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An Empire in Chaos

England in the 17th and 18th centuries up to 1763

Jamestown of Virginia and Plymouth of Massachusetts survived their rocky and violent beginnings, but their survival throughout the intervening decades would come at a cost that defies imagination. Historian John Murrin notes, [Losers] far outnumbered winners [in] a tragedy of such huge proportions that no ones imagination can easily encompass it all. Interpretations of colonial history tend to be couched in terms of a growing civilization ripe with the ideals of the enlightenment; such interpretations fail to take account of the fact that the success and growth of the American colonies soaked the land in blood, and the colonies themselves were often at odds with one another. Perceiving the American colonies as united in thought and deed against oppressive England stems from teleology; that is, reading American history through the lens of the future. Such a reading assumes that colonial independence from the overbearing mother country was a foregone conclusion; the truth is that such independence-oriented thinking was heretical up until 1775 (and the most shocking part is that independence came only a year later). The colonies, often at each others throats and stabbing one another in the back, fostered one united sentiment, and that was love for England and pride in being English. The American colonies cannot be understood apart from their relationship to England, and events in England directly affected colonial thought and life.


England went through one of its most turbulent centuries during the 1600s: competing factions tore at the fabric of society, and the resulting inner instability left English concern for the colonies shelved and all but forgotten. On the other side of the vast Atlantic, the English colonies were virtually left to fend for themselves, and they prospered outside the rigid confines of royal rule. The colonies kept one eye on their own affairs and one on the affairs of the mother country, news of Englands turmoil brought by ship months after the events transpired. Most colonists saw the conflict in England as a struggle between the arbitrary power of the Stuart kings and constitutional government embodied in Parliament. The Stuart kings struggle against Parliament throughout the 17th century only served to cement in the colonists minds their rights as Englishmen, rights they would be willing, and even eager, to fight to protect. English turmoil reached a head by 1642: tensions between Parliament and King Charles had been escalating for some time, and Charles exercised royal authority by shutting down Parliament and thus eliminating the main check against the crown.

Although the Star Chamber and High Commission still served as checks, they were but smokescreens for Charles authority, since he elected all those in the Chamber and on the Commission. The Scottish Revolt of 1638 put King Charles armies to shame before the Scots, and the king frantically reconvened Parliament to try and raise money to buy off the Scottish invaders. Parliament indeed went back into session, but their concern wasnt the Scots at their doors but Charles abuse of royal powers. King Charles reacted not by shutting down Parliament once again, but by forcing Parliament to disband to reconvene at a later time. During the first two years of this new arrangement, tensions continued escalating until the Puritan factions rejected the Book of Common Prayer and demanded that the Church of England be reconstituted around Presbyterian lines. At the dawn of 1642, Charles ordered the impeachment of the leaders in the House of Commons for treasonable correspondence with the Scots, an accusation absent substance. The Commons refused, and King Charles responded with a party of soldiers, and he entered the House of Commons to make the arrests. The indicted, alerted to what was afoot, fled to the City of London, a hotbed of anti-monarchial sentiment. When Charles left for York following his just-too-late attempt to arrest the leaders of the House of Commons, the indicted returned and drafted nineteen propositions to present to King Charles. These propositions, if accepted, would have stripped King Charles and the Church of England from most of their powers, so of course Charles refused to sign. It was clear to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear that the Puritan radicals had wrested control in Parliament, and the nail-biting tensions reached a head when Parliament drafted an army of 20,000 amateur soldiers and 4000 regular soldiers to keep the peace. 65 of the conservative members of the Commons took sides with King Charles, and they sought to build up their own counter-army at Nottingham. England found herself on the brink of civil war. The gentry, peasantry, the Anglican clergy, and those members of the working class unaffected by the Puritan faith supported King Charles, and the merchants, aristocrats, and middle-class tended to side with the Puritan radicals. The political war turned into one of spilled blood at the Battle at Edge Hill. The counter-army raised by the conservative members of the Commons (the Royalists) were favored at the onset of battle, but the rebel army was placed under Oliver Cromwell, who turned out to be a military genius. In a short time, he turned his citizen soldiers into a formidable body of men under strict discipline. They were known as the Ironsides, and they decisively whipped the Royalists at the Battle of Marston Moor on July 2, 1644. Another battle eleven years later saw the destruction of Charles

Royalist armies, and Charles was forced to surrender to Presbyterian Scots who were supposed to sell Charles to Parliament. Unbeknownst to the victorious Parliament, Charles had already made a deal with the Scots, and the whole surrender was but a ploy to draw Parliament away from its army. The English Civil War entered a second phase as Charles and the Scotch Presbyterians warred against Cromwells Roundheads and Independents. Charles escaped capture, and the war raged for several more years, culminating with the destruction of the Scots at the Battle of Preston in August 1648. Charles was captured, and this time he couldnt make good his escape: he was executed.


The execution of King Charles and the victory of the Parliamentary armies in the English Civil War gave birth to eleven years under the English Commonwealth. The Commonwealth was marked by a supposedly republican form of government that was, in actuality, largely under the thumb of Cromwell, who in 1653 took the title Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The written code was called the Instrument of Government, and it gave Cromwell dictatorial powers. Unlike King Charles, however, Cromwell used his dictatorial powers with relative constraint during war with Spain and his death in 1658. Cromwells son R ichard, known as Tumble-Down Duck, succeeded his father as Lord Protector. Parliament decided that it was tired of life under the Commonwealth, and it voted to restore the Stuart monarchy by declaring Charles II the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The crowning of King Charles II in 1660, and the posthumous execution of Oliver Cromwell (his body was dug up, hanged in chains at the city of Tyburn, and thrown into a pit; his severed head was impaled on a pole and displayed outside Westminster Hall for 24 years), marked the end of the Commonwealth. Charles II enacted the Declaration of Breda, wisely and politically providing a general amnesty towards, and containing appropriate expressions of respect for, Parliament. The Declaration also promised religious toleration, since Charles II and his advisors were well aware of how religious intolerance had torn England apart at the seams. The Declaration also reestablished the rights of Parliament to tax, and it abolished the Star Chamber and the High Commission. At the Restoration of 1660, the upper classes, hoping to numb the recurring nightmares of the horrors of the Civil War, plunged into an orgy of hedonistic pleasures. Anglicanism and aristocracy once more suppressed Puritanism. The New England colonies across the Atlantic, indebted with a Puritan

slant, didnt forget the horrors through intoxication and licentiousness but sought to learn from them. The radical ideas of the Diggers, Levelers, and John Milton may have been forgotten in England, but they took root in the American colonies and continued to grow. The political groups known as the Diggers and Levelers emerged from the period of the Civil War. The Diggers challenged Parliamentary leaders, focusing on the underprivileged in society: the poor, the fatherless, the widows, and the impoverished. They advocated a form of communistic society absent tithes, hereditary titles, and inequality of income, and they advocated the election of leaders. The Diggers were so loathed by much of English society that one large demonstration turned out neighbors who attacked and beat them, destroyed their tools and crops, and burned their homes. The Levelers hoped for a new constitution founded on popular consent. The political upheaval of the times, coupled with the constricted legalization from both the Crown and Parliament, led to the presses being far less censored, and the Levelers radical pamphlets spread across the English countryside and into America. The English poet John Milton championed for a free press, and his writings urged freedom in every area of mans social and political life. His Areopagitica, published in 1644, became as common in the American colonies as the Bible to those of Protestant persuasion. Congregationalists, Quakers, Baptists and Presbyterians found their hearts beating in rhythm with Miltons radical ideas. Indeed, the English Civil War taught the colonists that the rights and liberties of a free people had to be fought for, and that in the mother country such a struggle had been crowned with success with the Commonwealth of England (though the Restoration of 1660 put an end to such a victory). The political instability of England served as a powerful incentive for emigration in the days when being out of power meant risking your life. By the mid-1600s, the colonies swelled with numbers as political dissidents, ripe with ideologies against and resentment towards monarchy, fled England. Colonial sentiments were about to receive a boost as King Charles II followed in the footsteps of his father in trying to outdo the swelling Dutch Empire.


During the early 1600s, the Netherlands emerged as an economic and military giant, totally out of proportion to its confined geography and miniscule population of 1.5 million (the English population numbered around five million, and the French around

twenty million). The Dutch exploited their prime commercial real estate at the mouth of the Rhine River, beside the North Sea, and near the entrance to the Baltic Sea; the Netherlands thus became the nexus of northern European commerce between France and England to the west, the German cities and principalities to the east, and Russia and the Scandinavian countries to the northeast. The Dutch developed the worlds most efficient merchant marine and fishing fleet, dominating the carrying trade of northwestern Europe, the fisheries of the North Sea, and arctic whaling. By 1670, the Dutch employed 120,000 sailors on vessels totaling 568,000 tons, more than the combined shipping of Spain, France, and England. The sweeping dominance of the Netherlands took the world by surprise; until the late 16th century, the Netherlands had been subordinated within the Spanish Empire. Protestant and Calvinist, the Dutch resented economic exploitation and religious persecution by Catholic Spain. During the 1560s, the Dutch provinces decided theyd had enough and rebelled, gradually securing their independence after a long and brutal war. The Eighty Years War launched in 1566 under the direction of William of Orange, a staunch Calvinist, whose goal was to liberate the Dutch, regardless of religious affiliations, from the Catholic Spaniards. Although they didnt receive official independence until 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, the Dutch in rebellion became one of the greatest economic and mercantile powers of the world. To weaken the Spanish and line their own pockets, Dutch warships carried the Eighty Years War around the globe, preying on Spanish and Portuguese colonies and shipping, slowly but surely building their own far-flung marine empire. The Dutch were able to supplant the Portuguese as leaders in the spice and silk trade from Asia to Europe, and to protect their trade routes, the Dutch established a small colony at the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, the future Capetown, South Africa. As if winning the spice and silk trade werent enough, during the early 17th century they wrested primacy from the Portuguese in the export of sugar from American plantations in the West Indies and the transportation of slaves from West Africa to cultivate that trade. By 1650, the Dutch were refining most of the sugar consumed in Europe, and they occupied several islands in the West Indies including Curacao, St. Martin, and St. Eustatius. These bases served to support their sugar plantations and to facilitate smuggling withand piracy upon Spanish ports and ships in the Caribbean. Dutch success in these matters was dependent on a vast armada of ships, and they developed the most formidable fleet of warships in Europe. In 1628, a Dutch flotilla captured the entire Spanish treasure fleet homewardbound from the Caribbean, virtually bankrupting the Spanish crown and bolstering

Dutch wealth. The Portuguese, suffering under Dutch attacks and fed up with Spanish rule themselves, rebelled against Spain and asserted their own independence in 1640, thus weakening even more the once-mighty Spanish empire. The Spanish knew they were on their last legs, and the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Eighty Years War and made the Dutch Republic an official entity. The Dutch Republic continued to excel in trade with China, India, Africa, Brazil, and in the Caribbean. The French and the English hadnt missed any of this, and by the mid-17th century, they were eager to curb the prominence of the Dutch Republic and reestablish themselves as the worlds leading powers. King Charles II and his brother James, the Duke of York, hoped to build English clout by expanding the English empire in North America. The Dutch all but pioneered commercial expansion based upon overseas colonies and its connection to national power, and the Dutch Republics mercantilist policies werent lost on Charles II nor the Duke of York. By the mid-1600s, the English were settling the Chesapeake and New England in mainland America, and the Dutch and Swedes had settlements in the mid-Atlantic region. Charles II yearned for control over North America, but he knew England lacked the strength to oust the Dutch and Swedes; and since this period of European history was marked by religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, England wasnt eager to lose their Protestant allies. Nevertheless, the rise of the Dutch Republic, slowly outdoing the English, French, and especially the Spanish, made Charles II and the Duke of York feel a burning need to reestablish themselves. To do this, Charles II focused on the American colonies. As a homegrown initiative, Charles II sought to reorganize the colonies already in English possession. The King exercised little control over the colonists since most of the colonies were proprietary colonies; as a general rule, the English had paid little attention to overseas expansions, and the crown had entrusted early colonization to private interests licensed by royal charters awarding both title to land and the right to govern to colonists, subjected, of course, to royal oversight, which was meager in the best of times. By virtue of these proprietary charters, the New England colonies were all but independent of crown control. These proprietary colonies became a liability with the crowns thirst for imperial expansion, and imperial officials sought tighter control and more regulation and taxation over colonial commerce. Imperial officials were insistent that proprietary colonies should be converted into royal colonies and then consolidated into an overarching government not unlike the Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. Thus during the 1600s, crown officials slowly converted a few proprietary colonies into royal

colonies, so that the king, rather than the proprietor, appointed the colonys governor and council. The first colonies to be converted were those which would reap the most profit for the crown: tobacco-rich Virginia and the sugar colonies of Barbados, Jamaica, and the Leeward Islands. The crown didnt pay too much attention to the New England colonies since they lacked a lucrative staple such as tobacco or sugar, and the Puritan colonists promised only to be a thorn in the crowns side if the crown became too overbearing. The second step was wresting New Netherland from the Dutch. By conquering Dutch-controlled New Netherland, Charles II and the Duke of York hoped to strengthen Englands commerce by virtue of weakening the Dutch Empire. New Netherland had, by this point, already swallowed up New Sweden, and by taking over New Netherland, the gap between the Chesapeake colonies and those of New England would be closed, promoting their mutual defense against other empires and the native Americans. Charles II also hoped that such a conquest would keep the American colonies on a tighter leash: by seeing what English soldiers could do, disgruntled colonists would be less apt to disrespect royal authority. The operation was launched in 1664; an English naval squadron laden with soldiers crossed the Atlantic bound for North America. The colonists in New England feared that these soldiers were bound for Boston to subdue the Puritans in the crowns gambit to turn Massachusetts Bay into a royal colony. The warships instead showed up on the Hudson River to conquer New Netherland. The English soldiers were victorious, and the conquest of New Netherland solidified Englands hold along the eastern shore of North America (though New France was still a contender far to the north). The English victory opened the window for the development of a new cluster of English colonies, known as the Middle Colonies because they were sandwiched between the Chesapeake to the south and New England to the north. Charles II thus initiated war with the Dutch Republic, but it was in the footsteps of Oliver Cromwell, who during the Commonwealth Era sought to curb Dutch dominance by focusing on the English navy, building new ships and refitting others, and instituting new naval disciplines so that England would stand ready to go to war against the Dutch. War against the Dutch under Cromwells rule was preceded by the Navigation Acts in 1651, which declared that all importation into English ports must be done by British and only British ships (a mercantilist attempt at stifling Dutch trade). England demanded that all other ships, even those at foreign ports in the North Sea or the Channel, had to strike their flags, i.e. lower their colors in surrender to all English

ships. This was a ridiculous notion, an attempt by England to reestablish themselves as the lords of the seas, and the Dutch knew it. On 29 May 1652, a Dutch fleet refused to strike their flags, and Admiral Blake of the countering English fleet fired three warning shots at the Dutch flagship. The third shot struck the ship, wounding several soldiers, and the Dutch responded with a warning broadside. Admiral Blake answered with a not-so-warning broadside that initiated a 5-hour battle resulting in two Dutch ships captured and both fleets bloodied and bruised. This Battle of Goodwin Sands led to the Commonwealth declaring war against the Dutch Republic on 10 July. By the end of the war, England hadnt succeeded in usurping Dutch trade, though itd won the war. To English pride, Dutch ships were forced to salute English ships. Following the Restoration of 1660 and the crowning of Charles II, English relations with the Dutch only deteriorated. In 1663, the Royal African Company serviced to capture Dutch trading posts and colonies in West Africa; in June 1664, the English invaded New Netherland and had it in her possession by October of that year. The Dutch responded with a fleet sent to recapture their African trade posts. The Dutch were successful, and after capturing most English trade stations, the Dutch fleet crossed the Atlantic for a punitive strike against the English colonies in America. Despite bloody battles on both sides, the second English war with the Dutch ended in 1667 as a Dutch victory. It hadnt needed to be so: Charles II prematurely called it quits, fearing the internal integrity of England. His fears were only bolstered by the rising debt of war, the bubonic plague of 1665-1667, and the crippling Great Fire of London. Charles II decided hed had enough following a Dutch raid on the Medway in June of 1667, when a flotilla of French ships broke through the defensive chains guarding the Medway, burned part of the English fleet anchored at Chatham, and towed away the Unity and the Royal Charles, pride flagships of the English fleet. Charles II found himself humiliated, and he feared meeting the same fate as his father (execution), so he practically begged for peace and got it. The Dutch navy was the worlds strongest, and the Republic stood at its zenith of power. England was left smoldering and broken in its wake. The peace was short-lived, for a fourth Anglo-Dutch War erupted five years later. The English navy had been rebuilt, and though the English werent too keen on another war with the Dutch (seeing as how the last one went), Charles II was bound by the Treaty of Dover to assist Louis XIV in his attack against the Dutch Republic in the Franco-Dutch War. The Anglo-French fleet tried to invade the Republic by sea, but the Dutch repulsed the invasion. Parliament forced Charles II to make peace in 1674,

though the Republics contest with France would continue for another four years. By the end of this Franco-Dutch War, France would emerge as a solidified world power, and though weakened, the Dutch Republic remained a formidable foe. A period of awkward peace between the Republic and England would last for a little over a decade, when the Glorious Revolution of 1688 once again turned England on its head in the same manner as the English Civil War (though with a lot less spilling of blood).


Nearly four years before the Glorious Revolution, Charles II died without a legitimate son, leaving the English throne to his younger brother, the Duke of York, who reigned as James II. James II openly practiced Catholicism in a country ripe with anti-Catholic sentiment, and he ruled with an iron fist. Charles II had reworked the English colonies, and James II took this reorganization to the next level: he consolidated the eight northern colonies (all five in New England plus New York and West Jersey) into a super-colony known as the Dominion of England. Modeled on the Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain, the Dominion extended from the Delaware River to New France (Canada). James II doubled the much-loathed Sugar Act, got rid of the pesky colonial assemblies that seemed only to spawn protests, and he placed Sir Edmund Andros over the Dominion of England; Andros had been the tyrannical governor of New York up to that point, and when he relocated to Boston to rule with an iron fist, his second-incommand and a crown-appointed council took his place in New York. James II chose Andros because he knew the man to be a reliable bully, and Andros didnt let him down: he reorganized the colonial courts and militia, replaced Puritan judges and officers with Anglicans more in tune with crown sentiments, and he appointed the sheriffs who named the jurors, which helped to sway trials in the crowns favor. He ruled that the superior court had to meet in the town of Boston, which meant that anyone involved in the trials had to travel far from home to make an appearance. Accompanying him in Boston were two companies of regular British soldiers; because these soldiers needed to be paid and supplied, Andros levied new taxes without an assembly and even against the majority of his own council, most of whom were wealthy merchants who were directly affected by the new taxes. Although he made a lavish salary of 1200 pounds, he sought to line his pockets even more by challenging the land titles issued under the old Puritan charter done away with in 1684 and by demanding new land grants issued by the new government. This sleight of hand

regarding land titles served as a direct affront to the colonists, who felt that their English rights to liberty, status, and prosperity were intimately connected to secure real estate. In 1687, a year before the Glorious Revolution swept through England, Reverend John Wise claimed that the colonists carried their Magna Carta rights across the Atlantic, and by virtue of that they still possessed the fundamental rights of Englishmen to pay no tax levied absent their own representatives. Andros bitterly disagreed, denouncing the colonists as second-hand citizens, and claiming that when they left England behind, they had left their English rights behind as well. Not content simply to disagree with Wise, Andros had him arrested, convicted, and fined along with other protesters. Andros sought to enforce the Navigation Acts, and in so doing established in Boston a new vice-admiralty court that operated without juries, which again cut against the fabric of colonial sensibilities. Andros fortunes turned sour come the spring of 1689, when news of the Glorious Revolution reached America.


While Andros had been delighting in his torment of the colonists, across the Atlantic James II had been facing perils of his own. James II was Catholic and pro-France while most of England was Protestant and anti-France (despite the English alliance with France against the Dutch in the preceding war). James II advocated religious tolerance for Catholics, and though both Parliament and the English populace were concerned about the religious and political state of England under James II, they held out hope: his successor was his daughter Mary, a Protestant and the wife of William of Orange. These hopes were dashed when James II had a son in 1688, who usurped Mary as heir. The Protestants realized that their fears of an Anglo-French alliance and the establishment of a Roman Catholic dynasty between the two kingdoms might become a reality. Parliament plotted against James II, and several Anglican bishops and aristocrats secretly wrote to William, the Dutch Prince of Orange, urging that he come to England with an army to intervene on behalf of the Protestant cause. William was the nephew and sonin-law of James II, and thus he and his wife, Mary Stuart, were a Protestant alternative for the English throne. The plotters intended on compelling James II to recognize Parliaments power and to name a Protestant successor, but William saw an opportunity to seize the English crown for himself. Being the military leader of the Dutch Republic, William desperately needed to wean England from its pro-French policy to protect Dutch interests, for the Dutch in 1688 were facing a renewed war with France, and

England virtually fell into his lap as Parliament opened the door for an invasion. Aided by collusion in the disaffected English army and navy, Williams invasion fleet crossed the North Sea and English Channel unopposed and landed absent resistance in November. Rallying to the stronger side, most English officers and aristocrats defected to join William of Orange, and after only two minor clashes between the two opposing armies and anti-Catholic riots in a handful of towns, James IIs regime collapsed. He and his wife fled the nation, though he returned to London for a two-week period before leaving for France at the end of December, seeking sanctuary in the court of Louis XIV. His departure left a power vacuum in England that William of Orange was more than happy to fill. His Dutch regiments occupied London, and though Parliament wanted to retain power, William threatened to remove his armies from English soil, thus leaving the Parliamentary conspirators open to a bloody recompense at the hands of those still loyal to James II, who would most likely return and retake the throne, exacting vengeance on those who sought to oust him. William thus convinced Parliament to transfer the throne to him and his wife as joint sovereigns (though Mary left governance to her husband). The new monarchs promised to cooperate with Parliament and to uphold the Anglican establishment. Prince William of Orange became known as King William III, and his wife became Queen Mary II. In the spring of 1689, William III ensured religious toleration for dissenting Protestants, who had enthusiastically supported the coup, as well as for Catholics, who hadnt. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 had a marked effect on the English colonies overseas with the Declaration of Rights, a formal document in which William III and Mary II accepted the limitations on royal powers that Parliament had wrested from the Stuarts throughout the Civil War, powers which theyd been forced to endure again through the reigns of Charles II and James II. The Declaration established that no Roman Catholic could ever be sovereign in England, the succession of the throne would pass through the heirs of Mary, and most poignantly, a Bill of Rights was attached to the Declaration. This Bill of Rights reaffirmed the rights that Englishmen felt theyd lost under the Stuart kings: the right of trial by a jury of ones peers in the vicinage or neighborhood; freedom of speech and assembly; the right to just and equal laws; freedom from self-incrimination; and freedom of worship (except, of course, for Catholics). Cherished by the colonists in the latter years of the 17th century and into the 18th century leading up to the American Revolution, the Bill of Rights also established that no Englishman could henceforth be taxed without his consent, as channeled through his elected representative in the House of Commons. The political turmoil of England in the 17th century

gave birth to the Declaration of Rights and its attendant Bill of Rights, and by the middle of the 18th century, the English obsession with rights had died down in Great Britain, but those in the colonies didnt forget. The colonists continued to live in the spirit of the Glorious Revolution, and their impassioned cries for their rights as Englishmen increased in measure with what they perceived to be an escalation of the governments abuse of those rights. One exasperated English official has been reported as saying, Ask a colonist for some money to help protect his borders against the French and Indians, and he will deliver you a lengthy lecture on his rights.


Andros iron fist under the authority of James II had been rendered redundant with the crowning of a new king. When the news came, Andros and his Dominion cronies fretted about trying to ascertain whether the rumors were true while simultaneously seeking to suppress the rumors. Such suppression involved arresting those who disembarked from ships in Boston and New York bearing news of the revolution in England. The refusal of Andros and the other Dominion officials to admit the truth of the news made the colonists wonder if they werent closet Catholics opposed to the new Protestant monarchs. Rumors went wild that the Dominion leaders meant to take a stab at the new Protestant rulers by handing the colonies over to the French and Indians in a last-ditch middle-finger salute. Fearing such a fate, the colonial protests moved to overthrow the Dominion and to prove their fidelity to the new rulers of England. In Massachusetts, April 18, 1689 saw rebel leaders filling the streets of Boston with 2000 militiamen drawn from the surrounding rural towns. The rebel leaders arrested Andros, forcing him and the soldiers and sailors under his command to surrender the harbors fort and the warship at anchor in the bay. Twenty-five Dominion officials, Andros among them, were thrown in prison. Massachusetts, Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut quickly revived their separate governments under the old charters and restored their elected officials. They professed loyalty to King William III and his wife Mary, hoping their revolt would be seen in the best light possible. In late May, New York City militia seized the citys fort without bloodshed, and the deputy governor fled across the Atlantic. In Maryland, the end of summer saw a planter named John Coode arming and organizing a rebel militia under the banner of The Protestant Associators. Bent on expelling Dominion officials from Maryland and proving their loyalty to the new English monarchs, the Protestant Associators mustered 600 men and intimidated

the 160 militia loyal to the Catholic governor, who surrendered on August 1 without firing a shot. The rebels vowed fidelity to King William III and urged Maryland to be converted from a proprietary to a royal colony. In Virginia, the rebels didnt rebel, but not because they were of differing sentiments. The Dominion governor was absent, and in his absence his council voraciously declared their support for William and Mary on April 26, days after Andros overthrow in Boston. And so the first American Revolution came to an anticlimactic close.


King William III, on the throne in England, sought to consolidate his control in England and to settle Dutch scores with France with a renewed war against that power across the Channel. Because the English colonies bordered New France, he sought to mobilize colonial resources for the war effort. To keep things running smoothly on the home front, he retained most high officials in London, even the ones who had helped design the Dominion. He liberated Sir Edmund Andros to discourage future colonial rebellions, and he instated Andros as governor in Virginia in 1692. Because William III needed colonial support for the burgeoning war with France, he sought to indulge them. In Maryland, he appointed an Anglican military officer as governor and placed the leading rebels on his council. Because Marylands pro-Catholic slant was such a bone of contention, William III made sure the new governor and the rebel council acted in concert with the colonial assembly to endow the Church of England with tax support and to bar Catholics (and Quakers!) from holding any sort of public office. Because William Penn in Pennsylvania had been a favorite of James II, he fell from power under William IIIs rule. The crown suspended Penns charter and turned the proprietary colony into a royal one. In 1692, William III entrusted the colony to a military governor, which ran against the pacifist sensibilities of the Quakers. Quaker assemblies sought to obstruct every effort by the military governor, and in 1694 the crown realized it wasnt worth the trouble and restored Penns charter and authority in the hopes that Pennsylvanians, bordering the frontier, would provide men and supplies for the war against France. The reinstituted Quakers, avowed against war, only offered token support. The colonists in Massachusetts yearned for a restoration of their 1629 charter permitting home rule, republican government, and Puritan preeminence, but William III wouldnt budge from holding Massachusetts as a royal colony. William III sought to compromise with a colonial charter mandating both a royal governor and an elected

assembly, and the colonists took what they could get. The governor held veto power over legislation, but the assembly controlled taxation and the governors salary. The assembly was allowed to choose members of the governors council, but the governor had to approve their selections. Old school Puritans despised the new charter for tolerating all Protestants and opening the vote to all property-holders; formerly, only full members of Puritan churches had a voice in voting. Perhaps most significantly, the new charter dissolved the Plymouth colony and incorporated it into Massachusetts. Although many Massachusetts colonists felt stiffed by the new charter, they knew life was better than it had been under the Dominion, and 1691 wasnt the time for rebelling against the crown, as New England grappled with devastating frontier raids by the French and their Indian allies. William IIIs reorganization of the colonies following the collapse of the Dominion worked out the parameters of colonial rule that held until the imperial crisis of the 1760s. In 1693 the crown reduced the Sugar Tax to its former level (it had been doubled by James II) and terminated the slave trade monopoly mastered by the Royal African Company, in which James II had been a leading shareholder. Open competition in the slave market doubled the slave trade, and sugar, tobacco, and rice planters swelled in importance and profit. The interconnectedness of the English colonies and England proper across the Atlantic fostered good sentiments among the colonists, and they prided themselves in their English heritage and felt that their rights as Englishmen were being honored. The reorganization of colonial infrastructure and Englands relationship with the colonies wasnt done for the benefit of the colonies but for William IIIs ulterior motives of renewed war against France, a war that lasted from 1689 to 1697. William III sought to uphold the Protestant regime and maintain Englands hold over Ireland, as well as to preserve the American colonies and to protect the newly-favored Dutch from the threat of an overwhelming French invasion. In order to successfully wage war against the superpower of France, England had to build a larger and more professional army and navy, and this buildup required taxes that, prior to William III, wouldve been seen as horrendous. Under William IIIs leadership, England turned into a sort of fiscal military power; Parliament, under the direction of the crown, expanded the army to incredible numbers: 48,000 English soldiers plus 21,000 mercenaries from the German states. Sixty-one new warships were built, making Englands navy the largest and most powerful in the world. The military buildup ironically turned Parliament, formerly a hedge against disliked taxes and arbitrary crown authority, into a sort of national collections agency. Prior to William III the English people had been one of the most

lightly taxed in the world; following the Glorious Revolution, they joined the Dutch and French in being the most heavily taxed. As a result, the 1698 national debt soared to 17 million pounds, and Parliament had to establish the Bank of England to manage the ridiculous debt. All of this took place without William III supplanting Parliament, and in the evolution of their relationship, the two became interconnected like never before, so much so that the government was popularly known as King-in-Parliament. Because the crown couldnt govern without Parliament approving the desired taxes, there was no way for the king to dissolve Parliament. Across the Atlantic in the colonies, England could ill afford to send vast numbers of soldiers to protect the colonies against New France and their Indian allies. The resources that were sent across the Atlantic didnt go to the eastern seaboard but south to the West Indies to protect the crown jewels of the empire. Because the mainland colonies didnt contribute too much to international trade, they were virtually left to defend themselves in their theater of the Nine Years War, what would be known as King Williams War in the colonies. The colonists suffered defeat after defeat against Frances royal troops, Canadian militia, and Indian allies raiding the frontier settlements stretching from New York through New England. The English tried to counteract the frontier raids with invasions into Canada (one by land setting off from Albany and another by sea via the St. Lawrence River), but both failed. The Iroquois, allied with New York, felt the brunt of the French and their Indian allies in 1693 and 1696, when the French forces swept into the Iroquois towns, razing them to the ground and destroying their corn, sentencing the Indians to hunger; New York did nothing to help. In 1701, after the English and France made a short-lived peace, the Iroquois managed to make peace with New France without disavowing the English. Situating themselves in the graces of both warring nations, the Iroquois shrewdly sought to play one nation against the other, enriching themselves in the process. Because the Iroquois were so important as a frontier barrier between the two nations, both the English and the French lavished them with attention and gifts to try and woo them to their favor, or at least to keep them from swinging solidly to the other side. The end of the Nine Years War came with the English colonies battered and feuding with one another, an ill potent to the near future.


The peace following the Nine Years War didnt last long. King Louis XIV of France used the brief respite in war to refocus his attention on the French military and his seething ambitions to expand the French empire. Tensions between England and France reached a head when King Charles II of Spain died without an heir, leaving the throne ripe for the plucking. Louis XIV wanted the throne to go to his grandson, Philip de Bourbon; by doing so, he would unite the French and Spanish empires, in a sense merging the two empires militaries, upsetting the European balance of power and tilting it in their favor. England, and the rest of Europe, werent fond of the idea, and to counter this European merger, William III formed the Grand Alliance, which set several European powersEngland, Holland, Prussia, Austria, and most of the Holy Roman Empire statesagainst France and Spain. William IIIs wife died in 1694, three years from the termination of the Nine Years War, and when William III died in 1702, he had no heirs and the throne went to Marys sister Anne. Queen Anne inherited the Alliance and the burgeoning war against France and Spain, a war centered on the question of who would take the throne of Spain, a war which was then known as The War of the Spanish Succession. England won a series of smashing victories in Europe, but things didnt go as smoothly across the Atlantic, where the English colonies found themselves pinned between France to the north and Spain to the south. In 1702, Carolina colonists attacked San Agustin, the Spanish capital of Florida, but the Spanish proved too strong. The Carolinians retreated in a panic, leaving their artillery behind and scuttling their trapped ships. The French used their age-old tactics of rousing the Indians, notably the Abenaki, and pressing them against the frontier towns of New England. Though the colonial war on land didnt fare well, the colonists had better luck on the high seas. In 1710, a force of royal navy ships and colonial volunteers captured the French settlement of Port Royal in Acadia. This victory was offset the next year when an even larger expedition set itself against Quebec and sailed up the St. Lawrence. The treacherous, foggy mouth of the river saved Quebec, wrecking eight transports and taking 900 sailors to their graves. In Europe, Emperor Joseph I of Austria died, and his brother Charles, who had been the Grand Alliances candidate for the throne of Spain, became the Emperor of Austria. This new dynamic changed things, for England feared an alliance under the Hapsburgs between Spain, Austria, and scattered German states more than they feared France and Spain united under the Bourbons. Queen Anne and Parliament urged an end to hostilities, which came in 1713 with the Treaty of Utrecht.

The English accepted Philip de Bourbon as the Spanish king, with the proviso that the French and Spanish crowns remain separate. Spain surrendered Gibraltar and the Mediterranean island of Minorca to England, and the French surrendered their claims to Acadia, Newfoundland, Hudson Bay, and the West Indian island of St. Kitts to England. British merchants won the asiento de negros, a thirty-year monopoly contract to provide African slaves to the Spanish colonies in the New World. France retained the fortress of Louisbourg and Cape Breton Island, and they went about fortifying the island and in doing so keeping the loyalty of the Acadians on Nova Scotia, who were now subjects of England. After the war, France built Fort Saint Frederic on Lake Champlain just south of Montreal, a bastion against one of the greatest portages the English could use to strike into New France come the inevitable next war. The French built Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River, and on the Mississippi River they established two more outposts on the Wabash River and the lower Ohio River. French Louisiana became firmly established with the founding of New Orleans in 1718. The threat of New Orleans, coupled with Spanish Florida, prompted England to give General James Oglethorpe a land grant to settle a buffer zone between t he English colonies and the French and Spanish. This buffer zone would become know as Georgia in 1733, and it would become a fly in the ointment of Spains territorial ambitions.


One of the more notable results of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 was the recognition of the new English union with Scotland. Since 1603, when the Scottish king took the English throne as James I, the crowns of England and Scotland had been united, even though both remained legally distinct with their own established church (Anglicanism in England, Presbyterianism in Scotland), their own legal systems, and their own Parliaments. During the War of the Spanish Succession, tensions between the neighboring crowns intensified, and in 1705 England threatened to deny trade with Scotland unless Scotland willed a more solid union. Because Scotland was so poor and small in comparison to England, she couldnt afford to lose her trade. In 1707, the Scottish Parliament narrowly approved a union that created a new realm by the name of Great Britain. The Scottish Parliament was dissolved, and they were given a handful of seats in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in the English Parliament. Great Britain, as she was to be known, would have common coinage, a

common treasury, a common navy and army, a common foreign policy, and a common flag, but England and Scotland would remain distinct legally, educationally, and in reference to church establishments. The creation of Great Britain turned one of the worlds naval superpowers into the world superpower.


The British were quite tired of war after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, and British politician Sir Robert Walpoles peace program caught Great Britain by storm. Walpole determined to preserve the peace and foster stability in Great Britain rather than continuing the relentless wars against France. As the years dragged on, the British, comfortable in their peace, grew alarmed at Frances growth, most notably in the West Indies, where French sugar plantations outranked those of the British. Britains hesitancy prevented her from declaring outright war against growing France, but the British hoped to stem the French tide by indirectly attacking Frances ally Spain. The Spanish empire had a presence on many of the scattered islands in the Caribbean, and the British, with their low view of the Spaniards as a weak but wealthy empire, believed their shipping, ports, and islands would be easy prey. This worked out well for thousands of naval seamen who had been put out of work following the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. These freebooters as they came to be called were skilled in hunting on the high seas, and between 1717 and 1726 alone, around 5000 pirates sailed the beautiful waters of the Caribbean. The Bahamas became the epicenter of piracy in the West Indies: a Spanish flotilla laden with gold had floundered in the Bahamas in 1717, and the pirates prowled about in search for scavengers. The Bahamas had another lure: they were close to the Florida Channel, a well-traversed sea lane that dropped ships right into the Gulf Stream. For a while the British turned a blind eye to the pirates, since they were weakening with each strike the bloated Spanish Empire. The problem quickly grew out of hand, however, and pirates began turning on British ships. Great Britain responded by outlawing piracy in 1730, but the pirates didnt seem to care. British warships sailed the West Indies searching for pirates, and when they were captured, the ringleaders were tried and subsequently hanged. Their corpses were often left on the gallows as a warning to those who might consider going into piracy, and many slain pirates were put in cages where they rotted down to the bone. Nevertheless, the Spanish Empire had been weakened, but it hadnt been debilitated. The British would quickly discover this to be the case following a

strange mans tale that blossomed into full-scale war. Friction had been intensifying between the English South Sea Company and Spanish monopolies over trade in the West Indies, and this friction became explosive with the story of Jenkins (hewn) ear. English sea captain Jenkins, who was a smuggler on the best of days and a pirate on the worst of them, relayed the story of how the Spaniards had captured him and cut off his ear with a cutlass. The war partisans opposed to Walpoles peace program leapt on the story, lamenting that Jenkins had lost his ear to Spanish injustice. Parliament seethed for war, and in 1739 Walpole was overturned, and Parliament ordered royal navy ships to strike at the Spanish in the Caribbean. In November that year, the British captured the Spanish port of Portobello, convincing the British that the Spanish were weak and could be trifled with. A grave assumption that was, for the next year the Spanish repelled a British assault on San Agustin in Florida, and in 1741 the Spanish repulsed another invasion attempt on the West Indies seaport of Cartagena. Britains worst enemies werent the Spanish defenses but tropical disease: 3500 American colonists joined the British expedition against Cartagena, but yellow fever ensured that only half of them would return home disillusioned. The Cartagena affair convinced the colonial volunteers that the British were inept puppets; the British blamed their loss on the cowardly Americans. The year after Cartagena, the British were able to mimic the Spanish in repelling a Spanish attack on General Oglethorpes new colony of Georgia. The Spanish forces number nearly 2000 strong invaded Georgia in the summer of 1742, led by Governor Don Manuel de Montiano. Oglethorpe had less than 1000 soldiers with which to defend his colony, and most of these werent trained soldiers at all but American militia and Indian allies. On July 5, Montiano landed nearly 1900 men near Gascoigne Bluff, close to the Frederica River. Oglethorpe had no choice, faced with such overwhelming odds, to abandon Fort St. Simons, spiking the cannon and damaging the fort as best he could so that the Spanish wouldnt be able to use British weaponry. Montiano seized the fort quickly, sending out scouting patrols to try and determine where the British had fled. One such patrol stumbled into Oglethorpes main body, and the British had the upper hand: nearly a third of the Spaniards were killed or captured, and they ran helter-skelter back towards Fort St. Simons. Oglethorpe pressed the initiative, but he was still outnumbered by the larger body of Spanish troops. He sought to curry the odds in his favor by using a spy to spread misinformation among the Spanish that the British had superior odds. As British reinforcements began to arrive, Montiano abandoned Fort St. Simon and headed back the way he had come.

The War of Jenkins Ear didnt have a conclusion of its own, as events beyond the Caribbean and Georgia enveloped the conflict into an even greater war known as The War of the Austrian Succession.


Tensions in Europe had been strained long before the breakout of the War of Jenkins Ear, tensions which reached a climax in 1744 when France came into the war on the side of Spain. Following the Treaty of Utrecht 1713, Charles VI of Austria sought to ensure the territorial integrity of his Austrian Empire by naming his daughter, Maria Theresa, as his heir since he had no sons. When Charles VI died in 1740, shortly after the death of Frederick William I of Prussia, Frederick Williams son, also named Frederick, didnt care to see Maria Theresa on the Austrian throne, despite his fathers approval of her as such. Lusting after the rich Austrian province of Silesia, Frederick II marched into Austrian territory. Louis XV took sides with Prussia, hoping to leech spoils off Frederick IIs victory. England sided with Austria. As the European powers set their teeth against one another, France went to the support of Spain, thus enveloping the War of Jenkins Ear into the War of the Austrian Succession. This shifted t he wars focus from the American frontier to the heart of Europe, where gigantic armies clashed and bled in Flanders and Germany. Great Britains focus had to be on the war raging across the Channel, and so they left the matter of war in America in the hands of the colonists, expecting (because of the colonists renown for being undependable and cowardly) a stalemate. The French Canadians and their Indian allies did what they always did: they ravaged the frontier settlements of New England, but this time the New Englanders werent so keen on being pushed around. They took to the offensive and won a smashing (though, as it would turn out, fruitless) victory in the capture of the iconic French fortress of Louisbourg. Fortress Louisbourg defended New Frances supply line up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec as well as the French fisheries in the gulf of Nova Scotia (formerly named Acadia, the province went under a new name following its incorporation into the British Empire in the Treaty of Utrecht 1713). Fortress Louisbourg boasted towering stone walls laced with cannon and garrisoned with 1500 regular French soldiers, quite a number by colonial American standards. This made it the most imposing fortress in America north of Cuba. 4200 French colonists called Louisbourg home, dwarfing even Quebec. Because Louisbourg was situated on the St. Lawrence

between Quebec and the Atlantic, any attack on Quebec, if not taken by the wearying and Indian-fraught land portages, would have to deal with Louisbourg first. When the commander at Louisbourg first received news of France being pulled into war against Great Britain, he at once began ordering assaults on the British fishing stations and boats in Nova Scotia, and he authorized privateers (officially commissioned pirates) to set their teeth against New English shipping. William Shirley, the royal governor of Massachusetts, saw an opportunity for self-advancement: by putting together an expedition against Louisbourg, not only would he garnish British respect, he would also grow in popularity with the frustrated New Englanders suffering under the French privateers. 4000 colonists, assisted by a British naval squadron, sailed against Louisbourg. William Pepperell, a merchant from Maine (which was a part of Massachusetts at this time) led the troops with the backing of the Royal Navy. The colonial troops landed on Cape Breton Island several miles outside Louisbourg in April 1745, and Pepperells troops wrought such chaos that the French commander surrendered the fortress six months later. The French sought to both recapture Louisbourg and burn Boston in retaliation for the loss, but Atlantic tempests and a plague of scurvy scuttled the fleet before it could even loose a single cannonball. The Americans were enthralled with the capture (and keeping) of Louisbourg; to them, it signified their prowess in matters of war, and set them against the British stereotype of colonial volunteers as rugged, backwards, and inept soldiers. Thus when the 1748 peace negotiations handed Louisbourg back to France (in return for securing French withdrawal from conquests in India and Flanders), the colonists were incensed, declaring that that the power-players in England werent simply ignoring the colonists but risking losing their colonies to powerful New France. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle brought an end to the War of the Austrian Succession. Frederick II retained Silesia, and this only hardened Maria Theresas hatred towards him. The major European powers involved in the conflictGreat Britain, France, Austria, and Prussiaknew this peace wouldnt last long, and all knew they mustnt let down their guard: war would erupt again soon enough. The treaty made a mockery of the war and all the lives lost, as everything was returned to where it had been at the onset of the war (even the trading issues lying behind the War of Jenkins Ear werent addressed). The treaty thus inspired the French expression bte comme la paix, as stupid as the peace.


The stupid peace would only last half a decade before the eruption of the war that topped all the wars preceding it. Samuel Eliot Morison, awed at the wars global scope, remarked, This should really have been called the First World War. The Seven Years War would span the globe, comprising four different theaters under their own names: the Pomeranian War (fought in Sweden and Prussia), the Third Carnatic War (fought on the Indian subcontinent), the Third Silesia War (fought in Prussia and Austria), and the French and Indian War (fought in North America). Every major European power took up arms across four continents: North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe; and its estimated that just under 1.5 million people lost their lives in the conflict. Tensions between the European powers hadnt been resolved at the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and the tensions only broiled. The eruption came in the Pennsylvanian backcountry due to the inexperience and ineptitude of a relatively-unknown Virginian provincial named George Washington. Because the French had retained Fortress Louisbourg following the conclusion of the War of the Austrian Succession, Great Britain countered its presence by building a fortified town and navy base at Halifax in Nova Scotia. The French countered this move by building two new forts of their own at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Simultaneously, to the west beyond the Alleghenies, Virginian land speculators coveted the rich and fertile Ohio River Valley. The colony of Virginia claimed the land belonged to her; New France adamantly insisted the land belonged to them. The land, of course, was already taken by vast numbers of native Americans, and both the French and English wrestled for the benefits of trade with the indigenous peoples. As English traders flooded the Ohio River Valley, the French began erecting new forts in the interior, the biggest being Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio. The British interpreted this as a French attempt to strangle English trade and stifle British expansion beyond the Alleghenies. In 1754, the governor of Virginia, Robert Dinwiddie, sought to expel the French from the Forks of the Ohio. He sent a small detachment of colonial troops, led by a young George Washington, to force the French to abandon their pet project at Fort Duquesne. Washington blundered by ambushing and wiping out a small French patrol which, as it turns out, was actually a peace envoy en route to deliberate with Washington. Washington, realizing with horror his mistake, retreated with the main French force hot on his heels. He hastily constructed a wooden fort, dubbed Fort Necessity, to try and repel the French assault. The French, aided by their Indian allies, were too much for Washingtons small force, and he had no choice but to surrender,

and he did so on July 4th of 1754. In his capitulation he signed a French document in which he admitted to assassinating a French peace diplomat. At this time, such a declaration was a causus belli for war. Tensions between the European powers had been in delicate limbo since the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and Washingtons blunder in the dark forest of Pennsylvania served as the catalyst for the eruption of the worlds first true world war. The next year, 1755, the British sent troops and supplies across the Atlantic to seize the interior from the French. The British were successful in taking the forts at the head of the Bay of Fundy, and they deported the Acadian French still living in Nova Scotia, hardening the resolve of the sympathetic Canadians. British victory in the north was offset by disaster in the west: an expedition to destroy the French at Fort Duquesne, led by General Edward Braddock, was all but annihilated in an ambush orchestrated by the French and their Indian allies. Braddock lost his life, and Washington took command, executing a hasty but orderly retreat. The expedition had only come within ten miles of Fort Duquesne before being waylaid. Braddocks defeat emboldened the Shawnee and Lenni Lenape, and these natives began attacking colonial settlements in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The frontier rolled back to within 100 miles of Philadelphia as Indian savagery forced thousands to flee towards the coast to escape the tomahawk and keep their scalps. In 1756, the French captured the British fort on Lake Ontario, and they followed up that victory with another in 1757, seizing the British fort on Lake George. Thus far Great Britain had been humiliated by the French, and a politician by the name of William Pitt swore he knew how to turn bitter defeat into sweet victory. The English people listened, and he focused on America First in the Seven Years War, redirecting the bulk of Great Britains efforts on ousting the French from North America. His program thrust Great Britain into massive debt, but he was able to turn the tide of war. In 1758, 45,000 British troops (half regulars and half colonial volunteers) set their teeth against 6800 French regulars and 2700 provincials, aided by their Indian allies. The French were even worse off than numbers tell, for the last year had been a bad one for crops, and they were on the brink of starvation; and as Pitt turned Great Britains focus onto North America, France expelled her energies on the war in Europe and in protecting her islands in the Caribbean. New France was virtually left on her own, and the war shifted as the spring of 1758 blossomed. The French at Fort Duquesne were abandoned by their Indian allies. Unable to withstand the massive onslaught of British troops marching their way, the French blew up the fort and fled north. The British rebuilt the fort and renamed it Fort Pitt after

William Pitt. That same year the British captured Louisbourg, opening the St. Lawrence for the capture of Quebec in 1759. With Quebec and Louisbourg in the sack, the British marched on Montreal in 1760, and overwhelmed by enemy forces, the GovernorGeneral of New France had no choice but to surrender. The Seven Years War lasted for another three years, but the war in North America had all but reached an end (Indian uprisings following the surrender of their French allies waged on, but the colonists rejoiced knowing Frances grip on the continent had been expelled, and they were confident that nothing but good years lay ahead of them as English subjects). They were right for a time. But the war was expensive. Someone had to pay for it. And that meant taxes.