The Military Empire

New England

An Unsatisfactory Response

A soldier of the Compagnies franches de la Marine dressed for an expedition, mid-18th century

Caption: A soldier of the Compagnies franches de la Marine dressed for an expedition, mid-18th century

The governor of Massachusetts reinforced his frontier defences by building a number of forts. Four hundred and forty-five men were mobilized to guard them, and these forces were increased in 1746 by another 200. In order to heighten the hostility of the Amerindians, he instituted a system of bounties for the scalps of Frenchmen or their allies, including those of "females or males under 12 years of age." 138 However, this deplorable policy did not have the expected results, and in August a large expedition led by Commandant Rigaud de Vaudreuil razed Fort Massachusetts (now Adams, Massachusetts).

Meanwile, the governor of New York was also taking action. He invited militiamen from New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland to join with New Yorkers in an attack on Fort Saint-Frédéric. The troops were finally marshalled in late 1746 a few kilometres north of Albany. However, a number of disagreements, which were reflected in the New York Gazette, regarding payment for the costs of the expedition and the embezzlement said to have occurred in relation to the purchase of blue coats and red breeches for the 500 New Jersey volunteers, caused the entire project to collapse.

While the militiamen from the British colonies retreated, the raids by the Canadians and their allies only increased. Fort No. 4 (today Charlestown, New Hampshire) and the new Fort Massachusetts, rebuilt in May, managed to resist, but the garrison of Fort Clinton (near Easton, New York) was virtually decimated by Luc de La Corne de Saint-Luc leading a party of about 20 soldiers and militiamen and 200 Amerindians. Several villages between Deerfield, Massachusetts and White River (in the region of Hartford, Vermont) had to be abandoned. Only the peace treaty signed in Europe on October 7, 1748 brought some respite to the colonies after the news finally arrived in Boston on May 10, 1749. The Americans felt a certain relief, although the problem of their inability to defend their borders against raids from Canada remained unresolved.