The Approach Of Another Conflict
Acadia.—Acadia, the upper valley of the Ohio, and the Cherokee country were debatable territories. To insure English possession of Acadia, Lord Halifax, the president of the Board of Trade, insisted upon the strengthening of the peninsula of Nova Scotia. In 1749 twenty-five hundred emigrants were sent over and the city of Halifax was founded. Three years later the English population had increased to four thousand. Edward Cornwallis was installed as governor, and the usual form of crown colony government established. Fort Lawrence was erected on the isthmus. Since many of the Acadians had failed to be neutral in the last war, Cornwallis asked that they again take the oath of allegiance, a request which was refused, and three or four thousand emigrated rather than swear allegiance. The policy of France regarding Acadia was to restrict its boundaries to the peninsula of Nova Scotia, to incite the Indians to make depredations, and to keep the Acadians loyal to the French king. Fort Beauséjour on the isthmus was converted into a formidable fortress and Louisbourg was greatly strengthened.
English activities on the Ohio.—Victories on the sea in the recent war had made it possible for English merchants to undersell their French rivals. From Albany and Oswego officials and traders worked in unison to keep the friendship of the Iroquois. From his estate on the Mohawk, William Johnson, a nephew of Admiral Warren, exerted great influence over the neighboring tribes, an influence which was to increase as the years went by. To the southward the frontiersmen grasped the opportunity for profit, and soon the Ohio country was frequented by many traders from Virginia and Pennsylvania. They penetrated to the Indian villages as far as the Mississippi and even into the country beyond. The principal trading centers were Pickawillany in the Miami confederacy, Logstown on the Ohio, and Venango on the Alleghany. Settlers also began to cross the mountains; in 1748 Virginia frontiersmen made a settlement at Draper's Meadow on the Greenbrier River.
The Ohio Company.—In 1744, at a council held at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Iroquois granted to the English the control of the country north of the upper Ohio. By subsequent agreements title was obtained to lands south of the river. In 1749 definite action was taken to occupy the territory. The project was launched by Virginia, partly to check the western pretensions of Pennsylvania. A charter was granted conveying a half-million acres on the upper Ohio to a group of Virginia and English gentlemen, among the stockholders being several of Washington's relatives. The grantees agreed to build a fort on the Ohio and within seven years to settle a hundred families on their lands. In the same year the Loyal Company secured a grant of 800,000 acres in the West. In 1750 Christopher Gist, a well-known fur trader, was sent by the Ohio Company to explore as far as the Falls of the Ohio, the site of modern Louisville. During 1750-1751 he traversed portions of what are now Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. His favorable report stimulated activity; a trading house was built at Wills' Creek where Cumberland, Maryland, now stands, and a trail was blazed to the junction of Redstone Creek and the Monongahela, the primitive beginning of the Cumberland Pike. A few Virginians immediately settled at the western terminal of the trail.
The French frontier strengthened.—In general the Iroquois had been faithful to the English, but the French continued their efforts to gain the support of the powerful confederation. An Iroquois mission was established near Montreal, and in 1748 Father Piquet founded the mission of La Presentation at modern Ogdensburg. To divert trade from Oswego, in 1749 Fort Rouillé was built where Toronto now flourishes. A new post was established at the Niagara portage, Detroit was strengthened, and a garrison stationed at Sault Ste. Marie. The Marquis de la Galissonière, the governor of Canada, saw the danger of the English occupation of the Ohio country. In 1749 he despatched a force under Céloron de Bienville to take possession. The expedition passed from Lake Erie to Chautauqua Lake and proceeded southward to the Alleghany, where the work of taking formal possession began. The procedure was to proclaim French sovereignty, to nail to a tree a sheet of tin bearing the arms of France, and to bury at the foot of the tree a leaden plate which stated that the land along the Ohio and its tributaries belonged to the King of France. Many Indian villages in the Ohio Valley were visited and several plates buried, but wherever Céloron went he found evidences that the tribes were friendly to the English. At the Great Miami the last plate was buried, and the party proceeded to the French post on the Maumee and then returned to Canada.
French occupation of the upper Ohio.—In May, 1749, the Marquis de la Jonquiére was appointed governor general. He was instructed to get rid of Oswego by inciting the Iroquois to attack it. Jonquiére found his government permeated with dishonesty, the intendant Bigot having used his official position to fatten the purses of himself and friends. The governor was powerless to occupy the Ohio country, having neither soldiers nor money sufficient for the enterprise. When he ordered Céloron to attack Pickawillany, that officer refused because of disaffection among the neighboring Indians. But help came from an unexpected quarter. A young French trader from Green Bay named Charles Langlade gathered two hundred and fifty Ottawas and Ojibways and destroyed the Miami village. Jonquiére died in 1752; his successor, the Marquis Duquesne, proved to be of sterner stuff. In 1753 he sent an expedition of fifteen hundred men to occupy the Ohio country. Fort Presq'Isle was erected and a road was cut to French Creek, where Fort LeBoeuf was built The French planned to build another fort at the forks of the Ohio, but sickness and the lateness of the season interrupted their operations.
Washington's mission, 1753.—Dinwiddie, the lieutenant-governor of Virginia, realized the import of the French advance. He warned the home government which authorized him to demand the departure of the enemy, and in case of refusal, to drive them out by force. He at once sent an embassy to protest. The bearer of the message was George Washington, a surveyor who had barely reached the age of twenty-one. Guided by Christopher Gist, he proceeded to the forks of the Ohio, then to Logstown where parleys were held with the Indians, and later to Venango. Washington was civilly received but was told that the French intended to keep possession of the Ohio. He then proceeded to Fort LeBoeuf, where he was told that Dinwiddie's letter would be sent to Duquesne and that in the meantime the commander would remain at his post. It was evident that force must be employed if the Ohio country was to become English territory.
The southern frontier.—The back country of the Carolinas and Georgia was the land of the hunters, cowboys, and Indian traders. The headquarters of the Georgia traders was Augusta, while those of South Carolina had a place of deposit at the residence of Peter St. Julien near Dorchester. From there the caravans followed the Congaree trail or that which led to the Chickasaw. French agents were continually working among the interior tribes and in 1753 a war broke out between the Creeks and Cherokees. Governor Glen of South Carolina called the Indians to conferences and finally succeeded in maintaining peace for the time being. The governor then visited the lower Cherokee and purchased a tract of land on which Fort Prince George was built, one hundred and seventy miles above Augusta on the Savannah River.
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