Wikiquote:Transwiki/American History Primary Sources French and Indian War


1753 We would fain hope these people are only French traders, and they have no other view but trade. I hope there is no great army of French among the [Great] lakes.”

Governor Robert Dinwiddie, on learning that some French were seen in western Pennsylvania during the winter of 1752-1753.


“You and the French are like two edges of a pair of shears, and we are the cloth that is cut to pieces between them.”

Remarks of a Native American to an Englishman


“They pretended to have an undoubted right to the river from a discovery made by one LaSalle sixty years ago, and the rise of this expedition is to prevent our settling on the river or waters of it....

“He told me the country belong’d to them, that no English man had a right to trade upon them waters, & that he had orders to make every person prisoner that attempted it on the Ohio or on the waters of it.”

Major George Washington, report of his meeting with the French officer in command of forces in the Northwest.


“The volley fired by this young Virginian in the forests of America has set the world in flames.”

A British writer, on George Washington’s attack on French and Indian troops near Fort Duquesne (latter Pittsburgh), starting the French and Indian War.


While General Braddock was in Maryland, colonists were “treated as slaves, and as arrogance unchecked knows no bounds, the military soon silenced the civil power, property became dependent on the moderation of a licentious soldiery, triumphing over the sanction of laws, and the authority of magistracy.”

Daniel Dulany of Maryland.


“The English soldiers... were struck with such a panic that they behaved with more cowardice than it is possible to conceive.... They broke and ran like sheep pursued by dogs....

“The Virginia troops showed a good deal of bravery, and were nearly all killed.... I luckily escaped without a wound, though I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me.”

From 22-year old George Washington to his mother during the French and Indian War. British Gen. Braddock was ambushed by the French and Indians.


“Indians are the only match for Indians, and without them [on our side] we shall ever fight on unequal terms.”

Colonel George Washington, on the need for Indian troops to work alongside the British and Americans. The Indian Scouts remained a unit of the United States Army until 1948.

1758 “Militia, you will find, sir, will never answer your expectations, no dependence is to be placed upon them; They are obstinate and perverse, they are egged on by the Officers, who lead them to acts of disobedience, and when they are ordered to certain posts for the security of stores, or the protection of the Inhabitants, will, on a sudden, resolve to leave them, and the united vigilance of their officers cannot prevent them.”

Col. George Washington, on the unreliability of colonial militia troops.


“I must confess that in this country, we must comply and learn the art of war from enemy Indians or anything else who have seen the country and war carried on in it.”

British Brigadier General John Forbes, preparing for the advance into western Pennsylvania to take Fort Duquesne from the French.


American troops are “in general the dirtiest, most contemptible cowardly dogs that you can conceive. They fall down dead in their own dirt and desert by battalions, officers and all. Such rascals as those are rather an encumbrance than any real strength to an army.”

British General James Wolfe.


“The present war teaches us that disputes arising in America may be an occasion of embroiling nations who have no concerns there. If the French remain in Canada and Louisiana, fix the boundaries as you will between us and them, we must border on each other for 1,500 miles. The people that inhabit the frontiers are generally the refuse of both nations, often of the worst morals and the least discretion; remote from the eye, the prudence, and the restraint of government. Injuries are therefore frequently, in some part or other of so long a frontier, committed on both sides, resentment provoked, the colonies first engaged, and then the mother countries.... The flames of war, once kindled, often spread far and wide, and the mischief is infinite.

“Happy it proved to both nations that the Dutch were prevailed on finally to cede the New Netherlands (now the province of New York) to us in the peace of 1674; a peace that has ever since continued between us, but must have been frequently disturbed if they had retained the possession of that country, bordering several hundred miles on our colonies of Pennsylvania westward, Connecticut and the Massachusetts eastward.”

Benjamin Franklin, urging Great Britain to take possession of Canada following its conquest by British and American troops, in his pamphlet, Great Britain’s Interest in Her Colonies”.


He had to deal with “the insulting rudeness of an Assembly-man who, picked up from a dunghill, thinks himself raised to a Being of Superior nature.”

British Colonel Henry Bouquet, on Pennsylvania politicians.