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Military plans for 1757-Lord Loudon-Nova Scotia, Louisbourg, and Crown Point-Governor Pownall-Failure of Expeditions-Massachusetts lost many troops-Character of Pownall-Dispute about quartering troopsHouse contend for the authority of the Province-Duties on TradeComplaints against it-Campaign of 1757-Mr. Pitt-Gen. AmherstEfforts of Massachusetts-Failure of expedition to Crown Point-Lord Howe slain-Louisbourg_taken--Quebec taken-Wolfe slain—-Major Rogers Complaints of Provincial troops-Great expenses of WarInsolvent law-Gov. Bernard-Lt. Gov. Hutchinson-Campaign of 1760 -Montreal taken.
ON a proposition of Lord Loudon, a council was held at Boston, in January, 1757, at which he and the governors of the New England colonies were present, when the outlines of a plan for military operations the approaching spring and summer were settled. It was agreed to raise 4000 men in New England, 1800 of whom were to be furnished by Massachusetts. The men were enlisted accordingly; but the enterprise against Crown Point was delayed, as Lord Loudon was anxious first to make an attack on Louisbourg, then in possession of the French, by virtue of the treaty of 1748. A British fleet arrived at Halifax, with 5000 men; and Lord Loudon repaired thither immediately. Intelligence was received at that place, that Louisbourg was garrisoned by 7000 men, and a large French fleet had sailed from Brest, destined to that port. He therefore relinquished his project of attacking Louisbourg, and returned to New York. Before he reached that province, the detachment at Lake George, placed there for the meditated expedition against Crown Point, or for a check, at least, to the advance of the enemy towards Albany, was attacked, and surrendered. General Webb, then commanding in that quarter, and stationed a few leagues south, at Fort Edward, immediately called for a reinforcement, expecting the French would also attack his quarters. The general court was not in session, but the council advised Governor Pownall, who had then just arrived, to issue the necessary orders to the commanders of
the several regiments, 'to have their men in readiness to march when called, and appointed General Pepperell to command them. He proceeded to the interior of the province, and made preparations to proceed; but intelligence was received from General Webb, that the enemy had returned to Crown Point, and did not appear disposed to advance upon New England.
When Fort William Henry, at Lake George, was taken, this season, a great portion of the men were from Massachusetts, under the immediate command of Colonel Frye; but the British Colonel Monroe commanded the whole force in the garrison, composed in part of regular troops. After they surrendered, the men were treated with great cruelty and barbarity by the Indians.
This third failure in attempting to conquer Canada, was most discouraging to the colonies and to England. There was a defect in the plans, or want of concert and energy in the efforts to execute them. Perhaps none were so wise as that of Governor Shirley, in the spring of 1756. In 1757, some blame might attach to Lord Loudon, for not sending a stronger force to Lake George; while it might also be justly said of the commander of the expedition, (General Webb,) that he did not discover all the resolution which it demanded. The expenses, growing out of these great efforts, were sensibly felt in Massachusetts, whence so many troops were engaged in the service: and had not the British government provided funds to a large amount, the province would have become bankrupt. It was the cause of England, as well as of the American colonies; for her preponderance in Europe must be sustained by her possessions and power on the western continent.
Governor Pownall was not a stranger in America, nor in Massachusetts. He had been in authority under the crown, in New Jersey; and though a political enemy of Governor Shirley, he was esteemed as a friend to the colonies. He had talents, and he had ambition also; and there was some reason to believe that he was not wholly innocent of the charge of having joined a cabal to destroy the popularity of his predecessor. Yet, when he entered on the government of Massachusetts, he was well received, and the people were disposed to judge candidly of his public conduct. In a dispute, which arose soon after he took the chair, between Lord Loudon and the general court, he acted a conciliatory part, prompted, by a desire, probably, to be in favor with the province over which he presided.
Lord Loudon, early in the summer, had required that barracks and quarters might be provided for British troops, on
their being ordered to be stationed in the province; to which the house of assembly objected, and said that the castle was the proper place for them. In the fall of the same year, he proposed to the general court to pass an act, authorizing the civil magistrates to assign quarters for the king's troops, when they might come into the province. The house declined passing such an act; again giving an opinion that the castle was the most suitable station for them. The British commander was highly displeased, and wrote again, both to Governor Pownall and to the general court, on the subject; and to the latter rather in a tone of menace. Soon after, a British recruiting party, and other regular troops, arrived; but no quarters had been provided. The governor exerted his influence, but in a mild rather than a dictatorial manner; and referred, as Lord Loudon had done, to an act of parliament, authorizing such a measure. The house replied, that the act of parliament was designed for Great Britain, and not for the colonies; and still postponed a compliance with the requisition. Lord Loudon wrote them, "that in time of war, the law martial must be obeyed." The house protested, that without their consent, it would be improper to enforce an act of parliament, unless it expressly included the colonies. After a few days of delay, however, they passed an act, providing for the quartering of the troops in public houses, and conforming, as far as might be proper, considering the difference between England and the colonies, to other parts of the act of parliament on the subject. Lord Loudon abated somewhat of the tone of his first demand, and the house were soliciting aid from the British ministry, which probably had some influence in their partial submission to his orders. A message was sent to the governor, in reply to his conciliating speech on the subject, written by Mr. Hutchinson, the chairman of a committee which reported it; which was far from displaying the firmness and decision of the first resolution of the house, which kept the real question out of sight, and aimed chiefly to satisfy, or to quiet each party.
The attachment of the people of Massachusetts to civil liberty and their charter rights, was so powerful and deep-rooted, that they contended for them in all their distresses, and never could be induced to compromit them, in want or in danger. Their condition was often such, that they needed protection and relief; but they seldom asked for aid, lest it would show their dependence on the parent government. They might have yielded, in individual cases, as that of the demand of Lord Loudon, to provide quarters for the British troops; but when they did yield, it was always with a protest to save the princi
ple, that their consent was necessary, as the province was not represented in parliament. When it was proposed to instruct their agent to ask funds in England, to keep up the forts on the frontiers, it was apprehended that such a measure might increase the authority of that government over the province, and might lead to the exercise of its power incompatible with their charter rights. They wished not to lean on the parent state for safety, nor could they acknowledge any controlling power over the legislature.
It was this spirit and this principle, which induced them to oppose the regulations of trade, attempted to be enforced by the British administration; especially those provisions which authorized the raising of a revenue for the benefit of England. Previously to this period, such acts of parliament had been passed, referring not only to foreign trade, which often operated grievously on enterprising merchants; but to establish a rigid system in collecting the customs, all which were to swell the treasury of the parent government. They had always been. willing to provide for expenses for their own government and defence, and therefore were ready to consider it oppression, to raise money from their industry and enterprise for another part of the empire. And greater than all others was the complaint, that it was denying the common rights of Englishmen, to levy and raise money from them, in any way, when they had no voice in the amount to be raised, nor the purposes to which it was to be applied.
The sugar act, so called, of 1733, was revived and continued in 1756. It purported to be for the encouragement of trade, but one of its objects was to raise a revenue, and was therefore obnoxious. The act granted a high duty on all sugar, molasses, rum, and spirits, not made in the British islands; and the penalties were also high for any violation or evasion of the law. The trade of Massachusetts was partly to other islands. than the English; and these articles were taken in exchange. for fish, and other things sent to those islands. The laws of trade thus amounted almost to a prohibition. For the first half of the century, especially for the first thirty years, the trade from Massachusetts to the islands in the West Indies, to the Western Islands, and to the ports in the Mediterranean, were very profitable. In 1750, the balance of trade to the West Indies was against the province.
For many years, Massachusetts imported English manufactures for the supply of some other colonies, as well as for her own consumption, which must have added to her prosperity. New Hampshire was the first gradually to import for her
inhabitants. Connecticut traded chiefly with Massachusetts, during the former part of the century. At an early period, the vessels of Massachusetts also engaged in carrying freight from the southern colonies to Europe. The trade to the West Indies, to the Wine Islands, to Portugal and Spain, was congenial to the habits and living of the people. Quoting the. observation of a French writer in Canada, who said of the inhabitants, "that they would live well, if they could also dress well; but, if not, that they would retrench in the table to adorn their persons;" Mr. Hutchinson said, "that the English would rather abate of their dress, than give up their punch and wine, or their tea and coffee."
Notwithstanding the repeated disasters and failures of three former years, the campaign for 1758 opened with vigor and hope. Mr. Pitt had been placed at the head of the British administration, whose character for energy and patriotism was already justly appreciated. He was not less desirous of the glory of the nation, than zealous for constitutional liberty. Under his auspices, the plan for military operations was not dissimilar to that of Governor Shirley, in 1755. It was proposed to send a large fleet, with sufficient land forces, against Louisbourg, then in the hands of the French, to whom it had been restored by the treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle, in 1748. The celebrated General Wolfe was then a brigadier of the land forces in that quarter. The French fort at Du Quesne was to be attacked; and a large force was to be sent against Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. A requisition was made on the colonies to raise as many men, and furnish such provisions, as was practicable; and an assurance was given that a reimbursement would be made by the British government. The general court of Massachusetts had a short time before declined to issue orders for raising men, as requested by Lord Loudon; as it was apprehended they would be sent against Louisbourg, the capture of which was far less a matter of interest to the province than that of Crown Point, which would check the incursions of the French and Indians of Canada. But it was now resolved to raise 7000 men for an expedition against Canada, to be officered by citizens of the province, who might be appointed by the commander-in-chief. General Amherst had been appointed to this important station, in place of Lord Loudon, and such was his reputation, that the colonists had far more respect and confidence towards him, than the other had been able to inspire. Lord Loudon had been strangely inactive the two preceding campaigns, remaining at Albany with a large number of regular troops, while General