Final Struggle with France 1744-1760

King George's War

From the treaty of Utrecht to the year 1744, there were 30 years of nominal peace; then broke out the struggle known as King George's War. It was the same story: raids by the Canadians over the Champlain route, great expectations planned and equipped by the English and never carried through. This time the French entered Massachusetts, came within 40 miles of Albany, burned the northernmost settlement, Saratoga*, murdered many and carried terror to the entire frontier. That the advance posts in New York were ill protected was due to the jealous fears of the assembly, rather than to any inactivity of Governor Clinton. The suspicion that he would misuse their men and money was their only excuse for failing to ward death from the hardy settlers and for breaking faith with the Indian allies.

*The settlement contained about thirty houses and was on the Hudson near the present Schuylerville. The Saratoga of this war and of the Revolution was about 12 miles east of Saratoga Springs.

The French West of New York

Peace came in 1748 when no peace was possible. The French read the treaty to suit themselves; they built a fort south-west of the site of Dunkirk on Lake Erie, they strengthened Fort Niagara, they fortified a post at Ogdensburg, they extended the long dreamed of line of works down the Ohio and the Mississippi; soon they would creep over the Alleghanies and threaten the narrow coast strip of scattered English settlements. The time was critical for the exposed State of New York; the Mohawk Valley was not safe; Albany was threatened; the harbor of New York would be the first great prize.

The Albany Convention

To consider these matters and to confer with the Iroquois a congress of colonies was called by the English government to meet in Albany in 1754. Hither came representatives from the four New England colonies, from Pennsylvania, and from Maryland, to meet William Smith, Colonel Johnson and other from New York, together with Lieutenant Governor DeLancey, who since the departure of Clinton was in charge of the colony. Here came the Iroquois to chide the colony for their neglect; and among them was their great chief Hendrick *, whose speech has come down to us as a model oratory. Here Benjamin Franklin proposed a plan for a union of the American colonies. The proposal did not please the king; it seemed at the time to awaken no response from the colonies.

*Soiengarahta or King Hendrick as he is known in history, held the sway of a monaren over the Iroquois. He was a Mohawk and at this time an old man; in his earlier days he went to England with Schuyler and was there received by Queen Anne as one of royal blood. He was killed the next year after his speech at Albany, in the battle near Lake George.