The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

The Military Reputation of Canadians

Plans For Canadian Corps Considered

Many British officers had admired the fighting qualities of Canadians for some time and wished to recruit corps of colonial troops from among them. "The Canadians are a hardy race of people & have been accustomed to arms from their infancy... those people are certainly the properest kind of troops to be employed in an Indian War..... The moment the Indians see a body of Canadians in arms against them, they will be persuaded that America has but one master...," 30 wrote one officer. General Amherst himself used similar words, adding that the British government should make use of the outstanding talents of the former officers of the French colonial troops living in Canada.

Amherst also considered the Canadians, owing to their skill and discipline, superior to the American Rangers. Various corps of Rangers had taken part in the Seven Years' War, and the most highly rated by the British high command appear to have been those of Colonel Joseph Goreham. "Rogers' Rangers," as Major Robert Rogers' Rangers were called, had done battle on many occasions but had been unable to beat the Canadians, particularly in one forest battle that took place in 1758, and to Amherst were nothing but adventurers. Even as he encouraged the authorities in London to approve the raising of a colonial corps of Canadians, he was applauding the fact that the Rangers were being let go, "for I have a very low opinion of them ....“ 31 The establishment of a Canadian regiment was thus an excellent idea from the military standpoint. Unfortunately, it proved to be impossible politically. At that very moment, as it happened, the British government was attempting to economize by reducing its regular infantry from 124 to 70 regiments. Under such conditions, English public opinion would have been very much opposed to dropping tens of thousands of officers and soldiers of British origin, to be replaced by recently recruited enemies who were not only Catholic, but of French descent!