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1754. himself of the offered guidance of the Indians, went in the night, m w hich was dark and rainy, and completely surprised the French April 28. encampment. His troops, having surrounded it, fired, and rushton takes a
ed upon the French, who immediately surrendered. Erecting party of the at the Great Meadows a small stockade fort, afterward called French.
Fort Necessity, he proceeded with his troops, now reinforced to nearly 400, toward the French fort [du Quesne) with the intention of dislodging the enemy. When advanced about 13 miles, he received intelligence that a large body of the French and Indians was rapidly approaching to attack the English, and that a reinforcement was expected. In consideration of the almost entire want of provisions, and the danger of either being cut off from supplies, or obliged to contend with extremely disproportionate numbers, he judged it expedient to retire to Fort Necessity, where he began a ditch around the stockade. Before the ditch was completed, a large body of the enemy, supposed to amount to 1500 nien, under the command of M. de Villiers, appeared, and commenced a furious attack on the fort. They were received, however, with great intrepidity ; but, after a very resolute engagement, which continued from ten in the morning
until dark, De Villiers demanded a parley, and offered terms of July 4. capitulation. Although the proffered terms were rejected, artiIs obliged cles were signed that night, by which the fort was surrendered, to capitulate.
on condition that its garrison should be allowed the honours of war; should be permitted to retain their arms and baggage ; and to march, without molestation, into the inhabited parts of Virginia. After the capitulation, colonel Washington, in retiring as the articles permitted, halted at Wills Creek, and assisted in erecting a fort there. The Virginians completed the fort, this year, and called it Fort Cumberland. They also formed a camp at Wills Creek, in order to attack the French on the Ohio.
It having been perceived in England, that war with France would be inevitable; orders had been sent to the governors of the several colonies, to repel force by force, and to dislodge the French from their posts on the Ohio. These orders were accompanied with a recommendation of union for defence. The commissioners for plantations having directed a general conven- '1754. tion of delegates from all the colonies, for the purpose of holding a conference with the Six Nations, and securing their friendship, governor Shirley of Massachusetts, availing himself of the occasion, proposed to the several governors, that the delegates should be instructed on the subject of a general union. The convention
1 Colonel Fry, who had the command of the Virginia regiment, died at Patterson's creek, and the command devolved on colonel Washington, whose detachment in front was joined at Great Meadow by the residue of the regiment. Soon after this junction, two independent companies of regulars arrived at the same place, the one from South Carolina, the other from New York. But the Virginia regiment not being complete, the whole amounted to “ somewhat less than 400 effective men.”
2 Marshall, i. 378, 379; ii. 5-10. Univ. Hist. xl. 198. Brit. Emp. iii. 128138. Mante, Hist. of the War. The killed and wounded of the Virginia regiment on this occasion were 58; the whole loss of the Americans is not ascertained. It was conjectured, that about 200 of the enemy were killed and wounded.
Commis. was holden at Albany on the 14th of June, and was attended by sioners about 150 men of the Six Nations. After an explanatory and treat with
at the Six pacific treaty with the Indians, the convention took up the subject Natio of the proposed union; and gave an opinion, that there should be a union of the colonies, that so their counsels, treasure, and June 19. strength might be employed, in due proportion, against the com- Advise a.
union of the mon enemy. A plan of union was proposed, of the following colonies. purport. Application was to be made for an act of parliament, to establish in the colonies a general government, to be adminis- Plan of tered by a president general, appointed by the crown, and by a Union. grand council, consisting of members chosen by the several colonial assemblies, their number to be in direct proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives. The whole executive authority was committed to the president general. The power of legislation was lodged jointly in the grand council and president general; his consent being made necessary to the passing of a bill into a law. The powers vested in the president and council, were, to declare war and peace; to conclude treaties with the Indian nations; to regulate trade with them, and to make purchases of vacant lands from them, either in the name of the crown, or of the union; to settle new colonies, and to make laws for governing them until they should be erected into separate governments; and to raise troops, build forts, fit out armed vessels, and use other means for the general defence. To effect these purposes, a power was given to make laws, laying such duties, imposts, or taxes, as should be found necessary, and as would be least burdensome to the people. All laws were to be sent to England for the approbation of the king; and, unless disapproved within
1 The convention consisted of delegates from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, with the lieutenant governor and council of New York.
2 It was proposed, that the legislatures should choose members for the Grand
Virginia. . . . .
three years, they were to remain in force. All officers in the land or sea service were to be nominated by the president general, and approved by the general council ; civil officers were to be nominated by the council, and approved by the president.
This plan was agreed to by all the delegates in convention, excepting the delegates of Connecticut, who entered their dissent, because of the negative voice of the president general. A copy of it was transmitted to each of the colonial assemblies, and one to the king's council, but it shared the singular fate of being rejected by both; by the first, because it was supposed to give too much power to the representative of the king, and by the last, because it was supposed to give too much power to the representatives of the people.
No satisfactory method being devised for calling out the combined strength of the colonies, it was determined to carry on the war with British troops, with such auxiliary forces as the colonial assemblies might voluntarily furnish.?
1 For this with additional reasons, the General Assembly of Connecticut did not accede to the Plan of Union. See those reasons in Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. vii. 210–214. On the negative voice of the President General, the Assembly observes ; it“ may bring his majesty's interest into danger : That officer, in so extensive a territory, not well understanding, or carefully pursuing proper methods for the country's good, all may be ruined before relief can be had from the throne ..... and it seems the Council, from the respective colonies, are most likely to understand the true interest and weal of the people.” The power of levying taxes, “ throughout this extensive government," was considered by that assembly as “ a very extraordinary thing, and against the rights and privileges of Englishmen;" and, it was remarked, “any great innovations or breach of the original charters or constitutions” of the colonies “ will greatly discourage the industry of the inhabitants, who are jealous of their privileges; and, while they are secured, are zealous to secure his majesty's dominions here, and pursue the enlargement thereof." The name of Jonathan Trumbull appears among other very respectable names of a Committee, appointed by the Assembly to consider the proposed Plan of Union. Life of Franklin, 139, 140; Works, P. 2. Belknap, N. Hamp. ii. 284-287. Minot, i. c. 9; where the Plan of Union is inserted. Another plan, then proposed, is in Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. vii. 203–207. Who composed it, does not appear; perhaps Mr. Hutchinson of Massachusetts. The plan agreed to in convention was drawn up by Benjamin Franklin. The persons appointed by the convention to draw a Plan of Union were Hutchinson of Massachusetts, Atkinson of New Hampshire, Hopkins of Rhode Island, Pitkin of Connecticut, Smith of New York, Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Tasker of Maryland; one member from each colony.Notice of remarkable synchronisms in history may assist the memory, and incite to a serious and impressive observance of providential events. The same day (4 July) on which Franklin signed the Plan of Union in convention at Albany, Washington capitulated with the French at Fort Necessity. Exactly twenty two years afterward (4 July, 1776), Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence, while Washington was successfully commanding the armies of America. The jealousy of the Parent Country would not, at the first period, allow the colonies a confederation, with any share of power; those colonies, at the last period, asserted and maintained an exclusive right of absolute jurisdiction.
2 Marshall, i. 382.
While hostilities were decidedly commenced in the south, they 1754. were seriously apprehended in the north. It being reported that the French had built a fort near the head of Kennebeck river, it Eastern was judged expedient to ask aid of the Indians for its discovery;
appear but they could not be drawn into the out forts; they even desist- hostile. ed from their usual trade, and assumed strong appearances of hostility. The government of Massachusetts having determined on building a fort on some suitable place up the river, to secure the command of it, and to influence the Indian interest in general; six companies of men, making collectively 800, were raised, and ordered to rendezvous at Falmouth. With 500 of these men, the governor, accompanied by colonel Mascarene, as commissioner from Nova Scotia, major general Winslow, commander of the forces, and other persons of rank, embarked at Boston to hold a conference with the eastern Indians; and, about the last of June, governor Dummer's treaty and the treaty of 1749 were ratified at Falınouth. The governor proceeded to explore the Kennebeck about 40 miles above Norridgewock; but found no French fort. Having erected a fort at Taconnet, which was named fort Halifax, and another at Cushenoc, named Fort Western, he returned in September to Boston.
Soon after his return, information was received of an incursion Hoosuck of the Indians in an opposite quarter. A large body, supposed burnt. to be about 600, invaded Hoosuck, which they pillaged and burned. The Scatecook tribe instigated the Orondocks and others to this invasion. Some of their allies were descended from the Connecticut river Indians, who were driven away in Philip's war.2
The example of the citizens of Philadelphia, in establishing an College academy in that city, incited a number of gentlemen in New founded in
N. York. York to a similar undertaking. They were principally members of the church of England, but some of them belonged to the Dutch church, and some were presbyterians. Mr. De Lancey, lieuteant governor of the province, and then commander in chief, was at the head of the association. An act of assembly had been passed in 1753, appointing trustees for carrying the design into execution, and making some provision for a fund by a succession of lotteries. In October, the present year, a charter was passed, incorporating several persons ex officio, and 24 principal gentlemen of the city, including some of the clergy of different denominations, and their successors, by the name and title of “ The governors of the College of the Province of New York, in the City of New York, in America.” Dr. Samuel Johnson, a learned and respectable , minister of the episcopal
1 Minot, i. 184–187. VOL. II.
2 Ibid. 214, 215.
1754. church in Stratford, Connecticut, was appointed in the charter
the first president; and the president was ever after to be a member in the communion of the church of England. The prayers were to be a collection from the Liturgy, with a particu
lar Collect for the college. Library in An institution was projected in New York for promoting a N. York.
spirit of inquiry among the people, by a loan of books to nonsubscribers. The trustees were annually eligible by the subscribers, and had the disposal of the contribution, with the appointment of the librarian and clerk. Nearly £600 were raised, and a foundation was laid for an institution, ornamental to the inetropolis, and useful to the colony. The books were deposited in the town hall. Governor Tryon afterward gave the trustees a charter.2
A bill was brought forward by the legislature of Massachusetts for granting an excise on wines and spirituous liquors; but, meeting with great opposition, it was referred to the consideration of the people in the several towns. The returns discovering great diversity of opinion, the house, not viewing them as conclusive instructions, voted, that they should not be considered ;
and the bill was finally enacted and approved.3 Exports There were exported this year, from South Carolina, 104,682 from S. Ca- barrels of rice, and 216,924 pounds of indigo; which, together
with naval stores, provisions, skins, lumber, and other products, amounted to the value of upwards of £240,000 sterling. Cotton
is mentioned as an article of exportation as early as this year.5 Marine So- The Massacusetts Marine Society was incorporated by an act
of the legislature. Mission to Gideon Hawley was ordained at the Old South church in Mohawks. Boston, as a missionary to the Mohawk Indians.?
1 Life of President Johnson, 87–91. Miller, ii. 357.
2 Smith, N. York, ii. c. 4. The first provision for a free school in the colony was only 22 years before. “ This year,”  says Smith, “was the first of our public attention to the education of youth : provision was then made for the first time to support a Free School, for teaching the Latin and Greek tongues, and the practical branches of the mathematics, under the care of Mr. Alexander Malcolin of Aberdeen, the author of a Treatise upon Bookkeeping. The bill for this school, drafted by Mr. Philipse the speaker, and brought in by Mr. Delancey, administered to some merriment. It had this singular preamble : Whereas the youth of this colony are found, by Inanifold experience, to be not inferior in their natural geniuses to the youth of any other country in the world, therefore, be it enacted, &c.” Ib. c. i.
3 Minot, i. 201–214.