The Whig aristocracy cannot govern England
's administration continued.
The open declaration of war was not made by England
till May; though her navy had all the while been employed in despoiling the commerce of France
At the commencement of avowed hostilities, she forbade neutral vessels to carry merchandise belonging to her antagonist.
Frederick of Prussia
had insisted, that, ‘by the law of nations, the goods of an enemy cannot be taken from on board the ships of a friend;’ that free ships make free goods.
Against this interpretation of public law, the learning of Murray
had been called into service; and, pleading ancient usage against the lessons of wiser times, he gave the elaborate opinion which formed the basis of English policy and Admiralty law,1
that the effects of an enemy can be seized on board the vessel of a friend.
This may be proved, said Murray
, by authority; and the illustrious jurist did not know that humanity appeals
from the despotic and cruel precedents of the past
to the more intelligent and more humane spirit of advancing civilization.
Neutral nations believed in their right ‘to carry in their vessels, unmolested, the property’ of belligerents; but Britain, to give efficacy to her naval power, ‘seized on the enemy's property which she found on board neutral ships.’
With the same view, she arbitrarily invaded the sovereignty of Holland
, capturing its vessels whose cargoes might be useful for her navy.
The treaties between England
stipulated expressly that free ships should make free goods, that the neutral should enter safely and unmolested all the harbors of the belligerents, unless they were blockaded or besieged; that the contraband of war should be strictly limited to arms, artillery, and horses, and should not include materials for ship-building.
But Great Britain
, in the exercise of its superior strength, arbitrarily prohibited the commerce of the Netherlands in naval stores; denied them the right to become the carriers of French colonial products, and declared all the harbors of all France
to be in a state of blockade, and all vessels bound to them lawful prizes.3
Such was the rule of 1756. ‘To charge England
with ambition,’ said Charles Jenkinson
an Oxford scholar, who had given up the thought of entering the church, and hoped for success in public life; ‘to charge England
with ambition must appear so absurd to all who understand the nature of her government, that at the bar of reason it ought to be
treated rather as calumny than accusation.’
grave confidence of his discourse was by his own countrymen deemed conclusive; but the maritime assumptions of England
were turning against her the sympathies of the civilized world.
The genius of the nation was a guarantee against discomfiture on the ocean; the feebleness of the administration appeared conspicuously in America
April was almost gone before Abercrombie
, who was to be next in command to the Earl
, with Webb
and two battalions, sailed from Plymouth
for New York.
waited for his transports, that were to carry tents, ammunition, artillery, and intrenching tools, and at last, near the end of May, sailed without them.
The man-of-war which bore one hundred thousand pounds to reimburse the colonies for the expenses of 1755, and stimulate their activity for 1756, did not sail till the middle of June.
The cannon for ships on Lake Ontario
did not reach America
till August. ‘We shall have good reason to sing Te Deum
, at the conclusion of this campaign,’ wrote the Lieutenant-governor of Maryland
, ‘if matters are not then in a worse situation than they are at present.’
On the fifteenth of June, arrived the forty Ger man officers who were to raise recruits for Loudoun
's royal American regiment of four thousand.
At the same time came Abercrombie
Letters awaited him in praise of Washington
‘He is a very deserving gentleman,’ wrote Dinwiddie
, ‘and has from the beginning commanded the forces of this Dominion.
He is much beloved, has gone through many hardships in the service, has great merit, and can raise
more men here than any one.’
He therefore urged
his promotion in the British
trusted foreigners rather than Americans
‘I find,’ said Abercrombie
, ‘you will never be able to carry on any thing to any purpose in America
, till you have a viceroy or superintendent over all the provinces.’5
's arrival was to produce ‘a great change of affairs.’
On the twenty-fifth of June, Abercrombie
arrived at Albany
, firmly resolved that the regular officers should command the provincials, and that the troops should be quartered on private houses.
On the next day, Shirley
acquainted him with the state of Oswego
, advising that two battalions should be sent forward for its protection.
The boats were ready; every magazine along the passage plentifully supplied.
But the general could not think of the wants of the garrison, and was meditating triumphs of authority.
‘The great, the important day for Albany
On the twenty-seventh, ‘in spite of every subterfuge, the soldiers were at last billeted upon the town.’6
The mayor wished them all to go back again; ‘for,’ said he, ‘we can defend our frontiers ourselves.’
dilatorily whiled away the summer, ordering a survey of Albany
, that it might be ditched and stockaded round; and men talked ‘of certain victory and conquest.’
On the twelfth of July, the brave Bradstreet
returned from Oswego
, having thrown into the fort six months provision for five thousand men, and a great quantity of stores.
He brought intelligence that a
French army was in motion to attack the place; and Webb
, with the forty-fourth regiment, was ordered to hold himself in readiness to march to its defence.
But nothing was done.
The regiments of New England
, with the provincials from New York and New Jersey
, amounted to more than seven thousand men; with the British
regular regiments, to more than ten thousand men, besides the garrison at Oswego
In the previous year the road had been opened, the forts erected.
was still lingering at Albany
, when, on the twenty-ninth of July, the Earl
There too ‘the viceroy’ loitered with the rest, doing nothing, having ten or twelve thousand men at his disposition, keeping the provincials idle in their camps, without the skill and experience necessary to take care of themselves, and victims to disease, which want of employment and close quarters generated.
were more active; and, while the savages made inroads to the borders of Ulster
and Orange counties
, they turned all their thoughts to the capture of Oswego
De Lery, leaving Montreal
in March with a party of more than three hundred men, hastened over ice and snow along the foot of mountains; by roads known to savages alone, they penetrated to Fort Bull
, at the Oneida
portage, gained it after a short struggle and a loss of three men, destroyed its stores, and returned with thirty prisoners to Montreal
Near the end of May, eight hundred men, led by the intrepid and prudent De Villiers
, made their palisaded camp under the shelter of a thicket near the mouth of Sandy Creek
this place he could send little parties to hover round
the passes of Onondaga River, and intercept supplies for Oswego
Of the Six Nations, the four lower ones, the Onondagas, Oneidas, Cayugas, and Mohawks, assembled in council, and sent thirty of their chiefs to Montreal
to solicit neutrality.
‘Our young braves,’ they were answered, ‘seek their foes wherever they are to be found; but if you do not join the English
, they shall do you no harm;’ and the envoys of the neutral tribes returned laden with presents.
Just then, the Field
-Marshal Marquis de Montcalm
arrived at Quebec
; a man of a strong and well-stored memory; of a quick and highly cultivated mind; of small stature; rapid in conversation; and of restless mobility.
He was accompanied by the Chevalier de Levis Leran
, and by Bourlamarque, colonel of infantry.
Travelling day and night, he hurried to Fort Carillon, at Ticonderoga
; by two long marches on foot, he made himself familiar with the ground, and took measures for improving its defences.8
He next resolved by secrecy and celerity to take Oswego
Collecting at Montreal
three regiments from Quebec
, and a large body of Canadians and Indians
, on the fifth of August he was able to review his troops at Frontenac
, and on the evening of the same day anchored in Sackett's Harbor
, on the right of the river, was a large stone building surrounded by a wall flanked with four small bastions, and was commanded from adjacent heights.
For its defence, Shirley
had crowned a summit on the opposite bank with Fort Ontario
Against this outpost, Montcalm
, on the twelfth of
August, at midnight, opened his trenches.
From the following daybreak till evening, the fire of the garrison was well kept up; when, having expended their ammunition, they spiked their cannon, and retreated to Fort Oswego
occupied the height, and turned such of the guns as were serviceable against the remaining fortress.
His fire killed Mercer
, the commander, and soon made a breach in the wall.
On the fourteenth, just as Montcalm
was preparing to storm the intrenchments, the garrison, composed of the regiments of Shirley
, and about sixteen hundred in number, capitulated.
Forty-five perished; twelve of them in action, the rest by the Indians in attempting to escape through the woods.9
The prisoners of war descended the St. Lawrence
; their colors were sent as trophies to decorate the churches of Montreal
, Three Rivers
, and Quebec
; one hundred and twenty cannon, six vessels of war, three hundred boats, stores of ammunition and provisions, and three chests of money fell to the conquerors.
Amidst the delight of the Canadians and the savages, the missionaries planted a cross bearing the words, ‘This is the banner of victory;’ by its side rose a pillar with the arms of France
, and the inscription, ‘Bring lilies with full hands.’
Expressions of triumphant ecstasy broke from Montcalm
; but, to allay all jealousy of the red men, he razed the forts and left Oswego
, who should have relieved the place, went
tardily to the Oneida
portage, and, after felling trees to obstruct the passage to the Onondaga
, fled in terror to Albany
approved placing obstacles between his army and the enemy; for he also ‘was extremely anxious about an attack’ from the French
, while ‘flushed with success.’
‘If it had been made on the provincials alone, it would,’ he complacently asserted, ‘have been followed with very fatal consequences.’
Provincials had, it was true, saved the remnant of Braddock
's army; provincials had conquered Acadia
; provincials had defeated Dieskau
; but Abercrombie
and his chief sheltered their own imbecility under complaints of America
After wasting a few more weeks in busy inactivity, Loudoun
, whose forces could have penetrated to the heart of Canada
, left the French
to construct a fort at Ticonderoga
, and dismissed the provincials to their homes, the regulars to winter quarters.
Of the latter, a thousand were sent to New York, where free quarters for the officers were demanded of the city.
The demand was resisted by the mayor, as contrary to the laws of England
and the liberties of America
‘Free quarters are everywhere usual,’ answered the commanderin-chief; ‘I assert it on my honor, which is the highest evidence you can require;’ and he resolved to make New York an example for the other colonies and towns.
The citizens pleaded in reply their privileges as Englishmen, by the common law, by the petition of right, and by acts of parliament.
‘God damn my blood,’ was the official answer of the ‘viceroy’ to the mayor; “if you do not billet my officers upon
free quarters this day, I'll order here all the troops
in North America
under my command, and billet them myself upon the city.”
So the magistrates got up a subscription for the winter support of officers, who had done nothing for the country but burden its resources.
In Philadelphia Loudoun uttered the same menace, and the storm was averted only by an adjustment.
The frontier had been left open to the French
; this quartering troops in the principal towns at the expense of the inhabitants by the illegal authority of a military chief, was the great result of the campaign.
Yet native courage flashed up in every part of the colonies.
The false Delawares
, thirsting for victims and secret as the night, from their village at Kittanning
, within forty-five miles of Fort Duquesne
, stained all the border of Pennsylvania
with murder and scalping.
To destroy them, three hundred Pennsylvanians crossed the Alleghanies
, conducted by John Armstrong
, of Cumberland County
, famed as inheriting the courage of the Scottish covenanters.
In the night following the seventh of September, the avenging party, having marched on that day thirty miles through the unbroken forests, were guided to the Indian
village of Kittanning
, by the beating of a drum and the whooping of warriors at their festival; and they lay quiet and hush till the moon was fairly set. They heard a young fellow whistling near them, as a signal to a squaw after his dance was over; and in a field of maize, on the margin of the river, they saw the fires near which the Indians took their rest with no dreams of danger.
At daybreak three companies which lagged in the rear were brought over the
last precipice; and at the same moment the attack be-
gan on the Delawares who had slept abroad, and on the houses which lay discovered under the light of morning.
raised the war-whoop, crying, ‘The white men are come; we shall have scalps enough.’
The squaws and children fled to the woods; the warriors fought with desperate bravery and skill as marksmen.
‘We are men,’ they shouted; ‘we will not be made prisoners.’
The town being set on fire, some of them sang their death-song in the flames.
Their store of powder, which was enough for a long war, scattered destruction as it exploded.
and others attempting flight, were shot and scalped; the town was burned to ashes, never to be rebuilt by savages.
But the Americans
lost sixteen men; and Armstrong
himself was among the wounded.
, captain of the company which suffered most, was hit by a musket-ball in the arm, and with five others separated from the main body; but, guided by the stars and rivulets, they soon found their way back.
The conduct of Armstrong
in leading his party through the mountainous wilderness, and reaching the town without being discovered, was universally applauded.
voted honors to him and his gallant band; Pennsylvania
has given his name to the county that includes the battle-field.
At the remotest south, adventurers formed a settlement beyond the Alatamaha, on the banks of the Santilla and the island of Cumberland
; established their own rules of government; preserved good order amongst themselves; and held the country as far as the St. Mary
's, in defiance of South Carolina
and of the Spaniards at St. Augustine
At the same time men of European
penetrating the interior of Tennessee
; and near the junction of the Telliquo and the Tennessee
, a little band of two hundred men, three-fifths of whom were provincials, under the command of Captain Demere
, were engaged in completing the New Fort Loudoun
, which was to insure the command of the country.
They exulted in possessing a train of artillery, consisting of twelve great guns which had been brought to the English
‘from such a distance as the seaport, and over such prodigious mountains.’
were much divided in sentiment.
‘Use all means you think proper,’ wrote Lyttleton
, ‘to induce our Indians to take up the hatchet.
Promise a reward to every man who shall bring in the scalp of a Frenchman or of one of the French Indians
In December, the Six Nations sent a hundred and eighty delegates to meet the Nepissings, the Algonquins, the Potawatamies, and the Ottawas, at a congress at Montreal
All promised at least neutrality; the young braves wished even to join the French
; and they trod the English
medals under foot.
The imbecility which marked the conduct of British affairs in America
, showed itself still more decidedly in the cabinet, which, though united and commanding a subservient majority, was crumbling in
pieces from the sense of its real weakness, and the
weariness of the people of England
at the unmixed government of the aristocracy.
‘If,’ said William Pitt
, the Great Commoner, a poor and now a private man, ‘if I see a child driving a go-cart on a precipice, with that precious freight of the king and his family, I am bound to take the reins out of such hands;’ and the influence of popular opinion came in aid of his just ambition.
A new authority was also growing up; and to win the direction of the cabinet, he connected himself with the family of the successor.
In June, 1756, Prince George, being eighteen, became of age, and Newcastle
, with the concurrence of the king, would have separated his establishment from that of his mother.
They both were opposed to the separation.
exerted his influence against it, with a zeal and activity to which they were most sensible.12
had been one of the lords of the bed-chamber to Frederic, the late Prince
, who used to call him ‘a fine, showy man, such as would make an excellent ambassador in a court where there was no business.’
He was ambitious, yet his personal timidity loved to lean on a nature firmer than his own. Though his learning was small, he was willing to be thought a man of erudition, who could quote Horace, and find pleasure in Virgil and Columella
He had an air of the greatest importance, and in look and manner assumed an extraordinary appearance of wisdom.13
Unacquainted with business and unemployed in public office, yet as a consistent and most obsequious royalist, he retained the confidence
of the princess dowager, and was the instructor
of the future sovereign of England
in the theory of the British constitution.14
On the organization of his household, Prince George desired to have him about his person.
The request of the prince, which Pitt
advocated, was resisted by Newcastle
and by Hardwicke
To embroil the royal family, the latter did not hesitate to blast the reputation of the mother of the heir apparent by tales of scandal,15
which party spirit delighted to perpetuate.
But in the first public act of Prince George, he displayed the firmness of his character.
Heedless of the prime minister and the chancellor, the young man of eighteen, with many professions of duty to the king, expressed ‘his desires, nay, his fixed resolutions,’ to have ‘the free choice of his servants.’16
‘This family,’ said Granville
of the Hanoverian dynasty, ‘always has quarrelled, and will quarrel from generation to generation.’17
Having wantoned with the resentment of the successor and his mother, Newcastle
became terrified and yielded.
The king gave his consent reluctantly.
‘You,’ said he angrily to Fox
, ‘you have made me make that puppy Bute
, groom of the stole.’
formed intimate relations with the favorite of Leicester house, Charles Townshend
, who had recently
married the Countess Dowager
of Dalkeith, first
cousin to the Earl
, thought even more meanly of Bute
than of Newcastle
‘Silly fellow for silly fellow,’ said he, ‘it is as well to be governed by my uncle with a blue riband, as by my cousin with a green one.’
Restless at sharing the disgrace of an imbecile administration, which met every where with defeat except in the House of Commons, where corruption could do its work, and ashamed of the small degree of real power conceded to him, Fox
was unwilling to encounter a stormy opposition which would have had the country on its side.
‘My situation,’ said he to Newcastle
in October, ‘is impracticable;’18
and he left the cabinet.
At the same time Murray
declared that he, too, would serve as Attorney-General
no longer; he would be Lord Chief Justice
, with a peerage, or retire to private life.
dared not refuse or make more delay.
The place had been vacant a term and a circuit;19
the influence of Bute
and Leicester House prevailed to bring Murray
as Lord Mansfield upon the Bench, and into the House of Peers
There was no one in the House
, who, even with a sure majority, dared attempt to cope with Pitt
sought to negotiate with him. ‘A plain man,’ he answered, ‘unpractised in the policy of a court, must never presume to be the associate of so experienced a minister.’
‘Write to him yourself,’ said Newcastle
‘Don't boggle at it; you see the king wishes it; Lady Yarmouth
him. But Pitt
, after a three hours interview, gave
him a totally negative answer.
‘The great obstacles,’ says Hardwicke
, ‘were the Duke
and his measures; and without a change of both, 'tis impossible for him to come.’22 Newcastle
next sought comfort from the king; insisting that there was nothing alleged against him but conducting the war according to the king's own desire; so that he himself was about to become a victim to his loyalty.23
, who had never before waited upon Lady Yarmouth
, now counterworked the duke by making a Long visit to the king's mistress.
The duke attempted to enlist Egremont
, offered power to Granville
, and at last, having still an undoubted majority in the House of Commons, the great leader of the Whig
aristocracy was compelled to recognise the power of opinion in England
as greater than his own, and most reluctantly resigned.
The Whig party, which had ruled since the accession of the House of Hanover
, had yet never possessed the affections of the people of England
and no longer enjoyed its confidence; and at the very height of its power, sunk down in the midst of its worshippers.24
In December William Pitt
, the man of the people, the sincere lover of liberty, having on his side the English
nation, of which he was the noblest representative and type, was commissioned to form a ministry.
In this he was aided by the whole influence of Leicester House; he found the Earl
‘transcendingly obliging;’ and from the young heir to the throne, ‘expressions’ were repeated, ‘so decisive of
determined purposes’ of favor, ‘in the present or
any future day,’ that ‘his own lively imagination could not have suggested a wish beyond them.’25
For the chief of the Treasury Board, he selected the Duke
, with Legge
presided over the Admiralty
was made treasurer of the navy.
To Charles Townshend
, who could ill brook a superior, and who hated Pitt
, was offered a useless place, neither ministerial nor active; and his resentment at the disdainful slight was not suppressed, till his elder brother and Bute
interceded, and ‘at last the name of the Prince
Thus began the political connections of Charles Townshend
with George the Third, and they were never broken.
Restless in his pursuit of early advancement, he relied on the favor of that prince, and on his own eloquence, for the attainment of power.
While he identified himself with none of the aristocratic factions, he never hesitated, for his own ends, to act under any of them.
, applauding his genius for debate, despised his versatility.
But the transition in England
from the rule of the aristocracy to a greater degree of popular power, was not as yet destined to take place.
There was an end of the old aristocratic rule; but it was not clear what should come in its stead.
The condition of the new minister was seen to be precarious.
On entering office Pitt
's health was so infirm, that he took the oath at his own house, though the record bears date at St. James
's. The House of Commons, which he was to lead, had been chosen under the direction of Newcastle
, whom he superseded.
His subordinates even ventured
to be refractory; so that when Charles Towns-
hend, on one occasion, showed himself ready to second Fox
in opposition, Pitt
was obliged to chide him, before the whole House, as deficient in common sense or common integrity; and, as Fox
exulted in his ally, exclaimed, loud enough to be heard by half the assembly, ‘I wish you joy of him.’
The court, too, was his enemy.
George the Second, spiritless and undiscerning, and without affection for Leicester House, liked subjection to genius still less than to aristocracy.
‘I do not look upon myself as king,’ said he, ‘while I am in the hands of these scoundrels,’ meaning Pitt
as well as Temple
On the other hand, Prince George, in March, sent assurances to Pitt
of ‘the firm support and countenance’ of the heir to the throne.
‘Go on, my dear Pitt
,’ said Bute
; ‘make every bad subject your declared enemy, every honest man your real friend.
How much we think alike.
I, for my part, am unalterably your most affectionate friend.’27
But even that influence was unavailing.
In the conduct of the war the Duke
exercised the chief control; in the House of Commons the friends of Newcastle
were powerful; in the council the favor of the king encouraged opposition.
America was become the great object of European
, disregarding the churlish cavils of the Lords
at once pursued towards the colonies the generous policy, which afterwards called forth all their strength, and ensured their affections.
He respected their liberties, and relied on their willing co-operation.
was planning taxation by
parliament, in which he was aided, among others, by Calvert
, the Secretary
, residing in England
In January, 1757, the British
press defended the scheme, which had been ‘often mentioned in private, to introduce a stamp-duty on vellum and paper, and to lower the duty upon foreign rum, sugar, and molasses, imported into the colonies.’29
A revenue of more than sixty thousand pounds sterling annually was confidently promised from this source.
The project of an American stamp-act was pressed upon Pitt
‘With the enemy at their backs, with English bayonets at their breast, in the day of their distress, perhaps the Americans
,’ thought he, ‘would submit to the imposition.’30
But the heroic statesman scorned ‘to take an unjust and ungenerous advantage’ of them.
He turned his eye to the mountains of Scotland
for defenders of America
, and two battalions, each of a thousand Highlanders,31
were raised for the service, under the command of Lord Eglinton and the Master
Still he possessed no real power, and was thwarted in his policy at every step during the short period of his stay in office.
Soon the Duke
was appointed to conduct the campaign in Germany
, and was unwilling to leave England
without a change in the cabinet.
was, therefore, dismissed; and as Pitt
did not resign, the king, in the first week in April, discarded him, and his chancellor also.
was in a state of anarchy, to which the conduct of affairs in America