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Commencement of the Seven Years' War. 1756. men; they had him tied to a stake, and kept touching him with firebrands, red-hot irons, &c., and he screamed in a most doleful manner; the Indians, in the mean time, yelling like infernal spirits.
As this scene appeared too shocking for me to behold, I retired to my lodgings both sore and sorry.
When I came into my lodgings I saw Russel's Seven Sermons, which they had brought from the field of battle, which a Frenchman made a present to me. From the best information I could receive, there were only seven Indians and four French killed in this battle, and five hundred British lay dead in the field, besides what were killed in the river on their retreat.
The morning after the battle I saw Braddock's artillery brought into the fort; the same day I also saw several Indians in British officers' dress, with sash, hall-moon, laced hats, &c., which the British theo wore. *
Although the doings of 1755, recorded above, could not well be looked on as of a very amicable character, war was not declared by either France or England, until May of the following year; and even then France was the last to proclaim the contest which she had been so long carrying on, though more than three hundred of her merchant vessels had been taken by British privateers. The causes of this proceeding are not very clear to us. France thought, beyond doubt, that George would fear to declare war, because Hanover was so exposed to attack; but why the British movements, upon the sea particularly, did not lead to the declaration on the part of France is not easily to be guessed. Early in 1756, however, both kingdoms formed alliances in Europe; France with Austria, Russia, and Sweden; England with the Great Frederic. And then commenced forthwith the Seven Years' War, wherein most of Europe, North America, and the East and West Indies partook and suffered.
Into the details of that war we cannot enter; not even into those of the contest in North America. In Virginia many things worthy of notice took place, but most of them took place east of the mountains— among western events we find only the following: -Immediately after Braddock's defeat, the Indians began to push their excursions across the mountains, so that in April 1756, Washington writes from Winchester; “The Blue Ridge is now our frontier, no men being left in this county (Frederick) except a few who keep close with a number of women and children in
Colonel Smith's Captivity, in Drake's Indian Captivities, p. 183.
1756. Expedition against the Indian towns upon the Ohio. 79 forts.” Under these, or similar circumstances, it was deemed advisable to send an expedition against the Indian towns upon the Ohio; Major Lewis, in January 1756, was appointed to command the troops to be used in the proposed irruption, and the point aimed at was apparently the upper Shawanese town,* situated on the Ohio three miles above the mouth of the Great Kenhawa.t The attempt proved a failure, in consequence, it is said, of the swollen state of the streams, and the treachery of the guides, and Major Lewis and his party suffered greatly. Of this expedition, however, we have no details unless it be, as we suspect, the same with the “Sandy Creek voyage" described by Withers, in his Border warfare, as occurring in 1757, during which year Washington's letters make no reference to any thing of the kind. Withers moreover says, the return of the party was owing to orders from Governor Fauquier; but Dinwiddie did not leave until January, 1758.; || and the French town of Galliopolis, which, the Border Warfare says, was to have been destroyed by the Virginians did not exist till nearly forty years later. If there were two expeditions, in both the troops underwent the same kind of suffering; in both were forced to kill and eat their horses; and in both were unsuccessful.
Upon a larger scale it was proposed during 1756, to attack Crown Point, Niagara, and Fort Du Quesne, but neither was attacked; for Montcalm took the forts at Oswego, which he destroyed to quiet the jealousy of the Iroquois, within whose territory they were built, and this stroke seemed to paralyze all
One bold blow was made by Armstrong at Kittaning, on the Alleghany, in September, 9 and the frontiers of Pennsylvania for a time were made safe; but otherwise the year in America wore out with little result.
During the next year, 1757, nothing took place, but the capture of Fort William Henry, by Montcalm, and the massacre of its
The lower Shawanese town was just below the mouth of the Scioto. See Croghan's Journal -- Butler's Kentucky, second edition, 462. + Sparks' Washington, ii. 527.
Sparks" Washington, ii. 125, 135, 136.
Sparks' Washington, ii. 270. Had the return been owing to the Governor's orders, would Lieutenant M'Nutt, as Withers states, have presented his journal blaming Lewis for returning, to the very Governor whose commands he obeyed ? Border Warfare, 65.
$ Holmes' Annals, vol. ii. p. 73.—Burk's Virginia, vol. iii. p. 221.-Day's Historical Collections of Pennsylvania, 96. Holmes, (referring to New York Historical Collections, üz. 399,) says the Ohio Indians had already killed one thousand persons on the frontier : Armstrong did not, however, destroy more than forty savages.
Fort Frontenac taken by Bradstreet.
garrison by his Indians; a scene of which the readers of Cooper's Last of the Mohicans need scarce be reminded. This, and the near destruction of the British fleet by a gale off Louisburg, were the leading events of this dark season; and no wonder that fear and despair sank deep into the hearts of the colonists. Nor was it in America alone, that Britain suffered during that summer. On the continent Frederic was borne down; in the Mediterranean the navy of England had been defeated, and all was dark in the east; and, to add to the weight of these misfortunes, many of them came upon Pitt, the popular minister.* But the
year 1758 opened under a new star. On sea and land, in Asia, Europe, and America, Britain regained what had been lost. The Austrians, Russians, and Swedes, all gave way before the great Captain of Prussia, and Pitt sent his own strong, and hopeful, and energetic spirit into his subalterns. In North America Louisburg yielded to Boscawen; Fort Frontenac was taken by Bradstreet; and Du Quesne was abandoned upon the approach of Forbes through Pennsylvania. From that time, the post at the Fork of the Ohio was Fort Pitt.
In this last capture, as more particularly connected with the West, we are now chiefly interested. The details of the gathering and the march may be seen in the letters of Washington, who, in opposition to Colonel Bouquet, was in favor of crossing the mountains by Braddock's road, whereas, Bouquet wished to cut a new one through Pennsylvania. In this division, Bouquet was listened to by the General; and late in the season a new route was undertaken, by which such delays and troubles were produced, that the whole expedition came near proving a failure. Braddock's road had, in early times, been selected by the most experienced Indians and frontier men as the most favorable whereby to cross the mountains, being nearly the route by which the national road has been since carried over them. In 1753, it was opened by the Ohio Company. It was afterward improved by the Provincial troops under Washington, and was finished by Braddock's engineers; † and this route was now to be given up, and a wholly new one opened, probably, as Washington suggested, through Pennsylvania influence, that her frontiers might thereby be protected, and a way opened for her traders. The
He returned to office, June 29th, 1757. + Sparks: Washington, vol. ii. p. 302.
1758. Arrival of the British at Fort Du Quesne. 81 hardships and dangers of the march from Raystown to Fort Du Quesne, where the British van arrived upon the 25th of November, may be seen slightly pictured by the letters of Washington and the second journal of Post,* and may be more vividly conceived by those who have passed through the valley of the upper Juniata.
But, turning from this march, let us look at the position of things in the West, during the autumn of 1758. We have said, that in the outset the French did their utmost to alienate the Six Nations and Delawares from their old connexion with the British; and so politic were their movements, so accurate their knowledge of Indian character, that they fully succeeded. The English, as we have seen, had made some foolish and iniquitous attempts to get a claim to the western lands, and by rum and bumbo had even obtained grants of those lands; but when the rum had evaporated, the wild men saw how they had been deceived, and listened not unwillingly to the French professions of friendship, backed as they were by presents and politeness, and accompanied by no attempts to buy or wheedle land from them. Early, therefore, many of the old allies of England joined her enemies; and the treaties of Albany, Johnson Hall, and Easton || did little or nothing towards stopping the desolation of the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The Quakers always believed, that this state of enmity between the Delawares and themselves, or their rulers,
* Proud's Pennsylvania, vol. ii. Appendix.
+ While upon this march General Forbes was so sick that he was carried in a close litter, and to this the officers went to receive their orders. An anecdote was afterwards told of some inimical Indian chiefs, who came to the army on an embassy, and who, observing that from this close litter came all commands, asked the reason. The British officers, thinking the savages would despise their General, if told he was sick, were at first puzzled what answer to make; but in a moment one of them spoke out, and said, that in that litter was their General, who was so fierce and strong that he felt it necessary to bind himself, hand and foot, and lie still until he came to the enemy's country, lest he should do the ambassadors, or even his own men, a mischief. The red men gave their usual grunt, and placed some miles of forest between themselves and this fierce chieftain as soon as possible. General Forbes died in Philadelphia a few weeks after the capture of Fort Du Quesne.
See Post's Journals ; Pownall's Memoir, on Service in North America. | Many treaties were made between 1753 and 1758, which amounted to little or nothing. See Massachusetts Historical Collections, vol. vii. p. 97.—Sparks' Franklin, vol. iii. pp. 436, 450, 471.-Proud's Pennsylvania, vol. ii. app.; Friendly Association's Address, and Post's Journals. There were two Easton treaties; one with the Pennsylvania Delawares, in 1756, the other with all the Indians in 1758.–See also in Proud's Pennsylvania, vol. ii. p. 331, an inquiry into the causes of quarrel with the lodians, and extracts from treaties, &c.
Post sent West.
might be prevented by a little friendly communion; but the persuasions of the French, the renegade English traders, and others who had gone to the West, were great obstacles to any friendly conversation on the one side, and the common feeling among the whites was an equal difficulty on the other. In the autumn of 1756, a treaty was held at Easton with the Pennsylvania Delawares,* and peace agreed to. But this did not bind the Ohio Indians even of the same nation, much less the Shawanese and Mingoes; and though the Sachem of the Pennsylvania savages, Teedyuscung, promised to call to his western relatives with a loud voice, they did not, or would not hear him; the tomahawk and brand still shone among the rocky mountain fastnesses of the interior. Nor can any heart but pity the red men. They knew not whom to believe, nor where to look for a true friend. The French said they came to defend them from the English ; the English said they came to defend them from the French; and between the two powers they were wasting away, and their homes disappearing before them. “ The kings of France and England," said Teedyuscung,
“ have settled this land so as to coop us up as if in a pen. This very ground that is under me was my land and inheritance, and is taken from me by fraud.” Such being the feeling of the natives, and success being of late nearly balanced between the two European powers, no wonder that they hung doubting, and knew not which way to turn. The French wished the Eastern Delawares to move west, so as to bring them within their influence;t and the British tried to persuade them to prevail on their western brethren to leave their new allies and be at peace.
In 1758, the condition of affairs being as stated, and Forbes' army on the eve of starting for Fort Du Quesne, and the French being also disheartened by the British success elsewhere, and their force at Du Quesne weak,-it was determined to make an effort to draw the western Indians over, and thereby still further to weaken the force that would oppose General Forbes. It was no easy matter, however, to find a true and trustworthy man, whose courage, skill, ability, knowledge, and physical power, would fit him for such a mission. He was to pass through a wilderness filled with doubtful friends, into a country filled with open enemies. The whole French interest would be against him, and the Indians of the Ohio were little to be trusted. Every stream on his
Sparks' Franklin, vol. vii. p. 125. + Heckewelder's Narrative p. 53.