Military history

PART IV

TURNING POINT

1758

Pitt’s new direction breaks a deadlock between the colonial governments and Lord Loudoun. New commanders and approaches revitalize the British war effort. Crises in Canada and changes in French strategy. Montcalm defeats the British yet again at Ticonderoga, but this time they reply with victories at Louisbourg and Fort Frontenac. Indian diplomacy and the success of the Forbes expedition against Fort Duquesne. The war as a formative experience.

CHAPTER 22

Deadlock, and a New Beginning

JANUARY-MAY 1758

TO THE MASSACHUSETTS provincial soldiers huddled against the cold in huts near Stillwater, New York, the year 1758 dawned bleakly, and not only because they remembered the previous summer’s defeats. The eighty men of Captain Ebenezer Learned’s company had come to think of their enemies not so much as the Indians and French as cold weather, short rations, and their own British superiors. Learned’s provincials—farmers, laborers, and artisans from central and western Massachusetts—had enlisted in the spring of 1757 to serve for a campaign that they understood would last only until November 30. Because their notions of military obligation were no less contractual than those of New Englanders generally, it had come as “a greate & unexpected disappointment” to learn, as their tour of duty was about to end, that Lord Loudoun had ordered them to remain in service until Candlemas (February 2, 1758).1

Loudoun had extended the enlistments of Learned’s and three other Massachusetts companies because he needed men to garrison the blockhouses and forts north of Albany. The fall of Fort William Henry had laid the region open to enemy raids, and in September he had asked the assemblies of New York, New Jersey, and the New England colonies to recruit rangers to defend it over the winter. Nobody questioned the need—had anyone done so, the French and Indian destruction of German Flats in early November, a raid that resulted in the deaths of 50 settlers and the seizure of 150 more, would have made it undeniable—and despite their lack of enthusiasm for the additional expenditure, most of the assemblies acceded to Loudoun’s demand. But Massachusetts, unlike the other colonies, garrisoned a chain of forts and blockhouses along its own frontier, and its general court refused to raise the men Loudoun asked because the province was already carrying more than its share of the burden. With the German Flats incident on his mind, Lord Loudoun found this even more exasperating than the usual colonial obstinacy and so dealt with it directly. On November 18, as the provincials were disbanding, he detained 360 Massachusetts soldiers, advanced them two months’ pay from his own funds, and ordered them to remain in service—or suffer the consequences.2

Captain Learned’s men had acquiesced but among themselves agreed not to serve beyond the time for which they had been paid. Learned had returned to Massachusetts on sick leave, and when he returned in early January his men told him that they planned to march for home on February 3. Rather than upbraiding them for their lack of loyalty or warning them of the consequences of desertion, Learned offered to represent their case to Captain Philip Skene, the regular who commanded at Stillwater. If Skene refused to make some reasonable accommodation, Learned said, he would lead the “retreat” himself. In the meantime his men continued to save food out of their rations to provision the journey home and improved their leisure hours by making snowshoes. According to a nineteen-year-old private in the company, Rufus Putnam, when Candlemas (“the day . . . that we wished for”) arrived, we were all ordered into the Fort whe[re] Capt. Skean read a part of a letter to us, that Major General Abercrombie sent to him, the contents of which was this. You are hereby required to persuade the Massachusetts [men] that are under your care to tarry a few days longer, till I shall hear from their government, to know what the government intends to do with them. To these orders, there was answer made by some of our Company, that they looked upon him to be a good soldier, that tarried till his time was out; and that the Province had no business to detain us any longer; neither would we be detained any longer by any power that they could raise. He told us that if any man had been duly enlisted into His Majesty’s service and should leave the same, without a Regular Discharge, he should Suffer Death. We told him we did not value that, for according to our Enlistment, neither they not the Province could hold us any longer, and that we did not break the Court Act by going off.3

At three o’clock the next morning, leaving behind only a second lieutenant to care for ten men who were too sick to walk, Ebenezer Learned’s company—with its captain and first lieutenant in the lead—marched for home. Seven days later, half-starved, frostbitten, and minus their mascot (“a large dog” they had eaten two days earlier) they staggered into Hawks’s Fort in Charlemont, Massachusetts. The garrison received them “very Kindly,” offering the deserters food and a place to rest before sending them on their way. No one at the fort seems to have thought that Learned’s men had done anything wrong. Indeed, the hospitality they offered gives us every reason to believe that the provincials at Charlemont admired the deserters’ willingness to brave the winter woods rather than remain at Stillwater without enlistment contracts to protect them from enslavement.4

“He is a good Soldier that Serves his time out” was a maxim as transparently true to the soldiers of the Bay Colony as it was unmeaning and pernicious to Captain Philip Skene and his fellow regular officers in America, adherents of a military system based on the gospel of subordination and discipline, men with neither time nor sympathy for contractualist sophistry. That whole companies of soldiers, together with their officers, would defy the king’s officers in the name of a supposed principle, was a fact significant in ways Lord Loudoun never quite grasped. Soon, however, he would discover that soldiers who defied his authority to preserve what they called their rights were the least of his problems.5

THE SMALL SAGA of Ebenezer Learned’s company bears retelling because it illuminates the larger pattern of resistance to imperial authority that was emerging in New England at the beginning of 1758. Even as Learned’s men floundered through the snowdrifts of the Green Mountains, politicians in the Massachusetts Assembly were gathering their resolve to challenge Lord Loudoun on issues that went to the very heart of his power as commander in chief. Already they had refused to recruit rangers for winter duty in New York. Now they were actually attempting to revive the form of intercolonial military union that had prevailed in previous wars, a system in which each assembly had appointed military commissioners to meet with the commissioners of the other colonies to determine by negotiation the level of support their respective provinces would provide for each campaign.

Lord Loudoun looked on this development with horror. If the assemblies could decide for themselves what they would contribute to the common cause, even if the numbers of men and pounds sterling exactly matched what he would have asked of them anyway, the legislators would in effect nullify his authority as the representative of the king in Parliament. Loudoun knew that if he surrendered to such pretensions as these, he would be allowing the colonists to determine the nature of the empire itself, and that would be a loss to the Crown far more grave than any military defeat. Thus as the year 1758 opened, the question was not whether but when the confrontation would come between a man unsuited by temperament to compromise and a colonial assembly unwilling to go on complying with demands that took no account of local conditions and laws.

Before the loss of Fort William Henry and the abandonment of the Louisbourg expedition it would have been unthinkable that the New England assemblies would mount a direct challenge, but on December 24 the Massachusetts House of Representatives invited its counterparts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire to appoint commissioners to meet and “concert measures for our mutual defence in this time of war and great danger.” Such defiance, of course, infuriated Lord Loudoun, but what stoked his wrath to white heat was the knowledge that the Massachusetts legislators had dared to act so flagrantly because the province’s new governor had encouraged them to do it. And that official was none other than his own former secretary and protégé, Thomas Pownall.6

Loudoun’s policies and attitudes had always reflected both his professional soldier’s understanding that his authority flowed from the royal prerogative and a royal commission that made his authority over the colonial governors virtually indistinguishable from his authority over his colonels. He knew well enough that governors needed the cooperation of their legislatures to carry out his commands, but he either failed to understand the difficulties they faced when their assemblies proved recalcitrant or he simply refused to regard such problems as anything more than evidence of the governors’ timidity. All of Loudoun’s experience in America had led him to believe that the only effective way to gain the cooperation of colonists, whether assemblymen or ordinary civilians, was to threaten them with force whenever they did not promptly submit to his demands. But Pownall, who had taken up his office only in August, immediately after Fort William Henry’s fall, was in no position to command. Whatever Lord Loudoun expected of him, Pownall knew that he could do nothing unless a majority of the representatives in the General Court decided to cooperate; and he set out to gain their support by adopting the techniques that successful governors had always used.7

One of the quickest ways for a new governor to acquire support in any colonial assembly was to align himself with his predecessor’s enemies, a tactic that suggested itself to Pownall with particular force since he had been instrumental in orchestrating the downfall of William Shirley. In the Massachusetts legislature, however, it was not only Shirley’s former opponents who had appropriated the republican stance of a country party: virtually every legislator who took exception to Loudoun and his policies had simultaneously taken up the banner of rights, liberty, and property. Pownall’s early adoption of country rhetoric—in his initial speech he promised to protect civil liberty and promote civic virtue and appreciatively acknowledged the province’s heavy contributions to the war effort—clearly appealed to these politicians. Yet Pownall did not spout republican principles merely to gain popularity, for he sincerely believed that the colonists had constitutional rights equivalent to those of Englishmen at home, that colonial civil governments should be no more subject to military authority than English counties, and that the best way to gain the colonists’ cooperation in the war effort was to invite, not compel, it. In November he showed that he was as good as his principles by siding with the General Court in a dispute with Loudoun over quartering in Boston: a move that gained him credit with the legislators at the cost of creating a permanent breach with the commander in chief.8

Pownall understood that, important as it was to show his sympathy for popular principles, his long-term success depended on building a patronage network through which he could exert effective leverage in the assembly. This practical goal, as much his conviction that “there is a Spirit in the People of New England on which to build such a Scheme,” underlay the plans he placed before the General Court during the winter of 1757–58. Pownall proposed measures to reform Massachusetts’s militia, to launch an all-provincial expedition to secure the Penobscot region at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and attack the French settlements along the St. John River, and—most significantly—to mobilize the latent strength of the New England colonies by reviving the independent military union of the previous wars.9

What made each of these proposals distinctive, apart from their almost uncanny resemblance to William Shirley’s programs, was that each would have given the governor exclusive control of military commissions and supply contracts, and hence the currency of patronage with which to reward political allies. All that Loudoun could see in Pownall’s measures was an ambitious man’s attempt to undermine the legitimate authority of the commander in chief, betraying not only a former patron but the king’s own trust. In fact, what Pownall wanted most was to govern his province effectively, and the only way he could do that was by making common cause with the legislators who opposed Lord Loudoun’s viceregal claims and detested his imperious behavior. Pownall’s political needs would catalyze an explosive reaction between the determination of the commander in chief to protect his authority and the intention of a majority of the Bay Colony’s assemblymen to protect their constituents’ rights and reassert control over Massachusetts’s manpower and money.

It was therefore with Pownall’s blessing that the House of Representatives invited the other New England legislatures to send commissioners to Boston to discuss the common defense independently of Lord Loudoun. The restraint those commissioners showed when they actually met, in February, owed much to the caution of Massachusetts’s leading delegate, Thomas Hutchinson, whose reservations about Pownall reinforced his disinclination to defy the commander in chief. Pownall regretted that the commissioners proved willing only to discuss general issues, and not only because they had failed to allocate the military resources of the colonies on their own authority. He knew that their tentativeness had weakened his position against Loudoun, who was bound to be displeased when he heard of the commissioners’ meeting.

Displeasure, however, hardly described his lordship’s response. Loudoun was apoplectic and still virtually incoherent with anger when he informed Pitt on February 14 that this attempt to override his authority

Appears to me to be an Affair of great Consequence, which if not prevented, is likely to create disputes and Animosities among the Provinces, and will probably prevent, in a great Measure, the Harmony that ought to be cultivated amongst them at this time, and deprive the Public, in a great Measure, of that Aid they have a right to expect from them at this time; And as to their Applying the combined Force, I take that to be entirely in the King, who sends his Orders on that Subject, to whomever he thinks proper to appoint to the Command of his Troops, to whom what Men the Provinces Raise are intended as an Aid, and not at all under the Command of the Governor, after they are raised, as to the Services they are to be Employed in.

In order, as far as I can, to prevent the bad consequences I apprehend from this Measure, I have Invited [read: summoned] the Governors of the four New England Colonies; New York and the Jerseys, to meet me at Hartford . . . on the 20th of this Month, in order to prevent, if I can, any Measure being taken by a part, that may affect the whole, or . . . to, at least So[l]der up matters so, that we may be able to go on with the Publick Service: I shall lose the less time by this, as the Boston Assembly has been adjourned to the 2d of March, before I was informed of it. 10

Loudoun had decided to exert his authority directly over the governors at Hartford, and on February 23 and 24 he did just that. Explaining his plans for the coming year—a new expedition against Louisbourg, an advance against Fort Carillon on Lake Champlain, a bateau-borne attempt to seize Fort Frontenac at the mouth of Lake Ontario, and an overland expedition against Fort Duquesne—he informed them that he would require the services of precisely 6,992 provincial soldiers. The governors of Rhode Island and New Hampshire were to see to it that their assemblies voted to raise 608 men each; New Jersey was to procure 912; New York would provide 1,216; Connecticut, 1,520; and Massachusetts, 2,128. Pownall, as Loudoun had anticipated, objected to the quotas: the Massachusetts House would no longer be dictated to, he said, and would resist or perhaps balk altogether. Loudoun replied that if Pownall could not explain their duty to the members of the Massachusetts Assembly, he would. Then, trailing a worried Pownall, he left for Boston, where the General Court was about to resume its session.11

Lord Loudoun knew that he had supporters, including Thomas Hutchinson, in the Massachusetts legislature, but after a few days in Boston he must have wondered if he had overestimated their influence. For more than a week the House of Representatives debated his proposals for the coming campaign, refusing to take action until the commander in chief had responded to their queries. “The matter labour’d greatly,” Pownall reported to Pitt, while “the House seemed to advance in nothing but Difficulties and Objections, Diffidence in the Plan, Objections against the Number [of provincials to be raised] as a Quota.” Meanwhile, “dissatisfaction against a Junction [of the provincials] with the Regulars as the Matter of Rank . . . stood,” built yet another barrier to agreement. On the morning of March 10 the issue remained deadlocked, with the House stubbornly refusing to vote the men Loudoun demanded and Loudoun steadfast in his insistence that the legislators had no right to refuse demands he placed on them in the name and by the authority of their king. For the first time it seemed possible that Massachusetts, heretofore the chief contributor of men and money among the North American colonies, would vote no more troops and no further financial support for the war.12

But on the morning of the tenth, a courier delivered a pair of letters to Pownall that changed everything. “Sir,” William Pitt had written in the first, “The King having judged proper, that the Earl of Loudoun should return to England; And His Majesty having been pleased to appoint Major General Abercromby to succeed his Lordship, . . . I am commanded to signify to you His Majesty’s Pleasure, that you do apply to, and correspond with, Major General Abercromby, on all Matters relating to the King’s Service. . . .”13 Pownall surely smiled at that. If so, he must have beamed with delight when he turned to the second letter and read:

His Majesty having nothing more at Heart than to repair the Losses and Disappointments, of the last inactive, and unhappy Campaign; . . . And His Majesty not judging it expedient to limit the zeal and Ardor of any of His Provinces, by making a Repartition of the Force to be raised by Each respectively, for this most important Service; I am commanded to signify the King’s Pleasure, that you do forthwith use your utmost Endeavours, and Influence with the Council and Assembly of your Province, to induce them to raise, with all possible Dispatch, as large a Body of Men within your Government, as the Number of Its Inhabitants may allow; and, forming the same into Regiments, . . . That you do direct them to hold Themselves in Readiness, . . . to make an Irruption into Canada. . . .14

But what followed must have seemed the answer to Pownall’s prayers.

All Officers of the Provincial Forces, as high as Colonels inclusive, are to have Rank, according to their several respective Commissions, in like Manner, as is already Given, by His Majesty’s Regulations, to the Captains of Provincial Troops in America.

The King is further pleased to furnish all the Men, so raised as above, with Arms, Ammunition, and Tents, as well as to order Provisions to be issued to the same, . . . in the same Proportion and Manner as is done to the rest of the King’s Forces. . . .

The Whole, therefore, that His Majesty expects and requires from the several Provinces, is, the Levying, Cloathing, and Pay of the Men; And, on these Heads also, that no Encouragement may be wanting to this great and salutary Attempt, The King is farther most Graciously pleased to permit me to acquaint You, that strong Recommendations will be made to Parliament in their Session next Year, to grant a proper Compensation for such Expences as above, according to the active Vigour and strenuous Efforts of the respective Provinces shall justly appear to merit.15

Pownall sent a messenger to inform the assembly that he had important information to lay before it and to request the members’ attendance at a special session.

That evening the governor laid Pitt’s letters before the assembly and told them he did not doubt Massachusetts would do its duty. Only the briefest of debates followed. The next morning the same legislators who had refused to raise 2,128 men voted unanimously to raise 7,000 and gave Thomas Pownall a formal cheer. Lord Loudoun’s reaction, although nowhere recorded, can easily be imagined. He rode immediately for New York, turned his official papers over to Abercromby, and at the first opportunity sailed home.16

Enthusiasm like that of the Bay Colony’s legislators blossomed throughout the colonies as their assemblies learned of Pitt’s new policies. Connecticut voted to raise 5,000 men, Rhode Island 1,000, and New Hampshire 800. New York increased its levy to 2,680 and Pennsylvania to 2,700; even Delaware voted to raise 300 provincials for the coming campaign. Virginia doubled its military establishment, calling up militiamen to garrison the frontier forts and offering two regiments for expeditionary service against Fort Duquesne. All in all, within a month of receiving word of Pitt’s offers of aid and support, the continental colonies resolved to put more than 23,000 provincials under arms, in addition to the thousands more who were to be employed as bateaumen, wagoners, artificers, privateers, and sailors. Of all the North American provinces, only Maryland, locked in an internal dispute that pitted its lower house against the upper, failed to increase its level of involvement in the war effort.17

This stunning reversal cannot be explained merely by the colonials’ dislike of Loudoun, although their glee at the news of his removal cannot be denied. Rather the abandonment of the policies that Loudoun had represented made the greatest difference, and for reasons that Pitt himself could have understood only in part. The colonists embraced his new plans with such ardor because they seemed likely to solve the problems that the old approach had created. But even among the Americans, few could have appreciated how strongly Pitt’s policies resonated with the circumstances of colonial life.

Loudoun’s desire to recruit thousands of colonists into regular regiments and to fill a large common fund with contributions from the colonial assemblies had been at odds with American social and economic conditions. Colonial societies—particularly in New England, where most of the support was to come from—simply did not harbor enough poor white men to satisfy the manpower appetite of a regular army at war. Most of the service-age males that the northern colonies could supply, moreover, were unwilling to submit themselves to long enlistments and rigorous discipline in the regular army. Unlike recruits from the lower strata of British society, most potential soldiers in the northern colonies were not permanently poor men, marginalized to such a degree that enlistment offered an attractive alternative to indentured servitude, emigration, or destitution. Rather they were for the most part merely ordinary young men who had not yet become independent of their fathers or masters, but who expected one day to own farms or shops and to head households of their own. Instinctively or consciously, such men understood what Loudoun never did: that the colonies had few workers with respect to their supply of available land, and for that reason (and not the crass opportunism that Loudoun blamed) soldiers’ wages had to be as high as the wages civilian workers could command.18

Nor had Loudoun appreciated how starved for cash the colonial economies were, and therefore how unable they were to generate the revenues necessary to make the war in America self-funding. Accustomed to the sight of rural impoverishment in England and Scotland, he looked at New England’s evidently prosperous countryside and believed that the representatives these yeomen elected to their assemblies were reluctant to tax their constituents because they lacked the patriotic spirit of selfsacrifice. He did not realize—or at least did not see as clearly as the colonies’ legislators did—that so little money circulated in the countryside and so much indebtedness prevailed among farmers that heavy taxation could reduce even substantial yeomen to penury.

In such a setting, the exquisite sensitivity of legislators to the interests of the localities they represented was no more than fidelity to the trust that their constituents had reposed in them. To an aristocrat like Loudoun, such behavior seemed merely to indicate a self-interested willingness to sacrifice the good of the whole to the parochial needs of whatever town or county claimed the assemblymen’s first allegiance. Lord Loudoun enjoyed the confidence of the king, counted the king’s son a friend, understood the complexities of British politics, knew the ways of the world, had a French mistress; how could such a man fail to condescend to the rustics of North America? And how could they fail to resent his condescension?

To a truly remarkable degree, Pitt’s new policies took advantage of the strengths of the colonists and compensated for their deficiencies, tolerated their parochialism and capitalized on their hatred of Loudoun. The colonies had men who were willing to serve, not as long-service, highly disciplined regulars but as short-term provincials; Pitt would take as many of these as the colonies could raise. If the provincials were expensive, untrained, and hard to discipline, they could still build roads, garrison forts, haul supplies, and thereby free effective soldiers—redcoats who had the discipline and training that seemed all but impossible to instill in Americans—to win battles. If the colonial economies were short on capital, credit, and cash, Pitt would make up for these with subsidies and reimbursements offered in the same proportion to their efforts as the subsidies that sustained the exertions of Hanover and Prussia.

And so it would run, through the whole range of problems that had so far hobbled the war effort in North America. Were colonial majors and colonels touchy about their rank and status, offended at being reduced to the status of senior captains when they served jointly with the regulars? Pitt would make them junior only to redcoats who held the same rank as they, so that no provincial field officer needed to suffer the humiliation of taking orders from an English officer of lesser rank. Were the assemblies protective of some supposed right to initiate taxation? Then let them consent to requisitions, if they preferred to hear the Crown’s needs communicated in that form. Did the colonial assemblymen fear the imposition of military control over their governments? Pitt’s instructions made Loudoun’s successor a mere military commander with no claims to control over the civil administration of the colonies, because Pitt intended to exercise the full authority over the governors that belonged to him as secretary of state for the Southern Department. Were colonial governors hobbled in their ability to manage politics in the provincial assemblies by lack of patronage? Pitt’s new approach promised supply contracts by the score and military commissions by the hundred, and all of them could be distributed in return for political support.

In all of these measures Pitt did not hesitate to overthrow the reforms of Halifax and his colleagues at the Board of Trade, who had worked so diligently before the war to impose some measure of administrative control on America. Pitt could do what he did with so little apparent concern for their efforts because he cared nothing for administration or reform or the depressing history of colonial intrusions on the prerogative. He only wanted to win the war, and no centralizing reform measure would help him do that. Pitt’s action in reversing the thrust of a decade-long policy toward the colonies can only be properly understood if we see him as a man to whom caution was no longer a constraint, a gambler either so desperate or so sure of his luck that he could stake everything on the next roll of the dice.

The effects of the new policies were immediately evident in the response of the assemblies, but it was another three months before it became clear that the enthusiasm of the legislators could be translated into enough enlistments to fill the newly created provincial regiments. In New England, it was perhaps unsurprising that recruitment proceeded vigorously, and it cannot have failed to gratify Pitt to learn that by late April, Massachusetts had enlisted nearly five thousand volunteers and was willing to draft another two thousand from its militia if the remainder did not volunteer in time to begin the summer’s campaign. But the colony that offered the most striking evidence of the new policies’ effect was Virginia, where enthusiasm for provincial service had never been high. From 1754 through 1757, the Old Dominion had paid its soldiers poorly and attracted few volunteers. Although the Burgesses had tried to make up the chronic deficit in enlistments by authorizing the impressment of men who had “no visible Way of getting an honest Livelihood,” it also allowed draftees to escape service by paying a ten-pound fine, without even requiring them to hire substitutes to serve in their stead. As a result, the ranks of the Virginia Regiment were rarely more than half-full, and Washington had never succeeded in inducing many veterans to reenlist. With the news that Parliament stood willing to reimburse its expenses, however, the Burgesses resolved to raise a second regiment and—“thinking by that means to compleat with greater dispatch and better men”—to offer a ten-pound bounty to every volunteer.19

Recruitment went so well that before the end of May the 1st Virginia Regiment had enrolled 950 of the 1,000 men it had been authorized and the 2nd Regiment had enlisted 900. Every one of them was a volunteer. Even Sir John St. Clair, the crusty regular quartermaster who had lost no opportunity to denigrate the Virginia provincials since Braddock’s defeat, admitted that they seemed “a fine body of men.” Even more surprising than the caliber of the men and their enthusiasm for enlistment, however, was the social quality of their officers. Washington had been one of the few planters of stature willing to lead the provincials before 1758, and he was both young and descended from a family of the second rank. Like many of his company commanders, Washington’s second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Adam Stephen, was a Scot and therefore, in the reckoning of Virginia’s Anglophile gentry, barely a gentleman. But the policy change that gave provincial field officers rank equivalent to that of their counterparts in the regular army had swept away the biggest deterrent to service by members of the colony’s first families. In 1758 the man who volunteered to head the new 2nd Virginia Regiment was no less than William Byrd III, a member of the Governor’s Council and the master of Westover, the Chesapeake’s archetypal estate. Byrd’s second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel George Mercer, came from a family by no means inferior to the Washingtons; his company commanders were on balance much more socially acceptable than those of the 1st Regiment.20

Thus Loudoun had thought the colonists poor raw material, had bent every effort to improving them, and had failed—not through want of effort, but because the raw material had been unwilling to improve. Pitt took the same men and conditions that had thwarted the imperious laird and adapted his policies to suit them, asking not for perfection or submission but only for help, making clear his willingness to take it on the colonists’ own terms. Not surprisingly, the new generals Pitt appointed to command in America would experience frustrations so like Loudoun’s that their complaints about unsoldierly provincials and self-interested assemblies would look as if they plagiarized his letter books. But the complaints and the disdain of Loudoun’s successors would not vex Anglo-American relations after 1758 because Pitt had deprived them of the authority to act on their opinions. Pitt himself would direct policies and, insofar as possible, plan campaigns. The result would prove to be a series of victories unparalleled in British history. Pitt’s policies would gain him not just the colonists’ help but their adulation. Never before had the energies of so many colonists been engaged on behalf of the empire as they would be in the three remarkable years that began in 1758; never before had their affection for Great Britain been so heartfelt, or their passion for the empire burned with so bright a flame.

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