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  • 1907
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Hudson to the Mohawk and up the Mohawk to Schenec’tady. Most of Maine and New Hampshire, all of what is now Vermont, and all New York north and west of the Mohawk was a wilderness pierced by streams which afforded the French and Indians easy ways of reaching the English frontier.

The French frontier consisted of a few fishing towns scattered along the shores of Acadia (what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and eastern Maine), arid a few settlements along the St. Lawrence to Fort Frontenac, just where the river leaves Lake Ontario.

Between these frontiers in Maine and New Hampshire were the Abenaki (ab- nahk’ee) Indians, close allies of the French and bitter enemies of the English; and in New York the Iroquois, allies of the English and enemies of the French since the day in 1609 when Champlain defeated them (p. 115). [1]

THE FRENCH ATTACK THE ENGLISH FRONTIER.–The governor of New France was Count Frontenac, a man of action, keen, fiery, and daring, a splendid executive, an able commander, and well called the Father of New France. Gathering his Frenchmen and Indians as quickly as possible, Frontenac formed three war parties on the St. Lawrence in the winter of 1689-90: that at Montreal was to march against Albany; that at Three Rivers was to ravage the frontier of New Hampshire, and that at Quebec the frontier of Maine. The Montreal party was ready first, and made its way on snowshoes to the little palisaded village of Schenectady, passed through the open gates [2] in a blinding storm of snow, and in the darkness of night massacred threescore men, women, and children, took captive as many more, and left the place in ashes.


The second war party of French and Indians left the St. Lawrence in January, 1690, spent three months struggling through the wilderness, and in March fell upon the village of Salmon Falls, laid it in ashes, ravaged the farms near by, massacred some thirty men, women, and children, and carried off some fifty prisoners. This deed done, the party hurried eastward and fell in with the third party, from Quebec. The two then attacked and captured Fort Loyal (where Portland now stands), and massacred or captured most of the inhabitants.

END OF KING WILLIAM’S WAR.–Smarting under the attacks of the French and Indians, New England struck back. Its fleet, with a few hundred militia under William Phips, captured and pillaged Port Royal, and for a time held Acadia. A little army of troops from Connecticut and New York marched against Montreal, and a fleet and army under Phips sailed for Quebec. But the one went no farther than Lake Champlain, and Phips, after failing in an attack on Quebec, returned to Boston. [3]

For seven years more the French and Indians ravaged the frontier [4] before the treaty of Ryswick (riz’wick) put an end to the war in 1697.

QUEEN ANNE’S WAR.–In the short interval of peace which followed, the French made a settlement at Biloxi, as we have seen, and founded Detroit (1701). In Europe the French king (Louis XIV) placed his grandson on the throne of Spain and, on the death of James II, recognized James’s young son as King James III of England. For this, war was declared by England in 1701. The struggle which followed was known abroad as the War of the Spanish Succession, but in our country as Queen Anne’s War. [5]

Again the frontier from Maine to Massachusetts was the scene of Indian raids and massacres. Haverhill was laid waste a second time, [6] and Deerfield in the Connecticut valley was burned.

THE ATTACK ON DEERFIELD was a typical Indian raid. The village, consisting of forty-one houses strung along a road, stood on the extreme northwestern frontier of Massachusetts. In the center of the place was a square wooden meetinghouse which, with some of the houses, was surrounded by a stockade eight feet high flanked on two corners by blockhouses. [7] Late in February, 1704, a band of French and Indians from Canada reached the town, hid in the woods two miles away, and just before dawn moved quietly across the frozen snow, rushed into the village, and, raising the warwhoop, beat in the house doors with ax and hatchet. A few of the wretched inmates escaped half-clad to the next village, but nine and forty men, women, and children were massacred, and one hundred more were led away captives. [8]

END OF QUEEN ANNE’S WAR.–As the war went on, the English colonists twice attacked Port Royal in vain, but on the third attack in 1710 the place was captured. This time the English took permanent possession and renamed it Annapolis in honor of the queen. To Acadia was given the name Nova Scotia. Encouraged by the success at Port Royal, the greatest fleet ever seen, up to that time, in American waters was sent against Quebec, and an army of twenty-three hundred men marched by way of Lake Champlain to attack Montreal.

But the fleet, having lost nine ships and a thousand men in the fog at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, returned to Boston, and the commander of the army, hearing of this, marched back to Albany. When peace was made by the treaty of Utrecht (u’trekt) in 1713, France was forced to give up to Great Britain [9] Acadia, Newfoundland, and all claim to the territory drained by the rivers that flow into Hudson Bay (map, p. 131).

THE FRENCH BUILD FORTS IN LOUISIANA.–Thirty-one years now passed before France and Great Britain were again at war, and in this period France took armed possession of the Mississippi valley, constructed a chain of forts from New Orleans to the Ohio, and built Forts Niagara and Crown Point.

This meant that the French were determined to keep the British out of Louisiana and New France and confine them to the seacoast. But the French were also determined to regain Acadia, and on the island of Cape Breton they built Louisburg, the strongest fortress in America. [10]

KING GEORGE’S WAR.–Such was the state of affairs when in 1744 Great Britain and France again went to war. As George II was then king of Great Britain, the colonists called the strife King George’s War. The French now rushed down on Nova Scotia and attacked Annapolis. It seemed as if the whole of Nova Scotia would be conquered; but instead the people of New England sent out a fleet and army and captured Louisburg. [11]

[Illustration: PLAN OF LOUISBURG, 1745.]

When peace was made (1748), after two years more of fighting, Great Britain gave Louisburg back to France.

THE FRENCH IN THE OHIO VALLEY.–The war ended and no territory lost, the French at once laid plans to shut the British out of the Ohio valley, which France claimed because the Ohio River and its tributaries flowed into the Mississippi. In 1749, therefore, a party of Frenchmen under Céloron (sa-lo-rawng’) were sent to take formal possession of that region. [12]

[Illustration: ONE OF THE LEAD PLATES BURIED BY CÉLORON. In the possession of the Virginia Historical Society.]

THE BURIED PLATES.–Paddling up the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, these men carried their canoes around Niagara Falls, coasted along Lake Erie to a place near Chautauqua Lake, and going overland to the lake went down its outlet to the Allegheny River. There the men were drawn up, the French king was proclaimed owner of all the region drained by the Ohio, and a lead plate was buried at the foot of a tree. The inscription on the plate declared that the Ohio and all the streams that entered it and the land on both sides of them belonged to France.

The party then passed down the Allegheny to the Ohio, and down the Ohio to the Miami, burying plates from time to time. [13]

THE FRENCH FORTS.–Formal possession having been taken, the next step of the French was to build a log fort at Presque Isle (on Lake Erie where the city of Erie now is), and also Forts Le Boeuf and Venango, on a branch of the Allegheny.

THE OHIO COMPANY.–But the English colonists likewise claimed the Mississippi valley, by virtue of the old “sea to sea” grants, and the same year that Céloron came down the Allegheny, they also prepared to take possession of the Ohio valley in a much more serious way. The French were burying plates and about to build forts; the English were about to plant towns and make settlements.

Already in Pennsylvania and Virginia population was pushing rapidly westward. Already English traders crossed the mountains and with their goods packed on horses followed the trails down the Ohio valley, going from village to village of the Indians and exchanging their wares for furs.


Convinced that the westward movement of trade and population was favorable for a speculation in land, some prominent men in Virginia [14] formed the Ohio Company, and obtained from the British king a grant of five hundred thousand acres in the Ohio valley on condition that within seven years a hundred families should be settled on it and a fort built and garrisoned.

GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE ALARMED–When, therefore, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia heard that the French were building forts on the Allegheny, he became greatly alarmed, and sent a messenger to demand their withdrawal. But the envoy, becoming frightened, soon turned back. Clearly a man was wanted, and Dinwiddie selected George Washington, [15] a young man of twenty-one and an officer in the Virginia militia.

WASHINGTON’S FIRST PUBLIC SERVICE.–Washington was to find out the whereabouts of the French, proceed to the French post, deliver a letter to the officer in command, and demand an answer. He was also to find out how many forts the French had built, how far apart they were, how well garrisoned, and whether they were likely to be supported from Quebec.


Having received these instructions, Washington made his way in the depth of winter to Fort Le Boeuf, delivered the governor’s letter, and brought back the refusal of the French officer to withdraw. [16]

FORT DUQUESNE (1754)–Dinwiddie now realized that the French held the Allegheny, and that if they were to be shut out of the Ohio valley, something had to be done at once. He therefore sent a party of backwoodsmen to build a fort at the forks of the Ohio (where Pittsburg now is). While they were at work, the French came down the Allegheny, captured the half-built fort, and in place of it erected a larger one which they named Duquesne (doo-kan’).

GREAT MEADOWS.–Meantime Washington had been sent with some soldiers to Wills Creek in western Maryland. When he heard of the capture of the fort, he started westward, cutting a road for wagons and cannon as he went, and camped for a time at Great Meadows, in southwestern Pennsylvania. There, one night, he received word from Half King, a friendly Indian encamped with his band six miles away, that a French force was hidden near at hand. Washington with some forty men set off at once for the Indian camp, and reached it at daylight. A plan of attack was agreed on, and the march begun. On Washington’s approach, the French flew to arms, and a sharp fight ensued in which the French commander Jumonville [17] and nine of his men were killed.

FORT NECESSITY.–At Great Meadows Washington now threw up an intrenchment called Fort Necessity. Some more men having reached him, he left a few at the fort and went on westward again. But he had not gone far when word came that the French were coming to avenge the death of Jumonville. Washington therefore fell back to the fort, where he was attacked and on July 4, 1754, was forced to surrender, but was allowed to return to Virginia with his men.

All previous wars between France and England had begun in the Old World, but now a great struggle had begun in the New.


1. When William and Mary became king and queen of England, war with France followed. In the colonies this was called King William’s War (1689-97).

2. The French from Canada ravaged the New England frontier and burned Schenectady in New York. The English colonists captured Port Royal, but failed to take Montreal and Quebec.

3. After four years of peace (1697-1701), war between France and England was renewed. This was called Queen Anne’s War (1701-13).

4. The great event of the war was the conquest of Acadia. Port Royal was named Annapolis; Acadia was called Nova Scotia.

5. Thirty-one years of peace followed. During this time the French occupied the Mississippi valley, and built the fortress of Louisburg on Cape Breton Island.

6. During King George’s War (1744-48), Louisburg was captured, but it was returned by the treaty of peace.

7. France now proceeded to occupy the Ohio valley, and built forts on a branch of the Allegheny.

8. The British also claimed the Ohio valley, and started to build a fort on the site of Pittsburg, but were driven off by the French.

9. Troops under George Washington, on their way toward the fort, defeated a small French force, but were themselves captured by the French at Fort Necessity (July 4, 1754).


[1] It was only a few years after this defeat that the Dutch planted their trading posts on the upper Hudson. They made friends of the Iroquois, and when the English succeeded the Dutch, they followed the same wise policy, encouraged the old hatred of the Indians for the French, and inspired more than one of their raids into Canada. The Iroquois thus became a barrier against the French and prevented them from coming down the Hudson and so cutting off New England from the Middle Colonies.

[2] The inhabitants, mostly Dutch, had been advised to be on their guard, but they laughed at the advice, kept their gates open, and, it is said, at one of them put two snow men as mock sentinels.

[3] It was expected that the plunder of Quebec would pay the cost of the expedition. Failure added to the debt of Massachusetts, and forced the colony to issue paper money or “bills of credit.” This was the first time such money was issued by any of the colonies. (For picture of a bill of credit, see p. 204.)

[4] They captured, plundered, and burned York, were beaten in an attack on Wells, burned houses and tomahawked a hundred people at Durham, and burned the farmhouses near Haverhill.

[5] Queen Mary died in 1694, and King William in 1702. The crown then passed to Anne, sister of Mary. The war, therefore, was fought mostly during her reign.

[6] Read Whittier’s poem _Pentucket_, and his account in prose called _The Border War of 1708_.

[7] Formidable as was the fort, the snow of a severe winter had been suffered to pile in drifts against the stockade till in places it nearly reached the top, so that the stockade was no longer an obstacle to the French and Indians.

[8] Read Parkman’s _Half-Century of Conflict_, Vol. I, pp. 52-66.

[9] Ever since the accession of King James I (1603) England and Scotland had been under the same king, but otherwise had been independent, each having its own Parliament. Now, in Queen Anne’s reign, the two countries were united (1707) and made the one country of Great Britain, with one Parliament.

[10] It was during these years of peace that Georgia was planted. The Spaniards at St. Augustine considered this an intrusion into their territory, and protested vigorously when Oglethorpe established a line of military posts from the Altamaha to the St. Johns River. When word came that Great Britain and Spain were at war, Oglethorpe, aided by British ships, (1740) attacked St. Augustine. He failed to capture the city, and the Spaniards (1742) invaded Georgia. Oglethorpe, though greatly outnumbered, made a gallant defense, forced the Spaniards to withdraw, and (1743) a second time attacked St. Augustine, but failed to take it.

[11] The expedition was undertaken without authority from the king. The army was a body of raw recruits from the farms, the shops, lumber camps, and fishing villages. The commander–Pepperell–was chosen because of his popularity, and knew no more about attacking a fortress than the humblest man in the ranks. Of cannon suitable to reduce a fortress the army had none. Nevertheless, by dint of hard work and good luck, and largely by means of many cannon captured from the French, the garrison was forced to surrender. Read Hawthorne’s _Grandfather’s Chair_, Part ii, Chap. vii; also Chaps. viii and ix.

[12] Read Parkman’s _Montcalm and Wolfe_, Vol. I, pp. 20-34, for a comparison of the French and English colonies in America.

[13] One of these plates was soon found by the Indians and sent to the governor of Pennsylvania. Two more in recent years were found projecting from the banks of the Ohio by boys while bathing or at play.

[14] Among the members of the company were Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, and two brothers of George Washington.

[15] George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, at Bridges Creek, in Virginia. At fourteen he thought seriously of going to sea, but became a surveyor, and at sixteen was sent to survey part of the vast estate of Lord Fairfax which lay beyond the Blue Ridge. He lived the life of a frontiersman, slept in tents, in cabins, in the open, and did his work so well that he was made a public surveyor. This position gave him steady occupation for three years, and a knowledge of woodcraft and men that stood him in good stead in time to come. When he was nineteen, his brother Lawrence procured him an appointment as an adjutant general of Virginia with the rank of major, a post he held in October, 1753, when Dinwiddie sent him, accompanied by a famous frontiersman, Christopher Gist, to find the French.

[16] On the way home Washington left his men in charge of the horses and baggage, put on Indian walking dress, and with Christopher Gist set off by the nearest way through the woods on foot. “The following day,” says Washington, in his account of the journey, “just after we had passed a place called Murdering town, … we fell in with a party of French Indians, who had lain in wait for us. One of them fired at Mr. Gist or me, not fifteen steps off, but fortunately missed.” The next day they came to a river. “There was no way of getting over but on a raft, … but before we were half over we were jammed in the ice…. I put out my setting pole to try and stop the raft that the ice might pass by, when the rapidity of the stream threw it with such force against the pole, that it jerked me out into ten feet of water, but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the raft logs.” They were forced to swim to an island, and next day crossed on the ice. Read Parkman’s _Montcalm and Wolfe_, Vol. I, pp. 132-136.

[17] The French claimed that Jumonville was the bearer of a dispatch from the commander at the Ohio, that after the Virginians fired twice he made a sign that he was the bearer of a letter, that the firing ceased, that they gathered about him and while he was reading killed him and his companions. Jumonville’s death has therefore been called an “assassination” by French writers. The story rested on false statements made by Indians friendly to the French. In reality, there is ample proof that Jumonville made no attempt to deliver any message to Washington.




THE SITUATION IN 1754.–The French were now in armed possession of the Ohio valley. Their chain of forts bounded the British colonies from Lake Champlain to Fort Duquesne. Unless they were dislodged, all hope of colonial expansion westward was ended. To dislodge them meant war, and the certainty of war led to a serious attempt to unite the colonies.

By order of the Lords of Trade, a convention of delegates from the colonies [1] was held at Albany to secure by treaty and presents the friendship of the Six Nations of Indians; it would not do to let those powerful tribes go over to the French in the coming war. After treating with the Indians, the convention proceeded to consider the question whether all the colonies could not be united for defense and for the protection of their interests.

[Illustration: JOIN, OR DIE.]

FRANKLIN’S PLAN OF UNION.–One of the delegates was Benjamin Franklin. In his newspaper, the _Philadelphia Gazette_, he had urged union, and he had put this device [2] at the top of an account of the capture of the Ohio fort (afterward Duquesne) by the French. At the convention he submitted a plan of union calling for a president general and a grand council of representatives from the colonies to meet each year. They were to make treaties with the Indians, regulate the affairs of the colonies as a whole, levy taxes, build forts, and raise armies. The convention adopted the plan, but both the colonial legislatures and the Lords of Trade in London rejected it. [3]

[Illustration: FRANKLIN, AT THE AGE OF 70.]

THE FIVE POINTS OF ATTACK.–The French held five strongholds, which shut the British out of New France and Louisiana, and threatened the English colonies.

1. Louisburg threatened New England and Nova Scotia.

2. Quebec controlled the St. Lawrence.

3. Crown Point (and later Ticonderoga), on Lake Champlain, guarded the water route to New York and threatened the Hudson valley.

4. Niagara guarded the portage between Lakes Ontario and Erie, and threatened New York on the west.

5. Fort Duquesne controlled the Ohio and threatened Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The plan of the British was to strengthen their hold on Nova Scotia (Acadia), and to attack three of the French strongholds–Crown Point, Niagara, and Fort Duquesne–at the same time.

ACADIA.–Late in May, 1755, therefore, an expedition set sail from Boston, made its way up the Bay of Fundy, captured the French forts at the head of that bay, reduced all Acadia to British rule, and tendered the oath of allegiance to the French Acadians. This they refused to take, whereupon they were driven on board ships at the point of the bayonet and carried off and distributed among the colonies. [4]


CROWN POINT.–The army against Crown Point, composed of troops from the four New England colonies and New York, gathered at Albany, and Forts in northern New York, under command of William Johnson [5] marched to the head of Lake George, where it beat the French under Dieskau (dees’kou), and built Fort William Henry; but it did not reach Crown Point.

NIAGARA.–A third army, under General Shirley of Massachusetts, likewise set out from Albany, and pushing across New York reached Oswego, when all thought of attacking Niagara was abandoned. News had come of the crushing defeat of Braddock.

BRADDOCK’S DEFEAT.–Under the belief that neither colonial officers nor colonial troops were of much account, the mother country at the opening of the war sent over Edward Braddock, one of her best officers, and two regiments of regulars. Brad-dock came to Virginia, appointed Washington one of his aids, and having gathered some provincial troops, set off from Fort Cumberland in Maryland for Fort Duquesne. The country to be traversed was a wilderness. No road led through the woods, so the troops were forced to cut one as they went slowly westward (map, p. 144).

On July 9, 1755, when some eight miles from Fort Duquesne, those in the van suddenly beheld what seemed to be an Indian coming toward them, but was really a French officer with a band of French and Indians at his back. The moment he saw the British he stopped and waved his hat in the air, whereupon his followers disappeared in the bushes and opened fire. The British returned the fire and stood their ground manfully, but as they could not see their foe, while their scarlet coats afforded a fine target, they were shot down by scores, lost heart, huddled together, and when at last Brad-dock was forced to order a retreat, broke and fled. [6]

Braddock was wounded just as the retreat began, and died as the army was hurrying back to Fort Cumberland, and lest the Indians should find his grave, he was buried in the road, and all traces of the grave were obliterated by the troops and wagons passing over it. From Fort Cumberland the British marched to Philadelphia, and the whole frontier was left to the mercy of the French and Indians.

FRENCH VICTORIES.–War parties were sent out from Fort Duquesne in every direction, settlement after settlement was sacked, and before November the Indians were burning, plundering, massacring, scalping within eighty miles of Philadelphia. During the two following years (1756-57), the French were all energy and activity, and the British were hard pressed. [7] Oswego and Fort William Henry were captured, [8] and the New York frontier was ravaged by the French.

BRITISH VICTORIES (1758).–And now the tide turned. William Pitt, one of the great Englishmen of his day, was placed at the head of public affairs in Great Britain, and devoted himself with all his energy to the conduct of the war. He chose better commanders, infused enthusiasm into men and officers alike, and the result was a series of victories. A fleet of frigates and battleships, with an army of ten thousand men, captured Louisburg. Three thousand provincials in open boats crossed Lake Ontario, took Fort Frontenac, and thus cut communication between Quebec and the Ohio. A third expedition, under Forbes and Washington, marched slowly across Pennsylvania, to find Fort Duquesne in ruins and the French gone. [9]

[Illustration: LETTER WRITTEN BY WASHINGTON’S MOTHER. In the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society]

VICTORIES OF 1759.–Two of the five strongholds (Louisburg and Fort Duquesne) were now under the British flag, and the next year (1759) the three others met a like fate. An expedition under Prideaux (prid’o) and Sir William Johnson captured Fort Niagara; an army under Amherst took Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and a fleet and army led by Wolfe, a young officer distinguished at Louisburg, took Quebec.

QUEBEC, 1759.–The victory at Quebec was the greatest of the war. The fortress was the strongest in America, and stood on the crest of a high cliff which rose from the waters of the St. Lawrence. The French commander, Montcalm, was a brave and able soldier. But one night in September, 1759, the British general, Wolfe, led his army up the steep cliff west of the city, and in the morning formed in battle array on the Plains of Abraham. A great battle followed. Both Wolfe and Montcalm were killed; but the British won, and Quebec has ever since been under their flag. Montreal fell the next year (1760), and Canada was conquered. [10]

[Illustration: CAPTURE OF QUEBEC]

SPAIN CEDES FLORIDA TO GREAT BRITAIN.–In the spring of 1761, France made proposals of peace; but while the negotiation was under way, Spain allied herself with France, and was soon dragged into the war. The British thereupon captured Havana and Manila (1762), and thus became for a short time masters of Cuba and the Philippines. A few weeks later preliminary articles of peace were signed (November, 1762), and the final (or definitive) treaty in 1763. Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain in return for Cuba. News of the capture of the Philippines was not received till after the preliminary treaty was signed; the islands were therefore returned without any equivalent. [11]

THE FRENCH QUIT AMERICA.–By the treaties of 1762 and 1763 France withdrew from America.

To Great Britain were ceded (1) all of New France (or Canada), Cape Breton Island, and all the near-by islands save two small ones near Newfoundland, and (2) all of Louisiana east of the Mississippi save the city of New Orleans and a little territory above and below the city.


To recompense Spain for her loss in the war, France ceded to her New Orleans and the neighboring territory, and all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi.

THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC.–The acquisition of New France made it necessary for Great Britain to provide for its government. To do this she drew a line about the part inhabited by whites, and established the province of Quebec. The south boundary of the new province should be carefully observed, for it became the northern boundary of New York and New England.

THE PROCLAMATION LINE.–The proclamation which created the province of Quebec also drew a line “beyond the sources of the rivers which flow into the Atlantic from the west and northwest”: beyond this line no governor of any of the colonies was to grant land. This meant that the king cut off the claims to western lands set forth in the charters of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia. The territory so cut off was for the present to be reserved for the Indians.

THE PROVINCES OF EAST AND WEST FLORIDA.–The proclamation of 1763 also created two other provinces. One called East Florida was so much of the present state of Florida as lies east of the Apalachicola River. West Florida was all the territory received from Spain west of the Apalachicola. [12]

To Georgia was annexed the territory between the St. Marys River, the proclamation line, and the Altamaha.

THE FRONTIER.–British settlements did not yet reach the Allegheny Mountains. In New York they extended a short distance up the Mohawk River. In Pennsylvania the little town of Bedford, in Maryland Fort Cumberland, and in Virginia the Allegheny Mountains marked the frontier (p. 144).

THE WILDERNESS ROUTES AND FORTS.–Through the wilderness lying beyond the frontier ran several lines of forts intended to protect routes of communication. Thus in New York the route up the Mohawk to Oneida Lake and down Oswego River to Lake Ontario was protected by Forts Stanwix, Brewerton, and Oswego. From Fort Oswego the route continued by water to Fort Niagara at the mouth of the river of that name, then along the Niagara River and by Lake Erie to Presque Isle, then by land to Fort Le Boeuf, then by river to Fort Pitt.


From Fort Pitt two roads led back to the frontier. One leading to the Potomac valley was that cut from Fort Cumberland by Braddock (in 1755) and known as Braddock’s Road. The other to Bedford on the Pennsylvania frontier was cut by General Forbes (in 1758).

Along the shores of the Great Lakes were a few forts built by the French and now held by the British. These were Sandusky, Detroit, Mackinaw, and St. Joseph.

[Illustration: OLD FORT NIAGARA.]

PONTIAC’S WAR.–Between this chain of forts and the Mississippi River, in the region given up by France, lived many tribes of Indians, old friends of the French and bitter enemies of the British. The old enmity was kept aflame by the French Canadians, who still carried on the fur trade with the Indians. [13]

When, therefore, Pontiac, a chief of the Ottawas, in 1762 sent out among the Indian nations ambassadors with the war belt of wampum, and tomahawks stained red in token of war, the tribes everywhere responded to the call. [14] From the Ohio and its tributaries to the upper lakes, and southward to the mouth of the Mississippi, they banded against the British, and early in 1763, led by Pontiac, swept down on the frontier forts. Detroit was attacked, Presque Isle was captured, Le Boeuf and Venango were burned to the ground, Fort Pitt was besieged, and the frontier of Pennsylvania laid waste. Of fourteen posts from Mackinaw to Oswego, all but four were taken by the Indians. It seemed that not a settler would be left west of the Susquehanna; but a little army under Colonel Bouquet beat the Indians, cleared the Pennsylvania frontier, and relieved Fort Pitt in 1763; another army in 1764 passed along the lake shore to Detroit and quieted the Indians in that region, while Bouquet (1764) invaded the Ohio country, forced the tribes to submit, and released two hundred white prisoners.


1. The war which followed the defeat of Washington is known as the French and Indian War.

2. Fearing that the French Acadians in Nova Scotia would become troublesome, the British dispersed them among the colonies.

3. The strongholds of the French were Louisburg, Quebec, Crown Point, Niagara, and Fort Duquesne.

4. The first expedition against Fort Duquesne ended in Braddock’s defeat; expeditions against other strongholds came to naught, and during the early years of the war the French carried everything before them.

5. But when Pitt rose to power in England, the tide turned: Louisburg and Fort Duquesne were captured (in 1758); Niagara, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Quebec were taken (in 1759); and Montreal fell in 1760.

6. Spain now joined in the war, whereupon Great Britain seized Cuba and the Philippines.

7. Peace was made in 1762-63: the conquests from Spain were restored to her, but Florida was ceded to Great Britain; and France gave up her possessions in North America.

8. Canada, Cape Breton, and all Louisiana east of the Mississippi, save New Orleans and vicinity, went to Great Britain.

9. New Orleans and Louisiana west of the Mississippi went to Spain.

10. Great Britain then established the new provinces of Quebec and East and West Florida, and drew the Proclamation Line.

11. A great Indian uprising, known as Pontiac’s War, followed the peace, but was quickly put down.


[1] New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were the only colonies represented.

[2] There was an old superstition that if a snake were cut into pieces and the pieces allowed to touch, they would join and the snake would not die. Franklin meant that unless the separate colonies joined they would be conquered.

[3] Franklin was born in Boston in 1706, the youngest son in a family of seventeen children. He went to work in his father’s candle shop when ten years old. He was fond of reading, and by saving what little money he could secure, bought a few books and read them thoroughly. When twelve, he was bound apprentice to a brother who was a printer. At seventeen he ran away to Philadelphia, where he found work in a printing office, and in 1729 owned a newspaper of his own, which soon became the best and most entertaining in the colonies. His most famous publication is _Poor Richard’s Almanac_. To this day the proverbs and common sense sayings of Poor Richard are constantly quoted. Franklin was a good citizen: he took part in the founding of the first public library in Philadelphia, the formation of the first fire engine company, and the organization of the first militia, and he persuaded the authorities to light and pave streets and to establish a night watch. He is regarded as the founder of the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin was also a man of science. He discovered that lightning is electricity, invented the lightning rod, and wrote many scientific papers. He served in the legislature of Pennsylvania, and was made postmaster general for the colonies. All these things occurred before 1754.

[4] About six thousand were carried off. Nowhere were they welcome. Some who were taken to Boston made their way to Canada. Such as reached South Carolina and Georgia were given leave to return; but seven little boatloads were stopped at Boston. Others reached Louisiana, where their descendants still live. A few succeeded in returning to Acadia. Do not fail to read Longfellow’s poem _Evangeline_, a beautiful story founded on this removal of the Acadians. Was it necessary to remove the Acadians? Read Parkman’s _Montcalm and Wolfe_, Vol. I, pp. 234-241, 256-266, 276- 284; read also “The Old French War,” Part ii, Chap, viii, in Hawthorne’s _Grandfather’s Chair_.

[5] William Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715, and came to America in 1738 to take charge of his uncle’s property in the Mohawk valley. He settled about twenty miles west of Schenectady, and engaged in the Indian trade. He dealt honestly with the Indians, learned their language, attended their feasts, and, tomahawk in hand, danced their dances in Indian dress. He even took as his wife a sister of Brant, a Mohawk chief. So great was his influence with the Indians that in 1746 he was made Commissary of New York for Indian Affairs. In 1750 he was made a member of the provincial Council, went to the Albany convention in 1754, and later was appointed a major general. After the expedition against Crown Point he was knighted and made Superintendent of Indian Affairs in North America. He died in 1774.

[6] It is sometimes said that Braddock fell into an ambuscade. This is a mistake. He was surprised because he did not send scouts ahead of his army; but the Indians were not in ambush. Braddock would not permit the troops to fight in Indian fashion from behind trees and bushes, but forced his men to form in platoons. A part of the regulars who tried to fight behind trees Braddock beat with his sword and forced into line. Some Virginians who sought shelter behind a huge fallen tree were mistaken for the enemy and fired on. In the fight and after it Washington was most prominent. Twice a horse was shot under him. Four bullets passed through his clothes. When the retreat began, he rallied the fugitives, and brought off the wounded Braddock.

[7] War between France and Great Britain was declared in May, 1756. In Europe it was known as the Seven Years’ War; in America as the French and Indian. On the side of France were Russia and Austria. On the side of Great Britain was Frederick the Great of Prussia. The fighting went on not only in America, but in the West Indies, on the European Continent, in the Mediterranean, and in India.

[8] When the colonial troops surrendered Fort William Henry, the French commander, Montcalm, agreed that they should return to their homes in safety. But the Indians, maddened by liquor, massacred a large number, and carried off some six hundred prisoners. Montcalm finally secured the release of some four hundred. Cooper’s novel _The Last of the Mohicans_ treats of the war about Lake George.

[9] Instead of using the road cut by Braddock, Forbes chose another route, (map, p. 144), and spent much time in road making. Late in September he was still fifty miles from Fort Duquesne, and decided to go into winter quarters. But the French attacked Forbes and were beaten; and from some prisoners Forbes learned that the garrison at Fort Duquesne was weak. A picked force of men, with Washington and his Virginians in the lead, then hurried forward, and reached the fort to find it abandoned. A new stockade was built near by, and named Fort Pitt, and the place was named Pittsburg.

[10] Read Parkman’s _Montcalm and Wolfe_, Vol. II, pp. 280-297. The fall of Quebec is treated in fiction in Gilbert Parker’s _Seats of the Mighty_.

[11] When Manila was captured, all private property was saved from plunder by the promise of a ransom of £1,000,000. One half was paid in money, and the rest in bills on the Spanish treasury. Spain never paid these bills.

[12] The north boundary was the parallel of 31°; but in 1764 West Florida was enlarged, and the north boundary became the parallel of latitude that passes through the mouth of the Yazoo River.

[13] They told the Indians that the British would soon be driven out, and that the Mississippi River and Canada would again be in French hands; that the British were trying to destroy the Indian race, and for this purpose were building forts and making settlements.

[14] Read Parkman’s _Conspiracy of Pontiac_; Kirk Munroe’s _At War with Pontiac_.



The French and Indian War gave the colonists valuable training as soldiers, freed them from the danger of attack by their French neighbors, and so made them less dependent on Great Britain for protection. But the mother country took no account of this, and at once began to do things which in ten years’ time drove the colonies into rebellion.

CAUSES OF THE QUARREL.–We are often told that taxation without representation was the cause of the Revolution. It was indeed one cause, and a very important one, but not the only one by any means. The causes of the Revolution, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, were many, and arose chiefly from an attempt of the mother country to (1) enforce the laws concerning trade, (2) quarter royal troops in the colonies, [1] and (3) support the troops by taxes imposed without consent of the colonies.

THE TRADE LAWS were enacted by Parliament between 1650 and 1764 for the purpose of giving Great Britain a monopoly of colonial trade. By their provisions–

1. No goods were to be carried from any port in Europe to America unless first landed in England.

2. Many articles of colonial production, as tobacco, cotton, silk, indigo, furs, rice, sugar, could not be sent to any country save England; but lumber, salt fish, and provisions could be sent also to France, Spain, or other foreign countries.

3. To help English wool manufacture, the colonists were forbidden to send their woolen goods or hats to any country whatever, or even from colony to colony.

4. To help English iron manufacture, the colonists were forbidden to make steel.

5. To help the British West Indies, a heavy duty was laid (in 1733) on sugar or molasses imported from any other than a British possession.

SMUGGLING.–Had these laws been rigidly enforced they would have been severe indeed, but they could not be rigidly enforced. They were openly violated, and smuggling became so common in every colony [2] that the cost of collecting the revenue was much more than the amount gathered.

This smuggling the British government now determined to end. Accordingly, in 1764, the colonies were ordered to stop all unlawful trade, naval vessels were stationed off the coast to seize smugglers, and new courts, called vice-admiralty courts, were set up in which smugglers when caught were to be tried without a jury. [3]

A STANDING ARMY.–It was further proposed to send over ten thousand regular soldiers to defend the colonies against the Indians and against any attack that might be made by France or Spain. The colonists objected to the troops on the ground that they had not asked for soldiers and did not need any.

[Illustration: BRITISH SOLDIER.]

THE STAMP ACT.–As the cost of keeping the troops would be very great, it was decided to raise part of the money needed by a stamp tax which Parliament enacted in 1765. The Stamp Act applied not only to the thirteen colonies, but also to Canada, Florida, and the West Indies, and was to take effect on and after November 1, 1765. [4]

1. Every piece of vellum or paper on which was written any legal document for use in any court was to be charged with a stamp duty of from three pence to ten pounds.

2. Many kinds of documents not used in court, and newspapers, almanacs, etc., were to be written or printed only on stamped paper made in England and sold at prices fixed by law.

The money raised by the stamp tax was not to be taken to Great Britain, but was to be spent in the colonies in the purchase of food and supplies for the troops.

THE COLONIES DENY THE RIGHT OF PARLIAMENT TO TAX THEM.–But the colonists cared not for what use the money was intended. “No taxation without representation,” was their cry. They cast no votes for a member of Parliament; therefore, they said, they were not represented in Parliament. Not being represented, they could not be taxed by Parliament, because taxes could lawfully be laid on them only by their chosen representatives. [5]

In the opinion of the British people the colonists were represented in Parliament. British subjects in America, it was held, were just as much represented in the House of Commons as were the people of Manchester or Birmingham, neither of which sent a member to the House. Each member of the House represented not merely the few men who elected him, but all the subjects of the British crown everywhere. [6]

THE COLONIES RESIST.–Resistance to the Stamp Act began in Virginia, where the House of Burgesses passed a set of resolutions written by Patrick Henry. [7] In substance they declared that the colonists were British subjects and were not bound to obey any law taxing them without the consent of their own legislatures.


Massachusetts came next with a call for a congress of delegates from the colonies, to meet at New York in October.

THE STAMP ACT CONGRESS, 1765.–Nine of the colonies sent delegates, and after a session of twenty days the representatives of six signed a declaration of rights and grievances.

The declaration of rights set forth that a British subject could not be taxed unless he was represented in the legislature that imposed the tax; that Americans were not represented in Parliament; and that therefore the stamp tax was an attack on the rights of Englishmen and the liberty of self-government. The grievances complained of were trial without jury, restrictions on trade, taxation without representation, and especially the stamp tax.

THE STAMP DISTRIBUTERS.–In August, 1765, the names of the men in America chosen to be the distributers or sellers of the stamps and stamped paper were made public, and then the people began to act. Demands were made that the distributers should resign. When they refused, the people rose and by force compelled them to resign, and riots occurred in the chief seaboard towns from New Hampshire to Maryland. At Boston the people broke into the house of the lieutenant governor and destroyed his fine library and papers.


On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act went into force, but not a stamp or a piece of stamped paper could be had in any of the thirteen colonies. Some of the newspapers ceased to be printed, the last issues appearing with black borders, death’s heads, and obituary notices. But soon all were regularly issued without stamps, and even the courts disregarded the law. [8]

[Illustration: LANTERN USED AT CELEBRATION OF THE REPEAL OF THE STAMP ACT. In the Old Statehouse, Boston.]

THE STAMP ACT REPEALED, 1766.–Meantime the merchants had been signing agreements not to import, and the people not to buy, any British goods for some months to come. American trade with the mother country was thus cut off, thousands of workmen in Great Britain were thrown out of employment, and Parliament was beset with petitions from British merchants praying for a repeal of the stamp tax. To enforce the act without bloodshed was impossible. In March, 1766, therefore, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. [9] But at the same time it enacted another, known as the Declaratory Act, in which it declared that it had power to “legislate for the colonies in all cases whatsoever.”

THE TOWNSHEND ACTS, 1767.–In their joy over the repeal of the Stamp Act, the colonists gave no heed to the Declaratory Act. But the very next year Charles Townshend, then minister of finance, persuaded Parliament to pass several laws since known as the Townshend Acts. One of these forbade the legislature of New York to pass any more laws until it had made provision for the royal troops quartered in New York city. Another laid taxes on all paints, paper, tea, and certain other articles imported into the colonies. [10]

THE COLONIES AGAIN RESIST.–None of the new taxes were heavy, but again the case was one of taxation without representation, so the legislature of Massachusetts sent a letter to the other colonial legislatures asking them to unite and consult for the protection of their rights. This letter gave so great offense to the mother country that Massachusetts was ordered to rescind her act, and the governors of the other colonies to see that no notice was taken of it. [11] And now the royal troops for the defense of the colonies began to arrive. But Massachusetts, North Carolina, and South Carolina refused to find them quarters, and for such refusal the legislature of North Carolina was dissolved.

[Illustration: BOSTON MASSACRE MONUMENT. In Boston Common.]

THE BOSTON MASSACRE.–At Boston the troops were received with every mark of hatred and disgust, and for three years were subjected to every sort of insult and indignity, which they repaid in kind. The troops led riotous lives, raced horses on Sunday on the Common, played “Yankee Doodle” before the church doors, and more than once exchanged blows with the citizens. In one encounter the troops fired on the crowd, killing five and wounding six. This was the famous “Boston Massacre,” and produced over all the land a deep impression. [12]

TOWNSHEND ACTS REPEALED, 1770.–Once more the resistance of the colonies– chiefly through refusing to buy British goods–was successful, and Parliament took off all the Townshend taxes except that on tea. This import tax of three pence a pound on tea was retained in order that the right of Parliament to tax the colonies might be asserted. But the colonists stood firm; they refused to buy tea shipped from Great Britain, but smuggled it from Holland. [13]

TEA TAX JUGGLE.–By 1773 the refusal to buy tea from the mother country was severely felt by the East India Company, which had brought far more tea to Great Britain than it could dispose of. Parliament then removed the export duty of twelve pence a pound which had formerly been paid in Great Britain on all tea shipped to the colonies. Thus after paying the three- pence tax at the American customhouses, the tea could be sold nine pence a pound cheaper than before.

THE TEA NOT ALLOWED TO BE SOLD.–The East India Company now quickly selected agents in the chief seaports of the colonies, and sent shiploads of tea consigned to them for sale. [14] But the colonists were tempted by cheap tea; they were determined that Parliament would not tax them. They therefore forced the agents to resign their commissions, and when the tea ships arrived, took possession of them. At Philadelphia the ships were sent back to London. At Charleston the tea was landed and stored for three years and then seized and sold by the state of South Carolina. At Annapolis the people forced the owner of a tea ship to go on board and set fire to his ship; vessel and cargo were thus consumed. At Boston the people wished the tea sent back to London, and when the authorities refused to allow this, a party of men disguised as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea into the water. [15]


THE INTOLERABLE ACTS.–Parliament now determined to punish the colonies, and for this purpose enacted five laws called by the colonists the Intolerable Acts:–

1. The port of Boston was shut to trade and commerce till the colony should pay for the tea destroyed.

2. The charter of Massachusetts was altered.

3. Persons who were accused of murder done in executing the laws might be taken for trial to another colony or to Great Britain.

4. The quartering of troops on the people was authorized.

5. The boundaries of the province of Quebec were extended to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. As Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia claimed parts of this territory, they regarded the Quebec Act as another act of tyranny. [16]

THE FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.–Because of the passage of these laws, a Congress suggested by Virginia and called by Massachusetts met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia in September, 1774, and issued a declaration of rights and grievances, a petition to the king, and addresses to the people of Great Britain, to the people of Canada, and to the people of the colonies. It also called a second Congress to meet on May 10, 1775, and take action on the result of the petition to the king.


1. After the French and Indian War Great Britain determined to enforce the laws of trade.

2. It also decided that the colonies should bear a part of the cost of their defense, and for this purpose a stamp tax was levied.

3. The right of Parliament to levy such a tax was denied by the colonists on the ground that they were not represented in Parliament.

4. The attempt to enforce the tax led to resistance, and a congress of the colonies (1765) issued a declaration of rights and grievances.

5. The tax was repealed in 1766, but Parliament at the same time asserted its right to tax.

6. The Townshend Acts (1767) tried to raise a revenue by import duties on goods brought into the colonies. At the same time the arrival of the troops for defense of the colonies caused new trouble; in Boston the people and the troops came to blows (1770).

7. The refusal of the colonists to buy the taxed articles led to the repeal of all the taxes except that on tea (1770).

8. The colonists still refused to buy taxed tea, whereupon Parliament enabled the East India Company to send over tea for sale at a lower price than before.

9. The tea was not allowed to be sold. In Boston it was destroyed.

10. As a punishment Parliament enacted the five Intolerable Acts.

11. The First Continental Congress (1774) thereupon petitioned for redress, and called a second Congress to meet the next year.


[1] That is, compel the colonists to furnish quarters–rooms or houses– for the troops to live in. Read Parkman’s _Montcalm and Wolfe_, Vol. I, pp. 439-440.

[2] In order to detect and seize smugglers the crown had resorted to “writs of assistance.” The law required that every ship bringing goods to America should come to some established port and that her cargo should be reported at the customhouse. Instead, the smugglers would secretly land goods elsewhere. If a customs officer suspected this, he could go to court and ask for a search warrant, stating the goods for which he was to seek and the place to be searched. But this would give the smugglers warning and they could remove the goods. What the officers wanted was a general warrant good for any goods in any place. This writ of assistance, as it was called, was common in England, and was issued in the colonies about 1754. In 1760 King George II died, and all writs issued in his name expired. In 1761, therefore, application was made to the Superior Court of Massachusetts for a new writ of assistance to run in the name of King George III. Sixty merchants opposed the issue, and James Otis and Oxenbridge Thacher appeared for the merchants. The speech of Otis was a famous plea, sometimes called the beginning of colonial resistance; but the court granted the writ.

[3] These acts are complained of in the Declaration of Independence. The king is blamed “For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world,” that is, enforcing the trade laws; again, “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people,” that is to say, the vice-admiralty judges and naval officers sworn to act as customhouse officers and seize smugglers. In doing this duty these officers did “harass our people.”

[4] While the Stamp Act was under debate in Parliament, Colonel Barré, who fought under Wolfe at Louisburg, opposed it. A member had spoken of the colonists as “children planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence, and protected by our arms.” “They planted by your care!” said Barré. “No, your oppression planted them in America. Nourished by your indulgence! They grew up by your neglect of them. They protected by your arms! These Sons of Liberty have nobly taken up arms in your defense.” The words “Sons of Liberty” were at once seized on, and used in our country to designate the opponents of the stamp tax. Read “The Stamp Act” in Hawthorne’s _Grandfather’s Chair_.

[5] The colonists did not deny the right of Parliament to regulate the trade of the whole British Empire, and to lay “external taxes”–customs duties–for the purpose of regulating trade. But this stamp tax was an “internal tax” for the purpose of raising revenue.

[6] Parliament was divided then, as now, into two houses–the Lords, consisting of nobles and clergy, and the Commons, consisting then of two members elected by each county and two elected by each of certain towns. Some change was made in the list of towns thus represented in Parliament before the sixteenth century, but no change had been made since, though many of them had lost all or most of their population. Thus Old Sarum had become a green mound; its population had all drifted away to Salisbury. A member of the Commons, so the story runs, once said: “I am the member from Ludgesshall. I am also the population of Ludgesshall. When the sheriff’s writ comes, I announce the election, attend the poll, deposit my vote for myself, sign the return, and here I am.” When a town disappeared, the landowner of the soil on which it once stood appointed the two members. Such towns were called “rotten boroughs,” “pocket boroughs,” “nomination boroughs.”

[7] Patrick Henry was born in Virginia in 1736. As a youth he was dull and indolent and gave no sign of coming greatness. After two failures as a storekeeper and one as a farmer he turned in desperation to law, read a few books, and with difficulty passed the examination necessary for admittance to the bar. Henry had now found his true vocation. Business came to him, and one day in 1763 he argued the weak (but popular) side of a case with such eloquence that he carried court and jury with him, and it is said was carried out of the courthouse on the shoulders of the people. He was now famous, and in 1765 was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses to represent the county in which he had lived, just in time to take part in the proceedings on the Stamp Act. His part was to move the resolutions and support them in a fiery and eloquent speech, of which one passage has been preserved. Recalling the fate of tyrants of other times, he exclaimed, “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third–.” “Treason! treason!” shouted the Speaker. “Treason! treason!” shouted the members. To which Henry answered, “and George the Third may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.”

[8] In Canada and the West Indies the stamp tax was not resisted, and there stamps were used.

[9] When Parliament was considering the repeal, Benjamin Franklin, then in London as agent for Pennsylvania and other colonies, was called before a committee and examined as to the state of colonial affairs; read his answers in Hart’s _American History told by Contemporaries_, Vol. II, pp. 407-411. Pitt in a great speech declared, “The kingdom has no right to lay a tax on the colonies, because they are unrepresented in Parliament. I rejoice that America has resisted.” Edmund Burke, one of the greatest of Irish orators, took the same view.

[10] In the Declaration of Independence the king is charged with giving his assent to acts of Parliament “For suspending our own legislatures,” and “For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us,” and “For imposing taxes on us without our consent.”

[11] For refusing to obey, the legislature of Massachusetts was dissolved, as were the assemblies of Maryland and Georgia for having approved it, and that of New York for refusing supplies to the royal troops, and that of Virginia for complaining of the treatment of New York. Read Fiske’s _American Revolution_, Vol. I, pp. 28-36, 39-52.

[12] The two regiments of British troops in Boston were now removed, on demand of the people, to a fort in the harbor. The soldiers who fired the shots were tried for murder and acquitted, save two who received light sentences.

[13] One of the vessels sent to stop smuggling was the schooner _Gaspee_. Having run aground in Narragansett Bay (June, 1772), she was boarded by a party of men in eight boats and burned. The Virginia legislature appointed a “committee of correspondence,” to find out the facts regarding the destruction of the _Gaspee_ and “to maintain a correspondence with our sister colonies.” This plan of a committee to inform the other colonies what was happening in Virginia, and obtain from them accurate information as to what they were doing, was at once taken up by Massachusetts and other colonies, each of which appointed a similar committee. Such committees afterward proved to be the means of revolutionary organization. Read Fiske’s _American Revolution_, Vol. I, pp. 76-80.

[14] Parliament had given the company permission to do this. The company had long possessed the monopoly of trade with the East Indies, and the sole right to bring tea from China to Great Britain. Before 1773, however, it was obliged to sell the tea in Great Britain, and the business of exporting tea to the colonies had been carried on by merchants who bought from the company.

[15] Read “The Tea Party” in Hawthorne’s _Grandfather’s Chair_.

[16] All the Intolerable Acts are referred to in the Declaration of Independence. See if you can find the references.



LEXINGTON, 1775.–When the second Continental Congress met (May 10, 1775), the mother country and her colonies had come to blows.

The people of Massachusetts, fearing that this might happen, had begun to collect and hide arms, cannon, and powder. General Gage, the royal governor of Massachusetts and commander of the British troops in Boston, was told that military supplies were concealed at Concord, a town some twenty miles from Boston (map, p. 168). Now it happened that in April, 1775, two active patriots, Samuel Adams [1] and John Hancock, were at Lexington, a town on the road from Boston to Concord. Gage determined to strike a double blow at the patriots by sending troops to arrest Adams and Hancock and destroy the military stores. On the evening of April 18, accordingly, eight hundred regulars left Boston as quietly as possible. Gage hoped to keep the expedition a secret, but the patriots in Boston, suspecting where the troops were going, sent off Paul Revere [2] and William Dawes to ride by different routes to Lexington, rousing the countryside as they went. As the British advanced, alarm bells, signal guns, and lights in the villages gave proof that their secret was out.

[Illustration: JOHN HANCOCK’S BIBLE. Now in the Old Statehouse, Boston.]

[Illustration: ONE OF THE LANTERNS HUNG IN THE BELFRY. Now in the possession of the Concord Antiquarian Society.]

The sun was rising as the first of the British, under Major Pitcairn, entered Lexington and saw drawn up across the village green some fifty minutemen [3] under Captain John Parker. “Disperse, ye villains,” cried Pitcairn; “ye rebels, disperse!” Not a man moved, whereupon the order to fire was given; the troops hesitated to obey; Pitcairn fired his pistol, and a moment later a volley from the British killed or wounded sixteen minutemen. [4] Parker then gave the order to retire.


THE CONCORD FIGHT.–From Lexington the British went on to Concord, set the courthouse on fire, spiked some cannon, cut down the liberty pole, and destroyed some flour. Meantime the minutemen, having assembled beyond the village, came toward the North Bridge, and the British who were guarding it fell back. Shots were exchanged, and six minutemen were killed. [5] But the Americans crossed the bridge, drove back the British, and then dispersed.

[Illustration: BOSTON, CHARLESTON, ETC.]

About noon the British started for Boston, with hundreds of minutemen, who had come from all quarters, hanging on their flanks and rear, pouring in a galling fire from behind trees and stone fences and every bit of rising ground. The retreat became a flight, and the flight would have become a rout had not reinforcements met them near Lexington. Protected by this force, the defeated British entered Boston by sundown. By morning the hills from Charlestown to Roxbury were black with minutemen, and Boston was in a state of siege.

When the Green Mountain Boys heard of the fight, they took arms, and under Ethan Allen [6] surprised and captured Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain (map, p. 168).

THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS.–On the day that Fort Ticonderoga was captured (May 10, 1775), the Continental Congress met at Philadelphia. It had been created, not to govern the colonies, nor to conduct a war, but merely to consult concerning the public welfare, and advise what the colonies should do. But war had begun, Congress was forced to become a governing body, and after a month’s delay it adopted the band of patriots gathered about Boston, made it the Continental army, and appointed George Washington (then a delegate to Congress from Virginia) commander in chief.

Washington accepted the trust, and left Philadelphia June 21, but had not gone twenty miles when he was met by news of the battle of Bunker Hill.

BUNKER HILL, JUNE 17,1775.–Since the fight at Lexington and Concord in April, troops under General Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, and General Burgoyne had arrived at Boston and raised the number there to ten thousand. Gage now felt strong enough to seize the hills near Boston, lest the Americans should occupy them and command the town. Learning of this, the patriots determined to forestall him, and on the night of June 16 twelve hundred men under Prescott were sent to fortify Bunker Hill in Charlestown. Prescott thought best to go beyond Bunker Hill, and during the night threw up a rude intrenchment on Breeds Hill instead.

[Illustration: DRUM USED AT BUNKER HILL. Now in the possession of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, Boston.]

To allow batteries to be planted there would never do, so Gage dispatched Howe with nearly three thousand regulars to drive away the Americans and hold the hill. Coming over from Boston in boats, the British landed and marched up the hill till thirty yards from the works, when a deadly volley mowed down the front rank and sent the rest down the hill in disorder.

A little time elapsed before the regulars were seen again ascending, only to be met by a series of volleys at short range. The British fought stubbornly, but were once more forced to retreat, leaving the hillside covered with dead and wounded. Their loss was dreadful, but Howe could not bear to give up the fight, and a third time the British were led up the hill. The powder of the Americans was spent, and the fight was hand to hand with stones, butts of muskets, anything that would serve as a weapon, till the bayonet charges of the British forced the Americans to retreat. [7]

WASHINGTON IN COMMAND.–Two weeks later Washington reached Cambridge and took formal command of the army. For eight months he kept the British shut up in Boston, while he gathered guns, powder, and cannon, and trained the men.

To the Continental army mean time came troops from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and of course from the four New England colonies, commanded by men who were destined to rise to high positions during the war. There was Daniel Morgan of Virginia, with a splendid band of sharpshooters, and Israel Putnam of Connecticut, John Stark and John Sullivan of New Hampshire, Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island, Henry Knox of Boston, Horatio Gates of Virginia, and Benedict Arnold and Charles Lee who later turned traitors.

THE HESSIANS.–When King George III heard of the fight at Bunker Hill, he issued a proclamation declaring the colonists rebels, closed their ports to trade and commerce, [8] and sought to hire troops from Russia and Holland. Both refused, whereupon he turned to some petty German states and hired many thousand soldiers who in our country were called Hessians. [9]

[Illustration: HESSIAN HAT. Now in Essex Hall, Salem.]

CANADA INVADED.–Now that the war was really under way, Congress turned its attention to Canada. It was feared that the British governor there might take Ticonderoga, enter New York, and perhaps induce the Indians to harry the New England frontier as they did in the old French wars. In the summer of 1775, therefore, two expeditions were sent against Canada. One under Richard Montgomery went down Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga and captured Montreal. Another under Benedict Arnold sailed from Massachusetts to the mouth of the Kennebec River, arid forced its way through the dense woods of Maine to Quebec. There Montgomery joined Arnold, and on the night of December 31, 1775, the American army in a blinding snowstorm assaulted the town. Montgomery fell dead while leading the attack on one side of Quebec, Arnold was wounded during the attack on the other side, and Morgan, who took Arnold’s place and led his men far into the town, was cut off and captured. Though the attack on Quebec failed, the Americans besieged the place till spring, when they were forced to leave Canada and find shelter at Crown Point.

BOSTON EVACUATED.–During the winter of 1775-76, some heavy guns were dragged over the snow on sledges from Ticonderoga to Boston. A captured British vessel provided powder, and in March, 1776, Washington seized Dorchester Heights, fortified them, and by so doing forced Howe, who had succeeded Gage in command, to evacuate Boston, March 17.

WHIGS AND TORIES.–During the excitement over the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the tea tax, the people were divided into three parties. Those who resisted and–finally rebelled were called Whigs, or Patriots, or “Sons of Liberty.” Those who supported king and Parliament were called Tories or Loyalists. [10] Between these two extremes were the great mass of the population who cared little which way the struggle ended. In New York, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas the Tories were numerous and active, and when the war opened, they raised regiments and fought for the king.

FIGHTING IN THE CAROLINAS.–In January, 1776, Sir Henry Clinton sailed from Boston to attack North Carolina, and a force of sixteen hundred Tories marched toward the coast to aid. But North Carolina had its minutemen as well as Massachusetts. A body of them under Colonel Caswell met and beat the Tories at Moores Creek (February 27) and so large a force of patriots had assembled when Clinton arrived that he did not make the attack.

The next attempt was against South Carolina. Late in June, Clinton with his fleet appeared before Charleston, and while the fleet opened fire on Fort Moultrie (mol’try) from the water, Clinton marched to attack it by land. But the land attack failed, the fleet was badly damaged by shot from the fort, and the expedition sailed away to New York. [11]

INDEPENDENCE NECESSARY.–Prior to 1776 many of the colonies denied any desire for independence, [12] but the events of this year caused a change. After the battle of Moores Creek, North Carolina bade her delegates in Congress vote for independence. Virginia, in May, ordered her delegates to propose that the United Colonies be declared free and independent. South Carolina and Georgia instructed their delegates to assent to any measure for the good of America. Rhode Island dropped the king’s name from state documents and sheriffs’ writs, and town after town in Massachusetts voted to uphold Congress in a declaration of independence.

Thus encouraged, Congress, in May, resolved that royal authority must be suppressed, and advised all the colonies to establish independent governments. Some had already done so; the rest one by one framed written constitutions of government, and became states. [13]

INDEPENDENCE DECLARED.–To pretend allegiance to the king any longer was a farce. Congress, therefore, appointed Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to write a declaration of independence, and on July 2, 1776, resolved: “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” [14] This is the Declaration of Independence. The document we call the Declaration contains the reasons why independence was declared. It was written by Jefferson, and after some changes by Congress was adopted on July 4, 1776, [15] and copied were ordered to be sent to the states.



1. Governor Gage, hearing that the people of Massachusetts were gathering military stores, sent troops to destroy the stores.

2. The battles at Lexington and Concord followed, and Boston was besieged.

3. The militia from the neighboring colonies gathered about Boston. They were formed into a Continental army by Congress, and Washington was appointed commander in chief.

4. The battle of Bunker Hill, meantime, took place (June, 1775).

5. King George III now declared the colonists rebels, shut their ports, and sent troops from Germany to subdue them.

6. An expedition of the patriots for the conquest of Canada failed (1775- 76).

7. But the British were forced to leave Boston (March, 1776).

8. British attacks on North Carolina and South Carolina came to naught.

9. July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF LEXINGTON.]


[1] Samuel Adams was born in Boston in 1722, graduated from Harvard College, and took so active a part in town politics that he has been called “the Man of the Town Meeting.” From 1765 to 1774 he was a member of the Massachusetts Assembly, and for some years its clerk. He was a member of the committee sent to demand the removal of the soldiers after the massacre of 1770, and of that sent to demand the resignations of the men appointed to receive the tea, and presided over the town meeting that demanded the return of the tea ships to England. He was a member of the Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolution he was lieutenant governor and then governor of Massachusetts, and died in 1803.

[2] Revere went by way of Charlestown (map, p. 160), first crossing the river from Boston in a rowboat. As there was danger that his boat might be stopped by the British warships, two lanterns were shown from the belfry of the North Church as a signal to his friends in Charlestown; and when he landed there at midnight, he found the patriots astir, ready to give the alarm if he had not appeared. Read “Paul Revere’s Ride” in Longfellow’s _Tales of a Wayside Inn_.

[3] In 1774 the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts ordered one quarter of all the militiamen to be enlisted for emergency service. They came to be known as minutemen, and in 1775 the Continental Congress recommended “that one fourth part of the militia in every colony, be selected for minutemen … to be ready on the shortest notice, to march to any place where their assistance may be required.”

[4] Just before the fight began Adams and Hancock left Lexington and set out to attend the Congress at Philadelphia.

[5] Read Emerson’s _Concord Hymn_; also Cooper’s admirable description of the day’s fighting in _Lionel Lincoln_.

[6] Ethan Allen was born in Connecticut in 1737, and went to Vermont about 1769. Vermont was then claimed by New York and New Hampshire, and when New York tried to enforce her authority, the settlers in “New Hampshire Grants” resisted, and organized as the “Green Mountain Boys” with Allen as leader. At Fort Ticonderoga Allen found the garrison asleep. The British commandant, awakened by the noise at his door, came out and was ordered to surrender the fort. “By what authority?” he asked. “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress,” said Allen.

[7] Read Fiske’s _American Revolution_, Vol. I, pp. 136-146, and Holmes’s _Grandmother’s Story of Bunker Hill_. The British lost 1054 and the Americans 449. Among the British dead was Pitcairn, who began the war at Lexington. Among the American dead was Dr. Warren, an able leader of the Boston patriots. While the battle was raging, Charlestown was shelled and set on fire and four hundred houses burned. Later, in October, a British fleet entered the harbor of Falmouth (now Portland in Maine), and burned three fourths of the houses. January 1, 1776, Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, set fire to Norfolk, the chief city of Virginia. The fire raged for three days and reduced the place to ashes. These acts are charged against the king in the Declaration of Independence: “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”

[8] This is made a charge against the king in the Declaration: “He has abdicated government here by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.” And again, “For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.”

[9] The Duke of Brunswick, the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, and four other princes furnished the men. Their generals were Riedesel (ree’de-zel), Knyp-hausen (knip’hou-zen), Von Heister, and Donop. The employment of these troops furnishes another charge against the king in the Declaration: “He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny.” The first detachment of German troops landed on Staten Island in New York Bay on August 15, 1776. Before the war ended, the six petty German princes furnished 29,867, of whom 12,550 never returned. Some 5000 of these deserted.

[10] Before fighting began, the Tories were denounced and held up as enemies to their country; later their leaders were mobbed, and if they held office, were forced to resign. After the battle of Bunker Hill, laws of great severity were enacted against them. They were disarmed, forced to take an oath of allegiance, proclaimed traitors, driven into exile, and their estates and property were confiscated. At the close of the war, fearing the anger of the Whigs, thousands of Tories fled from our country to Jamaica, Bermuda, Halifax in Nova Scotia, and Canada. Some 30,000 went from New York city in 1782-83, and upward of 60,000 left our country during and after the war.

[11] While the battle was hottest, a shot carried away the flagstaff of Fort Moultrie. The staff and flag fell outside the fort. Instantly Sergeant William Jasper leaped down, fastened the flag to the ramrod of a cannon, climbed back, and planted this new staff firmly on the fort. A fine monument now commemorates his bravery.

[12] However, many leaders in New England, as Samuel Adams, John Adams, and Elbridge Gerry; in Pennsylvania, as Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin; in Delaware, as Thomas McKean; as Chase of Maryland; Lee, Henry, Jefferson, Washington, of Virginia; and Gadsden of South Carolina, favored independence. In this state of affairs Thomas Paine, in January, 1776, wrote a pamphlet called _Common Sense_, in which independence was strongly urged. The effect was wonderful. Edition after edition was printed in many places. “_Common Sense_,” says one writer, “is read to all ranks; and as many as read, so many become converted.”

[13] Rhode Island and Connecticut did not abandon their charters, for in these colonies the people had always elected their governors and had always been practically independent of the king. Connecticut did not make a constitution till 1818, and Rhode Island not till 1842.

[14] This resolution had been introduced in Congress, in June, by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. For a fine description of the debate on independence read Webster’s _Oration on Adams and Jefferson_. Why did John Dickinson oppose a declaration of independence? Read Fiske’s _American Revolution_, Vol. I, pp. 190-192.

[15] A few copies signed by Hancock, president of Congress, and Thomson, the secretary, were made public on July 5; and on July 8 one of these was read to a crowd of people in the Statehouse yard at Philadelphia. The common idea that the Declaration was signed at one time is erroneous. The signing did not begin till August 2. Of those who signed then and afterward, seven were not members of Congress on July 4, 1776. Of those signers who were members on July 4, it is known that five were absent on that day. Seven men who were members of Congress on July 4 were not members on August 2, and never signed.




BATTLE OF LONG ISLAND.–When Howe sailed from Boston (in March, 1776), he went to Halifax in Nova Scotia. But Washington was sure New York would be attacked, so he moved the Continental army to that city and took position on the hills back of Brooklyn on Long Island.

He was not mistaken, for to New York harbor in June came General Howe, and in July Clinton from his defeat at Charleston, and Admiral Howe [1] with troops from England. Thus reinforced, General Howe landed on Long Island in August, and drove the Americans from their outposts, back to Brooklyn. [2] Washington now expected an assault, but Howe remembered Bunker Hill and made ready to besiege the Americans, whereupon two nights after the battle Washington crossed with the army to Manhattan Island. [3]

WASHINGTON’S RETREAT.–Washington left a strong force under Putnam in the heart of New York city, and stationed his main army along Harlem Heights. Howe crossed to Manhattan and landed behind Putnam, [4] who was thus forced to leave his guns and tents, and flee to Harlem Heights, where Howe attacked Washington the next day and was repulsed.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF HARLEM HEIGHTS. Tablet on a Columbia College building, New York city.]

So matters stood for nearly a month, when Howe attempted to go around the east end of Washington’s line, and thus forced him to retreat to White Plains. Baffled in an attack at this place, Howe went back to New York and carried Fort Washington by storm, taking many prisoners.

Washington meantime had crossed the Hudson to New Jersey, leaving General Charles Lee with seven thousand men in New York state. He now ordered Lee to join him [5]; but Lee disobeyed, and Washington, closely pursued by the British, retreated across New Jersey.

THE VICTORY AT TRENTON, DECEMBER 26, 1776.–On the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, Washington turned at bay, and having at last received some reënforcements, he recrossed the Delaware on Christmas night in a blinding snowstorm, marched nine miles to Trenton, surprised a body of Hessians, captured a thousand prisoners, and went back to Pennsylvania.

Washington now proposed to follow up this victory with other attacks. But a new difficulty arose, for the time of service of many of the Eastern troops would expire on January 1. These men were therefore asked to serve six weeks longer, and were offered a bounty of ten dollars a man.

[Illustration: MORRIS’S STRONG BOX. Now in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.]

ROBERT MORRIS SENDS MONEY.–Many agreed to serve, but the paymaster had no money. Washington therefore pledged his own fortune, and appealed to Robert Morris at Philadelphia. [6] “If it be possible, Sir,” he wrote, “to give us assistance, do it; borrow money while it can be done, we are doing it upon our private credit.” Morris responded at once, and on New Year’s morning, 1777, went from house to house, roused his friends from their beds to borrow money from them, and early in the day sent fifty thousand dollars.

BATTLE OF PRINCETON, JANUARY 3, 1777.–Washington crossed again to Trenton, whereupon Lord Cornwallis hurried up with a British army, and shut in the Americans between his forces and the Delaware. But Washington slipped out, went around Cornwallis, and the next morning attacked three British regiments at Princeton and beat them. He then took possession of the hills at Morristown, where he spent the rest of the winter.

THE ATTEMPT TO CUT OFF NEW ENGLAND.–The British plan for the campaign of 1777 was to seize Lake Champlain and the Hudson River and so cut off New England from the Middle States. To carry out this plan, (1) General Burgoyne was to come down from Canada, (2) Howe was to go up the Hudson from New York and join Burgoyne at Albany, and (3) St. Leger was to go from Lake Ontario down the Mohawk to Albany. [7]

ORISKANY.–Hearing of the approach of St. Leger, General Herkimer of the New York militia gathered eight hundred men and hurried to the relief of Fort Stanwix. Near Oriskany, about six miles from the fort, he fell into an ambuscade of British and Indians, and a fierce hand-to-hand fight ensued, till the Indians fled and the British, forced to follow, left the Americans in possession of the field, too weak to pursue.

Just at this time the garrison of the fort made a sortie against part of the British army, captured their camp, and carried a quantity of supplies and their flags [8] back to the fort.


When news of Oriskany reached Schuyler, the patriot general commanding in the north, he called for a volunteer to lead a force to relieve Fort Stanwix. Arnold responded, and with twelve hundred men hurried westward, and by a clever ruse [9] forced St. Leger to raise the siege and flee to Montreal.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF BENNINGTON. From an old print.]

BENNINGTON.–Burgoyne set out in June, captured Ticonderoga, and advanced to the upper Hudson. As he came southward, the sturdy farmers of Vermont and New York began to gather on his flank, and collected at Bennington many horses and large stores of food and ammunition. As Burgoyne needed horses, he sent a force of Hessians to attack Bennington. But Stark, with his Green Mountain Boys and New Hampshire militia, met the Hessians six miles from town, surrounded them on all sides, beat them, and took seven hundred prisoners and quantities of guns and some cannon (August 16).

SARATOGA.–These defeats were serious blows to Burgoyne, around whose army the Americans had been gathering. He decided, however, to fight, crossed the Hudson, and about the middle of September attacked the Americans at Bemis Heights, and again on the same ground early in October. [10] He was beaten in both battles and on October 17 was forced to surrender at Saratoga.

BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE.–What, meantime, had Howe been doing? He should have pushed up the Hudson to join Burgoyne. But he decided to capture Philadelphia before going north, and having put his army on board a fleet, he started for that city by sea. Not venturing to enter the Delaware, he sailed up Chesapeake Bay and two weeks after landing found Washington awaiting him on Brandywine Creek, where (September 11, 1777) a battle was fought and won by the British. Among the wounded was Marquis de Lafayette, [11] who earlier in the year had come from France to offer his services to Congress.

PHILADELPHIA OCCUPIED.–Two weeks later Howe entered Philadelphia in triumph. [12] Congress had fled to Lancaster, and later went to York, Pennsylvania. Washington now attacked Howe at Germantown (just north of Philadelphia), but was defeated and went into winter quarters at Valley Forge, where the patriots suffered greatly from cold and hunger. [13]

[Illustration: AT VALLEY FORGE.]

RESULT OF THE CAMPAIGN.–The year’s campaign was far from a failure. [14] The surprise at Trenton and the victory at Princeton showed that Washington was a general of the first rank. The defeats at Brandywine and Germantown did not dishearten the army. The victory at Saratoga was one of the decisive campaigns of the world’s history; for it ruined the plans of the British [15] and secured us the aid of France.

HELP FROM FRANCE, 1778.–In 1776 Congress commissioned Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and Silas Deane to go to France and seek her help. France, smarting under the loss of Louisiana and Canada (1763), would gladly have helped us; but not till the victories at Trenton, Princeton, Oriskany, and Saratoga could she feel sure of the ability of the Americans to fight. Then the French king recognized our independence, and in February, 1778, made with us a treaty of alliance and went to war with Great Britain.

The effect of the French alliance was immediate. France began to fit out a fleet and army to help us. Hearing of this, Clinton, who had succeeded Howe in command at Philadelphia, left that city with his army and started for New York.


MONMOUTH, JUNE 28, 1778.–Washington decided to pursue, and as Clinton, hampered by an immense train of baggage, moved slowly across New Jersey, he was overtaken by the Americans at Monmouth. Charles Lee [16] was to begin the attack, and Washington, coming up a little later, was to complete the defeat of the enemy. But Lee was a traitor, and having attacked the British, began a retreat which would have lost the day had not Washington come up just in time to lead a new attack. The battle raged till nightfall, and in the darkness Clinton slipped away and went on to New York.

Washington now crossed the Hudson, encamped at White Plains, and during three years remained in that neighborhood, constantly threatening the British in New York. [17]

BEGINNING OF THE NAVY.–More than three years had now passed since the fight at Lexington, and here let us stop and review what the Americans had been doing at sea. At the outset, the colonists had no warships at all. Congress therefore (in December, 1775) ordered thirteen armed vessels to be built at once, bought merchant ships to serve as cruisers, and thus created a navy of thirty vessels before the 4th of July, 1776. [18]

Eight of the cruisers were quickly assembled at Philadelphia, and early in January, 1776, Esek Hopkins, commander in chief, stepped on board of one of them and took command. As he did so, Lieutenant John Paul Jones hoisted a yellow silk flag on which was the device of a pine tree and a coiled rattlesnake and the motto “Don’t tread on me.” This was the first flag ever displayed on an American man-of-war. Ice delayed the departure of the squadron; but in February it put to sea, went to the Bahama Islands, captured the forts on the island of New Providence, and carried off a quantity of powder and cannon.

CAPTAIN BARRY.–Soon afterward another cruiser, the sixteen-gun brig _Lexington_, Captain John Barry, [19] fell in with a British armed vessel off the coast of Virginia, and after a sharp engagement captured her. She was the first prize brought in by a commissioned officer of the American navy.

THE CRUISERS IN EUROPE.–In 1777 the cruisers carried the war into British ports and waters, across the Atlantic. The _Reprisal_ (which had carried Franklin to France), under Captain Wilkes, in company with two other vessels, sailed twice around Ireland, made fifteen prizes, and alarmed the whole coast. [20] Another cruiser, the _Revenge_, scoured British waters, and when in need of repairs boldly entered a British port in disguise and refitted.

In 1778 John Paul Jones, [21] in the _Ranger_, sailed to the Irish Channel, destroyed four vessels, set fire to the shipping in a British port, fought and captured a British armed schooner, sailed around Ireland with her, and reached France in safety.

The next year (1779) Jones, in the _Bonhomme Richard_ (bo-nom’ re-shar’), fell in with the British frigate _Serapis_ off the east coast of Great Britain, and on a moonlight night fought one of the most desperate battles in naval history and won it.

[Illustration: GOLD MEDAL GIVEN TO JONES. [22]]

THE FRIGATES.–Of the thirteen frigates ordered by Congress in 1775, only four remained by the end of 1778. Some were captured at sea, some were destroyed to prevent their falling into British hands, and one blew up while gallantly fighting. Of the cruisers bought in 1775, only one remained. Other purchases at home and abroad were made, but three frigates were captured and destroyed at Charleston in 1779, and by the end of the year our navy was reduced to six vessels. During the war 24 vessels of the navy were lost by capture, wreck, or destruction. The British navy lost 102.

THE PRIVATEERS.–So far we have considered only the American navy–the warships owned by the government. Congress also (March, 1776) issued letters of marque, or licenses to citizens to fit out armed vessels and make war on British ships armed or unarmed; and the sea soon swarmed with privateers fitted out, not only by citizens but also by the states. The privateers were active throughout the war, and took hundreds of prizes.


1. After the British left Boston, Washington moved his army to Long Island, where he was attacked by the British and driven up the Hudson to White Plains.

2. Later in the year (1776), Washington crossed the Hudson and retreated through New Jersey to Pennsylvania; then he turned about, won the battles of Trenton (December 26, 1776) and Princeton (January 3, 1777), and spent the rest of the winter in New Jersey.

3. The British plan for the campaign of 1777 was to cut off New England from the Middle States; Burgoyne was to come down from Canada and meet Howe, who was to move up the Hudson.

4. Burgoyne lost several battles, and was forced to surrender at Saratoga (October 17, 1777).

5. Howe put off going up the Hudson till too late; instead, he defeated Washington at Brandywine Creek (September 11, 1777), and captured Philadelphia. Washington then attacked Howe at Germantown, was defeated, and spent the winter at Valley Forge.

6. After Burgoyne’s surrender, France recognized our independence (February, 1778) and joined us in the war.

7. Fearing a French attack on New York, the British left Philadelphia (June, 1778); Washington followed and fought the battle of Monmouth; but the British went on to New York, and for three years Washington remained near that city.

8. Congress, in December, 1775, created a little navy; but some of these vessels never got to sea; others under Hopkins and Barry won victories during 1776.

9. In 1777 the cruisers were sent to British waters and under Wilkes and others harried British coasts.

10. In 1778 Paul Jones sailed around Ireland and in 1779 he won his great victory in the _Bonhomme Richard_.


[1] Admiral Howe now wrote to Washington, offering pardon to all persons who should desist from rebellion; he addressed the letter to “George Washington, Esq.,” and sent it under flag of truce. The messenger was told there was no one in the army with that title. A week later another messenger came with a paper addressed “George Washington, Esq. etc. etc.” This time he was received; and when Washington declined to receive the letter, explained that “etc. etc.” meant everything. “Indeed,” said Washington, “they might mean anything.” He was determined that Howe should recognize him as commander in chief of the Continental army, and not treat him as the leader of rebels.

[2] Many of the prisoners taken in this and other battles were put on board ships anchored near Brooklyn. Their sufferings in these “Jersey prison ships” were terrible, and many died and were buried on the beach. From these rude graves their bones from time to time were washed out. At last in 1808 they were taken up and decently buried near the Brooklyn navy yard, and in 1873 were put in a vault in Washington Park, Brooklyn.

[3] While Washington was near New York, a young man named Nathan Hale volunteered to enter the British lines on Long Island to procure information greatly needed. As he was returning he was recognized by a Tory kinsman, was captured, tried as a spy, and hanged. His last words were: “I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

[4] When Howe, marching across Manhattan Island, reached Murray Hill, Mrs. Lindley Murray sent a servant to invite him to luncheon. The army was halted, and Mrs. Murray entertained Howe and his officers for two hours. It was this delay that enabled Putnam to escape.

[5] Charles Lee was in general command at Charleston during the attack on Fort Moultrie, and when he joined Washington at New York, was thought a great officer. Lee was jealous, hoped to be made commander in chief, and purposely left Washington to his fate. Later Lee crossed to New Jersey and took up his quarters at Basking Ridge, not far from Morristown, where the British captured him (December 13, 1776).

[6] Robert Morris was born at Liverpool, England, but came to Philadelphia as a lad and entered on a business career, and when the Revolution opened, was a man of means and influence. He signed the non-importation agreement of 1765, and signed the Declaration of Independence, and at this time (December, 1776) was a leading member of Congress. A year later, when the army was at Valley Forge, he sent it as a gift a large quantity of food and clothing. In 1781 Morris was made Superintendent of Finance, and in order to supply the army in the movement against Yorktown, lent his notes to the amount of $1,400,000. In 1781 he founded the Bank of North America, which is now the oldest bank in our country. After the war Morris was a senator from Pennsylvania. He speculated largely in Western lands, lost his fortune, and from 1798 to 1802 was a prisoner for debt. He died in 1806.

[7] Read the story of Jane McCrea in Fiske’s _American Revolution_, Vol. I, pp. 277-279.

[8] These flags were hoisted on the fort and over them was raised the first flag of stars and stripes ever flung to the breeze. Congress on June 14, 1777, had adopted our national flag. The flag at Fort Stanwix was made of pieces of a white shirt, a blue jacket, and strips of red flannel. The day was August 6.

[9] The story runs that several Tory spies were captured and condemned to death, but one named Cuyler was spared by Arnold on condition that he should go to the camp of St. Leger and say that Burgoyne was captured and a great American army was coming to relieve Fort Stanwix. Cuyler agreed, and having cut what seemed bullet holes in his clothes, rushed into the British camp, crying out that a large American army was at hand, and that he had barely escaped with life. The Indians at once began to desert, the panic spread to the British, and the next day St. Leger was fleeing toward Lake Ontario.

[10] The second battle is often called the battle of Stillwater. Shortly before this Congress removed Schuyler from command and gave it to Gates, who thus reaped the glory of the whole campaign. In both battles Arnold greatly distinguished himself. He won the first fight and was wounded in the second.

[11] Lafayette was a young French nobleman who, fired by accounts of the war in America, fitted out a vessel, and despite the orders of the French king escaped and came to Philadelphia, and offered his services to Congress. With him were De Kalb and eleven other officers. Two gallant Polish officers, Pulaski and Kosciusko, had come over before this time. Kosciusko had been recommended to Washington by Franklin, then in France; he was made a colonel in the engineer corps and superintended the building of the American fortifications at Bemis Heights. After the war he returned to Poland, and long afterward led the Poles in their struggle for liberty.

[12] An interesting novel on this period of the war is Dr. S. W. Mitchell’s _Hugh Wynne_.

[13] At Valley Forge Baron Steuben joined the army. He was an able German officer who had seen service under Frederick the Great of Prussia, and had been persuaded by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs to come to America and help to organize and discipline the army. He landed in New Hampshire late in 1777, and spent the dreadful winter at Valley Forge in drilling the troops, teaching them the use of the bayonet, and organizing the army on the European plan. After the war New York presented Steuben with a farm of 16,000 acres not far from Fort Stanwix. There he died in 1794.

[14] Certain officers and members of Congress plotted during 1777 to have Washington removed from the command of the army. For an account of this Conway Cabal read Fiske’s American Revolution, Vol. II, pp. 34-43.

[15] Great Britain now sent over commissioners to offer liberal terms of peace,–no taxes by Parliament, no restrictions on trade, no troops in America without consent of the colonial assemblies, even representation in Parliament,–but the offer was rejected. Why did the commissioners fail? Read Fiske’s American Revolution, Vol. II, pp. 4-17, 22-24.

[16] Lee had been exchanged for a captured British general, and came to Valley Forge in May. From papers found after his death we know that while a prisoner he advised Howe as to the best means of conquering the states. For his conduct in the battle and insolence to Washington after it, Lee was suspended from the army for one year, but when he wrote an insolent letter to Congress, he was dismissed from the army.

[17] A French fleet of twelve ships, under Count d’Estaing, soon arrived near New York. It might perhaps have captured the British fleet in the harbor; but without making the attempt D’Estaing went on to Newport to attempt the capture of a British force which had held that place since December, 1776. Washington sent Greene and Lafayette with troops to assist him, the New England militia turned out by thousands, and all seemed ready for the attack, when a British fleet appeared and D’Estaing went out to meet it. A storm scattered the vessels of the two squadrons, and D’Estaing went to Boston for repairs, and then to the West Indies.

[18] Six of the thirty never got to sea, but were captured or destroyed when the British took New York and Philadelphia. Our navy, therefore, may be considered at the outset to have consisted of 24 vessels, mounting 422 guns. Great Britain at that time had 112 war vessels, carrying 3714 guns, and 78 of these vessels were stationed on or near our coast.

[19] John Barry was a native of Ireland. He came to America at thirteen, and at twenty-five was captain of a ship. At the opening of the war he offered his services to Congress, and in February, 1776, was given command of the _Lexington_. After his victory Barry was transferred to the 28-gun frigate _Effingham_, and in 1777 (while blockaded in the Delaware), with 27 men in four boats captured and destroyed a 10-gun schooner and four transports. For this he was thanked by Washington. When the British captured Philadelphia, Barry took the _Effingham_ up the river to save her; but she was burned by the British. At different times Barry commanded several other ships, and in 1782, in the _Alliance_, fought the last action of the war. In 1794 he was senior captain of the navy, with the title of commodore. He died in 1803.

[20] When these ships returned to France with the prizes, the British government protested so vigorously that the _Reprisal_ and the _Lexington_ were seized and held till security was given that they would leave France. The prizes were ordered out of port, were taken into the offing, and then quietly sold to French merchants. The _Reprisal_ on her way home was lost at sea. The _Lexington_ was captured and her men thrown into prison. They escaped by digging a hole under the wall, and were on board a vessel in London bound for France, when they were discovered and sent back to prison. A year later one of them, Richard Dale, escaped by walking past the guards in daylight, dressed in a British uniform. He never would tell how he got the uniform.

[21] John Paul, Jr., was born in Scotland in 1747. He began a seafaring life when twelve years old and followed it till 1773, when he fell heir to a plantation in Virginia on condition that he should take the name of Jones. Thereafter he was known as John Paul Jones. In 1775 Jones offered his services to Congress, assisted in founding our navy, and in December, 1775, was commissioned lieutenant. He died in Paris in 1792, but the whereabouts of his grave was long unknown. In 1905, however, the United States ambassador to France (Horace Porter) discovered the body of Jones, which was brought with due honors to the United States and deposited at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Porter’s account of how the body was found may be read in the _Century Magazine_ for October, 1905. Jones is the hero of Cooper’s novel called _The Pilot_.

[22] The wording on the medal may be translated as follows: “The American Congress to John Paul Jones, fleet commander–for the capture or defeat of the enemy’s ships off the coast of Scotland, Sept. 23, 1779.”



THE WEST.–After Great Britain obtained from France the country between the mountains and the Mississippi, the British king, as we have seen (p. 143), forbade settlement west of the mountains. But the westward movement of population was not to be stopped by a proclamation. The hardy frontiersmen gave it no heed, and, passing over the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, they hunted, trapped, and made settlements in the forbidden land.


TENNESSEE.–Thus, in 1769, William Bean of North Carolina built a cabin on the banks of the Watauga Creek and began the settlement of what is now Tennessee. The next year James Robertson and many others followed and dotted the valleys of the Holston and the Clinch with clearings and log cabins. These men at first were without government of any sort, so they formed an association and for some years governed themselves; but in 1776 their delegates were seated in the legislature of North Carolina, and next year their settlements were organized as Washington county in that state. Robertson soon (1779) led a colony further west and on the banks of the Cumberland founded Nashboro, now called Nashville.