Defence Of The Northern Frontier
English policy.—After the War of the Spanish Succession the English government was keenly alive to the necessity of defending the colonial frontiers. Although the period has been characterized as one of "salutary neglect" on the part of the home government, nevertheless the frontier defences were greatly strengthened. Soon after the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, the English government became aware of French activities in Louisiana, and advice was sought from several colonial governors as to the best means of checking French and Spanish advance. A policy of defence was soon developed. It included the erection of forts, exploration of the mountain passes, alliances with Indian tribes, development of trade, reorganization of the incompetent proprietary government of the Carolinas, the establishment of the buffer colony of Georgia, and the encouragement of the settlement of the back country by the Germans and Scotch-Irish.
Acadia and the Maine border.—A strange apathy regarding Acadia was shown by the English government. A small garrison was maintained at Annapolis, but the Acadians continued loyal to the French, and French priests and officials from Cape Breton Island and Canada continued to exert influence over them. The Maine border was strongly held. English settlers again appeared on the lower Kennebec and forts were erected at Augusta and at the falls of the Androscoggin. Somewhat later Ft. Richmond was built on the Kennebec. English activity alarmed the Abenaki and the French soon influenced them to go on the warpath. From 1720 to 1725 a border war continued, but after much bloodshed on both sides the Indians sought peace.
The New York border.—On the New York border, efforts of the French to bring the Iroquois into alliance aroused the English and in 1727 Governor Burnet erected a fort at Oswego. Owing to petty strife between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and between New York and New Jersey, funds were not provided for a fortification on Lake Champlain, an oversight which gave the French an opportunity to erect a fort at Crown Point.
Pennsylvania and Virginia.—In 1716 Governor Spotswood of Virginia led an expedition to the Blue Ridge and entered the Shenandoah Valley. In his subsequent report he advised the making of settlements on Lake Erie and the securing of the mountain passes. The proposals were not carried out, but soon the back country was settled by Germans and Scotch-Irish, who formed a stronger barrier of defence than walls and palisades.
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