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This webpage reproduces an article in the

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Vol. 43 No. 2 (Summer 1950), pp100‑119

The text is in the public domain.

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The American
Frontier Post
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p100 Fort Massac during the French and Indian War

By Norman W. Caldwell*

The site of old Fort Massac is one of the most important of many historic spots in southern Illinois. Here the French established one of their main outposts in the upper Mississippi Valley during the French and Indian War; here, also, the Americans built a fort in the early national period for protection against hostile Indians and against the Spanish, who then occupied the west bank of the Mississippi. Although historians have in general been aware of the existence of the fort and have known something of its history, to date no one has attempted a special study of it. The present writer has undertaken such a study from the primary sources, hoping to set forth the results in two papers, the first of which deals with Fort Massac under the French regime. A later study will concern the post under American occupation.

No attempt will be made here to survey or to evaluate the literature which pertains to Fort Massac although there have p101been many errors by writers who sought to explain the reasons for the establishment of the fort as well as to trace its history.1 The idea of establishing a stronghold on the lower Ohio goes gar back into the history of the French occupation of the Illinois country. Such a project was actually undertaken by Charles Juchereau de St. Denys in 1702, only to be abandoned shortly as a failure.2 A generation later the idea was revived when some Shawnee Indians were located on the lower Ohio at the present site of Shawneetown.3 In this case, also, no permanent establishment was made, since the Shawnee soon abandoned the site and returned to the upper Ohio country. Somewhat later French interest in the Ohio route as a means of communication between lower Canada and the western posts revived interest in the project. Authorization for construction of a fort at the falls of the Ohio was given as early as 1746, but nothing more was accomplished at that time.4 In 1751 the Marquis de la Galissonière pointed out the advantages to be expected from fortifying the Ohio, this being after the opening of the controversy between the English and the French over possession of that area.5

p102 In addition to the English, there was the threat of hostile Indians, particularly the Chickasaw and the Cherokee, those southern tribes who were the natural enemies of the French Indians and hence allies of the English. These tribes made their incursions via the Tennessee River, which was the ancient highway used by them in going to attack the northern Indians.6

The establishment of a strong post on the lower Ohio would not only serve a military end, it would also become the core of a trade center through which French influence might be extended to the Chickasaw and the Cherokee.7

The English also considered building fortifications on the lower Ohio at this time. The contest between the English and the French in 1753 and 1754 over possession of the forks of the Ohio encompassed the lower Ohio, which Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia planned to fortify to cut off communications of the French along that river with the Mississippi.8 Also, Governor Glen of South Carolina, who had authority to build tramontane fortifications, toyed with the idea of fortifying the mouths of the Tennessee and Wabash to cut off French communications along the Ohio.9

Thus it is clear that fortification of the lower Ohio by either the French or the English could not long be delayed. The French became so obsessed with the idea of fortifying the mouth of the Tennessee that they located the "projected p103fort" on one of their maps two years before Fort Massac was actually built.10

Fortification of the headwaters of the Ohio by the French in 1752‑1753 made it necessary for them to defend the lower river inasmuch as communications with the upper posts could not otherwise be maintained against the opposition of the Cherokee and Chickasaw and their English allies from the South. In 1756 Governor Kerlérec of Louisiana asked for authority to build a fort and trading post at or near the mouth of the Ohio.11 Fear of the Cherokee raids was, therefore, the immediate reason why the French undertook the Fort Massac project.12

The Ohio route was of great importance to the French in supplying Fort Duquesne and the upper Ohio posts because French Canada was hardly self-sufficient in food even in normal times. When drought or other conditions caused poor harvests, food (especially flour) had to be imported from France.13 In wartime, therefore, Canada could not supply food to her own forces, not to mention royal troops and Indian allies. The use of Indian allies in military operations was especially burdensome to the supply system. As one writer pictured this problem, "A party of Indians (is sent) to make prisoners, with 15 days' provisions; it returns at the end of 8 days victorious, or without striking a blow; it has consumed everything and demands provisions. How are they to be refused?"14 The same authority estimated that, counting the support of the p104families of warriors, the government had to feed 6,000 Indians to get 2,000 to fight.15

From the beginning of the war, therefore, the question of how to provision the French forces was a serious one, especially since English naval power stood between France and her colonies. Under these circumstances the grain crop of the Illinois country became a most important asset to the French, and the support and maintenance of the posts in the Ohio country came to depend almost entirely upon the conveyance of Illinois flour and other provisions up the Ohio River.16 The first convoy was sent to Fort Duquesne in 1753, with annual convoys thereafter until the fall of the fort in 1758. These convoys consisted of fifteen or more bateaux under military guard which, in addition to flour, carried biscuit, maize, fats and bacon, tobacco, salt, and lead. Convoys generally left the Illinois settlements in mid‑March and were three months enroute to Fort Duquesne, the distance being covered being 500 French leagues (about 1,250 miles).17 The demands for provisions made by the upper Ohio forces on the Illinois commandant were not always met in full.18 However, this assistance enabled the French to hold their positions until 1758.19 The maintenance of the convoy route also facilitated the movement of western military personnel and Indian forces into the upper Ohio region.20

p105 In the spring of 1757, Makarty, the Illinois commandant, heard of a supposed Anglo-Indian attack via the Tennessee River. Accordingly he ordered a strong detachment of French and Indians under Captain Aubry to proceed to the mouth of the Tennessee to reconnoiter the situation "with the order to form upon the bank of this stream a retrenchment to hold fifty men in necessity."21 Aubry's reconnaissance failed to contact the English, but, upon his return to the Ohio, he built a fort just below the mouth of the Tennessee on the Illinois side of the river, which was completed by June 20, 1757.22 It is not clear that the English actually planned such an incursion in the spring of 1757, but it is known that they encouraged the Cherokee to make raids on the French, whom they suspected of being engaged in constructing a fort even before Aubry's expedition left for the Tennessee.23

The construction of Fort Massac was hasty and poorly executed. The structure was laid out in the form of a square of approximately one hundred feet with four bastions and a ditch. The walls were built of upright pickets of logs banked with earth. Surrounding the fort was a cleared area some four hundred yards wide. The structure was eventually mounted with eight guns and was capable of accommodating a garrison of one hundred men.24 Deverge criticized the fort as being "much p106too small and too weak" to resist any determined attack by the English, especially by boats coming down the Ohio.25

The origin of the name Massac has been a mystery to some writers, who have offered explanations cut from whole cloth. Among these are the tales that the fort was named for the engineer who built it (whose name, incidentally, was De la Gautraye!) or from the fact that the French garrison there supposedly had once been massacred by the Indians, from which the place was named "Fort Massacre," this being later corrupted to "Fort Massac."26 The fort was originally called "Fort de l'Ascension," because the first piles were placed on that holy day in the Roman Catholic calendar.27 The writer has not found exact information concerning the change in name, though there can be no doubt that the new name was given in honor of M. Massiac, who was at that time the French Minister of the Marine.28

That Fort Massac played a very important role in securing the Ohio route is shown by documents covering the period 1757‑1764. Serious incursions had been made by the Cherokee p107immediately before the fort was built.29 In the following year other raids were made, the French suffering considerable losses.30 By this time the general shortage of supplies in Louisiana was seriously affecting the French war effort and Governor Kerlérec was pleading with the home government for relief from a situation which grew worse daily, especially in regard to maintaining French prestige among the savages.31

The problem of the Cherokee was given much attention by French authorities both in Canada and in Louisiana. Working through the Shawnee in the upper Ohio, the French succeeded in 1756 in arranging a truce between these Indians and the Illinois tribes. Through the Shawnee, who had relatives among the Cherokee, the French hoped to influence the latter to turn against the English.32 It is interesting to note that this improvement in French diplomatic relations came at a time when the supply situation was growing increasingly desperate.33 Even the loss of Fort Duquesne in 1758 did not destroy the French influence among the Cherokee. This is explained in large measure by the fact that the Cherokee warriors who marched with Forbes against the French fort became dissatisfied p108and deserted the English. These warriors, led by Chief Little Carpenter, seem to have been disgruntled because of the treatment given them by Forbes and other British officers; they may also have been influenced by French propaganda, though this is not clear from the evidence at hand. Shortly thereafter the French succeeded in making an alliance with most of the Cherokee towns.34 A Jesuit was sent to the upper Ohio early in 1758 and, it may be assumed, had some influence in strengthening French control over the Indians in that area.35 The Illinois tribes remained faithful to the French despite some English influences. Several English traders who penetrated among these Indians were reported killed in 1758.36 The Arkansas also kept faithful to the French, maintaining their reputation as the only tribe who had never soiled their hands with French blood.37

The fall of Fort Duquesne in November, 1758, was a great blow to the French. That the post held out as long as it did is explained, of course, by the fact that the French were able to provision it from the Illinois country. And also the great quantities of military stores captured by the French at Oswego in 1756 gave them a rich resource in these items, without which p109they could hardly have continued their establishments in the upper Ohio.38 The belief of Governor Dinwiddie and others that the French possession of Fort Duquesne depended upon their control of Niagara and Crown Point is not substantiated by the facts.39 Even at best, however, military strength on the upper Ohio was subject to considerable fluctuation, especially in harvest time when men had to be released for home service, both in Canada and in Louisiana.40 By 1758, near famine was facing Canada, and there was a general scarcity of foodstuffs and soaring prices.41 In the same year the strain upon the Illinois country occasioned by supplying the upper Ohio forces resulted in serious shortages of provisions in Louisiana, since that province normally depended upon Illinois for much of its food supply.42 This scarcity was aggravated by a poor harvest in Illinois that year.43

In spite of these difficulties, the convoy from the Illinois country reached Fort Duquesne as usual in 1758, and supplies p110were adequate in the early part of that year.44 By September, however, Montcalm was forced to concede the necessity of evacuating the upper Ohio forts, considering them untenable for another season.45 The supply situation undoubtedly brought the French commander to this decision. Fortescue's statement that the loss of Fort Frontenac forced the French to give up Fort Duquesne because supplies from Canada were thereby cut off does not explain the situation satisfactorily.46 More significant is the general failure of provisions and munitions and particularly the partial failure of the Illinois grain crop that year.47

It is noteworthy that English occupation of the forks of the Ohio in 1758 did not necessarily mean that they could hold that position. Both George Croghan and Sir William Johnson were doubtful that the English could maintain communications with the Ohio region unless the Indian situation in that area took a more favorable turn. Johnson doubted the wisdom of building a strong fort at Pittsburgh, fearing this would tend to alienate the Indians. At the same time, he pointed out that if the French were able to resume their supply convoys on the Ohio, they would be in a position to cut the English off.48

p111 The fall of Fort Duquesne by no means reduced Fort Massac to a position of little importance. This post still served to protect communications of the lower Ohio as well as with Post Vincennes on the Wabash. Its importance in safeguarding the Mississippi convoy route was also stressed by the Louisiana authorities, who pointed out the utility of the post as a retreat for north-bound convoys in case of trouble between Arkansas Post and the Illinois country.49

The favorable turn of events in regard to French policy toward the Cherokee and Shawnee, which occurred at this time, made possible the execution of plans to convert Fort Massac into a trading center as well as a military post. Ministerial approval of the project to locate some of the Shawnee on the lower Ohio was given in 1758.50 Early in 1759, some forty cabins of the Shawnee (then located at Scioto) were moved to the Illinois country by Peter Chartier, the French agent. These Indians located at or near Fort Massac, from which point their warriors carried on some raids against the English Indians to the southward. After a short stay at Massac, however, the Shawnee, fearing revenge from their enemies, fled to the Illinois settlements. Such is Vaudreuil's explanation of the movement. According to Makarty, a lack of provisions caused this new trek.51 It must be assumed that these Shawnee soon returned to Scioto, since nothing more is heard of their presence in Illinois.52

There were at that time, however, rumors of an impending p112English attack on Fort Massac from the direction of the Tennessee River.53 In July, 1759, a band of Chickasaw, by‑passing Fort Massac, raided the Illinois settlements, though they failed to do much damage.54 Makarty was very uneasy for the safety of the Illinois country and pressed the Louisiana governor for reinforcements and supplies.55

At this time Makarty ordered repairs made on the fortifications at Massac, but he strongly urged that the future disposition of the place be seriously considered. He criticized the location of the fort and pointed out its weaknesses against possible attack.56 Evidently supplies and reinforcements were secured, for in the spring of 1760, Noyon de Villiers, the successor to Makarty in the Illinois command, dispatched a convoy carrying fifty soldiers and habitants with considerable supplies and munitions to Fort Massac. The Sieur Declouet was relieved of the command at the fort, to be succeeded by Lieutenant Rocheblave. The new commandant was ordered to tighten discipline and to regulate the liquor traffic more closely.57 The condition of the fortifications at this time was described as very bad, due to the poor quality of timber used in the original construction.58 Under these circumstances, fears for the loss of Fort Massac under an English attack from the Ohio were only too well founded. On the other hand, the French had less to fear from the Cherokee, who had now turned against the English. The growing scarcity of trade goods in the Illinois p113country continued, however, to embarrass the French who were trying to supply their Indian allies.59 In military operations during this period, the French confined themselves to reconnoitering the Ohio against possible English incursions from Fort Pitt.60 Attempts to influence the Illinois Indians to go to war as the allies of the Cherokee were a failure according to English intelligence.61

The prospect of the fall of Quebec and Montreal became more and more real after the evacuation of Fort Duquesne. Under such circumstances it was natural that the French would begin to consider how to defend Louisiana and how to save that region for France in the event of a negotiated peace. Indeed, since the outbreak of the war Frenchmen had been pondering the question of how France might satisfy English demands and still retain control of the Ohio River.62 After the loss of Fort Duquesne, the question as to whether the French could successfully defend upper Louisiana became paramount. One writer, anticipating the fall of Quebec, suggested the capitulation of Canada and the withdrawal of Canadian forces to Louisiana where Montcalm might prepare new lines of defense.63

About the same time a proposal was made for the entire civilian population of Canada to move to Louisiana and be re‑established there. This movement was to take place in three stages covering a three-year period. The first group of habitants p114would move to the Allegheny and locate between Forts Le Boeuf and Duquesne. The second group would settle along the Ohio between Fort Duquesne and the Wabash, with a stronghold at the mouth of that river. The last group would settle near the mouth of the Ohio, where a city would be built and fortified as the new capital.64 This project is of particular interest because its accomplishment would have made Fort Massac another Quebec. Even though nothing came of the scheme, it is worthwhile to examine it more carefully.

The arguments for the removal of the Canadians were: (1) Canada could not be successfully defended against English land and sea power. (2) The loss of the Canadian fur trade could be offset by new enterprises in the interior. (3) Holders of land and fiefs could be recompensed by new grants in Louisiana. (4) The Jesuits and other religious groups could likewise be compensated by the opening of new fields of labor. (5) The hardships incident to the removal could be mitigated by adequate preparations and by extending the movement over a three-year period. (6) The Canadian habitants would welcome prospects of better soil and climate especially if they received support in the form of subsistence and tools from the government during the first year.65

Critics of the proposal pointed out: (1) The advantages of the Louisiana soil and climate had been exaggerated; poor soil was no reason why Canada should be abandoned. Canada could be made self-supporting. (2) To abandon Canada would be to give up a strategic area to the English. (3) France p115was more able to populate her lands than was England.66

Even if the plans had been adopted, it could not have been carried out. The capture of Quebec in 1759 and the fall of Montreal the following year delivered Canada to the English. In any case, the plan would not have been practical because of the difficulties involving moving masses of civilians to new homes in the distant and unbroken wilderness. Nevertheless, the project is interesting as an example of the emphasis placed upon the importance of the lower Ohio region.

In the negotiations for the Peace of 1763 the French fought hard to save Louisiana and the lower Ohio area. From their viewpoint one could not be held without the other. Should the English gain control of the Ohio, Louisiana would be thrown open to their future conquest.67 In the peace negotiations the French counted upon their possession of Fort Massac to offset the loss of Fort Duquesne.68 Finally they offered to cede Canada, while keeping Louisiana.69 The Ohio and Wabash areas were, of course, considered as dependencies of Louisiana rather than of Canada.70 In the end, France was obliged to give up Canada as well as the Ohio Valley and the east bank of the Mississippi. The cession of the west bank of the Mississippi to Spain spelled the final doom of the French continental empire in America.

p116 During the period immediately after the fall of Quebec and Montreal and prior to the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the French in Louisiana found themselves in a very precarious situation. Cut off from the mother country, and desperately short of supplies, they watched their Indian allies join the English. An English invasion from the Ohio seemed imminent.71

Once the treaty was signed, an interim government of Louisiana had to be provided. M. Dabbadie was sent out in the capacity of "Director of Louisiana," the Sieur Aubry being put in command of the troops.72 Orders were issued to reduce garrisons in the Illinois and neighboring posts but to hold the forts until the time for the formal surrender to the English or Spanish. Such habitants as wished to move to the Indies or other French possessions were promised transportation.73 Acting under these instructions Noyon de Villiers, the Illinois commandant, ordered the garrison at Fort Massac reduced to fifteen men and one officer, while the artillery at the fort, with the exception of three pieces, was sent to Ste Genevieve, across the Mississippi.74 At the same time the Illinois garrison was reduced to about forty men.75 In April, 1764, news of the cession of western Louisiana reached New Orleans.76 Early in July the supernumeraries from the posts in the Illinois country arrived in lower Louisiana.77 At about the same time Fort Massac was evacuated along with Fort Vincennes and other outlying posts.78 Saint Ange, then commandant in Illinois, was left to await British occupancy, which in turn depended upon the restoration of p117peace with Pontiac and his band of rebellious Indians.79

Disposition of the artillery at Massac and other French posts was the subject of controversy between French and British authorities. The French government had instructed Louisiana officials to remove all artillery and other military property in the forts to Spanish territory. It was in accordance with these instructions that most of the guns at Fort Massac had been moved to Ste Genevieve.80 Colonel Robertson, the British officer in charge of the Louisiana occupation, objected, maintaining that under the peace treaty military ordnance was a part of the cessions to be made by the French. Dabbadie finally agreed to leave some of the guns for protection against the Indians, stipulating that these were to be held in the status of a loan to the British in case it should be learned that the French were entitled to them under the treaty.81

Space does not permit a full relation of the story of the British occupation of the Illinois country.82 It will be recalled that, though Canada capitulated in 1760, and Detroit surrendered early the following year, the English did not occupy the Illinois posts until 1765 because of Pontiac's Rebellion.83 The attempt of the British force under Major Loftus to ascend the Mississippi in 1764 to accept the surrender of the Illinois country p118was frustrated by hostile Indians.84 A small British force, which when overland from Mobile via Kentucky, arrived at Fort Chartres in February, 1765, but was compelled to leave due to the attitude of the savages.85 Fort Chartres finally surrendered to Captain Stirling of the Forty-Second (Black Watch) Regiment, who led a detachment down the Ohio in the late summer and early autumn of 1765.86

In occupying the Illinois country the British originally planned to garrison Fort Massac with a force of sixty men.87 Sir William Johnson, the English Indian agent, was particularly concerned about the problem of the Delaware, the Seneca, and the Shawnee Indians, all of whom had co‑operated with the French during the war. Johnson thought the French would continue to supply these Indians, thus keeping them loyal until Canada might be regained.88 To offset this George Croghan advocated purchasing from the Indians the area between the mouth of the Ohio and the Illinois River and planting there "a respectable colony, in order to secure our frontiers, and prevent the French from any attempt to Rival us in the Fur trade with the Natives."89

p119 Fort Massac, however, was not destined to serve as a link in the chain of British power in the west. Before the British occupied the place, it was burned by Chickasaw Indians.90 Though consideration was given to the reconstruction of the fort, this was not to be undertaken by the British. A generation later the Americans were to raise a new fortification, the construction of which will begin the second chapter in the story of Fort Massac.91


The Editor's Note:

* Norman W. Caldwell is associate professor of history at Southern Illinois University and the author of The French in the Mississippi Valley, 1740‑1750 (University of Illinois Press, 1941) and numerous articles on the French colonial and early national periods of American history. During World War II he served in the Historical Program of the Army Air Forces. Interest in military history led to the writing of "Cantonment Wilkinsonville" (Mid-America, January, 1949) which, in turn, prompted the present study of Fort Massac. The preparation of this paper was made possible, in part, by a research grant from Southern Illinois University.


The Author's Notes:

1 See, for example, the statement in O. J. Page, History of Massac County, Illinois (Metropolis, Ill., 1900), 25 to the effect that the fort was founded by the French in 1758 to receive the garrison being evacuated from Fort Duquesne. Fort Massac was actually built in 1757 and for entirely different reasons. See also Henry Brown, The History of Illinois from its first Discovery and Settlement to the Present Time (New York, 1844), 170‑71. Brown not only thought the fort was founded long before it was, but stated that it was abandoned by the French "about 1750." Monette states that the post was founded in 1759 by troops descending from the evacuation of Fort Duquesne, and named for "the commander M. Massac, who superintended its construction." John W. Monette, History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi (New York, 1846), I: 305, 317. Moses quotes Monette, but gives 1758 as the date of the founding of the post. John Moses, Illinois, Historical and Statistical (Chicago, 1895), I: 148 n.

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2 The history of Juchereau's establishment is traced in detail in the author's "Charles Juchereau de St. Denys: A French Pioneer in the Mississippi Valley," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. XXVIII, no. 4 (Mar., 1942), 563‑80.

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3 See the author's "Shawneetown — A Chapter in the Indian History of Illinois," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. XXXII, no. 2 (June, 1939), 193‑205.

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4 Vaudreuil to Machault, August 8, 1756, Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York (Albany, 1856‑1858), X: 436‑37. (Cited hereafter as NYCD.)

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5 See memoir of La Galissonière, 1757, in "Affaires Etrangères, Mémoires et Documents, Amérique", 24:110 ff.; "Reflexions on the Same," ibid., 139 ff. (Cited hereafter as AE. References to manuscript materials are cited under archival file numbers.)

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6 In 1754, for example, a French party was attacked near the mouth of the Tennessee, suffering the loss of two dead and two captured. Deposition of one Mercier, "Journal of Council of South Carolina, Oct. 22, 1754." Theodore C. Pease, Illinois on the Eve of the Seven Years' War, 1747‑1755 (Illinois Historical Collections, XXIX, Springfield, 1940), 912.

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7 Abbé de l'Isle Dieu to Machault, Oct. 12, 1754, ibid., 907‑10; Archives Nationales, Colonies (Paris), C11A, 99: 472‑72v. (Cited hereafter as ANC.) M. Makarty, then commanding in the Illinois country, supported the idea strongly. However, the government would not commit itself at that time to the expenditures necessary for such an establishment. Duquesne to Machault, Oct. 13, 1754, NYCD, X: 263.

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8 Lawrence Henry Gipson, Zones of International Friction: North America, South of the Great Lakes Region, 1748‑1754 (The British Empire Before the American Revolution, IV, New York, 1939), 305‑6.

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9 See also David D. Wallace, The History of South Carolina (New York, 1934), II: 9.

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10 See the Bellin map of the Mississippi, 1755, plate XXIV, Indian Villages of the Illinois Country (Illinois State Museum, Springfield, 1942). The "fort" was captioned Fort François Projetté et commencé depuis Longtemps!

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11 Kerlérec to Minister, Apr. 1, 1756, ANC, C13A, 39: 151‑52; same to same, July 22, 1756, ANC, C13A, 39: 182.

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12 See also Journal of Capt. H. Gordon, Aug. 6, 1766 in C. W. Alvord and C. E. Carter, The New Régime, 1756‑1767 (Illinois Historical Collections, XI, Springfield, 1916), 295‑96; Baron Marc de Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières Années de la Louisiane Française (Paris, 1903), 79. Not only the Cherokee, but English bands were expected, with attacks on the Illinois settlements themselves being rumored. Vaudreuil to Machault, Apr. 19, 1757, NYCD, X: 540. At the same time the French were negotiating with the Cherokee, whom they eventually persuaded to turn against the English. Vaudreuil to Minister, July 13, 1757, ANC, C13A, 39: 307‑8v.

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13 Memoir on Louisiana and Canada, Jan. 27, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 422v‑23.

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14 Memoir on Canada, undated, NYCDX: 933.

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15 Memoir on Canada, NYCDX: 933.

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16 The Illinois grain crop was of sufficient size in good years for an export of 800,000 pounds of flour to New Orleans. First Memoir on Louisiana and Canada joined to a letter of the Duc de Choiseul, Jan. 27, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 419.

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17 Memorandum of Kerlérec, Dec. 12, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 141‑41v.

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18 Thus, in 1755, M. Dumas, commandant at Fort Duquesne, asked for 120,000 pounds of flour and 40,000 pounds of pork. Makarty, the Illinois commandant, complied as far as possible, but was not able to supply "near the quantity that was desired." Dumas to Makarty, Nov. 10, 1755, NYCDX: 407; Kerlérec to Machault, June 1, 1756, ibid., 406.

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19 See Vaudreuil to Machault, Aug. 8, 1756, NYCDX: 436. Speaking of the success of the convoy system, Vaudreuil said it afforded a source of supplies "whence I can derive succor in provisions and men, sooner and more easily than from the heart of this Colony." Ibid.

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20 Kerlérec to Minister, Jan. 23, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 24; Request of Capt. Aubry to Berryer, Feb. 24, 1761, ibid., 42: 280‑80v. Both these sources mention the movement of troops over the Ohio route. In 1758 Aubry headed a body of several hundred French and Indians which went up from the Illinois country to defend Fort Duquesne. This force dealt the English troops under Forbes a heavy blow shortly before the fort was abandoned.

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21 Deverge Memoir, Dec. 21, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 266.

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22 C. W. Alvord, The Illinois Country, 1673‑1818 (Springfield, 1920), 239; Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières Années, 205; Aubry to Berryer, Feb. 24, 1761, ANC, C13A, 42: 280.

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23 See Carolina Memoir, Apr. 24, 1757, ANC, C11E, 10: 180v. This account tells of Cherokee attacks on the French on the Tennessee "where they are working on the construction of a Fort." Further on it is stated that this supposed construction might be at the mouth of the Ohio, and then it is added, ou bien dans celui où la riviere des Chéraquis se jette dans ce fleuve. The deposition of a French prisoner to the effect that the French were building no fort on the lower Ohio in the spring of 1757 may have been made in ignorance of to conceal the fact. Curiously enough this deposition is dated the same day Aubry's men completed Fort Massac. Examination of Belestre, Winchester, June 20, 1757, NYCDVII: 282.

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24 Aubry's account of the Illinois country, 1763, C. W. Alvord and C. E. Carter, The Critical Period, 1763‑1765 (Illinois Historical CollectionsX, Springfield, 1915), 3; "Journal, From Fort Pitt, to Fort Chartres in the Illinois Country, by John Jennings," Mar. 27, 1766, Alvord and Carter, New Régime, 173; Memoir, Dec. 21, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 266v. See also Memorandum of Kerlérec, Dec. 12, 1758, ANC, C13A, 140‑40v; Report of Col. Robertson, Mar. 8, 1764, Alvord and Carter, Critical Period, 218.

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25 Deverge Memoir, Dec. 21, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 266v. He recommended a stronger fortification of masonry with river patrols for watch against possible attacks. Ibid., 267‑67v. Gov. Kerlérec apologized for the poor quality of the construction of the fort, attributing it to haste. Memorandum of Kerlérec, Dec. 12, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 140v. There is evidently no question of peculation and fraud in the construction, which was done by the soldiers. According to Montcalm this was the reason Canadian fortifications were so poor. He speaks of "the immense robberies committed by all those employed at them." The Marquis even called Canada's greatest engineer, M. de Léry, "a great ignoramus in his profession . . . who robbed the King like the rest." Montcalm to Le Normand, Apr. 12, 1759, NYCDX: 963.

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26 See again Page, History of Massac County, 24ff. The "massacre" tale is utterly without foundation and need not be related here. It may have been invented by Brown, whose book has an early reference to it. Brown, History of Illinois, 170‑71. Page tells how, in President Harrison's administration, Whitelaw Reid, the American ambassador to France, tried in vain to check the name in French official records. Page, History of Massac County, 26. See also, Mrs. Matthew T. Scott, "Old Fort Massac," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the Year 1903 (Springfield, 1904), 45.

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27 Deverge Memoir, Dec. 21, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 266v; Reuben Gold Thwaites, in Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, XVIII (Madison, 1908), 210, n. 62.

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28 The first use of the new name which has been found dates from Aug. 30, 1759. Writing at that time in reference to an attack on the Illinois country made by a Chickasaw band, Makarty makes several references to "fort Massiac." Makarty to Kerlérec, Aug. 30, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 105v‑106v; Alvord, Illinois Country, 411, n. 32.

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29 Little Carpenter, the Cherokee chief who conducted these operations, reported as follows: "We have kill'd a great many of the French & their Indians & have made their blood run down Tanassee River." Lyttleton to Lords of Trade, Apr. 22, 1757, Public Record Office (London), CO5, v. 375 (Cited hereafter as PRO). No authority has been found for Thwaites' statement that raids were made in the autumn of 1757. See Wis. Hist. Col., XVIII, 210, n. 62.

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30 Wallace, History of South Carolina, II: 24. Kerlérec states that French losses in the Massac area for the years 1756‑1758 were fifteen men and two officers. Memorandum of Kerlérec, Dec. 12, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 140v.

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31 Kerlérec to Minister, Aug. 28, 1757, ANC, C13A, 40: 34‑35v; same to same, Aug. 12, 23, 1758, ibid., 31v. In the latter document the governor writes: "Our Enemies double their efforts from the direction of Carolina to alienate from us the savages; they have already engaged a great part of the Cherokees; And according to the news I have received, these (Indians) have already come by the river to make a stroke in the neighborhood of our new fort on the ouabache, where they have killed eight men."

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32 For these matters see Vaudreuil to Machault, Aug. 8, 1756, NYCDX: 437; extract of a letter from Richard Haddon to Messrs. Nathaniel Marston, Jaspar Parmer & Co., Dec. 29, 1756, NYCDVII: 219‑20; Gov. Charles Hardy to Lords of Trade, Mar. 4, 1757, ibid., 219.

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33 French military successes in 1756 and 1757 were, of course, mainly responsible for this. Sir William Johnson, on the other hand, blamed the English in that they had failed to give sufficient presents to the Indians of the Ohio country as well as to reassure them in reference to land grants. Johnson to Lords of Trade, Nov. 10, 1756, NYCDVII: 169‑70; same to same, June 25, 1757, ibid., 228.

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34 The story of the Cherokee defection from the English cannot be told in full here. By 1760 the "over hill towns" were in general revolt against the English, this situation having developed in part as a result of English blundering in South Carolina in reference to Indian policy. In general the English strategy of trying to befriend the Shawnee and Delaware in Pennsylvania ran counter to Cherokee policy, which had been one of hostility to those tribes. It was, no doubt, a blunder to enlist the Cherokee in Forbes' force. Eventually the English in South Carolina were obliged to take up arms against the Cherokee, who in June, 1760, made peace with the French at Mobile. See Bull to Lords of Trade, June 30, 1760, PRO, CO5, v. 376; Gov. William Denny to Col. George Washington, March 25, 1758, Pennsylvania Archives, Series 4, II: 915; Procès Verbal of Council of War between Kerlérec and the Cherokee, June 24, 1760, in Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières Années, 110.

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35 Vaudreuil to Minister, Feb. 13, 1758, ANC, C11A, 103: 19‑19v. Officially, of course, the Jesuit's mission was "to insinuate the sentiments of Christianity into . . . the savages." The Jesuit sent to undertake this mission was Father Claude-François-Louis Virot, who located his mission at Sawcunk, on the site of the present Beaver, Pa. Little is known of his experiences there. See Clifford M. Lewis, S. J., "French Priests in Western Pennsylvania, 1739‑1759," Mid‑America, XXIX, No. 2 (April, 1947), 92‑121.

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36 Memorandum of Kerlérec, Dec. 12, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 141v‑42.

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37 Ibid., 142v‑43v. A new fort was constructed at Arkansas Post, this being finished some time in 1759. Rochemore to Minister, June 23, 1760, ANC, C13A, 42: 121.

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38 For an inventory of military stores, guns, boats, etc. taken, see "Journal of the Siege of Oswego," Aug. 11‑14, 1756, NYCDX: 443‑44. See also Vaudreuil to Machault, Nov. 6, 1756, ibid., 497‑98.

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39 Dinwiddie stated in 1756 that "the possess'n of Lake Ontario, tak'g C. Point and Niagara, will prevent any Supplies of Provis's or Warlike Stores being carried to the Ohio, and in course F't Duquesne will be deserted." Dinwiddie to Shirley, Mar. 13, 1756. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751‑1758; Collections of the Virginia Historical Society (Richmond, 1884), New series IV: 370. The opposite view is taken by Vaudreuil, who in 1757, stated that Fort Duquesne had been maintained "by having provisions sent from Detroit and also from the post of the Illinois; and had I neglected these two resources, ever so little . . . the Beautiful river would be at present wholly unprovided with provisions, and consequently all our forts abandoned." Vaudreuil to Moras, July 12, 1757, NYCD, X: 583.

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40 Detail of the Campaign of 1757, NYCD, X: 629; Vaudreuil to Moras, July 12, 1757, ibid., 583‑84.

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41 Prices of Provisions, 1758, NYCD, X: 711; Prices, Nov. 1, 1758, ibid., 865‑66. One writer noted at that time: "We are on the eve of the most cruel famine. . . . The mechanics, artisans and day‑laborers exhausted by hunger absolutely cannot work any longer; they are so feeble that 'tis with difficulty they can sustain themselves." M. Daine to Marshal de Belle Isle, May 19, 1758, NYCD, X: 704. Some relief came at this time with the arrival of 10,000 barrels of flour from France. M. Doreil to Marshal de Belle Isle, July 31, 1758, NYCD, X: 768. Some supplies were procured from Spain the following year, though the quantity received was not stated. Ministerial Minute, Mar. 9, 1759, ibid., 944‑45.

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42 Official approval of the use of Illinois provisions for the upper Ohio posts, which came in 1758, put Louisiana in a bad position in regard to complaint against the policy. Minister to Bigot, Feb. 10, 1758, ANC, B, 107: 276; Kerlérec to Minister, May 21, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 69v. Makarty wrote in 1759 that it was not possible to send flour to New Orleans because of the Canadian requisitions, ibid.

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43 Layssard to Descloseaux, Aug. 16, 1758, NAC, C13A, 40: 316.

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44 News from Carillon, June 2, 1758, NYCD, X: 710; Minister to Vaudreuil, Aug. 7, 1758, ANC, B, 107: 44.

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45 Writing on Sept. 12, Montcalm stated: "Fort Duquesne no longer exists; whether it has been attacked or taken, whether we are yet masters of it, the determination respecting that from must be adopted this winter, when the plan of special operations for the campaign of 1759, will be agreed upon." "General Reflections on the measures to be adopted for the Defence of this Colony." By M. de Montcalm, undated. M. Vaudreuil's remarks on this document are dated Sept. 12, 1758. NYCD, X: 876; Memoir of Vaudreuil, Nov. 3, 1758, ANC, C11A, 103: 293‑94. In the latter reference the governor pointed out the necessity of making peace during the coming winter, unless heavy reinforcements in supplies and trade goods should be received.

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46 Fortescue writes: "Bradstreet's capture of Fort Frontenac had already decided the fate of Fort Duquesne. The French commander, his supplies being cut off, was obliged to dismiss the greater number of his men; otherwise Forbes could hardly have penetrated to the Ohio in that year." J. W. Fortescue, A History of the British Army (London, 1910), II: 342.

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47 At the time of the evacuation of the fort in November, 1758, only eighteen days' rations remained in the stores according to M. Waddington. Richard Waddington, La Guerre de Sept Ans (Paris, 1899), II: 406. See also, Aubry to Berryer, Feb. 24, 1761, ANC, C13A, 42: 280v; M. Malartic to M. de Cremille, Apr. 9, 1759, NYCD, X: 956. The French evacuated and blew up the fort on Nov. 24, 1758.

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48 Johnson to Gage, Mar. 17, 1760, The Papers of Sir William Johnson (Albany, 1921), III: 200.

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49 Memorandum of Kerlérec, Dec. 12, 1758, ANC, C13A, 40: 140v. In 1758 the French had a garrison of forty men at Vincennes under the command of St. Ange de Bellerive, ibid.

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50 Minister to Vaudreuil, Feb. 14, 1758, ANC, B, 107: 17. Vaudreuil, the Canadian governor, does not seem to have been very enthusiastic about this project, he being of the opinion that it could not be developed in wartime. Vaudreuil to Minister, Oct. 3, 1758, ANC, C11A, 103: 214v‑15. The parallel between this policy and that carried out in reference to the Shawnee during King George's War is striking. See again the author's "Shawneetown," in Jour. Ill. State Hist. Soc. XXXII: 193‑205.

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51 Vaudreuil to Berryer, June 24, 1760, NYCD, I: 1092; Makarty to Kerlérec, Aug. 30, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 106v.

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52 Makarty's letter of Aug. 30, 1759, (ANC, C13A, 41: 105), states that the Shawnee were par le defaut de vivres sur le moment de lever le pied pour allierº joindre la bande des Soniota dont je ne Scaitº absolument Rien de leur sentiment.

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53 Extract from the journal of Montcalm, May 11, 1759, in Wis. Hist. Col., XVIII: 209‑10.

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54 Makarty to Kerlérec, Aug. 30, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 105‑6. This Chickasaw band seems to have contained only thirteen warriors.

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55 Ibid., 106v. Makarty urged that a convoy be sent, be it ever so late in starting, for, he said, by the time it reached the mouth of the Ohio the bad weather would be over. In any case, he added: ils ont pour ressources le fort massiac.

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56 Ibid., 106v. Makarty ordered the fort to be "terraced, fraized and fortified, piece upon piece, with a good ditch," Wis. Hist. Col., XVIII: 217.

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57 Of interest also is the order to have prayers offered and "to put a check upon the blasphemy and oaths to which the soldiers are only too much afflicted."º "Orders of Noyon de Villiers for Garrisoning Fort Massac," May 22, 1760, Wis. Hist. Col., XVIII: 213‑16.

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58 Most likely Aubry's men, in their haste, used cottonwood and willow logs instead of going farther inland to procure oak timber, which would have been much more difficult to cut and move to the site. See Rochemore to Minister, June 23, 1760, ANC, C13A, 42: 122‑22v.

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59 Vaudreuil to Berryer, June 24, 1760, NYCD, X: 1092. Writing at the close of that year, Kerlérec warned the home government that this state of affairs could not long continue. Up to that time the Indians were still under French control, but he emphasized that La force de la parolle Françoise ne consiste que dans les marchandises qui L'accompagnent. Kerlérec to Minister, Dec. 25, 1760, ANC, C13A, 42: 88. Earlier he had warned that Fort Massac could not be held unless trade goods could be made available to the Cherokee. Same to same, June 12, 1760, ANC, C13A, 42: 51‑51v. A year later Kerlérec reported only 1,800 pounds of powder on hand at Fort Chartres and only 2,000 pounds of good powder at New Orleans. Same to same, Dec. 15, 1761, ANC, C13A, 42: 267‑69.

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60 Kerlérec to Minister. Aug. 4, 1760, ANC, C13A, 42: 60v.

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61 Indian Intelligence, Enclosed in Johnson to Amherst, Feb. 12, 1761, Papers of Sir William Johnson, III: 336‑37.

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62 See Draft of proposed Treaty, Mar. 1, 1756, Affaires Etrangères, Correspondance Politique, Amérique, 440: 92‑95v.

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63 Fragment of Memoir, undated, ANC, C11A, 103: 486‑87.

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64 Memoir of Beauval on the Removal of the Canadians to Louisiana, Dec. 27, 1758, ANC, C11A, 103: 490‑95; Second Memoir, Examination of the Project to remove the Canadian Habitants to Louisiana, February, 1759, AE, Mém. et Doc., Amér., 24: 273. M. Rigaud de Vaudreuil, brother of the Canadian governor, was suggested as the leader of this project.

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65 These advantages are listed in "Second Memoir on Canadian Removal to Louisiana," Jan. 27, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 424‑27v. Another memoir entitled "Memoir on Louisiana and Canada," which was submitted at the same time, discusses the resources and characteristics of both provinces and refers to the plan for establishments on the lower Ohio, ANC, C13A, 41: 419‑23v. This document mentions a proposed fort at the mouth of the Miami River, and another at the mouth of the Ohio on the right bank, with a new governmental center to be located at Fort Massac (à Manchac [sic] où commencent les Terres hautes).

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66 "Examination of the Project to Remove the Habitants of Canada to Louisiana, February, 1759," AE, Mém. et Doc., Amér., 24: 273‑83v. The Duc de Choiseul, in transmitting this proposal to Silhouette, expressed the opinion that the idea of abandoning Canada was "absolutely opposed to the most commonly held ideas and to the System which has been continually pursued on our part since franceº possessed that part of North america."º Choiseul to Silhouette, Jan. 27, 1759, ANC, C13A, 41: 428‑28v.

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67 Minister of Foreign Affairs to the French Ambassador in Spain, Jan. 6, 1760, AE, Correspondance Politique, Espagne, 527: 12v.

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68 Memoir on Louisiana, July 15, 1761, AE, Cor. Pol., Angleterre, 443: 358. The same reference may be found in AE, Cor. Pol., Etats‑Unis, Sup., Vol. VI: 79v. In reality the French contended for the area drained by the Mississippi and its confluents.

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69 Louisiana would be bounded par les Eaux pendantes Sur les cotes de chacune. Bussy to Minister of Foreign Affairs, June 19, 1761, AE, Cor. Pol., Angleterre, 443: 249v. This proposal also suggested that Canadians be free to migrate to Louisiana.

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70 Bussy to Minister, June 26, 1761, AE, Cor. Pol., Angleterre, 443: 290‑90v; Memoir of Propositions of Peace, July 15, 1761, AE, Cor. Pol., Angleterre, 444: 8‑18; Memoir on Canadian Boundaries by M. Dumas, Apr. 5, 1761, NYCD, X: 1136.

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71 Kerlérec to Minister, Mar. 1, 1761, ANC, C13A, 42: 207‑8v.

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72 Memoir for Instructions to Dabbadie, Feb. 10, 1763, ANC, B116: 2‑4.

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73 Memoir of the King, Instructions to M. Dabbadie, undated, ANC, C13A, 43: 221‑21v.

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74 Of five guns sent to Ste Genevieve, one was of three, the others of two inches in size. Twenty-four balls and nineteen grenades were also sent away. DeVilliers to Dabbadie, Dec. 1, 1763, Alvord and Carter, Critical Period, 53; ANC, C13A, 43: 354.

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75 Dabbadie to Minister, Sept. 30, 1764, ANC, C13A, 44: 124‑28.

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76 Rivoire to Grimaldi, June 25, 1764, ANC, C13B, 1: 103.

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77 Dabbadie Journal, 1763‑1764, ANC, C13A, 43: 269v.

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78 Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières Années, 190, n. 2. The exact date of the evacuation of Fort Massac has not been found.

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79 St. Ange to Dabbadie, Nov. 9, 1764, NYCD, X: 1158. The official French position in reference to Pontiac's uprising was one of correct neutrality. Presents to the Indians were, however, continued as a part of official policy, thus making it difficult to distinguish between neutrality and secret hostility to the English. See Memoir of the King, Instructions to Dabbadie, undated, ANC, C13A, 43: 222v‑23; Dabbadie to Minister, Sept. 10, 1764, ANC, C13A, 44: 121v. It should be added that the scarcity of supplies in the Illinois country and in Louisiana prevented any considerable aid being given the Indians even had the French desired it.

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80 See Royal Instructions to Dabbadie, undated, ANC, C13A, 43: 223.

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81 Dabbadie to Robertson, Nov. 7, 1763, ANC, C13A, 43: 245‑247; Board of Trade, Plantations General, No. 19, folios 605‑8; Dabbadie to Minister, Jan. 10, 1764, ANC, C13A, 44: 27v‑28v; Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières Années, 172; Robertson to Dabbadie, Dec. 5, 1763, ANC, C13A, 43: 397‑99 (translation to French).

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82 An excellent account covering all phases of this subject may be found in Alvord and Carter, Critical Period, xxix‑lviii.

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83 Articles of Capitulation for the Surrender of Canada, Sept. 8, 1760, NYCD, X: 1107‑20; Amherst to Johnson, Feb. 1, 1761, Papers of Sir William Johnson, III: 315‑16; Croghan's Journal of Transactions with the Western Indians, 1765, NYCD, VII: 1781.

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84 Enclosure, Dabbadie to Minister, Mar. 30, 1764, ANC, F 3, 25: 211‑12v; Dabbadie to Minister, June 29, 1764, ANC, C13A, 44: 74‑77; DeVilliers to Loftus, Apr. 20, 1764, ANC, C13A, 44: 94. In the last reference DeVilliers reported to Loftus on Pontiac's activities in the Illinois country.

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85 Alvord and Carter, Critical Period, xlvii‑l. At about the same time, a British officer, Fraser, and George Croghan, the Pennsylvania trader, set out for the Illinois country via the Ohio. Croghan was detained in Indian conferences at Fort Pitt, while Fraser, traveling ahead, reached Fort Chartres only to encounter the same attitude on the part of the savages and to follow the first British party to New Orleans. Ibid., li‑lii. Croghan eventually found his way to the Ouiatanon Post and then to Detroit where a treaty was made with Pontiac. Ibid., liv‑lv.

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86 At the same time Maj. Farmar was leading a British detachment up the river from New Orleans. Fort Chartres was surrendered by St. Ange on Oct. 10, 1765. Alvord and Carter, Critical Period, lvi‑lvii; NYCD, X: 1161‑65; Aubry to Minister, Mar. 12, 1766, ANC, F 3, 25: 247. Aubry gives the date as Oct. 8.

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87 Report of Col. Robertson, Mar. 8, 1764, Alvord and Carter, Critical Period, 220; Gage to Bouquet, Oct. 15, 1764, ibid., 348.

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88 Johnson to Lords of Trade, Nov. 13, 1763, NYCD, VII: 575‑76. Johnson also stressed French influence in trade relations with these Indians and others in the West. In 1765 he wrote that the "French Inhabitants at the Ilinois, Assumptn (i.e., Fort Massac) Post Vincent, Ouiatonon, Miamis, Detroit, &c are more than Sufficient to Engross all the Trade in them parts." Same to same, Nov. 16, 1765, Alvord and Carter, New Régime, 120.

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89 Croghan to Lords of Trade, June 8, 1764, NYCDVII: 605.

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90 Farmar to Gage, Dec. 16‑19, 1765, Alvord and Carter, New Régime, 132. The date of the destruction of the fort is not known, though it was probably 1765.

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91 The Barrington Plan recommended the re‑establishment of the fort. Barrington's Plan for the West, May 10, 1766, Alvord and Carter, New Régime, 239; Gage's remarks on the same, ibid., 244. Gordon, writing somewhat later, mentioned the advantages to be expected from a fortification at the site of the former French post, pointing out that it would afford protection to traders on the Ohio, keep the French in check, and serve to keep the balance between the Cherokee and the Wabash Indians "in a political Light." Gordon also praised the location in reference to food supply. Buffalo, he said, could be had near by in plenty. Gordon's Journal, ibid., 296, 301. See also Baynton and Wharton to Macleane, Oct. 9, 1767, C. W. Alvord and C. E. Carter, Trade and Politics, 1767‑1769 (Illinois Historical Collections, XVI, Springfield, 1921), 85.


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