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instant he saw the Frenchmen he discharged his gun at them, and gave the
order to his men to fire. Hence it came about that the first hostile
shot in the French and Indian War was fired by George Washington."]


Among the English officers who arrived in 1755 was General Edward
Braddock. He was brave and skillful, but conceited and stubborn. When
Washington, who was one of his aides, explained to him the character of
the treacherous foes whom he would have to fight and advised him to
adopt similar tactics, the English officer insultingly answered that
when he felt the need of advice from a young Virginian, he would ask for
it. He marched toward Fort Duquesne and was within a few miles of the
post, when he ran into an ambush and was assailed so vehemently by a
force of French and Indians that half his men were killed, the rest put
to flight, and himself mortally wounded. Washington and his Virginians,
by adopting the Indian style of fighting, checked the pursuit and saved
the remainder of the men.

[Illustration: BRADDOCK'S DEFEAT.]

In the spring of 1756, England and France declared war against each
other and the struggle now involved those two countries. For two years
the English, despite their preponderance of forces in America, lost
rather than gained ground. Their officers sent across the ocean were a
sorry lot, while the French were commanded by Montcalm, a brilliant
leader. He concentrated his forces and delivered many effective blows,
capturing the forts on the northern border of New York and winning all
the Indians to his support. The English fought in detached bodies and
were continually defeated.


But a change came in 1758, when William Pitt, one of the greatest
Englishmen in history, was called to the head of the government. He
weeded out inefficient officers, replaced them with skillful ones, who,
concentrating their troops, assailed the French at three important
points. Louisburg, on Cape Breton Island, which had been captured more
than a hundred years before, during King George's War, was again taken
by a naval expedition in the summer of 1758. In the autumn, Fort
Duquesne was captured without resistance and named Fort Pitt, in honor
of the illustrious prime minister. The single defeat administered to the
English was at Ticonderoga, where Montcalm commanded in person. This was
a severe repulse, in which the English lost in the neighborhood of 1,600
men. It was offset by the expulsion of the French from northwestern New
York and the capture of Fort Frontenac, on the present site of Kingston
in Canada.


One wise step of Pitt was in winning the cordial support of the
provincials, as the colonists were called, to the British regulars. Our
ancestors thus gained a most valuable military training which served
them well in the great struggle for independence a few years later.


The year 1759 brought decisive success to the English. Knowing that they
intended to attack Quebec, Montcalm drew in his troops to defend that
city. It therefore was an easy matter for the English to capture
Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Fort Niagara, General Wolfe, one of the
very ablest of English leaders, left Louisburg with a fleet and sailed
up the St. Lawrence. He found the fortifications of Quebec at so great
an elevation that he could make no impression upon them. Three months
passed in idle waiting and the besiegers were almost disheartened. Wolfe
himself was so distressed by anxiety that he fell ill. The sagacious
Montcalm could not be induced to come out and give battle, and there
seemed no way of reaching him.

[Illustration: A DUTCH HOUSEHOLD.

As seen in the early days in New York.]

But the lion-hearted Wolfe would not be denied. He found a path leading
up to the Heights of Abraham, as the plain above was called, and,
selecting a mild night in September, his troops floated down the river
in their boats and landed at the foot of the cliff. All night long the
English soldiers were clambering up the steep path, dragging a few guns
with them, and, when the morning sun rose, it shone on the flashing
bayonets of the whole army drawn up in battle array before the walls of

The astonished Montcalm, instead of remaining within the city, marched
his army out and gave battle. In the fight both Wolfe and Montcalm were
fatally wounded. Wolfe lived long enough to learn that the French were
fleeing before his victorious troops. "Now, I can die happy," he said,
and shortly after expired. When Montcalm was told he must die, he
mournfully replied: "So much the better; I shall not live to see the
surrender of Quebec."


This battle was one of the decisive ones of the world, for, as will be
seen, its results were of momentous importance to mankind. The conquest
of Canada followed in 1760, and the other French forts fairly tumbled
into the possession of the English. Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawas, was
so angered at the turn of events that he refused to be bound by the
terms of the surrender. He brought a number of tribes into an alliance,
captured several British posts in the West, and laid siege to Detroit
for more than a year, but in the end he was defeated, his confederacy
scattered, and Pontiac himself, like Philip, was killed by one of his
own race.

The war was over, so far as America was concerned, but England and
France kept it up for nearly three years, fighting on the ocean and
elsewhere. In 1762, Spain joined France, but received a telling blow in
the same year, when an English expedition captured the city of Havana.
In this important event, the provincials gave valuable aid to the
British regulars. The colonies also sent out a number of privateers
which captured many rich prizes from the Spaniards.

By 1763, Great Britain had completely conquered France and Spain, and a
treaty of peace was signed at Paris. France and Spain agreed to give up
all of North America east of the Mississippi, and England ceded _Cuba to
Spain in exchange for Florida, exchanging Florida in 1783 for the Bahama
Islands. The former_ was a victory for Spanish diplomacy, since Florida
was practically worthless to _Spain_, while Havana, _the capital of
Cuba_, was an enormously wealthy city, and the island possessed
marvelous fertility and almost boundless resources.

France, after her wholesale yielding to England, paid Spain her ally by
ceding to her all her possessions west of the Mississippi, including the
city of New Orleans. This enormous territory, then known as Louisiana,
comprehended everything between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi
River, from British America to the Gulf of Mexico. In extent it was an
empire from which many of the most important States of the Union have
been carved. When it is remembered that these changes were the result of
a war in which the capture of Quebec was the decisive conflict, it will
be admitted that there was ample warrant for pronouncing it one of the
great battles of the world.

The thirteen original colonies were now "full grown." Their population
had increased to 2,000,000 and was fast growing. Their men had proven
their bravery and generalship in the French and Indian War. Many of them
had developed into fine officers, and all compared favorably with the
British regulars. Their loyalty to England was proven by the 30,000
lives that had been given that she might conquer her traditional rival
and enemy.

The adventurous spirit of the colonists was shown by the fact that many
began crossing the Alleghanies into the fertile district beyond, where
they were in continual danger from the fierce Indians. James Robertson
led a party of emigrants who made the first settlement in Tennessee in
1768, and the famous Daniel Boone and a company of immigrants were the
pioneers in Kentucky in 1769. No effort was made to settle the country
north of the Ohio until after the Revolution.


The intellectual progress of the colonies was remarkable. The first
printing press was set up at Cambridge in 1639, and newspapers and books
were in general circulation. Harvard College was founded in
Massachusetts in 1638; William and Mary, in Virginia, in 1692; Yale, in
Connecticut, in 1700; the College of New Jersey (now Princeton
University), in 1746; the University of Pennsylvania, in 1749; and
King's College (now Columbia), in New York, in 1754. Much attention was
given to education, commerce was greatly extended, the oppressive
Navigation Act being generally disregarded, and thousands of citizens
were in prosperous circumstances.

More significant than all else was the growth of the sentiment of unity
among the different colonies. Although properly known as provincials, to
distinguish them from the British, they now, instead of speaking of
themselves as New Englanders or Virginians or Englishmen, often
substituted the name "Americans." The different colonies were looked
upon as members of the same great family, ready to make common cause
against a danger threatening any one of them. Some of the bolder ones
began to express the thought that it would be a fine thing if they were
all independent of the mother country, though for years the sentiment
assumed no importance.

Now was the time for England to display wisdom, justice, and
statesmanship toward her subjects in America. Had she treated them as
she now treats Canada and Australia and her other colonies, there never
would have been a Revolution. No doubt in time we should have separated
from her, but the separation would have been peaceable.


But while Great Britain has always been immeasurably above Spain in her
treatment of her American subjects, she was almost as foolish, because
she chilled the loyalty that had been proven in too many instances to be
doubted. The mother country was laboring under the weight of burdensome
taxes, and, since the colonies had always been prompt in voting money
and supplies as well as men to assist England, Parliament thought she
saw a way of shouldering a large part of this burden upon the Americans.
Her attempts to do so and the results therefrom properly belong to the
succeeding chapter.


A few facts will assist in understanding the events that follow.
Slavery, as has been stated, was legal and existed in all the colonies,
but climatic conditions caused it to flourish in the South and decline
in the North.

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