The War Of The Spanish Succession
French expansion.—The peace of Ryswick was only a truce. France took advantage of the peace to begin to establish her power in the Mississippi Valley and to strengthen her hold upon the Northwest. In 1699 Biloxi was founded on the Gulf and in succeeding years France brought under control most of the tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley. In 1701 the French occupied Detroit to cut off the English from one of the routes to the fur country, and strengthened their hold on the Illinois country.
The Spanish Succession.—Upon the death of Philip IV in 1665 the incompetent Charles II came to the throne of Spain. Court intrigues stimulated by France and Austria, and utter lack of statesmanship at a time when France was reaching out in every direction, brought Spain to the lowest point in her history. Fearing that she would pass under French control, thereby destroying the balance of power in Europe, William III of England sought to check French power by the so-called Second Treaty of Partition, by which the Austrian Archduke Charles was to inherit the crown of Spain upon the death of Charles II, Spanish possessions in Italy were to go to the Dauphin of France, and Spanish and Austrian possessions were never to be united. To this arrangement France, Austria, and England agreed, but the treaty proved to be but a scrap of paper. In 1700 Charles II died and his will designated Philip of Anjou, a grandson of Louis XIV, as his heir.
England determines upon war.—War was not at once declared, for the English people were slow to recognize the danger. But when French troops occupied the border fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands, when French edicts excluded British manufactures, when the English and Dutch trade, especially the slave trade, was hampered in the Spanish colonies, and when Louis XIV acknowledged the son of James II as king of England, English statesmen were convinced that war was necessary. When Anne ascended the throne in 1702, war was a foregone conclusion.
War zones in America.—The war areas were even more extensive in America than in the War of the English Succession. In the South, the West Indies, and the Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana frontiers, and in the North, the New England border, Acadia, Newfoundland, and Hudson Bay were the scenes of conflict.
For details see Chapter XV.
THE WAR IN THE WEST INDIES
An indecisive struggle.—When William III became convinced that the war was inevitable, he proposed to strike at Spanish commerce. In furtherance of this policy a squadron was sent in 1701 to the West Indies under Vice-Admiral John Benbow. In July, 1702, Benbow destroyed or captured several vessels near Port-au-Prince, and supported by troops under Major-General Hamilton, he occupied St. Christopher. The fleet in August encountered that of Ducasse off Santa Marta to the northeast of Cartagena and in a running fight which lasted several days the English were worsted. In 1703 General Codrington attacked Guadeloupe but a French reinforcement forced the English to retire. The same year a combined French and Spanish force drove the English inhabitants from New Providence and destroyed Fort Nassau, but it was soon reoccupied by the English Vice-Admiral John Graydon who had been placed in command of the West Indian fleet. Before his arrival several privateers had been destroyed near the island of Santo Domingo and descents had been made on St. Christopher and Guadeloupe. Graydon accomplished nothing and soon sailed to Newfoundland, where his operations were also fruitless.
1705-1708.—During 1705 several prizes were taken and in 1706 the French made a descent on St. Christopher. Their attack on the fort failed, but they burned and plundered several plantations. Hearing that an English fleet was expected, the French repaired to Nevis, which they occupied. The English fleet under Commodore Kerr attacked Petit Gouave but failed to capture it. In 1708 Commodore Charles Wager won an important engagement when he attacked a Spanish fleet near. Cartagena. New Providence was a second time attacked by the French and Spanish, which led to the English abandonment of the island.
1711-1712.—In 1710 the Spaniards attacked the salt rakers on Turk's Island but were driven off. In 1711 Commodore James Littleton attempted to find the French fleet, which he located in the harbor of Cartagena. Finding it too strong to attack, he loafed in the neighborhood, picking up an occasional prize. Ducasse, who was convoying a fleet of Spanish galleons, succeeded in getting them out of the harbor without being observed and got them safely to Havana. A French squadron which made an attempt against Antigua was driven into St. Pierre by the English fleet, and a similar expedition against Montserrat was foiled. The following year the French nearly ruined Berbice, a Dutch settlement in Guiana.
THE WAR ON THE FLORIDA BORDER
The southern border.—On the mainland the South Carolina settlements formed the southern English frontier. The Spaniards occupied St. Augustine, contiguous territory up the Georgia coast, Pensacola, and intermediate points. To the west on the Gulf coast were the recently established French settlements. In the interior lived the Apalachees, Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws. To control the trade of the Indians and use them as allies was the policy of English, Spanish, and French alike. The first blow fell on the Apalachee. In 1702 a force of Apalachicolas, allies of the English, destroyed the mission of Santa Fé in the Apalachee district, and a Spanish force was met at the Flint River by Englishmen and Creek allies, and driven back.
Siege of St. Augustine.—The next attack of the English was directed against St. Augustine. Hearing of their plans, Governor Zuñiga sent to Havana for reinforcements, abandoned the town of St. Augustine, and provisioned the castle. The Carolina force of about twelve hundred militia and Indians rendezvoused at Port Royal in September, 1702. Colonel Robert Daniel, conducting the land forces, destroyed the mission settlements on St. Mark's Island, captured the villages of St. Johns and St. Marys, and plundered St. Augustine. Governor Moore conducted the fleet, and the combined forces besieged the castle. Governor Zuñiga bravely withstood the siege for fifty days, and when Spanish vessels arrived, Moore destroyed his ships, burned St. Augustine, and retreated to Carolina.
Destruction of the Apalachee Missions.—Moore was superseded as governor by Sir Nathaniel Johnson, who immediately strengthened the fortifications at and near Charleston. Moore, desiring to build up his waning reputation, persuaded Johnson to send him against the Apalachee. Setting out with a force of fifty Carolinians and a thousand Creek allies, in January, 1704, he captured the Apalachee town of Ayubale, burned the mission, and then defeated a force of Spaniards and Apalachee. The Indian villages were next destroyed; of thirteen Apalachee towns, each with its mission, only one was spared. When Moore withdrew he carried off fourteen hundred Apalachee prisoners and slaves.
Spanish expedition against Charleston.—In 1706 the French and Spaniards at Havana organized an expedition to attack Carolina. In August a frigate and four sloops, after taking on men and supplies at St. Augustine, sailed to Charleston and demanded its surrender. A small landing party was repulsed; six Carolina vessels sallied out, and after an engagement the enemy withdrew.
Indian policy of the French.—To use the Indian allies to prevent the spread of English settlement was a fundamental of French policy. Iberville, the founder of Louisiana, planned to obtain control of the great interior rivers by establishing forts, and to weld the Indians into an alliance with the French by treaties and by trade. He even contemplated moving some of the tribes to points of greater commercial vantage. He also believed that he could obtain the aid of several thousand warriors in attacking Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina. Realizing the danger, the English traders were active among the tribes. In 1708, probably at the instigation of the English, the Cherokees, Arikas, Catawbas, and Alabamas formed an alliance. Four thousand warriors descended on the French settlements, but lack of leadership destroyed the effectiveness of the attack and but little damage was done.
The Tuscarora War.—In 1711 the Tuscaroras, a North Carolina tribe, went on the warpath and massacred about two hundred settlers. Virginia and South Carolina sent aid, and in 1712 the Indians were defeated. The Tuscaroras continued their depredations and in 1713 they were almost annihilated. The remnant made their way to New York and were incorporated with the Iroquois as a sixth nation.
THE WAR ON THE CANADIAN BORDER
Newfoundland and the New England frontier.—To deprive the French of the profitable Newfoundland fisheries was the first endeavor of England in the north. Captain John Leake arrived at St. Johns in August, 1702. He cruised off Placentia Bay, making several small prizes and destroying fishing craft. Before the end of October he had captured twenty-nine sail, burned two vessels, and destroyed St. Peter's Fort. The New England frontier was harried by the French and Abenaki. In 1699 Massachusetts had made a treaty at Casco Bay with the Maine Indians, but the Jesuits soon brought them back to French allegiance. In 1703 a second peace treaty was made with them, but within two months they were on the warpath, almost wiping out the Maine settlements. In 1704 the French and Indians surprised Deerfield in the Connecticut Valley, killing about fifty and carrying off more than one hundred captives. Almost every frontier settlement was attacked. Even Reading, Sudbury, and Haverhill, within a short distance of Boston, were raided. To add to the distress French privateers did serious damage to commerce and fisheries.
Acadia.—The New Englanders retaliated with small counter raids, but succeeded in inflicting little damage. It was finally determined to strike at Acadia. An expedition was placed under Benjamin Church, a veteran of King Philip's War. French settlements on the Bay of Fundy were ravaged, but he failed to attack Port Royal. In 1707 an expedition, recruited by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, was again sent against Port Royal, but the stubborn defense discouraged the attacking force and the siege was abandoned. English vessels under Captain John Underwood raided the Newfoundland coast, destroying many settlements and fishing craft.
Plan to conquer Canada.—The conquest of Canada was urged by many of the colonial leaders, the most active of whom was Colonel Samuel Vetch, a Scotchman who had formerly seen service in the English army. In 1709 his plan was endorsed by the British government, and preparations were made to send a large force against Quebec by sea and a land expedition against Montreal. But after great efforts had been made by the New England colonies and New York, the British regulars were diverted to Portugal, and the conquest of Canada had to be abandoned.
Conquest of Acadia.—The following year a force of four thousand colonials, commanded by Francis Nicholson, aided by British men-of-war and a regiment of marines, attacked and captured Port Royal. Acadia became the British province of Nova Scotia, and the name of its capital was changed to Annapolis Royal. The following year the English again raided the French fishing stations in Newfoundland.
Failure of Walker's expedition.—In 1710 a Tory ministry came into power, its chief members being the Earl of Oxford and Viscount Bolingbroke. They were opposed to carrying on the war in Europe, believing that England's best policy lay in colonial undertakings. The conquest of Canada became the great object. As before, the attack was to be by land and sea. Under Nicholson the land force, composed mainly of colonials and eight hundred Iroquois, prepared to attack Montreal. The expedition against Quebec was entrusted to Admiral Sir Bovenden Walker and General Sir John Hill; a court favorite. Seven of Marlborough's best regiments, veterans of Oudenarde and Ramillies, were placed on transports which were convoyed by a large fleet of war vessels. The great force gathered at Boston, where it was reinforced by fifteen hundred colonials. In August, 1711, the fleet entered the St. Lawrence, but there it met disaster. Sailing too close to the northern shore, ten vessels were wrecked on the reefs and shoals of the Egg Islands. Stunned by the calamity, the faint-hearted commander gave up the enterprise. News of the disaster reached Nicholson at Lake Champlain. His force was not strong enough to accomplish the conquest alone, and the attack on Montreal was abandoned.
THE HUDSON BAY COMPANY
The Hudson's Bay Company had been sadly crippled at the end of the War of the English Succession. Its shares fell in value and most of the original owners sold their holdings. The only post which the company held was Fort Albany, and in 1704 this was unsuccessfully attacked by a party of French and Indians. The same year an English frigate captured the principal ship of the Compagnie du Nord, causing great hardship in the French forts. The Hudson's Bay Company during the war frequently petitioned the Board of Trade for assistance, but, as they received none, they appealed directly to the queen. When the final treaty was made, the Hudson Bay country was taken into account.
THE PEACE OF UTRECHT
At the end of the war a series of agreements was drawn up by the various powers. The treaties involving America dealt both with territory and commerce. England obtained a recognition of her claims in the Hudson Bay country and the possession of Newfoundland and Acadia. The claim of the English to the Iroquois country was also admitted, and they were given St. Christopher. Commercially the agreements dealt with the fisheries and Spanish trade. The French were excluded from fishing on the Acadian coast, but were allowed to keep Cape Breton Island and were given certain fishing privileges on the Newfoundland coasts. An agreement with Spain, known as the Asiento or contract, gave the English the exclusive right for thirty years of bringing negroes into the Spanish possessions. The English were also allowed to send an annual merchant ship of five hundred tons burden to trade with Spanish ports.
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