regiments sent from Ireland (of about 1000 men) began disembarking in Boston. (Two regiments would later leave Boston in July 1769, but two regiments would stay.) Boston was now under military rule. And with the navy patrolling its harbour.
In mid October, William Pitt, Lord Chatham, resigned from the government, and a few days later, William Petty, Lord Shelburne, resigned too, while Hillsborough would express his hope that the House would never think of repealing the Revenue Act ‘until he saw America prostrate at his feet’.
By the end of 1768, all of the thirteen colonies had sent petitions to the king – Delaware on October 24th, North Carolina on December 5th, Rhode Island on December 12th, New York on December 18th, and Georgia(7) on December 24th.
On March 10th 1769, Pennsylvania merchants entered into a non-importation agreement, until the Townshend duties should be repealed. On March 30th, the merchants of Baltimore adopted an agreement on non-importation, and on June 22nd a meeting was held to form a non-importation association for the whole province of Maryland.
On May 18th, the Virginia house, meeting privately after the assembly had been dissolved by Governor Botetourt on May 16th, voted a non-importation resolution, which had been presented by George Washington. In South Carolina, a non-importation agreement was organized under the leadership of Christopher Gadsden and Peter Timothy. On July 4th, a meeting of mechanics in Charleston voted an agreement, and on July 7th, a meeting of merchants in Charleston voted their own agreement. In a meeting on July 22nd, a joint non-importation agreement was voted by mechanics and merchants, and by members of the House of Representatives. At a mass meeting in Savannah, Georgia on September 19th, an agreement was reached, similar to South Carolina’s. On November 7th, the assembly of North Carolina convened privately, without permission of the governor who had dissolved the assembly for adoption of the Virginia resolutions, and adopted a non-importation agreement, similar to Virginia’s.
On July 10th, the merchants of New Haven, Connecticut, met and agreed to neither receive nor purchase any goods from Britain, similar to the Boston and New York agreements. (On October 12th, the House of Representatives passed a resolution of approval of the merchants of Connecticut for stopping importation from Britain.) On August 26th, a meeting of the freeholders of Newcastle county, Delaware, approved a non-importation compact, similar to Philadelphia’s. On October 18th, the House of Assembly of New Jersey passed a vote of thanks to the merchants and traders of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania for their public-spirited conduct in withholding their importations of British merchandize.
In August, when two British manufacturers, who had been compelled from Charleston and later from New London for trying to sell imported British wares, journeyed on to Newport, Rhode Island, and disposed of their goods there, under a threat of a boycott from Boston, New York and Philadelphia, a town meeting on October 24th at Providence, and on October 30th at Newport, resolved not to import or purchase any of the goods listed in their agreement of December 1767.
New Hampshire, being predominantly agricultural and lacking a large trading town, and with most of the seats of government occupied by relatives of the governor, did not vote a non-importation agreement until after the events in Boston on March 5th 1770 – at a town meeting in New Ipswich on March 19th, at a town meeting in Exeter a week later, and at a town meeting at Portsmouth on April 11th.
According to the Customs commissioners, between September 1767 and January 1769, on all articles including those provided for under the Townshend revenue act, about £28,000 was collected, while the cost of collection was about £16,000, leaving a net sum of about £12,000. Of the total receipts, a little more than
£11,000 came from the Townsend Revenue Act !!! (meaning that the Townshend act revenues didn’t even cover the cost of collecting them !!!)
At a cabinet meeting of May 1st 1769, a resolution was taken to repeal all duties, except on tea. On June 24th 1769, in order to try to hold together his ministry, Grafton married the niece of the Duke of Bedford. But, on January 27th 1770, Grafton finally resigned and was replaced by Lord North.
- (1) On September 2nd 1765, the Board of Trade had issued two reports – one, on the civil affairs in Quebec, and the other on judicial affairs in Quebec. After reviewing the reports, the Privy Council ordered the Board of Trade to draw instructions for the governor of Quebec – to establish courts and their use of French and British laws; the partial toleration of Roman Catholicism; and to allow the governor and council to remain as the only legislative body in Quebec (an elected assembly was deemed impracticable under the circumstances). The Board of Trade issued its report on the instructions on June 24th 1766, but Lord Chancellor Northington opposed the instructions and informed the king that the Rockingham ministry could not go on and that he should send for Pitt. The king used this as his excuse to dismiss Lord Rockingham and make Pitt the new prime minister.
- (2) Sometime earlier, Shelburne had showed Dr. Franklin a plan for dealing with the Indians, and Dr. Franklin had also prepared, at the request of Shelburne, his Remarks on the Plan for Regulating the Indian Trade.
- (3) In May 1765, Major Thomas Mant and 59 other officers who had served under Colonel Bradstreet petitioned the king that they be permitted to transport to Detroit 624 families, each to receive 150 acres of land.
- (4) In August, Hillsborough gave his final answer where he sided with the Penns. Dr. Franklin thought that with Hillsborough’s stronger partiality for Mr. Penn than any of his predecessors, there was no need to pursue the matter again until there was a change in the ministry.
- (5) In the Illinois country, on April 20th 1769, when Pontiac went to Cahokia (a small town of 45 houses and a store, on the east bank of the Mississippi north of Fort de Chartres) to trade with the store merchants there, while unarmed and alone, he was attacked and killed by a Peoria Indian. (The Peorias had a council in March to plan to kill Pontiac). The Peorias crossed the river to the French at St. Louis, to put themselves under the protection of Captain St. Ange, and told him that they had been instigated by the British to commit the murder. When St. Ange wouldn’t let them stay, the Peorias then fled to the British at Fort de Chartres, where Lieutenant Wilkins allowed them to move next to the fort and build an entrenched and stockaded camp. Fearing revenge from the Ottawas, the Peorias were able to obtain plenty of ammunition from Wilkins.
- (6) The line began at the mouth of the Cherokee (Tennessee) river, and followed the Ohio river north to Kittaning , then on a line to Towanda creek, the nearest fork of the west branch of the Susquehanna river, and along this creek, and then along the river through the Allegheny mountains, to the mouth of the Tiandoghton creek, up this stream, then on a line along the Burnett hills to Awandoe creek, down that creek to the east branch of the Susquehanna river, up this river to Oswegy, then on a line to the Delaware river, and up this river to a point opposite to where the Tianaderhah empties into the east Susquehanna, then on a line across to the Tianaderhah , and north up this river to its headwaters, then on a line to Canada creek where it empties into Wood creek, at the west end of the carrying place from Fort Stanwix.
- (7) Dr. Franklin had become the agent for Georgia on April 11th 1768, thanks to Peter Timothy and the South Carolina Gazette.
Chapter 7 – 1769, the Road to the Grand Ohio Company
Dr. Franklin would start the year by defending the colonists again in more letters to the press.
On January 17th, the Public Advertiser printed ‘A Purported Letter from Paris’, and on January 17th printed ‘An Account Stated Against G.G.’. On January 17th, the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser also printed ‘A Defense of American Placeholders’.
Needless to say, the new boundary line between the colonies and the Indians, as proposed by the Indian superintendent of the northern district, William Johnson, in the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, was not in accordance with the instructions of the board of trade (Hillsborough was opposed to any settlements west of the mountains, period), and this treaty not only included the Ohio country between the Ohio river, Great Kanawha river and the Appalachians, but included a huge area of land west of that, between the Ohio, Cherokee and Great Kanawha rivers!!!
Hillsborough rebuked Johnson for this, and ordered him to renegotiate the northern line to end at the confluence of the Ohio and Great Kanawha Rivers. Johnson argued firstly, that since the Iroquois insisted that they controlled, by conquest, all lands north of the Cherokee river, their claim was just and that the Cherokee had no right to it. Secondly, the Virginia commissioners had shown him deeds that showed that titles to lands situated west of the Kanawha had been obtained from the Indians with the approval of the late king.
On April 25th 1769, the Board of Trade sent to the cabinet its report where it showed the evils that would follow the acceptance of the Six Nations’ cession of the territory between the Great Kanawha and the Cherokee rivers. But due to opposition to Hillsborough in cabinet, on May 13th Hillsborough wrote to Johnson that ‘His Majesty, rather than risk defeating the important object of establishing a final boundary line, will give the necessary directions for the confirmation of it as agreed upon at Fort Stanwix’. (With the ratification of the treaty of Fort Stanwix, the Illinois Company project was given up, as it was west of and outside of the Indian boundary line.)
But, Hillsborough pointed out however that the ministry would not countenance any settlements west of the Great Kanawha river. There was no provisions made for the government of the region east of the Great Kanawha river, and the prohibition placed on settlements west of the mountains in the proclamation of 1763 was not removed. And the grants given to Croghan and to the suffering traders were not approved!!!, while the grants to the Penns were approved!!!
Some years prior, between 1763 and 1765, Captain John Stuart, the Indian Superintendent for the southern district, had negotiated treaties with the southern Indians to fix their boundary with Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina as far north as Chiswell’s mine on the Great Kanawha river (at the border line of North Carolina and Virginia). There still remained to be established the line at the back of Virginia. By a meeting on October 17th 1768 with Stuart and the Cherokee Indians at Hard Labour, South Carolina (and a meeting a little later on November 12th with the Creek Indians), a treaty was made to extend the boundary line from that point at the headwaters of the Great Kanawha, north to the confluence of the Great Kanawha and the Ohio rivers. And, this would join with the Fort Stanwix line, but it would remove from settlement that huge area between the Ohio and Cherokee rivers.
After his return from Fort Stanwix, Thomas Walker, the Virginia commissioner, along with Andrew Lewis, the other Virginia commissioner, were sent by Virginia Governor Botetourt to see Indian superintendent Stuart, to lay out the reasons why the boundary line with the Cherokees should be fixed farther west.(1) (In the upper branches of the Cherokee river, near the North Carolina – Virginia border) there were several Virginia settlements – which now became a part of Indian territory – by Staurt’s treaty at Hard Labour.) Stuart agreed to ask the Cherokee to make a change, but not to include all the territory recently purchased from the Iroquois, but only to stretch over a sufficient area to include the Virginia settlements on the Holston river. The Board of Trade, in their report of April 20th 1769, approved Stuart’s proposal, and also recommended that the expense of the new purchase should be born by the colony of Virginia.
After returning from Fort Stanwix, Colonel William Trent and Samuel Wharton and his fellow ‘suffering traders’ realized the value of obtaining royal assent to the grant that they had just received from the Iroquois. Articles of agreement were drawn up on December 30th 1768, and the next month Wharton and Trent were sent to Britain to solicit confirmation of their grant. (Included as partners with Samuel Wharton, William Trent and 21 others were William Franklin and George Croghan.) Shortly after arriving in London, Wharton realized that the opposition to securing the endorsement of the land cession to the ‘suffering traders’ and competition from other interested groups, was too strong, and that if they followed their original plans, failure was foreordained. He soon began the formation of a company for the purchase of a very large tract of land in the territory recently acquired from the Iroquois – 2,500,000 acres, and was actively assisted by Dr. Franklin. In June 1769, they petitioned the Privy Council but it wasn’t until December, that they met with Hillsborough and the Board of Trade.
Dr. Franklin would make another visit to Paris in 1769, from July 14th until August 24th, but little is known about this trip. During 1767, the French monthly journal Ephemerides published a translation of Dr. Franklin’s anonymous letter (signed Arator) of November 1766 to the London Chronicle – On the Price of Corn. Then, in 1768, Dr. Dubourg had translated and published in the Ephemerides Dr. Franklin’s Examination before the House of Commons of February 1766. Dubourg would also translate John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, in 1769. And also in 1769, the Ephemerides would translate and publish Dr. Franklin’s letter to the London Chronicle of June 29th 1769, ‘Positions to be Examined’.
On December 20th, Wharton finally met Hillsborough at the Board of Trade, where Hillsborough informed them that it didn’t belong to the Board of Trade to sell the king’s land, but it was a monied matter that belonged to the Lords of the Treasury. Hillsborough applied to the treasury where it resulted in a favourable answer. Hillsborough advised them to purchase a larger tract of land, large enough for a separate government.(2)
The new plan called for a reorganization and enlargement of the original company, as additional funds would need to be raised, and influential men would have to be convinced, which was agreed to at a meeting on December 27th 1769. Present were Samuel Wharton and William Trent, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Pownall, Thomas and Richard Walpole and 10 others. (72 shares were created to also include Croghan and traders, and also William Johnson and William Franklin. The Indian grants made at Fort Stanwix to Croghan and to the ‘suffering traders’ would be located within this new grant.) The new company, called the Grand Ohio Company, drew up a new petition to purchase a tract of land estimated at 20 million acres (a tract starting on the south side of the Ohio river opposite the mouth of the Scioto river and ending on the Ohio river at the point where it meets the western border of Pennsylvania), and offered to pay the crown £10,460 7s. 3d. – the exact amount expended by the crown at the treaty of Fort Stanwix!
Also, in December 1769, the Virginia House of Burgesses sent a memorial to the governor setting forth the need of even wider limits than those proposed by Stuart, proposing instead ‘ a line beginning at the western termination of the North Carolina line’ but, instead, ‘running thence in a due west direction to the River Ohio’, and thus re-including most of the area between the Ohio and the Cherokee rivers – and also including the area the Grand Ohio Company was attempting to purchase.
On January 4th 1770, the Grand Ohio Company petition was considered at a meeting of the board of the Lords of the Treasury, which included Grafton and North, and to which they tentatively agreed, provided the other departments of government approved. Shortly afterwards, Grafton was replaced by Lord North as Prime Minister.
Dr. Franklin would now write letters in the press to explain the colonies’ stand against the Townshend Acts. The Public Advertiser would print his ‘New Fables’ on January 2nd. The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser would print his ‘On Partial Repeal’ on February 7th. And, beginning on January 4th until March 4th, Dr. Franklin would write eleven different letters, called The Colonist’s Advocate.
On March 5th, Lord North asked Parliament to repeal the Townshend Revenue Act. On April 2nd 1770, the British parliament voted a repeal of the duties on all the commodities enumerated in the revenue act, except tea!!! At the same time, in Boston, another event occurred.
(According to the testimony of Captain Preston), in Boston on the night of March 5th, two British soldiers were attacked and beaten. Some of the townspeople broke into two meetinghouses and rang the alarm bells for the townspeople to assemble. About 100 people went towards the custom house where the king’s money is lodged, surrounded the sentry posted there, and with clubs and other weapons threatened to execute their vengeance on him. Preston immediately sent a non-commissioned officer and 12 men to protect both the sentry and the king’s money. One of the soldiers, having received a severe blow with a stick, stepped a little on one side and instantly fired. On this a general attack was made on the men, by a great number of heavy clubs and snowballs being thrown at them. Three or four of the soldiers fired, one after another, and directly after, three more in the same confusion and hurry. The mob then ran away, except three unhappy men who instantly expired, and two others died later of their wounds – Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr.(3) This became known as the ‘Boston Massacre’.(4)
In London, although the treasury fully accepted the offer of the Grand Ohio Company on April 7th 1770, Hillsborough informed the company, upon receipt of the Virginia memorial, that this appeared to raise an objection to a part of the lands, which the company had agreed for with the treasury. On May 7th, Wharton now persuaded Colonel Mercer, who had been sent to London by the old Ohio Company to present its case to the British government, to accept two shares and have the Ohio Company unite with the Grand Ohio Company. Mercer informed the Board of Trade of this in a memorial sent to the Board of Trade on May 10th. A petition to confirm the agreement with the Lords of the Treasury was sent to the Privy Council on May 8th, which was then referred to the Board of trade on May 25th.
But, before the Board of Trade could decide on this, it adjourned for summer vacation! In July, Hillsborough sent the governor of Virginia a notification of the Grand Ohio Company’s petition, in hopes of starting a conflict between the Grand Ohio Company and Virginia.
In Virginia, on June 15th 1770, the House of Burgesses had agreed to enter upon a treaty with the Cherokee – ‘for the lands lying within a line to be run from a place where the North Carolina line terminates, in a due west direction, until it intersects the Holstein River, and from thence to the mouth of the Great Kanawha’.(5) Virginia agreed to pay £2500 to the Cherokee, for this concession. On October 18th, at Lochaber, South Carolina, Stuart would meet with one thousand Indians and sign a treaty with them.
George Washington was trying to locate 200,000 acres on the Ohio that had been promised to veterans of the French and Indian war by the Dinwiddie proclamation of 1754. In August 1770, he called a meeting of the surviving officers, where they agreed to locate their lands in the vicinity of the Great Kanawha river and on the Ohio river south of the Little Kanawha river – by the treaty of Fort Stanwix, the Iroquois had granted a tract of land to the ‘suffering traders’ that was north of the Little Kanawha river. (Washington had picked this area, so as not to overlap the claims of the ‘suffering traders’.)
Now, upon learning of the proposed Grand Ohio Company petition from Virginia’s agent in London, on October 5th, at the instigation of Mr. Blair, the clerk of the council, George Washington wrote to Governor Botetourt to protest the sale of Virginia lands by the British government, lands that ‘will comprehend at least four-fifths of the land for which this colony hath lately voted £2,500 to the purchase and survey of’. On October 15th, Governor Botetourt died, and the acting-governor William Nelson, president of the council, that same day received the official notification of the negotiations between the Grand Ohio Company and the Treasury. With his reply to Hillsborough, he included a copy of the letter from Washington.
The same day that Washington wrote his letter to the governor, he left on his trip down the Ohio, in search of possible sites for the bounty lands for the Virginia veterans. It was now almost seventeen years, since a young 21 year-old major in the Virginia militia, George Washington, along with Gist (as scout), van Braam (as interpreter), 4 frontiersmen, and a band of Indians led by the Seneca chief, Tanaghrisson, left Williamsburg on November 1, 1753, to travel to Fort Machault with a letter from Dinwiddie demanding the French leave their posts.
Washington left with Dr. Craik on October 5th and arrived at Fort Pitt on October 17th and met George Croghan. Washington left Fort Pitt on October 20th, travelling down the Ohio by canoe, with Dr. Craik, Captain Crawford, an interpreter – Joseph Nicholson, and an Indian guide, named the Pheasant. Colonel Croghan, Lieutenant Hamilton, Alexander McKee, with some others and some Indians, travelled with them as far as Logstown. On November 1st, Washington reached the Great Kanawha river (272 miles from Fort Pitt) and spent three days looking over this area before starting their return to Fort Pitt, arriving on November 21st. Washington finally arrived home on Dec 1st.
In October, Dr. Franklin was reappointed as the sole agent for Pennsylvania. Richard Jackson had given up being co-agent for Pennsylvania, when he became legal advisor for the Board of Trade. On November 3rd, Dr. Franklin wrote anonymously in the Public Advertiser, ‘An Expostulation’, on non-importation. And on November 8th, Dr. Franklin wrote as ‘N.N.’ in the London Chronicle, ‘The Rise and Present State of Our Misunderstanding’, to defend the actions of the people of America.
For many years, Dr. Franklin had corresponded on political affairs with gentlemen in Massachusetts, who had been much influenced by his opinions and advice, who thus became acquainted with his labours in promoting the cause of his country. In a letter to Reverend Samuel Cooper on June 8th 1770, Dr. Franklin said that the colonies were ‘so many distinct and separate States’, as ‘the Colonies originally were constituted distinct States’, and that since the period of the Restoration ‘the Parliament here has usurp’d an Authority of making Laws for them, which before it had not’. In a letter of July 13th 1770, a Committee of the Town of Boston asked Dr. Franklin to help correct the record with regard to the ‘Boston Massacre’. On October 24th, Dr. Franklin was appointed by the Assembly to be the agent of the lower house of Massachusetts at the court of Great Britain. (Dr. Franklin was now the agent for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.)
On January 17th 1771, Dr. Franklin went to see Lord Hillsborough to announce his appointment officially as agent for Massachusetts, and to explain the purport of his instructions from the assembly of Massachusetts. Hillsborough told Dr. Franklin that he was not the agent, since the lower house could not appoint an agent on its own, and that agents had to be appointed by both houses of a colony’s legislature and be approved by the governor. After a heated exchange with an angry Hillsborough , Dr. Franklin left, saying
‘I beg your lordship’s pardon for taking up so much of your time. It is, I believe, of no great importance whether the appointment is acknowledged or not, for I have not the least conception that an agent can at present be of any use to any of the colonies. I shall therefore give your lordship no further trouble’.
In answer to the letter from Virginia’s acting-governor Blair and from Washington, the Grand Ohio Company in a letter of March 5th 1771, promised to reimburse Virginia for the land purchase from the Cherokees, and a pledge to protect all those pioneers who had made bona fide settlements previous to the issuance of the proclamation of 1763.
In March 1771, Washington managed a meeting of his fellow soldiers at Winchester where they authorized Captain Crawford to begin to survey their tracts of land in the area of the Ohio and the Great Kanawha rivers.
The Board of Trade had still not yet reported on the Grand Ohio Company’s petition, as Hillsborough had now declared himself in opposition to the plan, and stalled by trying to throw the responsibility of making a report onto others. The Board of Trade, under Hillsborough, did not take the petition of the Grand Ohio Company under consideration until March 25th 1772!!!
In June, in a letter Dr. Franklin would write that Hillsborough was ‘proud, supercilious, extremely conceited of his political knowledge and abilities (moderate as they are), fond of every one that can stoop to flatter him, and inimical to all that dare tell him disagreeable truths. This man’s mandates have been treated with disrespect in America, his letters have been criticized, his measures censured and despised; which has produced in him a kind of settled malice against the colonies that would break into greater violence if cooler heads did not set some bound to it’.
On May 18th, Dr. Franklin left on a ten-day tour of Birmingham and some other ‘manufacturing’ towns, with John Canton, Dr. Jan Ingenhouz and his nephew, Jonathan Williams Jr., travelling through Northampton, Leicester, Matlock Bath, Bakewell (stopping to visit a marble mill), Castleton (exploring the cavern called the Devil’s Arse), and on the 21st arriving at Manchester, ‘where they embarked in a luxurious horse-drawn boat on the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal and followed it to its end in the Duke’s coal mines. The party observed the miners at work in cramped quarters, and watched the coal being brought out and loaded into a forty-ton canal boat, which a single horse then pulled to Manchester’. The next morning they left Manchester, travelling to Leeds, visiting the cloth halls, and visiting Dr. Priestly ‘who made some very pretty Electrical Experiments, and some on the different properties of different kinds of Air’. The next day they travelled to Wakefield (stopping for a tour of the Marquis of Rockingham’s country estate), Sheffield (visiting a factory making articles of silver-plated copper), Rotherham (visiting the ironworks and manufacture of tin plate), returning to Sheffield (touring the sumptuous home of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth), Derby (visiting the china and pottery manufactures, and a silk mill), Burton-on-Trent (‘remarkable for its good Ale’), Lichfield, Sutton Coldfield, and then to Birmingham. On the morning of the 28th, they visited Matthew Boulton’s Soho ironworks, which employed 700 people.
On June 15th, Dr. Franklin left for a one-week visit to Hampshire to see Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph. On July 30th, Dr. Franklin left to visit Bishop Shipley at his home at Chilbolton, near Twyford, on the banks of the Itchen River for two ‘blissful’ weeks (it was here that Dr. Franklin wrote the first part of his autobiography).
On August 25th, Dr. Franklin left with Richard Jackson on a seven-week visit to Ireland, crossing at Holyhead in Wales and arriving in Dublin on September 5th. They did not leave Dublin until after the Irish Parliament convened on October 8th, as Dr. Franklin was desirous of meeting ‘the principal patriots there’, where he found them ‘disposed to be Friend of America’. The parliament voted to allow Dr. Franklin to attend. In a letter to Thomas Cushing on January 13th 1772, Dr. Franklin spoke of his trip to Ireland,
‘Ireland is itself a fine Country, and Dublin a magnificent City; but the Appearances of general extreme Poverty among the lower People, are amazing: They live in wretched Hovels of Mud and Straw, are clothed in Rags, and subsist chiefly on Potatoes. Our New England Farmers of the poorest Sort, in regard to the Enjoyment of all the Comforts of Life, are Princes when compar’d to them. Such is the Effect of the Discouragements of Industry, the Non-Residence not only of Pensioners but of many original Landlords who lease their Lands in Gross to Undertakers that rack the Tenants, and fleece them Skin and all, to make Estates to themselves, while the first Rents, as well as most of the Pensions are spent out of the Country. An English Gentleman there said to me, that by what he had heard of the good Grazing in North-America, and by what he saw of the Plenty of Flaxseed imported in Ireland from thence, he could not understand why we did not rival Ireland in the Beef and Butter Trade to the West Indies, and share with it in its Linen Trade. But he was satisfy’d when I told him, that I suppos’d the Reason might be, Our People eat Beef and Butter every Day, and wear Shirts themselves. In short the chief Exports of Ireland seem to be pinch’d off the Backs and out of the Bellies of the miserable Inhabitants. But Schemes are not under Consideration among the humane Gentry, to provide some Means of mending if possible their present wretched Condition.’
(Is this, perhaps, why Hillsborough feared that the opening up of the west to emigration to America might cause the depopulation of his Ireland?)
After leaving Dublin and travelling northwards to Belfast, they stopped on the way at Hillsborough’s house.(6) ‘We call’d upon him, and were detain’d at his House four Days, during which time he entertain’d us with great Civility … He seem’d attentive to every thing that might make my Stay in his House agreable to me, and put his eldest Son, Lord Kilwarling, into his Phaeton with me, to drive me a Round of Forty Miles, that I might see the Country, the Seats, Manufactures, &c. covering me with his own Cloak lest I should take Cold: and, in short, seem’d in every thing extreamly solicitous to impress me … I thought it inexplicable but on the Supposition that he apprehended an approaching Storm, and was desirous of lessening beforehand the Number of Enemies he had so imprudently created.’
Richard Jackson now returned to London, and Dr. Franklin travelled on to Scotland, and arrived at Edinburgh on October 27th. He spent five days with Lord Kames at Blair Drummond and two or three days at Glasgow, and the rest of the month in and about Edinburgh, lodging at David Hume’s. On the way to Glasgow, Dr. Franklin was travelling with Henry Merchant, the agent for Rhode Island, and on November 6th they turned northward to see a new canal being constructed under the supervision of his friend and correspondent, John Smeaton. On November 15th, they spent two days visiting at the Carron Iron Works, before leaving to return to London on November 19th.
On Dr. Franklin’s return, he stopped at Preston on November 23rd, for a few days to see his son-in-law Richard Bache, who was there on a visit to his mother and sister, and the two men travelled together to London, arriving near the end of the month.
Hillsborough appointed Lord Dunmore, the governor of New York since January 1770, as governor of Virginia in July 1771, but he wouldn’t arrive in Virginia until September. On October 31st 1771, on behalf of the claims of the ‘1754 Virginia veterans’, George Washington and James Mercer petitioned Governor Dunmore and then appeared before the council of Virginia, and presented the surveys to be done by Captain Crawford. The council allotted 200,000 acres to be surveyed.
On November 6th 1772, the Virginia council ordered patents for the first 127,000 acres that William Crawford has so far surveyed for the ‘1754 Virginia veterans’. The remaining patents would be issued a year later.
After taking the Grand Ohio petition under consideration on March 25th 1772, the Board of Trade delivered the results of its deliberations to the Privy Council on April 29th. The report pointed out that some of the territory for which the company was petitioning, lay west of the Indian boundary line and that it would ‘be highly improper to comply with the requests of the memorial’ for the lands so situated. The rest of the territory, it was asserted, belonged to the colony of Virginia. (It had taken Hillsborough almost two and a half years, since the petition was filed, to report this !?!) The Board therefore recommended that the governor of Virginia be instructed ‘not to make any further grants beyond the line prescribed by the proclamation of 1763’ and ‘that another proclamation should be issued … not to allow for the present, any new settlements beyond that line, and to forbid all persons from taking up or settle in any lands in that part of the country’. Hillsborough wanted to go back to the royal proclamation of 1763; and to forget that the treaties at Fort Stanwix or Lochaber had ever happened; or that the Ohio Company or Loyal Company had ever happened; or that the Dinwiddie proclamation of 1754 had ever happened !?! (Hillsborough, perhaps, thought that the future wasn’t what it used to be !!!) The report also repeated Hillsborough’s fear that the further encouragement of emigration to America might depopulate Great Britain!
When this report came to the Privy Council, Lord Gower(7) declared that he would be open to evidence against the report. The hearing was postponed until Samuel Wharton could prepare the company’s answer ‘Observations on, and Answers to, the foregoing Report’. (These observations have been ascribed to Dr. Franklin.) Although ‘the petitioners could not be heard formally against the Report of the Board of Trade’, permission was granted them ‘to go into the whole matter they might have to offer in support of their original petition to His Majesty’.
In the middle of all this work, Dr. Franklin received a letter from Anthony Benezet of April 27th, urging him to take steps to help end the slave trade. In 1772, James Somerset, a slave from Virginia brought to England by his owner, had escaped, had been recaptured and had been rushed on board a ship bound for Jamaica, but had been temporarily freed until his case had been decided. Granville Sharp(8) would take up his defence, to test whether slavery itself was unlawful in England. Though Somerset won the case, it was such that Somerset was freed without automatically freeing other slaves. Dr. Franklin wrote a letter, The Sommersett Case and the Slave Trade, in the London Chronicle on June 30th 1772.
On June 3rd, the London Packet, printed Dr. Franklin’s ‘Toleration in Old and New England’, signed by A New-England-Man.
On June 5th, the petitioners of the Grand Ohio Company, represented by Thomas Walpole – a banker and a nephew of Sir Robert Walpole, Samuel Wharton, Benjamin Franklin, Major Trent and Colonel Mercer, were heard by the committee of the Privy Council. After hearing the evidence, the committee of the Privy Council reached a conclusion, opposite to that of the Board of Trade. On July 1st, they reported that the ‘lands in question have been for some time past, and are now in an actual state of settling’, and that the ‘Board of Trade prepare a clause to be inserted in the grant to save prior claims to lands within the limits of the grant, and to forbid settlement between the treaty boundary and the Indian hunting ground’ and the western boundary of the colony. (Simple!)
Lord Gower and the two secretaries of state, Lord Rochford and Lord Suffolk, declared themselves in favour of the committee’s report, but Lord Hillsborough asserted that he would resign whenever he was ordered to carry the plan into execution. Lord North offered the position of secretary of state for the colonies to his stepbrother, Lord Dartmouth(9), a former head of the Board of Trade, and Lord Hillsborough resigned on August 1st – and five days later was created an Earl!!!
Sometime around the beginning of August, Dr. Franklin wrote a long letter criticizing Hillsborough, signed ‘A Well-wisher to the King and all his Dominions’.
While the members of the company had every reason to rejoice at Hillsborough’s resignation, Dr. Franklin saw things a little differently, as he wrote to his son, William, on August 17th, “At length we have got rid of Lord Hillsborough, and Lord Dartmouth takes his place, to the great satisfaction of all the friends of America. You will hear it said among you (I suppose) that the interest of the Ohio planters has ousted him, but the truth is, what I wrote you long since, that all his brother ministers disliked him extremely, and wished for a fair occasion of tripping up his heels; so seeing that he made a point of defeating our scheme, they made another of supporting it, on purpose to mortify him, which they knew his pride could not bear. … The K.’s dislike made the others more firmly united in the resolution of disgracing H. by setting at nought his famous report. But now that business is done, perhaps our affair may be less regarded in the Cabinet and suffered to linger, and possibly may yet miscarry.”
On August 14th, the Privy Council took under consideration the report of its committee on the petition and agreed to its recommendations. This was now referred to the Board of Trade, ‘to report their opinion on the terms of settlement and the reservations necessary to be inserted in the grant of land to be made to Mr. Walpole and others; and to prepare certain clauses therein described and to prepare and lay before His Majesty a plan for establishing a separate government’. But no further consideration was to be given to it until April 1773!!!
- (1) In 1749, the Loyal Company of Thomas Walker, John Lewis and 45 others, secured 800,000 acres in southwest Virginia.
- (2) Hillsborough told his friends that it had been his intention from the first, to oppose the scheme; and in order to throw the odium of blocking it onto other shoulders, he advised the petitioners to apply for twenty million acres, instead of only two million acres, in the expectation that the price asked by the treasury would be one hundred thousand pounds, which would be more than the company could afford to pay.
- (3) Captain Preston and his men were tried for murder, with John Adams and Josiah Quincy as lawyers for their defence. Preston and six of his men were acquitted; two others were found guilty of manslaughter, punished, and discharged from the army.
- (4) Dr.Franklin wrote in a letter to Charles Thomson on March 18th 1770 (!) that the Bedford Party ‘never speak of us but with evident Malice; Rebels and Traitors are the best Names they can afford us, and I believe they only wish for a colourable Pretence and Occasion of ordering the Souldiers to make a Massacre among us.’ General Gage (somehow) sent to the ministry a copy of this letter, which was then published.
- (5) In 1771 when the boundary line was surveyed, because of the difficulties due to mountains and rivers, the line ran from the Holston river to the Louisa river, and instead, followed the Louisa to the Ohio river (giving Virginia a slight increase in territory).
- (6) After returning to London, whenever Dr. Franklin tried to see Lord Hillsborough, he was told that he was not at home, and since then, as Dr. Franklin would say, ‘we have only abused one another at a distance’.
- (7) Lord Gower, president of the council, and Lord Rochford, secretary of state for the southern department, had become members of the Grand Ohio Company.
- (8) In 1765, a black man, Jonathan Strong was severely beaten by his owner and left on the streets. Strong somehow found his way to William Sharp, who gave free treatment to the poor every morning at his office. After patching him up, the brothers William and Granville Sharp, got him admitted to a hospital to recover, gave him money for food and clothes, and found him a job. Two years later, his former owner saw him recovered, sold him to a Jamaican planter, hired two men to kidnap him, and had him jailed until he could be shipped to Jamaica. Strong was able to contact Granville Sharp, who sought the Lord Mayor, who after a hearing, declared Strong free. “The thirty-two year old Granville Sharp became by default the leading defender of blacks in London, and indeed one of the few people in all of England to speak out against slavery”. In 1769, to defend himself and his brother against a new suit filed by Strong’s new owner, Sharp would write one of his pamphlets – ‘On the Injustice and dangerous Tendency of tolerating Slavery’. Benjamin Franklin responded by writing ‘A Conversation on Slavery’, in January 1770.
- (9) Eleazar Wheelock, obtained a charter from the king to add a college to his school, which he named Dartmouth College, in hopes that Lord Dartmouth, as head of a large trust fund, would approve the funding, but Lord Dartmouth opposed it.
Chapter 8 – 1773, the Road to Revolution
1773 – London
A town meeting of the citizens of Boston passed resolutions against the salaries of the governor and of judges being paid by the crown, and had them printed as a pamphlet, and sent to other towns urging them to do the same.
In February, when Dr. Franklin received a copy of the pamphlet, he had it republished in London, and added to it a preface of his own. Also, on March 16th, Dr. Franklin’s letter ‘On Claims of the Soil’, signed by A New England Man, was printed in the Public Advertiser.
In letters to Dr. Franklin of October 13th and 29th 1772, William Franklin wrote of his suspicion that their mail is being intercepted, and he also writes of the land claims of Virginia. In his response, in a letter to William of February 14th 1773, Dr. Franklin wrote of his meeting with Wharton and Trent, where he argued in defence of Virginia’s claims.
On April 6th 1773, Dr. Franklin wrote to Joseph Galloway, “The affair of the grant goes on, but slowly. I do not yet clearly see land. I begin to be a little of the sailors’ mind when they were handing a cable out of a store into a ship, and one of ‘em said: ‘Tis a long heavy cable. I wish we could see the end of it.’ ‘Damn me’, says another, ‘if I believe it has any end; somebody has cut it off’.”
The Grand Ohio Company was looking for a name for the new colony. They had thought of Charlotta, in honour of the Queen, but that wasn’t very original. There had appeared in London a book on the ancient Vandals from whose kingly line it was said the royal consort was descended. And so, the new colony was to be called Vandalia. (Honest!)
In April 1773, Samuel Wharton was summoned to attend to the Lords of Trades. After some conversation, they ordered that ‘a draught of a representation to His Majesty containing provisions respecting the establishment of the said government, and the grant of lands proposed to be made to Messrs. Walpole, Wharton and others, be prepared’. This draft was read and discussed several times and was finally signed on May 6th.
The recommendations for the Vandalia colony now contained a larger area – the new boundaries were to extend down the Ohio to the Kentucky river, up that river to its source and thence by a straight line drawn until it strikes that part of the Holston river which is intersected by the line that separates the province of North Carolina from Virginia. The territory for which the Grand Ohio Company petitioned was granted in propriety to Thomas Walpole and associates; the crown was to retain possession of the land within the Vandalia colony lying outside the propriety. And for Virginia, all land grants that had been legally made within the ceded area prior to January 4th 1770, should be confirmed by the company -including the 200,000 acres promised to the ‘1754 Virginia soldiers’ by Dinwiddie. The Vandalia colony would have a government, consisting of a governor and a twelve-man council appointed by the king with a twenty-four man elected assembly, and courts and a judicial system.
On May 19th, the Privy Council referred this report, from the Board of Trade, to a committee. On July 3rd, the committee ordered Edward Thurlow, the attorney general, and Alexander Wedderburn, the solicitor general, ‘do prepare a draught of a proper instrument to be passed under the seal of Great Britain, containing a grant to the said Thomas Walpole and his associates of the lands prayed for by their memorial’.
General Gage left New York for London in June 1773, in order to give his advice on colonial affairs to the ministry. He would advise that every obstruction should be placed in the way of westward movement of immigration, if it was desired to maintain peace with the Indians!
On July 13th, they made a report in which they raised objections to authorizing a grant in joint tenancy, and that the description of the boundaries was very indefinite. Lord Rochford met Thurlow and Wedderburn and came to the conclusion that their objections might easily be removed, and that it was only necessary for the committee of the council to overrule them and order them to proceed in making out the grant, which they would do without any further delay. Rochford reported this to Dartmouth on September 7th, and on October 28th the committee sent to the attorney-general and solicitor-general, the order (which they themselves had recommended). However, they answered by continuing to raise other objections to the character of the grant. Even when the legal arguments had been met, they argued that they could not draw up the grant until the form of government was adopted!
In August, the Lord Chancellor had sent to Lord Dartmouth all the accumulated papers that ‘will enable His Lordship to form a plan of government for Canada’. Thurlow and Wedderburn (while unable to provide anything but criticism regarding the Vandalia petition) were called into conference at every stage in the development of the Canada bill, including the extension of the boundaries so as to include the entire Illinois country (boundaries that they had previously found too vague for the Vandalia colony, but now were fine for Canada) !!!
1773 – The Tea Act
On May 10th1773, Parliament had passed the Tea Act, to provide for a draw back for five years on duties for tea to be exported to America by the ‘united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies’. This was to make it cheaper for the East India Company to export its teas, so they could ship their tea directly to America, and to try to increase its revenues, as it was close to financial collapse (due to famine in India and burdened with 18 million pounds of unsold tea)! The government also made a loan to the East India Company of £1.4 million! However, the Americans would still have to pay the import tax on tea, which was the only tax kept when the Townshend revenue act was repealed.
On September 8th, Dr. Franklin wrote a letter to the Public Advertiser, ‘An Infallible Method to Restore Peace and Harmony’, signed by A Well-Wisher to Great Britain and her Colonies.
On September 11th, Dr. Franklin’s letter, signed Q.E.D., was printed in the Public Advertiser, ‘Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One’.
On September 14th, Dr. Franklin’s letter, ‘Tis Never Too Late to Mend’, signed A Sincere Well Wisher to Great Britain and her Colonies, was printed in the Public Advertiser.
And on September 22nd, Dr. Franklin’s humorous letter, ‘An Edict by the King of Prussia’, was printed in the Public Advertiser. Dr. Franklin, using a sense of irony, argues that like the conduct of the British government against the colonies, the Prussian king was imposing restraints on the trade and manufactures of the island of Great Britain – since the early settlements in Britain were made by Germans, who were subjects of the Prussian king’s ancestors, and had flourished under his ancestors’ protection, and whose descendents were therefore bound to obey the laws of the Prussian kingdom and to contribute to its revenue!
In December, Dr. Franklin’s letter to the Public Advertiser, ‘On a Proposed Act to Prevent Emigration’, signed a Friend to the Poor, was printed.
On October 8th, seven ships left Britain, on their way to America with their cargoes of tea from the British East India Company. Three ships arrived in Boston on November 28th, December 2nd and December 15th (a fourth ship was wrecked on Cape Cod in a violent storm) and remained unloaded. On the evening of December 16th, a group of colonists, disguised as Indians, boarded the three East India Company ships, forced the customs officers ashore and threw the entire cargo of tea into the harbor. This became known as the “Boston Tea Party’.
On December 3rd, a tea ship, the London, arrived in Charleston, but consignees found it much more in their interest not to accept delivery. On December 22nd, a committee of colonists told the captain to return the tea to Britain, but the captain wouldn’t. The customs collector then had the tea seized for non-payment, unloaded and stored in the government warehouses.
A tea ship, the Polly, arrived at Philadelphia, on December 25. The next day, after those who were supposed to receive the tea resigned, the captain was convinced not to try to unload the tea, and he agreed to turn back, cargo still in the hold.
On April 18th 1774, a ship, the Nancy, finally reached New York, after being blown far off coarse by storms. The consignees said that they would not accept the tea. The sons of Liberty took the captain into New York City where he agreed to return to Britain with the tea. Meanwhile, the London, the ship that had been in Charleston in December, arrived in New York. The Sons of Liberty had received news that he was smuggling some of the tea, took the captain into custody, discovered the hidden tea, and dumped it into the river. The captain managed to escape and made it to the Nancy, when it sailed back to Britain.
On May 13th 1774, General Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief of all British military forces in the colonies of North America, arrived in Boston and replaced Hutchinson as Royal governor, putting Massachusetts under military rule. He was followed by the arrival of four regiments of British troops.
1774 – Lord Dunmore’s War
On December 4th 1771, Hillsborough had ordered General Gage to demolish Fort de Chartres and Fort Pitt, and to withdraw the troops! In April 1772, Major Isaac Hamilton replaced Lieutenant Colonel Wilkins at Fort de Chartres, and in May, he vacated the fort, leaving only a very small garrison to build a picketed fort at Kaskaskia, called Fort Gage, to control the entire Illinois country! In October 1772, Major Charles Edmonstone, then commander of the two companies at Fort Pitt, sold the pickets, stones, bricks, timber and iron in the walls and buildings, for £50 (!) to William Thompson and Alexander Ross! Major Edmonstone then abandoned the fort, leaving a corporal and three men to take care of the boats and bateaux, to be used to keep in touch with Fort Gage!
Hillsborough’s real plan was starting to be seen – removing the forts and troops from the frontier would leave the settlements open to any future Indian unrest.
In Pennsylvania, settlements had begun in the Ohio country in the Ligonier valley and along Forbes Road. On February 26th 1773, the Pennsylvania Assembly voted to create Westmoreland County, which covered an area from the Allegheny and Ohio rivers south to the Alleghenies, and from Kittaning west to the western Pennsylvania border – which included Pittsburg.
In Virginia, settlements in the Ohio country had been made in the Monongohela and Youghioheny valleys and along the Braddock Road. On October 11th 1773, the Council of Virginia created the District of West Augusta, which included the area south of the Ohio river and west of the Monongohela river, but which included Pittsburg, and thus also overlapped part of Westmoreland County in Pennsylvania.
But, with the obstructing tactics against the Vandalia colony in London, a new way to the west was sought, by using the legal opinion given by two eminent lawyers – Lord Camden, who was Prime Minister Pitt’s Attorney-General at the time, and Lord Yorke, who was then Pitt’s Solicitor-General. Though given back in 1757 (and which Dr. Franklin had advised Wharton and Trent about, in 1769), according to the opinion, a title to land granted by the Indians was a full and sufficient title and rendered unnecessary the securing of a royal patent. And so, in July 1773, the old Illinois Land Company was restarted, and made a large land purchase from the Indians, north of the Ohio river in the Illinois country, for $24,000 worth of goods. Samuel Wharton and William Trent, and the old Indiana Company also began making plans on a similar purchase north of the Ohio. In July 1773, Captain Thomas Bullitt was surveying a two thousand acre tract of land at the mouth of the Kentucky river, opposite the falls of the Ohio river, for the military veterans. And in 1773, George Croghan purchased 1,500,000 acres, north of the Ohio near Pittsburg, from the Iroquois for $6,000.
(In Virginia, Governor Dunmore, while appearing to support the purchase of western lands, was, perhaps, really only interested in acquiring lands in the west for himself, to increase his own personal wealth! Dunmore, perhaps, was charged with bringing on a war with the Indians, to halt the plans of the Vandalia colony and of others, while at the same time, trying to secure a large land grant for himself at a treaty for peace with the Indians! Although Hillsborough was no longer the Secretary of State for the Colonies, he was the one who had appointed Dunmore as governor. And, although the Earl of Dunmore was a landowner in Scotland, whereas the Earl of Hillsborough was a landowner in Ireland, they may have shared that fear of depopulation on their lands, due to immigration to America, where the ‘people eat beef and butter every day, and wear shirts themselves’!)
In January 1774, the British commander at Kaskasia (Fort Gage) publicly announced that the Illinois Company land purchase was invalid. The surveys done by Captain Bullitt were not approved, and Dunmore instead issued land grants to Dr. John Connolly(1), along with John Campbell and Edward Ward, and they started to lay out a town at the falls of the Ohio (on the same land that Bullitt had surveyed)!!! Connolly would also work to sabotage Croghan from acquiring a Virginia patent for his land purchase of 1773.
In December 1773, Dunmore appointed Connolly the Captain Commandant of militia for the district of West Augusta. On January 1st 1774, Connolly issued a call for the militia of west Augusta to meet him at Redstone on January 25th. On January 24th however, Arthur St. Clair, justice of the peace for Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania had Connolly arrested for disobeying the laws of Pennsylvania. But Connolly persuaded the sheriff at Hanna’s Town, to release him if he promised to return for the trial. On March 28th, Connolly went back and took over the government of Pittsburg, using the militia of eighty people that he had assembled. St. Clair then issued a proclamation to warn the assembled people that if the militia was installed at Pittsburg, an Indian war would likely result.
Dunmore wrote to Governor Penn of Pennsylvania to demand the immediate dismissal of St. Clair. Dunmore also wrote that although the land had once belonged to Pennsylvania, it had lost the colony when it allowed the French to take possession of it, and when Britain recaptured it, it was vested in the crown, and the possession of the colony passed to Virginia, since Virginia was a crown colony, and Pennsylvania was a proprietary colony (!?!) Penn was willing to surrender a portion of the disputed territory for the sake of peace. Dunmore refused and issued on April 25th, a proclamation ordering the officers of the militia in the district to assemble a sufficient number of men to repel any insult whatever, from either Pennsylvania or from the Indians!!! In Pittsburg, Connolly began to tear down the houses and imprison all those who would not acquiesce to him, and the citizens sent a memorial to Governor Penn to complain of Connolly’s tyranny.
Connolly also began to send parties down the Ohio river to attack the Indians, and the Indians began retaliatory killings. Connolly sent a letter to Michael Cresap at the settlement at Zane (Wheeling), saying that war was inevitable and that the Indians would strike as soon as possible. On April 26th, a council of the settlers was called, the Connolly letter was read, and a declaration of war was made. As a result, that night two Indians were killed. The next day, some Indian canoes were sited nearby and a battle was fought. On May 1st, at Baker’s cabin, where he sold liquor to the Indians, another battle resulted in the killing of nine Mingos, who were the kinsmen of the Mingo chief Logan.(2) (Cresap had left to return to Maryland, but Connolly would try to blame the incident on him.)
An old Delaware chief, Bald Eagle, was killed while alone paddling his canoe. One of the Shawnee’s favourite chiefs, Silver Heels, was killed while escorting several traders from the Ohio to Albany. Now the Delawares and Shawnees under Cornstalk, and the Senecas under Logan, started retaliatory raids. Croghan met with Delaware chiefs and Six Nation chiefs from the Ohio country, to keep them from joining the Shawnee in the war. William Johnson worked night and day to organize an Indian conference to try to keep the peace. By July 7th, nearly six hundred Indians were at Johnson Hall. Although in very ill health from a relapse of his old illness of dysentery, Johnson opened the conference the next day, discussing the complaint of the Indians that their trade had been thrown into utter confusion, since its management had been entrusted to the separate colonies. On July 11th, after Johnson gave a two-hour speech, which severely taxed his system, the meeting was adjourned for the Indians to prepare their reply. That evening, Johnson died.
On June 10th, Dunmore directed the militia to hold themselves ready to proceed against the Indians. Connolly ordered Colonel Angus McDonald and 400 militia from Pittsburg, to move down the Ohio river to the Zane settlement and build a fort (which he named Fort Fincastle, after Dunmore, the Viscount of Fincastle). McDonald and his men advanced as far as Wappatomica on the Muskingum river and destroyed the Shawnee towns, after the Indians had fled from them. But this expedition only succeeded in stirring up the hornets’ nest.
On July 24th, Dunmore sent orders to Colonel Andrew Lewis to raise four regiments of militia in the south-western counties of Botetourt, Augusta and Fincastle, and to march down the Great Kanawha river to the Ohio where he would join Dunmore and his army. Dunmore would gather as many militia as he could in the north-western counties of Frederick and Dunmore, and with McDonald and his men, would travel in boats down the Ohio from Fort Dunmore, the new stockade at the site of former Fort Pitt, to meet Lewis at the Great Kanawha river. By September 13th, Dunmore, with 1500 men under McDonald, arrived at the mouth of the Hockhocking river, where they halted and erected a stockade and waited for word from Colonel Lewis. General Lewis had started from Fort Union on September 8th, had travelled 160 miles over the rugged paths of the Kanawha route, and by October 6th had reached the Ohio river, where he and his 1100 men encamped at Point Pleasant, at the junction of the Great Kanawha and Ohio rivers. Lewis was disappointed in not meeting or hearing from Dunmore. In the morning of October 9th, a messenger, the notorious Simon Girty, brought information to Lewis that the plan of the campaign had been changed, and that ordered Lewis to march direct to the Indian towns on the Scioto, where the other division would join him. Instead of joining Lewis, Dunmore had marched (undisturbed!!!) from Fort Gower to the Indian towns on the Pickaway Plains, and formed Camp Charlotte, surrounded by a breastwork of fallen trees.
During the night of October 9th, led by the Shawnee chief Cornstalk, more than one thousand Indians – mostly Shawnee, aided by Mingoes, Delaware, Wyandot and Cayuga warriors, crossed the Ohio on rafts, and attacked at dawn, causing surprise and confusion in the camp that was preparing to march to Scioto. By about noon, the Indian’s fire slackened and they seemed to be slowly retreating, but as the Virginians pursued the retreating warriors, they would be ambushed. Noticing these manoeuvres, General Lewis sent three companies quietly along the banks of the river, so as to gain the enemy’s rear. This manoeuvre was so well executed that it greatly alarmed the Indians (who thought these were fresh reinforcements arriving) and who by the end of the day began to retreat back across the Ohio, and marched 80 miles back to the Shawnee villages on the Scioto. It is estimated that the Indians lost one hundred and fifty men, while the Virginians had seventy-five killed, including Colonel Charles Lewis – General Lewis’ brother, and one hundred and forty-seven wounded. The retreating Indians were now encamped near the village of Chillicothe on the Scioto river, and sent a messenger, requesting peace talks, to Dunmore, who was at Camp Charlotte, which was only eight miles away from their villages!!! Dunmore promised them that the war would not be prosecuted further.
On October 18th,General Lewis, in accordance with the orders he had earlier received from Girty, crossed the Ohio and headed to strike the Indians at their villages. After hearing the news that Lewis had won the battle, Dunmore now sent his messenger, Simon Girty, to Lewis (twice in one day) ordering him to stop and return to Point Pleasant. General Lewis, advised and sanctioned by his officers and men, disobeyed the order of his superior in command, and boldly marched toward the camp! When General Lewis was within about two and a half miles of the camp, Dunmore came out to meet Lewis in person, bringing with him Cornstalk, White Eyes and other Shawnee chiefs. Dunmore ordered Lewis to retreat, as he was negotiating a treaty of peace with the Indians (and did not want Lewis near the negotiations, perhaps). Lewis reluctantly obeyed.
It was thought, by some people, that Dunmore had never intended to meet up with Lewis. It was reported that Blue Jacket, a Shawnee chief, had visited Dunmore’s camp on the 9th, the day before the battle and had gone straight from there to Point Pleasant, where the Indians would now decide to surprise Lewis’s division with an attack at dawn, before he could join with Dunmore’s division, and thus concentrate the entire Indian force against Lewis. The Indians had been receiving their arms, ammunition and provisions from the British at Fort Detroit!!!
(A loss by the Virginians under Lewis, and they would have been stuck in a long Indian war, while the other colonies would have been moving toward an open break with the British!)
When negotiations were to resume at Dunmore’s camp, he noticed the absence of the Mingo chiefs, and sent for Logan, who had just returned from attacks against the settlements in south-western Virginia. When Logan refused, Major Crawford was ordered to destroy the Mingo villages, which was the only aggressive movement by Dunmore’s division during the war. The Indians agreed to return all prisoners and to surrender all claim to the lands south of the Ohio. The peace signed was only a preliminary to a larger council to be held next spring (perhaps, where Dunmore hoped to gain a large land grant from the Indians for himself), but neither Dunmore(3) nor Connolly(4) would be able to attend.
On May 10th 1775, when word of the battle of Lexington and Concord reached Pittsburg, a public meeting was called, and a committee, chaired by George Croghan, was chosen to adopt resolutions endorsing the action of the Massachusetts men.
In June, the Virginia Assembly appointed a five-man commission, which included Andrew Lewis, and which was joined by two delegates from the Continental Congress, to arrange the proposed treaty with the Indians. The council lasted from September 12th until October 21st, resulting in an agreement that kept the Indians out of the war for the next two years.
1774 – The Intolerable Acts
On January 31st 1774, the British government, using the excuse of the Hutchinson letters, dismissed Dr. Franklin as postmaster general in the colonies. Eighteen private letters to Thomas Whately, a secretary to the treasury, from Thomas Hutchinson, then chief justice and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, from Andrew Oliver, secretary of the province, and from several other officials, between May 7th 1767 and October 20th 1769, passed into the hands of William Whately, a London banker and Thomas’s brother, when Thomas died in 1772, and after others had made abortive attempts to get them, somehow ended up in the hands of Dr. Franklin, who sent them to Thomas Cushing in Boston. The letters were revealed to the House where they were condemned by a 101 to 5 vote. William Whately accused John Temple, a customs official, who had been allowed by William to examine Thomas’s papers after his death, of sending the letters to Boston. The two men fought an inconclusive duel on December 11th 1773, and to prevent a second duel, Dr. Franklin publicly admitted on December 25th that he alone had sent the letters to the House. Temple later claimed that he obtained the correspondence and gave it to Dr. Franklin.
When the committee of the Privy Council was to consider the Massachusetts lower house’s petition regarding the requested removal of Hutchinson and Oliver from office, Dr. Franklin was informed that his attendance was required. Hutchinson’s counsel would be the solicitor-general Alexander Wedderburn, who instead in a ‘pre-concerted’ scene, turned it into an hour-long attack on Dr. Franklin. On January 29th the Privy Council dismissed the petition against Hutchinson. Two days later, Dr. Franklin was relieved of his duties as deputy postmaster general. An account of these events in ‘A Letter from London’ was printed in the Boston Gazette on April 25th.
At the end of January, Dr. Franklin wrote to Thomas Walpole that, while wishing him success in his hazardous undertaking, desired that he would strike his name out of the list of his Associates, for the Grand Ohio Company.
On April 2nd, Dr. Franklin had informed Thomas Cushing that he could no longer serve as the Massachusetts agent, as he did not think he could be of any further use to the province, but would continue serving until somebody replaced him. Massachusetts had never given him a ‘farthing’ because the governor refused to sign an appropriations bill to cover his salary. But he continued to serve, without pay.
On May 2nd 1774, Dr. Franklin resigned as agent for Georgia. Although he was supposed to be paid £100 a year plus expenses, he had never been paid anything since 1770, because of a political fight between the lower house and the upper house, and because the governor wouldn’t sign a bill for his reappointment. But he had still continued to serve, without official status and without pay.
Pennsylvania had reduced his salary from £500 to £400, and New Jersey gave him only a small salary.
Dr. Franklin wrote satirical letters against the coming retaliatory measures of the British parliament – An Open Letter to Lord Buckinghamshire, signed Fabius, printed in the Public Advertiser on March 4th;
another Open Letter to Lord Buckinghamshire, signed Fabius, printed in the Public Advertiser on April 2nd;
an Open Letter to Lord North, signed a Friend to Military Government, printed in the Public Advertiser on April 15th; and A Method of Humbling Rebellious American Vassals, signed a Freeholder of Old Sarum, printed in the Public Advertiser on May 21st.
In retaliation for the ‘Boston tea party’, the British government passed the ‘Intolerable Acts’. The Boston Port Act of March 30th closed the port of Boston until the East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea. The Massachusetts Government Act of May 20th altered the government so that almost all positions were to be appointed by the governor. The Administration of Justice Act of May 20th allowed the governor to move trials of accused royal officials to another colony. The Quartering Act of June 2nd allowed the governor to house soldiers in barracks, public houses, and if need be, in occupied buildings. The Quebec bill was introduced into Parliament on May 2nd. It would extend the boundaries of Quebec to include all the land north of the Ohio river. The government of Quebec would only be a governor and an appointed council(5), with no elected legislature.
The Privy Council would look once more at the Grand Ohio petition on August 12th 1774, and then referred it to a committee, where it was never heard from again.
1774 – The Continental Congress
In response to the passage of these acts, twelve colonies(6) sent delegates to the meeting of the (first) Continental Congress, which started on September 5th 1774, and lasted until October 26th.
Joseph Galloway, a delegate from Pennsylvania, put forth a ‘plan of a proposed union between Great Britain and the Colonies’ – ‘That a British and American legislature, for regulating the administration of the general affairs of America, be proposed and established in America’. The plan was narrowly defeated.
The Continental Congress issued “Resolutions declaring the Rights and Grievances of the Colonies’. One resolution read, “ … Also the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic religion, in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger (from so total a dissimilarity of religion, law and government) of the neighboring British colonies, by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from France.”
Congress also issued the ‘Continental Association’ (a non-importation agreement to boycott British goods beginning on December 1st), a ‘Memorial to the Inhabitants of the Colonies’, an ‘Address to the People of Great Britain’, and an ‘Address to the King’.
The petition to the king would be presented by Dr. Franklin, Arthur Lee, the alternate agent for the lower house of Massachusetts, and William Bollan, the agent for the upper house of Massachusetts, on December 21st. The other agents for the other colonies were not willing to take the risk. The king sent the petition to parliament, which refused to act on it.
On October 26th 1774, the Continental Congress also sent a ‘Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec’ to outline the results of the congress and to “submit it to your consideration, whether it may not be expedient for you to meet together in your several towns and districts, and elect Deputies, who afterwards meeting in a provincial Congress, may chuse Delegates, to represent your province in the continental Congress to be held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, 1775”.
In the fall, Dr. Franklin wrote a letter for Thomas Paine, to Richard Bache, asking his son-in-law to help him find a job and get established.
On December 19th, Dr. Franklin’s beloved wife of forty-four years, Deborah Franklin, died after suffering a stroke. Dr. Franklin now planned to return home.
But before he left, two of his friends, Dr. Fothergill and David Barclay, jointly expressed their great concern at the present state of the colonial dispute, and urged Dr. Franklin to make a new and formal attempt to bring about a reconciliation, and to sketch a plan. Dr. Franklin promised to prepare a draft at their next meeting, which would consist of seventeen articles, which he called ‘Hints’. Dr. Fothergill asked permission to give a copy of his hints to Lord Dartmouth and some other ministers, and Mr. Barclay wished it to be seen by Lord Hyde. Through his playing chess with Mrs. Howe, the sister of Lord Howe, Dr. Franklin met Lord Howe and agreed to put in writing such propositions as he conceived would lead to a good understanding between Britain and the colonies. At their next meeting, Lord Howe pulled out a copy of the Hints, which he said were too hard, and asked Dr. Franklin if he could turn his thoughts to a new plan, which he did, based on the petition of Congress to the king and the other papers that Congress had published. He sent this new plan to Lord Howe, and both this and the hints were communicated to some of the ministers, to Lord Hyde, and to others. Dr. Franklin met with Lord Camden. Dr. Franklin also met with Lord Chatham, who said that when Parliament assembled, he should have something to offer upon which he wanted Dr. Franklin’s sentiments.
On January 20th 1775, Lord Chatham moved that the troops should be withdrawn from Boston; it was supported by Camden, but it lost by a large majority. Lord Chatham spent a day with Dr. Franklin, seeking his opinion and observations for his plan for reconciliation. Lord Chatham next called at Dr. Franklin’s lodgings and stayed for two hours, and left a copy of the plan with him. Dr. Franklin made another visit to Chatham where the plan was again discussed, and the work finished (although Dr. Franklin didn’t agree with all its parts, he wanted to open the way to an accommodation.) Lord Chatham submitted it to the House of Lords on February 1st. It was not even allowed to lie on the table for future consideration, but was rejected by a majority of two to one.
Though not expecting to hear any more proposals for negotiations, Dr. Franklin was again invited by Dr. Fothergill and Mr. Barclay to meet and consult on the Hints. They handed him a paper, which purported to come from high authority, and in which some articles were approved, and others rejected or modified.
Dr. Franklin agreed to consider it, and the negotiations continued informally for some time longer. Another paper was produced. Several conferences followed, some of which Lord Howe and Lord Hyde took part in. But the proposed amendments seemed to him of intrinsic importance, and such as his countrymen would riot and ought not to accept.
Before the negotiation was at an end, Dr. Franklin became tired of it himself, believing it utterly fruitless. When they found Dr. Franklin unyielding on certain claims, the scheme was abandoned.
On March 20th 1775, Dr. Franklin, at sixty-nine years of age, left London, to return to his home in America. During the long voyage, he employed himself, in a long letter to his son, William Franklin, in writing an account of his recent and final attempts of the last few months, to try to establish a reconciliation between Britain and the colonies. He again made experiments with a thermometer, taking daily readings of the air and water, to ascertain the temperature of the ocean in different places. (Dr. Franklin and Timothy Folger, his cousin, had made the first map of the Gulf Stream, which was published in 1768.)
When Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on May 5th, he heard of the April 19th battle at Lexington and Concord, which had occurred while he was at sea. The next morning, he was chosen by the Pennsylvania Assembly to be one of their deputies to the (second) Continental Congress, which was to meet in Philadelphia in four days.
The fight for the Ohio would not be given up, and would become one of the reasons in the fight for independence.
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
… He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migration hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
… For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:
… He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.
… And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.” July 4th 1776
…………………………. (sign here)
… and may we all now take pride to wear our old clothes over again, till we can make new ones.
- (1) John Connolly was the nephew of George Croghan, but more importantly, in 1773, Dunmore had made a trip to Pittsburg and afterwards made Connolly his Indian agent, his land agent and his representative in the west.
- (2) Logan’s father, Shikellimus, had been a great friend of James Logan, and had named his son after him. Logan had remained at peace with the settlers during the previous war.
- (3) On April 20th 1775, Dunmore had ordered the marines to remove the gunpowder from the Williamsburg magazine and put it aboard a British navy ship. When the militia was called out to force the return of the gunpowder, Dunmore warned that if he were attacked he would “declare Freedom to the Slaves, and reduce the City of Williamsburg to Ashes.” On June 8, Dunmore and his family fled the governor’s mansion in the middle of the night and took up residence aboard a British man-of-war.
- (4) In June, Connolly met aboard ship with Dunmore for two weeks, and then went to Boston to meet with General Gage on a plan to capture Fort Dunmore (Fort Pitt). Washington was advised of Connolly’s plans, and sent word to the Maryland Committee of Public Safety to be on the lookout for him. In November, a few days after again visiting Dunmore, he was spotted and arrested at Hager’s Town.
- (5) In 1765, the Stamp Act forced the Gazette, Quebec’s only newspaper to suspend publication for several months until the tax was rescinded. When restated in 1766, it was under careful administration scrutiny. By 1770, a strict form of censorship was instigated to have the people totally ignorant of what was happening in the American colonies.
- (6) Georgia did not send delegates, because of the Indian unrest on its borders.