Not to be a liberal at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head. — Francois Guizot

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

Two Wars with the French

Both the French and the English suffered greatly during King William's War, but the peace which followed it did not last long. Five years later, "Queen Anne's War" brought about new sufferings, and more deeds of heroism.

We are told that, urged by a French priest, the Indians built a church at St. Regis, in Canada. Wishing to have a bell to hang in the tower of this chapel, each convert brought a pelt, and the bell was ordered from France. But on its way over, it fell, by accident, into the hands of the English, who hung it up in the town of Deerfield, in Massachusetts.

The Indians, feeling that the bell belonged to them, and egged on by their priest, made a sudden raid upon Deerfield, in 1704, and, after killing or capturing many of the people, rescued their bell from the English meetinghouse, or church, and carried it off to St. Regis. They were so delighted with it that it is said they rang it every step of the way. This bell was cracked over a hundred years later, and the Indians, who still prized it greatly, carried it to Troy, where they had it refounded, while they mounted guard over it day and night.

France and Spain were allies in this war, so the trouble was not confined to New York and New England. The Spaniards made a raid from St. Augustine, and vainly attacked Charleston. A few years later, the New Englanders conquered Acadia, and at the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, the British received this province, Newfoundland, and the land around Hudson Bay. But Acadia's name was now changed to Nova Scotia, and Port Royal was called Annapolis, in honor of the English queen.

For the next thirty years peace reigned unbroken; still, during that time the French began to build their chain of sixty forts along the Lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississippi, thus drawing a line from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Mississippi. Most of these forts have since become cities, and you will find that many of them still bear the French names given by their founders. Their strongest fort, however, was at Louisburg, on Cape Breton Island. It was so well fortified that the French boasted that even women could defend it against a large army.

The third struggle with the French and Indians, which began in 1744, is known in our country as "King George's War," and in Europe as the "War of the Austrian Succession."

Now, Louisburg was so near Annapolis that the colonists felt sure the French would set out from there to recover Acadia. They therefore sent a messenger to England to explain their danger and beg for troops to protect them. But the prime minister knew so little about America that the messenger had to show him Louisburg and Annapolis on a map. He was so surprised then to discover that Cape Breton is an island, that he ran off to tell it to the king as a great piece of news.

Seeing that the British did not supply much help in answer to their appeal, the colonists before long made up their minds to take Louisburg themselves; and an army of them bravely set out from New England, under the leadership of Pepperell, in 1745. After six weeks' siege, and many deeds of daring, these four thousand New Englanders took the fortress, and when the news reached Boston the people almost went mad with joy. Three years later, however, this joy was turned to equally deep sorrow, for when the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) was signed, the fortress was given back to France, in exchange for the town of Madras in India.

Three wars had now been fought between the French and the English, but the vexed question as to who should own North America was not yet settled. The French had, as you have seen, taken possession of the Mississippi valley; but although some rumors of their presence there had reached the colonies, very few people really knew what the country was like, and what a vast tract of land France could thus claim.

Many of the English colonies had received grants of land running "from sea to sea," and now that population was increasing rapidly, people began to talk of crossing the Alleghany Mountains to settle on the other side. They were eager to do so, because hunters brought back to Virginia glowing descriptions of the Ohio, or "Beautiful River," the "Gateway of the West," and of the fertile lands through which it flowed. Just at this time, the governor of Virginia heard that the French were on the point of building a fort on the Allegheny River, so he bade George Washington, a young surveyor, find out if this news was true, and carry a letter to the French officer there to warn him that the Ohio country belonged to Virginia.


Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell