Seven Years’ War
America in the 1700’s was still being settled by all the major powers in Europe. The Spanish, who laid claim to vast territories in Central and South America; the French, who had settled the St. Lawrence river basin, the Great Lakes, New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi, and down the Ohio river; and the English, who had mostly settled the Eastern seaboard of America; were all in competition for resources, land and wealth on the American continent.
Let us not forget the indigenous populations of Native Americans, whom also contributed to the politics and power struggles that were occurring between the European powers for their own gains. In the English colonies there was already the making of the American melting pot. Various European nationalities had settled in the English colonies. The Dutch had settled in and around New York. Germans had settled in the Pennsylvania colony. Very many English had settled in the New England colonies. The Southern colonies were agricultural and they began to import Africans for slave labor in ever increasing numbers.
Indians from various tribes traded their wares to various European peoples. I was born in the 1720’s and lived first in Boston and then in Charles Town in the Carolinas, before settling in and around Philadelphia. We are regular readers of Mister Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette. It has always made for interesting reading; I just love his political cartoons. Throughout the 1700’s the rivalry between England and France caused friction in many parts of the world but nowhere more so than in North America. The Iroquois League was courted by the English with dubious results.
When I was a little girl mom and dad tried to live in and around Boston but land was hard to get and father thought it might be easier in the South to purchase some land. So we moved to Charles Town in hopes of making a life there. We finally ended up on the outskirts of Philadelphia. It is nice to live around people who are German like us. My brother who is 23 went off to be a soldier to fight the French in 1754 and was present when Colonel Washington surrendered to the French at Fort Necessity. The ones that lived were allowed to leave with their lives. Mail is sparse and precious.
My father died sometime back in an Indian attack. We lived further out in the frontier than we do now. My mother says that the French and English have been fighting most of her life. Her brother died fighting the French on some island in the Caribbean earlier in the century before I was born. I think it was called King William’s War. Now she has a son fighting the French again. Mother says when my brother gets home he can take over the family farm. Until then my husband and I are keeping things running here. During the war the British paid well for our toil and products here on our farm.
We have cows, chickens, some sheep and pigs. We grew lots of corn and wheat. Now that the war is over our Mother Country has it in mind to tax us to pieces to pay for the long French and Indian war. Lord Grenville is starting to make a lot of people angry here in the colonies. The other day some soldiers came by and we were informed that they would be moving in. Imagine! Soldiers quartered in my home! I guess they were nice about it though. We set them up a room in the barn loft. Although when winter comes I do not know what they will do. We will probably be the ones that will be sleeping in the barn at that time.
There was a moment after the war was over when we felt victorious and so glad to be British. To see all these new rules and regulations being implemented and having no say in the making does not seem fair. It seems as though England has found a way to tax even the smallest of things that are part of our daily lives in the colony. Even though the price is higher than other goods that we get from sources other than England, we are instructed to only buy English finished goods. With the French gone the Indians are paid very much less for their furs, so that means they in turn the Indians can not afford to purchase English goods.
One thing that I have noticed growing up here in America is that there are so many different people from different places. The only thing that allows us all to live together here in America is the common English language that we all must use to communicate. I feel for the poor Indians but not so much anymore since they killed my father out on the frontier. They are barbaric and un-Christianized, what is left of them. With the French on the other side of the mountain and not as numerous as we English, the French get along a lot better with the Indians than we do.
Now that the war is over England now must keep soldiers stationed here to protect us. The Indians no longer have the French to play us off of, so there have been uprisings which must be put down. I am glad for the end of the war and so bloody proud for being British. It seems as though the sun never sets on the British Empire. We also have a new king who is very young and vibrant. I think these are good days coming but I could be wrong. Lord Grenville seems to be his right hand man here in America. It seems that he (Lord Grenville) has found a way to make these colonies pay for the entire war debt of England.