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of two thousand men and six ships of war.
He cautioned him against dropping any hint of the attack meditated, by Admiral Vernon, upon St. Augustine, and assured him that the reward for his services should be ample.
For a small bribe, a soldier, who had been made prisoner in one of the numerous skirmishes, engaged to deliver this letter to the deserter, and was then set at liberty. As was foreseen, he carried it directly to the Spanish general, who immediately suspected the deserter to be a spy from the English camp, and ordered him to be put in irons. But although his suspicions were awakened, he was yet uncertain whether the whole might not be a stratagem of his antagonist.
While hesitating what to believe, three small vessels of war appeared off the coast. Supposing they brought the reinforcements alluded to in the letter to the deserter, he hesitated no longer, but determined to make a vigorous attack upon the English, before these reinforcements could arrive and be brought into action.
General Oglethorpe, by mere accident, obtained information of their design. A small party was instantly placed in ambuscade, the Spaniards advanced near them, halted to rest, and laid aside their arms. A sudden and well directed fire, killing many, threw the enemy into confusion. After a few more discharges, they fled to their fortifications, which they demolished, and, hastily embarking, made every possible effort to escape from the reinforcements that were supposed to be approaching.
Thus was Georgia, with trifling loss, delivered from the most imminent danger. General Ogle. thorpe not only retrieved, but exalted his reputation. From the Carolinians, grateful for their preservation, and from the governors of most of the northern colonies, he received cordial congra
his address and good fortune. And so mortified were the Spaniards at the result of the expedition, that the commander, on his return, was arrested, tried, and cashiered for misconduct.
But the prosperity of the colony was retarded by these disturbances. For ten years longer, it remained under the management of the trustees, who, embarrassing it by too much regulation, discouraged the emigrants and checked its growth. At length, disappointed in their hopes, and wearied by complaints, they surrendered their charter to the crown; and, in 1754, a royal government was established over the colony.
New regulations being adopted, Georgia began to flourish. Among her governors, James Wright deserves honourable notice for his wisdom in discerning, and his zeal in pursuing her true interests. The cultivation of rice and indigo was prosecuted with augmented industry, skill, and profit; and in every succeeding year, an increased amount of these staple commodities was exported to the mother country. The Florida Indians were sometimes troublesome, but were as often chastised and compelled to sue for peace.
FRENCH WAR OF 1756-63.
The treaty of Aix la Chapelle, concluded in 1748, between England and France, restored tranquillity to America. At this period, the number of inhabitants in the thirteen colonies was about one million one hundred thousand. The English settlements had not advanced far into the wilderness, but extended along the ocean from Newfoundland to Florida. Those of the French, at the north, reached from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to Montreal; and they had built forts and trading houses on lake Ontario. At the south, they had planted New Orleans, and having discovered the river Missisippi, they claimed the fertile and delightful valley through which it runs, and the whole country watered by its tributary streams.
They at length determined to connect their northern and southern settlements by a chain of posts extending along the frontiers of the English, from lake Ontario to the Ohio, and down that river and the Missisippi to New Orleans. While they were intent on this project, a company of English traders, having obtained from the king a grant of land, established trading houses on the banks of the Ohio.
The French seized some of these traders, and conveyed them prisoners to Canada. The company complained to Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia. The land having been granted as a part of that colony, he determined to send a messenger to the commander of the French forces on the Ohio, and require him to withdraw his troops. For this mission he selected George Washington, who was then twenty-one years of age, and who afterwards became illustrious in the annals of his country.
To the letter of Dinwiddie, the French commander replied, that he had taken possession of the country in pursuance of directions from his general, then in Canada, to whom he would transmit the letter, and whose orders he should implicitly obey. This reply not being satisfactory to the governor, preparations were made in Virginia to maintain by force the rights of the British crown. Troops, constituting a regiment, were raised, the command of whom, on the death of the colonel first appointed, was given to Mr. Washington.
At the head of about four hundred men, he advanced, early in the spring, into the territory in dispute. On his route, he met, attacked, and defeated, a French party under the command of one Dijonville, who approached him in a manner indicating hostile intentions. He proceeded towards fort Du Quesne, situated at the junction of the Alleghany and Monongahela. From this fort, De Villier, at the head of nine hundred men, marched out to attack him.
Hearing of the approach of this party, Colonel Washington halted, and hastily erected some imperfect works, by means of which he hoped to prolong his defence until the arrival of reinforcements. He was closely besieged by De Villier, but
making an obstinate defence, was offered the most honourable terms of capitulation. These he accepted, and returned with his regiment to Virginia.
In this year, delegates from seven of the colonies met at Albany, for the purpose of holding a conference with the Six Nations of Indians. This business being finished, a confederation of the colonies was proposed by the delegates from Massachusetts. A “Plan of Union" was agreed upon to be submitted to the colonial legislatures, and to parliament, for their adoption.
This plan provided that delegates to a General Council should be chosen by the representatives of the people, in the colonial assemblies, and that a president-general should be appointed by the
This council was to possess the controul of the military force of the confederacy, and the power to concert all measures for the common protection and safety. The president-general was to have a negative upon the proceedings of the delegates.
This plan was rejected by parliament, because the delegates were to be chosen by the representatives of the people. It was rejected by the colonies, because it placed too much power in the hands of the king. In England, apprehensions were already entertained of the growing importance of the colonial assemblies. In America, the people began, perhaps unconsciously, to be actuated by the spirit of independence.
The conduct of the French, on the Ohio, convinced the cabinet of London that their claim to the country through which that river flows must