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An Abridged History of Canada
Chapter XII.—The Campaign of 1755


War of the Austrian Succession—1743. Pepperel's Conquest of Louisburg—1745. The Disastrous Attempt of the French at its Recapture -1746 The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle Restores it to France—1748. Halifax Founded—1749. Fort Du Quesne Planted —Collision in the Ohio Valley—1754. The Death of Jumonville "kindles the world into a flame."

In 1739 England broke peace with Spain on account of her . jealous restrictions of trade with her South American dependencies.

In 1743 the question of the Austrian Succession plunged Europe into war. England, Austria, and Holland drew the sword in favour of the heroic Maria Theresa. France 1745 powers declared for her rival, the Elector of Bavaria. The Stuart Pretender deemed the moment opportune for raising a Scottish revolt. In America the conflict of races was renewed. A body of French from Cape Breton surprised the English post at Canso, and carried off eighty prisoners to Louisburg. The New England colonists resolved to attempt the daring feat of the capture of that fortress. Four thousand colonial militia were collected, and William Pepperel, a merchant and militia colonel of Maine, took command. On the 29th of April, 1745, a hundred vessels, under Commodore Warren,' sailed into the capacious harbour of Louisburg. This was one of the strongest fortresses in the world. It was surrounded by a wall forty feet thick at the base, and from twenty to thirty feet high, and by a ditch eighty feet wide. It mounted nearly two hundred guns, and had a garrison of sixteen hundred men. The assailants had only eighteen cannon and three mortars. With a rush they charged through the surf, and repulsed the French who lined the steep and rugged shore. Dragging their guns through a marsh on sledges, the English gained the rear; the French in a panic abandoned an outwork, spiking their cannon.

After six weeks' siege, Duchambon, the commandant, capitulated, and the New England militia marched into the works. As they beheld their extent, they exclaimed, "God alone has delivered this stronghold into our hand," and a sermon of thanksgiving was preached in the French chapel.

The fall of the strongest fortress in America before a little army of New England farmers and fishermen caused the wildest delight at Boston and the deepest chagrin at Versailles. Beauliarnois was recalled, and the Marquis de la Jonquiere was appointed Governor-General of Canada. 1746 spring a French fleet of forty sail was despatched to recapture Louisburg and Annapolis, and to destroy Boston. After a three months' voyage it was scattered by storms, a part only reaching the place of rendezvous, Chebucto (now Halifax) harbour. Scurvy broke out in the fleet, and carried off eleven hundred men. The admiral died of apoplexy, or, it was whispered, by poison. His successor, overwhelmed by the responsibility of his oflice, fell upon his sword and died. Jonquiere ordered an attack upon Annapolis, which was frustrated by tempest, and the baffled expedition returned to France.

Undeterred by disaster, the French the next year fitted out two squadrons, one against the British East Indies, the other to recover Louisburg. Admirals Anson and Warren, however, intercepted and defeated both oft* Cape Finisterre, capturing many vessels and a. great quantity of booty. Among the prisoners was J'onquiere, thus again prevented from assuming the government of Canada. The peace of

Aix-la-Chapelle, to the great chagrin of the New England colonists, restored Louisburg to France in exchange for her East India conquest, Madras. This peace was only accepted as a breathing spell to prepare for the coming struggle for the possession of the continent.

To consolidate the British power in Nova Scotia, a strong colony was sent to the magnificent Chebucto harbour. It was named after Lord Halifax, its projector. In July, 1749, fourteen vessels transported thither nearly four thousand colonists, and before winter three hundred houses were constructed and defended by palisaded works.

La Jonquiere was consumed by an ignoble avarice, and used every means to enrich himself at the expense of the colony. Fraud and peculation impoverished the people, who demanded his recall; but he died before the arrival of his successor, Du Quesne. Bigot, his Intendant, was, if possible, even more corrupt than the miserly Governor, and added the vices of licentiousness and extravagance to those of meanness and avarice. He mocked the misery of the people by his ostentatious profligacy, and aped the sensualism of the court of Louis XV. at his palace in Quebec, and at hist chateau at Beauport.

Du Quesne entered upon a vigorous aggressive policy. He organized and drilled the militia, garrisoned the western forts, and established new posts in the Ohio valley. The "Ohio Company," composed of London and Virginia men and begun a settlement and fort at the junction of the Monongahela and Alleghany rivers, where Pittsburgh now stands. A strong force of French, under M. Contrecour, seized the fort, and having completed its defences, gave it the name of Du Quesne. Meanwhile, Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, had despatched a force under Colonel George Washington, then in the twenty-second year of his age, to hold the fort for the English. Contrecour sent M. Jumonville, with a small party of soldiers, to warn him off what was claimed as French territory. Washington, apprehending that their purpose was hostile, and eager to distinguish himself, surprised them in a narrow valley. The French sprang to arms. "Fire!" cried Washington. "That word," says. Bancroft, "kindled the world into a flame." It precipitated the earth-shaking conflict on the plains of India, on the waters of the Mediterranean  and the Spanish Main, on the Gold Coast of Africa, on the ramparts of Louisburg, on the heights of Quebec, and here in the valley of the Ohio, which led to the utter defeat of the French, and the destruction of their sovereignty on this continent. The French-denounced the attack on Jumonville, while in the character of an envoy, as murder; but there is no evidence that Washington was aware of his commission.


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