French and Indian War

American Indian warriors in the woods
American Indian warriors in the woods

[America, 1754] Shortly after Anton’s death, his friends Lady Meredith and Lord Ruben passed away too. But the friendship between the two families helped them through the time of grief, and they knew that they would always be there for one another.

The captain’s worries, Seven Years’ War (1754-1763, America and Europe)

Many guests came in the “Merry Dragon” inn, and sometimes British soldiers too. Among the regulars was an elderly British captain who enjoyed talking to Andy. On that evening in 1754, he only sat there staring in silence. “It’s just a few months until the end of my period of service,” he finally said, “and although I like America, I want to spend my retirement back home in England. But now I’m not sure when that will be possible, if it will be possible at all, I have orders to start with my soldiers now that the situation with the French is getting worse. Many of our people want to go into the Ohio Valley, but the French claim it to, and up north our government wants to push the French out of Acadia and the St. Lawrence River area.”

Thoughtfully Andy said good-bye to the captain. “I wish you all the best,” he said warmly, “and may you get back to your England sound and safe.” But inside he was not so sure. The positions of Great Britain and France were irreconcilable, both brought Indian tribes on their side – and after all, actually it was Indian land.
A few months later, the French and Indian War broke out. For a long time the French had the upper hand because they had the majority of Indian tribes on their side, then the British could turn the tide. In 1758, British colonists and regiments drove the French off the Ohio Valley, two naval victories 1759 destroyed the French fleet. Quebec fell in September, Montreal surrendered a year later. In the Peace of Paris 1763, France had to cede all colonies in North America to Great Britain. Only the Mississippi Delta remained French.

Also in Europe there was fighting again. Queen Maria Theresa in Vienna had not put up with the loss of Silesia. Her foreign minister had been able to forge an alliance with Russia, Saxony, and even France, Habsburg’s age long enemy. The Seven Years War (1756-63) began. Only Great Britain was on Prussia’s side, yet it only provided financial assistance to keep the French troops bound in Europe. Frederick’s victories over the Imperial Army and the French made him popular, but he also suffered terrible defeats. The war brought Prussia close to the edge, but in the end it was next to Great Britain, France, Austria and Russia the fifth major power in Europe.

Which Indians live at the Rhine? (around 1763)

Andy’s thoughts went back home. Although the smaller states did their best to keep their territories out of the battles of the great, the recurrent marches-through of various armed forces brought hardships and distress. But Andy also thought of the soldiers: for many of them, the army was the only way to get something to eat regularly, and to know that in case of an injury at least the family would be supported. Moreover, many men were forced by fraud or by force into military service. He was glad that his children would be spared from that.

From childhood on Ambrose and Betty had been eager for knowledge and adventuresome. They knew their little town and its surroundings well, and whenever their uncle Sean came for a visit, they would paddle with him up and down the Brandywine Creek. Betty was very interested in the cultures of the people living around them. The Indians, the children or grandchildren of European immigrants who were born in America, and the people from England, Ireland or one of the German states who had just arrived in the New World. Already as a little girl she had enjoyed listening to her grandfather Anton when he spoke of his homeland. Once she had asked him which Indian tribes lived over there at the Rhine. Anton had laughed heartily and then explained in a loving way that Indians live in America only. From then on, Betty took a systematic approach and wrote down everything she learned about America and various European countries.

Later she fell in love with Simon, whose family owned a publishing house in Philadelphia. He asked her to write for him and contribute her knowledge. “Distrust often comes from ignorance,” he said. There, in Philadelphia, both worked with a society that supported newcomers during the first months. Not only that, thanks to the publishing house’s good contacts to the individual colonies in North America on one side and the German states and Great Britain on the other, they could also help many families to stay in touch with their relatives in the Old World.
Ambrose had inherited his father’s talent for woodworking. In his workshop next to the Merry Dragon Inn, he crafted tables, chairs, benches and cabinets for the dining room and the guest rooms. Together with Sean he had built a front porch. Soon also friends, neighbors and guests ordered furniture at Ambrose’s workshop, and for the wine-growers he made wine barrels. When he met his love Rachel and they started a family together, he added cradles and children’s furniture to his range of products. Ambrose almost burst with pride when he placed a table and chairs especially crafted for small guests on the front porch of the Merry Dragon Inn. Andy and Cathy were very proud of their two children. Since they both were so busy, the parents could probably not retire yet. “Never mind,” Andy said, as he sat on a quiet evening with his Cathy on the front porch, “a German proverb says: Age does not defend you against love, but love defends you against age.”

References
The picture is from the German Wikipedia, public domain section.

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