Page images

of the French in Canada, was taken by the English forces under Generals Wolfe, Monckton, and Townshend. The French forces were commanded by the Marquis de Montcalm. While the battle raged upon the heights of Abraham, Wolfe received a ball in his wrist: he hastily wrapped his handkerchief around the wound, and continued to encourage his troops. A moment afterwards a shot entered his groin. This wound he also concealed, and was advancing at the head of his grenadiers with their bayonets fixed, when a third bullet pierced his breast. Finding himself mortally wounded, and unable to stand, he leaned upon the shoulder of a lieutenant who sat down for that purpose. This officer, seeing the French give way, exclaimed “they fly!- they fly!” “Who fly?” cried the dying General, in a tone of great anxiety. When the lieutenant replied, “ the French,” Wolfe said, " then I depart content.”* The brave Montcalm was mortally wounded in the battle, and expired on the same day. When told that he could survive only a few hours, he calmly replied, “So much the better: I shall not then live to see the surrender of Quebec.”

In this battle the colossal French power in North America received a fatal stroke. The joy of the English colonists was great; and when the news of the surrender of Quebec reached England a day of solemn Thanksgiving was appointed by proclamation throughout the dominions of Great Britain.t In the course of the next year, 1760, Montreal, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and all other posts within the government of Canada, were surrendered by the Marquis de Vaudreuil to the English commander-in-chief, General Amherst, on condition that the French inhabitants should, during the war, be "protected in the free exercise of their religion, and the full enjoyment of their civil rights, leaving their future destinies to be decided by the treaty of peace.”

A definitive treaty of peace between France and England, was concluded at Paris, on the 10th of February, 1763. The

[ocr errors]

*Belsham.-Marshall. --Smollett. 1Smollett.

preliminary articles of the treaty had been adjusted and signed on the 3d of November, 1762. France by this treaty ceded to Great Britain not only Nova Scotia, Canada, and all their dependencies, but it was agreed, in order to establish peace on solid and durable foundations, and to remove forever all subjects of dispute with regard to the British and French territories on the continent of North America, that the confines between the dominions of his Britannic majesty and those of France, on this continent, should be fixed irrevocably “by a line drawn along the middle of the river Mississippi from its source to the river Ibberville, and from thence by a line drawn along the middle of this river, and the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, to the sea;” and for this purpose France ceded in full right and guarantied to Great Britain, the river and port of Mobile, and every thing she possessed on the left side of the river Mississippi, except the town of New Orleans and the island on which it is situated. The navigation of the Mississippi was to be open and free in its whole length and breadth, from its source to the Gulf of Mexico, and particularly that part which is between the island of New Orleans and the right bank of the river, as well as the passage in and out of its mouth. The vessels of the subjects of the high contracting parties were not to be stopped, visited, nor subjected to the payment of any duty whatsoever. *

In the month of November, 1762, France, by a secret convention, ceded all that part of Louisiana which lay westward of the river Mississippi to Spain. The province was to be delivered whenever Spain should be ready to receive it: but this was not officially announced to the inhabitants of Louisiana, until the 21st of April, 1764; nor did Spain receive possession until the 17th of August, 1769.7

*American State Papers, vol. x, 135, Rayn. ix, 222, 235.


In the fall of the year 1760, after Canada and its dependencies had been surrendered to the English, Major Robert Rogers at the head of a considerable force, was despatched from Montreal, by General Amherst, to take possession of Detroit and Michilimackinac; which posts, according to the conditions of the capitulation, were to be given up by the French commandants, and to be garrisoned by detachments of British soldiers. The forces under the command of Major Rogers were the first English troops that ever penetrated into that region. On his route from Montreal to the western part of Lake Erie, Major Rogers was received in a friendly manner by different tribes of Indians, who appeared to be gratified on hearing that the French had surrendered the country: but on drawing near to Detroit the English forces received a message from Pontiac, an Ottawa* chief of distinction, requesting them to stop, until he should arrive at their camp, and "see them with his own eyes.” The messengers were also directed to represent their chief as the master and ruler of the country which the English had then entered. The troops were drawn up, and Pontiac soon arrived at their encampment. After the first salutation, he sternly demanded of Rogers to tell him the business on which the English had come, and how they had dared to venture on his territories without his permission. Major Rogers, who was a prudent officer, replied that he had no design against the Indians; and that his only object was the removal of the French, who had been the means of preventing mutual friendship and commerce between the Indian tribes and the English. He then offered a present of several belts of wampum. Pontiac received them; and gave Major Rogers a small string of wampum, saying "I shall stand, till morning, in the path you are walking,” — meaning by this expression, that the English detachment must not advance any farther without his permission. Before this conference was closed, he told Major Rogers that his warriors should bring some food to the English camp, if the soldiers were in want of it. To this the Major replied, that whatever provisions might be brought in should be well paid for. The troops were soon afterwards supplied with several bags of parched corn, and other necessaries.

*Captain Jonathan Carver, who visited Detroit in 1766, says, perhaps erroneously, that Pontiac “was an enterprising chief, or head warrior of the Miamies."--[Carver's Travels, 96.

On the next morning Pontiac appeared in the English camp. He smoked the pipe of peace with Major Rogers, and declared that he thereby made peace with the British officer and his troops. He then told them that they should pass safely through his territories; and that his warriors should protect them from all hostile tribes. These were no idle promises. Pontiac accompanied Major Rogers to Detroit. He sent about one hundred Indian warriors to the assistance of a corps of troops who were driving a large number of cattle from Fort Pitt to Detroit for the use of the English forces. He also despatched messengers to several Indian towns, avowedly to inform the Indians that the English had his consent to march through the country, and take possession of the posts which had been occupied by the French.

If the favors which Pontiac at first dispensed to the English were bestowed with sentiments of friendship, the disposition of the chief was soon changed. The feelings of implacable hostility with which he began to regard the English in 1762, may be traced, first, to the influence of the French, who had been, for many years, the friends and allies of his tribe;* and

*Peace had not then been definitely concluded between France and England; and while some of the French in the west aided and directed the bold genius of Pontiac, others remained in a state of neutrality. While addressing a grand council of Indians assem. bled at the river Aux Ecorces, Pontiac told them that the Grcat Spirit had appeared to a Delaware Indian, and spoke to him thus: “Why do you suffer these dogs in red clothing [the English] to enter your country and take the land I gave you? Drive them from it, and then, when you are in distress, I will help you." Pontiac also exhibited to the Indians a war belt, which he said the French king had sent over from France, ordering them to drive out the British and make way for the return of the French.-(Cass.--Lanman.Thatcher.

secondly, to the sullen and domineering temper of the English themselves. *

In the course of the year 1762, while the Indians seemed to be satisfied with the subjugation of the French, and the British traders were beginning to carry on a traffic among the tribes that dwelt between the lakes and the Ohio, Pontiac and his partizans were secretly organizing a powerful confederacy, by means of which it was their intention to crush, at a single blow, the English power in the west. This great scheme was skilfully projected and cautiously matured. Among the different tribes reports were circulated of a design formed by the English for the entire extirpation of the Indians.f Early in the spring of 1763 the Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawattamies, Sacs, Foxes, Menominies, Miamies, [Twightwees,] Shawanees, Wyandots, and branches of some other tribes, were ready to make a simultaneous attack on all the British forts and trading posts in the country northwest of the Allegheny mountains. The attack was made in the month of May, 1763; and the Indians, without much opposition, took possession of the posts of Michilimackinac, Green Bay, St. Joseph, Ouiatenon, Miamis, Sandusky, Presq’Isle, Lebæuf, and Venango. With the exception of Michilimackinac, the fortifications at these places were then slight, being trading posts, and not properly military establishments. A small number of English traders about these posts were killed; some escaped, and others were taken prisoners, and remained in captivity until they were ransomed, or released on the return of peace.

The British garrisons at Detroit and Fort Pitt, successfully resisted the attacks of the enemy; but the confederacy of hostile Indians made amends for these failures by spreading death and devastation along

*Some of the Ottawa Indians had been disgraced by blows received from the English. --(Cass. Dodsley's An. Reg. for 1763, vi, 23.

« PreviousContinue »