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French and Indian War.

A fourth intercolonial war between the English and French colonies in America was begun in 1754, in which the Indians, as usual, bore a conspicuous part. The English population (white) in the colonies was then a little more than 1,000,000, planted along the seaboard. The French were 100,000 strong, and occupied the regions of Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and a line of trading-posts in the Valley of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. The latter, as chiefly traders, had gained great influence over many of the Indian tribes. There was outward peace, but inward war, between the colonists, and it needed only a small matter to kindle a flame of hostilities. After the capture of Louisburg (1745), the French had taken measures to extend and strengthen their dominion in America. Their power became aggressive, and early in 1754 it was evident that they intended to hold military possession of the Ohio and the region around its head-waters. The English attempted to build a fort at the forks of the Ohio. The French seized the post, and completed the fortification (see Duquesne, Fort). Washington led provincial troops to recapture it, but was unsuccessful. The colonists appealed to the British government, and received promises of its aid in the impending war; and in 1755 Gen. Edward Braddock (q. v.) was sent, with regular troops, to command any forces that might be raised in America to resist the French and their Indian allies. Three separate expeditions were planned, one against Fort Duquesne, another against forts on, or near, Lake Ontario, and a third against French forts on Lake Champlain. An expedition against Acadia (q. v.) was also undertaken. The three expeditions failed to accomplish their full purposes.

In May, 1756, England declared war against France, and sent Lord Loudoun as chief commander in the colonies, with General Abercrombie as his lieutenant. Expeditions similar to those of 1755 were [470]

Map of the scene of operations.

planned, but failed in the execution. The skilled soldier, the Marquis de Montcalm, commanding the French and Indians, captured Oswego, on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Loudoun proposed to confine the campaign of 1757 to the capture of Louisburg, on Cape Breton. Going there with a large land and naval armament, he was told that the French were too strong for him. He believed it, withdrew, and returned to New York. Meanwhile, Montcalm had strengthened Fort Ticonderogn, on Lake Champlain, and captured and destroyed the English fort, William Henry, at the head of Lake George (August, 1757); and so ended the campaign and the leadership of the inefficient Lord Loudoun. William Pitt at this time took the chief control of public affairs in England, and prepared to prosecute the war in America with vigor. Gen. James Abercrombie was placed in chief command in America in 1758, and Admiral Boscawen was sent with a fleet to co-operate. Louisburg, Fort Ticonderoga, and Fort Duquesne were to be attacked. Louisburg was captured, but Abercrombie, who led the troops towards Lake Chainplain, failed in his attack on Ticonderoga. Fort Frontenac, at the foot of Lake Ontario, was captured; so, also, was Fort Duquesne, and its name was changed to Fort Pitt, in compliment to the great prime minister. These suecesses so alarmed the Indians that, having assembled in council, they agreed not to fight the English any more.

Pitt now resolved to conquer Canada. General Amherst was placed in chief command in America, in the spring of 1759, and a land and naval force was sent over from England. Again three expeditions were put in motion, one to go up the St.

Fort William Henry.

Lawrence, to capture Quebec, another to drive the French from Lake Champlain, and force them back to Canada; and [471] a third to attack Fort Niagara, at the mouth of the Niagara River. General Wolfe commanded the expedition against Quebec, General Amherst led the troops against the French on Lake Champlain, and General Prideaux commanded the expedition against Fort Niagara. Prideaux was killed in besieging Fort Niagara, but it was captured under the lead of Sir William Johnson, in July. Amherst drove the French from Lake Champlain into Canada, and they never came back; and he built the strong fortress on Crown Point whose picturesque ruins still attract the attention of the tourist. Wolfe attacked Quebec, and at the moment of victory he was killed. Montcalm, the commander of the French, also perished on the field. In 1760 the French tried to recapture Quebec, but were unsuccessful. Early in September Amherst went down the St. Lawrence and captured Montreal. The conquest of Canada was now completed, and the French and Indian War was essentially ended. The last act in it was a treaty of peace, concluded in Paris in 1763.

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