News that the War of the Austrian Succession (called “King George’s War” in America) had been declared between France and England reached Le Prévost Duquesnel on the Ile Royale (Cape Breton) on 3 May 1744. He sent Joseph Dupont du Vivier to occupy the British fishing station at Canso which capitulated on May 24. Next Duquesnel asked Du Vivier to retake Port Royal (Annapolis). He left in August with thirty men, added twenty more from Ile St. Jean, and demanded Annapolis Royal surrender. The British commander Paul Mascarene declined to submit. Michel de Gannes arrived in October and ordered a retreat. By then French privateers led by Monsieur Dolabarats, Hertel de Beaubassin, Pierre de Morpain, and others had captured 28 English prizes.
Fort Louisbourg on the east coast of Ile Royale (Cape Breton) had a morale problem, and in December 1744 some of the Swiss troops mutinied. The English organized a combined force of 8,500 men. About 2,000 New Englanders landed on the shore by the strategic fort on 11 May 1745. The French had only 560 soldiers and 800 militiamen, and they were besieged with cannons and bombs. In an assault against the Island Battery on June 6 the New Englanders had 189 men killed, drowned, or captured, but the Chevalier Charles-Joseph d’Ailleboust surrendered the Battery the next day. On June 28 the Louisbourg commander Louis Dupont du Chambon capitulated, and 4,460 soldiers and inhabitants were transported to France without their effects. By the ruse of keeping the French flag flying, the English captured three French ships worth £600,000. In July the New England fleet took over Ile St. Jean (Prince Edward Island).
Governor Beauharnois (1726-46) tried to strengthen Quebec’s defenses. The Senecas assured Chabert de Joncaire that the Iroquois nations would be neutral as long as the French did not attack Oswego. Pierre-Jacques de Tafanel, Marquis de La Jonquiere, had been appointed governor of New France (Canada), and he traveled in a convoy under the command of Jean-Baptiste de La Rochefoucauld, Duc d’Anville, who died of a stroke in September 1744 at Chebucto Bay in Acadia. Vice-admiral d’Estournelles took command, but he stabbed himself with a sword and yielded to the more experienced La Jonquiere. Already about 500 men had died of scurvy and smallpox, and 1,500 were too weak to work. Because of the smallpox the Indians refused to help them with provisions or by hunting. La Jonquiere combined all the sick on hospital ships and took the other ships to retake Port Royal, but a storm and fog persuaded him to sail for France. In this expedition the French lost two warships, 21 transports, and 587 men without accomplishing anything. La Jonquiere sailed with a convoy of five warships; but in May 1747 they were defeated by a British squadron of seventeen ships led by admirals George Anson and Peter Warren, and La Jonquiere was taken to England.
In June 1746 Beauharnois had sent 680 Canadian militiamen from Quebec under the Sieur de Ramezay; but he gave up the siege of Port Royal when he found out in November that the fleet had gone back to France. Ramezay learned that New England had sent 500 men under Col. Arthur Noble to Grand Pré in Nova Scotia and attacked there. In February 1747 Noble’s successor Benjamin Goldthwait surrendered.
The Iroquois had reaffirmed their neutrality in March 1746, but Rigaud de Vaudreuil who had 400 Canadians and 300 western Indians captured Fort Massachusetts in August and ravaged the area. During a council at Albany the next month Governor George Clinton persuaded the Mohawks to fight for New York. In November the Mohawks attacked a few farmers around Lake Champlain. Beauharnois summoned the Algonquins and Choctaws from the Great Lakes to a conference at Montreal in March 1747, and they declared war on the Mohawks. Canadians in March led by the Chevalier de Niverville attacked Haverhill, Massachusetts, and 780 militiamen from Montreal and Three Rivers and Indian allies led by Rigaud de Vaudreuil invaded English territory near Fort St. Frédéric in June. Saint-Luc attacked Saratoga a second time in July. During a war, which was mostly fought in Europe, the Canadians were not receiving enough supplies from France to improve their alliances with Indians. By the Mississippi River the Chevalier Bertet abandoned Fort Chartres and fell back to Kaskaskia.
In 1748 the Sulpician Abbé François Picquet founded La Présentation mission at Oswegatchie by the St. Lawrence River, and his converts increased from six Indians in 1749 to 396 two years later in a community of nearly 3,000. They were mostly Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas because the Mohawks had been won over by William Johnson. When Onondaga chief Canasatego, who favored Pennsylvania, died in circumstances that Weiser considered suspicious, the Catholic convert Tohaswuchdioony, known as “The Belt of Wampum,” became the leading Iroquois chief. While the French were offering a spiritual life at La Présentation and to Mohawks at Caughnawaga, the British appealed to commercial interests with their low prices at Albany and Oswego.
French commandants, wanting to make a large profit, allowed the fur traders to charge the Indians high prices, and their relations deteriorated. When Roland-Michel Barrin, the Marquis de La Galissoniere, arrived as governor-general of Canada in September 1747, he worked for the public welfare and tried to limit the commerce to the trading posts at Temiskaming, Nipigon, Kaministiquia, Chagouamigon, and to the western region around Lake Winnipeg. Other trade was to be strictly limited to those with permits. He instructed Chaussegros de Léry to open a road from Montreal on the Richelieu River and build a fort at St. Jean. In the spring of 1748 the Minister of Marine, Jean-Frédéric-Phélypeaux, Comte de Maurepas, ordered the Governor of Canada to stop offensive operations. In the treaty signed at Aix-la-Chapelle on October 18 the French traded Madras, which they had captured in India, for Louisbourg. The basic situation before the war was restored, but Canada’s frontiers in Acadia and Ohio were left to be decided by a commission which was appointed in 1750 and included Governor Shirley and La Galissoniere but failed to resolve the issues.
In 1749 the Minister of Marine Maurepas was replaced by Antoine-Louis Rouillé, Comte de Jouy, and he transferred the Ohio territory east of Illinois from the jurisdiction of New Orleans to Quebec. When Rouillé put Detroit under Canadian control, the Wyandot chief Memeskia, whom the English referred to as “Old Briton” and the French called “La Demoiselle,” moved to the new village Pickawillany on the Great Miami River to be closer to his British allies. La Galissoniere sent Detroit’s commander Pierre-Joseph de Céloron de Blainville on an expedition into the Ohio region with 20 French soldiers and 180 Canadians. In several places he buried lead plates to claim territory. After reaching French Creek he informed some English traders with 50 horses packed with pelts that they were trespassing. Céloron found that Delawares, Shawnees, and Mingos along with Miamis had become more friendly to the English. At Logstown on August 2 the Iroquois granted George Croghan 200,000 acres by the forks of the Ohio. The Comte de Raymond commanded at Fort des Miamis and reported that there were 300 Anglo-Americans in the area.
Governor-general La Jonquiere and the Intendant François Bigot arrived in August 1749, and they were both interested in their private profit. La Jonquiere reserved the two most profitable trading posts for himself, increasing competition for his favor. Their examples inclined Canadians to cheat the government too. Bigot granted the secretary Grasset de Saint-Sauveur the exclusive right to sell brandy to Indians. Bigot made deals with his friends Hughes Péan, Joseph Cadet, and Brassard Deschenaux, buying articles and selling them for twice as much or selling the same merchandise several times at a higher price each time. La Jonquiere ordered the defenses strengthened at Michilimackinac and had new posts built at Sault Ste. Marie, at the end of the Niagara portage, and at Fort Rouillé (Toronto) by the mouth of the Humber River. He tried to keep furs from being sold to the English at Fort Chouaguen (Oswego) and Albany. The Jesuit Tournois had been helping the Desauniers sisters sell to the English for years, but in May 1750 La Jonquiere ordered them to leave the mission village. They appealed, but the order was upheld by Rouillé in 1752. Louisiana’s Governor Vaudreuil increased the Illinois garrison from two companies to six and ordered the militia to prepare for war.
The Ile Royale was formally returned to the French on 23 July 1749, and Charles des Herbiers was appointed the governor. Acadians were encouraged to move there and to the Ile St. Jean. The English founded Halifax in Nova Scotia (Acadia). Canadian Governor La Galissoniere had sent Charles Deschamps, Sieur de Boishébert, to stop the British from extending their authority from Nova Scotia to the St. John valley, and Le Loutre’s Micmacs burned buildings at Beaubassin. When the English interfered with the movement of provisions, La Jonquiere sent a royal vessel as an escort. In four years the population of the Ile St. Jean more than tripled to 2,223 with more than twice that many farm animals. The Ile Royale developed a fishing industry worth more than two million livres. Their large fleets took cod from the Grand Banks off New Foundland, and the French sold three times as much fish as the English.
Edward Cornwallis became governor at Halifax, Nova Scotia in the spring of 1749, and 14 ships with 2,576 settlers soon arrived. They were promised food for one year and exemption from land taxes for ten years. Cornwallis complained to Des Herbiers that the Abbé Le Loutre was urging the Indians to attack English settlements. Cornwallis sent the former privateer John Rous with three British ships that forced Boishébert to retreat up the St. John River. Cornwallis in June led an expedition to start a town at Chebucto harbor, and he offered free rent for ten years to Acadians who converted to the Protestant religion. He ordered Fort Edward constructed at Pisiquid to control the Chignecto Isthmus. In September the Abbé Le Loutre instigated the Micmacs to attack Canso, and that fall La Jonquiere sent Luc de La Corne to Chignecto with a small detachment.
In April 1750 Major Charles Lawrence led a force of 400 men against Beaubassin at Chignecto Bay, and La Corne withdrew his forces to the north shore of the Missaguash River. When Le Loutre’s Indians burned a village and a church, Lawrence retreated; but he came back with about 700 men in September and began erecting Fort Lawrence at Beaubassin. The Acadians reacted by burning six villages and moving to French territory. In October Captain Howe was treacherously murdered during a parley with the Micmac Etienne Batard. In 1751 the French were constructing Fort Beauséjour while troops led by Luc de La Corne camped within a mile of the British who were building Fort Lawrence.
Minister Rouillé instructed Vaudreuil to increase his permanent garrisons of troops in Louisiana to a total of 2,000 men. He sent 300 of them to Barthélemy Macarty-Mactigue who started building a new fort at Chartres near Kaskaskia in 1753. La Jonquiere sent Céloron to raise Indians to attack Memeskia’s Miamis; but they refused to join so few French, and the Governor-general merely offered a bounty for the chief’s scalp. La Jonquiere had died of illness on 17 March 1752. Legardeur de Saint-Pierre continued the quest west in 1750 up the Saskatchewan River into the Rockies, building Fort La Jonquiere in 1751 in what is now Alberta. In 1752 he realized that the English from Hudson Bay had persuaded the western tribes to oppose the French venture.
Montreal’s Governor Charles Le Moyne, Baron de Longueil, administered the Canadian government until the Marquis Duquesne de Menneville arrived at Quebec on 30 July 1752. Minister Rouillé had ordered Duquesne “to drive the English from our land … and to prevent their coming there to trade.” In June about 240 Saulteurs and Ottawas led by Charles-Michel Langlade had attacked Pickawillany and killed Memeskia (La Demoiselle). Eight English traders were captured with their furs, and they were imprisoned before returning to Pennsylvania. Duquesne organized a special militia with scarlet uniforms for the middle class under elite officers. In the 1750s Joseph Marin was the commandant at La Baye, and he came into conflict with La Vérendrye at Chagouamigon for control over the headwaters of the Mississippi. After some Illinois killed a French blacksmith and three Sakis in 1753, Marin used diplomacy and brandy to persuade Sakis, Outagamies, and Sioux not to engage in reprisals.
Cornwallis went back to England in 1752 and was succeeded by Col. Peregrine Hopson who did not try to make Acadians take an oath of allegiance. Halifax paid £10 for an Indian scalp. When Indians brought 18 scalps to Fort Beauséjour in the summer of 1753, Le Loutre paid 100 livres for each scalp. Hopson became ill and left in October, and Lt. Col. Charles Lawrence became the lieutenant governor. Lunenberg was founded by 1,500 Protestant immigrants from Germany and Switzerland. In 1754 Boishébert returned and built a fort at the mouth of the St. John River.
After hearing reports that English soldiers were assembling at Chouaguen, Governor Duquesne sent Villiers with 270 soldiers and Indians to Niagara. Captain Louis Billouart de Kerlérec succeeded the Marquis de Vaudreuil as governor of Louisiana in January 1753. Kerlérec met with the Choctaws at Mobile in June and later with the Arkansas who protected French ships on the Mississippi.
Governor-general Duquesne sent Captain Pierre-Paul de la Malgue, Sieur de Marin, with 300 French marines, 1,700 Canadian militiamen, and 200 Indians to construct forts in the Ohio valley. In May 1753 Boishébert commanded the building at Presque Isle, where Tanacharison (Half King) led a delegation of Mingo warriors to claim Ohio territory. Captain Marin told him in no uncertain terms that the French owned that territory, and Marin gladly welcomed Shawnees who denied the Mingo claim. Tanacharison’s warning could be considered the first of three before the Iroquois declare war. Captain Marin sent other men to erect forts at Le Boeuf and Venango (Fort Machault). Supply lines were difficult, and Paul Marin worked his men hard and died of illness himself in the fall along with 400 others. About 300 men were left in a garrison under Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, and the rest of the emaciated men returned to Quebec before winter. The expedition cost four million livres because of Intendant Bigot’s graft. Rouillé was so alarmed that he recalled Bigot to France in 1754.
Virginia had sent William Trent to meet with Indians at Logstown in August 1753, and he distributed arms and ammunition. Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia received the authority from London in October to construct forts in the Ohio and attack French invaders. He quickly sent Major George Washington who found Indian allies at Logstown, but Philippe de Joncaire at Venango persuaded all but Half King and three other Mingos to leave Washington’s group. Major Washington reached Fort Le Boeuf on December 11 and delivered his letter from Dinwiddie to Legardeur de Saint-Pierre. After a few days Presque Isle commander Louis de Repentigny gave Washington a letter which he took back to Dinwiddie.
When King George’s War was declared in March 1744, the Massachusetts Governor William Shirley (1741-57) offered recruits bounties as high as £25 to reinforce Mascarene at Annapolis Royal. Shirley’s proposal to attack Louisbourg was at first rejected by a secret meeting of the legislature, but then petitions by New England fishermen persuaded them to adopt the scheme promoted by the preaching of William Vaughan. Shirley organized an expedition led by William Peperell with 3,250 men from Massachusetts, 500 from Connecticut, and 300 each from New Hampshire and Rhode Island. They were supported by 4,000 marines under Admiral Peter Warren. They successfully landed at Louisbourg in May 1745 and began a siege that bombarded the fortress with more than 9,000 cannon balls and 600 bombs. The New Englanders assaulted the Island Battery on June 6. On the 28th the French surrendered Louisbourg and were allowed to return to France with the honors of war, promising not to fight the British for the next twelve months. New England lost only 101 men in battle, and 30 had died of disease, but during the next winter 1,200 men in the garrison died of sickness. Peperell sent a small force that occupied the Ile St. Jean. The peace treaty signed at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 gave Louisbourg back to the French, shocking New England.
Private lotteries were forbidden, but in 1745 the first public lottery in Massachusetts raised £7,500 for defense. Royal instructions removed restrictions on the issuing of credit for defense, and King George’s War ballooned the Massachusetts debt from £305,000 in 1744 to £2,100,000 by 1749. The British House of Commons appropriated £183,649 in 1748 to reimburse the colony for the Louisbourg expedition. When the chests of silver and copper coins arrived at Boston in September 1749, the paper currency was redeemed at the rate of seven and a half to one. The second lottery in 1751 raised £26,700. In November 1747 Commodore Knowles had abducted some laborers along with his deserting sailors. Workers gathered with clubs and surrounded the Governor’s house. Governor Shirley fled to the Castle and asked Knowles to release the men; but he refused for three days before relenting and sending most of them back.
In January 1750 the minister Jonathan Mayhew preached in Boston the sermon entitled “A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers” in which he asserted the people’s right to rebel against tyrants. He may have been the first to proclaim there should be “no taxation without representation.”
Massachusetts transferred territory with five towns and 5,000 people to Rhode Island in 1747. That year the towns of Woodstock, Suffield, Enfield, and Somers, being within the boundaries of the Connecticut charter, petitioned to be in the jurisdiction of Connecticut which had lower taxes than Massachusetts, and in 1755 the Crown granted their request. Also in 1747 Connecticut refused to accept bills of credit from other colonies. Connecticut issued £80,000 in credit during King George’s War and received nearly £29,000 from England. Parliament passed a law in 1750 to limit the public credit of New England colonies to current expenses, but they must be retired within two years or during an emergency within five years. Rhode Island had just issued some money, but they had to go back to regular taxation in 1754. Connecticut’s Governor Jonathan Law died in 1751 and was succeeded by his deputy since 1742, Roger Wolcott. He was disliked for treating badly a Spanish merchant in distress, and in 1754 Thomas Fitch won the election. The number of slaves in Connecticut rose from 1,000 in 1749 to 3,587 in 1756 and to about 5,000 in 1761. The Connecticut Gazette became the colony’s first newspaper in 1755.
Historian William Douglass proposed that a colonial council in London could be a uniform government for the colonies with parliamentary approval. Massachusetts sent five delegates to the conference at Albany. Thomas Hutchinson presented a draft for a union of colonial governments, but Benjamin Franklin’s suggestions were probably more influential in the plan that was adopted on 10 July 1754. However, the Massachusetts General Court and all the colonies rejected the plan. Secretary Willard wrote to William Bollan, their agent in London, that they were concerned “it would be subversive of the most valuable rights and liberties of the several colonies.”1
While in London in 1753 Governor Shirley had discussed with British officials the English claim to the Atlantic coast south of the St. Lawrence River. Thomas Hancock advanced him £20,000, and in December 1754 Shirley was authorized to activate the regiments in Massachusetts.
Admiral George Clinton was Governor of New York 1743-53. The British government sent instructions that money could only be spent with warrants that were signed by the Governor and approved by the Council. In 1744 James De Lancey became Chief Justice and led the opposition to Clinton. Albany traders, New York City merchants, and others were not eager to pay taxes for King George’s War. After more than a hundred people were killed by the French and Indians at Saratoga on 28 November 1745, New York began to mobilize. In July 1746 an intercolonial force gathered in northern New York for an expedition to Canada led by Clinton. In September their forces were diverted to Louisbourg and Boston. New York’s recruits were unpaid and became mutinous, as were the Iroquois allies. The fort at Saratoga was abandoned in the fall of 1747, and the settlements north of Albany were evacuated. Indians burned cabins near Schenectady in 1748. During King George’s War that ended in 1748 about three dozen privateers from New York captured several hundred French and Spanish prizes, gaining about £618,000 for investors and the crews.
Archibald Kennedy wrote six tracts on frontier defense and Indian policy between 1750 and 1755. He recommended better Indian relations, intercolonial cooperation against French threats, a stop to trade between Albany and Montreal, and more effort to collect royal quitrents in New York. The new governor Danvers Osborne arrived on 6 October 1753 and was installed in his office on the 10th. He discovered such opposition in a conference that he committed suicide on the 12th. Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey succeeded by adjusting his warrants to the will of the Assembly which passed a bill to collect quit-rents in 1755. In the 1750s the New Theater on Nassau Street presented English plays. The Assembly approved a lottery in 1746 to finance a college, and after much wrangling between Anglicans and their opponents, Governor De Lancey granted King’s College a charter in 1754. Later that year William Livingstone founded the New York Society Library.
William Johnson was 23 when he came to New York in 1738. He managed the large estate of his uncle Peter Warren in the Mohawk Valley and sold tracts of it to Irish tenant farmers. He developed a good trading relationship with the Iroquois. In 1744 Johnson sold two-thirds of Warren’s estate and bought several thousand acres on the north bank of the Mohawk River where he gave long leases to the Irish, Scots-Irish, and Palatines. He established schools and missions for the Indians. He often behaved like an Indian, joining in their war dances. After his German wife died, he married the Mohawk princess Molly Brant. He had many Mohawk lovers and was said to have fathered perhaps a hundred children. Clinton appointed Johnson the Indian agent for New York in 1746, and he gained the loyalty of the Iroquois and provided them with arms. He persuaded 331 of his neighbors and 318 Iroquois to attack the French in 1747, but they only frightened them. Johnson spent £7,000 of his own money, and the Assembly failed to reimburse him fully. When he resigned in July 1751, the province still owed him about £4,500. In 1753 the Assembly owed him even more and only paid him about £700, and he left the Council for good on July 2. This damaged English relations with the Iroquois in the early 1750s.
Without consulting the Assembly in June 1754 Governor De Lancey hosted a conference at Albany that the Board of Trade recommended to promote intercolonial cooperation. Virginia and New Jersey declined to attend. De Lancey met separately with the Indians for two days before the congress to fend off investigation of land swindles. He proposed a chain of forts on the New York frontier. When the other delegates ignored his request, he refused to support their plan for a union. Johnson’s friend, Mohawk chief Hendrick, complained that the English cheated the Mohawks out of their land, supplied too much rum and too few useful tools, and encroached on Iroquois territory in western Pennsylvania and Virginia. He said that the English had so few fortifications that they were like women. The 23 delegates recommended some defensive measures, but none of the seven colonial assemblies ratified the agreement.
During the conference Connecticut’s agent John Henry Lydius got some chiefs drunk and purchased land in Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley from the Iroquois while Conrad Weiser plied drinks to get a conflicting deed for Pennsylvania that included vast territory on the Ohio. Proprietor Thomas Penn accepted this questionable deed, gave Weiser and Peters 2,000 acres each, and ordered the area, which was supposed to have been already occupied, quickly settled. Indians who sold these lands probably knew that the Iroquois League would not approve them. This started a land dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania that would go on until the Continental Congress settled it in 1782.
Governor Lewis Morris (1738-46) persuaded the New Jersey Assembly to appropriate £2,000 to fight the French in 1745. In September proprietors ejected many squatters, but at Newark about 150 farmers freed some of them who had been arrested for cutting timber. In late December the royal governor had the sheriff arrest three of the farmers, but 300 farmers overpowered the militia and the sheriff to free their friends. Morris died on 21 May 1746, and the senior councilor John Hamilton became acting governor. He had rioters arrested after they broke into the Somerset County jail. Hamilton died in June 1747, and his successor John Reading could not quell the violence. In July about 200 men freed one of their leaders from jail in Perth Amboy in East New Jersey. The College of New Jersey had been founded at Princeton in 1746, and their charter banned excluding any student because of religion. When Gilbert Tennent and Samuel Davies went to England to ask for funds in 1753, they found that this liberal provision helped them raise more than £3,000.
Jonathan Belcher was Governor of New Jersey from 1747 to his death in 1757. After he arrived, the Assembly offered amnesty to all rioters who asked for it before October 1748. Squatters continued to plunder timber, and Amos Roberts, who had organized the rebels by levying taxes and establishing courts and a militia, was arrested in Essex County for treason; but a mob freed him from the Newark jail. Belcher called an election, but the new Assembly refused to appropriate funds to enforce the laws. Chief Justice Robert Hunter Morris went to London, and in 1751 the Board of Trade instructed the Assembly to restore peace. In January 1752 with the New Jersey debt up to £8,000, the Assembly voted to assess the squatters for the land they occupied and passed a revenue bill to pay the Governor’s salary. The Assembly had gained the power to control the royal governor. In 1754 the Assembly authorized a loan of £60,000 which the Council opposed and the Crown eventually disallowed.
In June 1744 Pennsylvania’s Governor George Thomas met with commissioners from Virginia and Maryland and about 250 Indian chiefs at Lancaster. Because of the skilled diplomacy of Conrad Weiser, the Six Nations of the Iroquois got their claims to territory ratified in exchange for supporting the English alliance against the French. Thomas proclaimed the English declaration of war against France on 11 June 1745. In July the Assembly appropriated £4,000 for the King’s use to purchase “bread, beef, pork, flour, wheat, or other grain.” Thomas told the Council that he took “other grain” to mean gunpowder. He sent Conrad Weiser to reassure the Iroquois. Weiser attended a conference at Albany in October with speaker John Kinsey, Isaac Norris, and Councilor Lawrence, and only the Pennsylvanians rejected the proposal for the Six Nations to declare war on Indians in New England.
In December 1745 Governor Thomas wrote to John Penn and expressed the hope that the provinces might drive the French out of Canada. The next year £5,000 went to equip four companies to fight against Canada, and an excise tax on liquor was expected to pay for it over ten years. The Pennsylvania Assembly refused to send commissioners to a conference with the Six Nations because they opposed urging Indians to engage in war. During King George’s War some French and Spanish privateers sailed up the Delaware and attacked Pennsylvanians. On 6 April 1747 the French ambushed 60 Pennsylvanian soldiers, killing eight. Within two months 130 Pennsylvanians had deserted. Governor Thomas resigned because of his health and left on May 28. He was succeeded by the oldest councilor, Anthony Palmer. Twelve Pennsylvanian ships had already been lost. The Quakers won the elections again, and at the end of October the commander William Shirley dismissed the remnants of the Pennsylvanian forces.
After Shickellamy died in 1747, the Six Nations appointed the Seneca chief Tanacharison a Half King. He and the Oneida chief Scarouady (Monacatoocha) were made supervisors of the Ohio Shawnees. Conrad Weiser made treaties for Pennsylvania at Lancaster in July 1748 with the Iroquois and Twightwees (Miamis) and in 1749 with the Iroquois, Delawares, Mohicans, Wyandots, and Zisagechroons. Weiser ignored the grand council at Onondaga and after consulting with Mingos, he invited the Wyandots to join Pennsylvania’s chain of friendship. The Pennsylvania traders made the Indian village at Logstown their headquarters.
Territory between the Blue Mountain and the northern branch of the Susquehanna River was purchased in 1749, but it attracted few settlers until it was exempted from the quit-rents six years later. The adventurous Indian trader George Croghan became justice of the peace in Cumberland County, and in May 1750 he was sent to evict squatters who refused to go to jail but said they would leave. Croghan burned their cabins so they would not come back. The Pennsylvania Assembly refused to support the building of a fort in the Ohio region, but they appropriated £1,250 for gifts to Indians in 1750 and £1,260 the next year. Speaker John Kinsey died in 1750 and was succeeded by Isaac Norris II who held that position until 1764. Israel Pemberton Jr. replaced Kinsey as the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s clerk, and the proprietary supporter William Allen took Kinsey’s position as chief justice. An era ended when James Logan died at the age of 77 on 31 October 1751.
The Mingo Half King Tanacharison arrived at the Logstown conference in the spring of 1752 with an English flag. The Ohio Delawares were allowed to speak for themselves without Iroquois intervention, and Half King “gave” them Shingas as their king. To counter the French aggression in destroying Pickawillany, Virginia was authorized to build a fort where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers join the Ohio. On the side the interpreter Andrew Montour made a land deal for 80,000 acres with Half King. The Delawares were led to believe that the new “fort” would not include a settlement, contrary to what was usual with the English. Montour and Croghan managed to get control of most of the goods brought for the Ohio Indians even though the Pennsylvania commissioner Richard Peters did not trust Croghan.
Connecticut sent agents to buy the Wyoming Valley (modern Wilkes-Barre) from the Six Nations and used liquor to do so. Many Delawares and Mohicans in this area had been converted by Moravians. Pennsylvania and the Iroquois had reserved this land for the Delawares in 1742. The Onondaga Council repudiated the purchase as a fraud, and this land controversy was not settled until 1782.
On 17 November 1747 Benjamin Franklin published “Plain Truth by a Tradesman of Philadelphia” and printed 2,000 copies which were quickly sold. His pamphlet pointed out that Pennsylvania was the only English colony that had not provided for its own defense. He warned that their riches were in danger, that the city could be pillaged and burned, and that their wives and daughters could be raped by Negroes and mulattoes. He argued that as friends, if not as legislators, the government of the people is responsible for protection. The Quakers were reluctant because of religious scruples, and the Proprietary Party had also refused to protect Philadelphia. Franklin appealed especially to people “who can have no confidence that God will protect those that neglect the use of rational means for their security.”2 He warned that the Six Nations might join the French and that French privateers were driving up insurance rates which increased the prices of imported goods. He argued that public money comes from all and belongs to all. He computed that without the Quakers they still had about 60,000 fighting men in Pennsylvania. So he proposed that they form a private association for defense and concluded with a prayer.
Franklin appealed especially to “middling people” who were the farmers, shopkeepers, and artisans of the middle class. Within a week he gained their approval; but he also met separately with the principal gentlemen before submitting it to a large meeting of citizens. “Plain Truth” quickly had a second printing and was translated into German. Citizens met in the large building, and in Philadelphia hundreds of people subscribed. As copies were distributed, the Association increased to 10,000 men who agreed to furnish themselves with arms and form companies and regiments with their own officers. They chose Franklin to be their colonel, but he considered himself unfit and declined. He had already organized fire companies and quipped that a big gun was just another “fire-engine.”
Benjamin Franklin wrote the “Form of Association” for the large meeting on November 24 with eight articles explaining the organization. Each man must supply his own musket and ammunition; companies would be formed without regard to social status; they would elect their own officers; and they were not to be subjected to fines or corporal punishment. Franklin advertised and sold muskets and related supplies. He organized a lottery that sold £20,000 in tickets and paid out £17,000 in prizes, providing £3,000 for purchasing cannons and to arm the poor. He proposed a public day of fasting and prayer on 7 January 1748 to get the clergy involved. Such days had been used in New England but had not been tried yet in Pennsylvania.
On 29 December 1747 Franklin published “The Necessity of Self-Defense” in The Pennsylvania Gazette and argued that when Jesus told his disciples to put up their swords while he was being arrested, he did not exclude their using weapons for self-defense in other circumstances. The proprietor Thomas Penn believed this private militia showed contempt for government and was only a little short of treason; he considered Franklin a dangerous man.
Franklin went to New York with Col. Abraham Taylor, Lt. Col. Thomas Lawrence, and William Allen, and at a dinner while drinking Madeira wine they persuaded Governor Clinton to change his mind and lend them 18 cannons. On 3 September 1748 Conrad Weiser claimed Logstown in the Ohio territory for the British. On October 18 the British, French and Dutch signed the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and peace was proclaimed. The European peace helped the Quakers win the elections again in October. James Hamilton was appointed deputy governor on November 23.
In 1748 Franklin wrote “Advice to a Young Tradesman” to remind people that time is money, credit is money, and that money will proliferate if one is industrious and frugal. He was elected to the city council in October and was appointed a justice of the peace for Philadelphia the next year; but because he found he lacked enough knowledge of common law, he resigned.
Franklin wrote “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania” in October 1749 and drew upon the liberal ideas of John Milton, John Locke, Francis Hutcheson, Obadiah Walker, and others. He proposed an academy in or near the town with a rector of good morals and understanding. He recommended boarding students dine together “plainly, temperately, and frugally.” He advised exercise by running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming. He believed that studies should emphasize what is most useful and ornamental. These would be drawing, arithmetic, accounting, geometry, astronomy, grammar, writing, speech, and history that includes geography, chronology, ancient customs, morality, oratory, religion, government, law, ethics, commerce, and mechanics. Franklin thought that divinity students should learn Greek and Latin; scientists Latin, Greek, and French; lawyers Latin and French; and merchants French, German, and Spanish. Study of Nature should include gardening, planting, grafting, inoculating, etc. Franklin concluded that the idea of merit should be conveyed so that youths will be inclined and able “to serve mankind, one’s country, friends and family.” Within two months they had raised £2,000 in subscriptions. Franklin was elected president of the Academy in November 1749 and served in that position until 1756.
In 1748 Franklin had turned his printing business over to David Hall so that he could spend more time on his electrical experiments. He conducted tests with static electricity by rubbing glass tubes with cloth and with lightning by using iron rods. Peter Collinson gave Franklin’s letters on his electrical experiments to the Royal Society. In April 1749 Franklin explained in a letter to John Mitchell how lightning could be discharged when particles of water become electrically charged by the jostling wind in clouds. He was the first to suggest experiments to prove that lightning is a form of electricity. His papers were read before England’s Royal Society, but at first they laughed at his ideas. By replacing the water with lead and combining several jars together, Franklin made an “electrical battery” that could store enough electricity to kill turkeys. One day he nearly electrocuted himself when he took a jolt from two of the jars. Franklin warned against taking shelter under a lone tree during a thunder storm. He argued that wet clothes are safer because the electricity will run on the surface of the body; but it will go through the body if the clothes are dry. He proved it by showing that a wet rat could not be killed by a shock, but a dry rat could.
In 1751 Franklin published Experiments and Observations on Electricity. He proposed an experiment using an iron rod on a high tower, and he advised the precaution of using insulated handles for those concerned about electrocution. Philadelphia had no tall buildings; but this experiment was sponsored by Louis XV in May 1752, and the sparks proved Franklin’s theory. A month later before he knew the results, Franklin with the help of his son William flew a kite during a rainstorm and received a shock from a key tied to the string. After John Canton verified the French experiment in England using a pointed rod to draw lightning from clouds, the Royal Society gave Franklin the Copley Medal in 1753 and later made him a member. Others had survived shocks during mild storms, but in 1753 the Swedish scientist Georg Wilhelm Richmann was killed by the electrocution because he had not taken the precautions. Franklin developed the lightning rod to protect buildings, but he refused to patent it for his personal profit.
Whenever he wanted to initiate a public project, Franklin did not use his own name but said that “some public-spirited gentlemen” had a proposal. They began gathering subscriptions for an academy. They arranged to use a new building by promising to allow occasional preachers and maintain a free school for poor children. The school opened in 1751 and became a college in 1755 and the University of Pennsylvania in 1765. The Governor appointed Franklin to a Commission of the Peace. He served on the City Council and then was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751. He was re-elected every year for ten years and wrote that he never asked for votes. He made various efforts to clean the dirt and mud from the streets and get them paved.
In April 1751 Franklin objected to the English policy that forbade the colonies from imposing duties on the importation of felons and to their argument that such laws prevented the “improvement and well-peopling of the colonies.” The next month he used biting satire in “Rattle-Snakes for Felons.” In that article Americanus suggests that sending rattlesnakes to England would be a fair return for their sending their felons except that at least the rattlesnakes give warning before they strike.
Franklin gave Dr. Thomas Bond the credit for initiating the subscription campaign to found a hospital in Philadelphia. Franklin published an “Appeal for the Hospital” in The Pennsylvania Gazette on 15 August 1751. He noted that charity is essential to the spirit of Christianity. Jesus had healed individuals, and they collectively could heal many in a hospital, “whether deserving or undeserving.” He noted that several large infirmaries had been started in Britain, and not one had failed for lack of charitable contributions. He initiated the method of matching grants by getting a law passed in the Assembly that the Government would provide £2,000 for the building of a hospital on the condition that private subscriptions raised an equal amount. He suggested that nursing care could be ten times more efficient in a hospital than in private lodgings. In 1752 after learning that his brother John in Boston was having trouble urinating, Franklin invented a flexible catheter and had a silversmith make one that he sent him.
The British Iron Act of 1750 prohibited the building of mills, forges, and steel furnaces in the American colonies, but Franklin and many Americans believed that such protection of British industry would harm colonial growth. He wrote “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind” in 1751, but it was not published until late in 1754. Franklin observed, “When families can be easily supported, more persons marry, and earlier in life.”3 He noted that Europe has been generally settled, but America has plenty of land that is cheap for farmers. Twice as many Americans marry as Europeans, and they average twice as many children—eight. He calculated that the population of America was doubling every 20 years, and he predicted correctly that in a century its population would surpass England’s. Franklin estimated the current population of America at one million and noted that only about 80,000 had come by sea. Thousands came to Pennsylvania, but the labor is no cheaper than it had been thirty years before. Franklin believed it would not become cheap until America was fully settled. He explained that even slave labor cannot be cheap because of what slaves cost and because hired men leave their employers to go on their own.
Franklin listed the factors that diminish a nation as being conquered, losing territory, losing trade, losing food, bad government making property insecure, and slavery. He argued that whites who have slaves are enfeebled and do not work while the slaves are overworked. Franklin was concerned about too many Germans and Africans being imported, and he admitted that he was partial to the white race. Later in his life he would become less prejudiced. In 1755 he became a trustee for a charitable organization that relieved and educated poor German settlers.
Franklin became an alderman in 1751, and he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in August. He served on the currency committee and argued that paper money enabled the poor to purchase land, helping Proprietaries dispose of their land while strengthening and extending the Crown’s dominions and benefiting their manufactures. He drafted a currency bill, and in February 1752 the Assembly approved £40,000 in paper money. When Governor James Hamilton vetoed it as “very unseasonable,” the Assembly passed £20,000, which was also rejected. The counties of Berks and Northampton were created with one representative each, the under-representation reflecting anti-German sentiment. Franklin wrote a bill for paving the streets and installing lamps. He improved the lamps by giving them ventilation so that they would not be darkened by smoke and by replacing the globes with four flat panes so that broken glass could be repaired more cheaply. Franklin served on the board of managers for the Pennsylvania hospital, and in April 1752 he met with businessmen to organize the first American fire insurance company. He helped the career of his son William by letting him succeed himself as clerk in the Assembly and as postmaster of Philadelphia in 1753, promoting him to controller the next year.
In September 1753 Franklin, Speaker Norris, and proprietary secretary Richard Peters went to Carlisle to make a treaty with Ohio Indians who asked them to restrain the invading settlers. Hamilton urged them to spend the entire £800 the Assembly had appropriated on gifts for the Indians. They forbade the selling of liquor but promised them they could have rum after the negotiations were completed. The Indians got drunk afterward, and Franklin observed their wild behavior. A native orator argued that rum had a divine purpose, and Franklin speculated,
If it be the desire of providence to extirpate these savages
in order to make room for cultivators of the earth,
it seems not improbable that rum may be the appointed means.
It has already annihilated all the tribes
who formerly inhabited the seacoast.4
He and William Hunter of Virginia became deputy postmasters for America in 1753, and over the next 20 years Franklin developed mail so that it eventually paid his salary of £300 a year and yielded revenue for the Crown. Presentation of plays was discouraged in Philadelphia, but during his last year in 1863 Governor Hamilton gave Lewis Hallam permission to perform as long as nothing was “indecent or immoral.”
Pennsylvania sent John Penn, Peters, Norris, and Franklin as commissioners to the Albany conference in June 1754. They met with the Iroquois to improve the covenant chain; but Franklin doubted it would be effective until the English colonies formed a union. After Governor De Lancey’s plan for two western forts failed because they could not agree on how to pay the expenses, Franklin was appointed to a committee to prepare plans for a union of the colonies. He believed that because the Iroquois had an effective confederation for so long, they could use federalism to organize defense and westward expansion. Franklin suggested that the King appoint a president general and that the assemblies of the colonies elect a grand council. His plan was accepted with amendments by the conference, but all the colonies rejected the plan as having too much prerogative for England. The Board of Trade did not approve it because they considered it too democratic. Franklin reflected that if the colonies had been united to defend themselves, they would not have needed British troops and the subsequent excuse for taxing Americans might not have arisen.
After the Albany congress Franklin wrote “A Plan for Settling Two Western Colonies in North America,” which he considered more practical than the claims of some colonies to territory that extended as far as the west coast of America. Massachusetts Governor Shirley wanted the King to appoint the federal congress instead of the colonial assemblies. Franklin wrote him three letters emphasizing the importance of representatives making important decisions. In the letter he wrote on 4 December 1754 Franklin made arguments that would be used in the revolution. He began by noting that the colonies are loyal subjects of the King and that their representatives are willing to grant what is needed to defend the country. The people who suffer invasion of an enemy are better able to judge the forces and forts that are necessary. He noted that many colonial governors appointed by the crown raise more forces than are needed in order to gain profits for themselves and their friends. The Parliament in England may be misinformed by them.
Benjamin Franklin asserted the “undoubted right of Englishmen not to be taxed but by their own consent given through their representatives.”5 He noted that the colonies have no representatives in the Parliament and argued that forcing them to pay money without their consent is “like raising contributions in an enemy’s country.” He also argued that the mercantile policies are like an additional tax for the benefit of British merchants and manufacturers. The colonists are settling new countries and extending the dominion and its commerce, but they have “forfeited the native rights of Britons.” He warned that if reforms were not made, “Animosities and dangerous feuds will arise between the governors and governed, and everything go into confusion.”6
John Peter Salley and John Howard began exploring the western wilderness for the Virginia Council in 1737, and in 1742 they went down the Mississippi River where they were captured by the French and taken to New Orleans. Salley escaped and made it back by way of Charles Town in 1745. Howard and the others were sent to France and then released to England. Their accounts gave the English a claim to the Mississippi Valley and helped draw two maps. One was made by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson (father of Thomas); the other by John Mitchell was published in London in 1755 and has been called the most important map in American history.
In April 1745 Virginia’s Governor William Gooch (1727-49) in Council granted 100,000 acres on the Greenbrier River to John Robinson Sr. and Jr. and the associates of the Greenbrier Company, and they were given four years to survey the land and pay for their rights. On the same day Col. James Patton and his partners were given 100,000 acres on the Ohio River, and Henry Downes and others received 50,000 acres on Greenbrier River. Councilor John Blair Sr. in November was granted 100,000 acres on the Youghiogheny River west of the Fairfax line. In 1746 a joint commission representing Virginia and Thomas Fairfax determined the boundaries of six million acres owned by Fairfax.
That year Virginia appropriated £4,000 for the British expedition from New York against French Canada, and Captain Beverley Robinson led 136 men. In 1747 Governor Gooch and his Council issued a proclamation against itinerant preachers by prohibiting their meetings, whether they were “New Light men, Moravians, or Methodists.” That year William Stith published his History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia in which he emphasized that the colonists in Virginia had always held the rights, franchises, and immunities of Englishmen, and he noted that the early charters also claimed territory from sea to sea. Thomas Lee was president of the Virginia Council, and in 1747 he organized the Ohio Company which was approved by King George II two years later and granted 200,000 acres north of the Ohio River. During their legislative sessions in 1748 and 1749 the Virginia Assembly revised the colony’s entire code of laws.
By 1749 the entire Valley of Virginia from the Potomac to the James had been settled. The northern counties had equal numbers of Virginians, Scotch-Irish, and Germans. Robert Rose began fastening two canoes together to carry more tobacco down the upland streams. On 11 May 1749 Governor Gooch made an affectionate farewell speech to the General Assembly and urged them to hold to the Anglican Church. During his 22 years Virginia had nearly doubled in population, and settlements were extended by a third. Because of the influence of Quaker merchant John Hanbury, who was offered a share in the Company, in July the Privy Council approved a grant of 200,000 acres to the Ohio Company of Thomas Lee and others. Once the Company built and garrisoned a fort and established one hundred families, they would receive an additional 300,000 acres. Twenty of the 25 Virginians involved in the Ohio Company were burgesses. Other grants were made the same day totaling more than a million acres. George II ordered Governor Gooch to issue the grant to the Ohio Company in March 1749.
The Ohio Company began building at Wills Creek and stocked the storehouse with £4,000 of merchandise. In the next three years they made a trail for pack-horses to the mouth of Red Stone Creek at the Monongahela River. Christopher Gist was sent exploring, and he traveled more than 1,200 miles visiting Thomas Cresap, George Croghan, and Kentucky. Gist was paid £20 to invite the Ohio Indians to a treaty conference in Virginia while the Company paid him £150 to search the territory. Some Senecas and Cayugas had migrated to Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and called themselves Mingos. Croghan had established a trading post there in 1744. Virginia authorized Conrad Weiser to give the Iroquois £250 worth of arms. He invited them to a conference at Fredericksburg, but they declined. Instead Fry, Gist, interpreter Andrew Montour, and others brought £1,000 worth of gifts to the Indians meeting at Logstown in the spring of 1752. The Indians agreed not to disturb the English on the southeast side of the Ohio River, but the Onondaga Council had to approve the treaty. Another conference at Winchester a year later also lacked the support of the Onondaga Council.
In June 1752 the French took over the village Pickawillany where the English had a Miami ally they called Old Briton. Five English traders were captured, but a few days later Captain William Trent arrived at the deserted fort and replaced the French flags. In October the Ohio Company began petitioning Virginia and the Crown for 200,000 acres south of the Ohio and east of the Great Kanawha.
Robert Dinwiddie arrived as the new governor in November 1751, but the Assembly did not meet until February 1752. Dinwiddie informed them in April that the Board of Trade had disallowed ten laws while confirming 57. To change the confirmed laws the Virginia legislature would have to suspend the revisions for two years while waiting for royal approval. The law on the General Court was disallowed retroactively, throwing the judicial system into temporary chaos. After Adjutant General Lawrence Washington died, Governor Dinwiddie created four militia districts and appointed his half-brother George Washington adjutant of the southern district. The Governor also announced that George II had agreed to accept the previously disallowed laws establishing the General Court and extending the duty on slaves. In February 1753 the Assembly encouraged settlements on the western frontier by exempting them from all taxes for ten years, and in November they extended this to fifteen years.
Dr. William Dawson died in July 1752; he had been a councilor, commissary of the Anglican Church, and president of the College of William and Mary. The historian William Stith was elected president of the college; but Dinwiddie and John Blair believed he was too unorthodox to be commissary, and they persuaded the Bishop of London to appoint Thomas Dawson. Governor Dinwiddie created a storm of controversy when he began demanding a fee of one pistole, a Spanish coin worth enough to buy a cow and a calf, for his use of the seal on each land patent. Stith strongly opposed Dinwiddie’s pistole fee, and in April 1753 he wrote to the Bishop that to try to impose a tax without a law from the Assembly was a violation of their property rights. The House of Burgesses passed resolutions condemning the Governor’s fee as “illegal and arbitrary, and tending to subvert the laws and constitution of this government.”7 They also resolved that anyone who paid the pistole fee should be deemed a betrayer of the people’s rights, and they appropriated £2,500 to send Attorney General Peyton Randolph to England to plead their case.
Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie was also involved in the Ohio Company, and on 30 October 1753 he commissioned 21-year-old Major George Washington to warn the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf to depart from the Ohio Valley. Washington took Jacob van Braam to interpret French, and Christopher Gist joined him as a guide at Wills Creek. They were accompanied by the Delaware chief Shingas and added Half King Tanacharison and three more Indians at Logstown. Captain Philippe Joincaire tried to delay them by giving the Indians presents and liquor. Shingas excused himself, and Half King could only persuade three Mingos to push on through snow and rain. Washington delivered the message to Legardeur de St. Pierre at Fort Le Boeuf near Lake Erie. Washington and Gist barely survived freezing weather on the way back, and Dinwiddie urged Washington to write an account of his adventure that was published in Williamsburg and London.
Daniel Dulany visited western Maryland in the fall of 1744 and patented 20,000 acres for his agent Thomas Cresap to sell to German and Scotch-Irish immigrants without their having to pay any cash down. Dr. Alexander Hamilton founded the famous Tuesday Club for a few gentlemen at Annapolis in 1745. They made speeches and held mock trials while trying to avoid politics. Samuel Ogle returned to Maryland for another term as governor in March 1747. A campaign publicized by the Maryland Gazette led to the Act for Amending the Staple of Tobacco in 1747 that established inspection by officers in eighty public warehouses in order to improve the quality of Maryland tobacco. By reducing the amount of tobacco exported the colony developed other agricultural products, making the economy more diverse and healthy. When the accounts by these efforts were balanced in 1764, Maryland had made a profit of £25,000 from the paper currency transaction of 1733.
In 1751 a crime wave prompted the legislature to pass a law allowing testimony by convicted persons. That year young Frederick Calvert became the sixth and last Lord Baltimore, but he was a minor and selected his uncle Cecilius Calvert as his secretary. They appointed Horatio Sharpe governor, and he arrived in Maryland in 1753 with the intention of using the land system for maximum income. The commissions of the receivers were lowered to 15%, and two years later county sheriffs did the collecting for 10%.
Governor James Glen finally arrived at Charles Town in December 1743. That year Jacob Motte paid off his competitor Othniel Beale in order to be appointed Treasurer. After France declared war on England the following March, Glen tried to prepare South Carolina’s defenses; but the Assembly declined to appropriate the £20,000. The Louisiana governor sent agents to the southern Indians. Chickasaws, frustrated by the lack of presents from Charles Town, raided some settlements. By 1746 over-production of rice had caused the price to fall 70% in five years. Increasing amounts of indigo were grown in the off-season, and indigo exports to England increased from 63,000 pounds in 1750 to more than 500,000 pounds in 1760. Some petitions complained of debts, high interest, and lack of currency. In 1746 South Carolina issued £210,000 in bills of credit, and in 1748 the Assembly lowered the interest rate from 10% to 8%. By 1749 the colony’s taxes were down to £48,000 in currency, and in the next decade South Carolina prospered. In 1752 a hurricane caused much damage in Charles Town, but Treasurer Motte had borrowed funds and could not honor £70,000 in tax certificates. He owed £90,000, and his estate was given to trustees until this debt was paid in 1759. Yet Motte continued as Treasurer until he died in 1770.
In February 1747 Governor Glen purchased lands by Long Canes Creek from the Cherokees, the first sale of Cherokee land to the King of England. Mary and Thomas Bosomworth helped Malatchi become emperor of the Creeks in 1747, and he favored the French. Glen met with the Cherokees and Creeks but could not persuade them to attack the French. The Choctaws had revolted against their French allies in 1746, and the chief the English called “Red Shoes” made peace with the Chickasaws, sending his brother Little King to Charles Town where he signed a treaty with Glen in April 1747. South Carolina promised the Choctaws trade, arms, and ammunition. The Governor’s brother, Dr. Thomas Glen, and Charles McNair formed McNair and Company, but people called it the Sphinx Company because of its secret deals. In the next three years only one pack train of goods reached the Choctaws. A French agent assassinated Red Shoes in 1747, and Little King died two years later. By 1750 of 46 Choctaw towns 22 had renewed their alliance with France, and by 1752 all the Choctaws were French allies again.
The European peace of 1748 suspended the war, and the next year the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Catawbas renewed their treaties with South Carolina. England granted £6,000 sterling to South Carolina and Georgia to provide presents for the Indians in 1749 and 1750. Some Creeks attacked Cherokees; but Governor Glen did not fulfill his obligation of punishing the Creeks because Georgia refused to help. Then the Cherokees raided South Carolinian traders. Glen, who had more respect for the Indians than most, negotiated a new treaty with 162 Cherokees in November 1751. The Creeks remained at war with the Cherokees; but Glen threatened them with a trade embargo, and both nations agreed on a peace treaty in October 1752. The Cherokees offered to help build forts on their land, but because of delays Fort Prince George at Keowee was not completed until 1753. That year Glen confirmed the treaty with the Overhill Cherokees by offering them more trade.
The northern counties of North Carolina had five members in the Assembly to two for the southern counties; but they resisted reform and boycotted the Assembly in 1746. When only 15 out of 54 members passed new laws, the northern counties refused to hold elections, obey the laws, or pay the taxes in an unarmed rebellion. By 1747 the value of paper currency was down to ten percent of specie, but Governor Gabriel Johnston would still not allow rents to be paid in commodities. His salary could not be paid because so little money was collected. Rents were especially in arrears in the northern territory of Robert Carteret who had become the powerful Earl Granville. A Spanish invasion at Beaufort in the summer stimulated the Assembly to issue £6,000 in new currency, and a fort was constructed at Cape Fear. New courthouses were built, and the court system was improved. Samuel Swann and Edward Moseley led the commission that revised the laws by April 1749. That year James Davis established a printing office and began publishing the laws of North Carolina. In 1752 Governor Johnston was succeeded by Nathaniel Rice, but he died in January 1753. Matthew Rowan had been a councilor for twenty years and became governor. On 29 August 1754 a Catawba chieftain called “King Haglar” by the English complained about the beverage made from rotten grain that was causing his young men to get drunk, commit crimes, and get sick.
Mary Bosomworth continued to help Oglethorpe’s successors have good relations with the Creek (Muskogee) nation. In 1746 she petitioned the Georgia Trustees for £1,204 in back salary and for bounties on wheat, corn, peas, and potatoes from 1739 and 1742, but they denied her claim. In January 1747 her cousin Malatchi deeded to her the islands of St. Catherines, Sapelo, and Ossabaw and other land from the treaty of 1739. Oglethorpe’s military successor, Major William Horton, had continued her salary, but in 1747 his replacement, Col. Heron, stopped paying it again. A rumor that Mary was to be sent to England in chains provoked the Lower Creeks into warning the English that they would not let them settle above the tidewater, and in August about 200 Lower Creeks alarmed Savannah by firing guns while approaching on the river. Mary was arrested, released, and detained again. Bosomworth apologized for his wife, and the Indians left Savannah on August 19. Seven chiefs at Coweta supported her land deeds in August 1750, but in May 1751 Patrick Graham bought for Georgia from 26 Upper Creek chiefs her three islands and the Yamacraw tract. The Bosomworths went to England in 1754 without success, and in 1759 the Crown disallowed their claims. Governor Ellis and his Council sold Ossabaw and Sapelo Islands for £2,050 and paid the money to the Bosomworths, and in 1760 Ellis granted them St. Catherines where they built a house, lived, and were buried.
In 1747 George Whitefield bought a plantation of 640 acres in South Carolina and several slaves, and he used the profits to support the Bethesda Orphanage. Whitefield and the merchant James Habersham urged the Trustees to allow slaves in Georgia, and in 1748 even Bolzius and the Lutherans ended their opposition to the importation of African slaves. The anti-slavery law was repealed in 1750. That year Henry Parker became president of the Savannah Province when the elderly William Stephens retired. Influential Habersham was appointed secretary and was commissioned to promote silk production. In 1751 the Parliament refused to grant the Trustees any funds. The Trustees granted nearly 75,000 acres in 1752 before they surrendered their charter on June 23. The Trustee officials continued to administer the government for the next two years until they were replaced. When Georgia became a royal province in 1752, it had about 3,000 Europeans and less than 500 Africans.
1. “Controversies Over British Control (1753-1765) in Commonwealth History of Massachusetts, Volume 2 ed. Albert Bushnell Hart, p. 461.
2. “Plain Truth” in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin ed. Leonard W. Labaree et al, Volume 3, p. 200.
3. Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin ed. J. A. Leo Lemay and P. M. Zall, p. 102.
4. “Observations Concerning the increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &c.” by Benjamin Franklin in Benjamin Franklin Writings ed. J. A. Leo Lemay, p. 367.
5. “Letter to Governor William Shirley, December 4, 1754” in Benjamin Franklin Writings ed. J. A. Leo Lemay, p. 405.
6. Ibid., p. 407.
7. Colonial Virginia, Volume 2 by Richard L. Morton, p. 629.
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