History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Life and Times of
Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
by William L. Stone
Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State Street, 1865.
CHAPTER III. 1744-1745.
THE repose which the colonies had so long enjoyed under the administration of Sir Robert "Walpole,- owing, probably, not more to the policy of that minister than to the pacific temper of the duke of Orleans,- the regent of France during the minority of Louis XV,(1)- was of course ended by the receipt of the declaration of war against France, as stated in the preceding chapter. Indeed the news of this declaration had not reached New England, before Duquesnel, the French governor of Cape Breton, resolving upon the destruction of the English fishery on the north-eastern coast of Nova Scotia, or Acadia, as it was called by the French, invaded the island Canseau, burnt the houses, and made prisoners both of the garrison and the inhabitants.(2) Attempts were likewise made by the French upon Placentia, in Newfoundland, and upon Annapolis in Nova Scotia, in both of which enterprises they were unsuccessful,- owing to a miscarriage of the plan in one instance, and to the timely arrival of several companies of militia and rangers from Massachusetts, in the other.(3)
The flames of war having thus been lighted in the north, it required no special gift of prophecy to perceive that they would soon blaze along the whole lines of the English and French colonies, from Cape Breton to the
(1) Marshall's Introduction.
(3) Idem. See also Marshall.
trading posts of Detroit and. Michilimackinac, or Mackinaw, according to the orthography of later times. What rendered the pending war yet more frightful to the inhabitants of both of these extended chains of rival colonies, was the fact that a broad belt of territory between them, was peopled exclusively by the Indians,-ever ready to snuff blood in the breeze, and generally disposed to rush forth upon the warpath at every opportunity. In fact the Micmacs,the Abenakies and Etehmims, or the canoe-men of St. John's river, with perhaps the remains of other and lesser tribes of the eastern Indians, whose partialities inclined ever toward the French, had already taken part with them in their expedition against Annapolis. These Indians, twenty years before, had been declared by resolution of the Massachusetts government, to be traitors and robbers; (1) and a formal declaration of war was now proclaimed against them, by that colony, with a bounty for scalps and prisoners.(2 )
The declaration of hostilities was announced to the general assembly of New York, by Governor Clinton, at an adjourned session opening on the eighteenth of July, as a measure that had become indispensable to the honor and dignity of the crown, not only because of the attack upon the Mediterranean fleet, but above all because of the movements of France in behalf of the pretender. Immediate and strong measures were urged for the security of the city of New York, and for the general defence of the colony, especially of the frontiers. Measures, it was intimated, had already been taken for strengthening the posts of Oswego and Saratoga. In speaking of his interview with the Indians at Albany, it was stated that commissioners, from Massachusetts and Connecticut were also present, the object of whose visit was to aid in cultivating a more firm
and extensive alliance with that people. Their mission was a source of gratification to all parties. They were moreover clothed with full powers to enter into a strict union with New York and the other English colonies, for the purpose of devising and executing proper measures for the prosecution of the war offensively and defensively. Power was asked to enable the governor to appoint like commissioners to confer with them. The fitting out of privateers for the protection of the coast was also recommended,-not forgetting the supplies and the adoption of all such measures as would enable his excellency to support the power and dignity of the government, and pursue every method for its safety.
The speech was followed, on the twenty-fourth of July, with a special message setting forth the measures that had been taken by the executive for the security both of the city and the frontiers; and making requisitions for all such farther measures as were judged essential to the public defence. For the protection of Albany and the scattered settlements north of it, the governor strongly urged the erection of a strong fort in the neighborhood of Crown Point. As such a work would be calculated as well to guard the frontiers of the New England colonies as those of New York, it was suggested that it should be constructed at the joint expense of all. Some farther measures of defence had been adopted at Oswego; and it was recommended with great propriety that a strong fort should be built at Tierondequot, or at some other suitable point in the Seneca country,-as well for the defence of that country against invasion, as by means of a strong garrison, to check the wavering propensities of the Senecas,-the strongest of the Confederates, and the most easily tampered with by the French. Yet another message of a similar character, was sent down to the assembly on the thirty-first of July, recommending the erection of various works of defence for the harbor of New York; announcing the organization of a corps of rangers from the militia of Albany, to include a number of Indians, whose business it should be to traverse the country north to Canada, as perpetual scouts. The sending of troops to be stationed at Albany, was also recommended.
The precipitate and cowardly retreat of the English traders from Oswego, immediately on hearing of the declaration of war, elicited still another executive communication on the twentieth of August. This desertion of the trading houses had created a very unfavorable impression upon the minds of the Indians, particularly the remote nations, who, on coming thither to trade, had found the place really deserted, and the goods mostly brought away. The assembly were therefore earnestly urged to adopt the necessary measures for maintaining that important post, as a commanding mart for trade with the Indians, upon a more ample and efficient basis than had existed before. Disadvantages, other than such as might arise from a loss of trade, were apprehended by the governor. The Indians, inspired with contempt for the courage of men frightened, as it were, by a shadow, with the fall of Oswego, would be very likely to desert the English interests for the French.
The spirit of the general assembly was good. Resolutions were promptly passed by the house, nemine contradicente, pledging the ways and means for putting the colony in a suitable posture of defence by sea and land. In consequence of the demonstration made in Scotland "in favor of a Popish pretender," a resolution was adopted requiring all persons in the colony to take the oaths prescribed by act of parliament for the security of the government and the Protestant religion. Bills making liberal appropriations, liberal considering the means of the colony, for the public exigencies were initiated and in progress, when on the fourth of September, another message was received from the governor, calculated, yet more rapidly accelerate their action. It covered a communication from the commissioners of Indian affairs of an alarming character. Information had been received by a secret messenger from Canada, that contrary to the declaration of Canassateego, at Lancaster, as to the temper and designs of the Caughnawagas, they, with the other Canadian Indians, had taken up the hatchet against the English, and the fall of Oswego was considered inevitable, unless its feeble garrison could be reinforced.(1) Information respecting the designs of the French upon that post, had also been received by the Six Nations.
This communication was considered so important that at the instance of Doctor Golden and Mr. Murray, of the council, a conference was held between the two houses in order to insure prompt and efficient action for the public welfare. Chief Justice De Lancey opened the deliberations of the conference, and after an interchange of opinions it was determined to apply to the governor for the addition of fifty men to the garrison of Oswego, and also for orders to the militia of Albany to hold themselves in instant readiness to march to the defence of that post in the event of an invasion. A joint address in accordance with these recommendations was made to the governor in which the assembly pledged itself "cheerfully to contribute everything in its power for the defence and safety
(1) The commissioners at that time, signing this communication, were Messrs. Myndert Schuyler, Abraham Cuyler, Cornelius Cuyler, Dirck Ten Broeck, Nicholas Bleecker, Johannis Lansing, and John Depeyster. Among other matters detailed in the letter, was an account of their proceeding under an order from the governor to send Captain Walter Butler, with his son as an interpreter, upon a confidential errand to Oswego. The governor had enjoined perfect secrecy as to this mission; but the commissioners state that the fact was known in Albany before they had opened his excellency's dispatches. An admirable commentary this, upon the manner in which secrets are usually kept, in all times, in peace as in war.
of the colony, and for repelling any attempt of the enemy."
Difficulties were experienced in regard to the ways and means, arising chiefly from the reluctance of the popular branch, no uncommon thing in representative governments, to meet the question of direct taxation. Yet the liberality of their appropriations attested the general patriotism of the members. Special allowances were voted for the defences of Albany and Schenectady, and the round sum of three thousand two hundred pounds was granted m addition for the defence of the colony at large. Provision was likewise made for the support of the prisoners who had been brought into New York, pursuant to a suggestion of the governor,- who was commended in an address for his clemency, and requested to relieve the colony from the presence of those prisoners, and others that might he brought in, with all convenient dispatch.
Thus far in the session, no action had taken place in the house in regard to the propositions from the New England colonies for effecting a general alliance among the Indians friendly to the English, and also for a closer bond of union between the colonies, in order to the more efficient conduct of the war. Upon these points Governor Shirley was particularly anxious; and on the eighteenth of September Mr. Clinton sent a message to the assembly, covering an urgent letter from Shirley, and expressing surprise that the assembly had done nothing hitherto to enable him to appoint commissioners to meet those in attendance from Massachusetts and Connecticut, and confer together in a matter that must redound so much to the benefit of the colony. Instead, however, of complying with this request, the house sent up to the governor an address, reminding his excellency of the liberality of their appropriations, ample, as they conceived, for the public exigencies,-but expressing a strong reluctance to any action upon the subject of the proposed plan of union.
They thought they ought not to enter: upon any scheme the details of which had not been imparted to them that they might have an opportunity of exercising their own judgments upon it. This address was communicated by the governor to his council on the twenty-first of September, and a protracted conference between the two branches ensued; including also, another point of difference, viz: a refusal by the house, of an appropriation to erect a fort at the carrying-place between the Hudson river and Crown Point. The managers on the part of the council, De Lancey and Murray, presented urgent reasons in favor of appointing commissioners to meet those from the other colonies, for the organization of a league, or an alliance against the French; as, for instance, the advantages of united action,- the increase of strength,- the confidence with which it would inspire the friendly Indians, the discouragements which such a union would throw in the way of the French. The importance, likewise, of erecting the proposed military work at the carrying-place, was ably urged.(1) But without success. No appropriation was made either for the Indian alliance, or for the commissioners, or for the erection of the fortress; and the assembly adjourned, not meeting again until March, 1745.
The autumn and winter were passed with uncertainty as to the temper and intentions of the Six Nations, with considerable anxiety. At the close of September, dispatches were received from the Indian commissioner expressing lively anxiety for the fate of Oswego. The efforts of the commissioners to persuade the chiefs of the Six Nations to keep a number of their warriors from each of their tribes at Oswego for its defence, had been ineffectual. The French were active in their appliances to steal the hearts of that fickle people from the English, and had at that time no fewer than twelve emissaries among the
(1) Journals of the Legislative Council.
Senecas. Upon the receipt of these alarming reports, Mr. Bleecker, the interpreter, was dispatched into the Seneca' country, with a message that to allow those emissaries to remain among them was breaking their covenant chain. The interpreter, however, returned in December with more favorable news. He had found but two Frenchmen, smiths, among the Senecas, and there were English smiths among them without molestation. It was not known to the Senecas that the French Indians had actually taken up the hatchet; yet they were told that the French had entertained them at a war-feast, and joined with them in their dances,-carrying aloft the heads of the beasts they had slain, and declaring that thus would they dance with the heads of the English. Other reports, received by the governor and council from time to time during the winter, by correspondence and otherwise, tended to keep the eye of suspicion from slumber, and occasionally to quicken the public pulse. A deserter from the French post at Niagara, arrived in New York and was examined before the council on the twelfth of February, who gave a particular description of the strength and armament of that fortress. He had traversed Canada, from Quebec, stopping at Three Rivers, and Cadaracqui, before his desertion. There were one hundred men at Niagara, with four pieces of cannon. Cadaracqui was a stone fortress, the walls twelve feet high, with four bastions, and garrisoned by two hundred men. Lieutenant Butler, at Oswego, wrote that a scout returned from Canada, reported the organization of a force of fifteen hundred men, with a body of Indians, destined against that post in the spring. The French, moreover, were expecting large supplies from France. (2)
From the fickle disposition of the Indians, great caution
(1) Council Minutes.
was observed in regard to their intercourse with white people, whose nation, character, and designs, were known and understood. The laws of the colony forbade the residence of white men among the Indians, unless by express permission. Under these laws, and the watchful policy observed, two men, David Seisberger, and Christian Frederick Post, having been found residing at the Canajoharie castle, (1) without a license, were arrested in midwinter and dragged to New York. On their examination before the council, however, they were found to be two worthy Germans, members of the Moravian congregation at the forks of the Delaware, who had been sent thither to learn the Mohawk language for missionary purposes. They were discharged as a matter of course.(2) Post had an Indian wife and family; and it will be seen farther on that he afterward performed valuable services among the Indians on the Ohio.
But, notwithstanding the alarms to which such a frontier as that of New York and New England, in such a contest, was liable, the winter passed away without active hostilities between the French and the English,- the pale faces, or the red. Yet this inactivity of matter did not I extend to mind; and it was during this season of comparative repose, that William Shirley, governor of Massachusetts, suggested the plan for striking a blow at the power of France in America, which was as bold in its inception, as in its execution it was brilliant.
(1) Canajoharie, or, according to the orthography of the Rev. Samuel Kirkland, who passed his life as a missionary among the Six Nations, Ca-na-jo-ha-roo, the name of a small river flowing into the Mohawk, near the mouth of which stood one of the Mohawk castles. The meaning of the word, literally, is, "The-pot-that-washes-itself," applied to a large and beautiful basin, worn in the rock which forms the bed of the stream two mile back from the Mohawk, by the whirling action of the water falling from one of the cascades abounding upon this stream. This basin is perhaps twenty feet in diameter; but the water has been directed to a mill-wheel.
(2) Council Minutes.
The harbor of Louisburg, on the southeastern side of the island of Cape Breton, was considered the key to the American possessions of the French. By the treaty of Utrecht, Newfoundland and Novia Scotia, including the island of Canseau, had fallen to the crown of Great Britain, while by the same instrument Cape Breton, situated between them in the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence had been ceded to the French. Affording convenient harbors for the reception and security of ships of every burden-either for men of war, or ships engaged in commerce between the parent country and her Canadian possessions, or those of the West Indies, this island had become of vast importance to France, as a security to her own navigation and fisheries, and also as affording in time of war, great facilities for interrupting the fisheries and navigation of England and her colonies. (1) It was therefore determined to build a fortified town upon this island for the site of which the most commodious bay upon the southeastern side was chosen. It had formerly been called. "English harbor," but the name was changed to Louisburg. Twenty-five years of labor, and thirty millions of livres, had been expended upon the fortifications, which were now deemed almost impregnable. Indeed it was called the Dunkirk of America.(2) "Upon a neck of land, on the south side of the harbor was built the town, two miles and a quarter in circumference; fortified in every accessible part with a rampart of stone, from thirty to thirty-six feet high, and a ditch eight feet wide. A space about two hundred yards was left without a rampart, on the side next to the sea, inclosed by a simple dyke and a line of pickets. There were six bastions and three batteries, containing embrasures for one hundred and forty-eight cannon, of which sixty-five only were mounted, and
(2) Marshall's Colonial History.
sixteen mortars. On an island at the entrance of the harbor, was planted a battery of thirty cannon, being twenty-eight pounders; and at the bottom of the harbor, directly opposite to the entrance, was the grand or royal battery of twenty-eight cannon, forty-two pounders, and two eighteen pounders. On a high cliff opposite to the island battery, stood a lighthouse; and within the harbor, at the northeast part, was a magazine of naval stores. The town was regularly laid out in squares, with broad streets built up with houses, mostly of wood, but some of stone. On the west side, near the rampart, was a spacious citadel, and a large parade; on one side of which were the governor's apartments. Under the ramparts were casemates to receive the women and children during a siege. The entrance to the town, on the land side, was over a drawbridge, near to which was a circular battery, mounting sixteen twenty-four pounders; and from its position, its reduction was an object as desirable to the English as that of Carthage was to the Romans."(1)
From the prisoners taken at Canaeau by the French, and sent into Boston the preceding year, and from other sources, Governor Shirley had obtained such information respecting the situation and condition of these formidable works, as induced him to form the project of a sudden invasion, with a view of carrying them either by surprise by storm. Shirley had indeed conceived this bold and adventurous enterprise in the autumn of 1744, and written to the British ministry-upon the subject,-dispatching his . letter by the hand of an intelligent officer, who had been captured at Canseau, and whose knowledge of the localities and strength of Louisburg, he doubted not would be available to the government. The enterprise was approved by the ministry, and orders were transmitted to Commodore Warren, then commanding a squadron in the West
Indies, in January, to proceed northward in the spring and cooperate with the movements of Shirley. Of these instructions the latter was apprised; but impatient of delay he proceeded in his preparations for the expedition in anticipation both of the decision of the government, and the movements of Warren. These preparations were in truth accelerated by the ardent temperament of Colonel William Vaughan, of New Hampshire, a son of the lieutenant-governor of that state, and a man of a high and daring spirit, who, from the fishermen in his employ, had become well acquainted with the harbor and defences of the place it was intended to storm. Being in confidential correspondence with Governor Wentworth upon the subject, Shirley's project was communicated to Vaughan, who embraced it with all the ardor which so noble an exploit would be likely to inspire a man of his bravery and enthusiasm. Nothing, with him, was impracticable which he had a mind to accomplish; and so strong were his convictions of the practicability of the conquest, that he would fain have undertaken it in midwinter, believing that the walls might be scaled by the aid of the drifts of snow. (1)
Thus far the project had been kept a profound secret by Shirley himself, and the very few trustworthy men to whom it had been confided. But early in January it became necessary for the governor to communicate his design to the general court, at whose hands he must ask for the means of its execution. Secrecy was yet desirable, to which end an oath of confidence was administered to the members before the plan was laid before them. Startled at the magnitude of the project, as well as at its boldness, the proposition was at first rejected; but subsequently,
(1) It has been suggested, says Balkan, that the plan of this enterprise was first suggested by Vaughan. Several other persons have claimed the like credit. I have discovered no good reason, however, for depriving Shirley of the honor of its conception.
advantage being taken of the absence of several members, the question was reconsidered, and the undertaking was sanctioned by a majority of a single voice. Yet, nothing daunted, the governor proceeded to arrange his measures with characteristic energy. Circular letters were addressed to the governors of all the colonies south to Pennsylvania inclusive, invoking their assistance in the enterprise, and asking for the imposition of an embargo upon their ports. Armed with one of these missives, Vaughan, who had been awaiting the authorization of the expedition in Boston, rode back express to New Hampshire, the legislature of which was then in session. Wentworth, the governor, was already enlisted in the scheme; and the legislature, catching fire from the enthusiasm of Vaughan, entered heartily into the project, and made the necessary grants for the quota of men and supplies expected from that colony. Equal readiness to forward the enterprise was now manifested by the general court of Massachusetts; and Shirley assumed the responsibility, in the face of his instructions from the crown, of sanctioning an extraordinary emission of bills of credit to meet the heavy expenditures to be incurred,- advising Wentworth to the same course.(1) Until the issuing of the circulars moreover, the secret had been well kept; nor, probably, would the disclosure then have been made,-at least not soon,-had it not been for the unguarded fervor of one of the praying members of the general court, who, at the family altar, while earnestly invoking the favor of Heaven upon the enterprise, forgot that he was also speaking human auditors.
The colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island entered into the design in the finest spirit. New York would have done likewise, had the wishes of Governor Clinton been
(1) In Massachusetts fifty thousand pounds of bills were emitted for this exigency, and in New Hampshire thirteen thousand.
seconded by the general assembly. That body met by adjournment on the twelfth of March, and the session was opened by a speech of a length; and earnestness proportioned to the importance of the crisis. It commenced by announcing to the assembly the projected enterprise of Massachusetts and her sister colonies of New England against Louisburg, in retaliation, as it was alleged, for the attacks of the French during the preceding year upon Annapolis-Royal. Governor Shirley had written him a pressing appeal for cooperation in this enterprise; and concurring entirely in his views as, to its importance, the governor informed the assembly that without awaiting their meeting, he had already acted in relation thereto, to the extent of his power and means. He had sent ten pieces of ordnance to Boston, with their necessary warlike implements; and he called upon the assembly to respond to the invitation of Mr. Shirley, by contributing its full proportion to the expedition, the success of which would be of infinite advantage to the province. Aside from this great undertaking, farther measures for the defence of the colony of New York itself were strenuously urged. There was an absolute necessity for the erection of two additional forts in the Indian country, not only for the protection of the frontiers, but to give the Indians confidence and afford them places of refuge in hours of disaster. Already, for want of these, they were evidently becoming cool and indifferent toward, the English. He renewed the recommendation for an appropriation that would enable him to appoint commissioners to meet those of the other colonies which were disposed to form a bond of union for the common defence. The advantages to flow from such a league, were forcibly set forth, to which was added an expression of regret at the course the assembly had adopted in relation to the proposition at the preceding session. It was indeed the expressed desire of his majesty, that in all important exigencies, the colonies should unite their councils, and their forces, for the common security. The speech, which was the longest thus far to be found in the colonial journals, closed with an exhortation to unanimity and dispatch. The council promptly responded to the speech by an address, moved by Chief Justice De Lancey. It was an echo throughout, but especially in regard to the Louis burg expedition. High praise was awarded to Massachusetts for the energy she was exerting in this matter, and the council closed by pledging the cooperation of New York.(1) But this pledge was not sustained by the house. There were several points of the speech which that body received unkindly among which were the rebukes which the governor had administered to it for neglecting his former recommendations, particularly in regard to the proposed commissioners of union, and the appointment of a solicitor for the colony to attend to their interests in the parent country. Consciousness of their neglect of the public interests in those respects then, neither improved the temper of the members, nor prompted them to a performance of the obligations of patriotism now. Toward the governor they were not only guilty of the discourtesy of returning him no address in answer to his speech, but they manifested no disposition to comply with either of his present recommendations. A special message, on the fourteenth of April, announcing the arrival of a large French force in Martinique, the destination of which it was apprehended might be against New York, did indeed arouse the assembly for a moment to the importance of providing some farther defences for the harbor, and a conference with the council upon the subject was asked and granted. Still, although a show of liberality was exhibited in the appropriations proposed for this branch of the public service, the house sought to interfere
(l) Journals of the Legislative Council.
with what was claimed as a prerogative of the executive, by specifications as to the manner in which the money should be expended, and designations of the points to be fortified-an interference, certainly, with the appropriate duties of the commander-in-chief.
There was yet another cause of irritation on the part of the house, so early as the year 1709, the general assembly had found it necessary, in providing ways and means for the public service,-especially in the prosecution of the , several wars in which the colony had been involved by the parent government,-to issue a paper currency called bills of credit. The operation had been repeated from time to time, in emergent cases,-sometimes with the approbation of the crown, and sometimes not,-until these paper issues had become a part of the policy of the colony. Others of the colonies, laboring under the same necessities, had resorted to the same measures of finance but to which the crown, jealous of its prerogative in all matters of currency, had uniformly been opposed. For many years, therefore, antecedent to this period, the royal governors had arrived in the colony clothed with instructions against allowing farther emissions of bills of credit;- instructions, however, which the stern law of necessity had seldom allowed them to enforce. Still the crown, keenly alive to every step of independent action on the part of the colonies, was persisting in its war against a colonial currency even of paper; and a bill was now before parliament upon the subject, which gave great alarm to the people. Professedly, its design was merely for preventing these bills of credit from being made a legal tender; but it was discovered that the bill was to have a far more extensive operation,-"obliging and enjoining the legislatures of every colony to pay strict obedience to all such orders and instructions as might from time to time be transmitted to them, or any of them, by his majesty or his successors, or by or under his or their authority." Such an act, it was justly held, " would, establish an absolute power in the crown, in all the British plantations, that would, he inconsistent with the liberties and privileges inherent in an English man, while he is in a British dominion."(1)
Vexed with themselves, and with the governor, for reasons already mentioned, and still more for their own remissness in not having made seasonable provision for a resident agent in London to watch over the interests of the colony, and who might perhaps successfully oppose this bill,-the house evinced a disposition, without any sufficient reason, as it seems to me, to thwart the governor upon every point. In addition to the discourtesies heretofore mentioned, in regard to the erection of fortifications, " it ordered the city members to inquire for and consult some engineer; intimated a design to lessen the garrison at Oswego; declined the project of a guard-ship; rejected the renewed recommendation for appointing joint commissioners to treat with the Indians for mutual defence; voted but three thousand pounds toward the Louisburg expedition; and declined the provision of presents for the Indians."(2)
It was very evident that no good could result from the action of an assembly between which, and the governor such an Unpleasant state of feeling existed. The session had been extended already to more than two months, and nothing had been done for the public defence. Even the bill making the paltry appropriation of three thousand pounds toward the New England expedition, had not passed the council. Indeed only four bills, and those of no great importance, were awaiting the approval, of the
(1) See report of a committee of the house of assembly, colonial journals, March 15,1745.
(2) Smith's History of New York, vol. ii, pp. 90, 91.
governor.(1) In this situation of affairs, the governor, in no very pleasant humor, on the fourteenth of May required the assembly to meet him in the council chamber, in order to its dissolution. In his speech on the occasion, the governor said he was prompted to that measure by many reasons. From an inspection of their journals he observed they were bringing their proceedings to a close, without having heeded most of the recommendations he had made to them in his former speeches and messages, although the greater part of those recommendations had been confined exclusively to the public service. It was, indeed, true that he had expected but little from them after the disrespect they had manifested toward him by omitting to present an answer to his speech. But, notwithstanding this mark of disrespect, such had been his anxiety for the welfare of the province that he had paid no attention to it,-having made to them from time to time all necessary communications, and given them all the information relating to the state of the colony, within his power. Nothing that could enlighten them had been withholden. He spoke of difficulties threatening commotions among the Indians. He had signified to the assembly the necessity of frequent interviews with these people, and of making them presents, in order to retain their confidence, allay their disquietudes, and renew their treaties. No respect had been paid to his recommendations upon this subject,- nor for the erection of the forts wanted in the interior,-nor even for the payment of scouts, and the adoption of such other prudential measures as were necessary for the security of the frontier settlers. He spoke of the contempt
(1) One of these four bills was for the encouragement of privateering. Another was a bill, originating in the house, which was passed by the council, on the tenth of May, to prevent the slaves in the city of Albany from running away to Canada. By this act the crime was declared a capital offence, and the council so amended the bill that the offender was to be put to death " without benefit of clergy."
with which they had treated the petition of the people north of Albany, who were alarmed at the conduct of; the Indians; and of the indecency of their conduct toward him in connection with that petition. Yet, so far as his own individual feelings were concerned, he said he could almost overlook all their ill treatment of himself, could he entertain the least hope of awakening them to a proper sense of their duty toward his majesty, and the people they represented; but they had treated his majesty's orders, conveyed in a letter from the duke of Newcastle, with equal indifference,-having even misrepresented its contents, particularly in regard to certain orders to Commodore Warren, and the service in which he was engaged. They had neglected to make provision for the maintenance and transportation home, of the French prisoners then in the city of New York. Nor had they even made an appropriation for the money he had advanced, by the ad vice of his majesty's council, for the defence of Oswego on the breaking out of the war. They had, moreover, undertaken to exercise the power of designating the points in the harbor to be fortified, and the number of guns to be mounted at particular ports, and even directed the issues of gunpowder and other articles of war, without consulting the commander-in-chief,-thus in effect assuming the entire administration of the government, and arresting his majesty's authority from the hands of the governor. " Thus from an invincible untowardness on the one hand, or an immediate thirst for power on the other, they had become a deadweight on the other branches of the government." They had "protracted the assembly to a most unreasonable length, without doing anything effective for the honor of his majesty or the service, credit,or security of the province or the people." He was therefore constrained to put an end to the session; and the assembly was dissolved.(1)
(1) See Journals of the Colonial Assembly.
Meantime the preparations of Governor Shirley, for the invasion of Cape Breton, had been pushed forward with a degree of vigor characteristic of the sons of the Pilgrims when roused to action, and bent upon some achievement requiring energy and courage like their own. Indeed the expedition had embarked, and was
"In brave pursuit of chivalrous emprise,"
weeks before the dissolution of Governor Clinton's refractory assembly, which, with a parsimony not usual to New York, had refused to contribute a single pound sterling toward the undertaking.(1)
The design of Shirley was to dispatch an army of at least four thousand men well appointed, and if possible to take Louisburg by surprise-calculating,-correctly as the event proved,-that the floes of ice prevailing in the waters of Cape Breton in the early weeks of spring, and the dense fogs, would prevent any communication by means of which the enemy could be apprised of the intended invasion. The people caught the enthusiasm of their leaders; and although not a recruit was mustered from beyond the confines of New England, yet the full complement was promptly supplied. Massachusetts raised three thousand two hundred and fifty men; Connecticut five hundred and sixteen; and New Hampshire three hundred and four;(2)-
(1) "The government of New York," says Dunlop's imperfect and ill digested history of the state, " was wise enough to join in this plan of conquest, and sent field-pieces and other military equipments to Governor Shirley." Again, on the same page, Dunlop says : "New York contributed in money to this expedition, but had none of the honor of reducing Cape Breton." Neither of these statements conveys the exact truth. The cannon, as has been stated in the text, were sent by the governor of the colony, on his own responsibility-not by the government. Nor was any money contributed until after the great object of the expedition had been gained. Even then, the appropriation was beggarly.
(2) Belknap claims that, including the crew of an armed vessel furnished by New Hampshire, there were four hundred and fifty men commanded by Colonel Moore; and one hundred and fifty men more raised in that colony, and aggregated to a regiment of Massachusetts.
in all, four thousand and seventy. Three hundred men were likewise raised, in Rhode Island ; but they did not reach the point of destination until the great object of the enterprise had been accomplished. These forces consisted, not of disciplined soldiers, but in- the main of husbandmen and mechanics-unused to service, save as militiamen occasionally engaged in the border forays with the Indians, or to the stern code of discipline under the law martial. Yet they went forth with a resolution, and performed their duties with a steadiness, that would have done credit to the veterans of the duke of Marlborough, or Turenne. The Connecticut division was commanded by Roger Wolcott, lieutenant-governor of that colony, bearing the commission of major-general. The command of the New Hampshire levies was entrusted to Colonel Samuel Moore. Vaughan, the bold adventurer from that colony, refused to accept any regular command; but being appointed a member of the council of war, held himself in readiness for any special service or situation which might offer. The command in chief of the expedition was devolved upon Colonel William Pepperell, a merchant of Kitberg, in what was then called the province of Maine, though subject to the colonial government of Massachusetts, who was thereupon raised to the rank of lieutenant- general. His second in command, from Massachusetts, was Brigadier-General Waldo. The selection of a commander for an army of undisciplined volunteers, going upon a fatiguing and hazardous service, required the exercise of profound judgment, and a shrewd knowledge of character-qualities which were happily illustrated in the choice of William Pepperell. His profession had not been that of arms ; but he had probably had some experience in the border service, not unfrequently in those days. He was, however, a man widely known, and exceedingly popular,-of engaging manners, and a vigorous frame. His mind was of the firmest texture ; his courage doubted by none; and his reputation unblemished. These qualities, united with the most admirable coolness in seasons of danger, amply supplied in the public mind the lack of any very extensive military experience.(1)
Each of the colonies engaged in the enterprise, supplied all the vessels for transports, provision ships, and cruisers, in their power; and all things being in readiness, the Boston forces embarked from Nantasket,(2) on the twenty- fourth of March. Judging from the long and minute instructions from Shirley to Pepperell, and also from a private letter from the former to Governor Wentworth, of New Hampshire, which has been preserved by Belknap, the governor of Massachusetts, though the author of the project, must have been wholly unskilled in both the arts of navigation and war. It had been his intention that the several divisions of the expedition should meet at a common rendezvous, and the entire fleet sail in company. According to the letter to Wentworth, it was his design, without making the least allowance in their sailing of different vessels, or for variations of wind, or for any other of the hundred casualties that might occur, that the
(1) The following curious passage occurs in Belknap's interesting account of this memorable expedition: "Before Pepperell accepted the command, he asked the opinion of the famous George Whitefield, who was then itinerating and preaching in New England. Whitefield told him that he did not think the scheme very promising; that the eyes of all the world would be upon him; that if he should not succeed, the widows and orphans of the slain would reproach him ; and if it should succeed, many would regard him with envy, and endeavor to eclipse his glory; that he ought, therefore, to go with " a single eye," and then he would find his strength proportioned to his necessities. Henry Sherburne, the commissary of New Hampshire, another of Whitefield's friend, pressed him to favor the expedition, and give a motto for the flag; to which, after some hesitation, Whitefield consented. The motto was, "Nil desperandum Christo duce." This gave the expedition the air of a crusade, and many of the missionary's followers enlisted. One of them, a chaplain, carried on his shoulder a hatchet, with which be intended to destroy the images in the French churches."
(2) Nantastet road-the entrance into the harbor of Boston.
entire fleet, consisting of more than a hundred vessels of different tonnage,-guardships, transports, and every species of craft employed,-should arrive at Chapeaurouge bay at precisely the same hour, just after nightfall, to the end that the landing of the whole army might he effected under cover of darkness the same night, and all the fortresses of Louishurg he carried by surprise before morning!(1) All this was, of course, impossible. Indeed the New Hampshire division was so impatient of delay, that it could not brook the idea of coming out of its course to Boston to join the common fleet, but took its departure in advance of the principal squadron. The idea of a simultaneous departure and arrival of the whole expedition having been abandoned by Shirley on finding that its execution, must be impracticable, the island of Cansea was designated as the rendezvous, at which place the New Hampshire division arrived on the thirty-first of March four days before Pepperell came up with the Massachusetts fleet. The veteran Wolcott, who was then sixty-six years old, and who, thirty-four years before, had served in a campaign against Canada, arrived with the Connecticut squadron on the twenty-fifth of April. The Rhode Island levies, owing to various mischances, were so unfortunate as not to reach the scene of action until the business upon: which they went had been accomplished.
A number of circumstances, not depending upon human foresight, have been noted by Belknap, Douglass, and other authors, as greatly favoring this undertaking. The winter was remarkable for its mildness, so that the harbors and rivers of New England were open in February, and the people were enabled to perform every description of labor abroad without inconvenience. The earth had
(1) The inventive genius of New England had been aroused, one propose a model of a flying bridge to scale the walls,- even before a bridge could be made; another was ready with a caution against mines; a third, who was a minister, presented to the merchant general, ignorant of war, a plan for encamping the army, opening trenches, and placing batteries."- Bancroft.
yielded her increase by handfuls the preceding season, so that provisions were abundant. The Indians, in the interest of the French, remained so quietly in their lodges, that they obtained no information of the projected enterprise in season to allow them to communicate the design. "On the other hand, the garrison of Louisburg was discontented and mutinous; they were in want of provisions and stores; their shores were so environed with ice that no supplies could, arrive early from France, and those which came afterward were intercepted, and taken by the English and colonial cruisers. (1) In short, if any one circumstance had taken a wrong turn on the side of the invaders, and if any one circumstance had not taken a wrong turn on the side of the French, the expedition must have miscarried."(2)
I have already said, incidentally, judging from his instructions to Pepperell, that Shirley must have been entirely unskilled in the arts both of war and of seamanship. Those instructions were drawn up at great length, and with a degree of minuteness, in regard, to matters of possible occurance even of trifling moment, resembling, in legal phrase, a bill of particulars. Every movement, to be made both upon land and water, was directed in the body of the instructions with as much precision, as though it were not possible either for the winds or the waves to interpose contingencies in the way of the closet calculations of the writer. On reading them over, it would seem as though not the slightest particle of discretion was to be allowed to the commanding general. These general instructions were reiterated in a supplementary order on the eve of Pepperell's departure, even to the adjustment of hooks and lines to enable the cruisers to supply the camp with fresh fish. Directions thus minute and peremptory, might have been found exceedingly inconvenient in the varying circumstances of a protracted siege,
by land and water, but for a seasonable postscript appended to the last-mentioned order, in these words: "Upon the whole, notwithstanding the instructions you have receiver from me, I must leave you to act upon unforeseen emergencies according to your best discretion." It was indeed fortunate that this most important clause of the many folios of directions was given, since the expedition was detained at Canseau three whole weeks, waiting for the dissolution or removal of the ice which environed the islands, and, by coasting the bay of Chapeaurouge, or Gabarus, as it was called by the English, during all that period protected Cape Breton from invasion.(1) Indeed the absurdity of Shirley's original idea of keeping the squadron compactly together during the voyage, and of a simultaneous landing, regardless of ice, or storm, or fogs, or surf, was signally illustrated by the event; for what with tempestuous weather, and unequal sailing, the first point of destination, Canseau, was attained in the most desultory manner. Only twenty of the main squadron arrived with Pepperell; and more than a week elapsed before the vessels all came up.(2) But this time was net lost by the commanding general, whose vigilance in obtaining information was sleepless, and whose activity in imparting discipline to his troops was untiring. A strong squadron of armed colonial vessels, under Captain Edward Tyng, commander of the Massachusetts frigate, was kept cruising off Louisburg, to cut off such of the enemy's vessels as might, attempt either to enter or depart, and the prizes taken by them afforded valuable additions to the provisions of the army. (3)
(1) Even the Rev. Dr. Belknap, whose trade was not of war, criticizes these instructions, drawn, as he says, by a lawyer, to be executed by a merchant, at the head of a body of husbandmen and mechanics.
(2) Letter from General Pepperell to Governor Shirley.
(3) Letter of Pepperell to Shirley. Governor Shirley haying directed Tyng to procure the largest ship in his power, he had purchased this ship when on the stocks, and nearly ready for launching. It was a ship of about four hundred tons, and was soon afterward launched at Boston. Tyng commanded her and was appointed commander of the fleet.-Note in Holmes.
Although, as I have already said, the design of this expedition had been communicated to the ministers of the crown, in the expectation of receiving assistance thence, yet it had been conducted thus far altogether upon the resources of the colonies themselves; confident, to a considerable extent, in their own strength, yet anticipating such assistance. In the hope, moreover, of securing the co-operation of Commodore Warren, then in the West India seas, even before he could receive direct instructions from home, an express boat had been dispatched to him, communicating the project on foot, and requesting the aid at least of a detachment from his squadron. But on a consultation with his officers he was dissuaded from engaging in the enterprise; and the boat, conveying the news of this determination, returned to Boston two days before the departure of the forces.(1) The intelligence, however, though unexpected, operated only as a partial discouragement, strong confidence being entertained that Pepperell would be supported from England with ships and reinforcements of troops.(2)
The promotion of Captain Warren to the Superbe, of sixty guns, and his being left on the Antigua station by Sir Chaloner Ogle, as commodore of a small squadron, are circumstances in the career of this truly brave and illustrious man, that have already been noted, His success in making captures in the West India seas had been great; and perhaps his officers were reluctant to relinquish a genial winter climate, yielding such golden returns of prize-money, in exchange for the icebergs and bleak regions of the north. He had captured two French prizes on his way to Barbadoes a few months before; (3) and while occupying a station off Martinique, his extraordinary activity was rewarded by more than twenty valuable prizes, one of which was estimated at two hundred and fifty thousand
(2) Letter from Shirley to Pepperell.
(3) MS. letter, Edward Holland to Johnson.
pounds sterling.(1) But notwithstanding his refusal of aid to to the expedition on the application of Governor Shirley, his orders from the admiralty, upon the subject, brought him upon the New England coast with the Launceton and Eltham, of forty guns each, in addition to his own ship, and in addition, also, to the Mermaid of the same force, by which he was joined shortly after his arrival.(2) Without, entering the harbor of Nantasket, the commodore placed himself in communication with Shirley, and having ascertained that the expedition had previously sailed, he proceeded directly to Canseau, where he arrived on the twenty-third of April; and after a conference with Pepperell, assumed the command of the naval forces by express orders from the admiralty. Previous to his arrival, the colonial squadron, under Captain Tyng, had taken several prizes,-vessels laden chiefly with provisions, which were received in good time by General Pepperell. The New Hampshire armed sloop had been remarkably successful, she having captured a ship from Martinique, and with her, recaptured one of the transports which had fallen into the hands of the French on the day before Warren's arrival.
The two commanders having concerted their plans, Warren sailed to cruise off the harbor of Louisburg, where he was soon afterward joined by the Canterbury and Sunderland, of sixty guns each, and the Chester of fifty, all from England, which enabled him to institute a vigorous blockade. Meantime, the ice no longer effectually impeding the navigation, the general, after having sent out a detachment which destroyed the village of St. Peters, and scattered the inhabitants, embarked with his forces on the twenty-ninth of April, for the point of the grand attack. Shirley, even in his final instructions, had not altogether abandoned his original idea of a landing by night, and an assault by surprise; so that Pepperell was
still enioined " to sail with the whole fleet from Canseau so as to arrive in Chapeaurouge bay at nine o'clock in the evening. The troops were to land in four divisions, and proceed to the assault before morning. In the event of a failure of surprisal, particular directions were given how to land, march, encamp, attack, and defend; to hold councils and keep records; and to send intelligence, and by what particular vessels ;(1) and a hundred other minute instructions were given, to be nullified daily by a hundred unforeseen contingencies. Obedience to the letter was out of the question. Instead of making the point designated in the evening, the falling of the wind brought them off the mouth of the bay only at eight o'clock the next morning-(2) "the intended surprisal being thus happily frustrated," as Belknap naively observes. But notwithstanding the long delay at Canseau, the blockade of the cape by the ice and the fleet had been so effectual, that no knowledge of the approach of an enemy had been received in Louisburg, and the appearance of the fleet of a hundred transports in the bay, was the first intimation they had of his proximity.(3) It was a moment of intense interest to the army when they came actually in sight of Louisburg. " Its walls, raised on a neck of land on the south side of the harbor, forty feet thick at the base, and from twenty to thirty feet high, all swept from the bastions, surrounded by a ditch eighty feet wide, famished with one hundred and one cannon, seventy-six swivels, and six mortars ; its garrison composed of more than sixteen hundred men ; and the harbor defended by an island battery of thirty twenty-two-pounders, and by the royal battery on the shore, having thirty large cannon a moat, and bastions, all so perfect that it was thought two hundred men could have defended it against five
(1) Belknap. See, also, the instructions at large,
in the first volume Massachusetts Transactions.
(2) Letter of Pepperell to Shirley.
thousand.(1) Yet, as though, forgetful of these advantages of strength and position, nothing could exceed the consternation into which the inhabitants and garrison were thrown by this very unexpected visit. The governor made a feeble attempt to prevent the landing by sending out a detachment of one hundred and fifty men for that purpose; but they were attacked with spirit and compelled to retire with the loss of several killed and a number who were made prisoners, among whom were some persons of distinction. These enemies having been thus summarily disposed of, the debarkation was effected without the loss of a man. In their flight the French burnt several houses situated between the grand battery and the town. Several vessels were also sunk in the harbor, but for what particular design is not known.
The enthusiasm with which the expedition had been undertaken by the citizen-soldiers, was unabated, and preparations were made for investing the city without delay. The point of debarkation was about a league from the town. The first column that advanced was led through the woods in sight of the town, by Colonel Vaughan, the daring spirit who had been so earnest from the first in urging forward the enterprise, and by whom the enemy showing himself upon the ramparts, was saluted with three cheers. On the night following, the second of May, Vaughan marched at the head of a detachment, composed chiefly of New Hampshire troops, to the northeast part of the harbor, where he burned the enemy's warehouses, containing their naval stores, and staved in a large quantity of wine and brandy. The smoke of this conflagration, driven by the wind into the grand battery, so terrified the French that they precipitately abandoned it, spiking their guns, and retiring into the city. The next morning while reconnoitering the works with a small party of only thirteen men, observing that no smoke issued from the chimneys of the battery, Vaughan prevailed upon an Indian to enter
through an embrasure and open the gate. Immediate possession was taken of the fortress, and one of the brave fellows of the band climbed the flag-staff, carrying aloft a redcoat in his teeth, which he hoisted in triumph as a banner. The French immediately sent out one hundred men to retake the battery; but Vaughan held them at bay until a regiment arrived to his relief and the conquest was secured. The guns that had been spiked were mostly forty- two-pounders.(1) The trunnions had not been knocked off; and by active drilling, under the direction of Major Pomroy, of Northampton,-a gunsmith when at home, about twenty of them were soon rendered fit for service. The greater number of these guns were intended for the defence of the harbor; but four of them were brought to bear upon the town with great effect, almost every shot being made to tell, and some of the balls falling upon the roof of the citadel.(3) The general was at a loss to conjecture why the enemy abandoned so fine a battery, but concluded that it must have been occasioned by a deficiency of men. The French turned some of their guns against this battery, not without making some considerable impression upon its walls. Twice, also, in the course of ten days, they rallied out for its recovery, but in both instances were repulsed with loss. The loss of the Americans in this affair was very slight.
The siege was pressed with vigor, but its prosecution was attended with almost incredible labor and difficulty. For fourteen successive nights the troops were employed in dragging their cannon from the landing place to the camp through a morass, so miry that neither cattle nor horses could be used for that purpose. The men sunk to their knees in the slough, and the cannon could only be drawn even upon sledges constructed for that purpose by Colonel Misseroe, who, fortunately was a carpenter before
(1) Letters of Pepperell to Shirley.
(3) Pepperell to Shirley.
he took to the profession of arms. What added essentially to the severity of this labor, was the circumstance that it could only be performed in the night, or when curtained by the heavy fogs resting upon the island; since the distance was not only within view of the town, but within reaching distance of their cannon.(1) The approaches of the besiegers were not made with strategic regularity. Indeed the ears of a martinet would doubtless have been shocked at the barbarisms of the provincials in using, or attempting to use the technicalities of military science- or rather at the jesting and mockery which they made of them.(2) Still, the approaches were made, generally under cover of night; and in ten days after the debarkation, they were within four hundred yards of the town, with cannon planted upon several commanding heights, while a fascine battery had been erected on the west side of
(1) The men who performed this severe service were much disappointed and chagrined when they found that it-was not more distinctly acknowledged in the accounts which were sent to England, and afterward published. The siege was signalized by many meritorious exploits which were not mentioned by General Pepperell in his dispatches, as, for instance, Vaughan's expedition on the night after the landing, and his seizure of the great battery, with only thirteen men, on the next morning.
(2) Bancroft. There was doubtless much less of military seniority among the besiegers during this campaign, than would have been the fact in an army of regular soldiers; and much less of strict military discipline than their commanding officers could have desired. "It has been said," remarks Mr. Belknap, " that this siege was carried on in a random, tumultuary manner, resembling a Cambridge commencement. The remark is in a great measure true. Though the business of the council of war was conducted with all the formality of a legislative assembly; though orders' were issued by the general, and returns made by the officers of the several posts ; yet the want of discipline was too visible in the camp. Those who were on the spot have frequently, in my hearing, laughed at the recital of their own irregularities, and expressed their admiration when they reflected on the almost miraculous preservation of the army from destruction. They indeed presented a formidable front to the enemy; but the rear was a scene of confusion and frolic. While some were on duty in the trenches, others were racing, wrestling, pitching quoits, firing at marks, or at birds, or running after shot from the enemy's guns, for which they received a bounty and the shot was sent back to the city."
the city upon which eight twenty-two-pounders were mounted.
On the seventh of May, after a conference between the naval and military commanders, it was agreed to summon Duchambeau, the French governor, to surrender. This summons having been refused, it was then determined to prosecute the siege in a yet more vigorous manner, and to attack the island battery, in boats, the first favorable opportunity.(1) It was a formidable undertaking. This "island battery" stood upon a small rock, almost inaccessible, about two hundred yards long by twenty in breadth, with a circular battery of forty-two pounders commanding the entrance of the harbor, and a guard house and barracks behind.(2) On the eighteenth of May, the besiegers had thrown up a battery within two hundred yards of the western gate, whereon were mounted two forty-two, and two eighteen pounders, which annoyed the town considerably; but several of the siege pieces of ordnance were defective, and by bursting, or otherwise, were soon rendered useless.(3) Indeed there was great defectiveness in the equipments of the rank and file; but the siege was, nevertheless, persisted in with the most indomitable perseverance. Between the eighteenth and twenty-eighth of the month five unsuccessful attempts were made by Pepperell to carry that battery, in the last of which he lost nearly two hundred men, killed, and many more drowned, before they could land, besides several boats which were shot to pieces. Although repulsed, the attack was bravely conducted. The troops who succeeded in landing made a noble stand, and an officer named Brookes nearly succeeded in striking the flag of the fortress. It was already half cloven when a French-Swiss, a dragoon, clove his skull with his cutlass.(4) The expediency of making yet another
(1) Letter from General Pepperell to Governor Shirley.
(2) Letter of "an old English merchant" to the earl of Sandwich..
(3) Pepperell's letters.
(4) Letter from "an old. English merchant" to the earl of Sandwich.
attempt upon this fortress was discussed in council, but such was its strength, and the commanding advantage of its position, and so difficult was the landing rendered by the surf, that the project was abandoned as impracticable.(1)
During these operations upon land, Commodore Warren had been cruising oft' the harbor with splendid success. So closely was the entrance guarded that with the exception, of a single sloop laden chiefly with zinc, everything that attempted to get in was captured; the consequence was that both town and garrison were soon reduced to great distress for provisions. A large ship, the Vigilante, commanded by the Marquis de la Maison Forte, from Brest, deeply laden with military and other supplies, having on board reinforcements to the number of five hundred and sixty men, and bringing also two or three years pay for the troops (2) was known by Duchambeau to be on her passage, and great dependance was placed upon this arrival for relief. But this, the governor's last hope, was cut off by Warren, the ship having been decoyed by one of the frigates into the centre of his squadron and captured on the nineteenth of May-"almost without resistance.'(3)
(1) Letter of Pepperell to Commodore Warren, in which he states the exact loss in killed, in the last abortive attack upon the island, at one hundred and eighty-nine.
(2) Letter from Madame Warren to her brother, Chief Justice: De Lancey written after the capture of the Vigilante.
(3) So says Charnock, in the Biographia Navalis. But Bancroft says the Vigilante "was decoyed by Douglass, of the Mermaid, and taken after an engagement of several hours." I have seen another authority in which Douglass is named as the captain of this ship. Yet there is doubt upon the subject. Holmes, in a note, cites from Alden, the biographer of Captain Tyng, a statement that the Vigilante was taken by this officer, commanding, as we have seen, the Massachusetts provincial frigate. Other books and several private letters among the Johnson manuscripts attribute the capture to Warren. As the commander of the squadron, it is settled in general history, that the credit in chief should be awarded to him. Alden's authority for awarding the particular credit to Tyng I do not know.
Although the island fortress had not yet been taken, still a battery erected upon a high cliff at the lighthouse, greatly annoyed it. Nevertheless, in the eye of Warren, the operations of the siege advanced so slowly, that, impatient of delay, even after the capture of the Vigilante, having taken the opinion of a council of his officers, he wrote to Pepperell, proposing that a decisive blow should be struck by a combined attack by land and sea. The fogs were a great annoyance to the commodore, being often so dense, that it was impossible for him to communicate with his consorts for two or three days at a time. On more than one occasion, interviews between the land and naval commanders had been prevented by the same cause. Furthermore the commodore had been more than three months at sea, and was wearied of the service of cruising upon such a limited station. But the plans submitted by the commodore for the proposed assault, were not agreeable to Pepperell and his board of officers, and a correspondence was maintained upon the subject for several days, Warren occasionally showing a degree of earnestness, bordering perhaps, upon asperity. Yet he protested that his only desire was for the success of the expedition, and the honor and interests of the crown; and he distinctly disclaimed the disposition to give the least offence.(1)
At length, however, the batteries of Pepperell continuing to make considerable progress against the walls of the town, on the first of June it was determined between the two commanders that a combined assault should be made as soon as the necessary arrangements could be completed. For this purpose a large body of the land forces were to be embarked on board the fleet, which was to force the harbor and land them in front of the town, covered by the guns of the ships. A bombardment of the town was to ensue, while Pepperell was to make a simultaneous; attack through the breaches at the west gate. Before this could
(1) Correspondence between Warren and Pepperell.
be done, however, there was a formidable obstacle to be surmounted --the " island battery," heretofore mentioned, and upon which several ill-starred attacks had already been made. It was deemed too hazardous an undertaking thus to enter the harbor before that battery should be silenced; it being generally doubted whether, having entered the harbor, in the event of a repulse from the town, the fleet would be able to get to sea again. Such was the opinion of the officers of Warren, at a council holden on the seventh of June; and plans were then considered for another attack upon the island, to be made by the ships,- former experience having proven that boats were entirely inadequate to such a severe and perilous service. An at tempt of this kind the commodore was yet better enabled to make after the tenth of June, on which day his squadron was farther strengthened by the arrival of the Princess Mary, the Hector, and the Lark.(1)
Happily, however, a further effusion of blood was rendered unnecessary by a successful ruse de guerre, suggested by "Warren, and executed jointly by Pepperell and himself. The French garrison, mutinous when the siege commenced, reduced in numbers during its progress, and to great distress by the blockade, was supposed to be not in the best possible humor for continuing the defence; and as advices had been received that a large fleet with provisions and reinforcements for the succor of the fortress, might shortly be expected on the coast, it was considered wise to hasten matters to a decision. It was moreover believed that Duchambon was yet ignorant of the fate of the Vigilante, and also of the capture of a large rice ship and several other vessels laden with supplies; and it -was suggested by Warren that should a flag be sent into the town with this information, by the hand of a discreet officer able to act his part well, the French commander might be induced to capitulate from sheer discouragement or despondency. Another part of the scheme was to play
(1) Correspondence of Pepperell and Warren.
upon his fears. To this end it was proposed that the Maquis de la Maison Forte should be taken through the several ships of the squadron, that he might see how kindly the French prisoners were treated by the English. The Marquis was next to be informed that the English had been advised of the fact that several of their people who had fallen into the hands of the French and Indians, had been treated with horrible barbarity ; and he was to be requested to ask for as good treatment of the English prisoners in the town, as they, (the French,) were receiving on board the fleet. The expedient was successful, and the captive commander of the Vigilante readily consented to address the desired letter to Duchambon, announcing the loss of his ship, and speaking of the other matters that had been concerted. In regard to the treatment experienced by himself and fellow captives, since their misfortune, the captive marquis said they were dealt with not as enemies, but as "very good friends;" and in conclusion, he cautioned the governor against allowing the cruelties complained of to be practiced upon the English prisoners in his power. Captain Macdonald, the officer to whom the flag was confided, discharged his duty well; and the threat which he bore of retaliation for the cruelties complained of, unless they should be ended, had its effect. The bearing of the captain, was that of a soldier sure of victory in a few days, and apparently indifferent whether the besieged continued their defence or not. Pepperell in his message by the flag, made no demand of a surrender; while on the other hand, the whole affair was conducted as though the commander of the besiegers, certain of a speedy conquest, scarcely thought it necessary again to speak of a capitulation. Meantime the flag-officer, Macdonald, affecting entire ignorance of the French language though understanding it well, heard, all that passed between the French officers themselves, who, speaking without suspicion or reserve, unconsciously confirmed the suspicions of Pepperell and Warren, that the besieged were in truth ignorant of the loss of the Vigilante, until that hour.
The news of this loss sank deep into the hearts of the French. They saw, moreover, that preparations were on foot for an assault, which, from the scattered positions of the besiegers, and the inequalities of the ground around the town, they could form no intelligent estimate of their numbers - such prisoners as had fallen into their hands having with singular uniformity reported the invading forces much more numerous than they actually were. Under all these adverse events and circumstances, and discouraged, moreover, by the menacing appearances without, Duchambon determined to surrender, and on the sixteenth of June articles of capitulation were signed. The terms of this capitulation were honorable to the vanquished, who were allowed to march out with drums beating and colors flying - their arms and colors then to be delivered into the custody of Pepperell and Warren, until the return of the prisoners to their own country, when they were to be returned to them.
At four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day Colonel Bradstreet, with a detachment of troops took possession of the town and its defences, the strength and magnitude of which, and the resources yet remaining to the French, had they persisted in the defence, astonished the victors, who saw at once that policy had stepped in very opportunely to aid their own bravery in the reduction of works so formidable, yet the siege had been powerfully directed, as the reader must have seen by the preceding details, to which many facts and circumstances might be added.(1)
(l) On entering the town Pepperell wrote to Shirley- "Such ruins were never seen before, which however, is not to be wondered at, as we gave the town about nine thousand cannon balls and six hundred bombs before they surrendered, which sorely distressed them, particularly the day before they sent out their flag of truce, when we kept up such a constant fire on the town from our batteries, that the enemy could not show their heads, nor stir from their covered ways. Our battery near the lighthouse played on the island battery with our cannon and large mortars so that they were ready to run into the sea for shelter, as some of them actually did."
Still in the same dispatch notwithstanding these severe operations, Pepperell says: we have not lost above one hundred men by the enemy in this vast enterprise, including the disaster at the Island battery." This is in contradiction of his dispatch giving an account of that island disaster, in which he stated the loss by the enemy at one hundred and eighty-nine, exclusive of those who were drowned in attempting to land from the boats.
The time of the capitulation was exceedingly opportune for the besiegers in various respects yet unmentioned. Two days after it took place, information was received by General Pepperell that a body of two thousand five hundred Indians were hovering within a few miles of his camp. The capitulation of the fortress was doubtless a signal for their instant dispersion among their own deep forests. The weather, moreover, which had been remarkably favorable to the objects of the besiegers, for that climate, now suddenly changed, and a cold and driving storm of rain set in, which continued ten days, and which, but for the shelter afforded the enemy in the town, would have thinned its ranks to a frightful degree by sickness - the disorders usual among those not accustomed to camp duty, or to sleeping upon the earth, having already made their appearance among the soldiers.
Reinforcements from Boston, for which Pepperell had been urgently writing to Governor Shirley, arrived soon after the capitulation,- as also did the Rhode Island levies, after a protracted voyage,-together with supplies of provisions. These and other stores, were augmented by further captures from the enemy,-several rich prizes having been decoyed into the harbor after the fall of the town, by the artifice of keeping the French flag flying upon the ramparts. Among these were two Indiamen, and one South-sea ship, estimated, in all, at six hundred thousand pounds.(1) A dispute arose between the land forces and the
(1) On the eighteenth of July, a large schooner
from Quebec, laden with flour and other provisions was brought, into Louisburg
by one of the colonial cruisers. On the twenty- second, the Charmante, a French
East India ship of about five or six hundred tons, twenty-eight guns and ninety-nine
men, surrendered to the Princess Mary and Canterbury, without opposition.
The Charmante had been descried in the offing, and the ships which took her,
were sent out from here. This was as valuable a prize as had been taken during
the war. On the first of August, the Chester and Mermaid brought in the Heron,
a French East Indiaman, from Bengal,-"pretty rich,"-as Sir Peter
wrote to the admiralty. On the second of August, the Sunderland and Chester
brought in a French ship called the Notre Dame de la Deliverance, of thirty-two
guns and about sixty men, from Lima,-having on board, in gold and silver,
upward of three hundred thousand pounds sterling, with a cargo of cocoa, Peruvian
wool, and Jesuit's bark.-Dispatches of Sir Peter Warren to the Admiralty.
naval, as to the distribution of the prize money arising from these captures, the former under the circumstances of the case, claiming an equal proportion with the latter. But the booty went to the seamen,-to the strong and general dissatisfaction by the soldiers.
The Mermaid, Captain Montague, was dispatched to England with the tidings, bearing official advices from both commanders, enclosing the articles of capitulation. These dispatches were received by the ministry on the twentieth of July, and gazetted, but in substance only, on the twenty-third. It has been justly said, that the news of this important victory filled America with joy, and Europe with astonishment. The colonists, for the first time, began to feel the might that slumbered in their own strong arms, while the parent country gave no unequivocal evidence of jealousy at the development of so much energy and power. The letter of Pepperell, giving an account of the operations under his own command, was not allowed to transpire; but the publication of the general facts caused great rejoicing among the people. A court of evidence was immediately convened, and an address of congratulation for the success of his Majesty's arms was voted, though in rather subdued and formal terms. But as the news of the capitulation spread through the colonies, the feelings of the people broke forth in the most lively rejoicings. Boston was illuminated even to the most obscure bye-lane and alley; and the night was signalized by fireworks, bonfires and all the external tokens of joy. A day of solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God, was likewise set apart by the civil authorities, which was observed throughout the colony. Nor was a thanksgiving festival ever more religiously kept in Massachusetts.(1)
But notwithstanding the studied design, so rarely manifested in England, to attribute the success of the enterprise, and the glory of the achievement, mainly to Warren, there was no reluctance evinced in bestowing deserved honors upon the provincials. Pepper was created a baronet, and commissioned a colonel in his majesty's forces, with permission to raise a regiment in the colonies, to be placed upon the regular establishment, in the pay of the crown. Governor Shirley was also appointed to a colonelcy, and confirmed in his government of Massachusetts, as also was Benning Wentworth, in that of New Hampshire. Commodore Warren was likewise promoted to the rank of rear admiral of the blue.(2)
(1) Letters to Pepperell from the Rev. Dr. Chauncey. After the surrender of the fortress, a grand entertainment was given on shore by Gen. Pepperell, as well to celebrate the event, as to honor Commodore Warren and the various officers of the navy who had cooperated in the capture. There was a circumstance attending this dinner, connected with the Rev. Mr. Moody, Pepperell's worthy chaplain, which has been preserved as being at once grave and amusing. Mr. Moody was somewhat remarkable for his prolixity in saying grace, before meat, and his friends were particularly anxious on this occasion that he should not fatigue their guests, and perhaps disquiet them by the length of this preliminary exercise. Yet his temper was so irritable that none of them ventured the hint, " be short." The chaplain, however, catching the spirit of the occasion, very agreeably disappointed those who knew him by preparing the service in the following words: "Good Lord, we have so much to thank thee for, that time would be infinitely too short to do it in. We must therefore leave it for the work of Eternity. Bless our board and fellowship on this joyful occasion, for the sake of Christ our Lord. Amen."
(2) Pepperell was gazetted as a baronet on the tenth of August,-less than a month after the news of the capitulation. Commodore Warren was gazetted as a rear-admiral of the blue on the same day. It it stated by Belknap, that Warren was also created a baronet as a reward for the game achievement, and the statement is repeated by Dunlop, and perhaps by other American writers. But the fact is not so. Warren was never a baronet. It is true that the knighthood of the Bath was conferred upon him; but this was not done until in the year 1747 ; the order being then conferred a reward for his conduct under Vice Admiral Anson, in the great naval engagement with the French fleet off Cape Finlsterre, which was fought May third, of that year. Warren commanded on that occasion the Devonshire of sixty-six guns, and (with the Yarmouth) was first in the engagemement. In July of the same year, Warren was gazetted admiral of the white, as also on the same day, Mr. Clinton, then governor of the colony of New York, Sir Peter Warren and the unfortunate admiral Byng appear to have been fellow officers, considered at that time of high and equal merit. On the same day that Warren was promoted to the rank of rear admiral of the blue, Byng was promoted to the same rank, and Warren and Byng were on the same day farther promoted to the white. Yet how widely different the end of their career! Ten years afterward, poor Byng, as brave, doubtless as Warren, but in a single instance unfortunate, was sacrificed by ministers a victim to popular clamor, and to screen their own imbecility. The judicial murder of Byng is one of the foulest blots upon England's escutcheon!
Yet notwithstanding these honorable rewards to the master spirits of the expedition, there was unquestionably a most discreditable reluctance on the part of the parent government to reimburse the colonies for the heavy expenses, which, without counting the cost to themselves, they had so nobly and so generously incurred; and by reason of which, conquest was achieved, so important, according to the testimony of their own historians, " as to prove an equivalent, at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, for all the success of the French upon the continent of Europe." The claim, was prosecuted several years before parliament could be brought to sanction an appropriation to cover it. The grant was however obtained in the year 1749, amounting to the sum of one hundred and eighty-three thousand six hundred and forty-nine pounds sterling. It was received at Boston the same year, and equitably divided among the colonies which had incurred the expenditure.(1)
(1) The exact sum was pounds 183,649 25s. 7 1/2 d. The agent who prosecuted the claim, encountering difficulties at every step, was William Bollan, whose account of the negotiation is presented in the first volume of the Mass. His. Coll. The money was told in specie. On its arrival in Boston it was immediately conveyed to the treasury-house. It consisted, according to a note in Holmes, of two hundred and fifteen chests (three thousand pieces of eight, on an average, in each chest) of milled pieces of eight, and one hundred casks of coined copper. There were seventeen cart and truck loads of the silver, and about ten truck loads of copper.
Jealousy of the rapidly increasing strength of the colonies, as I have already intimated, was beyond all doubt the moving cause of the unworthy attempts made in England, to appropriate all the glory of the conquest to Commdore Warren. Mr. Bollan, the agent for prosecuting the claims of Massachusetts, found on his arrival in London, that in the first address of congratulation to his majesty on the event which he saw, it was spoken of as a naval success -not the least mention being made of the land forces employed on the occasion. But although these attempts to present it in the light of "a naval acquisition," were not without their influence, the colonists wore not friendless, and the claims of the provincial troops were ably asserted. All credit was denied to the ministry in regard to the achievement, by some of the most influential journals. "Our ministers," said one of these, "have no more merit in it than causing the park and tower guns to fire."(1) Again says the same standard periodical, on the appointment of Charles Knowles as governor of Cape Breton, and commander of the fleet on that' station: "it is hoped that General Pepperell, the gallant commander of those brave forces who took it, will be provided for in some other way."
In the spring of 1775,-thirty years afterward,-these attempts to detract from the just fame of the provincials, were revived by the earl of Sandwich, then first lord of the admiralty, in a speech before the house of lords. His lordship professed to speak upon no less authority than that of Admiral Warren, who, as the minister asserted, had pronounced the Americans engaged in the siege of Louisburg, as the greatest cowards and poltroons whom he had ever seen. His lordship also made Warren to say, that the fighting at Louisburg had been done by the marines of the ship's crews, landed by the commodore for that purpose; while at the same time he was compelled to
(1) The Gentleman's Magazine-the beat historical record antecedent to Dodsley's Annual Register, the publication fo which was begun in 1758.
praise the Americans for their endeavors to keep them from running away. It should be remembered, however that this speech was delivered at the breaking out of the, war of the American revolution, when it was the policy of the parent country to decry the character of the colonies. The minister, moreover spoke at random of conversations merely held with one, who had been dead more than thirty years. He was however, immediately and sharply answered through the London press, by a man who had been engaged in the seige,-who had known Sir Peter Warren, and conversed with him upon the subject.(1) This writer proved that Sir Peter could never have made, any such statements to his lordship, nor to any one else-in the first place, from the perfect harmony that existed between the land and the sea officers; secondly, because of the very impossibility that the story could be true,-since the commodore had no power to command upon land, and could not have interfered with the authority of General Pepperell;-and for the yet more conclusive reason, that THE COMMODORE NEVER LANDED A PARTY, EITHER OF MARINES OR SEAMEN, DURING THE SEIGE.
How far Admiral Warren himself participated in these efforts at detraction, or whether in reality he engaged in them at all, is now a point of difficult determination. It is affirmed by one highly respectable American authority (2) that "Warren deposed on oath, in the high court of admirality, seventeen months after the event, that with the assistance of his majesty's ships, &c., he, this deponent did subdue the whole island of Cape Breton." This declaration unexplained, presents indeed a most arrogant claim; but it ill accords with the declarations of the commodore's
(1) Letter to the earl of Sandwich by " an old English merchant."-Mass. Hist Coll. Vol. I.
(2) Walsh's Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain, respecting the United States of America, in which the author cites the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty of England, Sept. twenty-ninth, 1747. I have not seen this authority to judge of the extent of the circumstances under which the deposition was made.
letters written during the seige. In one of these addresses to Governor Clinton in New York, and dated off Louisburg, May twelve, 1745, the commodore says:
"Sir, I take the liberty to acquaint you that the New England troops have taken possession of one of the enemy's most considerable batteries at Louisburg, which gives them the command of the harbor; and they have now carried their approaches so near by land, that the city is blockaded, and its communication by land and sea entirely cut off, and that before the arrival of any ship to their relief from any part of the world, except one small one laden with wine and brandy."(1)
Indignation at British arrogance upon the subject of this expedition, however, and a pretty general conviction that Warren was less magnanimous than he should have been, have on the other hand conspired to induce certain American historians to derogate from the substantial merits of this distinguished naval commander, in regard to that great achievement, whose conduct, within his own proper sphere of action, and beyond which he evinced no desire to go, was without fear, and without reproach. Owing to the fogs, the ice, and the storms, the difficulties of maintaining a rigid blockade were exceedingly difficult and hazardous. Yet never was a blockade more effectively maintained, and never did a naval commander evince a stronger desire to encounter yet greater hazards for the honor of the service, and of his royal master. It is indeed possible, that feelings of jealousy may have been growing like hidden fires in the bosoms of both commanders, even in the hour of triumph. And if such were the fact, there were doubtless, ill-disposed people at hand to fan the sparks into a flame. Yet there is nothing in the conduct or correspondence of the two commanders, during the seige, going to warrant any such conclusion. On the contrary, there was at all times, a generous cooperation between them. Once, indeed,
(1) This letter is preserved in the journals of the general assembly of New York.
-but not until the day after the capitulation,-there was an imputation of jealousy thrown out; but it is no more than justice to admit that it came from Warren himself, who thought he had reason for the impeachment against Pepperell. "I am sorry," said he, "to find by your letter a kind of jealousy which I thought you would never conceive of me." The residue of this letter is earnest, hut relates to some unspecified complaint of Duchambon, who seemed to apprehend a disposition on the part of Pepperell not to observe with sufficient exactness, the terms of the capitulation. But the real or affected cause of the Trench governor's complaint is not given, nor does the letter seem to have been preserved in which Warren thought he discovered the shadow of the green- eyed monster.
There were, however, sharp jealousies entertained in another quarter. The people of Boston were alive to the honor of their merchant-general; and having heard that the keys of Louisburg had been delivered, not to him, but to the commodore, were not a little incensed thereat.(1) Still greater was their displeasure on hearing that Warren had assumed the government of the conquered province-it being feared "that New England, from a sea officer, would not have its full share of the glory of the conquest."(2) Hence it was requested by the legislature of Massachusetts that Governor Shirley should repair in person to Louisburg, which port it had been determined to repair and retain, to look after the interests and the glory of those who had effected the conquest. Yet the highest praise was at the same time, and on all hands awarded to Warren. Dr. Chauncey himself, in the letter to his friend Pepperell, immediately prior to the one just cited, says:-"I have no personal acquaintance with the brave Mr. Warren, but I
(1) I understand Hutchinson correctly, this statement was inaccurate. "It was made a question, " says their candid historian, "whether the keys of the town should be delivered to the commodore or to the general, and whether the sea or land forces should first enter. The officers of the army they say prevailed. "
(2) Letter from the Rev. Doctor Chauncey to Sir William Pepperell.
sincerely love and honor him. Had his majesty given us the choice of a sea-commander on this occasion, we should have selected that gentleman from all the rest, and desired that he might be sent." But other jealousies also existed, as in the case of Colonel Bradstreet, and even of Shirley himself, against whom Pepperell was admonished before he sailed upon the expedition, "as a snake in the grass." These things only prove that human frailty exists among the best of men in every age. A careful study of the history of this memorable expedition will show any candid, enquirer for the truth that Warren behaved throughout like a brave and skillful officer, and a patriotic and honorable man. Admitting, nevertheless, for the sake of argument, that in the course of events immediately after the first flush of victory had passed away, unpleasant feelings had arisen between the two distinguished commanders, they must have been very short-lived, since the two heroes afterward lived in bonds of friendship that were dissolved only by death. Sir Peter Warren passed the summer at Louisburg, during which time many valuable captures were made by his ships, (1) and Sir William Pepperell remained there a whole year after the conquest. He afterward visited England at the express invitation of Warren, by whom he was received with honor, and treated with marked distinction. He was received with great kindness by the royal family, and the city of London presented him with a silver table. In regard to the joint conquest, there certainly was little room for jealousy, for there was glory enough for all.
It was believed, that the capture of Louisburg, prevented the conquest of Nova Scotia by the French. Duvivier, who had embarked for France in 1744 to solicit an armament for the invasion of that province, sailed with seven ships of war and a large body of troops, in July, 1745.
(1) Ms. letter from John Catherwood, then an officer in the household of Governor Clinton, to "Mr. William Jolinson, dated Sept. 5th, 1845, says; "This commodore has had great success in captures at Louisburg. His share, at least, will be above£20,000.
His orders were to touch at Louisburg, and proceed thence in the execution of his plan. Hearing at sea of the fall of that place, and of the strength of the British squadron stationed there, he relinquished the enterprise against, Nova Scotia, and returned to Europe.
The daring and enthusiastic Vaughan, however, appears to have been forgotten in the hour of triumph. He repaired to London shortly afterward, to prefer his claims to the crown, but was seized with the small-pox in that capital, of which disease he died.
Thanks to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on the internet.
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