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Michigan Chapter Eight

Border Wars of the Colonists


IN the latter part of the seventeenth and early half of the eighteenth centuries England and France were almost continually embroiled in wars with each other or with their continental neighbors, with whom one side or the other was allied. The American colonies could scarcely avoid being drawn into the conflict. The settlers in New England felt it a duty they owed the home government to support its efforts in the field by harassing their French neighbors, especially since the sentiment of one toward the other was not overly kind, at best. The French of Canada were also eager to forward the interests of their native country by threatening their neighbors to the southward with the terrors of invasion. Among the earliest of these wars which affected the colonies seriously was that known as William and Mary's war. This was purely a European dispute and the colonies were drawn into it only incidentally. The peace of Ryswick gave all parties a chance for much needed rest. But it was of short duration. The opening of the eighteenth century found France and England again at each others' throats in what is known as Queen Anne's war, and for the next twelve years New England was harrowed with border raids of Frenchmen from Canada and their merciless Indian allies. The colonists defended themselves as best they could and sought reprisal in the way then best available—an onslaught on Acadia and New Found-land. The horrors of those years of strife are among the most impressive of the annals of early New England life. Scarcely a hamlet of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire borders escaped. But strange to say, the passive New Englanders attempted no counter-raids upon Canada. However, a scheme was hatched a little later to send a sufficient force to capture Quebec and so subdue Canada and put an end to the strife. With the active aid of England an expedition was fitted out, but it was a futile attempt.

Michigan


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