Queen Anne's War

A Brief History

"For several years, the war with the French and Indians continued, and atrocities of the most barbarous kind were committed. In 1694, Oyster River, a settlement near Portsmouth, New Hampshire was attacked, and nearly one hundred persons either killed or carried away captive. In March 1697, Haverhill Massachusetts was assaulted by a body of Indians, and forty of the inhabitants were either murdered or taken prisoners. But on September 20th of the same year, a treaty was concluded at Ryswick, a town in the west of Holland, which put an end to hostilities between France and England, and restored countries, forts and colonies, to their former proprietors.

The peace of Ryswick proved of short duration, and England and France were soon again at war. Three principle causes operated to produce hostilities: (1) the acknowledgment by France of Charles Edward, known as The Pretender, to the throne of England, and the death of his father, James II, whose crown and kingdom were given to Anne, second daughter of James, (2) the attempt of Louis XIV to destroy the balance of power in Europe, by placing Philip of Anjou, his grandson, on the throne of Spain, and (3) certain pretensions by the French king to privileges in America, denied as rightfully his by the English crown. For these and other reasons, England declared war against France, which continued from 1702 to the peace of Utrecht on April 11th 1713. This is commonly known as Queen Anne's War.

The whole weight of this war in America, unexpectedly fell on New England. The geographical position of New York particularly exposed that colony to a combined attack from the lakes and sea; but just before the commencement of hostilities, a treaty of neutrality was concluded between the Five Nations tribe and the French governor in Canada. The local situation of the Five Nations, bordering on the frontiers of New York, prevented the French from molesting that colony. Massachusetts and New Hampshire were thus left to bear the chief calamities of the war. The declaration of' war was immediately followed by incursions of French and Indians from Canada into these colonies, who seized every opportunity of annoying the inhabitants by depredation and outrage.

In the spring of 1707, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, dispatched an armament against Port Royal Nova Scotia. This expedition, consisting of one thousand men, sailed from Nantucket in twenty-three ships, under convoy of the Deptfort man-of-war, and the galley Province. After a short voyage, they arrived at Port Royal, but Captain March, the commander of the expedition, though a brave man, being unfit to lead in an enterprise so difficult, little was done beyond burning a few houses and killing a few cattle.

In 1710, another attempt was made to reduce Port Royal, in connection with a fleet from England, under command of Colonel Nicholson. New England furnished five regiments of troops. The armament left Boston in September, and on the 12th of October demanded a surrender of the place. The garrison, being weak and dispirited, surrendered on the 13th, upon which the name of the place was changed to Annapolis, in honor of Queen Anne; and from this time Acadia, or Nova Scotia, became a dependency of the British Crown.

The following year, a plan was projected for the conquest of Canada, in pursuance of which an armament, under Sir Hovenden Walker, arrived in Boston on July 6th. Additional forces were promptly raised by the colonies; and at length, August 10th, the whole force, consisting of fifteen men-of~war, forty transports, and nearly seven thousand troops, departed for the object in view. Shortly after the departure of the fleet, General Nicholson proceeded from Albany towards Canada, at the head of four thousand men, furnished by the colonies of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

The fleet reached the St. Lawrence in safety, but in ascending that river, eight or nine British transports were lost, and nearly one thousand men. Upon this disaster the fleet sailed directly for England, and the provincial troops returned home. General Nicholson, who had advanced to Lake George, hearing of the fate of the naval expedition on the St. Lawrence. abandoned the enterprise. The failure of the expedition was unjustly imputed by the mother country to New England, nor did the colonies receive any credit for their vigorous exertions in raising men and fitting out the fleet.

Two years later on April 11, 1713, a treaty concluded at Utrecht, a city of Holland, put an end to Queen Anne's War. After the peace was known in America, the eastern Indians had sent in a flag, and sued for peace. The Governor of Massachusetts, with his council, and that of New Hampshire, met them at Portsmouth, and entered into terms of pacification.


— A History of the United States, by Charles A. Goodrich, 1857 (edited)


Copyright © 2020