Subtitle: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North
America, 1754 - 1766, Alfred A. Knopf, NY., 2000, 862 pgs., index, notes,
bibliography, illustrations, maps
Dr. Anderson narrates the story of the events of the Seven Years' War - events
that are the actions of its many participants resulting from their decisions,
which are based on their ideas. The book, then, is a story of the development
of the ideas motivating these actors. Dr. Anderson's motive is to demonstrate
the critical importance these new ideas had on the origins, course and results
of the American Revolution, an importance he believes is generally overlooked
in texts about that Revolution.
This is an important book on many levels. It is a marvelous example of
extensive, detailed research; a great 'read' thanks to the author's writing
skill; a new approach to the real background that led to the American
Revolution; a study of the impact of 'contingency' in history; a narration of a
multi-sided and multi-level conflict in which many individuals pursued their
own personal and group or institutional goals without considering or being
conscious of a relationship of those to much wider venues and political agents.
In this respect it is an excellent historical example of what some recent
economists have labeled 'public choice' meaning that they want to show by using
economic tools that public officials and leaders act in pursuit of their own,
personal goals, not as claimed, public betterment. The author also demonstrates
the importance of individuals in determining the course of history.
Among the significant topics on which the author focuses is the generally
overlooked importance of the Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, and
their role before, during, and after the war. Another subject is the struggle
among British politicians for personal power and prestige and its role in
British policy and action in America. The reader recognizes the origins of
future colonial rebellion in the demands Governor Shirley, Lord Loudoun and
General Amherst made not only for increased funds from their legislatures but
also from demands to quarter soldiers in private homes and the overbearing
treatment the British gave to colonial officers. The author describes the
growing conflict between provincial merchants, professionals and farmers and
both royal officials in the colonies and merchants in England. Some of
Loudoun's policies appear right in the Declaration of Independence. Likewise,
the author presents a detailed and rather 'negative' account of the contentious
role of the several separate American colonies during the initial phases of the
war and again after the war.
The author strongly shows the influence of individuals - leadership - in
history, but also the reality of fundamentals such as geography and demography
as the stage on which the leaders sought their fortunes.
The author describes the French and Indian War as a conflict in itself - a
conflict sure to take place without external connections, but he also shows how
and why it fitted into the 'world wide' Seven Year's War, which also came about
due to separate European politics apart from North America. And he also
describes how the British Prime Ministers, Newcastle and especially Pitt,
achieved success in America by linking these wars and employing a unified
The author carries the story through the creation and abolishment of the Stamp
Act and several other efforts by Parliament to fund required but unexpected
military defense and also deal with other aspects of the increasing conflict
between the American colonists and Native Americans. He shows how these Acts
were an integral result of the conditions created by the French and Indian War.
The participants, actors, in the war may be divided into six general
1. The members of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederation; among which
individual leaders had conflicting objectives.
2. The many other Indian nations resident in Canada, in the British colonies
and in the newly acquired western territories; who also had conflicting
3. The French Canadians, divided between the government rulers and the
4. French government in Paris, the most unified and authoritarian group of
those involved; but the author does not stress the personal issues of the
5. The inhabitants of the 13 British colonies, divided into 13 distinct
societies each having its own situation, interests and political - social
divisions. And within each colony there were strong rivalry and cultural
conflicts between individuals.
6. The British government divided between Kings, Tories, Whigs, military
commanders, and appointed colonial administrators.
Within each of these major categories there were many individuals; leaders,
would-be leaders, and 'common' people all also having their own aspirations and
beliefs. Dr. Anderson identifies and describes very many of these
personalities; so many that a glossary of names would be a benefit.
The fundamental situation, which is evident throughout the narration, is that
each individual in these 6 groups has his own opinion about his status, and who
he is in life- and also an opinion about the status and who the others are in
similar terms. And their opinions of each other are diametrically opposed to
the "other's" opinions of them and themselves. The British rulers and
officials, especially, act as if oblivious to the opinions of everyone else
about them or about themselves.
A central issue throughout the war was its huge demand on resources, a demand
that taxed the ability of all the participants to achieve. The story includes
the relative ingenuity of the actors to create ways to accomplish their goals
with the least, minimum resources. Relying on their antiquated methods the
French largely failed. Due to the Glorious Revolution and its accompanying
revolution in British fiscal and monetary methods (of which the author does
show the results but does not explain the background) the British were able to
generate unprecedented amounts of credit (and finance the resulting debt)
throughout the sequence of 18th century wars. As with most, if not all wars,
this one was financed on credit. And the relative results of relying on credit
by the various provincial governments and the Parliament determined significant
political policies. The British were largely saved, mid-way through the war, by
the unexpected, substantial profits they made and denied to the French by
gaining control over the former French trading stations in Africa, their West
Indies plantations, and later by driving the French out of India.
While Dr. Anderson's stated goal is to increase recognition of the significance
of the Seven Years' War in relation to the American Revolution, for the reader
today it should have even further recognition. The motives and actions of the
American colonists in the 18th century depicted here continued throughout the
19th century. The text is full of examples of the complexity of human ideas and
actions throughout history even unto the present. We should consider that
politicians today - indeed everyone - still seek the same personal
aggrandizement so evident and on display in this account. And the conflict
between goals and resources available to accomplish them remains, as always.
His general conclusion is that Grenville was honestly attempting to create as
unified polity - empire - out of the vast areas, including North America and
the West Indies but lacked knowledge and understanding of the very significant
differences between these areas, their cultures and societies. But Anderson
only describes some of the obvious results of the fundamental economic
differences. A major one of which was that in England (as in Europe) land was
expensive and labor was cheap, while in North America land was cheap and labor
was expensive. He also does not give enough attention to the very different
social-economic difference in class structure.
The placement of excellent (mostly theater related) maps in the first pages is
very helpful and enables the reader to refer to them continually as needed.
Throughout the narration at appropriate places there are detailed contemporary
maps, diagrams, site plans of the forts, and campaign routes. There are
portraits of the leading military commanders and politicians. The publishers
should be congratulated for enabling a much richer series of maps and
illustrations than one finds in most texts.
For the general reader the book is a classical example of political history,
but with rather more than the usual detail devoted to key personalities. But
this is but what is taking place on the 'theater stage' as it were. The student
needs to look 'off stage - behind the scenery' to note the importance of other
topics such as: geography, climate and weather, disease, economics, journalism,
culture, beliefs, biases, psychology and personality, Dr. Anderson has stressed
the specific roles of individual leaders throughout. Since many of these actors
will be unknown to many readers, I have attempted to provide links next to an
initial mention of them.
Special note for readers today:
Adam Smith, in his The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Section III, Of Public
Debt - provides a very detailed description and analysis of the actual British
public debt, and its funding mechanism (creation of credit), and significance
during the 18th century to 1775. This is a little understood subject but was a
central concern of politicians then. He compares and contrasts the British
method with that of the French. He also discusses the significance of
government debt in general. And he also makes recommendations about specific
ways in which the American colonies might be taxed or by other means included
in the essential procuess by which the debt might be reduced. However, he
believes that a government debt, once created, will never be fully paid off.
There are many other chapters in the book in which his comments are relevant to
the understanding of Anderson's theme.
In the 1960's some innovative economists decided to apply economic theory and
methods to the study of politics - specifically politicians and voting. The
leaders were James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock. They coined the term 'public
choice' and wrote prolifically on it. The concept is that (amazingly enough)
the motivations of politicians actually are to enhance their own selfs rather
than that of the public they claim to serve. Their books include: The
Calculus of Consent - and The Theory of Public Choice. Somehow
economists don't ascribe the same motivations to themselves, but that is a
different story. At the time they claimed their revalations were resulting in
change. But now, in 2017, we can see that nothing did change, except possibly
to become worse. But, as this book clearly shows, any astute student of history
would have shown them the reality of political motivations have not changed.
Enjoy the book.
Introduction: The Seven Year's War and
the Disruption of the Old British Empire
Dr. Anderson states his case for writing this massive book. He notes that most
Americans - including those who do study the American Revolution - miss
important aspects of its background by the cursory treatment generally provided
about the French and Indian War by the usual history books. He writes:
"Coming to grips with the Seven Years' War as an event that decisively
shaped American history, as well as the histories of Europe and the Atlantic
World in general, may therefore help us begin to understand the colonial period
as something more than a quaint mezzotint prelude to our national
He continues with description of the 'state of the art' in teaching about
colonial history. "Virtually all modern accounts of the Revolution begin
in 1763 with the Peace of Paris,
the great treaty that concluded the Seven Years' War." But
this is to ignore the actual beliefs and concepts of the participants. He
provides in summary his conception of the decisive role the war played in
He writes: "I argue that the war's progression, from its early years of
French predominance to its climax in the Anglo-American conquest of Canada, and
particularly in its protraction beyond 1760, set in motion the forces that
created a hollow British empire."
"The story that follows depicts the Seven Years' War above all as a
theater of international interaction, an event by which the colonists of New
France and British North America came into intimate contact both with
metropolitan authorities -- men who spoke their languages but who did not share
their views of the war or the character of the imperial relationship - and with
Indian peoples, whose participation as allies, enemies, negotiators, and
neutrals so critically shaped the war's outcome."
Prologue: Jumonville's Glen, May 28, 1754
The Glen is named for the French Ensign who was murdered there by an Iroquois
chief seeking to preserve his own waning power. The author returns to the event
in its chronological place in the narrative. But here he stresses his premise
that this small, unexpected and isolated event was a (the?) significant
proximate cause of Britain's entry in the Seven Years' War. He draws the same
conclusion again in his summary.
The author does not note a similarity, but the reader can see one between this
and the assassination of an Austrian grand duke in 1914.
Part I - The Origins of the Seven Years' War, 1450 - 1754
Summary: the balance of power in North America and the role of the Iroquois and
other Indian nations. The previous French- English wars for control of the
frontiers and beyond. The initial activities of George Washington. European
national policies and diplomacy.
Chapter 1 - Iroquoia and Empire
The time is 1450 - 1735: This is an excellent and essential chapter in which
the author enlightens the reader on the lengthy history of the Iroquois people.
This is likely the least known aspect of the war for the readers. That it is
essential for an understanding of the whole war comes from their critical role
exercised from their geographic position between the competing French and
British - the first seeking to solidify their positions in Canada and Louisiana
by creating a strong barrier connecting the two and blocking British expansion
in the Ohio country - and the second seeking to solve the problem of population
expansion in their colonies east of the Allegheny Mountains.
The Iroquois recognized that their own security and even survival depended on
their playing the two colonial powers off against each other. They had
successfully conducted this strategy during Queen Anne's War (1701-13).
They also had the problem of retaining their power over other
Indian nations. The sophisticated strategic analysis and diplomatic skill of
the Iroquois may come as a surprise to American students today. But this
success led to Iroquois mistakes later (due to hubris and greed) which led to
Chapter 2 - The Erosion of Iroquois Influence
The time is 1736 - 1754: Not only did the Iroquois have to deal with the French
and British, but also they sought to expand their empire and dominate adjacent
tribes, especially the Delaware (Lenape)
the Shawnee, and
create a secure route south over which they could send war parties to attack
the Cherokee and Catawba. Their diplomats (representing always the Six
Nations federation - from Onondaga) signed the Easton Treaty and
agreed to support the Walking Purchase.
1744 they made a fatal mistake by misunderstanding and signing the Treaty of
Lancaster by which they ceded their claims to land in Maryland and Virginia.
But they were not informed by the Virginians that their colony's charter
included ALL the land to the Pacific. The Virginia legislature immediately
granted a huge part of Ohio to its own speculators.
The author describes the results of this over the next years in detail,
highlighting the activities of the individuals involved. The competition of the
Virginia land grabbers was not only with the Iroquois but also with the
Pennsylvanians who also claimed a charter extending to the west, and with the
French seeking to block both by establishing a line of forts from Lake Erie to
the Ohio River.
Chapter 3 - London Moves to Counter a Threat
The time is 1753: Dr. Anderson turns to London to describe the views and
policies of the three leading politicians, Thomas Pelham-Holles, duke of
(secretary of state for the Northern Department); John Russell,
fourth duke of Bedford
(secretary of state for the Southern Department); and George
Montagu Dunk, second earl of Halifax
(first commissioner of the Lords Commissioners of Trade and
Plantations - the Board of Trade). These
worthies were highly competitive with each other but they shared in the view
that the French government strategy considered Europe and America as one and
would declare war on Great Britian whenever it would suit them.
Therefore "the only reasonable response to this unpromising state of
affairs was to treat French actions in Europe and American as two aspects of a
The author notes that as commissioner of the Board of Trade, Halifax had by far
the most information and knowledge of real affairs in the colonies. But he
lacked the executive power of the two secretaries of state. Meanwhile, Robert
Dinwiddie, Governor of Virginia,
pursuing his own policies and agenda, namely to expand Virginia's domain to the
Ohio River, especially at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela
Chapter 4 - Washington Steps onto the Stage
The time is 1753 - 1754: The author in this chapter relates George
Washington's first trip to meet the French at Fort LeBoeuf. Along the way he
conducted reconnaissance, and met with local Shawnee, Delaware and Mingo chiefs
at Logstown . It was there that Washington met the Mingo self-appointed
chief (half-king), Tanacharison, whose
motive was to increase Iroquois and his own power over the local Indians.
Washington returned to report that the French were not about to leave, but
rather were expanding their chain of forts. Governor Dinwiddie ordered out
militia, promoted Washington Lt. Col., and ordered him to block this French
move. Dinwiddie despatched Captain Trent with volunteers and George Croghan (a
merchant trader whose personal interests play a part for years) to build a
fort, which they did with Tanacharison himself participating. But the Ohio
Indians were not receptive to either the Virginians or the Mingo. The French
soon arrived with overwhelming forces commanded by Captain Claude-Pierre
Pecaudy, seigneur de Contrecoeur.
There was no choice for the Virginians but to withdraw. Then the
French set about building a very strong, Vauban style, fortress - Le Quesne, at
the Forks of the Ohio.
Chapter 5 - ... And Stumbles
The time is 1754: Meanwhile Washington was still struggling to cross the
Allegheny Mounains on his second expedition. Nearing the Forks, (in modern
Pennsylvania) Washington came upon a small French detachment that was seeking
to stop him. The result, described in detail by Dr. Anderson) was the 'battle
of Jumonville's Glen where Tanacharison killed the already wounded Ensign Joseph
Coulon de Villers de Jumonville.
The author describes not only the action but also the results - the contentious
immediate descriptions - and the historians' varied opinions since.
Chapter 6 - Escalation
The time is 1754: Governor Dinwiddie sent reports to each of the responsible
politicians in London, The French reported to their officials. Washington could
only retreat and construct the temporary Fort Necessity, where
he was forced to surrender and unsuspectingly signed a document admitting the
murder of Jumonville. The Newcastle government reacted vigorously, ordering two
regiments and material to Virginia with an objective of pushing the French far
back. General Edward Braddock was assigned command to accomplish all this.
The French decided to increase their military position in Canada. They
appointed general Jean-Armand, Baron de Dieskau to command. They also sought to realign the political alliances
in Europe. In this strategy they joined the new diplomatic - military strategy
separately desired by Maria Theresa, the Empress Queen of Austria. Thus, on
both fronts, Europe and America, renewal of war between France and Great
Britian was 'all but inevitable'.
Part II. Defeat, 1754 - 1755
Summary: The central theme of this section is described: "On the eve of
war, the British colonies prove less interested in uniting than in jockeying
for advantage." The American colonists come out looking rather
self-centered - greedy - fractious - throughout the period.
Chapter 7 - The Albany Congress and Colonial Disunion
The time is 1754: The British government in London was more concerned with the
military situation in North America than were the colonial legislatures. The
Board of Trade ordered the colonies to hold a Congress at Albany (not
a colonial initiative as some school text books infer). The purpose, not
achieved, was to energize the provincials into increase of their own military
defense measures through unified action. General Edward Braddock arrived with
two Irish regiments and assumed his position as commander in chief of all
colonial military policy and action.
Dr. Anderson describes the 'intrigue' and colonial in fighting that took place
at Albany. The Pennsylvanians were determined to thwart Connecticut interlopers
from staking claims in central and western Pennsylvania. To block Connecticut
they rushed to demand the Iroquois dispose, by fraud, their own subject
Delaware and Shawnee tribes from the Wyoming Valley. One result of this was
that after the Delaware and Shawnee moved to Ohio they threw off their
subordination to the short sighted Iroquois. Meanwhile the New Yorkers were
were fighting each other over efforts to gain control of trade with the
Dr. Anderson comments: "Yet it was not all, or even mostly, economic and
provincial interests that were at stake in the jockeying that went on at
Albany: private ambitions and factional plotting were everywhere rife." He
names the active individuals and describes their policies and activities.
Interestingly, he assesses the Massachusetts commissioner, Thomas Hutchinson, as the 'least self-interested delegate". We will meet
Hutchinson again, later, in Boston when he is destroyed by the mob fighting the
Stamp Act. Anderson also gives high marks to Benjamin Franklin and
William Shirley for their far seeing assessment of what was needed.
Chapter 8 - General Braddock Takes Command
The time is 1755: General Braddock arrives in Virginia as supreme commander, to
be followed by the 44th and 48th Foot. He didn't waste time in issuing a stream
of orders to each colonial governor directing what they WOULD do to prepare for
war. In April he convened a conference of governors in Alexandria. But he did
not understand that his official position did not elicit the automatic results
he expected. He simply laid out an ambitious and complex plan for conducting
four offensives against the French from Maryland to Nova Scotia. He appointed
Massachusetts governor William Shirley as major general and second in command
to lead a campaign against Fort Niagara and Sir William Johnson (married to a Mohawk and perennial British commissioner to the
Iroquois) to lead a force of Mohawk warriors and colonial militia against Crown
Point on Lake Champlain. He also ordered a militia attack in Nova
Scotia. All this was too much for the manpower resources (volunteers)
available. All this planning was done in London under duke Cumberland's
direction and Braddock was determined to follow orders to the letter.
One has to either give Braddock credit for his bravery and willingness to lead
a campaign into unknown wilderness or fault him for neglecting his role as
commander in chief of the entire British military policy and campaigns.
In addition to failure to understand the geography and demography the British
failed to recognize the intense rivalry of the principal colonial leaders, for
instance, Pownall, Shirley, De Lancy, Johnson, Dinwiddie, Franklin and Morris.
Chapter 9 - Disaster on the Monongahela
The time is 1755: General Braddock joined his army at Willis Creek and Fort
Cumberland in Maryland on the Potomac. Sir William Johnson and George
Croghan, experts from years of trading with the Indians brought in the chiefs
of the critical Indian (allies?) such as Scarouady and
met Braddock. Braddock promptly converted them into enemies by his arrogance
and orders. In addition to being arrogant he was ignorant. The remainder of the
chapter tells the tragic story. General Braddock had organzed his force of over
2000 in a well designed - European - typical - march column with advance guard,
flank guards, rear guard and internal structure. But they were moving through
dense forests, creating a road as they went.
Anderson draws important conclusions from the nature of the British and
American colonials' beliefs, methods for conducting war against Indians and the
false 'lessons' they drew from the disaster.
Chapter 10 - After Braddock: William Shirley and the Northern Campaigns
The time is 1755: Dr. Anderson describes the immediate local result of the
defeat. "With so few soldiers to protect it, the frontier simply
Virginia governor Dinwiddie raised a new regiment and Washington accepted
command. Indian raids into Virginia and Pennsylvania intensified. The Shawnee
quickly sided with the French. The Delaware again sought alliance with the
British, sending a senior chief to meet them in Philidelphia. They were
dismissed, so returned to Fort Duquense to ally with the French.
The author turns to describe the situation in New York - Governor (and general)
William Shirley's campaign west from Albany to Fort Niagara and Sir William
Johnson's campaign from Albany north to Crown Point. The two leaders were
rivals and refused to assist each other. The French received a new
governor-general, Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, marquis de
Vaudreuil and professional military commander, Baron Jean-Armand de
The Iroquois declared neutrality. General Dieskau and marquis de Vaudreuil
arrived in June and decided that the 'greatest threat was the Niagara
campaign." Dieskau prepared to move to its defense, but then the French
learned that Johnson was moving against Fort St. Frederic at Crown Point.
Dieskau moved south for a preemptory attack on Fort Edward the British supply point south of Lake George. The result was a
battle of Fort George in which both sides had losses, but the chief loss to the
French was the death of Baron Dieskau. Following the battle the French
fortified Ticonderoga (Fort Carillon) and
the British Fort William Henry.
The only success of the season was the colonial campaign to take full control
of Nova Scotia, Having done that, the British deported most of the Acadian
population. (Recounted by Longfellow in his tragic poem, Evangeline).
Chapter 11 - British Politics, and a Revolution in European Diplomacy
The time is 1755: In Europe, 1755 marked a diplomatic revolution. Despite the
fighting already taking place in America, France and Great Britian were
officially at peace, but not for long. The French had been successful in
America, they had managed to bring sufficient military forces to Canada despite
British naval efforts to prevent that. They had blocked and destroyed British
offensives toward Canada. And they had opened Indian warfare against the
colonies from New Hampshire to North Carolina. And they had given themselves a
casus belli to declare a defensive war.
The British government was in chaos and was paralyzed. For one serious thing,
the Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle,
was a peer, thus unable to sit in the House of Commons. But he
could not find a MP who could successfully take his place. And on the continent
Britain was hampered because its king was the Elector of Hanover and determined
to defend his vulnerable homeland.
Meanwhile, the Austrians were determined to regain Silesia. The result of all
this was the "Diplomatic Revolution" so famous in school text books.
France switched from alliance with Prussia for Austria. Austria switched from
alliance with Britain for France. The change appeared to augur peace in Europe
even if Great Britian and France went to war over America. But an unexpected
event changed the whole situation. King Frederick II of Prussia attacked
Newcastle and Cumberland replaced Shirley as governor by Thomas Pownall, and replaced the dead Braddock by Lieutenant General John
Campbell, fourth earl of Loudoun. His second in command was Major General James Abercrombie.
Part III. Nadir, 1756 - 1757
Summary: Governor Shirley takes over after Braddock. Then Lord Loudoun replaces
him and changes policies. British defeats. Colonial politics. War begins on the
Continent. Loudoun generates colonial resistance. William Pitt takes over in London in the midst of an increasing disaster in
Chapter 12 - Lord Loudoun Takes Command
The time is 1756: The French also sent a new commander with a fleet and more
troops. This was Louis-Joseph, marquis de Montcalm-Gozon de Saint-Veran. Unfortunately for France, Montcalm held the same opinion of the
Indians as did the senior British general, disdain for their use in battle. And
he also placed little reliance on the Canadians. But the results only became
serious gradually. He didn't have to contend with the opposition of 13 colonial
legislatures as did Lord Loudoun, but he did have serious disputes with his own
civil governor, marquis de Vaudreuil.
Anderson's assessment is critical for understanding events and results.
"To understand how and why the Anglo-Americans failed to take advantage of
their vastly superior numbers and resources, and to see the reasons behind
Montcalm's abandonment of strategies of proven merit, is to begin to grasp the
decisive influence of cultural factors in shaping the last and greatest of
America's colonial wars."
As 1756 opened William Shirley was still both governor of Massachusetts and
commanding general of British forces in America, his recall had not yet arrived
and he was attempting to undertake the military campaigns he had planed the
previous fall. Although he managed to find volunteers the legislatures didn't
provide enough funds. At least Massachusets and Connecticut did raise troops
for a campaign in New York. He proposed to cut French communications to the
west by capturing Fort La Galette on the St. Lawrence and Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario. His plans for deployment of his British
regular regiments separately from the colonial militia regiments was based on
his knowledge that British regulations themselves resulted in the colonial
officers and men refusing to serve under British command. Thus the offensive
against Crown Point was to be an entirely colonial operation while the
offensive against Fort Frontenac was to be an entirely regular operation. His
assurance resulted on excellent responses from the colonial legislatures and
large numbers of volunteers. To organize the logistics of the longer distance
of the campaign to Fort Frontenac he found Captain John Bradstreet
American officer in the 51st Regiment. ( We will learn much more about
Bradstreet's lengthy career further on.) Bradstreet's present assignment was to
organize the essential bateaux convoys to carry supplies through western New
Lord Loudoun arrived only in July but brought with him the 35th Foot and the
famous 42nd Foot (the Black Watch). In
addition the 62nd (then 60th) Foot, The Royal Americans, would be a Regular
British regiment but composed of American colonists (mostly Germans). Loudoun's
authority was supreme and in addition he would be governor of Virginia. He was
an 'old school' aristocratic, professional officer imbued with the prerogatives
as well as the temperament expected of European officers. He immediately
objected to Governor Shirley's disposition of an all colonial force to conduct
the northern campaign toward Crown Point. He immediately came in conflict with
the New England colonial legislatures and wrote that as long as the royal
governors were paid by the colonies rather than the Crown there would be
trouble. He could not understand why the officials continually cited the Rights
of Englishmen in refusing to quarter his soldiers in private homes.
Dr. Anderson brings out all the misunderstandings of the British officials both
in the colonies and in London that were sources of the Revolution. Loudoun
especially refused to recognize that American provincial volunteer officers and
men would refuse to serve with and under British regulars because their rank
was ignored and subordinated to junior British officers, and in general they
were socially disdained.
Chapter 13 - Oswego
The time is 1756: By Summer of 1756 General Montcalm had agreed, somewhat
reluctantly, with Governor-General Vaudreuil that the first strategic offensive
should be to take the British fort at Oswego in
order to eliminate their potential power on the Great Lakes. Montcalm's opinion
of the Indians and Canadians as military allies was similar to that of Loudoun,
but he had more need of them in the conduct of frontier warfare. He found that
the French already had a century of good relations with all except the Iroquois
and could call upon tribes as far west as Lake Superior. But the Indians came
of their own accord and fought according to their own methods and for their own
purposes: trophies, prestige, and prisoners.Battle
In this chapter Anderson describes the easy victory of Montcalm over the
British garrison at Oswego and the subsequent Indian 'massacre'.
Chapter 14 -The State of the Central Colonies
The time is 1756: The author turns attention from the northern frontier to the
situation in the middle colonies; Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, whose
western frontiers were wide open and already subjected to continual raids. The
settlers in their furthermost western areas were fleeing east. In Pennsylvania
the political conflict between the pacifist Quakers and the frontier settlers
greatly reduced defenses. In the process they did not answer to the pleas of
the Delaware for support against attacks.
In Maryland the relatively populated eastern coastal communities did not
provide enough funds to hold the narrow frontier and abandoned such defenses as
Fort Cumberland, against orders. The furthermost west fort in Maryland would be
close to the Potomac River. (The Fort still exists as a tourist
In Virginia the coastal wealthy planters were more concerned with defense
against potential slave revolts than the far west. But there was enough special
interest from land speculators (investors) to create enough support for the
legislature to authorize raising a large regiment (never fully manned) and
commission George Washington to command it. A series of small forts was built
but it didn't stop raids. Governor Dinwiddie tried to entice the Cherokee and
Catawba to join in fighting their hereditary enemies the Iroquois but without
Chapter 15 -The Strains of Empire: Causes of Anglo--American Friction
The time is 1756: In this chapter the author summarizes all the sources of
conflict between the colonists and the British overlords. The result was that
by 1756 the French were winning. He analyzes the situation and identifies
1 - He points to Lord Loudoun himself, for both his personality and his lack of
understanding of the colonists' culture and political views.
2 - Neither the Crown nor the colonists were willing to pay for an adequate
Chapter 16 - Britain Drifts into a European War
The time is 1756: With undeclared war already in progress in North America, the
author turns attention to the manner in which it spread to continental Europe,
where the Powers had much different objectives. In Great Britian the personal
and party power struggle, centered on Pitt, Fox, Cumberland, Newcastle and King
George II, paralyzed government. On the continent the "Diplomatic
Revolution" previously described forced British policy. Defense of Hanover
was a major policy consideration. In August 1756 Frederick II of Prussia
invaded Austrian Saxony. This required France to aid Austria along with the
Russians. Great Britian had to switch financial and military support from
Austria to Prussia.
Anderson mentions in his narrative the enormous sums that Britain spent on
subsidies to the Prussians and others and the costs of war in America. It would
be something of a digression, but the readers would obtain a better view of how
the British did this throughout the 18th century if the author would describe
the financial - monetary revolution that resulted from the creation of the Bank
of England and the fundamental change when government expenditures, in
particular for war, became a debt for the country rather than the monarch
personally. The budget then became a creature of Parliament rather than the
Chapter 17 - The Fortunes of War in Europe
The time is 1757: A brief summary of military events in 1757 in which
Frederick's fortunes waxed and waned and Cumberland was sent to take command of
the Hanoverian army and was forced to sue for peace. But in India Robert Clive
accomplished stunning victories, while in America Lord Loudoun was preparing to
attack Fortress Louisbourg.
Chapter 18 - Loudoun's Offensive
The time is 1757: The author returns to America to describe conditions and
Loudoun's attack at Louisbourg in
particular. Loudoun had wanted to use his regulars to attack Quebec, but Pitt
ordered him to take Louisbourg first. In preparation he reorganized the
logistics and established new contract procedures for enlisting colonial
soldiers. He also decreed a full embargo, prohibiting any ships from departing
any port except on military business. This was because he found that New
England merchants were profiting from trade with Canada. The economic disaster
was yet another indication to merchants and shipowners that British officials
did not have their interests in mind. The Virginia and Maryland legislatures
forced Loudoun to end it. But by virtue of his hard and skillful work Loudoun
sailed on 20 June with over 100 ships and 6000 troops.
Chapter 19 - Fort William Henry
The time is 1757: This chapter describes the famous French siege and
destruction of the main British fort in New York protecting the route through
the lakes to the Hudson River. Of course the siege was featured in James
Fenimore Cooper's story "Last of the Mohicans" and in the movie based
on the book.
Anderson's detailed description of Montcalm's preparations and General Daniel
Webb's lack of support to Lt. Colonel Monro in the fort provides much more information. One striking fact
is the huge (2000+) Indian contingent Montcalm allowed to assemble with members
from 33 different nations including Indians from as far west as Iowa and
Minnesota and including 820 Indians from Catholic missions from the Atlantic to
the Great Lakes. Such an assembly was never repeated, in part due to Montcalm's
own treatment of those Indians.
Chapter 20 - Other Disasters, and a Ray of Hope
The time is 1757: The author turns to the Southern Department in 1757 -
colonies from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Fort Loudoun was built in "modern'
Tennessee in Cherokee country. The French coming north from Alabama and Shawnee
south from Ohio were trying to entice the Cherokee to enter the war. As before,
the Maryland assembly refused to provide funds. The situation in Virginia
improved slightly. Washington lobbied Lord Loudoun to take the Virginia
Regiment into the Royal service in order for it to receive funds. Loudoun
refused but detached a battalion of the Royal American Regiment commanded by
Colonel John Stanwix in Pennsylvania, leaving the 350 miles of Virginia frontier
with 18 forts to its own regiment. Lord Loudoun did send a unit of the 42nd and
some of the Royal Americans to the Carolina frontier.
Governor-General Vaudreuil could report to France that the western parts of
Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were now depopulated.
In Pennsylvania some Quaker leaders led by Israel Pemberton began to negotiate with Teedyuscung,
Delaware leader at the Easton Conference
Delaware were desperate for trade goods and to regain their lands in the
Wyoming valley lost at the Walking Purchase
1737. Pennsylvania governor William Denny participated on behalf of the Penn
family, still proprietors, but more as the representative of earl Loudoun. The
Iroquois representatives opposed returning the Delaware lands to them. Anderson
explains in detail the cross purposes and private interests of each of the many
delegations at the conference. It appears that only Teedyuscng's efforts in
behalf of the Delawares were honest.
Chapter 21 - Pitt Changes Course
The time is December 1757: While the Easton Conference was underway, and Fort
William Henry was besieged, Lord Loudoun was sitting at Halifax with his army
and fleet waiting for weather to enable him to attack Louisbourg. At the same
time the French reinforced the fortress with a fleet of 18 ships of the line
and 5 frigates. Lord Loudoun was forced to abandon the expedition and return to
New York, when Admiral Francis Holburne
counseled that he could not defeat that large French fleet.
After escorting the army back to New York, Admiral Holburne sailed to the St.
Lawrence and lost much of his fleet in a hurricane.
Once back in New York Lord Loudoun was busy attempting to launce and offensive
against the French. His target for the winter expedition was the French Fort
Carillon at the other end of Lake George. But a harsh winter precluded that.
Meanwhile he had continual confrontations with the colonies' governors and
legislatures. There were anti-recruitment riots everywhere. He faced increased
opposition from the colonists on all sides.
In a way PM William Pitt
relieved Loudoun of his great difficulties by relieving him of
his post. And the change Pitt made was a part of an entire change in the
strategy for conducting the entire World War - actually in fact making it a
World War. Pitt's political strength to accomplish this resulted from the
downfall of the duke of Cumberland (King George II's son) who was trapped in
Hanover by the French and forced to surrender.
Pitt's new strategy was to leave the war on the continent to the Prussian King
Frederick, even though he faced simultaneous offensives by the French, Swedes,
Russians and Austrians. And to devote all British resources to a naval war
against France and a full scale land war in America, contingent on the British
navy's ability to prevent the French from increasing their strength there. In
addition the naval war would enable to British to attack French posts in India,
Africa and the West Indies. The immediate price would be a huge financial
subsidy to Frederick. He also planned to defend Britian itself with the navy
and local militia in order to send more regulars overseas. The strategy would
also require a major increase in the colonial contribution in manpower and
finance. This would require changing the British policy toward the provincials.
He would treat them as allies rather than subordinates. And this meant, among
other things, that provincial officers would be raised in status to match the
Royal officers. To serve as the professinal military commanders to execute his
policy, Pitt appointed two of his most brilliant and experienced senior
officers, George Lord Anson
as First Lord of the Admiralty and General Sir John Ligonier as Commander in Chief of the Army. Instead of sending a British
general to command the Hanoverian Army he arranged for Frederick to appoint a
Part IV. Turning Point, 1758
Summary: Pitt's new policies begin to reverse the situation in the colonies and
on the continent. The French attempt to change. Montcalm wins another great
victory at Ticonderoga but the British win at Louisbourg and Fort Frontenac.
Indian diplomacy assists Forbes in gaining Fort Dusquesne. The author's
Chapter 22 - Deadlock, and a New Beginning
The time is January- May 1758: Lord Loudoun over the winter had the New England
assemblies recruit more militia to defend the frontier after the loss of Fort
William Henry. But Massassachutes only garrisoned its own frontier forts. But
when Loudoun ordered Massachustts men to extend their service beyond their
contract date, despite his advancing pay from his resources, there was strong
resistance. The men marched for home. The Massachusetts assembly invited the
other colonies to meet in defiance of Loudoun, and his own person, Thomas
Pownall, now governor, had encouraged them. But Pownell recognized that
as governor he could accomplish nothing without the agreement of the
legislatures. He had connived to insure Shirley's downfall, so now had to cater
to the latter's opponents. He sought to place all control over contracts for
supply and appointment of officers in his hands in order to create patronage
and a network of allies. Loudoun fought back in his reports to Parliament. But
Pitt recognized that to execute his new strategy he would need a new set of
leaders. Henceforth he would govern through the provincial governors instead of
a 'viceroy'. And he would change the vexing issue of officer's ranks. He also
would offer subsidies to the legislatures rather than demand heavy taxes.
The response was practically instantaneous. Lord Loudoun was replaced and new,
experienced, younger officers were sent to command.
Dr. Anderson writes: "To a truly remarkable degree, Pitt's new policies
took advantage of the strengths of the colonists and compensated for their
deficiencies, tolerated their parochialism and capitalized on their hatred of
Loudoun.... The effects of the new policies were immediately evident in the
response of the assemblies...."
Chapter 23 - Old Strategies, New Men, and a Shift in the Balance
The time is now early 1758: Pitt's plans for the year's campaigns were almost
the same as that which Loudoun had been preparing. The geography channeled the
options. There would be four separate campaigns.
1 -capture of Fortress Louisbourg;
2 -advance north along the lake axis to capture Ticonderoga;
3 - campaign across New York to capture Fort Frontenac;
4 - march across Pennsylvania to capture Fort Duquense.
Pitt asked Lord Ligonier to nominate the new commanders, and he selected
Jeffery Amherst, James Wolfe, John
Forbes and George Augustus, Viscount Howe. But he allowed James Abercromby, Lord Loudoun's 2nd in
command, to remain as the theater commander. General Abercromby with Viscount
Howe would attack Fort Cariillon (Ticonderoga); Jeffery Amhurst and James Wolfe
would attack Fortress Louisbourg. Colonel John Bradstreet would remain to
command the attack on Fort Frontenac and John Forbes would march to capture
Fort Duquesne. And to accomplish these complex assignments Pitt send the
largest military force yet to North America. Amherst had 14,00 men, plus a
large fleet. Abercromby had 25,000 men. Forbes had 2,000 regulars and 5,000
provincials. Not counting support troops and contractors the combat strength
was about 50,000.
The French had 6,800 regulars, 2,700 troupes de la marine, and 16,000 Canadian
militia. But absent were the critical Indians who had lost interest after their
effort at Fort William Henry. Plus, Montcalm faced a serious food shortage due
to failed harvest and the British blockade of supplies from France. And he
faced the same kind of financial corruption and self-dealing as was common in
the American colonies. Moreover, he had a similar conflict with his civilian
leader, Governor-General Vaudreuil, as Loudoun had faced with his colonial
Chapter 24 - Montcalm Raises a Cross: The Battle of Ticonderoga
The time is July 1758: The chapter is a detailed description of General
Abercromby's famous disaster at Fort Carillon in
the outworks that Montcalm had quickly thown up outside the fort. Montcalm had
only 3,526 men there. In the very opening phase Lord Howe was killed, depriving
the army of a vigorous leader and generating a morale loss. General Abercromby
failed even to bring his large artillery train, failed to conduct an engineer
reconnaissance of the fortifications, and then launched repeated frontal
attacks into the abatis. After suffering very great losses, especially in the
Black Watch, he then retreated.
Chapter 25 - Amhurst at Louisbourg
The time is June-July 1758: While Abercromby was struggling to move against
Fort Carillon, General Amhurst had captured Fortress LouisbourgThis
was a real Vauban design fortification. Amhurst conducted a standard Vauban
style siege with the typical Vauban predicted result. He captured the place.
British remembered the fate of their garrison at Fort William Henry. After
that, in revenge, they did not allow the defeated French the standard European
'honors of war' but rather took all the defenders as prisoners of war, deported
the soldiers to England and the civilians to France.
Chapter 26 - Supply Holds the Key
The time is 1758: The British victory at Fortress Louisbourg, and, indeed,
their subsequent strategic victory, was won at sea, as Pitt had planed, by the
superiority of the British Navy over the French, which prevented the latter
from supporting its overseas establishments, not only in North America.
Chapter 27 - Bradstreet at Fort Frontenac
The time is July- August 1758: While Abercromby was failing at Fort Carillon
and Amhurst was succeeding at Fortress Louisbourg, junior officer, Lieutenant
Colonel John Bradstreet was successfully conducting the raid he had proposed to
destroy Fort Frontenac. This accomplishment was due to his personal ability to conceive
of and then execute bateaux transportation via the rivers, and lakes in New
York between Albany and Niagara, plus employ Indians and rangers in frontier
warfare. His campaign was not included in Pitt's overall plan, but after
suffering such a humiliating defeat at Fort Carillon, General Abercromby
relented and authorized the campaign and assigned the forces to conduct it. The
results of the raid were spectacular, even though Bradstreet had no intention
of holding the fort, once taken. The store of provisions there was so great
than he could only transport a portion back and had to destroy the remainder.
Chapter 28 - Indian Diplomacy and the Fall of Fort Duquense
The time is Autumn 1758: General Abercromby took another calculated risk in
authorizing General Forbes to negotiate directly with the several Indian
nations in Pennsylvania and the Ohio region, despite the official policy that
all such negotiations were the responsibility of Sir William Johnson.
Such diplomacy involved many self-serving rivals among the
British, provincials and Indians, all of whom would be sabotaging their own
people to achieve their own objectives. But Forbes knew probably more than any
of the British senior commanders the vital role the Indians had along the
frontier. A campaign against Fort Duquense was impossible without securing some
assistance and at least neutrality from the rest of the local nations.
The author in this chapter combines a description of the complex negotiations
with multiple Indian leaders and nations with his narration of the methodical
way Forbes built his road and moved his small force from Carlisle to the Forks
of the Ohio.
George Washington was participating as commander of one of the Virginia
regiments. Anderson makes note of Washington's big effort to convince Forbes
that he should conduct the expedition using Braddock's Road from Cumberland
rather than create one directly west across Pennsylvania. Forbes well
understood that Washington's lobbying effort was due to his and his fellow
Virginians' efforts to secure the acquisition of Ohio land for their own
speculation. The rivalry between Virginia and Pennsylvania over control of the
Ohio country continued through the American Revolution and establishment of the
The negotiations with the Indians was conducted at Easton, Pennsylvania and
resulted in the important Treaty of Easton
on October 25-26, 1758. Of course the Treaty was the result of lying by many of
the signers and set to fail. The principal losers were the eastern Delaware and
especially their leader, Teedyuscung, who
had devoted all his efforts to establish a lasting peace for his people with
the British and provincials. The hero of the year as far as the British are
concerned was General Forbes, who, despite suffering from severe medical
problems led his expedition in person all the way to the ruin of Fort Duquense
and began construction of a replacement before being carried back to
Philadelphia to die.
Chapter 29 - Educations in Arms
The time is 1754 - 1758: Abercromby and Forbes concluded their campaigns and
released their provincials on time. Dr. Anderson describes what the provincials
learned from their experience. It was not good. They certainly drew a view of
contempt and disgust over the Abercromby episode at Fort Carillon. They also
recogninzed that the entire British way of thinking and social system was no
longer theirs, despite their remaining still British subjects.
He writes: "The experience of service with the regulars left enduring
marks on the provincials, and not only on those who left the army with scars on
their backs." "From 1756 onward, the Anglo-American armies became
arenas of intercultural contact in which tens of thousands of American
colonists encountered the British cultural and class system as refracted
through the prism of the regular army."
Anderson singles out George Washington, who had been on active service for 5
years, as being significantly influenced by his observations. He devotes
several pages to analysis and commentary about George Washington. Upon
resigning his commission after failing in his efforts to become a regular
British officer, Washington organized his election and then took his seat in
the House of Burgesses. Anderson's assessment of Washington is that he was a
very ambitious young man. The reader should compare this with Chernow's
appraisal of Washington in his excellent biography.
Part V. Annus Miralis, 1759
Summary: Victories in the field strengthen Pitt in Parliament. He expands his
strategy to wage war against French colonies world-wide. British are victorious
at Niagara, Ticonderoga and Crown Point- And QUEBEC. General Amhurst begins to
repeat Lord Loudoun's attitude and mistakes versus the provincials but they are
temporarily at least enthusiastic over recent victories. The increasing dangers
facing Prussian King Frederick II. The decisive British victory at Quiberon
Chapter 30 - Success, Anxiety, and Power: The Assent of William Pitt
The time is late 1758: The author describes the joyful reception Captain
William Amherst (General Jeffery Amherst's brother) had, when he delivered the
news that Fortress Louisbourg had been captured. But this was shortly followed
by the terrible news of Abercromby's disaster at Fort Carillon. At the same
time the war on the continent was draining Prussian resources, despite
Frederick's brilliant tactical victories. Pitt was forced to abandon his
previous policy by increasing the British payments and even dispatch 7,000
troops to assist, by joining the Hanoverian Army. It was a partial abandonment,
since he did not change his naval policy on a world-wide scale.
Anderson notes that the British government lacked a unified war department to
provide intelligence and consider broad strategy. It was fortunate to have two
of the best officers in command - Admiral of the Fleet George Anson and General
Lord Ligonier. In September he relieved Abercromby and appointed Amhurst as
supreme commander in the American colonies. That year he also captured Senegal
and all the French out posts on the African coast. Then he sent an expedition
to the West Indies to take Martinique. And for 1759 he appointed James Wolfe
organize a force from Louisbourg to attack Quebec via the St. Lawrence while
Amhurst attacked Canada via Lake George and Lake Ontario.
Again, in passing, Anderson notes that Pitt was paying for all this huge
expense on credit from the bankers and merchants in London. He should have
taken the opportunity to explain how this was made possible by the creation of
the Bank of England and the financial revolution that took place then. He does
mention in passing the significance of the British taking the French outposts
in Senegal and along the African coast, and in taking plantation islands in the
West Indies, but much more about the results of these could be described. For
instance, he might mention that the London merchants were making fortunes from
the profits that British naval power enabled them to receive from overseas.
Chapter 31 - Ministerial Uncertainties
The time is 1759: The British war effort is costing such huge demands for
credit that it is threatened. Pitt's campaign against Martinique fails but
instead it captures an even better island, Guadalupe. The French planters there
immediately switched their trade for the American colonies and England. The
British took over the profits in the slave trade to the West Indies, the
marketing of gum arabic and sugar, and profits from products out of Africa. As
I noted, the financial results were dramatic. Millions of pounds sterling
flowed into the British Treasury.
Chapter 32 - Surfeit of Enthusiasm, Shortage of Resources
The time is 1759: Again, Anderson stresses that the cost of the war was driving
Massachusetts and the rest of New England deeply into debt from their payments
for resources by credit. In a word, Massachusetts was already technically
bankrupt. Insolvency was delayed by Pitt sending huge quantities of gold and
silver coin for salaries.
Anderson describes the dire straits facing Massachusetts both financially and
in manpower. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island
were in similar condition. Even so, for 1759 they together managed to enlist
almost 17,000 men, not counting those serving at sea. He describes also the
varied resources of the middle and southern provinces. Again local politics
were dominant and the rivalry between Virginia and Pennsylvania for ultimate
control of the Ohio territory energized their self-serving efforts.
Chapter 33 - Emblem of Empire: Fort Pitt and the Indians
The time is 1759: This is a brief but very interesting chapter in which the
author combines a summary of the separate but related subjects - the
difficulties the British (and provincials) had in maintaining their new
positions on the western frontier logistically and new relations with the
several Indian nations. It is an outline of the more detailed analysis coming
in following chapters. Supply at Fort Pitt required not only that required for
the new garrison and the extensive building effort to create a fortress much
larger and more powerful that Dusquense, but also the 'gift' subsidies demanded
by the Shawnee, Delaware and Mingo tribes that the British promised to replace
those formerly provided by the French. The author includes an illustration (one
of many of the forts and battlefields) of the new Fort Pitt.
Chapter 34 - The Six Nations Join the Fight: The Siege of Niagara
The time is July 1759: In this chapter the author describes something not found
in our standard history text books. He has studied the inner workings of
Iroquois strategic policy and diplomacy during the entire 18th century. In this
chapter, as the title indicates, he shows the Iroquois reasoning behind their
"join the fight" - that is the momentous change from strict
neutrality to going 'all in' to support the British rather than the French.
They deemed it essential and it was important in the short run, but in the long
run it drastically reduced their power as an independent military force between
the French and British.
Of course eventually the British victory and elimination of the French would
render Iroquois 'neutrality' irrelevant anyway.
The immediate occasion for the Iroquois diplomatic - military shift was the
British (colonial) campaign to besiege French Fort Niagara. But their broader
goal was to gain and retain their suzerainty over their 'dependent' Indian
nations - Shawnee, Delaware and Mingo who were being pushed west from their
homelands in eastern and central Pennsylvania to the Ohio Valley - and to gain
control over the indigenous Indians resident throughout Ohio and even the Great
Fort Niagara was located on the east side of the narrow Niagara River
connecting Lakes Erie and Ontario. For the French it was critical in two ways,
as it was for the British later and for the Americans still later. It
controlled the passage of supplies from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, hence all
resupply and reinforcement of the forts and trading posts west throughout the
Great Lakes region and south west to the Ohio River valley and from there to
St. Louis and Louisiana. And it was the critical route to the Indian nations as
far as Lake Superior, from whom they received fur and warriors. Its capture was
an integral part of the British strategy for 1759.
Brigadier General John Prideaux
was assigned the mission to take it. The bateaux transport
system from Schenectady to Oswego was one critical element. Another was the
successful effort of Sir William Johnson to convince the Six Nations' central
command (Onondaga) to switch from neutrality to support. They did not need
convincing as their strategic policy (as mentioned above) already considered it
most important to assert their continued suzerainty over the Ohio valley. It
was the Iroquois who approached Johnson with the concept. Thus a thousand
Iroquois warriors were waiting at Oswego in June to join Prideaux.
Anderson notes that the British did not understand the reason for this abrupt
change and did not seek to find out. The British thought the Iroquois had
decided to assist them. But the Iroquois thought they would obtain British
military power to assist themselves in their effort to control the Ohio valley
Fort Niagara was a much stronger fort than Fort Frontenac, but it was
undermanned since its commander, Captain Pierre Pouchot,
believed his Seneca would alert him of any British advance, so he had
dispatched 2,500 of his 3,000 man garrison to assist Captain Francois-Marie Le
Marchand Lignery at Fort Machault in retaking Dusquense. Thus he (and also his
local Senecas) were surprised on 6 July when Prideaux arrived and opened a
siege. Pouchot quickly sent word to Lignery to rush to Fort Niagara, which the
latter did, only to be destroyed by an emplacement hastily constructed by the
46th Regiment. (Battle of La Belle-Familie) Lignery was among the dead.
Meanwhile the main Seneca contingent with Prideaux convinced their kinsmen at
Niagara to depart, which they did under a truce. After that British artillery
quickly reduced the fort to rubble. But General Prideaux had his head blown off
by one of his own mortars as he walked in front of it. Sir William Johnson took
command. After Pouchot surrendered, Johnson contacted the other Indian nations
around the Great Lakes. Amhurst sent Brigadier General Thomas Gage to
command and rebuild Fort Niagara. The French abandoned their forts along the
Ohio axis, those further west had to depend on French control of Louisiana. And
the Indian nations in the pays d'en haut ceased coming to the aid of the
French at Quebec.
Chapter 35 - General Amherst Hesitates: Ticonderoga and Crown Point
The time is July- August 1759: General Amhurst had been slowly and carefully
moving north from Ticonderoga on the Lake Champlain route with about 10,000
men. He was hampered by lack of ships on the lake, so had to wait for new ones
to be built. For a base of operations he built Fort George to replace Fort
William Henry. He captured Fort Carillon easily and repaired it as Fort
Ticonderoga. At Crown Point the French also abandoned their Fort St. Frederic.
Amhurst built a larger and more powerful Fort Crown Point. All this while
Amhurst did not know the results of Wolfe's expedition to Quebec.
Chapter 36 - Dubious Battle: Wolfe Meets Montcalm at Quebec
The time is June - September 1759: The theme of this chapter is a detailed
narration and analysis of Wolfe's victory and capture, despite dying on the
Plains of Abraham, of Quebec and the immediate results and situation. British
command there devolved on the only remaining senior officer, Brigadier James
Murray, the Scot who led the 73rd Foot - Highlanders - in their wild,
claymore wielding, assault during the battle. The winter would prove a
difficult one for the depleted British force that garrisoned Quebec and awaited
the French counter attack from Montreal. Command of the British depleated
garrison in the city over the winter was left to James Murray.
Dr. Anderson describes the battle in detail including the thoughts and
decisions of generals Wolfe and Montalm (who also died). The French force was
composed of regular battalions mixed with poorly trained militia and a few
Canadians and Indians. They were the white coated regiments of Bearn and
Guyenne in the center, the Royal Roussillon and the Montreal and Trois-Rivieres
militia on the left, and the Quebec militia on the right, in total about 4500
men. They had the Quebec artillery as well.
The scarlet uniformed British were all regulars with participation in many
campaigns behind them. They had two small cannon draged up the cliff from the
warships below. The seven battalions were in a double rank extended in a line
half a mile long. They were the 58th Foot and 78th Foot (Highlanders) on the
left, thr 43rd Foot and Louisbourg Grenadiers on the right, and the longest
serving, experienced, 47th and 48th Foot in the center. It was those two
especially whose volley fire destroyed the cohesion of the French line while
the 78th Highlanders unsheathed their claymores and charged despite being fired
upon by the Canadians and Indians in woods to their left.
Chapter 37 - Fall's Frustrations
The time is October- November 1759: With favorable news from Quebec and Niagara
Amhurst ceased field operations, dismissed his colonials and moved his regulars
into winter quarters. Anderson again recounts the dissatisfaction of the
provincials even though they had been released on time.
Chapter 38 - Celebrations of Empire, Expectations of the Millennium
The time is October 1759: While the released provincial militia soldiers
continued to complain, the citizens in the cities, such as New York, Boston,
and Philadelphia celebrated victory. God's providence was widely invoked.
Chapter 39 - Day of Decision: Quiberon Bay
The time is November 20, 1759: Word of Wolfe's victory sent the populace of
Great Britian into joyous celebration. Meanwhile, on 18-19 August Admiral
Edward Boscawen had nearly destroyed a French fleet seeking to sail from Toulon
to Brest at the Bay of Lagos. Then, on
November 20 French Admiral Herbert de Brienne, comte de Conflans attempted to sail in the midst of a huge storm from Brest to
Quiberon Bay to join his invasion transport fleet. He was countered by British
Admiral Sir Edward Hawke commanding the Channel blockade fleet. The result was a
terrible battle in which the French fleet was driven into port or destroyed.
This, Dr. Anderson claims, was the real strategic British victory more
important than the capture of Quebec. The readers will learn why in the
Part VI. Conquest Completed, 1760
Summary: Amherst's risky strategic plan to attain full victory and success. The
war itself changes the colonial world. The author presents his excellent
assessment. Pitt faces an unexpected trial.
Chapter 40 - War in Full Career
The time is 1760: The chapter is both a brief summary of the impact on the war
effort to date and an analysis of future prospects. The author contends that
nothing as yet was determined. Much would depend on the ability of France to
bring supplies and reinforcement to Montreal. In this respect he is pointing
out the results of the naval battle at Quiberon Bay. He describes the
remarkable change in the attitude of the provincial legislatures now eager to
raise the required volunteers and finance their pay and sustenance (all
depending on British promised subsidies). Indeed, he notes one cause of this
change was that now the provincial legislatures were so deeply in their own
debts from paying by credit, that they depended on Parliament to bail them out.
This is a very interesting observation on the political impact of unpayable
public debt due to war. He also discusses the broader economic results of the
war. The huge increases in pay necessary to recruit the volunteers resulted in
sizable increases in specie in circulation as well as the huge credit
generating debt, leading to inflation. The very large demands for construction
and assembly of supplies and transportation generated employment and expanded
consumer demand. There was a general economic boom making it appear that
prosperity had increased.
The author provides a summary of General Amhurst's campaign plan. The main
effort would be a risky three- pronged attack on Montreal. Amhurst would
personally lead the main body of 10,000 troops across New York to Oswego and
then north and back east along the upper St. Lawrence River. Sir William
Johnson would mobilize as many Iroquois warriors as possible to accompany
Amhurst. Brigadier James Murray would cobble together what fit troops he could
from Quebec and proceed up the St. Lawrence. He would be reinforced by two
regiments sent from Fortress Louisbourg and a British fleet, which would also
prevent a French effort to gain the river. Meanwhile Acting Brigadier General
William Haviland would take command of the troops at Crown Point and proceed
north against the French. The recovered Brigadier Robert Monckton
assigned to command the military efforts in the remaining provinces, from
supervising the completion of Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania to sending regulars to
South Carolina to suppress the Cherokee.
Chapter 41 - The Insufficiency of Valor: Levis and Vauquelin at Quebec
The time is April-May 1760: Francois-Gaston, chevalier de Levis
(Montcalm's former 2nd in command) was everything expected of a
French professional soldier. His objective now was to gather all possible
troops at Montreal and recapture Quebec. "Valor" he had in abundance
but not resources especially siege guns and much of a fleet. His hope was to
assault and take Quebec before the British could bring a fleet up the St.
Lawrence to relieve their garrison. This rested in large part on the French
getting a fleet up the river before the British. (Again we think of Quiberon
Bay). On April 20 he started back down the St. Lawrence with over 7,000 men. on
barges and bateaux escorted by two of his four frigates. A few miles short of
Quebec at St. Foy he met Murray's entrenchments and troops out of the city. In
the ensuring engagement Levis drove the British back into Quebec and began to
prepare a formal siege, with preparations completed by 4 May. But the French
fleet met disaster at the mouth of the St. Lawrence from the British fleet from
Louisbourg. On the evening of May 12th it was the British fleet that Levis saw
- H. M. S. Vanguard - which had opened fire on his siege line. Captain Jean
Vauquelin on his frigate, Atalante, defended the retreating French
bateaux at Pointe aux Trembles by anchoring and continuing to fire at the
advancing British men-of-war until out of ammunition, at which time he ordered
to crew to abandon ship while he waited on board to be captured. Thus French
'valor' again exceeded resources.
Anderson's conclusion: "And so, in the end, it was Lagos and Quiberon Bay
that proved decisive at Quebec, and control of the Atlantic had settled the
ownership of Canada."
Chapter 42 - Murray Ascends the St. Lawrence
The time is July- August 1760: By mid-July Murray had been reinforced by a
large British fleet of men-at-war and supplies. And two fresh regiments were on
the way from Louisbourg. Anderson describes the British movement up the St.
Lawrence and the rather hopeless French defensive efforts from shore positions.
The main obstacle was the river itself, its rapids and winds. Having arrived
near Montreal Murray dug in and awaited Haviland and Amhurst
Chapter 43 - Conquest Completed: Vaudreuil Surrenders at Montreal
The time is August 1760: Anderson describes Brigadier William Haviland's
cautious advance on Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River which began on
August 11th. He was opposed by the chevalier de Bougainville (later famous as
the explorer of the south Pacific) at Ile-aux-Noix. General Amhurst began his
lengthy trek from Oswego on August 10th. He was opposed by the clever Captain
Pouchot's defense built in the river at La Galette where he reinforced Fort
Levis, which Amherst had to besiege from 16 to 26 August. Amhurst also faced
worse difficulty from the rapids than from the fort. He reached Montreal on 5
September. There the three British expeditions met. Itself a remarkable
Anderson defers from the coming engagement to discuss the impact of Sir William
Johnson's Iroquois and Amhurst's disdain and reluctant acceptance of them. His
assessment is that they provided a critical support that Amhurst did not even
understand. All along the route it was Iroquois presence (of 700 warriors) and
diplomacy that had prevented the local, Catholic, and loyal French-supporting
Indians from resisting or providing the much needed assistance that Levis hoped
for. He notes that only John Forbes of all the British senior commanders
understood the critical significance of Indian support.
He continues, writing:" Among the many things that Amhurst failed to
understand about the Indians was that they were not crass opportunists, eager
to abandon their old masters for new and richer ones, but rather that they -
like the Shawnee and Delaware of the Ohio Country - had always regarded
themselves as free agents: allies, not servants, of the French". "The
commander in chief's inability to understand Indians as anything but expensive,
barbaric encumbrances would have serious consequences for his later career in
America, but for the present he would be spared anything more unpleasant than
organizing the surrender of the last effective enemy force in Canada"
Meanwhile Levis attempted to honor French military valor by maintaining an
active defense, but Governor-General Vaudreuil was wiser and surrendered.
Amhurst agreed to most of Vaudreuil's surrender terms. But he denied the French
regulars the 'honors of war' due to the event at Fort William Henry.
Chapter 44 - The Causes of Victory and the Experience of Empire
The time is 1758 - 1760: The chapter title names the content. It is fully
Anderson's assessment of both causes and results of the war. In five pages he
masterfully summarizes both. The cause of victory had been successfully
surmounting the huge problem of supplying resources; men, supplies, money) over
great distances and geographical obstacles.
He writes: "Warfare on the fantastic geographical scale of the Seven
Years' War in America had been conceivable because Parliament was willing to
grant sums necessary to fund far-flung campaigns; because the British people
were able to shoulder the taxes required by a war vaster than any their nation
had ever fought; because the colonists cooperated in the imperial enterprise
with an enthusiasm and a vigor unprecedented in their history."
But the war also generated and increased the gulf between the colonists'
cultural view of the British society and the reverse. Anderson continues to
describe, "The alienating consequences of this disparity between the
viewpoints of regular officers and their provincial counterparts" as an
example of the broader break down. He notes that during the course of the war
tens of thousands of colonists had become personally engaged with British
individuals on a scale not seen previously and drew adverse conclusions from
Chapter 45 - Pitt Confronts an Unexpected Challenge
The time is October 1760: The unexpected challenge was the sudden death of King
George II and the ascendancy of George III whose tutor was Pitt's enemy, John
Stuart, the third earl of Butte. Anderson misses his opportunity here to explain that George III
was the grand son, not son, of George II and had reached his throne with a much
different personality and view of Parliamentary politics and his own role from
that presumed by leaders such as Pitt.
He does write: "But when the old king died, the world of British politics
changed forever." And, "Pitt had no real conception of how unlikely
was that he would succeed in that endeavor" Namely, the continuation of
After noting this momentous change, but without explaining fully Why it took
place, Anderson includes a wonderful diversion - a set of original
illustrations: Victory Recollected - Scenographia AmereicanaThis
comprises 28 prints of original drawings made by British Army and Navy officers
during the war.
Part VII. Vexed Victory, 1761 - 1763
Summary: British failure to recognize victory has also generated future serious
problems. Amhurst's faulty policies and the Cherokee War. Pitt
is forced to resign. War begins against Spain. Dissolution of British alliance
with Prussia. British capture both Havana and Manila. War continues in North
America despite French surrender. Significance of Pontiac's Rebellion. Jeffery
Chapter 46 - The Fruits of Victory and the Seeds of Disintegration
The time is 1761-1763: In three pages of summary Anderson continues his summary
and assessment. The personal competitions between the prominent actors in each
His assessment: "Great Britain triumphed in North America for two related
reasons. One was military and well understood at the time: the other was in the
broadest sense cultural, and understood not at all." Further, he
continues: "Only an understanding of the cultural interactions that the
war had shaped, and that in turn had shaped the war, can explain the
Anglo-American victory in such a way as to make sense of the problems that
arose between the British and various North American groups after the conquest
Among the cultural changes, he cites, were the decline in the French
relationship with their former Indian allies after the victory at Fort William
Henry due to inability of the French to continue to supply trade goods and
Montcalm's typical European view (and misunderstanding) of the Indians ( and
even of the Canadian settlers); and the reverse change in the official British
policy toward the provincials especially and to some extent toward the Indians
with Pitt's new strategy and Amhurst's reversal of the attitude shown by
Braddock and Loudoun. But very soon after his victory in Canada Amhurst
reverted to British aristocratic form and began again to treat the colonists as
subjects rather than as allies, and to nearly totally disparage the former
Indians who considered themselves allies and certainly not subjects.
Through the following chapters he relates the results he predicts here.
"The Indians who rebelled against British control after the Seven Year's
War were trying, in the only way they knew, to maintain local autonomy and
customary rights against an imperial authority heedless of local
But Anderson does not point out that this 'imperial' view of Indians and policy
toward them was exactly the same as that begun by New England colonists in
Pequot and King Philip's Wars and Virginia colonists against Powhatan - and
continued through Andrew Jackson's displacement of the Civilized tribes from
Georgia and Alabama - and continued exactly before and after the Civil War in
the combination of treaty making, treaty violation, promises of and failure to
provide subsidies, and destructive attack on the Plains and Rocky Mountain
Indians for the rest of the 19th century.
Chapter 47 - The Cherokee War and Amhurst's Reforms in Indian Policy
The time is 1760 - 1761 The Cherokee were one of the so-called 'civilized
tribes' meaning that the colonists considered them to be at a somewhat higher
standard because they lived in towns and relied on farming as well as hunting.
They had conducted peaceful business with licensed Carolina traders for many
years. They were hereditary enemies of the Iroquois. During the French and
Indian War in 1758 they offered their assistance to General Forbes for his
campaign across Pennsylvania but he did not know how to take advantage of that
or even to understand their culture. On the way back to Carolina peaceful
warriors were attacked by frontier settlers in Virginia. Meanwhile, during
their absence white hunters from South Carolina had invaded their established
territory and disrupted their critical game supply. The South Carolina Governor
was William Henry Lytelton, who did try to keep peace with the Indians, but faced oppositin
from the colonists. In early 1759 with conditions deteriorating the Cherokee
tried to insure peace and sent their chief negotiator, Attakullakulla, to
request an increase in the standard 'gift'.
Dr. Anderson notes again how the Indian nations had already become dependent on
the white settlers and government for essential manufactured goods in addition
to arms and gunpowder. This condition of dependency we see was culturally and
psychologically destructive throughout the 19th century on the western Plains
and mountains and continued after the Indians were relegated to reservations.
Another situation Dr. Anderson describes is the lack of unity between the
Indian nations - actually there was continually potential or actual conflict
and warfare between them. In the case of the Cherokee efforts to accommodate
their life with the encroaching colonists, their neighbors; Creeks,
Chickasaw, Catawba, and
Iroquois were eagerly awaiting any opportunity to take advantage of Cherokee
confrontations with the settlers or British government. And so were the French
in Louisiana and Alabama. The author describes the ensuing 'war'
during which both sides had their tactical victories and losses. But the final
result was not in doubt. The British sent regular units with colonial militia
support into the Cherokee towns and destroyed them along with the crops and
supplies. The Cherokee eventually had no choice but to surrender or starve.
Meanwhile, Lytelton was replaced and sent to Jamaica. Amhurst sent Colonel
Archibald Montgomery with two regular regiments( The Royal Scots and
the 77th Foot, Montgomerile's Highlanders
) to supress the revolt. He had only temporary successes. The
Cherokee besieged and captured Fort Loudoun and drove the settlers back toward the coast. New governor
William Bull, did try to reestablish peace. Amhurst sent Lt. Colonel James
Grant from New York with more regulars and Mohawk Indians. Grant will
be remembered from his headstrong attack and defeat at Fort Dusquense during
Forbes' advance. By June he opened operations into Cherokee country and was met
by 1000 warriors in another ambush. The Indians were holding their own until
they ran out of ammunition. Grant again destroyed villages and acres of corn
and beans. He ordered every and any Indian found to be killed. That year
Colonel William Byrd advanced from Virginia south into Cherokee country.
Anderson draws several lessons from the Cherokee War - some recognized by the
contemporaries and some not - and others misunderstood. As was so usual, the
British commander, Jeffrey Amhurst, reverted to type and considered only the
military aspects and ignored or simply did not understand the cultural aspects.
In fact, his new policy made conditions worse. Punishment, rather than giving
'gifts' was his motto. Sir William Johnson warned him that such gifts were
essential but Amhurst rejected it and actually stated that Grant's final
victory over the Cherokee showed the results of proper policy. He was all for
regular trade but refused to provide 'presents'. He wrote that he would not
'purchase the good behavior'. Amhurst urged Johnson to keep the Indians busy
and out of mischief.
Anderson's conclusion: "Far from keeping the Indians so busy that they had
no time to hatch mischief among themselves, he had given them what they had
never had before: a common grievance, and tangible evidence that the English
would not hesitate to threaten their way of life."
Chapter 48 - Amhurst's Dilemma
The time is 1761: In three pages Dr. Anderson succinctly summarizes Jeffery
Amhurst's problem. He had to deal with the conflicting - actually opposing -
fundamental objectives, based on totally different ways of life, of the Indians
and settlers. The Indians wanted to keep their homeland, while the colonists
wanted to take it. He notes that the commanding general, Amhurst had only about
16,000 soldier to accomplish this, including the battalions required in Canada
and as far west at Lake Superior and south along the Mississippi. He comments
that Amhurst believed his policies were becoming effective. But the Indians saw
a different situation. The British had gained their alliance based on the
solemn promise that once the French were defeated the British army would go
home - that only small trading posts would remain in Indian lands - and that
they would retain full control, as they had under French government. In fact,
they saw with their own eyes, that all that was lies.
Chapter 49 - Pitt's Problems
The time is 1761: Dr. Anderson turns to describe PM Pitt's, actually his
principal office was as the Southern Secretary, mounting problems - world wide
problems of which Amhurst's were but a minor part. In this chapter he provides
more of the new King George III's background as the son of Frederick Lewis,
prince of Wales, who had died when George was only 13. He became a member of
his deceased father's court that opposed almost all of the opinions and
policies of King George II. The chapter is about the complex problems Pitt
faced politically at home and the deteriorating and enormously expensive
problem of continuing the war in Europe. Remember that Anderson had described
the key alliance of Pitt and Newcastle as the agreement that Pitt would have a free hand to conduct
the war on the basis of his own strategic conceptions while Newcastle, who was
devoted to King George II, would have the thankless and difficult task of
financing it. And this was subject to the strong desire of King George II to
protect his home domain, Hanover. But King George III did not care about
Hanover but wanted to end the war. And Newcastle did not have the same devotion
to him as to his grandfather. While Lord Butte didn't care for Pitt and wanted Newcastle's office.
The war effort was not going well as Frederick's campaigns barely enabled him
to survive, while Newcastle fretted about the expanding cost of the war, and
wanted peace but with honor. French King Louis XV made a tentative approach
toward negotiations. which Pitt was bound to accept, but without abandoning
Prussia. The issues over which a peace might be achieved were complex enough,
when Spain decided to enter the war on France's side. Pitt was for preempting a
formal declaration but was opposed by practically all the ministers and even
Lords Anson and Ligonier. Only Pitt' brother-in-law, Richard, Earl Temple, the lord privy seal supported him. Pitt and Temple were forced
Chapter 50 - The End of an Alliance
The time is 1762: King George III could replace Pitt, but not the rest of the
cabinet or the military commanders. The duke of Bedford replaced Earl Templeas lord privy seal and Charles Wyndham, second earl of
Egremont became Southern secretary. None of these worthies could be in
the House of Commons, so the king and Lord Butte selected George Grenville,
brother-in-law to both Pitt and Temple to be leader in the house, in the formal
office of treasurer of the navy. And the king had to continue with the same
strategic policy and plans.
Anderson spells out the results. The King, Lord Butte and their supporters had
fired Pitt with the expectation that they could quickly change policy and
accept peace, but the real situation was that war would expand to include Spain
and Great Britain would have to significantly raise more forces and find more
funds. Lords Anson and Ligonier were up to the challenge and quickly began to
prepare their forces to conduct immediate, and if possible, surprise
operations. Great Britain declared war on Spain. Lords Anson and Ligonier had
already ordered Amhurst to attack Havana and their commanders in India to
attack Manila. And Pitt's campaign to take Martinique was underway. Major
General (now) Robert Monckton had New York troops and others from the West
Indies, plus a large navy, that captured Martinique by Feb. 16, 1762. With that
island he then took the remaining French colonies. The French planters were
happy to switch their business by trade with England and North America.
Meanwhile Frederick and Fernand were barely holding on against the combined
French, Russian, Swedish and Austrian armies.
Then came the 'miracle' so central to the study of Russian history. Empress
Elizabeth died suddenly and was succeeded by the German prince, Tsar Peter III,
who worshiped Frederick and was married to the German, future Tsarina Catherine
II. Peter immediately withdrew from the Russian alliance with Austria and
offered Frederick a Russian army corps. Lord Butte was proposing that Britian
end support for Frederick. Duke Newcastle was distraught at the prospect of
loosing Hanover. Lord Butte and the cabinet forced Newcastle out and Butte
became Lord of the Treasury. Britain ended its support for Frederick.
The temporary Russian assistance enabled Frederick to win more battles and
force Austria to make peace.. .
Chapter 51- The Intersections of Empire, Trade, and War: Havana
The time is August 1762: As expected Spain's first move was to invade Portugal.
Lord Ligonier was ready. He organized Portuguese militia and send Lord Loudoun
with 8,000 British troops to block the Spanish. Brigadier General John
Burgoyne led a successful counterattack, and then Lt. Colonel Charles
Lee, from American led another. The Spanish were forced to retreat, ending
military operations in Europe. Meanwhile, back in America, Amhurst drove a
French expeditionary force out of Newfoundland. More significantly, in August
the British force Amhurst sent with George Keppel, earl of Albermarle, combined
with Monckton's troops from Martinique, captured Spain's main city in the
Caribbean, Havana. And this success had a tremendous price, as within a month
over a third of Albermarle's troops died of yellow fever, malaria and internal
disorders and thousands more were too sick to serve.
Anderson considers that Albermarle lost half his force. And the survivors who
returned to New York were virtually out of service for months. But the spoils
were tremendous. Again, British success resulted in the local merchants gladly
switching their import - export business to England and North America with huge
profits to British merchants and the Crown.
Dr. Anderson stresses the economic results of "the paradoxical relations
between empire, trade, and military power.... Where British arms reaped costly
laurels, the merchants, the colonies, and the conquered harvested
Chapter 52 - Peace
The time is now September 1762 - April 1763: In four pages Anderson describes
the initial secret negotiations between Butte and Choiseul, the resulting
uproar in Parliament, and the very complex results. There were multiple
exchanges of territory and agreements between France, Spain and Great Britain.
Austria and Prussia simply agreed to return to the status quo ante bellum -
that is Frederick kept Silesia that Maria Theresa wanted while she kept Saxony
that he wanted.
Chapter 53 - The Rise of Wilkes, the Fall of Butte, and the Unheeded
Lesson of Manila
The time is now Spring 1763: King George III obtained his desire to exit from
continental affairs and focus on his overseas empire. For that he could thank
Lord Butte. But this did not save Butte's political career nor make George a
popular king. Anderson explains this as the interaction of elite and other
segments of British society. The 'imperialist' supporters of Pitt saw the peace
treaty as a sell out.
But, he writes: "Within the ruling class, where ideology generally took a
backseat to the politics of personal connection and advantage, Butte had made
himself a large number of enemies late in 1762 when he and his new lieutenant
in the Commons, Henry Fox, purged Newcastle's old supporters from office."
He continues with an interesting dissection of the inner workings of British
politics. One of the new developments that generated struggle was the
increasing economic but not political power of the merchant and professional
classes (the 'middle class") who opposed the establishment elite of landed
gentry and aristocrats. Their striving was expanded by the significant growth
of printed matter that catered to their opinions.
Anderson singles out John Wilkes as
the most prominent of the publishing agitators. He focused on attacking Lord
Butte in print. Psychologically beaten, Lord Butte resigned as lord of the
Treasury. King George III faced an unpleasant chore of appointing a
replacement, but finally settled on George Grenville as first lord of the
Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, which made him prime minister on the
House of Commons. Although a poor orator and leader, he had the best
understanding of public finance among the members. And he had good connections
with Egremont and Halifax who knew the situation in the colonies.
Anderson believes that, given a period of calm, Grenville and Halifax could
have restored order and begun solving the fiscal problems. But calm they were
not afforded. In England Wilkes continued and increased his agitation, despite
the exist of Butte. He simply changed his targets. The government efforts to
silence him only made matters worse. He generated even more political
opposition when, being wounded in a duel, he fled to France.
A brief positive note came with news of the capture of Manila. Anderson
describes why and how it was planed and executed. It appeared to be
confirmation of the world power of British arms. But, unlike the capture of
French and Spanish colonies in America, administration of the Philippines
proved to be a difficult task because the locals there including the merchants
were not interested in shifting their commerce to the British. Anderson notes
again the relationship between war and economics.
Chapter 54 - Anglo-America at War's End: The Fragility of Empire
The time is 1761-1763: dr. Anderson comments that from 1761 on the post-war
situation in America appeared to be so favorable that ministers in London
mostly ignored it. Between Amhurst, Johnson and Grant the Indian problem
appeared to be solved. The colonial legislatures did question why military
expenditures were still required but parliamentary subsidies helped alleviate
their concerns. Only in Maryland and Pennsylvania did internal political
disputes between the remaining proprietors and the provincials cause refusals
to cooperate. The other colonies raised significant numbers of troops as
requested. Nevertheless Amhurst continued to consider the colonists as unruly
subjects demonstrating 'poor character'. A major concern and complaint was the
continual colonial smuggling trade with the French. In the Massassachutes Bay
colony Governor Bernard and Lt. Governor Thomas Hutchinson attempted to stop
the smuggling. They issued 'general writs of assistance' authorizing searches.
To this James Otis Jr. argued in the General Court. The colonial response was
Anderson's analysis was: "There could hardly be a more vivid example than
this case of the way in which public disputes can create political alignment
that persist long after the original issues of the controversy have
vanished." The reason the original dispute was short lived was that with
the British take of Martinique colonial trade there became legal and merchants
ceased to support mob action. In London the politicians recognized the problems
in the colonies, but with the war effectively over there basically lived with
the situation while concentrating on winning the war in Europe and elsewhere. A
major problem that remained was settling disputes among the rival colonies and
their land speculators. Anderson describes this activity in detail.
He writes: "The intertwined histories of land speculation and frontier
settlement in the postwar colonies often seem no more than a snarled skein of
ambition, self-interest, greed, and deceit. But these instances, from Nova
Scotia to the Carolina frontier, in fact reveal patterns that help clarify the
essential processes of change in the 1760's." He expands on this
assessment in several pages. The conflicts of the 1760's were between rival
colonial groups. He specifically points to the violent conflict over the
Wyoming Valley by the Susquehannah Company.
Chapter 55 - Yankees Invade Wyoming -- and Pay the Price
The time is Spring 1763: The chapter contains a sad story - one to be repeated
over and again as the white frontier moved west and new Indian nations were
driven out of their homelands. The narration and analysis is about the
multi-sided conflict over ownership and occupation of the Wyoming Valley in
eastern Pennsylvania. It may be difficult to imagine today, but brash, greedy,
and self-important settlers from Connecticut presumed to have a legal right to
travel across New York, New Jersey and into Pennsylvania to establish their own
towns and farms. They simply brushed aside not only the Delaware nation whose
right to the land had been established by the Treaty of Easton in 1757 (which
itself had greatly diminished their original holding). But there was also
contention over the rights of ownership by citizens of Pennsylvania and by the
Penn family propriators. Needless to say it was the Delaware nation and its
leader, Teedyuscung, who were driven out and west. He was the only individual
involved who can be adjudged either honest or public spirited. The results
provide another example of William Johnson's priorities - to maintain the
Iroquois' support by favoring them.
Anderson provides a good narration of the role of the many actors in these
events. It is beyond the scope of his book to note, but the remaining conflict
between Pennsylvania and Connecticut continued throughout the American
Revolution in several specifically named 'wars' and was finally settled by the
Chapter 56 - Amhurst's Reforms and Pontiac's War
The time is 1763: Simultaneously with the despoiling and displacement of the
Delaware out of their homes in the Wyoming Valley, far to the west many other
Indian nations, recognizing their fate at the hands of the conquering British
but not yet subdued, raised the largest concerted, multi-nation rebellion in
defense of their lives in colonial times. It was not really a 'rebellion'
because the Indians were not yet subjects - it was "Pontiac's War".
Pontiac was a minor Indian leader in a relatively minor nation - the
Ottawa - who lived around Detroit.
Anderson, again, explains the origins of this 'war' in the beliefs and
responses of both sides. On the Indian side he draws attention to a new
religious conception spread by a western Delaware shaman, Neolin. (The
western Delaware had been driven from eastern Pennsylvania and separated from
their remaining eastern cousins by earlier settler force.) But, critically, in
addition, the Indian reaction finally came when they realized that their
reliance of the French had failed and that the British intended on occupation
rather than only trade in the French manner.
On the British side Anderson points to Amhurst's very ignorant and arrogant
policies that in effect abrogated the previous British promises made to enlist
Indian support against the French.
The religious aspect reminds the reader of similar, later events such as
Tecumseh's war, and some Plains Indian revivals.
The decision to go to war was taken by the war chiefs of many Indian nations,
among and between whom war wampum belts were being exchanged throughout
1760-62, including the Wyandot, Shawnee, Chippawa, Miami, Ottawa, Potawatomi,
Seneca, Onondaga, Mingo and Delaware, but the leading coordinator and initial
actor was the Ottawa leader, Pontiac, who laid siege to Fort Detroit on 9
May, 1763, citing Neolin's teaching, while leaving the French traders alone.
The British leadership - Amhurst for instance - were strategically surprised
and astounded. But fortunately a local Wyandot woman alerted Major Henry
Gladwin, the Detroit commander, so his garrison was not tactically surprised.
In short order all the British forts and outposts along the frontier, except
the bastions at Detroit, Niagara and Pittsburgh, were taken and thousands of
civilian settlers at outlying farms were massacred, captured, or driven into
retreat eastward. The attacks spread from western New York through Virginia to
North Carolina. Colonel Bouquet, the leading British (Swiss) expert on frontier
warfare, who had captured Fort Pitt during the war. began assembling a relief
force at Carlisle. Sir Jeffery Amhurst ordered elements of the 17th, 77th and
42nd (Black Watch) from New York to Carlisle. His forces were still suffering
from the medical disaster at Havana.
Anderson describes the British reaction thusly: "Bewilderment at the
Indians' success in capturing forts and defeating redcoat detachments, delay in
understanding what was going on, inability to restore order once the
rebellion's scope became clear- all these factors now helped promote a singular
bloody-mindedness among the British commanders".
The response would be 'take no prisoners', and even spread small pox among the
Indian villages. But Amhurst knew these reactions would not be sufficient. He
relied on the application of total force, ordering Sir William Johnson to apply
it. And Amhurst concluded from the ultimate success in the Cherokee War that
the Indians were vulnerable - both to lack of supplies of ammunition and
others, and to destruction of their villages and agriculture. So he began
planing for a large-scale counter-attack for summer of 1764. Meanwhile the
three critical forts at Detroit, Pittsburgh and Niagara must be held. And
Johnson must insure that the majority of the Iroquois remained loyal. But when
it came to Johnson's application of his usual methods to retain Iroquois
support, Amhurst did not like it.
Anderson's assessment: they continued to treat the Indians as childlike,
violent barbarians. "they could not explain what had happened to them in
the west unless they could stipulate a French conspiracy behind it all. They
never understood that the evident synchronized attacks were loosely coordinated
local revolts, all responding to the common stimuli of conquest, white
encroachment, and Amhurst's Indian policies, all animated by a religious
revival with pan-Indian overtones, and all motivated by the desire to restore
to North America a sympathetic European power to act as a counterpoise to the
British and their numerous, aggressive colonists."
Chapter 57 - Amherst's Recall
The time is Autumn 1783: Anderson comments that Amhurst's belief that the three
forts would hold out through the winter was optimistic. Survival depended on
their food supplies. He renews the story with Captain James Dalyell's arrival
by ship with a relief force - elements of the 55th, 60th, and 80th Regiments
and Robert's rangers, but little food. Seeking glory and advancement, Dalyell,
ignoring orders, immediately led a sortie and was promptly ambushed and killed
along with significant other losses. The result was that Gladwin now had twice
as many mouths to feed with less food. Luckily several other ships did manage
to bring some food before the lakes froze. But the garrison was saved when
Pontiac withdrew the siege for the warriors to conduct their winter hunt.
Anderson's assessment: 'Major Gladwin held on (at Detroit), in the end, not
because he received adequate supplies from is own army, but because the raising
of the siege allowed him to send half his men back to Niagara and to buy enough
food from the local habitants for those who stayed to survive the winter."
Anderson only gives a brief summary of the "Relief of Fort Pitt".
Meanwhile Colonel Henry Bouquet was moving what forces he could muster (about
460 troops from the 60th, 77th and 42nd (Black Watch) along Forbes' Road. By 2
August his force was reduced to about 400 when he reached Laurel Ridge, 40
miles from Pittsburgh. There and then the famous Battle of Bushy Run took
place. (A battle still reenacted at a restored location there for tourists each
August). Bouquet was ambushed by Shawnee, Delaware, Mingo, Wyandot, Ottawa and
Miami warriors who had moved from the siege of Fort Pitt. It would have been
Braddock's defeat again, except that Bouquet was an expert Indian fighter and
even his depleted force included the Highlanders. Suffering more losses than
they could replace, the Indians dispersed back to their villages in Ohio,
leaving Fort Pitt again open as Bouquet arrived. But the fort still had to
obtain sufficient food for the winter. Again, Anderson concludes that Bouquet's
"success" was due more to the Indians' policies than to the force of
I was disappointed that Dr. Anderson did not describe Bouquet's 'relief of Ft.
Pitt' in more detail. It is one of the most stirring campains and battles
Bushy Run - 1763 in American history. It was a glorious episode in the
history of the long and honored regimental history of the Black Watch. Henry
Bouquet was a Swiss soldier with long military service and the only real expert
in the colonies in Indian warfare and irregular warfare in general. His books
on such tactics were staple reading for years. He was transfered to take
command of British forces in Florida and soon died of Yellow Fever.
Anderson shifts attention to the critical situation at Fort Niagara. There, the
Seneca, Ottawa, and Chippawa took advantage of the terrain, the narrow, cliff
side portage between Lakes. They could not take the fort but they could and did
take control of the portage until winter prevented further resupply of Detroit
and the west. He writes that the only favorable action that fall was Sir
William Johnson's success in convincing the main Iroquois to remain loyal and
raid the Shawnee and Delaware. Johnson relied, as always, on providing an
incentive the Iroquois could not resist - supply of vital manufactured goods
(especially guns and gunpowder) and carte blanche to attack their enemies, the
Shawnee and Delaware. Such 'gift' giving Amhurst considered a distasteful and
But Johnson recognized that the Indian 'problem' was largely due to Amhurst's
misunderstanding and faulty policies. So he sent George Croghan to London to
advise relief of Amhurst. But Amhurst was already in 'hot water' with Egremont,
Halifax and Grenville. Amhurst had been longing to return to England to attend
to his sick wife, so was delighted to receive his relief order in October and
turn affairs and command in North America over to Major General Thomas Gage,
summoned from his post as governor in Montreal.
Part VIII. Crisis and Reform 1764:
Summary: Pontiac's War generates urgent reactions in George Grenville's
Parliament. The renewed and unexpected requirement for more troops in America
generates increased need for additional revenue (taxes). British Parliamentary
leaders recognize that Pontiac's successes require completely different
policies relating to the Indians - and to the colonists. Grenville passes
several new Acts - Currency, American Duties, and Proclamation of 1763.
Chapter 58 - Death Reshuffles Ministry
The time is still 1763: The death was that of the Secretary of state for the
Southern Department, Charles Wyndham, earl of Egremont. In that office he was
responsible for policy dealing with the colonies. This untimely death forced
King George III to reorganize the cabinet. George Montague Dunk, earl of
Halifax was moved to take Egremont's portfolio. John Montagu, fourth earl of
Sandwich, became secretary for the Northern Department. (His name adorns both
the Sandwich Islands and the common luncheon staple.) The earl of Shelburne was
forced to resign his office as president of the Board of Trade. He was replaced
by Wills Hill, earl of Hillsbourough, and the duke of Bedford became the lord
president of the Privy Council.. Grenville and Halifax then devoted full
attention to the financial and political reorganization of the empire in
response to general dictates of the King, relying on Halifax's extensive
knowledge of the reality in the colonies and Grenville's expert understanding
of financial, fiscal, monetary affairs. Nevertheless, their efforts led to
Anderson considers that their problem was that the conclusions they drew from
the events of the Seven Years' War were not those drawn by the American
colonists, nor those perceived by the Indians. And no one's conclusions were
fully based on reality.
Chapter 59 - An Urgent Search for Order: Grenville and Halifax Confront
the Need for Revenue and Control
The time is Summer- Autumn 1763: The search for revenue and means for control
were indeed the essential priorities of the day.
Dr. Anderson writes that the reform program developed and executed by Grenville
and Halifax centered on the Army how to finance it and what to do with it. The
necessity to maintain a large military force in North America was recognized.
But, Anderson informs his readers, domestic Parliamentary politics also had an
important role. This was a problem so typical for governments seeking to save
money and demobilize the excessive war-time strength for peace-time needs. What
to do with the extra officers, (enlisted troops didn't matter). It was the king
who devised a compromise solution. ( a solution frequently used) He would
retain the large number of regiments, but reduce each to a single battalion.
This would reduce the costs but retain a cadre that could be expanded rapidly
in case of war by keeping extra officers on duty. Another problem was how to
pay off the discharged officers and troops. Again, the solution was time
honored. Just as the Romans and medieval kings had done, the discharged men
were given grants of land of sizes varying with their rank. Many of these were
glad to receive a grant, but did not want to occupy the land, so sold their
allocations to speculators. This greatly increased the pressure to occupy land
beyond the line.
The second problem was how to pay for this army greatly expanded from pre-war
size. Anderson discusses this from the viewpoint of the Parliament and British
cabinet. He provides some data not generally presented in American text books.
"The Army and navy expenditures in the colonies from 1756 through 1762
amounted to over six million pounds sterling, in addition to parliamentary
reimbursements in excess of a million pounds paid directly to the colonial
governments." This sum does not count the vast sums of credit created in
support of the war in Europe or the rest of the world.
"This influx of credit and specie had enabled the Americans to double the
volume of their imports from Britain during the conflict." The only
contribution to their support was by paying customs on their trade, and those
receipts barely paid for the costs of collection. Of course smuggling reduced
the customs collection. The British leaders thought the colonials would
recognize that the British troops remaining in America were there to protect
them - not to mention recognizing that the previous expenditures had that same
purpose. As mentioned above, the Revenue Act of 1762 was an effort to enforce
customs duties already legally due, but it had not been enforced. Grenville
asked the Privy Council to enact an "Order in Council' in June to
strengthen enforcement. He ordered all the customs collectors to move to their
posts. (Remarkable but typical, these and other officials with duties in
America frequently stayed in England and operated by proxy). The expanded and
unexpected requirement for British troops to supress Indian 'rebellion' only
reinforced Parliament's belief that colonial fiscal support for the military
establishment in America was just and obviously necessary and which should be
recognized by the provincials as well. So, one way or another taxes must be
increased. Grenville recognized that the English cider producers had opposed,
fought against, and prevailed over the imposition of a tax on cider. The
colonists would oppose any direct taxes as well. He considered increasing the
import tax on molasses and imposing the revenue stamps of the sort Englishmen
Meanwhile Lord Halifax had to deal with the immediate military issues in the
colonies. He and his helpers drafted and presented to the King who issued the
Royal Proclamation of 1763. The proclamation officially organized the newly
acquired territories both in Canada and Florida into provinces. But the central
purpose was to establish a north- south line that would reserve for the Indians
all territories west of the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains. All
whites were forbidden to settle there. The colonial governors were forbidden to
authorize any surveys or other infringements into the territory. The only
British to be allowed there were the military garrisons of such forts as were
required and other official representatives. This demarkation line itself
deprived the Indians of a huge territory, but they had already lost it de
Anderson reproduces a facsimile of the proclamation. And he notes that the
proclamation was vague and lacked details about how it would be executed and
enforced. Plus, what to do with the many French (now British citizens) who had
lived there for generations, not to mention the thousands living in Quebec.
There were many other ambiguities, contraventions of long standing Colonial
charters, and unenforceable assertions as well. But the core issue was about
land speculation in which influential British individuals in England were just
as involved as were provincials. Anderson considers that Lord Halifax and
others in London knew these difficulties but were so focused on solving the
already active Indian uprising that they rushed it into law. Lord Halifax also
sought to regularize officially sanctioned trade with the Indians. His idea was
to exclude both the several colonial governors and governments and the military
commanders from dealing with the Indians and instead to vest all such authority
in the two (northern and southern) official Indian superintendents. These
officials would insure fair treatment of the Indians. And the expense of this
system would be covered by taxes on the trade itself.
Anderson considers that the whole scheme was not a result of a real strategic
assessment but rather a quick outcome of the French and Indian War itself,
which had created the problems the ministers were attempting to solve. But,
given their understanding of the causes of the problems, Anderson, considers
their efforts to be reasonable.
Chapter 60 - The American Duties Act (The Sugar Act)
The time is 1764: Pitt and his followers in the House launched a vindictive
personal assault on Grenville over the cider tax and treatment of Wilkes.
Grenville barely survived, thanks to the public support by the king. With the
stated issues settled Grenville successfully introduced his comprehensive
colonial program. His proposals were consolidated into the American Duties Act
of 1764. Its provisions were very much more than Molasses - Sugar - by which it
was called by the colonists and students today. It sought to reform and
regularize the entire customs system, to add new duties on more items, and to
change the old tax rates. Assuring execution was an important feature.
Anderson provides the readers with much more detail about the entire process
than is found in usual text books, and as many say, the devil is in the
details. They included not only the customs duties themselves, but the behavior
of the customs agents, the process for prosecution and defense related to any
offenses, the creation of a new Vice Admiralty court seated in Halifax, and
more. All this was not aimed only at smuggling - that is evasion of the duties.
The provisions included tariff's designed to favor British manufacturers and
merchants by increasing the cost to colonials of any imports of specific goods
made outside Britain. Other tariffs were designed to alter the American
colony's trade with the French West Indies. But there were also provisions
favoring the provincials. Anderson fills seven pages with the details that
clarify the reality generally overlooked in American history books. In total
Grenville's complex set of provisions were a combination of 'carrots and
sticks' which he believed would be accepted despite grumbling. And, he
stresses, increased revenue was NOT the only purpose. Grenville was acutely
determined also to assert imperial structure and control to the newly acquired
realm. Anderson considers that actually taxation was but a means needed to
assert imperial control. "No colonial protests would prevent him
(Grenville) from exercising the parliamentary sovereignty of which taxation was
both a tool and symbol."
Chapter 61 - The Currency Act
The time is still 1764: Now we come to one of the most important chapters in
the book - not only because the author describes what was really going on in
monetary affairs in the colonies and England with detail not found in our text
books, but also because the role of credit financing is generally not
understood today. Dr. Anderson writes that the intent and execution of the
Currency Act was not an integral part of Grenville's program but that the
monetary situation which it sought to remedy was another result of the war. And
it was a response to the monetary disruptions from financing the war which
merchants realized were reducing their profits. The war was financed by huge
amounts of credit. The expansion of credit created inflation. Inflation makes
the payoff of debt less valuable than the value of the credit provided. As
always inflation favors debtors and hurts creditors. British merchants were the
creditors and their colonial counter parties were the debtors. In addition, the
nominal value of paper money issued by the colonial legislatures declined in
value relative to their British paper money. Thus the proposal for the Currency
Act came not from the Grenville cabinet but from members of Parliament who were
Anderson describes the specifics in detail. One detail he mentions is that when
a legislature issued paper currency in exchange for its purchases it would
declare it 'legal tender' meaning that it would be accepted back as payment for
taxes. Now, that is still the Modern Money Theory about government financing.
People do not consider the implications of this transaction. First, the
government exchanges its created money for real goods and services. Then it
takes that same money back and calls that a tax. Result is that the government
has confiscated the real goods or services for nothing.
Anderson points to the financial crisis that occurred in 1763. During the war
the British government had financed much of its expenses in Europe by credit
issued by Dutch bankers. When one Amsterdam bank collapsed it generated a tidal
wave of further collapses. (like in 2008). One bank or company had assets that
were other entities liabilities, and for others it was in reverse. Debtors
rushed to call in their credit accounts with others. Specifically, the British
creditors owed debts by Americans called in the debt and expected it to be paid
in something that retained the original value of the loan. But, for instance,
Virginia currency (credit - debt instruments) was 'legal tender' but of much
less value that it had been originally. Thus, the provisions of the Currency
Act that attempted to protect British merchants created financial disaster in
Anderson writes: "The Currency Act of 1764 aimed specifically at Virginia
but was phrased broadly to include all of the mainland colonies south of New
England, where the Currency Act of 1751 was to remain in force ..." It
prohibited colonial legislatures from declaring their paper money 'legal
tender'. He notes that the effect would be to "upend public finance in
every colony south of New England." But, "There was no other way for
colonies that lacked adequate supplies of currency to pay for wars and other
government expenses except by issuing paper money - and no way to maintain that
money's value except by taxing it out of circulation..."
Note: The whole monetary problem that faced the wealthy colonists at the time
of the Revolution can be seen in these Currency acts and the monetary
relationships they created. Thus planters such as George Washington constantly
denounced British merchants and Thomas Jefferson adamantly hated bankers.
Anderson's conclusion of all this is that the Parliament members were acting in
ignorance of the results in the colonies and colonial reactions. And that the
colonists perceived more malice and intention to create harm than the British
intended. He contends that the war had not actually proved the conditions that
the British and provincials believed it had created.
He writes: "The Seven Year's War had reshaped the world in more ways than
anyone knew. But the lessons both Britons and Americans derived from the
conflict would prove inadequate guides when men on opposite sides of the
Atlantic tried to comprehend what those changes meant, and dangerous ones when
each tried to understand the actions of the other."
Chapter 62 - Postwar Conditions and the Context of Colonial Response
The time is still 1764: Anderson describes in detail the classic wide spread
deflation that so often develops as a result of the massive reduction of
government expenditures when a major war ends. Producers who have been
generating goods at a higher then normal rate are hit. Merchants who have
accumulated large inventories that become excessive when there are fewer
buyers. Workers face unemployment. Consumers lack the money to buy even at loss
sales from merchants. All this and more suddenly hit the American colonies, the
British West Indies plantations, Great Britain itself. The early effects began
to be seen in 1760-61. Then there was a brief revival in 1762-73. But
bankruptcies again increased in 1763-64. Anderson quotes the famous joke that
is no joke. "if you owe your banker a medium sum but cannot pay, you have
a problem - but if you own a huge sum, he has a partner".
Anderson notes that debtors in bankruptcy owe not only banks and major
creditors but also hundreds of other small scale merchants, artisans, servants
and workers. These people, in turn, cannot pay for consumption. He notes,
"Thus the failure of a bank in Amsterdam could cause credit contraction in
London that would in turn bankrupt scorers of merchants in colonial port towns,
threaten the livelihood of hundreds of middling American artisans and petty
entrepreneurs, throw thousands of colonial laborers and small craftsmen out of
work and render the lives of everyone who depended upon them miserable."
Anderson draws attention by his chosen example, George Washington, of a 'wealty
plantation owner' who was in great debt, and the other militia commander,
Colonel William Byrd III, who was so massively in debt he never could repay it.
Among other efforts in 1763, Washington expanded his activities as a land
speculator in western, frontier lands, just when Pontiac's War began. Anderson
also returns to inform us about Sir William Johnson and George Croghan who
sought to make fortunes by speculating on land, for Croghan land as far as the
Mississippi in Illinois. Anderson recounts the efforts of many others from New
Hampshire to South Carolina. In North and South Carolina he brings in the
Regulator War. There were political- economic-social splits in other colonies
His general assessment: "Throughout the colonies, then, a troubled
transition to peace left political life and alignments in flux.... By
1763-1764, things were changing fast." And further: "And yet the
meanings of the renewed conflicts and the appearance of new political
configurations were obvious to no one."
Chapter 63 - An Ambiguous Response in Imperial Initiatives
The time remains 1764: Anderson continues with his assessment of rapidly
changing conditions. The impact of Grenville's reform program hit the merchant
community first, and first of all in Boston. Trade was their life blood, but
more than that, 'their constitutional privileges" and very "rights
were at stake". Anderson then brings Sam Adams onto the stage. And again
we read of Thomas Hutchinson, at the same time, lieutenant governor, chief
justice of the superior court, judge of probate for Suffolk County and member
of the council, "the ultimate political insider." He immediately came
under fierce attack. Anderson also describes James Otis Jr's. attacks against
Grenville's program on the familiar grounds that they violated not only the
sacred rights of Englishmen but worse, the natural rights from God. But Otis as
a representative of the province's "country party" lacked as yet the
power to overcome the "court party".
Anderson continues with detailed analysis of the local political scene in each
individual colony, illustrating that they were all different and all largely
determined by the personalities and interests of the leading citizens. His is a
fascinating tour de force. His conclusion is that the varied, but generally
muted, objections raised by the various provincial legislatures convinced
Grenville that he could proceed with expanding his program to institute his
Stamp Act. And there was still the matter of the raging Indian war across the
entire frontier, which did give color to the British argument that military
defense was essential.
Chapter 64 - Pontiac' Progress
The time is 1764 - 1765: Dr. Anderson considers that the prolongation of
Pontiac's War was less the result of the Indians, who were ready for peace,
than of General Amhurst's adamant demand that no peace would be considered
before the Indians were totally subdued and punished. But the new commander in
chief, Major General Thomas Gage should have been able to institute a new
policy. But Gage was perpetually indecisive and reluctant to issue new orders
rather than execute those left by Amhurst. He had been a Lt. Colonel at
Braddock's defeat and had led his newly raised 80th Regiment into the defenses
at Fort Carillon, but failed to execute Amhurst's orders during the Quebec
Campaign. Amhurst left him to govern Montreal. General Amhurst planned and left
an ambitious multi-pronged campaign, which Gage then had to execute. But it did
not go according to plan. Sir William Johnson persuaded Gage to allow him to
open negotiations with all the Indian nations. This was a great success, as on
11 July he assembled two thousand Indians from 19 nations at Fort Niagara. As
always his inducement was a large 'gift'. Colonel Bouquet was successful in
reaching the Scioto River and obtaining peace agreements. But Colonel
Bradstreet failed despite having Indians with him thanks to Johnson, due to his
own megalomania and dream of setting himself up as the suzerain of all the
nations around the Great Lakes. And George Croghan, as always acting to further
his own interests, bungled his official expedition down the Ohio River.
Chapter 65 - The Lessons of Pontiac's War
The time is 1764 - 1769: This short chapter is devoted to analysis of the
outcome and subsequent opinions drawn by the various contenders. Again,
Anderson shows that the participants reached different conclusions - but
mutually exclusive of each other and differing from reality. In particular
Pontiac believed that his agreement to negotiate with William Johnson would
result in his being accorded British support in becoming recognized as the
principle leader of the western Indians and that the British would honor their
commitments. He was wrong on both counts. Some Indian leaders 'learned'
incorrectly that the British could be "coerced". British officials
concluded that the apparent Indian agreement for peace was a result of British
military superiority and aggressiveness. But they agreed reluctantly to reopen
trade and supply of gifts including liquor. They also questioned whether or not
they would or could continue the huge expense of the military establishment
along the frontier. They did recognize that it was the colonists who abused the
Indians in multiple ways while also objecting to, or even refusing to,
acknowledge British authority. The colonial settlers concluded that the British
authorities could not prevent them from taking Indian land and that their
solution would be to exterminate the Indians.
Part IX. Crisis Compounded, 1765 - 1766
Summary: George Grenville creates and enacts his 'masterpiece' ( in his own
estimation) the Stamp Act, then reluctantly the Quartering Act. He is forced to
resign. The colonial legislatures dither and are unsure how to react. The town
mobs take over and use violence to fight the Stamp Act despite the efforts of
establishment elites to control the situation.
Chapter 66 - Stamp Act and Quartering Act
The time is Winter - Spring 1765: Dr. Anderson opens the story again with
General Gage's report in which he believed George Croghan had succeeded in
controlling the Indians as far as Illinois country but also had to include a
new topic, the growing insurrections by city mobs in the leading provincial
towns. Anderson also notes that in February Grenville, as first lord of the
Treasury, introduced his long planned for Stamp Act after holding discussions
with the representatives from each colony. He believed all was proceeding well
and colonial objection would be muted at worst. The members of Parliament
agreed and passed the measure with little debate. Only Isaac Barre
adamantly opposed it. Anderson prints his vehement address in which he coined
the popular phrase 'Sons of Liberty".
Anderson evaluates Grenville's work as a "masterpiece" of clever
taxation. It would be self-enforcing and impossible to evade. And the resulting
revenue would increase as the colonial economy expanded. Its rates were a third
of what citizens in Britian already paid and were so mild and would raise
revenue to be expended right in the colonies for their defense. The Act in
detail established specific rates for the stamps to be applied to each type of
mostly legal but also other documents. Moreover, the administration of the
stamps would be assigned to colonial officials rather than British officers.
The American colonial agents complied by nominating leading colonial citizens
to the office in each province. But, preoccupied with colonial affairs,
Grenville neglected his relationship with the King. From there General Gage was
requesting to the secretary of war for Parliament to enact a strong basis for
his providing quarters for the troops being withdrawn from the interior to the
coast by expanding the Mutiny Act. The result was the Secretary of war, Welbore
Ellis, drafted and sought to push through Parliament a Quartering Act without
Grenville's knowledge. Grenville learned about this and crafted a vague
substitution. But that didn't succeed in preventing strong opposition based on
the 1628 Petition of Right. Franklin, Pownall and agents from other provinces
provided language that was believed to be acceptable. It was NOT. Least of all
was it acceptable to General Gage because it actually reduced rather than
increased his legal right to quarter troops in private homes.
Chapter 67 - Grenville's End
The time is May- July 1765: Thus chapter is worth a careful read to see the
influence of 'contingency' and also the decisive role of personality and
personal relationships in politics.
King George was suffering from a mysterious illness and was focusing on
arrangement to designate a regent for his young son. Grenville suspected Lord
Butte was manipulating the situation so lectured the King that no previous
sovereign had attempted to name his own future regent. In May Parliament passed
a Regency Bill establishing a regency council. King George was furious.
Separately silk weavers began to riot over unemployment. The King determined to
get rid of Grenville.
After much controversy and failures, the King called upon his uncle, William
Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (the looser on the continent but victor at
Culloden) to form a new government. Of course Cumberland could not sit in the
House but could be prime minister. The new cabinet included Charles
Watson-Wentworth, second marquess of Rockingham as first lord of the Treasury, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, third
duke of Grafton as secretary of state for the Northern Department, and General
Henry Seymore Conway as secretary of state for the Southern Department
and leader in the House. Cumberland left the experienced duke of
Newcastle out. This government is generally known in school texts as the
ineffective Rockingham government.
Chapter 68 - The Assemblies Vacillate
The time is Summer 1765: The assemblies discussed here are those of the
provinces. Anderson, in these chapters, focuses on the contrasting roles of the
elite establishment politicians and the 'rabble rousers' of self-made leaders
of the mobs. Initially, the news of the Stamp Act created more confusion than
rejection in the colonies. Reactions reflected the existing political factional
conflicts in the various colonies. Anderson describes the responses of the main
actors such as James Otis, Thomas Whately, and Stephen Hopkins and their
important, influential pamphlets and newspaper essays. A vitriolic duel over
'rights' ensued in the press.
It was in Virginia that an oratorical explosion occurred, when, on May 29th,
with many of the Burgesses absent a new, brash, young gentleman, Patrick Henry,
rose to deliver his set of resolutions denouncing the attack on Englishmen's
rights that Parliament had embodied in this Stamp Act. Lt. Governor Francis
Fauquier duly reported to the Board of Trade describing the fifth 'resolve' as
'virulent and inflammatory. But once Henry left the assembly the delegates had
rejected it. Nevertheless, these Virginia Resolves were
rapidly reprinted throughout the colonies, and the printed versions were not
Chapter 69 - Mobs Respond
The time is Summer 1765: Anderson comments that the newspaper readers
everywhere recognized the significance of the assertion that they should all
defend 'colonial rights' which were now under attack by Parliament. He notes
that the expression had originated in Williamsburg but action would begin in
Boston. Boston was already the site of organized groups of which the
"Loyal Nine" was a leading radical group. They quickly took up a cry
for action. They organized the two local mobs to force the newly appointed
Stamp agent, Andrew Oliver to resign. They succeeded and he surrendered under
duress as the mobs set the city on fire. Governor Bernard fled to Castle
William. Lt. Governor Thomas Hutchinson was 'chased through the streets'. His
full destruction came soon after.
The author continues through the chapter to recount the continuing rebellions
actions in Boston and the other colonies as they forced the Stamp agents to
Chapter 70 - Nullification by violence, and an Elite Effort to Reassert
The time is October - November 1765: The Stamp Act was to take affect on 1
November, but by that time only James Wright, Governor of Georgia had the armed
forces available to attempt to undertake the Act. In Massachusetts Governor
Bernard did not have the military force required and was already defeated. In
New York Governor Cadwallader Colden did have British troops available and the
will to use them. But when the mob assaulted Colden in Fort George, General
Gates was wise enough to refuse to use his army. Colden had to compromise.
Meanwhile the colonial elite leaders convened a Stamp Act Congress in New York
which issued a petition to Parliament and king.
Anderson summarizes the situation: "The delegates to the Stamp Act
Congress in effect acted out in microcosm a political drama taking place in
every colony, as gentlemen accustomed to controlling public life confronted a
loss of control that looked as it it might become total." They wanted the
Stamp Act rescinded but in a manner that would preserve social peace and not
incite Parliament to use force. A solution they attempted was to declare an
embargo on trade - a boycott of British merchants - which they hoped would
cause so much economic harm the British would themselves demand the end of the
Act. Anderson devotes attention to John Adams' increasing role as the author of
Part X. Empire Preserved? 1766
Summary: The duke of Cumberland has his last involvement in politics. The new
Rockingham administration compromises by repealing the Stamp Act but also
reasserting the Proclamation of` 1763 and passing a Declaratory Act. The
near complete cultural split between colonist understanding and that of British
politicians predicts the future outcome.
Chapter 71 - The Repeal of the Stamp Act
The time is January - March 1766: Gradually the British politicians in the
cabinet and Parliament received the increasingly negative reports about
colonial reactions - violent mobs in control. They didn't know how to evaluate
the situation or what to do. The duke of Cumberland relied on his experience at
Culloden. Immediate force was required. The Secretary of state for the South,
Henry Conway sent a directive to the provincial governors to enforce the laws,
and an order to General Gates to support them fully. But Cumberland died as he
was preparing to issue more orders. That left his cabinet (composed of his 'yes
men') without a leader or policy.
(Another example both of 'contingency' and the role of personalities). Thus,
Anderson considers that the result was that British political disruption was as
much a cause as colonial chaos of succeeding events. He points to the
personality of the marquess of Rockingham, first lord of the Treasury now in
charge. He was vastly wealthy but also lazy and lacking in self assurance. The
ministers dithered while attempting to get Pitt to take charge. But Pitt would
agree only on the basis of unacceptable terms.
Anderson then provides the most detailed description of the Parliamentary
debates over the Stamp Act and Declaratory Act. This information is lacking in
or history books but should be studied and understood. Anderson includes
several full speeches. Pitt, Grenville and others took active part. Many
witnesses were called, including American agents. Benjamin Franklin spoke and
answered questions for hours, British merchants provided detailed data on
economic conditions. The British dilemma was that the Stamp Act must be
repealed on economic grounds but that doing so must not in any way appear to
infringe on the absolute sovereignty of King in Parliament over the colonies.
There was much debate and specific economic data produced over the issue of the
extent to which the colonies had actually provided financial and other
resources during the French and Indian War. Thus the economic necessity to
repeal and drastically change policy toward the colonies directly opposed the
political necessity to strengthen administrative control.
This chapter is one of the most important in the book, not only for
understanding the reality of what issues and beliefs were becoming causes of
the American Revolution, but also for today to recognize how similar economic-
political conditions affect policy now.
Chapter 72 - The Hollowness of Empire
The time is 1766: Dr. Anderson describes the favorable reactions which repeal
of the Stamp Act generated both in England and America. But the real,
underlying causes remained. And chief among these was incomprehension of the
beliefs and motivations of other actors. As Anderson concludes: "The
simultaneous passage of the Declaratory Act and the Stamp Act Repeal resolved
the crisis of empire without altering the trinity of beliefs on which British
reasoning about America rested."
Chapter 73 - Acrimonious Postlude: The Colonies after Repeal
The time is 1766: Dr. Anderson notes that the repeal did not alleviate the
economic depression that had begun prior to the Act and due to deeper causes.
But repeal did heighten political contention. He describes in detail the
situation in the three most active provinces, New York, Massachusetts and
Virginia. Internally Massachusetts had already divided politically into a
'court' party and a 'country' party. In 1766 the 'country' party - the
opposition to the 'court' or establishment party - gained majority status in
the House of Representatives. This caused Governor Sir Francis Bernard immediate difficulties over compensation for the damages the
riots had created. The confrontations between Otis and Bernard expanded. The
merchants sided with Otis, or he with them.
In New York it was Cadwallader Colden who
clashed with the assembly. The new governor, Sir Henry Moore, tried to calm the situation but then General Gage increased the
confrontation. Seeing the coming threats with only a handful of troops in the
cities, he began moving units from Canada. The expenses of the movement became
an argument with the assembly. Then this was intersected by a movement of New
England 'squatters' into New York and onto the estates of the wealthy patroons
- descendents of the original Dutch colonists. General Gage basically agreed
with the 'squatters' but had to uphold the law, so sent regular units to uphold
it. But the result made matters worse.
Another situation created conflict in Virginia. The Stamp Act and the reaction
to it by Virginia's ruling plantation owners split a formerly uniformed elite.
Again, the cause was personal interests. In this case Richard Henry Lee
challenged his fellows in public on the basis of their moral failings,
self-inerest, conduct unbecoming gentlemen and such. Lee attacked both Colonel
George Mercer and John Robinson
over matters of personal interest. Lee was an unceasing
self-promoter but constantly in financial difficulty or debt. It turned out
that the powerful and popular politician leader, Robinson, had embezzled public
funds to save his planter friends during the financial crisis. The upshot was
that the Treasury was legally bound to collect the embezzled funds from a host
of the colony's most prominent leaders, funds they did not have and burn it,
causing more deflation. But Mercer in London found Lee's application to be the
Stamp agent, So everyone was in political bad odor with the public
The wealthy elite divided into conflicting camps over other issues as well.
Powerful leaders owed each large sums made unpayable in the post-war depression
so suits over debt and bankruptcy exploded. Lotteries and forced sales of
slaves filled the papers. Debt knows no friend.
Anderson writes one of his typical remarks: "Honor, the gentleman's most
prized possession, seemed suddenly to have grown even scarcer than money."
Chapter 74 - The Future of Empire
The time is 1766 - 1767: Dr. Anderson begins with a pithy summary: "In
Massachusetts, a seismic shift in the balance of political power; in New York,
a standoff between governor and assembly; in Virginia, a divided elite. All of
these followed the Stamp Act, and the controversies surrounding it intensified
them all, yet the Stamp Act caused none of them". He concludes with
a tour of the frontier from Florida to Canada and west to the Great Lakes. The
conflict between Indians seeking to preserve their homelands and the greedy
white settlers flooding into the same regions was expanding. Only George
Croghan's and William Johnson's diplomacy based on giving valuable 'gifts' and
much rum was holding the coming explosion in abeyance.
Epilogue: Mount Vernon, June 24, 1767
An interesting effort by Anderson to bring his story full circle, back to
George Washington and his personal efforts to make a living at Mount Vernon.
Morgan Housel - Five Lessons From History
Murray Rothbard - Conceived in Liberty A huge and detailed
American colonial history - but the author while devoting great attention to
the individuals in the colonies does not provide equal descriptions to the
British, as Dr. Anderson does.
American subjects - a table with links to names of individuals, events
and articles. Readers can use this for further information on the many names of
people and places in Anderson's book.
Early Wars - a list with links to articles and maps of wars in American
colonial and early U.S.
For further study of this 'war' whose influence of the American
Revolution is generally understood
Pontiac Rebellion -
1763 - 1765
The Battle of Bushy Run - The decisive battle that resulted in the end
of Pontiac's Rebellion - also known as the "Highlander's Relief of Ft.
Pitt". or Bouquet's Expedition to Ft. Pitt. There are excellent web sites
devoted to this battle. And even several YouTube videos related to it. The
battlefield is now a memorial park and there are excellent paintings. See