KING WILLIAM'S WAR. - When James II was driven from his throne (p. 93), he fled to France. His quarrel with King William was taken up by Louis XIV, and in 1689 war began between France and England. The strife thus started in the Old World soon spread to the New, and during eight years the frontier of New England and New York was the scene of French and Indian raids, massacres, and burning towns.

THE FRONTIER. - The frontier of English settlement consisted of a string of little towns close to the coast in Maine and New Hampshire, and some sixty miles back from the coast in Massachusetts; of a second string of towns up the Connecticut valley to central Massachusetts; and of a third up the Hudson to the Mohawk and up the Mohawk to Schenec'tady. Most of Maine and New Hampshire, all of what is now Vermont, and all New York north and west of the Mohawk was a wilderness pierced by streams which afforded the French and Indians easy ways of reaching the English frontier.

The French frontier consisted of a few fishing towns scattered along the shores of Acadia (what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and eastern Maine), arid a few settlements along the St. Lawrence to Fort Frontenac, just where the river leaves Lake Ontario.

Between these frontiers in Maine and New Hampshire were the Abenaki (ab- nahk'ee) Indians, close allies of the French and bitter enemies of the English; and in New York the Iroquois, allies of the English and enemies of the French since the day in 1609 when Champlain defeated them (p. 115). [1]

THE FRENCH ATTACK THE ENGLISH FRONTIER. - The governor of New France was Count Frontenac, a man of action, keen, fiery, and daring, a splendid executive, an able commander, and well called the Father of New France. Gathering his Frenchmen and Indians as quickly as possible, Frontenac formed three war parties on the St. Lawrence in the winter of 1689-90: that at Montreal was to march against Albany; that at Three Rivers was to ravage the frontier of New Hampshire, and that at Quebec the frontier of Maine. The Montreal party was ready first, and made its way on snowshoes to the little palisaded village of Schenectady, passed through the open gates [2] in a blinding storm of snow, and in the darkness of night massacred threescore men, women, and children, took captive as many more, and left the place in ashes.

The second war party of French and Indians left the St. Lawrence in January, 1690, spent three months struggling through the wilderness, and in March fell upon the village of Salmon Falls, laid it in ashes, ravaged the farms near by, massacred some thirty men, women, and children, and carried off some fifty prisoners. This deed done, the party hurried eastward and fell in with the third party, from Quebec. The two then attacked and captured Fort Loyal (where Portland now stands), and massacred or captured most of the inhabitants.

END OF KING WILLIAM'S WAR. - Smarting under the attacks of the French and Indians, New England struck back. Its fleet, with a few hundred militia under William Phips, captured and pillaged Port Royal, and for a time held Acadia. A little army of troops from Connecticut and New York marched against Montreal, and a fleet and army under Phips sailed for Quebec. But the one went no farther than Lake Champlain, and Phips, after failing in an attack on Quebec, returned to Boston. [3]

For seven years more the French and Indians ravaged the frontier [4] before the treaty of Ryswick (riz'wick) put an end to the war in 1697.

QUEEN ANNE'S WAR. - In the short interval of peace which followed, the French made a settlement at Biloxi, as we have seen, and founded Detroit (1701). In Europe the French king (Louis XIV) placed his grandson on the throne of Spain and, on the death of James II, recognized James's young son as King James III of England. For this, war was declared by England in 1701. The struggle which followed was known abroad as the War of the Spanish Succession, but in our country as Queen Anne's War. [5]

Again the frontier from Maine to Massachusetts was the scene of Indian raids and massacres. Haverhill was laid waste a second time, [6] and Deerfield in the Connecticut valley was burned.

THE ATTACK ON DEERFIELD was a typical Indian raid. The village, consisting of forty-one houses strung along a road, stood on the extreme northwestern frontier of Massachusetts. In the center of the place was a square wooden meetinghouse which, with some of the houses, was surrounded by a stockade eight feet high flanked on two corners by blockhouses. [7] Late in February, 1704, a band of French and Indians from Canada reached the town, hid in the woods two miles away, and just before dawn moved quietly across the frozen snow, rushed into the village, and, raising the warwhoop, beat in the house doors with ax and hatchet. A few of the wretched inmates escaped half-clad to the next village, but nine and forty men, women, and children were massacred, and one hundred more were led away captives. [8]

END OF QUEEN ANNE'S WAR. - As the war went on, the English colonists twice attacked Port Royal in vain, but on the third attack in 1710 the place was captured. This time the English took permanent possession and renamed it Annapolis in honor of the queen. To Acadia was given the name Nova Scotia. Encouraged by the success at Port Royal, the greatest fleet ever seen, up to that time, in American waters was sent against Quebec, and an army of twenty-three hundred men marched by way of Lake Champlain to attack Montreal.

But the fleet, having lost nine ships and a thousand men in the fog at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, returned to Boston, and the commander of the army, hearing of this, marched back to Albany. When peace was made by the treaty of Utrecht (u'trekt) in 1713, France was forced to give up to Great Britain [9] Acadia, Newfoundland, and all claim to the territory drained by the rivers that flow into Hudson Bay (map, p. 131).

THE FRENCH BUILD FORTS IN LOUISIANA. - Thirty-one years now passed before France and Great Britain were again at war, and in this period France took armed possession of the Mississippi valley, constructed a chain of forts from New Orleans to the Ohio, and built Forts Niagara and Crown Point.

This meant that the French were determined to keep the British out of Louisiana and New France and confine them to the seacoast. But the French were also determined to regain Acadia, and on the island of Cape Breton they built Louisburg, the strongest fortress in America. [10]

KING GEORGE'S WAR. - Such was the state of affairs when in 1744 Great Britain and France again went to war. As George II was then king of Great Britain, the colonists called the strife King George's War. The French now rushed down on Nova Scotia and attacked Annapolis. It seemed as if the whole of Nova Scotia would be conquered; but instead the people of New England sent out a fleet and army and captured Louisburg. [11]

When peace was made (1748), after two years more of fighting, Great Britain gave Louisburg back to France.

THE FRENCH IN THE OHIO VALLEY. - The war ended and no territory lost, the French at once laid plans to shut the British out of the Ohio valley, which France claimed because the Ohio River and its tributaries flowed into the Mississippi. In 1749, therefore, a party of Frenchmen under Céloron (sa-lo-rawng') were sent to take formal possession of that region. [12]

THE BURIED PLATES. - Paddling up the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, these men carried their canoes around Niagara Falls, coasted along Lake Erie to a place near Chautauqua Lake, and going overland to the lake went down its outlet to the Allegheny River. There the men were drawn up, the French king was proclaimed owner of all the region drained by the Ohio, and a lead plate was buried at the foot of a tree. The inscription on the plate declared that the Ohio and all the streams that entered it and the land on both sides of them belonged to France.

The party then passed down the Allegheny to the Ohio, and down the Ohio to the Miami, burying plates from time to time. [13]

THE FRENCH FORTS. - Formal possession having been taken, the next step of the French was to build a log fort at Presque Isle (on Lake Erie where the city of Erie now is), and also Forts Le Boeuf and Venango, on a branch of the Allegheny.

THE OHIO COMPANY. - But the English colonists likewise claimed the Mississippi valley, by virtue of the old "sea to sea" grants, and the same year that Céloron came down the Allegheny, they also prepared to take possession of the Ohio valley in a much more serious way. The French were burying plates and about to build forts; the English were about to plant towns and make settlements.

Already in Pennsylvania and Virginia population was pushing rapidly westward. Already English traders crossed the mountains and with their goods packed on horses followed the trails down the Ohio valley, going from village to village of the Indians and exchanging their wares for furs.

Convinced that the westward movement of trade and population was favorable for a speculation in land, some prominent men in Virginia [14] formed the Ohio Company, and obtained from the British king a grant of five hundred thousand acres in the Ohio valley on condition that within seven years a hundred families should be settled on it and a fort built and garrisoned.

GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE ALARMED - When, therefore, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia heard that the French were building forts on the Allegheny, he became greatly alarmed, and sent a messenger to demand their withdrawal. But the envoy, becoming frightened, soon turned back. Clearly a man was wanted, and Dinwiddie selected George Washington, [15] a young man of twenty-one and an officer in the Virginia militia.

WASHINGTON'S FIRST PUBLIC SERVICE. - Washington was to find out the whereabouts of the French, proceed to the French post, deliver a letter to the officer in command, and demand an answer. He was also to find out how many forts the French had built, how far apart they were, how well garrisoned, and whether they were likely to be supported from Quebec.

Having received these instructions, Washington made his way in the depth of winter to Fort Le Boeuf, delivered the governor's letter, and brought back the refusal of the French officer to withdraw. [16]

FORT DUQUESNE (1754) - Dinwiddie now realized that the French held the Allegheny, and that if they were to be shut out of the Ohio valley, something had to be done at once. He therefore sent a party of backwoodsmen to build a fort at the forks of the Ohio (where Pittsburg now is). While they were at work, the French came down the Allegheny, captured the half-built fort, and in place of it erected a larger one which they named Duquesne (doo-kan').

GREAT MEADOWS. - Meantime Washington had been sent with some soldiers to Wills Creek in western Maryland. When he heard of the capture of the fort, he started westward, cutting a road for wagons and cannon as he went, and camped for a time at Great Meadows, in southwestern Pennsylvania. There, one night, he received word from Half King, a friendly Indian encamped with his band six miles away, that a French force was hidden near at hand. Washington with some forty men set off at once for the Indian camp, and reached it at daylight. A plan of attack was agreed on, and the march begun. On Washington's approach, the French flew to arms, and a sharp fight ensued in which the French commander Jumonville [17] and nine of his men were killed.

FORT NECESSITY. - At Great Meadows Washington now threw up an intrenchment called Fort Necessity. Some more men having reached him, he left a few at the fort and went on westward again. But he had not gone far when word came that the French were coming to avenge the death of Jumonville. Washington therefore fell back to the fort, where he was attacked and on July 4, 1754, was forced to surrender, but was allowed to return to Virginia with his men.

All previous wars between France and England had begun in the Old World, but now a great struggle had begun in the New.


1. When William and Mary became king and queen of England, war with France followed. In the colonies this was called King William's War (1689-97).

2. The French from Canada ravaged the New England frontier and burned Schenectady in New York. The English colonists captured Port Royal, but failed to take Montreal and Quebec.

3. After four years of peace (1697-1701), war between France and England was renewed. This was called Queen Anne's War (1701-13).

4. The great event of the war was the conquest of Acadia. Port Royal was named Annapolis; Acadia was called Nova Scotia.

5. Thirty-one years of peace followed. During this time the French occupied the Mississippi valley, and built the fortress of Louisburg on Cape Breton Island.

6. During King George's War (1744-48), Louisburg was captured, but it was returned by the treaty of peace.

7. France now proceeded to occupy the Ohio valley, and built forts on a branch of the Allegheny.

8. The British also claimed the Ohio valley, and started to build a fort on the site of Pittsburg, but were driven off by the French.

9. Troops under George Washington, on their way toward the fort, defeated a small French force, but were themselves captured by the French at Fort Necessity (July 4, 1754).


[1] It was only a few years after this defeat that the Dutch planted their trading posts on the upper Hudson. They made friends of the Iroquois, and when the English succeeded the Dutch, they followed the same wise policy, encouraged the old hatred of the Indians for the French, and inspired more than one of their raids into Canada. The Iroquois thus became a barrier against the French and prevented them from coming down the Hudson and so cutting off New England from the Middle Colonies.

[2] The inhabitants, mostly Dutch, had been advised to be on their guard, but they laughed at the advice, kept their gates open, and, it is said, at one of them put two snow men as mock sentinels.

[3] It was expected that the plunder of Quebec would pay the cost of the expedition. Failure added to the debt of Massachusetts, and forced the colony to issue paper money or "bills of credit." This was the first time such money was issued by any of the colonies. (For picture of a bill of credit, see p. 204.)

[4] They captured, plundered, and burned York, were beaten in an attack on Wells, burned houses and tomahawked a hundred people at Durham, and burned the farmhouses near Haverhill.

[5] Queen Mary died in 1694, and King William in 1702. The crown then passed to Anne, sister of Mary. The war, therefore, was fought mostly during her reign.

[6] Read Whittier's poem Pentucket, and his account in prose called The Border War of 1708.

[7] Formidable as was the fort, the snow of a severe winter had been suffered to pile in drifts against the stockade till in places it nearly reached the top, so that the stockade was no longer an obstacle to the French and Indians.

[8] Read Parkman's Half-Century of Conflict, Vol. I, pp. 52-66.

[9] Ever since the accession of King James I (1603) England and Scotland had been under the same king, but otherwise had been independent, each having its own Parliament. Now, in Queen Anne's reign, the two countries were united (1707) and made the one country of Great Britain, with one Parliament.

[10] It was during these years of peace that Georgia was planted. The Spaniards at St. Augustine considered this an intrusion into their territory, and protested vigorously when Oglethorpe established a line of military posts from the Altamaha to the St. Johns River. When word came that Great Britain and Spain were at war, Oglethorpe, aided by British ships, (1740) attacked St. Augustine. He failed to capture the city, and the Spaniards (1742) invaded Georgia. Oglethorpe, though greatly outnumbered, made a gallant defense, forced the Spaniards to withdraw, and (1743) a second time attacked St. Augustine, but failed to take it.

[11] The expedition was undertaken without authority from the king. The army was a body of raw recruits from the farms, the shops, lumber camps, and fishing villages. The commander - Pepperell - was chosen because of his popularity, and knew no more about attacking a fortress than the humblest man in the ranks. Of cannon suitable to reduce a fortress the army had none. Nevertheless, by dint of hard work and good luck, and largely by means of many cannon captured from the French, the garrison was forced to surrender. Read Hawthorne's Grandfather's Chair, Part ii, Chap. vii; also Chaps. viii and ix.

[12] Read Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe, Vol. I, pp. 20-34, for a comparison of the French and English colonies in America.

[13] One of these plates was soon found by the Indians and sent to the governor of Pennsylvania. Two more in recent years were found projecting from the banks of the Ohio by boys while bathing or at play.

[14] Among the members of the company were Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, and two brothers of George Washington.

[15] George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, at Bridges Creek, in Virginia. At fourteen he thought seriously of going to sea, but became a surveyor, and at sixteen was sent to survey part of the vast estate of Lord Fairfax which lay beyond the Blue Ridge. He lived the life of a frontiersman, slept in tents, in cabins, in the open, and did his work so well that he was made a public surveyor. This position gave him steady occupation for three years, and a knowledge of woodcraft and men that stood him in good stead in time to come. When he was nineteen, his brother Lawrence procured him an appointment as an adjutant general of Virginia with the rank of major, a post he held in October, 1753, when Dinwiddie sent him, accompanied by a famous frontiersman, Christopher Gist, to find the French.

[16] On the way home Washington left his men in charge of the horses and baggage, put on Indian walking dress, and with Christopher Gist set off by the nearest way through the woods on foot. "The following day," says Washington, in his account of the journey, "just after we had passed a place called Murdering town, ... we fell in with a party of French Indians, who had lain in wait for us. One of them fired at Mr. Gist or me, not fifteen steps off, but fortunately missed." The next day they came to a river. "There was no way of getting over but on a raft, ... but before we were half over we were jammed in the ice.... I put out my setting pole to try and stop the raft that the ice might pass by, when the rapidity of the stream threw it with such force against the pole, that it jerked me out into ten feet of water, but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the raft logs." They were forced to swim to an island, and next day crossed on the ice. Read Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe, Vol. I, pp. 132-136.

[17] The French claimed that Jumonville was the bearer of a dispatch from the commander at the Ohio, that after the Virginians fired twice he made a sign that he was the bearer of a letter, that the firing ceased, that they gathered about him and while he was reading killed him and his companions. Jumonville's death has therefore been called an "assassination" by French writers. The story rested on false statements made by Indians friendly to the French. In reality, there is ample proof that Jumonville made no attempt to deliver any message to Washington.