Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766
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In this vivid and compelling narrative, the Seven Years' War–long seen as a mere backdrop to the American Revolution–takes on a whole new significance. Relating the history of the war as it developed, Anderson shows how the complex array of forces brought into conflict helped both to create Britain’s empire and to sow the seeds of its eventual dissolution.
Beginning with a skirmish in the Pennsylvania backcountry involving an inexperienced George Washington, the Iroquois chief Tanaghrisson, and the ill-fated French emissary Jumonville, Anderson reveals a chain of events that would lead to world conflagration. Weaving together the military, economic, and political motives of the participants with unforgettable portraits of Washington, William Pitt, Montcalm, and many others, Anderson brings a fresh perspective to one of America’s most important wars, demonstrating how the forces unleashed there would irrevocably change the politics of empire in North America.
it. The French fleet lies captive in the harbor while the British fleet rides at anchor in Gabarus Bay (left); the fortress awaits its doom. Louisbourg’s fall opened Canada to invasion, as depicted in images from Hervey Smyth’s sketchbook. The dense forest surrounding a fishing settlement on Gaspé Bay (12) and a farming village at Miramichi (13) suggested how little the French improved their possessions, yet a note that 4,500 quintals—half a million pounds—of fish had been captured at the Gaspé
should go on raising and paying for soldiers once Canada had fallen and the threat of Indian raids had subsided. But governors like Massachusetts’s new chief executive, Francis Bernard, hastened to remind their assemblymen that they “must not think that if the War does not rage at your own Doors, you many therefore be unconcerned spectators in it,” and the representatives had for the most part responded well.1 The continuation of parliamentary subsidies helps explain the willingness of
could not enter and clear without an operating customhouse, and Newport could not live without its shipping. The Newport riots thus showed that even an institutionally autonomous colony could ill afford to dispense with the empire. The significance of this paradox—that colonists unwilling to abide the direct application of parliamentary sovereignty could not long survive outside the legal and mercantile system that Parliament had created—would become fully clear only after virtually every other
were fit for duty. Until the officers in the rear guard had ordered the destruction of the train’s supplies and mortars during the retreat, in other words, it would have been possible, in theory at least, to return to Fort Duquesne and destroy it. But whatever the numbers of men and arms and barrels of beef at Fort Cumberland might be read to say, psychologically it was impossible for Thomas Dunbar, the sole surviving colonel of Braddock’s command, to do more than order the retreat to continue.
Loudoun’s clear preference was to use them on his own terms. Even the colonial backwoodsmen who made up the the army’s ranger companies were, in Loudoun’s eyes, temporary substitutes for regulars. Although the unwillingness of most Indians to serve as scouts for the British left him with no choice but to use Americans, Loudoun encouraged junior officers to accompany the rangers on their patrols to learn woodcraft and bush-fighting techniques. Within a year or so, he hoped to be able to form