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so noble and prominent a part in the history of the country which hails him as her founder. Such was the terror which struck the army, that they left all the artillery, ammunition and baggage to the enemy, and never stopped in their flight until they reached Fort Cumberland. In this action the British loss amounted to 700 killed, while the French force opposed to them was but 400, all told. Two subsequent expeditions undertaken against the French proving equally abortive, the campaign of 1755 ended in the disgrace of the British arms.
In the year 1756 war was again declared between France and Great Britain. Whilst the British army, was lying idle at Albany, the French, under the command of the vigilant and brave Marquis De Montcalm, captured Fort Oswego and conducted the whole garrison, 1400 men, as prisoners of war to Canada.
Lord Loudon opened the campaign of 1757' by proceeding with 12,000 men to attack Louisburg, but finding the fortress in a formi. dable state of defence, concluded it to be the better part of valor to postpone the attack to some more convenient opportunity. His departure leaving the State of New York exposed to an attack, the vigilant Montcalm invaded the State, laid siege to Fort William Henry, and compelled its garrison, numbering 3000 men, 'to surrender at discretion. “Thus," as the English historian Smollet very justly observes, “ended the third campaign, where, with an evident superiority of numbers and resources, we abandoned our allies, exposed our people, and relinquished a large tract of country, to the shame and disgrace of the British name.''
The English opened the campaign of 1758 with the prodigious force of 50,000 men, one half of whom were regular troops, under the command of Gen. Abercrombie. Their fleets cruised at the same time along the American coast, and prevented any reinforcements whatsoever from reaching the hands of the French in America. Gen. Abercrombie, at the head of 17,000 troops, attacked Ticonderoga, but was repulsed. The expedition against Fort Du Quesne was more successful. All reinforcements, either from France or from Canada, having been intercepted, the garrison, entirely destitute of provisions as well as materials of war, found themselves obliged to abandon the fort without a struggle, at the approach of Col. Washington : and after setting it on fire, proceeded in boats down the river. The forts of Niagara, Ticonderoga and Crown Point, attacked by superior numbers, were also abandoned by the French. About this time another powerful army, under the command of the young and gallant Wolfe, arrived from England in America, to aid Gen. Abercrombie in the reduction of Canada. The cause of the French had now become hopeless; their numbers were too small, and their communication with France being cut off, all their valor and bravery could afford them no chance of success in a struggle against such fearful odds, but would only contribute to their destruction. Louisburg was taken, and although the victorious career of Gen. Wolfe was momentarily checked by his defeat at the Falls of Montmorency, where, in an attack upon the French, he lost 500 men, the subsequent battle fought by him upon the plains of Abraham, on the 13th day of September, 1759, against the French and Indian forces under the command of the Marquis De Montcalm, in which both the contending Generals were killed, the one in the moment of his victory, the other in the moment of his defeat, broke forever the French power in North America. Quebec surrendered, and with Quebec all Canada.
When the news of this eventful battle reached England, so much were the people of that country astonished at their own success, that a day of most solemn thanksgiving was appointed by royal proclamation throughout the British empire, and the General, whose defeat at Montmorency had made all Great Britain grumble, and who on the fields of Abraham had only done his duty, was now extolled to the skies as the greatest hero the world had ever seen, &c. &c.
In the conquest of the country the English had not conquered the hearts of the native Indians. Pontiac, the great Indian chief, apprehended danger from the English, from whose arrogant and insolent behaviour he had reason to infer, that they were much inclined to. expel him and his people from the country of their fathers altogether. “When the French came hither,” said a Chippeway chief, “ they came and kissed us: they called us children, and we found them fathers : we lived like children in the same lodge.” The French, in fact, had lived with the Indians, had assisted in their councils, smoked the calumet with them, had made them presents, and evinced much anxiety on their behalf. “On the other hand,” said Pontiac, “the English neglected all those circumstances, which made the neigb hor.
hood of the French agreeable, and which might have made their own at least tolerable. The conduct of the French never gave rise to suspicion, the conduct of the English never gave rest to it.”
Pontiać, who clearly discerned that the British usurpations would terminate in the total extinction of his race, began to excite the Indians with the story of their wrongs, and to dream dreams, in which he pretended to have interviews with the Great Spirit, during one of which the Great Spirit had asked him: “Why do you suffer these dogs in red clothing to enter your country and take the land I give you? Drive them from it, and when you are in distress I will help you.” Having thus roused the savage multitude to bloody vengeance, he concerted a plan to secure the co-operation of the savage tribes along the English frontier for more than a thousand miles, and having completed his arrangements, made in the month of May, 1763, a simultaneous attack upon each of the twelve British forts between Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Nine of them were immediately captured, without the slightest previous suspicion on the part of the British that the Indians had any hostile intentions. Ingenious artifices were used by the savages to effect the capture of the forts. Thus the Ottowas, before committing their assault upon Fort Mackinaw, arranged a great game of ball, to which the British officers were invited. While engaged in play, the Indians managed to throw the ball once or twice over the pickets, and were suffered to procure it from within the fortress. Suddenly the ball was again thrown into the fort, and all the Indians rushed after it. The troops were butchered and scalped, and the fort destroyed.
Peace was at length concluded between France and England, and a treaty to that effect signed at Paris on the 10th of February, 1763, in virtue of which France ceded to England Nova Scotia, the whole of Canada and its dependencies, and all that portion of Louisiana east of the Mississippi, together with the French posts and settlements on the Obio. The State of Illinois was included in the above cession, and therefore, after the 10th of February, 1763, became part of the British empire. News having been received in America of peace being restored, Pontiac soon relaxed in his efforts, the tomahawk was buried, and the war-whoop no longer resounded through the thickets of the forests. Unable to bear the sight of the red-coats, Pontiao left the country and repaired to Illinois, where he was assassinated by a Peoria Indian. His nation, the Ottowas, and the Pottawatomies and Chippeways, determined to avenge the death of their revered leader, commenced a war upon the Peorias and their confederates, the Kaskaskias and Cahokias, in which these tribes were nearly exterminated.
At the time this State was ceded to England, the French portion of the population amounted to about 3000 souls. They resided along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and their largest towns were Kaskaskia and Cahokia, of which the former contained about 100, and the latter about 50 families. Other small villages were in their vicinity, and one at Peoria, on the Illinois River. Prairie Du Rocher contained 14 families, and Prairie Du Pont, a short distance from Cahokia, about as many. Another considerable settlement was in and about Fort Chartres; but the whole did not exceed 3000 individuals. The French settlements were laid out by common consent on the same plan or system. The blocks were about three hundred feet square, and each block contained four lots. The streets were rather narrow, but always at right angles. Lots in the old times were enclosed by cedar posts or pickets, planted about two feet in the ground and extending five feet above. These pickets were placed touching each other, the whole forming a light and safe paling around each proprietor's lot. The upper ends of the pickets were sharpened, so that it was rather difficult to get over the fence. A neat gate was generally made in the fence opposite to the door of the house, and the whole concern was kept clean and neat.
Each village had a tract of land for common fields, containing several thousand acres, which was surrounded by a common fence, each family possessing a separate and well-defined portion of the land exclusively for itself. Besides this, a common, which contained frequently several thousand acres, and in which each villager had a joint, instead of a separate interest, was appended to every village for wood and pasturage. Each proprietor of land was bound to make and keep in repair the fences on his land.
The French in those days mostly sowed spring wheat. Sometimes wheat was sowed late in the fall. Indian corn was not so much cultivated as wheat, or used as much by the inhabitants. A species of
Indian or hominy corn was raised for the voyagers, which was an article of commerce. The French did not use Indian corn meal for bread to any great extent, but raised it for stock and to fattén hogs.
Their farming implements were neither well made nor of the proper kind. Their ploughs bad not much iron about them. A small piece of iron was on the front part, covering the wood. They had no coulter, and had a large wooden mould-board. The handles were short and almost perpendicular, the beam was nearly straight, resting on an axle supported by two small wheels, the wheels low, and the beam so fixed on the axle with a chain or rope of raw hide, that the plough could be placed deep or shallow in the ground. Horses were seldom used for ploughing, oxen being preferred. The carts of the Freneh, like the ploughs, were constructed without iron. When the Americans under Gen. Clarke came to the country, they called these carts “barefooted carts,” because they had no iron on the wheels.
The French houses were generally, one story high, and made of wood. A few of them were of stone. There was not a single brick house in . the country for one hundred or more years from its first settlement. These houses were formed of large posts or timbers, the posts being three or four feet apart in many of them. In others the posts were closer together, and the intervals filled up with a mortar made of common clay and cut straw. The mortar filled up the cracks, so that the wall was even and regular. The whole wall, outside and inside, was usually whitewashed with fine lime, so that these houses presented a clean, neat appearance. The other class of houses having the posts further apart, the spaces were filled up with puncheons. The posts were grooved for the puncheons to fit in. These houses were used for stables, barns, &c. &c. The covering of the houses, stables, &c., was generally of straw, or long grass cut in the prairie. All the houses had porticoes around them, the posts of which were generally of cedar or mulberry. A garden was assigned to each house. The doors were plain batton work, of walnut usually. The windows were generally glazed, and the sash opened and shut on hinges. Close by the houses were neat clean wells, nicely walled with stone, having a windlass fixed in them, so that water was convenient and clean.
Hats in those times were very little used. The capot, made of white blanket, was the universal dress for the laboring class of people.