Copyright
William Reed Prentice.

History of New York state (Volume 1) online

. (page 11 of 34)
Online LibraryWilliam Reed PrenticeHistory of New York state (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


garrison, and in two days it capitulated. The fort
mounted sixty guns and contained a large amount of
ammunition and stores designed for Fort Duquesne,
which the French could ill afford to lose. The fall of
Fort Frontenac broke the line of French fortifications
on the north, and this, with the loss of needed stores,
compelled the capitulation of Fort Duquesne.

Fort Stanwix built. — On Bradstreet's return,
sickness broke out among his troops and many died,
yet he tarried long enough to build Fort Stanwix, on
the site of Eome, and before winter reached Albany
with his prisoners and all the stores they had been able
to bring with them.

The French in extremity. — Montcalm was now in
extremity. A severe drouth had ruined Canadian
crops, and the people were suffering for food, while
France, involved in European wars, could render little
aid. But Montcalm was a man of unconquerable
spirit. He wrote a friend at this time, " We are not
discouraged, but are resolved to find our graves under
the ruins of this colony."

SUMMARY

1. The second year, 1756; the campaigns planned
and results.

2. The third year, 1757; plans and failures.

3. Pitt to the rescue; his promise to the king; the
preparations in England and America.

4. The fourth year, 1758; the campaigns; Xew
York's share; the results; losses and successes.

5. Montcalm; trials and resolution.



CHAPTER XX



The Last Year, 1759

A year of victories. — It was plain that the final
campaign was at hand. Pitt now obtained from his
government a vote of £12,000,000 for the American
service, and the largest force ever sent across the
Atlantic was provided to operate on both land and sea*.

Three campaigns were again marked out; two in
New York and ojie on the St. Lawrence, — the latter to
be under command of General AVolfe, who had a
fleet bearing 8,000 soldiers.

General Amherst with 12,000 men was to move





JohnC.I \i:i mi L(.! ii.)\, 17().V1782 Loud Jeffrey Amherst, 1717-1797

north against Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and after
reducing these places was expected to cooperate with
Wolfe against Quebec. General Prideaux was totake

* The New York assembly voted half a million dol-
lars in bills of credit, and loaned a large amount to
the crown.

(184)



1759] Capture of Ticonderoga 185

Niagara, and then move eastward to join the others.
To General Stanwix was given the care of the frontier.

Capture of Fort Niagara.— General Prideaiix,
accompanied by Johnson and his faithful Mohawks,
gathered all his forces at Oswego. Early in July he
reached Niagara and began the siege. The defence of
the fort was stubborn; Prideaux was killed in the first
attack and Johnson took command. A large party of
French and Indians attempting to re-enforce the fort
was defeated, and on the 25th of July the place sur-
rendered.

Capture of Ticouderoga. — Meantime, General
Amherst, by way of the Hudson river and Lake
George, had brought his army in the vicinity of Ticon-
deroga. Twice at this point had an army been turned
back, defeated, ilmherst determined to be cautious.
But this time the French commander in those parts
had orders not to risk an engagement, but to hinder
the enemy as much as possible, and then fall back to
the support of his chief. Accordingly he dismantled
Ticonderoga and retired to Crown Point, and then to
an island in the Sorel river. Here he made a stand
and successfully hindered Amherst until winter*.

Capture of Quebec— The story of Wolfe's cam-
paign against Quebec is a familiar one. Having done
all that was possible until re-inforcements arrived, he
waited for Prideaux, who never came; for the drums
of Amherst, which he never heard. Months of weary
waiting, anxiety and fever, wasted the noble comman-

* It was during those months that Amherst built the
historic stone fort at Crown Point.



186 A Year of Victory [Period V

der. At last he called a council of his officers and
informed them of his purpose to scale the heights of
Abraham and assault Quebec.

Feeble as he was he led that apparently hopeless
charge. He and the equally brave Montcalm both fell



m-^^^^





James Wolfe, 1727-1759 Marqiis de .\1()nt( alm. 171:i-1759

in the moment of an English victory; the one exclaim-
ing " Do the French run ? Then I die happy; " the
other, " 'Tis well, for I shall not live to see the sur-
render of Quebec."

In all the annals of war it is hard to find the record
of a more gallant achievement, a more heroic defence
or finer examples of patriotic devotion. Every school-
boy should know it by heart, as he should, like
Wolfe, learn to love " Gray's Elegy ", that he too, may
comprehend that,

" The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power.
All that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave.
Await alike th' inevitable hour;

The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

Quebec surrendered on the 18th of September.
Montreal was taken the next year, and the frontiers
of Xew York, for the first time, were secure.



1759] Summary 187

The treaty of Paris^ 1763. — By the treaty of Paris
signed in 1763, France lost all her possessions in Amer-
ica, with the exception of two small islands in the Gulf
of St. Lawrence, allowed as a refuge for her fishermen;
while England acquired all east of the Mississippi
river, from the frozen regions of the north to the
Gulf of Mexico*

SUMMARY

1. The fifth year, 1759; preparations for final
struggle; the plans; expenses; Xew York's share;
bills of credit.

2. Names prominent ; Wolfe, Montcalm, and Quebec.

3. Crown Point.

4. Results of campaign.

5. The "Treaty of Paris"; its conditions.

* It was found that France by a secret treaty had
ceded her possessions west of the Mississippi river to
Spain. In 1803 Spain re-ceded this to France, and a
few years after the same territory was purchased from
the latter country by the United States.



CHAPTER XXI

New York at the Close of the War

Cost of the war. — It is difficult to estimate the
cost of war. Into the equation must enter many
complex terms. The French and Indian war had cost
the colonies 25,000 men and 25 millions of dollars,
and it had doubled the national debt of England.
During the eight years the colonies had taxed them-
selves freely for its prosecution until their resources
were exhausted. Their industries were prostrated,
their commerce was gone, the flower of their popula-
tion had perished.

On New York this desolation had fallen with double
severity, for across her borders the invading armies of
France with their savage Indian allies had swept again
and again. The frontier settlements were destroyed,
and far into the interior farms had been pillaged and
villages burned. The colony had no revenues, but was
burdened with a debt that it seemed impossible ever
to pay, while thousands of her citizens had fallen in
battle.

Results of the war. — We may well wonder at the
indomitable spirit with which the people of New
York faced the future. Instead of despair came a
courage born of success. Over the colony there settled
a sense of security never before known, as the little
volunteer army was disbanded and the men returned

(188)



* 1760] Results of the War 189

to their homes to take up once more the battle of life
in a wilderness. Many of them had to rebuild the
homes that had been burned and their families scat-
tered by the invading armies.

Here and there could be seen a solitary chimney in
the midst of a heap of ashes, to which no family re-
turned ; and small clearings grown up to briars, where
the cheerful ring of the settler's ax was heard no more.
He had fallen at Crown Point or Ticonderoga or Fron-
tenac or Niagara.

One result of the war could be plainly seen: the
people had become intensely attached to the country
they had defended, and the spirit of patriotism that
animated all classes brought them into closer relations
with each other. Beside the men of New York city
the backwoods settler had fought, while with both had
mingled the Xew England volunteers, and all had
learned to know and respect one another. By the fus-
ing of a complex aggregation of many nationalities,
had been formed a homogeneous community. It had
transformed a colony of straggling settlements into
an independent state, bold, self-reliant, conscious of its
power, while it had not strengthened the ties which
bound the colonies to the mother-country.

With all its horrors, war has its compensations. The
march of armies across the State had necessitated the
building of military roads; and through these Xew
York had become more thoroughly known than any
other colony, while the forts and block-houses built
for defence became, later, the sites of thriving towns.



190 Xew York at the close of the War [Period V

Thus at Fort Stanwix* grew up the city of Rome; at
Fort Schuyler, Utica; and near Niagara the city of
Niagara Falls.

The war and the Indians. — There was another
and a sad side to this long war. The Indian had suf-
fered, but he had gained nothing, and his intercourse
with the whites had not improved him.

The Iroquois brave in his wigwam brooded over the
past, and it dawned slowly upon his clouded intellect
that he had been used only to defend the homes of his
pale-faced neighbors. Then followed the vision of
Hiawatha :

" Then a darker, drearier vision passed before me vague
and cloud-like;

I beheld our nation scattered, all forgetful of my
counsels.

Weakened, warring with each other;

Saw the remnants of our people sweeping westward,
wild and woeful,

Like the cloud-rack of a tempest, like the withered
leaves of Autumn! "

In his own way he reasoned: " Hitherto, two nations
have contended for my favor, now neither wants me;
I am in the way. The whites, no longer engaged in
destroying each other, will soon turn to destroy me."

One of the Indians illustrated this by taking a pair

* Colonel Elias Dayton in 1776 changed the name
of Fort Stanwix, Rome, to Fort Schuyler, and during
the revolutionary period it was commonly known by
the latter name. In this way it has been confounded
with Fort Schuyler at Utica. — Wager^s History of
Oneida county.



1763] PoNTiAc's Rebellion 191

of shears from the hand of a white woman, and saying
as he pointed to one blade, " This French," and point-
ing to the other "This English." Then placing a
piece of cloth between he said, " This Indian," as he
brought the blades together, cutting the cloth in two
pieces.

Pontiac's rebellion^ 1763.— From this feeling of
the Indian sprang Pontiac's rebellion, which was a
daring effort by certain tribes to recover what had been
lost during the war. Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, planned
a conspiracy for the massacre of all the garrisons at
the forts west of Xiagara. The Iroquois were not
drawn into this bold scheme which soon failed. Pon-
tiac fell by the hand of one of his own people.

New York in 1760.— The close of the war gave an
impetus to immigration not only from the old world,
but from the neighboring colonies. The population
of the city of New York was about 14,000; that of
the colony probably 250,000.

The settlements were scattered about the sound, the
bays, and along the rivers, for there were few roads
or bridges and transportation was mainly by water.
There was no regular public conveyance, and one be-
ginning a journey could never, in advance, determine
when, nor indeed where it would end.

Brooklyn was but a hamlet, smaller than several
other towns on Long Island, and between it and New
York was no established ferry. The passage was made
in small, open boats; in winter it was often attended
by much real danger.

Post-ofl&ces had not been established. Letters were



192 Xew York at the close of the War [Period V

entrusted to chance conveyance and newspapers were
rare. Few factories existed. Each family, except the
wealthy class, produced all that was needed for its own
use. In the "settlements'' domestic animals were
few in number, for property was insecure. Game and
fish formed a staple in the food of the household. The
settler depended on his rifle for protection and for
food. Two qualifications ranked high, — skill with the
ax, and unerring aim with the flint-lock musket.

School exi^^ted, but they were few and teachers
were poorly paid. Nearly
all could read and the few
books in a family were read
and re-read until quite com-
mitted to memory.
.^^^ m ''"j^^^^B Literary matters were not
'M|H|^ ^ ^ff^^m ^^gl^cted in the larger towns.

The New York Society Li-
A '"^^M"' ^ brary * had been founded

William sa.wkl Johnson. in 1*^54, and in the samc year
1727-1819 Kings colleger had received

its charter.

Outside the towns, life was very primitive indeed.
A chance traveller who reached a settler's cabin was
made welcome, not only because the people were natur-
ally hospitable, but because another man in the house
counted one more for its defence, since being on a

*The "Library" was founded by Dr. Cadwallader
Golden, James De Lancey, Philip Livingstone, Peter
Schuyler, and others.

t The first president of King's (Golumbia) college
was Rev. William Samuel Johnson, D.D.




1760] Life in a Country Sparsely Settled 193

journey he must be armed, for the dread of a lurking
savage foe still brooded over every frontier home.

Then again a traveller who had come any great dis-
tance could tell them of the outside world from which
they seemed so separated. Very often he brought news
of friends and acquaintances in other settlements or
could tell them of life in the great city of Xew York.

Sometimes a new family moved into the woods and
so would be neighbors to another, not more than a
mile or two away. This was always an important
event. The first settler felt safer, bade the new-comer
welcome, received him into his own cabin, shared with
him his food, and assisted him to build the log house
which was to be his home.

Life was not so serious as it may seem, for they had
their sports. A " bee " was particularly enjoyed.
From miles around they gathered to " roll a house "
or " log a clearing ". At these there were feats of
strength and skill, and when the work was done, there
was feasting as well.

SUMMARY

1. Cost of the war; effect on New York.

2. Results of the war.

3. Conditions after it.

4. Compensations.

5. The war and the Indians.

6. Pontiac's rebellion.

7. Xew York in 1760; conditions of life in town and
country.



PERIOD VI



GROWTH OF REVOLUTIONARY SENTI
MENT IN NEW YORK, 1760-1775



CHAPTER XXII

The Stamp Act

Dr. Golden and the judiciary^ 1760. — The year
1760 was an important one in the history of the Xew
York colony. On July 30th Governor DeLancey died
suddenly at his home in Xew York. He was the last
native New Yorker to occupy the governor's chair by
appointment from the crown.

Dr. Cadwallader Golden, already seventy-three years
of age, as senior member of
the council succeeded to the
office of governor. He had
lived long in the colony; he
was a man of uncommon en-
dowments, fond of scientific
and literary pursuits, and he
was a strong royalist.

By the death of DeLancey
the office of chief justice be-
came vacant. One of Dr.
Colden's first acts was to recommend to the crown the
appointment of one Pratt of Massachusetts to the

(194)




Cadwalladeu ('olden.



1760] Taxation^ without Representation 195

vacancy*. The people resented this act, for they saw-
in it an attempt to make the judiciary independent of
the assembly, and that body refused to vote the salary
asked for his support.

Changes in England. — More trouble was in store

for the colonists. On the 25th

of October, 1760, George II

died, and his grandson Prince

George ascended the throne

as King George III, when but

twenty-two years of age. It

would have been hard to find

in all Europe a prince more

unfitted by habit and charac-

geokge III. 1738-1820 tcr to wiu and retain the af-

reigned. 1760 1820 fectious of his subjects. Pitt

now retired from the government, to be succeeded by

Lord Bute as prime minister, and Bute was a man after

King George's own heart.

Taxation witliont consent. — With the new govern-
ment in England came plans for raising revenues by
taxing the American colonies. Their consent was not
asked; there was no thought of giving them representa-
tion in parliament; but the king and his ministers early
decided that the Americans must assist in paying off
the enormous debt of England. Rumors of this de-
sign reaching ^ew York, the people freely expressed
their indignation. The measure was opposed in parlia-

* It will be noted that this appointment, sanctioned
by the crown, constituted one of the charges against
King George in the Declaration of Independence.





196 Revolutionaky Sentiments [Period VI

ment by men who saw in it a sure cause of alienation.

Another new goyernor, 1761. — While these Eng-
lish plans were being ma-
tured, a new governor was
sent out, — Major-General Sir
Robert Monckton. As, at
this date, the war with France
was not terminated, he soon
went to the West Indies,
taking with him 1,700 New
Yorkers as soldiers in the
army he was to command,
smRoBEKT MONCKTON, 1726-1782 and again Dr. Golden became

acting-governor of the colony.

Restrictions on commerce. — The first part of the
plan for taxing the colonies took the form of a more
rigid enforcement of the old "Navigation Laws*".
These placed such restrictions on American commerce
as practically to prohibit it.

Now came a "swarm of officers" to collect the
duties at American ports f. These were accused of
compromising with smugglers, and of annoying legiti-
mate trade. They were armed with " writs of assist-
ance " , by means of which they could summon assis-
tance and enter and search stores, ware-houses, and
even private dwellings.

Tlie stamp act^ 1764. — Of what had gone before,
the people complained, but it had been endured. In

* See History of the United States.
t See Declaration of Independence.



1765] The Stamp Act Congress 197

1764 parliament devised a new means of taxation
known as the stamp act. This, which became a law
in March, 1765, provoked resistance in every colony,
but most of all in Xew York. Printed copies of the
law, under the heading " The Folly of England and
the Kuin of America", were issued and hawked about
the streets of the city. The newspapers were filled
with threatening articles.

Kesistance to the enforcement of the act was plainly
hinted at. The more conservative writers declared
their loyalty to England, but as plainly denied the
right of direct taxation. It was understood that this
tax was intended to reimburse England for the cost
of the French and Indian war. The people of New
York felt that they had suffered enough in that cause,
and declared that they had defended the sovereignty
of England quite as much as their own rights.

The stamp act congress^ 1765. — Opposition to
the stamp act was still further increased by the action
of the Massachusetts assembly in calling for a colonial
convention to meet in New York city in October of
that year, 1765.

To this convention, known as the " stamp act con-
gress ", nine colonies sent delegates. It was in ses-
sion two weeks and prepared and published three able
state papers: " A declaration of rights ", written by
John Cruger of New York; '' A memorial to parlia-
ment ", by Eobert R. Livingstone of New York; and
a "petition to the king", by James Otis of Massa-
chusetts.

The protests of the people ; stamp act riot.—

The people of New York were very pronounced in



198



Reyolutioxary Se:^timents [Period VI



their opposition to the stamp act. Holt's Xew York
Gazette, an influential journal, indicated that if the
colonists were taxed without their consent they would
be very likely " to seek a change ".

The stamps arrived in Xew York while the congress
was in session. The excitement becam.e more intense.
As an indication of the general feeling hand-bills like
the following were circulated:

" PRO P ATRIA"

" The first man that either distributes or makes use
of stamped paper, let him take care of his house,
person, and effects. " We dare "

James McEvors, who had been appointed " stamp
distributer " for the city, refused to receive the stamps
and resigned his office. The only thing that could be
done was to turn them over to Governor Golden, who
placed them in the fort for safe keeping.

On the first day of November, 1765, while the
stamped paper was safely
locked up in the fort, a
crowd of citizens assembled
in "the fields" (city hall
park) where they erected a
gallows. On it they hung
two effigies: one of Gover-
nor Golden, holding in his
hand a sheet of the stamped
paper, and another, repre-
senting the devil with a boot
in his hand, intended as a satire on the Earl of Bute.
Another band carried an effigy of the governor to




John Stuart, 1';akl
1713-179r2



»F liUTE.



1765] Xon-Imfortatioj^ Agreemext 199

the walls of the fort, and, in the presence of the
troops on the ramparts, demanded the stamps. This
demand being refnsed, they took the governor's car-
riage, which had been left outside the fort, placed the
effigy in it, spiked all the guns on the battery, and
then joining the other band at the fields, they burned
together the governor, the carriage, the devil, and
the boot.

There was not entire harmony, by any means.
Some of the delegates to the congress had declared
that resistance was treason, — and so it was. The Xew
York delegates had not attached their signatures to
the addresses, but the assembly approved the proceed-
ings and again declared that " all necessary aid to the
crown must be the free gift of the people". The
merchants, as a rule, were timid, but many resolutely
opposed the stamp act. From among these a "com-
mittee of correspondence"* was appointed, whose
duty it was to correspond with the residents of other
colonies and agree upon a general policy.

The futility of any attempt to enforce the use of
the stamped paper soon became apparent and the pack-
ages were handed over to Mayor Cruger, who promised
to be responsible for their " safe preservation ".

Non-importation agreement, 1 765. — On the day

before the stamp act was to go into effect (Xov. 1, 1765)
a great meeting of Xew York merchants was held. So
strong was the feeling of resentment that they pledged

* This committee was composed of Isaac Sears,
John Lamb, Gershom Mott, William Wiley, and
Thomas Robinson.



200 Kevolution^ary Sentiments [Period VI

themselves not to import goods from England after the
first day of January following. This was with the
certain knowledge that their trade would be ruined.
The citizens warmly supported the merchants in this
action. They began, rich and poor alike, to wear
home-spun and to deny themselves those luxuries that
could not be produced at home. The effect on British
commerce was disastrous. Orders for goods for the
colonies were cancelled, and ships returned from this
country with the goods they had brought out, for no
purchasers could be found.

William Pitt: Sir Henry Moore^ governor,
1765. — William Pitt, the friend of America, was car-
ried from his sick-bed to the house of lords that he
might say there, " I rejoice that America has resisted.
Three millions of our fellow-subjects so lost to every
sense of justice as tamely to give up their liberties
would be fit instruments to make slaves of the rest,"
He declared that the stamp act must be repealed.

In the early part of Xovember, 1765, Governor
Moore arrived. He was a man of very agreeable man-
ners, and proposed, if possible, to win the good will of
the people he had come to govern.

Calling the council together, the first question he
asked was " Can the stamp act be enforced ? " To
this he received an emphatic "Xo!" He next pro-
posed that the fort should be thrown open, and in
spite of Dr. Colden's objections this was done*.



* The fort was intended as a protection for the
colonists against the Indians. It had been closed, to
protect the governor from an offended people.



1766-1767] The Sons of Liberty 201

The assembly which Dr. Golden had prorogued waa
called together once more, and the people, happy in
the thought of peace, congratulated the governor,
while they relaxed not one whit of their opposition to
the acts of the government that had sent him.

The sous of liberty, 1766-1767.— Even before the
Zenger trial there had been an organization known as
the " sons of liberty ", and in that trial they took an
important part in the defence of Zenger. Until 1766
they had been most active in Xew York. In January



Online LibraryWilliam Reed PrenticeHistory of New York state (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 34)