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The Tribes and the States
W. J. Sidis
THE GREAT OHIO WAR
88. Canessetago and Franklin. In the Georgian War, as in previous outbursts of the intercolonial struggles, the Iroquois, the chief allies of the English colonies, were strongly impressed with the inability of the English colonies to act in any united moves. Since all parties now felt that the peace of 1748 must be a period for lining up for a finish fight, the Iroquois Federation decided to take steps to convince their allies of the necessity of forming a similar federation. The Congress of 1690, which had been formed mainly by the rebel colonies of the north, was a precedent; but the Iroquois seemed to think that all the English colonies should federate, being of common origin and having a common language, and thus conforming to the Iroquois federability standards. The Congress of 1690 included only the northern colonies, having been mainly formed under the influence of the precedent of the New England Confederation, which, in turn, was under Penacook influence, and therefore took into consideration chiefly the similarity of institutions rather than of race or language. It is, of course, largely open to question whether New York should have been included in a federation on either plan, since it was obviously of Dutch origin, had social institutions linking it with the South rather than the North, and was as yet not an English speaking region.
However, the Iroquois Federation decided to persuade the English in America to federate all their colonies on a basis similar to the Iroquois, and chose a sachem of their Federal Council, Canessetago, as an envoy to accomplish this mission. He chose for this purpose a Philadelphia printer and journalist by the name of Benjamin Franklin, known to be friendly to the Iroquois, and who, through his journalistic work, had come to have some political standing in Pennsylvania. His early training in Boston, his native city, also helped make him a fit subject for persuasion in this direction. Franklin was not, however, as most New Englanders would be likely to be, an ardent advocate of popular rule: which was probably another qualification that recommended him strongly to the oligarchical Iroquois.
Canessetago found Franklin an easy subject for persuasion as to the advisability of federation of the colonies. Franklin kept the work up in his paper, and an illustration of his has become well known, representing the colonies as a dismembered snake (the parts labelled with the initials of the various colonies), with the motto "Unite or Die." This referred at the time, of course, to the danger from the French, not to national independence, as it was construed later on; but, as Franklin's federal idea was undoubtedly the parent of the federations of these colonies, it is probable that this illustration was the origin of the rattlesnake by which, some twenty years later, the rebelling colonists symbolized themselves.
Benjamin Franklin drew up an actual plan of union for the colonies, with a governor-general to be appointed from England, and a congress of delegates representing the administrations of the various colonies; the functions of the federation to be for common defense, and for certain intercolonial matters such as a postal service. The representation was to be from the administrations of the colonies rather than from the people; and Georgia, as a penal colony, was left out of the union as planned. Delaware, having its own legislature, but governed as a dependency of Pennsylvania, was, under Franklin's scheme, represented only through a delegation from Pennsylvania.
Under the Penacook standards of federability, it would not have been attempted to federate the democratic New England colonies with the aristocratic South, or with despotic New York; but the federation was planned under Iroquois auspices, and all the colonies from New England to South Carolina were included in the design for union.
This plan was hardly, if at all, understood in England, and much objection was raised in that quarter because the scheme was too democratic, even though it left the federation mainly controlled by the colonial governors, most of whom were appointed from England!
However, in spite of all the objections, delegates were ultimately sent to a Congress of the various colonies, in accordance with Franklin's plan of federation. The title of the Congress was a hold-over from the Congress of 1690 which met in New York and which was a federation of the rebel provinces of that period; this Congress distinguished itself from the previous one by claiming to represent the American colonies as a whole, instead of only the North, as did the previous one, because of which it became known as the Continental Congress. The project was kept under strict supervision by the Iroquois Federation, who, as the most powerful allies of the English, as the original model on which the Congress was being formed, persuaded the new Congress to open in territory which was originally Iroquois. The session was accordingly held in 1754 at Albany; from which circumstance Franklin's plan of union is sometimes referred to as the Albany Plan. The scheme itself had been drawn up in writing, largely adapted from the Iroquois constitution, according to the suggestions of Canessetago, and was really the prototype for the various constitutions which have been drawn up in America.
The Iroquois Federation, in order to make sure that the whites would understand the meaning of federation, and how it was to be accomplished, sent to the Albany Congress an envoy, a courier named Hianinogaro, who, at the opening of this first Congressional session, made a speech explaining to the assembled delegates how the Iroquois were able to strengthen themselves against their enemies by forming a federation, and urging on the delegates the wisdom of doing likewise.
This "Continental Congress" did not, however, prove popular in the colonies, especially in the northern colonies, where the people regarded it as an attempt to increase the power of the royal governors and suppress popular government; while England regarded the union as an attempt to unite the colonies against the mother country. The Congress did not continue its existence, accordingly, for lack of support from either side of the ocean, the objections being of totally opposite natures. This fact convinced Franklin that he had hit the "happy medium."
89. Expulsion of the Acadians. Nova Scotia, the peninsula which had been called Acadie by the French, was, during all this time, a conquered dependency of England, largely populated by a French peasantry, plus a few British settlers who had drifted in during the forty years since England had conquered the peninsula. Due to the fact that James I had, while the peninsula was still in Red possession, given it a Scotch charter, it was considered a Scottish province, and attempts were made to colonize the peninsula with a Scotch population; this had become still more important since Scotland had been the source of rebellions recently, and it was thought that the Scotch could be made to feel a material interest in union with England.
The excuse was found in the discovery of an alleged plot among the French population of Nova Scotia to overthrow English rule, and return to French allegiance. Such a plot may have possibly existed, for there is every reason to believe that the British authorities, who regarded the "Acadians" as intruders on territory properly Scotch, did not maintain friendly relations with the population. Whether such a conspiracy existed or not, however, it would be an absolute impossibility for it to be very widespread until an open attempt at rebellion had been made; and, even were the evidence not manufactured, it is improbable that the majority of the Acadian population knew anything of it.
However, on this occasion the British military authorities were looking for trouble, and, as frequently happens in such cases, found an excuse very readily. In the fall of 1754, a military order was issued exiling the entire French-speaking population of the Nova Scotia peninsula, and confiscating their lands, cattle, and the crops just ready for harvest. A number of British ships were sent to Nova Scotia, which carried away the people of the province, and deposited them in various ports of the other English provinces of America. Many of the Acadians escaped into Canada, while those who were taken to the colonial ports, in a strange country where they could not understand the language, starved; many found their way in to Louisiane, where they found a friendly people speaking their own language, and where ultimately most of the refugees gathered and formed a small "Acadian" colony on the Atchafalaya River, where the old Acadian dialect of French is still spoken, and where the people to this day are known as Acadians, or, more commonly, as "Cajuns" or "Cageants." The French settlement of the interior of the continent also had their portion of escaping Acadians to care for.
Although the Acadians expelled from their homes in this sudden and unceremonious fashion were technically British subjects by the peace treaties, still their connection with France was too recent and too obvious to make it possible for France to disregard this outrage entirely. Although, of course, this could not be made directly a cause of war between France and England, it nevertheless was a contributing factor toward that renewal of hostilities which all America knew was bound to come.
90. The Lenapes' New Home. During the three intercolonial wars, the Lenape Federation, had fought a losing fight against the advances of the English, aided as they were by the Iroquois from the rear. Lenape organization had differentiated between the functions of their two phratries; the elder, or Wolf, phratry, being military in its functions, while the Turtle phratry was in charge of functions of peace. It was the Wolf phratry that maintained alliance with the French, so that the Lenapes were known to the French as Loups; and it was the Wolf phratry that so persistently fought the English. The successive defeats drove the Wolf phratry farther and farther westward, leaving their brothers, the Turtles, to the mercy of an enemy who knew nothing of these phratry distinctions. The next intercolonial war would mean the certain destruction of the Turtle clans, already nearly extinct; these clans attempted to duplicate in the middle colonies the work of the tribal penetration that had been so well carried out in New England by the Okamakammessets, namely, that of coördinating white adoptees into a sort of extension of the tribal structure, for the perpetuation of tribal principles. This society, however, instead of being made part of the tribe, as was done in New England, was an independent group, called the Sons of Tamenund (Tamenund being the original founder of the Lenape Federation), or, as the whites called it, Sons of Tammany. The association also lacked the fundamental democratic ideals of the Okamakammesset organization, due to the differences between the tribes; also, due to the nature of the separation of Wolf and Turtle, the Turtles were unable to give to this fellowship of theirs any such rebel spirit as the Okamakammessets gave in New England.
In the meanwhile, the Wolf clans had gradually been driven farther and farther into the interior, until, by the middle of the eighteenth century, the Lenapes (or "Delawares," as the English called them), were across the mountains, in what was recognized as under French protection. They finally took refuge in Shawnee country, the Shawnees being already friendly to the French, and hostile to both English and Iroquois; therefore naturally friendly to the Lenapes. This area comprised the region south of Lake Erie, between that lake and the river called by the Iroquois, Oheeyo (beautiful river), and by the French, La Belle Rivière, a translation of the Iroquois name. The English called the river, which they had only recently "discovered," by their own version of the Iroquois name, Ohio, the name which is now also given to the Shawnee-Lenape territory.
91. French Expansion in the Interior. The peace of 1748 was also utilized by the French in further establishment of trading posts and fortifications in the interior of the continent, this time designed not merely to establish a line of communication between Canada and Louisiana, but to form a fortified ring around the English colonies in case of further conflict, which all parties concerned knew to be inevitable. The ring was drawn much closer, and the valley of "La Belle Rivière" was especially watched, because, during the previous war, it had been penetrated by some English traders. The forts of Vincennes and Louisville guarded the lower portion of the valley. And, as Louisiana was the part west of the Mississippi, occupied as yet only by the red tribes, the French, in the attempt to penetrate it as they had the east side of the valley, located their first outpost in that territory, a post near the mouth of the Missouri River, and named after the patron saint of the ruling Bourbon family, Saint Louis. Before 1755, several rings of French forts had been placed around the English colonies, establishing chains of French communication at short distances all the way from Quebec and Montreal to New Orleans. At first sign of actual English opposition, the rings of French forts were to be drawn closer yet.
92. Virginia's Ohio Expedition. As we have already seen, Virginia, in portioning out needlessly large tracts of land as new feudal estates in the interior, had been expanding with alarming rapidity, and was thus committed to an ever-increasing policy of conquest in westerly and northwesterly direction, in total disregard of existing occupants of the land, and even of peace treaties, which, to Virginia, seemed mere scraps of paper. In 1753-54, the freeing of a number of indentured servants who had been taken prisoner in Scotland as rebels against the king had necessitated the granting of estates to the aristocrats farther into the interior than before. This land was given in the Shenandoah Valley (sometimes also called the Valley of Virginia), which brought expansion practically up to the English boundaries as provided in the peace treaties. Virginia's policy required further territory, and resort must be had to claiming an area beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, occupied by red tribes who were placed under French protection by the peace treaty. Virginian aristocracy was already beginning to clamor for seizure of this region, which they claimed was Virginia's by right of an old charter granted by Charles I, before any appreciable white settlements had been made in America. It would be necessary to provide such new estates to take care of any number of further accession of population which England might in future sell to Virginian overlords.
In 1755, a small group of young Virginians of aristocratic families, led by one George Washington, heir to a large Potomac River estate, consulted with governor Dinwiddie as to organizing an expedition for the purpose of taking possession of the Ohio River country, and readily won his approval. This group accordingly set out and invaded French territory (really red tribal land under French protectorate). They reached the Ohio River, explored considerably on the farther side of it, and "surveyed" it for themselves. It is this circumstance which is probably responsible for the allegation that Washington was a surveyor in his youth. After thus claiming the region north of the Ohio River, which the French called Illinois after one of the red nations there (Washington, supposing that the French name was Ile Noire, referred to it as "Black Island"), the little expedition returned to the Ohio River and built a small fortification on the coast side of it, "Fort Necessity," and raised the British flag over it. Another fortification was started and abandoned a bit farther south on the river, called Fort Prince George.
It was not, of course, to be expected that the French government at Quebec would look calmly on, and allow this action to pass unquestioned. An army was sent to the upper Ohio (the part now called Allegheny), where the Virginian outposts had just been established by Washington's private expedition, and attacked Fort Necessity, capturing all who were in it and bringing them as prisoners to Quebec. Washington himself escaped, returning to Virginia with a complaint against the French invading their own territory.
To protect the Ohio River against further attacks from the over-aggressive Virginians, Canada decided on the necessity of fortifying the upper Ohio River at a spot which could directly threaten Virginia. This location was found on the site of abandoned Fort Prince George, where the Monongahela River, flowing in from the general direction of Virginia and Maryland, joins the Ohio. Here was built Fort Duquesne, bringing the French ring of fortifications very close indeed to English settlements, indeed within easy striking distance.
Governor Dinwiddie, after receiving Washington's complaint against the French, regarded this new move as an invitation to further warfare, and sent General Braddock out with an army of a few thousand men to penetrate the mountains and capture Fort Duquesne. George Washington was made a colonel in this army, and went along mainly as a guide to the expedition.
The presence of a large army of redcoats aroused the hostility of not only the French, but also of the mountain tribes, who were now forced to take notice of the invasion of their ground. The scarlet uniforms of the British soldiers made an excellent target for the Indians, and, at a spot where the army of invasion passed through a large clearing, the tribesmen contrived to surround them, and, by shooting from behind trees, the entire army was killed. The only part of Braddock's army that escaped this massacre was the part under Washington's command, which took to the shelter of the trees at the first sign of trouble, following the red men's own method of fighting, to which Washington had become accustomed on his previous Ohio River Expedition.
The small fragment left of Braddock's expedition could not very well proceed against Fort Duquesne, and Washington, after much difficulty, conducted his force back to Virginia, blaming the French for the attack by the red tribes whose territory had just been invaded. This incident, of course, merely served to increase the tension between English and French in America, and resulted in mutual recriminations between the mother countries in Europe.
The signal victory of the red tribes of the mountains over the British army was undoubtedly due to the latter's insistence on fighting in the open, a type of tactics which might have been good in Europe of the eighteenth century, but which was of little avail against tribal tactics of fighting. Washington's advantage apparently lay in his having learned to copy tribal methods, not in any special personal superiority; although his being able to save his own remnant of the army earned him a reputation as a military genius. So far, he was merely successful in the conducting of a one-man war, and at starting single-handed greater international complications than the combined efforts of many statesmen have generally been able to produce.
93. The Great Ohio War Starts. As we have seen, the peace of 1748 between England and France was regarded on all sides as merely a rest in preparation for a finish fight. The expulsion of the Acadians did much to aggravate the tension between English and French; and the Ohio River skirmishing strained it to the breaking point.
Virginia and Canada were already, to all intents and purposes, at war, although this status did not apply to the mother countries, or to the northern English colonies. However, such a state of affairs meant that declaration of war would be inevitable, and all the red tribes in the eastern part of America were ready to line up on one side or the other. The Iroquois, of course, were ready, under the alliance of 1634, to throw in their lot with England the moment war became official; while the Lenapes and Shawnees of the Ohio region, and the Penacook tribes of New England, were ready to take the other side―not through any partiality toward the French, but rather because there were scores to even up with the English, including the comparatively recent massacre at Norridgewock. The Hurons north of the Adirondacks, and the Wabanakes of Maine, were practically vassals of the French by this time, and would naturally be drawn into the war.
Everybody, including the Penacook Federation, realized that a finish battle was impending, in which it was a case of stake all for whatever could result. The Okamakammessets, in view of this outlook, strengthened and consolidated the organization of their adoptees so that they could carry on the social structure and principles of the "Great Tribe" even if the original tribesmen should be wiped out in the coming war; and these adoptees, living as they did in a naturally hostile community, were coördinated for the purpose of carrying the war on indefinitely against the ruling administrations of New England, and especially against British domination in the Okamakammessets' homeland of Massachusetts. The association was thus consolidated so that it could continue to function and hand down the tradition of freedom and popular government without the guiding hand of the original red men; they were rather instructed to exercise a similar guiding hand over their own community. Unlike the similar society formed for similar reasons by the Lenapes, careful instruction in basic principles was made a prerequisite for membership, which was greatly limited in order to maintain the high standard of those principles, which this same organization, operating under the name of the original red tribe, the Okamakammessets, has constantly adhered to and fought for at all times.
Meanwhile, England and France themselves were busy lining up their allies on their own side of the ocean. England conveniently remembered at this juncture that it was laying claims to India, which was then largely in French possession; while France was calling in its allies, Spain and Austria, to aid in case of trouble. At this time some Austrian regiments sent their empress a petition in verse asking her to keep out of hostilities: "Maria Theresia, zieh nicht in den Krieg" (Maria Theresa, do not go to war); but to no avail. Prussia, on the other hand, conveniently remembered its claims to Silesia, and a quarrel started on this matter; while, in the attempt to line up allies for England and France, even Poland and Russia were drawn in.
The failure of negotiations to settle the Ohio trouble finally ended in a declaration of war in 1756, involving a general struggle between the entire group of allies of both sides of the ocean. This war, started over a "land-grabbing attempt" in the then obscure Ohio Valley, succeeded in growing into a contention involving a greater portion of the earth than any other conflict in the entire history of the world; most of the people involved in this strife having never heard of Ohio, and knowing still less what or where it might be. Even such a well-informed person as Voltaire made the statement that England was fighting France over "quelques arpents de neige au Canada" (a few acres of snow in Canada).
This was the Great Ohio War, one of the most important conflicts in the world's history, more commonly known in America as the French and Indian War, and in Europe as the Seven Years' War.
94. Iroquois Territory Invaded. As in the case of the Hudson Valley War, the land of the Iroquois Federation was key country, and both English and French invaded this region to take possession of strategic points for fortification. Thus, the English built Fort Stanwix on the upper Mohawk River, and even fortified for their own use the Iroquois town of Oswego, on Lake Ontario; while the French, coming up Lake Champlain, captured the Iroquois town of Ticonderoga on that lake, and there built Fort Carillon; which the English answered by building Fort William Henry at the tip of the Lake.
On other parts of the long frontier of English terrain the red allies of both sides were seeking the rewards offered for enemy scalps, and indulging in other methods of warfare new to them, but suggested by the whites, who would stop at nothing to gain their ends through tribes against whom they would afterwards turn. The English invasion of Iroquois ground was a case in point as to how little the rights of even an ally were respected by the whites in that war; and the English, to justify such action, invented the story that the Iroquois were false allies.
The result of the English quarreling with their own allies, the Iroquois, was that the English forts in Iroquois territory were mostly captured by the French during the early years of the war. Oswego became a French outpost under the name of Chouéguen. Fort William Henry surrendered to the French general, Montcalm, after he had put the fort under siege with the aid of his allies the Hurons. But the Hurons were not made parties to the terms of surrender, and so considered those in the fort as still enemies; accordingly, when the occupants of the fort evacuated, they were massacred by the Hurons―an arrangement probably made deliberately by General Montcalm. At any rate, the Hurons duly received their scalp-rewards for this act from the administration at Quebec.
In the meantime, the Iroquois, far from really being false allies, were busy in the interior disrupting French communications, and, by harassing the Lenapes and Shawnees, protecting the western settlements of Virginia to a great extent from raids. However, scalp raids were common throughout both English and French settlements, as they had been in the previous intercolonial wars, and "block houses," as well as a certain form of diminutive stone castle, were to be found in every white town as a means of defense. The small stone building in Newport which is now attributed to the Norse, is probably of such origin.
The east shore of Lake Champlain was Penacook Federation territory, and therefore practically in French possession for the purpose of the war, since the Penacook Federation was fighting against the English, but not for the French. This area, of course, also became a strategic point, much desired by the English on account of the hope it presented of the recovery of English control in Iroquois territory. However, the mountainous character of this country made it difficult to attack.
Iroquois activity in the interior had, by 1758, succeeded in thoroughly disrupting communications between French outposts in the neighborhood. Another expedition was sent out against Fort Duquesne, this time by Pennsylvania; and now it had the protection of the Iroquois army, which prevented the repetition of such a disaster as had happened to the Braddock expedition in 1755. With the protection and aid of the Iroquois Federation, Pennsylvania laid siege to the fort, already in reduced condition by the breaking of communications, and Fort Duquesne shortly surrendered to the army from Philadelphia. It was now occupied as a British fort, and renamed Fort Pitt, after the British prime minister. Pennsylvania settlers were brought over to start a new settlement on the Ohio River; and the town they founded was given the name Pittsburgh.
This strategy proved to be the turning point in the war. The French forts in Iroquois territory, Chouéguen and Carillon, shortly afterwards succumbed to a combined attack by English and Iroquois, while Iroquois raids were keeping the French busy in Canada.
This success enabled England to concentrate its activities on the other side of the world, attacking the French in India; while the French, on the contrary, were forced to take their army away from India to some extent, in order to strengthen the defense of Canada against the English and Iroquois. In this manner, Iroquois aid in America made it possible for England to conquer India and become a world power. England acquired a world empire which it owes mainly to the Iroquois Federation.
95. Amherst's Small-Pox. By 1758 the Penacook weakness in favor of peace had begun to show itself, and the Penacook Federation was attempting to negotiate for peace. Lord Geoffrey Amherst, who was in charge of British operations against the tribes in that section, pretended to proceed with the negotiations, and presented large quantities of blankets to the members of the various Penacook tribes in token of pacific intentions. These blankets, however, had all been previously infected with small-pox, and special precautions were taken in their handling to prevent the British soldiers from becoming infected. Since the red men had much less immunity to the disease than the whites, the epidemic wiped out the entire population of the Federation within a few months, the only remnant being small groups which had left the main tribes and were living near the white settlements, having assumed white men's ways.
The adoptees of the Okamakammessets, who by now, although few in numbers, had been coördinated so that they could take over the entire tribal structure, were the only fragment left of the society of either the Great Tribe or the Penacook Federation; but they, working as they had to within the English settlements of Massachusetts, proceeded to continue the work of the Penacook Federation, and chose for themselves a Bashaba, at a northern Middlesex town called Groton. The newly-chosen Bashaba was partly descended from the old-line Okamakammessets; but thenceforth the tribe of the Okamakammessets had to carry on the functions of the Penacook federation with a membership of white people initiated and adopted into the tribe, but who by that adoption were considered to become red men. It was believed to be a spy association in enemy territory, as the adoptees had operated before, with the membership itself remaining secret, even to a great extent from one another. In this form the Okamakammessets are functioning to this day in America, especially in Massachusetts.
The Penacook territory in northern New England, thus vacated by the effects of Amherst's small-pox betrayal, was immediately taken over by Yankee settlers from all the New England colonies. The capital city of Penacook itself became a New Hampshire town under the name of Rumford. But the Winooski district, between the Connecticut Rover and Lake Champlain, which, as we have seen, was an important strategic location for the English, was not only settled by a large Yankee colony, but guarded by a volunteer mountaineer army, carrying on guerrilla proceedings against the French, who still lingered about the Green Mountains. This army was called the Vermontiers by the French (from Verts Monts, meaning Green Mountains). The settlers, carrying Yankee customs and institutions with them, immediately organized themselves wherever they settled into town meetings on the regular New England plan, and formed a temporary provincial government, which, from the title of Vermontiers given them by the enemy, took the name of Vermont. This government was never recognized by England, which repeatedly attempted to place Vermont under the control of direct British authority, and which was as frequently defied by the people of Vermont, in spite of their claiming allegiance to England. It was the case of the Plymouth colony all over again, with the exception that Plymouth never encountered real opposition from England, while Vermont was operating its local administration against constant opposition from the mother country. Then and there, 1758, was formed the first independent administration of the whites in America, and there was planted the seed of rebellion which was later to bring independence to the American colonies. Vermont remained an independent republic, recognized by nobody, and at odds with its neighbors, from 1758 to 1790, when it finally submitted to annexation by the United States.
96. Capture of Canada. An immediate result of the occupation of the Green Mountain region (Vermont) was that the English side suddenly found itself in possession of an important position directly overlooking the Canadian capital of Quebec. The New England colonies no longer had to defend themselves against raids from the tribes, and, with the capture of Louisbourg for the third time by Massachusetts forces, Quebec was almost cut off from communication with France. Quebec was attacked from the east by the New England armies (now placed in charge of a British general, Wolfe), from the south by the "Vermontiers," and from the west by the Iroquois. The city was, however, well fortified, and able to stand a siege; but an unfortunately timed sally of the local garrison in September, 1759, resulted in final defeat of the Canadian forces at the Battle of the Heights of Abraham, where both generals, Wolf and Montcalm, died. Quebec was occupied, and, although that did not mean an immediate conquest of all of Canada, it was the end of organized French administration in Canada. Remaining French forts in Canada were then isolated and surrounded by Iroquois, and soon surrendered to the English, who, in 1760, succeeded in capturing Montreal and Detroit; then reducing and taking all remaining French outposts in Canada.
In 1760, also, an English expedition was sent up the Mississippi to make a final clean-up of French forts in that valley; which was easy, since the French could now no longer rely on aid from Canada as formerly. Such was the state of ignorance in England in regard to American geography that this fleet was sent out with orders to take all French posts on the Mississippi as far north as the mouth of the Ganges! However, the capture of the Mississippi valley was affected with comparative ease, and French control was eliminated from North America.
The British forces now were able to turn their attention to Spain. The Georgians captured Florida, which had been steadily losing ground since Georgia was settled, and even before; then an army was sent across the Straits of Florida, occupied Havana, and finally conquered Cuba entirely.
97. The Peace of 1763. The Great Ohio War, still prolonged in Europe, had already resulted in the downfall of French empire in America and India. Tribal raids on the middle English colonies still continued; but otherwise the war was practically settled.
In the spring of 1763, England finally forced the conquered countries to sign a treaty of peace, at Paris. This treaty transferred more territory than has ever changed hands at any one time in the history of the world. By it, France gave up its claims in America and India. Spain, however, was considered as a victim of French intrigue, and was allowed not only to keep all its land but also to take French territory. Accordingly, all French territory in America east of the Mississippi was given to England, and all west of the Mississippi was given to Spain. Only Florida was given up by Spain.
Thus ended the great French empire in North America, and thus began the career of Great Britain as a world empire. The Algonquin nations, that had relied on the French for protection, were suddenly left undefended, and even actually surrendered by the treaty to be subject to England; while the English colonies, no longer fearing either tribal or French attacks, were no longer in need of the defensive power of the mother country. Vergennes, the French prime minister, felt on that account that the original English colonies would not remain loyal to England, and, after he had signed the peace treaty, he made the prophetic statement: "I have signed their defeat."
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