The War Of The English Succession
William's accession precipitates war.—In spite of these conditions in America, England and France at home had been at peace. It was of more importance to Louis XIV to support a Catholic king of England than to wage open war for the control of the Indian country. But with the overthrow of James II the political situation in Europe was completely changed. William of Orange ascended the throne of England, and Holland, England, several of the German states, Austria, and Spain were welded into a great coalition. Louis XIV championed the Stuart cause and the War of the English Succession was on. In America the struggle is known as King William's War; in Europe it is usually referred to as the War of the Palatinate. In the course of it the Caribbean Sea was the scene of constant conflict. The hostile zones on the mainland had been established in the struggle for the fur trade—the lands of the Abenaki, Iroquois, and upper lake tribes, and the Hudson Bay country.
THE WAR IN THE CARIBBEAN
Four years of war.—In 1689 the French inhabitants of St. Christopher rose against the English inhabitants and expelled them from the island. The French also broke up a Dutch station in Guiana. Early in 1690 England sent Commodore Wright to the West Indies. Convoying a large fleet, his squadron reached Barbados on May 11. Being reinforced by Barbadian troops he reoccupied St. Christopher, the reduction being completed July 16. A few days later St. Eustatius surrendered to the English. In 1690 Trinidad was also attacked by the French. In March, 1691, Wright attacked Guadeloupe but failed to take it or to capture the French squadron under M. Ducasse. Commodore Ralph Wrenn took command of the English fleet in January, 1692, and the following month fought an indecisive battle near Jamaica with a superior French force. In that year a great earthquake destroyed Port Royal, the English capital of Jamaica. The refugees founded Kingston which eventually superseded Port Royal as the seat of government.
Martinique, Santo Domingo, and Jamaica.—In 1693 nine vessels reinforced the West Indian fleet and the combined forces, backed by Barbadian troops, attacked Martinique, but failed to take it. In September of the following year a squadron attacked Léogane, a French town in Santo Domingo, but was repulsed. A French expedition from Santo Domingo also desolated the southeastern coast of Jamaica but at Carlisle Bay was beaten off by the colonial militia. In March, 1695, an English and Spanish fleet attacked the French settlements in Santo Domingo and succeeded in forcing the abandonment of Cape François and Port de Paix.
Cartagena and Petit Gouave.—In April, 1697, a great English fleet under Vice-Admiral John Neville rendezvoused at Barbados to forestall a rumored enterprise of the enemy. M. de Pointas had been sent with large reinforcements to assist M. Ducasse. The combined French fleet attacked Cartagena, took much booty, and eluded Neville. The English commander visited Cartagena, which he found had again been despoiled by buccaneers. He then despatched Captain Mees with nine vessels to burn Petit Gouave, a mission which he accomplished.
THE WAR OF THE CANADIAN FRONTIERS
The Maine frontier.—Andros had sent an expedition against the Abenaki and had fortified the frontier, his most northern fort being at Pemaquid, but with his fall the garrison had been reduced. During the summer of 1689 the Indians destroyed Pemaquid and killed most of the settlers in that region. Casco (Portland) was then attacked but was relieved by a counter expedition.
The French attack.—In August Frontenac was sent to assume the governorship of Canada. In New France he found despair and desolation. He decided to send out three expeditions, one from Montreal into the upper Hudson Valley, the others from Three Rivers and Quebec to raid the New England frontier. The three expeditions started about February 1, 1690. The Montreal party surprised Schenectady, where sixty persons were massacred. A party from Albany started in pursuit and succeeded in killing about twenty of the retreating French and Indians. The Three Rivers expedition attacked Salmon Falls, where thirty persons were killed and about fifty made prisoners. A relief party from Portsmouth caught up with the raiders at Wooster River, but after a spirited fight the French and Indians escaped. Being reinforced by Indians they joined the party from Quebec. The united force of four or five hundred men in May attacked the fort and blockhouses on Casco Bay, killing or capturing the garrison, massacring or carrying into captivity most of the inhabitants, and burning the settlements.
Frontenac's Indian policy.—Frontenac also sent an expedition of one hundred men to Michilimackinac to keep control of the upper lake Indians. On the way an Iroquois war party was defeated at Sand Point on the Ottawa River. The French victory and news of the successful raids on the English frontier had far-reaching effects, for they kept the Hurons and Ottawas in subjection.
The English defence.—The attack upon the English colonies was well-timed, for confusion prevailed in New England and New York. Andros had been overthrown and Leisler's rebellion was in full swing. Little help could be expected from England, for James II, with French and Irish aid, was battling to regain his throne. In May, 1690, the New England colonies sent delegates to a congress at New York to determine on a military policy. A two-fold attack was planned; a land expedition against Montreal and a naval expedition against Quebec.
The Montreal fiasco.—The expedition against Montreal was placed under Fitz-John Winthrop of Connecticut, who led his men as far as the southern end of Lake Champlain. Here smallpox broke out, disagreements with the Indians ensued, and provisions ran short. Winthrop soon discovered that a descent on Montreal was impossible, and he ingloriously led most of his men back to Albany. Captain John Schuyler, however, with a small detachment proceeded northward and raided the village of Laprairie near Montreal.
The capture of Port Royal.—While New England delegates were at New York a preliminary expedition was sent against Acadia, Sir William Phips, a New Englander who had achieved great renown and wealth by locating a Spanish treasure ship which had been wrecked off the Bahamas, was placed in command of seven vessels. On May 11, 1690, the fleet appeared before Port Royal, which surrendered without a shot being fired. One of the vessels under Captain Alden captured a French post on the Penobscot and seized several settlements on the southern shore of Nova Scotia.
The expedition against Quebec.—In the meantime Massachusetts was preparing for her great attempt on Quebec Thirty vessels were gathered, but the fleet was short of ammunition, due to the fact that the French had gained temporary control of the sea by defeating the English and Dutch fleets at Beachy Head. The fleet commanded by Phips sailed from Boston on August 9, 1690, but it was not until October 16 that it came in sight of Quebec. The slow progress prevented a surprise and gave Frontenac time to complete his defences. When Phips demanded that Quebec surrender, he received a haughty refusal. Phips then attempted to capture the town, but the plan was poorly executed, ammunition ran short, and reinforcements poured into the city so rapidly that the defenders soon outnumbered the English. A council of war was held, and it was decided to abandon the undertaking. A week of intermittent fighting had brought nothing but failure, which was made the more trying by the loss of several vessels on the return voyage.
Frontenac's policy in 1691.—After the attack on Quebec, the war developed into a desultory frontier conflict in which the French were usually on the offensive. The Iroquois continued to raid the French settlements, but they were soon severely chastised, when forty or fifty warriors were surrounded at Repentigny, near Montreal, and killed or captured. This event and the timely arrival of several French vessels impressed an Ottawa deputation which had come to Quebec, and the French power among the interior tribes was greatly strengthened.
Schuyler's expedition.—The English influence among the Iroquois was waning; to reassert it an expedition under Peter Schuyler was sent from Albany. It traversed Lake Champlain and the Richelieu and proceeded toward Laprairie de la Madeleine where it was attacked by a superior force. After stubborn fighting, Schuyler made an orderly retreat.
Acadia and the Abenaki.—In Acadia Phips had made the blunder of leaving no garrison; the French accordingly reoccupied it. Deeming the location of Port Royal too exposed, M. de Villebon, the lieutenant-governor of Acadia, moved his headquarters to Naxouat on the St. John's River, from which vantage point he was able to direct attacks on New England. In February, 1692, a band of Abenaki wiped out the settlement at York, and later unsuccessfully attacked Wells. Minor raids were also made on the towns of central Massachusetts. To protect the frontier Phips ordered the rebuilding of Fort Pemaquid and the erection of a fort at the falls of the Saco. Scarcely were they completed, when Iberville, in command of two French vessels, attacked Pemaquid but failed to capture it.
The Iroquois frontier.—The Iroquois continued to infest the region between the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, but during 1692 and 1693 they were severely punished, and ceased to be an important factor in the war. Frontenac then determined to reopen the fur trade. He accordingly sent a detachment to Michilimackinac asking that furs be sent to Montreal. In August, 1693, a flotilla of two hundred canoes arrived and shortly afterward Tonty, with a large body of coureurs de bois came to discuss matters. Tonty soon returned to the Illinois country well equipped to strengthen his hold on the natives. The fortifications at Quebec were also remodeled. In 1695 Fort Frontenac was reëstablished and the following year an expedition of over two thousand men was sent against the Onondagas and Oneidas. They abandoned their villages and the French destroyed their crops. Though no battle was fought the expedition served its end, for the Iroquois were duly impressed by the power of the French.
The New England frontier.—In 1693 an English fleet from the West Indies arrived at Boston and the idea of an expedition against Quebec was revived, but there was so much sickness among the men that the plan was abandoned. During 1693 and 1694 both English and French sought to control the Abenaki, but in spite of a treaty made by Phips, the French succeeded in holding their allies. In July, 1694, the Indians attacked Durham, massacring over a hundred of the inhabitants, and a few days later killed about forty people at Groton. Two years later Iberville again appeared before Pemaquid and this time succeeded in capturing it. He then sailed to Newfoundland, captured and burned St. Johns, and plundered the settlements on the coast. The English retaliated by burning the French settlement at Beaubassin but were repulsed at Naxouat. In March, 1697, Haverhill was raided by the Indians, and in February, 1698, after the treaty of peace, they attacked Andover. In the last year of the war an attack upon Boston and New York by land and sea was determined upon and a fleet set sail from France, but the treaty of peace ended hostilities.
ACTIVITIES ON HUDSON BAY; PEACE
Operations of Iberville.—When the war opened, the French were in control of the posts about James Bay, while Fort Nelson, commanding the great interior water-ways, was in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1689 Fort Albany was captured by the English. The following year Iberville recaptured it, but in 1692 it again passed out of French hands. In 1694 the French government determined to assist the Compagnie du Nord; Iberville, being sent to the bay with two frigates, captured Fort Nelson. Two years later it was retaken by the English. In 1697 Iberville penetrated the bay, this time with five vessels. Becoming separated from the rest of the fleet, Iberville encountered three armed vessels of the Hudson's Bay Company. After a thrilling naval battle the English were worsted, and the French once more took possession of Fort Nelson. At the end of the war the only important post left in English hands was Fort Albany.
The Peace of Ryswick.—In 1697 the war was brought to an end by the peace of Ryswick, by which Louis XIV acknowledged William III as king of England. The results of the fighting in America were ignored, the powers agreeing to restore to each other all places taken in the war. The ownership of the Abenaki and Iroquois lands, and of the Hudson Bay country was left unsettled.
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