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tured to his home at the mouth of Turtle Creek, ten miles up the Monongahela. But, though all was so quiet in that wilderness, keen eyes had seen the low entrenchment that was rising at the Fork, and swift feet had borne the news of it up the valley ; and, upon the 17th of April, Ensign Ward, who then had charge of it, saw upon the Alleghany a sight that made his heart sink, — sixty batteaux and three hundred canoes, filled with men, and laden deep with cannon and stores. The fort was called on to surrender ; by the advice of the Half-king, Ward tried to evade the act, but it would not do ; Contrecæur, with a thousand men about him, said “Evacuate," and the ensign dared not refuse. That evening he supped with his captor, and the next day was bowed off by the Frenchman, and, with his men and tools, marched up the Monongahela. From that day began the war. *
Of the early events of this war in Virginia we need say nothing. It was but recently that they were detailed upon our pages. The march toward Red Stone Creek, the affair with Jumonville, the battle of the Great Meadows, with the sufferings and perseverance of the troops, the troubles of Washington, and the conduct of the French, must be fresh in the minds of those who read our last October number.f But while these things were doing at the south, while the captors of the works at the Fork were, at a better point, raising other works, (called Fort Du Quesne, after the governor of Canada,) with "walls two fathoms thick," and, by means of presents, were gaining the good-will of the savages, and making themselves acquainted with the woods and hills in all directions, there was much doing also in Pennsylvania and New York.
In Pennsylvania, the governor and Assembly scolded each other much in the old way; but the latter sanctioned the choice of commissioners that had been made by the former to attend the Albany treaty, and even granted a present for the Indians.* This proposed meeting at Albany was not, however, merely for the purpose of holding a conference with the Six Nations ; for it was now suggested to form a union among the colonies to manage Indian affairs and provide for the common defence ; and, though this suggestion was vague, and no provincial legislature but that of Massachusetts instructed its delegates with regard to it, it was undoubtedly in the minds of all. Franklin, who was one of the commissioners from Pennsylvania, had sketched a Plan of Union before reaching Albany. f
* Sparks's Washington, Vol. II. The number of French troops was probably overstated, but to the captives there was a round thousand, Burk, in his history of Virginia, speaks of the taking of Logstown by the French; but Logstown was never a post of the Ohio Company as he represents it, as is plain from all contemporary letters and accounts. Burk's ignorance of Western matters is clear in this, that he says the French dropped doun from Fort Du Quesne to Presqu'île and Venango; they, or part of them, did drop down the Ohio, but surely not to posts, one of which was on Lake Erie, and the other far up the Alleghany!
1 North American Review, Vol. XLVII. pp. 350 et seq.
The day appointed for the meeting of the commissioners was the 14th of June, but it was the 18th or 19th before they got together. There were present delegates from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. I Virginia did not send any, for she was interested in immediate action, and, hoping to have with her against the French both the Six Nations and the Southern Indians, (Cherokees, &c.), who had hitherto been at enmity, she proposed a treaty at Winchester in May, where all differences might be settled, and the opposing tribes united. Her plan, however, entirely failed, because so few of the natives attended. At Albany things went not much better ; the attendance was small, and those who came were cross and bold. Hendrick, the Mohawk Sachem, told the Congress very plain truths, such as that the French were men, and they women; to which the Congress, on their part, listened gravely, and gave the presents which had been confided to them ; but of the treaty we hear little, save that it was a renewal of existing ones. The commissioners, however, were moving in the matter of union, upon the necessity of which they all agreed, and appointed a committee, one from each colony, to draw up a plan. From among those presented to this committee it selected Franklin's, which, upon the 10th or 11th of July, was adopted by the convention. It is not our purpose to give any sketch of this wellknown paper, nor to trace its fate. It is enough to say, that it was universally rejected in America and England. It was
* Sparks's Franklin, Vol. III. p. 276.
| Ibid. - Massachusetts Historical Collections. First Series, Vol. VII. p. 76. — Plain Facts, pp. 47-50.
& Smollett's George II. chap. ix. VOL. XLIX.- NO. 104.
at, or near this time, also, that Franklin drew up his plan for settling two barrier colonies upon the Ohio River, one at the mouth of the Scioto, the other below French Creek; a plan which, like the Albany plan of union, produced no result.
It was now the fall of 1754. Fort Cumberland had been built on Will's Creek, the North Carolina troops had been disbanded from want of money, and the Virginia frontiers were defended by some companies from New York and South Carolina, which were in the pay of the King, together with a few Maryland and Virginia volunteers. Virginia herself had, meantime, changed her military establishment ; and, having raised forty thousand pounds at home and abroad, had increased her six companies to ten, and degraded all her higher officers to the rank of captain ; a step, which, among other results, led to the resignation of his place by Washington, who retired for the time to Mount Vernon.*
In Pennsylvania, Morris, who had succeeded Hamilton, was busily occupied with making speeches to the Assembly and listening to their stubborn replies ; † while in the North the Kennebec was fortified, and a plan talked over for attacking Crown Point on Lake Champlain the next spring ; I and in the South things went on much as if there were no war coming. All the colonies united in one thing, however, in calling loudly on the mother country for help. During this same autumn the pleasant Frenchmen were securing the West, step by step ; settling Vincennes, gallanting with the Delawares, and coquetting with the Iroquois, who still balanced between them and the English. The forests along the Ohio shed their leaves, and the prairies filled the sky with the smoke of their burning; and along the great rivers, and on the lakes, and amid the pathless woods of the West, no European was seen, whose tongue spoke other language than that of France. So closed 1754.
The next year opened with professions, on both sides, of the most peaceful intentions, and preparations on both sides to push the war vigorously. France, in January, proposed to restore every thing to the state it was in before the last war, and to refer all claims to commissioners at Paris ; to which Britain, upon the 22d, replied, that the West of North Amer
* Sparks's Washington, Vol. II. pp. 63, 64, &c. + Sparks's Franklin, Vol. III. p. 282.
Massachusetts Historical Collections, Vol. VII. p. 88.
led in Vir Atlantic, andock, with higgs also had eile all
ica must be left as it was at the treaty of Utrecht. On the 6th of February, France made answer, that the old English claims in America were untenable ; and offered a new ground of compromise, viz. that the English should retire east of the Alleghanies, and the French west of the Ohio. This offer was long considered, and at length was agreed to by England on the 7th of March, provided the French would destroy all their forts on the Ohio and its branches; to which, after twenty days had passed, France said, “No." * While all this negotiation was going on, other things also had been in motion. General Braddock, with his gallant troops, had crossed the Atlantic, and, upon the 20th of February, had landed in Virginia, commander-in-chief of all the land forces in America ; and in the North all this while there was whispering of, and enlisting for, the proposed attack on Crown Point; and even Niagara, far off by the Falls, was to be taken, in case nothing prevented. In France, too, other work had been done than negotiation ; for at Brest and Rochelle ships were fitting out, and troops gathering, and stores crowding in. Even old England herself had not been all asleep, and Boscawen had been busy at Plymouth, hurrying on the slow workmen, and gathering the unready sailors. † In March, the two European neighbours were smiling and doing their best to quiet all troubles ; in April they still smiled, but the fleets of both were crowding sail across the Atlantic ; and, in Alexandria, Braddock, Shirley, and their fellow-officers were taking counsel as to the summer's campaign.
In America four points were to be attacked ; Fort Du Quesne, Crown Point, Niagara, and the French posts in Nova Scotia. On the 20th of April, Braddock left Alexandria to march upon Du Quesne, whither he was expressly ordered, though the officers in America looked upon it as a mistaken movement, as they thought New York should be the main point for regular operations. The expedition for Nova Scotia, consisting of three thousand Massachusetts men, left Boston on the 20th of May ; while the troops which General Shirley was to lead against Niagara, and the provincials which William Johnson was to head in the attack upon Crown Point, slowly collected at Albany.
* Plain Facts, pp. 51, 52. — Secret Journals, Vol. IV. p. 74.
† Sparks's Washington, Vol. II. p. 68. — Massachusetts Historical Collections, Vol. VII. p. 89. - Smollett. George Il. chap. x.
May and June passed away, and midsummer drew nigh. The fearful and desponding colonists waited anxiously for news; and, when the news came that Nova Scotia had been conquered, and that Boscawen bad taken two of the French men of war, and lay before Louisburg, hope and joy spread everywhere. July passed away, too, and men heard how slowly and painfully Braddock made progress through the wilderness, how his contractors deceived him, and the colonies gave little help, and neither horses nor wagons could be had, and only one Benjamin Franklin sent any aid ; * and then reports came that he had been forced to leave many of his troops, and much of his baggage and artillery, behind him ; and then, about the middle of the month, through Virginia there went a whisper, that the great general had been defeated and wholly cut off ; and, as man after man rode down the Potomac confirming it, the planters hastily mounted, and were off 10 consult with their neighbours; the country turned out; companies were formed to march to the frontiers ; sermons were preached ; and every heart and every mouth was full. In Pennsylvania the Assembly were called together to hear the “shocking news" ; and in New York it struck terror into those who were there gathered to attack the northern posts. Soldiers deserted; the bateaux-men dispersed ; and when at length Shirley, since Braddock's death the commander-inchief, managed with infinite labor to reach Oswego on Lake Ontario, it was too late and stormy, and his force too feeble, to allow him to do more than garrison that point, and march back to Albany again.t Johnson did better; for he met and defeated Baron Dieskau upon the banks of Lake George, though Crown Point was not taken, nor even attacked.
Although the doings of 1755 could not be well looked on as of a very amicable character, war was not declared by either France or England, until May of the following year; and even then France was the last to proclaim the contest which she had been so long carrying on, though more than three hundred of her merchant vessels had been taken by British privateers. The causes of this proceeding are not very clear to us. France thought, beyond doubt, that George
* Sparks's Washington, Vol. II. p. 77, &c. - Sparks's Franklin, Vol. VII. p, 94, &c.
† For a full account of Shirley's Expedition, see the paper in Massachusetts Historical Collections, Vol. VII.