Monday, November 10, 2008

New York: The Empire State (3)

Topic: Albany Pre: 1940 (continue) #3

The Iroquois resented this trade with their commercial rivals, and their allegiance to the English cause was further weakened by French military successes. In 1754 the British Lords of Trade finally awoke to the danger and called a congress of all the colonies at Albany to make a treaty with the Indians and to consider colonial defense. The Indians were slow in arriving; their temper was expressed by King Hendrick, chief of the Mohawk, when he thundered, 'Look at the French; they are men, they are fortifying everywhere but, we are ashamed to say it, you are all like women....' Benjamin Franklin's plan of union was adopted by the congress but was rejected by the colonies because it unduly limited their independence and by Britain because it impaired the royal prerogative.

During the French and Indian War, Albany served as point of departure for Colonial and British forces under William Johnson, Abercrombie, Bradstreet, and Lord Amherst on their way north and west against the French. After the Anglo-French treaty of 1763 the city was ready for peace, but farmers were disgruntled by taxes, merchants and lawyers were gauging anew the possibilities of Franklin's 1754 proposal, and young men back from the wars were restive under British rule. The break cme with Stamp Act riots, the organization of the Sons of Liberty, and the burning of the city mail sleigh. Philip Schuyler proposed a censure of George III in the 1775 session of the Provincial Assembly, which carried 7 to 2 after the Loyalists had left the chamber.

Shortly before the Battle of Lexington a Committee of Safety was organized, which voted sums of money to Boston, patrolled the streets with its own militia, supervised defense operations, and erected gallows (near the present site of the State Capitol) to hang Tories who had tried to escape jail. (10)

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