previous next
[207]

Chapter 9:

Great Britain unites America under military rule Newcastle's administration continued.


1755-1756.

while the British interpretation of the bounda-
chap. IX.} 1755.
ries of Acadia was made good by occupation, the troops for the central expeditions had assembled at Albany. The army with which Johnson was to reduce Crown Point consisted of New England militia, chiefly from Connecticut and Massachusetts. A regiment of five hundred foresters of New Hampshire were raising a fort in Coos, on the Connecticut; but, under a new summons, they made the long march through the pathless region to Albany. Among them was John Stark, then a lieutenant, of a rugged nature, but of the coolest judgment; skilled at discovering the paths of the wilderness, and knowing the way to the hearts of the backwoodsmen. The French, on the other hand, called every able-bodied man in the district of Montreal into active service for the defence of Crown Point, so that reapers had to be sent up from Three Rivers and Quebec to gather in the harvest.1

Early in August, the New England men, having Phinehas Lyman for their major-general, were finishing [208] Fort Edward, at the portage between the Hudson

chap. IX.} 1755.
and the headsprings of the Sorel. The forests were never free from secret danger; American scalps were sought for by the wakeful savage, to be strung together for the adornment of the wigwam. Towards the end of August, the untrained forces, which, with Indians, amounted to thirty-four hundred men, were conducted by William Johnson across the portage of twelve miles, to the southern shore of the Lake, which the French called the Lake of the Holy Sacrament ‘I found,’ said Johnson, ‘a mere wilderness; never was house or fort erected here before;’2 and naming the waters Lake George, he cleared space for a camp of five thousand men. The lake protects him on the north; his flanks are covered by a thick wood and a swamp. The tents of the husbandmen and mechanics, who form his summer army, are spread on a rising ground; but no fortifications are raised, nor is even a trench thrown up.3 On week-days, the men, accustomed to freedom, saunter to and fro in idleness; or some, weary of inaction, are ready to mutiny and go home. On Sunday, all come forth and collect in the groves for the Worship of God; three hundred red men, also, regularly enlisted under the English flag, and paid from the English treasury, seat themselves on the hillock, and, while the light of a summer's afternoon is shedding its sweetest influence on the tops of the forest-clad mountains and on the still waters of the deep transparent lake, they listen gravely to the interpretation of a long sermon. Meanwhile, wagon after wagon brought artillery, and stores and [209] boats for the troops that were listlessly whiling away
chap. IX.} 1755.
the season. The enemy was more adventurous.

‘Boldness wins,’ was Dieskau's maxim.4 Abandoning the well-concerted plan of an attack on Oswego,5 Vaudreuil sent him to oppose the army of Johnson. For the defence of the crumbling fortress at Crown Point, seven hundred regulars, sixteen hundred Canadians, and seven hundred savages had assembled. Of these, three hundred or more were emigrants from the Six Nations, domiciliated in Canada. Eager for distinction, Dieskau, taking with him six hundred savages, as many Canadians, and two hundred regular troops, ascended Lake Champlain to its head, and, after a three days march, designed, at nightfall on the fourth, to attack Fort Edward. The guides took a false route; and, as evening came on, the party found itself four miles from the fort, on the road to Lake George. The red men, who never obey implicitly, but insist upon deliberating with the commander and sharing his secrets, refused to attack the fort, but were willing to go against the army at the lake, which was thought to have neither artillery nor intrenchments.

Late in the night following the seventh of September, it was told in the camp at Lake George, that a large party of men had landed at the head of South Bay, and were travelling from Wood Creek to the Hudson. On the next morning, after a council of war, Ephraim Williams, a Massachusetts colonel, the same who, in passing through Albany, had made a bequest of his estate by will to found a free school, was sent [210] with a thousand men to relieve Fort Edward. Among

chap. IX.} 1755.
them was Israel Putnam, to whom, at the age of thirty-seven, the Assembly at Connecticut had just given the rank of a second lieutenant.6 Two hundred warriors of the Six Nations went also, led by Hendrick, the gray-haired chieftain, famed for his clear voice and flashing eye. They marched with rash confidence, a little less than three miles, to a defile, where the French and Indians had posted themselves on both sides of the way, concealed on the left by the thickets in the swamps, on the right by rocks and the forest that covered the continued rising ground. Before the American party were entirely within the ambush, the French Indians showed themselves to the Mohawks, but without firing on their kindred, leaving the Abenakis and Canadians to make the attack. Hendrick, who alone was on horseback, was killed on the spot. Williams also fell; but Nathan Whiting, of New Haven, conducted the retreat in good order, often rallying and turning to fire.

The camp had still no intrenchments. When the noise of musketry was heard, two or three cannon were hastily brought up from the margin of the lake, and trees were felled for a breastwork. These, all too few to lie contiguously, formed with the wagons and baggage some protection to the New England militia, whose arms were but their fowling-pieces, without a bayonet among them all. It had been Dieskau's purpose to rush forward suddenly, and to enter the camp with the fugitives; but the Iroquois took possession of a rising ground, and stood inactive. At this the Abenakis halted also; and the Canadians became intimidated. [211] Dieskau, who was near the camp, advanced

chap. IX.} 1755.
with the regular troops to attack the centre, still hoping to be sustained. But the Indians and Canadians scattered themselves through the wilderness of pitch-pines, and ascended a knoll within gun-shot, where they crouched below the undergrowth of shrubs and brakes. ‘Are these the so much vaunted troops?’ cried Dieskau, bitterly. The battle began between eleven and twelve; Johnson, slightly wounded, left the field at the beginning of the action, and for five hours the New England people, under their own officers, good marksmen and taking sight, kept up the most violent fire that had as yet been known in America. Almost all the French regulars perished; Dieskau was wounded thrice, but would not retire. Two Canadians came to carry him off; one was shot dead by his side; he dismissed the other, and, bidding his servants place his military dress near him, he seated himself on the stump of a tree, exposed to the rattle of the bullets. At last, as the Americans, leaping over their slight defences, drove the enemy to flight, a renegade Frenchman wantonly fired at the unhappy man, and wounded him incurably.

Brief was the American career of the fearless Dieskau. In June his eye had first rested on the cliff of Quebec; he had sailed proudly up the stream which was the glory of Canada; had made his way to the highland sources of the Sorel; and now, mangled and helpless, lay a prisoner within the limits of the pretended French dominion.7

Of the Americans there fell on that day about two hundred and sixteen, and ninety-six were wounded; [212] of the French the loss was not much greater. Towards

chap. IX.} 1755.
sunset, a party of three hundred French, who had rallied, and were retreating in a body, at two miles from the lake, were attacked by McGinnes, of New Hampshire, who, with two hundred men of that colony, was marching across the portage from Fort Edward. Panic-stricken by the well concerted movement, the enemy fled, leaving their baggage; but the brave McGinnes was mortally wounded.

The disasters of the year led the English ministry to exult in the defeat and repulse of Dieskau. The House of Lords, in an elegant address, praised the colonists as ‘brave and faithful;’ Johnson became a baronet, and received a gratuity of five thousand pounds. But he did little to gain the victory, which was due to the enthusiasm of the New England men. ‘Our all,’ they cried, ‘depends on the success of this expedition.’ ‘Come,’ said Pomeroy, of Massachusetts, to his friends at home, ‘come to the help of the Lord against the mighty; you that value our holy religion and our liberties will spare nothing, even to the one half of your estate.’ And in all the villages ‘the prayers of God's people’ went up, that ‘they might be crowned with victory to the glory of God;’ for the war with France seemed a war for Protestantism and freedom.

But Johnson knew not how to profit by success; with a busy air, he kept the men all day on their arms, and at night, ‘half of the whole were on guard.’ Shirley and the New England provinces, and his own council of war, urged him to advance; but while the ever active French took post at Ticonderoga, as Duquesne had advised, he loitered away the autumn, ‘expecting very shortly a more formidable [213] attack with artillery,’ and building Fort William

chap. IX.} 1755.
Henry, a useless fort of wood near Lake George. When winter approached, he left six hundred men as a garrison, and dismissed the New England militia to their firesides.

Of the enterprise against Western New York Shirley assumed the conduct. The fort at Niagara was but a house, almost in ruins, surrounded by a small ditch and a rotten palisade of seven or eight feet high. The garrison was but of thirty men, most of them scarcely provided with muskets. There Shirley, with an effective force of little less than two thousand men, was to welcome the victor of the Ohio.

But the news of Braddock's defeat overtook and disheartened the party. The boatmen on the Mohawk were intractable; at the carrying place there were not sledges enough to bear the military stores over the morasses. On the twenty-first of August, Shirley reached Oswego. Weeks passed in building boats; on the eighteenth of September, six hundred men were to embark on Lake Ontario, when a storm prevented; afterwards head winds raged; then a tempest made navigation difficult; then sickness prevailed; then the Indians deserted; and then the season gave him an excuse for retreating. So, on the twenty-fourth of October, having constructed a new fort at Oswego, and placed Mercer in command, with a garrison of seven hundred men, he left the borders of Lake Ontario.

At this time a paper by Franklin, published in Boston, and reprinted in London, had drawn the attention of all observers to the rapid increase of the [214] population in the colonies.8 ‘Upon the best inquiry

chap. IX.} 1755.
I can make,’ wrote Shirley, ‘I have found the calcunations right. The number of the inhabitants is doubled every twenty years;’ and as the demand for British manufactures, with a corresponding employment of shipping, increased with even greater rapidity, he found in them inexhaustible resources of wealth for a maritime power. But this great increase, combined with the political vigor and sagacity which was displayed in the plan of union framed by the Congress at Albany, excited alarm in England, lest the regions of which she was making the conquest should assert their independence. But Shirley calmed the rising fear. ‘Apprehensions,’9 said he, ‘have been entertained, that they will in time unite to throw off their dependency upon their mother country, and set up one general government among themselves. But if it is considered how different the present constitutions of their respective governments are from each other, how much the interests of some of them clash, and how opposed their tempers are, such a coalition among them will seem highly improbable. At all events, they could not maintain such an independency without a strong naval force, which it must for ever be in the power of Great Britain to hinder them from having. And whilst his majesty hath seven thousand troops kept up within them, with the Indians at command, it seems easy, provided his Governors and principal officers are independent of the Assemblies for their subsistence, and commonly vigilant, [215] to prevent any step of that kind from being
chap. IX.} 1755.
taken.’ Thus was the jealousy of the British government excited, and thus was it soothed. Little was it foreseen, that the measures proposed to secure the colonies, were to be the means of effecting their union and separate existence.

The topic which Shirley discussed with the ministry, engaged the thoughts of the Americans, who saw visions of coming glory. At Worcester, a thriving village, of about a thousand people, or perhaps less, the whole town was immersed in politics. The interests of nations and the horrors of war made the subject of every conversation. The master of the town school, where the highest wages were sixty dollars for the season, a young man of hardly twenty, just from Harvard College, and at that time meditating to become a preacher, would sit and hear, and, escaping from a maze of observations, would sometimes retire, and, by ‘laying things together, form some reflections pleasing’ to himself; for he loved the shady thickets and gloomy grottoes, where he would sit by the hour and listen to the falls of water.10 ‘All creation,’ he would say in his musings, ‘is liable to change. Mighty states are not exempted. Soon after the reformation, a few people came over into this new world for conscience' sake. This apparently trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire into America. If we can remove the turbulent Gallics, our people, according to the exactest calculations, will, in another century, become more numerous than England itself. All Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves is to disunite [216] us.’11 Such were the dreams of John Adams,

chap. IX.} 1755
while teacher of a New England free school. Within twenty-one years he shall assist in declaring his country's independence; in less than thirty, this master of the town school of Worcester, after a career of danger and effort, shall stand before the king of Great Britain, the acknowledged Envoy of the free and United States of America.

The military operations in America might be respectively explained as acts of defence, to be settled by an adjustment of boundaries. The capture of the Alcide and the Lys by Boscawen, known in London on the fifteenth of July,12 was an act of open hostility, and it was considered what instructions should be given to the British marine. The princess, mother of George the Third, inveighed most bitterly ‘against not pushing the French every where; the parliament would never bear the suffering the French to bring home their trade and sailors.’13 She wished Hanover in the sea, as the cause of all misfortunes. Newcastle suggested trifles, to delay a decision. ‘If we are convinced it must be war, I,’ said Cumberland, ‘have no notion of not making the most of the strength and opportunity in our hands.’ The Earl of Granville was against meddling with trade. ‘It is vexing your neighbors for a little muck.’ ‘I,’ said Newcastle, the prime minister, ‘think some middle way may be found out.’ He was asked what way. ‘To be sure,’ he replied, ‘Hawke must go out; but he may be [217] ordered not to attack the enemy, unless he thinks

chap IX.} 1755.
it worth while.’ He was answered, that Hawke was too wise to do any thing at all, which others, when done, were to pronounce he ought to be hanged for. ‘What,’ replied the Duke, ‘if he had orders not to fall upon the French, unless they were more in number together than ten?’ The Brest squadron, it was replied, is but nine. ‘I mean that,’ resumed Newcastle, ‘of the merchantmen only.’ Thus he proceeded with inconceivable absurdity.14 France and England were still at peace; and their commerce was mutually protected by the sanctity of treaties. Of a sudden, hostile orders were issued to all British vessels of war to take all French vessels, private as well as public; and, without warning, ships from the French colonies, the ships bound from Martinico to Marseilles, freighted with the rich products of plantations tilled by the slaves of the Jesuits,15 the fishing-smacks in which the humble Breton mariners ventured to Newfoundland, whale-ships returning from their adventures, the scanty fortunes with which poor men freighted the little barks engaged in the coasting trade, were within one month, by violence and by cowardly artifices, seized by the British marine, and carried into English ports. ‘What has taken place,’ wrote Rouille, under the eye of Louis the Fifteenth, ‘is nothing but a system of piracy on a grand scale, unworthy of a civilized people. In time of full peace, merchant-ships have been seized, to the value of thirty millions of livres.’ As no declaration of war had [218] taken place, the courts of Admiralty could not then
chap. IX.} 1755.
interpose, to give a warrant to the outrage. The sum afterwards paid into the British exchequer, as the king's share of the spoils, was about seven hundred thousand pounds. Eight thousand French seamen were held in captivity. All France resented the perfidy. ‘Never,’ said Louis the Fifteenth, ‘will I forgive the piracies of this insolent nation;’ and, in a letter to George the Second, he demanded ample reparation for the insult to the flag of France by Boscawen, and for the piracies of the English men-of-war, committed in defiance of international law, the faith of treaties, the usages of civilized nations, and the reciprocal duties of kings.16 The wound inflicted on France by this robbery of private property on the high seas before a declaration of war, rankled inwardly, and for a whole generation was ready to bleed afresh. At the time, the seizure of so many thousand French seamen was a subject of boast in the British parliament; and the people, proud of their strength on the ocean, were almost unanimous for engaging in war. But its successful conduct seemed to require united activity in America and allies in Europe.

Corruption and force are the instruments of feebleness; the incompetent ministry knew not how to use the one or the other. They turned to Russia; and with as much blindness to the interests of their country, as indifference to every thing but the possession of place, they instructed Sir Hanbury Williams, the new envoy at St. Petersburg, a diplomatist boastful of his powers of observation, and yet credulous [219] and easily deceived, to introduce Russia as supervisor

chap. IX.} 1755
of the affairs of Germany. ‘Seize the opportunity,’ such was the substance of the instructions given17 by the British ministry to the British ambassador of that day, ‘seize the opportunity to convince the Russians, that they will remain only an Asiatic power, if they allow the king of Prussia to carry through his plans of aggrandizement;’ and full authority was given to effect an alliance with Russia to overawe Prussia, and control the politics of Germany. Yet at that time Frederic manifested no purpose of making conquests.

In this manner a treaty was concluded by which England, on the point of incurring the hostility of the Catholic princes, bound itself to pay to Russia at least half a million of dollars annually, and contingently two and a half million of dollars, in order to balance and paralyze the influence of the only considerable protestant monarchy on the continent. The English king was so eagerly bent on this shameful negotiation, that Bestuchef, the Russian minister, obtained a gratuity of fifty thousand dollars, and one or two others received payments in cash and annuities. ‘A little increase of the money to be paid,’ said Bestuchef, ‘would be extremely agreeable. Fifty thousand pounds for the private purse of the empress would put her and her court at his majesty's management.’18 So venal were the princes of that day, that the aid of the Russian empire was for sale; and the empress herself in the market at fifty thousand pounds.19 At the same time an extravagant treaty for subsidies was [220] framed with Hesse,20 whose Elector bargained at high

chap. IX.} 1755.
rates for the use of his troops for the defence of Han over, or if needed, of the British dominions. Newcastle was sure of his majority in the House of Commons; but William Pitt, though poor, and recently married, and holding the lucrative office of paymaster, declared his purpose of opposing the treaty with Russia. Newcastle sent for Pitt, offered him kind words from his sovereign, influence, preferment, confidence. Expressing devotion to the king, Pitt was inexorable; he would support the Hessian treaty, which was only a waste of money; but not a system of treaties, dangerous to the liberties of Germany and of Europe. Nervous from fright, Newcastle was disposed at once to resign power to Fox. ‘You are not fit to be first minister,’ was the sneer of Granville; and Newcastle did not recover courage till in November Fox consented to accept the seals and defend the treaties. At the great debate,21 Pitt taunted the majority, which was as three to one, with corruption and readiness ‘to follow their leader;’ and, indirectly attacking the subjection of the throne to aristocratic influence, declared that ‘the king owes a supreme service to his people.’ Pitt was dismissed from office, and George Grenville, with Legge, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Charles Townshend, went into retirement in his company.

Having nothing to rely on but the corrupt influence of the aristocracy, Newcastle now sought to unite it, by a distribution of pensions and places. This is the moment when Hillsborough first obtained an employment, when the family of Yorke named [221] Soame Jenyns for a Lord of Trade; and when Bed-

chap IX.} 1755.
ford was propitiated by the appointment of his partisan, Richard Rigby, to a seat at the same Board. The administration proceeded, possessing the vote but not the respect of parliament; at variance with the people of England and with the colonies; beaten from the Ohio valley, and in Europe squandering English money to engage armies which were to be used only against England and her allies. The treaty was hardly concluded, before the ministry yielded to the impulse given by Pitt; and, after subsidizing Russia to obtain the use of the Russian troops against Frederic, it negotiated an alliance with Frederic himself, not to permit the entrance of Russian or any other foreign troops into Germany.

At the head of the American forces this ministry had placed Shirley, a worn-out barrister, who knew nothing of war. In the security of a congress of governors at New York, he in December planned a splendid campaign for the following year. Quebec was to be menaced by way of the Kennebec and the Chaudiere; Frontenac and Toronto and Niagara were to be taken; and then Fort. Duquesne and Detroit and Michilimackinac, deprived of their communications, were of course to surrender. Sharpe, of Maryland, thought all efforts vain, unless parliament should interfere; and this opinion he enforced in many letters to his correspondents.22 His colleagues and the officers of the army were equally importunate. ‘If

1756
they expect success at home,’ wrote Gage, in January, 1756, echoing the common opinion of those around [222] him, ‘acts of parliament must be made to tax the
chap. IX.} 1756.
provinces, in proportion to what each is able to bear; to make one common fund and pursue one uniform plan for America.’23 ‘You,’ said Sir Charles Hardy, the new governor of New York to the Lords of Trade, ‘you will be much more able to settle it for us, than we can ourselves.’24

From the Old Dominion, Dinwiddie continued to urge a general land-tax and poll-tax for all the colonies. ‘Our people,’ said he, ‘will be inflamed, if they hear of my making this proposal;’ but he reiterated the hopelessness of obtaining joint efforts of the colonies by appeals to American assemblies. He urged also the subversion of Charter governments; ‘for,’ said he to the Secretary of State, ‘I am full of opinion we shall continue in a most disunited and distracted condition, till his majesty takes the proprietary governments into his own hands. Till these governments are under his majesty's immediate direction, all expeditions will prove unsuccessful. These dominions, if properly protected, will be the Western and best empire in the world.’25

With more elaborateness and authority, Shirley,26 by his military rank as commander-in-chief, taking precedence of all the governors, renewed his plans, and still pleading for ‘a general fund,’ he assured the ministers that the several assemblies would not agree among themselves upon such a fund; that, consequently, it must be done in England; and that the only effectual way of doing it there would be [223] by an act of parliament, in which he professed to

chap. IX.} 1756.
have great reason to think the people would readily, acquiesce. The success of any other measure would be doubtful; and, suggesting a ‘stamp-duty,’ as well as an excise and a poll-tax, he advised ‘for the general satisfaction of the people in each colony, to leave it to their choice to raise the sum assessed upon them according to their own discretion;’ but, in case of failure, ‘proper officers’ were to collect the revenue ‘by warrants of distress and imprisonment of persons.’27 Shirley was a civilian, versed in English law, and now for many years a crown officer in the colonies. His opinion carried great weight, and it became, henceforward, a firm persuasion among the Lords of Trade, especially Halifax, Soame Jenyns, and Rigby, as well as with all who busied themselves with schemes of government for America, that the British parliament must take upon itself the establishment and collection of an American revenue.

While the officers of the Crown were thus conspiring against American liberty, the tomahawk was uplifted along the ranges of the Alleghanies. The governor of Virginia28 pressed upon Washington the rank of colonel and the command of the volunteer companies which were to guard its frontier, from Cumberland, through the whole valley of the Shenandoah. Difficulties of all kinds gathered in his path. The humblest captain that held a royal commission [224] claimed to be his superior; and, for the pur-

chap. IX.} 1756.
pose of a personal appeal to Shirley,29 he made a winter's journey to Boston. How different was to be his next entry into that town! Shirley, who wished to make him second30 in command in an expedition against Fort Duquesne, sustained his claim.31 When his authority was established, his own officers still needed training and instruction, tents, arms, and ammunition. He visited in person the outposts, from the Potomac to Fort Dinwiddie, on Jackson's River; but he had not force enough to protect the region. The low countries could not spare their white men, for these must watch their negro slaves. From the Western Valley every settler had already been driven. From the valley of the Shenandoah they were beginning to retreat, in droves of fifties, till the Blue Ridge became the frontier of Virginia. ‘The supplicating tears of the women and moving petitions of the men,’ wrote Washington, ‘melt me into such deadly sorrow, that, for the people's ease, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy.’

The interior settlements of Pennsylvania were exposed to the same calamities, and domestic faction impeded measures of defence. In that province, where popular power was intrenched impregnably, the proprietaries, acting in concert with the Board of Trade, sought to enlarge their prerogatives; to take into their own hands the management of the revenue [225] from excise; to restrain and regulate the emissions

chap. IX.} 1756.
of paper money; to make their own will, rather than good behavior, the tenure of office. But the Assembly was inflexible in connecting their grants for the public service with the preservation of their executive influence and the taxation of ‘all estates real and personal, those of the proprietaries not excepted.’

While these passionate disputes were raging, it was represented in England that the frontier of the province was desolate and defenceless; that the Shawnees had scaled the mountains, and prowled with horrible ferocity along the branches of the Susquehanna and the Delaware; that, in the time of a yearly meeting of Quakers, the bodies of a German family, murdered and mangled by the savages, had been brought down to Philadelphia; that men had even surrounded the Assembly, demanding protection, which was withheld.

But the Assembly had already, by provincial laws, provided quarters for the British soldiers; had established a voluntary militia; and, when the proprietaries consented to pay five thousand pounds towards the public defence, had granted fifty-five thousand more. Franklin, who was one of the commissioners to apply the money, yielded to the wish of the governor, and took charge of the northwestern border. Men came readily under his command, and he led them through dangerous defiles, to build a fort at Gnadenhutten on the Lehigh. The Indians had made the village a scene of silence and desolation; the mangled inhabitants lay near the ashes of their houses unburied, exposed to birds and beasts of prey. With Franklin came every thing that could restore [226] security; and his prudence, humanity, and pa-

chap. IX.} 1756.
tience succeeded in establishing the intended line of forts. Recalled to Philadelphia, he found that the voluntary association for defence under the militia law went on with great success. Almost all the inhabitants, who were not Quakers, joined together to form companies which themselves elected their officers. The officers of the companies chose Franklin colonel of their regiment of twelve hundred men, and he accepted the post.

Here again was a new increase of popular power. Franklin, with his military command, might, it was feared, wrest the government from the proprietaries; nor would the metropolis tolerate a militia which had the appointment of its own officers. In the House of Commons, Lord George Sackville charged the situation of affairs in America ‘on the defects of the constitution cf the colonies.’ He would have ‘one power established there.’32 ‘The militia law of Pennsylvania,’ he said, ‘was designed to be ineffectual. It offered no compulsion, and, moreover, gave the nomination of officers to the people.’ The administration hearkened to a scheme for dissolving the Assembly of that province by act of parliament, and disfranchising ‘the Quakers for a limited time,’ till laws for armed defence and for diminishing the power of the people could be framed by others.

After the long councils of indecision, the ministry of Newcastle, shunning altercations with colonial assemblies, gave a military character to the interference [227] of Great Britain in American affairs. To New York33

chap. IX.} 1756.
instructions were sent ‘not to press the establishment of a perpetual revenue for the present.’ The northern colonies, whose successes at Lake George had mitigated the disgraces of the previous year, were encouraged by a remuneration; and, as a measure of temporary expediency, not of permanent policy or right, as a gratuity to stimulate exertions, and not to subsidize subjects, one hundred and fifteen thousand pounds were granted to them in proportion to their efforts. Of this sum fifty-four thousand pounds fell to Massachusetts, twenty-six thousand to Connecticut, fifteen thousand to New York.34 At the same time the military affairs of the continent were consolidated, with some reference to opinions and precedents as old as the reign of William the Third. The Board of Trade, first called into existence in 1696, had hardly been constituted, before it was summoned to plan unity in the military efforts of the provinces; and Locke, with his associates, despaired on beholding them ‘crumbled into little governments, disunited in interests, in an ill posture and much worse disposition to afford assistance to each other for the future.’ The Board, in 1697, ‘after considering with their utmost care,’ could only recommend the appointment of ‘a captain-general of all the forces and all the militia of all the provinces on the continent of North America, with power to levy and command them for their defence, under such limitations and instructions as to his Majesty should seem best;’ ‘to appoint officers to train the inhabitants;’ [228] ‘from the Quakers to receive in money
chap. IX.} 1756.
their share of assistance;’ and ‘to keep the Five Nations firm in friendship.’ ‘Rewards’ were to be given ‘for all executions done by the Indians on the enemy, and the scalps they should bring in to be well paid for.’35

In 1721, this plan of a military dictatorship was, in a most elaborate state paper, revived and modified. All the provinces were to be placed ‘under the government of one lord-lieutenant or captain-general,’ to be ‘constantly attended by two or more councillors deputed from each plantation,’ and to ‘have a fixed salary independent of the pleasure of the inhabitants.’ ‘By this means, it was thought, a general contribution of men or money might be raised upon the several colonies, in proportion to their respective abilities.’36 How an American revenue was to flow from such an appointment was not fully disclosed. At that time the Earl of Stair37 was selected as viceroy; but he declined the post before the arrangements were completed. The plan was now to be partially carried into effect. On the instance of Cumberland and Fox, Shirley was superseded and ordered to return to England, and the Earl of Loudoun, a friend of Halifax, passionately zealous for the subordination and inferiority of the colonies, was appointed commander-in-chief of the army throughout the British continental provinces in America. His dignity was enhanced by his appointment as governor of the central, ancient, and populous dominion of Virginia. [229] This commission, which was prepared by the chancel-

chap. IX.} 1756.
lor, Hardwicke, established a military power throughout the continent, independent of the colonial governors, and superior to them. They in right of their office might claim to be the civil and military representatives of the king; yet they could not give the word within their own respective provinces except in the absence of the continental commander and his representatives;38 and this commission, so contrary to the spirit of the British constitution, was renewed successively and without change till the period of independence. Such were the powers with which Loudoun was sent forth to unite America by military rule, to sway its magistrates by his authority, and to make its assemblies ‘distinctly and precisely understand’ that the king ‘required’ of them ‘a general fund, to be issued and applied as the commander-in-chief should direct,’ and ‘provision for all such charges as might arise from furnishing quarters.’

The administration was confirmed in its purpose of throwing the burden of furnishing quarters upon the colonies by the authority of Murray. His opinion against the statute of Pennsylvania, which, in extending the act of parliament to punish mutiny, regulated the providing of quarters, drew a distinction between Englishmen and Americans. ‘The law,’ said he, ‘assumes propositions true in the mother country, and rightly asserted in the reign of Charles the First and Charles the Second, in times of peace, and when soldiers were kept up without the consent of parliament; but the application of such positions, in tine [230] of war, in the case of troops raised for their pro-

chap. IX.} 1756.
tection by the authority of parliament,—made the first time by an assembly, many of whom plead what they call conscience for not joining in the military operations to resist the enemy,—should not be allowed to stand as law.’ This act, therefore, was repealed by the king in council; and the rule was established39 without limitation, that troops might be kept up in the colonies and quartered on them at pleasure, without the consent of their American parliaments.

Thus, after sixty years of advice from the Board of Trade, a permanent army was established in America. Nothing seemed wanting but an act of parliament for an American revenue. The obstinacy of Pennsylvania was pleaded as requiring it.40 On the questions affecting that province, the Board of Trade listened to Charles Yorke on the side of prerogative, while Charles Pratt spoke for colonial liberty; and after a long hearing, Halifax and Soame Jenyns, and Bedford's dependent, Richard Rigby, and Talbot joined in advising an immediate act of the British legislature to overrule the charter of the colony. But the ministry was rent by factions, and their fluctuating tenure of office made it difficult to mature novel or daring measures of legislation. There existed no central will, that could conquer Canada, or subvert the liberties of America.

A majority of the Treasury Board, as well as the Board of Trade, favored American taxation by act of parliament; none scrupled as to the power; but ‘the [231] unfit’ Lyttelton, then chancellor of the exchequer,

chap. IX.} 1756.
though fixed in his opinions, could not mature schemes of finance; and the British statutes,41 which manifest the settled purpose42 of raising a revenue out of the traffic between the American continent and the West India Islands, show that the execution of that purpose was at that session, and twice afterwards, deferred to a quieter period.

Still parliament, in the session of 1756, extended its authority signally over America. There foreign Protestants might be employed as engineers and officers to enlist a regiment of aliens.43 Indented servants might be accepted, and their masters were referred for compensation to the respective assemblies;44 and the naval code of England was extended to all persons employed in the king's service on the lakes, great waters, or rivers of North America.45 The militia law of Pennsylvania was repealed by the king in council; the commissions of all officers elected under it were cancelled; the companies themselves were broken up and dispersed. And while volunteers were not allowed to organize themselves for defence, the humble intercession of the Quakers with the Delawares, the little covenants resting on confidence and ratified by presents, peaceful stipulations for the burial of the tomahawk and the security of the frontier fireside and the cradle, were censured by Lord Halifax as the most daring violation of the royal prerogative. Each northern province also was forbidden to negotiate with the Indians; and their renations [232] were intrusted solely to Sir William Johnson,

chap. IX.} 1756.
with no subordination but to Loudoun.

Yet all could not prevail. ‘In a few years,’ said one, who, after a long settlement in New England, had just returned home, the colonies of ‘America will be independent of Britain;’ and at least one voice was raised to advise the sending out of Duke William of Cumberland to be their sovereign and emancipating them at once.

1 Breard to the Minister, 13 August, 1755.

2 Johnson to Lords of Trade, 8 Sept. 1755.

3 Elisha Hawley to his brother Joseph Hawley. Seth Pomroy's Journal.

4 Doreil to the Minister, 28 Oct. 1755.

5 Vaudreuil to the Minister, 24 July, 1755.

6 Records at Hartford for 29 Geo. II. Putnam's commission as 2nd Lieut. in the 6th company of the 3rd Regiment of Connecticut, forwarded not before September 2, reached him after the battle.

7 Dieskau to the ministers, 14 September, 1755, and also to Vaudreuil. Letters of Montreuil.

8 Paper annexed to William Clarke's Observations on the late and present conduct of the French, 1755.

9 Gov. Shirley to Sir Thomas Robinson, 15 August, 1755, received in London 20 November, 1755.

10 John Adams' Diary, 264.

11 Letter of John Adams, 12 October, 1755. I quote from the original letter, which the late John Quincy Adams had the goodness to leave with me for a time, together with other most interesting manuscripts.

12 Memoire contenant le Precis des Faits, 54, 55.

13 Dodington's Diary.

14 Dodington's Diary. Walpole's Memoires of George III. and letters. Waldegrave's Memoirs. Flassan: Histoire de la Diplomatie Francoise, VI.

15 De Tocqueville: Histoire Philosophique du regne de Louis XV. II. 287.

16 Louis XV. to Geo. II., 21 October, 1755.

17 Instructions from Lord Holdernesse to Sir Hanbury Williams, 11 April, 1755. Von Raumer's Beytrage, II. 286.

18 Sir Hanbury Williams to Holdernesse, 9 and 11 August, 1755.

19 Friedrich von Raumer's Konig Friedrich II. und seine Zeit, 294.

20 Jenkinson's Collection of Treaties, III. 30-53.

21 Walpole's Memoires of George I., i. 418.

22 See the Correspondence of Sharpe with his brother in England, and his colleagues in America.

23 Gage to the Earl of Albemarle, 22 Jan., 1756.

24 Sir Charles Hardy to the Lords of Trade, January, 1756.

25 Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie to Secretary Fox, 1756.

26 Shirley to Lords of Trade, 5 January, 1756.

27 See the Pamphlet written jointly by Win. Knox and George Grenville. The Controversy between Great Britain and her Colonies Reviewed, pp. 196, 197.

28 Dinwiddie to Lords of Trade, 6 September, 1755.

29 Dinwiddie to Shirley, 1756.

30 Shirley to Sharpe, 16 May, 1756. Halifax to Sir Charles Hardy, 31 March, 1756.

31 Shirley to Sharpe, 5 March, 1756.

32 Walpole's Memoires of Geo. II., II., 8.

33 Lords of Trade to Sir Charles Hardy.

34 Lords of Trade to Lords of the Treasury, 12 Feb., 1756; and to Secretary of State, 16 January, 1756.

35 Plantations General, A. 59.

36 See the elaborate Representation of the Lords of Trade to the King, 1721. N. Y. Lon. Documents.

37 The Earl of Stair's Plan of Government, is in the British Museum.

38 See the Commission and Instructions.

39 Order in Council, 7 July, 1756.

40 Garth's Report of the Debate in the House of Commons, Feb. 3, 1766.

41 29 Geo. II., c. XXVI.; 31 Geo. II., c. XXXVI., § 8; 1 Geo. III., c. IV.

42 Letter of Bollan to Massachusetts, in May, 1756.

43 29 Geo. II., c. v.

44 29 Geo. II., c. XXXV.

45 29 Geo. II., c. XXVII.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New England (United States) (9)
Newcastle (Canada) (8)
Russia (Russia) (7)
Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, United States) (5)
Lake George, Fla. (Florida, United States) (5)
France (France) (5)
England (United Kingdom) (5)
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (4)
Fort Edward (New York, United States) (4)
Connecticut (Connecticut, United States) (4)
Quebec (Canada) (3)
Oswego (New York, United States) (3)
Halifax (Canada) (3)
Canada (Canada) (3)
Preussen (2)
Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)
North America (2)
Niagara County (New York, United States) (2)
New Hampshire (New Hampshire, United States) (2)
Loudoun (Virginia, United States) (2)
Lake Ontario (2)
York (Canada) (1)
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
West Indies (1)
United States (United States) (1)
Ticonderoga (New York, United States) (1)
St. Petersburg (Russia) (1)
Shenandoah Valley (Ohio, United States) (1)
Russian River (Alaska, United States) (1)
Nova Scotia (Canada) (1)
Newfoundland (Canada) (1)
New Castle, Ky. (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Montreal (Canada) (1)
Moab (Michigan, United States) (1)
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)
Marseilles (France) (1)
Kingston (Canada) (1)
Hartford (Connecticut, United States) (1)
Fort William (Canada) (1)
Fort Bedford (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Brest (France) (1)
Braddock (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Alleghany Mountains (United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: