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Queen Anne's War
Digital History ID 90

Author:   Thomas Oliver
Date:1708

Annotation:

Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) was the second of four great wars for empire fought between France, England, and their Indian allies. This struggle broke out when the French raided English settlements on the New England frontier. Fighting then spread to the southern frontier, where English colonists in the Carolinas attacked Spanish territory in Florida. An English invasion of Qu├ębec in 1710 failed, but in the Treaty of Utrecht ending the conflict, France ceded Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the French territory around Hudson Bay to England, and abandoned its claim to sovereignty over the Iroquois. Following the war, conflict persisted in the South, where English settlers destroyed the Yamassee Indians, who had been French allies, while the French brutally put down resistance by the Natchez Indians and their Chickasaw allies. This letter to the English Queen examines the conflict's costs upon New England.


Document:

May it please yr Majesty.

It's nothing short of Twenty years, That your Majesty's good Subjects of this Province have been wasting under the Calamities of a Distressing and Expensive War, taking the Commencement Hereof from the Rebellion and Eruption of the Eastern Indians in the year 1688...save only the intervention of three or four years cessation.... Yet in those years we were put to a very considerable charge in keeping constant guards and espyals over them, to prevent suprizals by their perfidy and treacherys.

And very soon upon the new declaration of war with France they broke out again in open rebellion and hostility, committing diverse barbarous murders, just after a repeated and fresh recognition of their duty and allegiance to your majesty.

We have been sharers in common with other our fellow subjects to a great degree in losses, both of men and estate, at home and at sea, both in the former & the present war, our trade is greatly diminished, and we are very much exhausted; our yearly expences for our necessary defence, and to prevent the incursions of the enemy is vastly great....

But we have no prospect of the end of these Troubles, & of being eased of our heavy and insupportable charge and burthen, whilst we can act only defensively, and have to do with the Enemy's Revels within our very bowels, who like beasts of prey seek their living by rapine and spoils, and are such monsters that their barbarities and cruelties are horrendous to human nature. And they are animated & encouraged to such barbarity by the French setting the heads of your Majesty's subjects, at a price upon bringing in the scalps, and they kill many in cold blood.... They have the advantage of retiring for shelter to the obscure recesses of a vast and wilderness full of woods, lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps, rocks, and mountains, whereto they make an easy and quick passage, by of their...canoes of great swiftness and light of carriage; the matter whereof they are made being to be found almost everywhere and their skill and dexterity for the making and using of them is very extraordinary, which renders our tiresome marches after them ineffectual.

These rebels have no fixt settlements, but are ambulatory, & make frequent removes, having no other Houses, but tents or huts made of barque or kinds of trees, mats, etc. which they soon provide in all places where they come, so that it is impracticable to pursue or follow them with any body of regular troops. They are supported and encouraged by the French, who make them yearly presents gratis, of clothing, arms, and ammunition besides the supplies they afford them for the beaver and furs...and constantly keep their priests & emissaries among them, to steady them in their interests and bigotries which they have instilled into them. The French also oft times join them in their marches on our frontiers.

We humbly conceive with submission that the most probable method of doing execution upon them & reducing them is by men of their own color, way, & manner of living.

And if your Majesty shall be graciously pleased to command the service of the Mohawks and other Nations of the Western Indians that are in friendship and Covenant with your Majesty's several Governments, against these Eastern Indian rebels, for which they express themselves to stand ready and to whom they are a terror, they would with the blessing of God in short time extirpate or reclaim them and prevent the incursions made upon us from Canada or the east.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Thomas Oliver to Queen Anne

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