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Michigan Chapter Eight

Border Wars of the Colonists

However, Montcalm soon showed his metal. He organized a successful campaign against Oswego, the most important of all the English forts, and captured it with sixteen hundred prisoners and a great mass of war material. This was the greatest triumph the French arms had yet achieved in America, and it was the triumph of French soldiers and not of Indians, as was the affair with Brad-dock. It was now only necessary to maintain a small force at Niagara and at Frontenac, and the French rapidly concentrated at Ticonderoga to repel a threatened attack at that point, and if successful in this, to push on to Albany. Nothing more came of it than a raid by a party which surprised and captured Fort William Henry at the head of Lake George, and took the English garrison prisoners.
These failures of the English arms to make any progress against the French in America were very humiliating to the people of England. When William Pitt came to the head of affairs he set about vigorous measures. The English nation was in the deep waters of tribulation. The kingdoms of Europe were a veritable war camp in the midst of which stood Frederic of Prussia.
Through the intrigues of the women of the court of Louis XV a formidable alliance had been raised against him. France, Russia, Austria, Sweden, Saxony, and most of the smaller German states had joined hands to compass his ruin, parcel out his dominions and divide th'e spoils. England made common cause with Frederic, but beyond her there were few, if any, to aid. But he proved himself a sturdy fighter. Defeat or success seemed to be all one to him; from the former he rallied with perennial vigor, from the latter he pushed on to further triumphs. The war which was expected at the outset to be brief, lasted seven years. It raised Prussia to the rank of a first-class power and established the maritime and colonial greatness of England, while France issued from the contest with her power and prestige sadly dimmed. With the coming of Pitt the face of things in England was changed. "England has long been in labor, " said Frederic, "and at last she has brought forth a man. " The inspiration of the new order of things was felt wherever the British flag waved. The American colonies were among the first to feel the new impulse. The master hand at the helm made it sufficiently certain that the ship was on her right course.

Michigan


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