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   Chapter 14 No.14

Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 2908

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: England and France.]

The first organized campaign in America was in 1755. Its effect was to show that the combatants were not far from equally matched. France claimed the position of the first European power: her army was large, her soldiers well trained; her comparative weakness at sea was not yet evident. The English navy had been reduced to 17,000 men; the whole English army counted 18,000 men, of whom there were in America but 1,000. Yet England was superior when it came to building ships, equipping troops, and furnishing money subsidies to keep her allies in the field. The advantage of prestige in Europe was thrown away when France allied herself with her hereditary enemy, Austria, and thus involved herself in wars which kept her from sending adequate reinforcements to America.

[Sidenote: The colonies.]

Until 1758 the war in the western world was fought on both sides chiefly by the colonists. Here the British Americans had a numerical advantage over the French. Against the 80,000 white Canadians and Louisianians they could oppose more than 1,100,000 whites. Had the English colonists, like the Canadians, been organized into one province, they might have been successful within a year; but the freedom and local independence of the fourteen colonies made them, in a military sense, weaker than their neighbors. In Canada there was neither local government nor public opinion; governors and intendants sent out fro

m Paris ruled the people under regulations framed in Paris for the benefit of the court centred in Paris. While the colonies with difficulty raised volunteer troops, the French commander could make a levée en masse of the whole adult male population. During the four campaigns from 1755 to 1758 the Canadians lost little territory, and they were finally conquered only by a powerful expedition of British regular troops and ships.

[Sidenote: Indians.]

[Sidenote: Theatre of war.]

One reason for this unexpected resistance was the aid of the Indians. The Latin races have always had more influence over savage dependents than the Anglo-Saxon. The French knew how to use the Indians as auxiliaries by letting them make war on their own account and in their own barbarous fashion. Nevertheless the Indians did not fight for the mere sake of obliging the French, and when the tide turned, in 1759, they were mostly detached. One other great advantage was enjoyed by the French: their territory was difficult of access. The exposed coast was protected by the strong fortresses of Louisbourg and Quebec, On the east, in the centre, and on the Ohio they were in occupation and stood on the defensive. Acting on the interior of their line, they could mass troops at any threatened point. In the end their line was rolled up like a scroll from both ends. Louisbourg and Fort Duquesne were both taken in 1758, but Montreal was able to hold out until 1760.

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