The New International Encyclopædia/King William's War

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The New International Encyclopædia
King William's War
Edition of 1905. See also King William's War on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

KING WILLIAM'S WAR. The name commonly given to that part of the struggle known in European history as the War of the League of Augsburg which was fought in America. From one point of view the War of the League of Augsburg was a war waged by the Grand Alliance against the ambitious schemes of Louis XIV. for the territorial aggrandizement of France in Europe; from another it was the first of a series of conflicts, sometimes called the ‘Second Hundred Years' War,’ between France and England for colonial supremacy. (See France; and Louis XIV.) In America the active operations of the war were begun by Frontenac, then Governor of New France, who in the winter of 1689-90 sent out three expeditions, composed of French and Indians, against the border towns of New York and New England. One of these expeditions surprised and destroyed the town of Schenectady, near Albany, and massacred or carried into captivity many of the inhabitants; another brought a like fate to the village of Salmon Falls in New Hampshire; the third took in Casco in southwestern Maine, and harried other settlements in northern New England. Aroused by the common danger, Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New York, by invitation of Jacob Leisler (q.v.), de facto Governor of New York, sent delegates to a colonial Congress, which met at New York in May, 1690, and discussed plans of attack and defense. The Congress determined to attempt the conquest of Canada, and planned expeditions both by sea and land. The land expedition, composed chiefly of troops from Connecticut and New York under Fitz John Winthrop, failed miserably; the main body got no farther than the head of Lake Champlain, though a small detachment pushed on and raided La Prairie, opposite Montreal. The fleet, under command of Sir William Phipps, who earlier in the year had led a successful expedition against Port Royal in Acadia, appeared before Quebec in October, 1690; but, owing to the failure of the English land expedition, the French were able to garrison the town with so strong a force that the English attack was easily repulsed. Phipps then gave up the attempt, and with forces much diminished by disease and shipwreck returned home. The remainder of the war consisted chiefly of border raids, by which much sutfering was inflicted without any substantial results being gained by either side. The struggle was brought to a close in 1697 by the Peace of Ryswick. By its terms Louis XIV. gave up, with a few exceptions, all the conquests he had made in Europe since 1678, and recognized William III. as King of Great Britain, while there was to be a mutual restitution in America of all conquered territory. Consult: Parkman, Frontenac and New France Under Louis XIV. (Boston, 1877); Drake, The Border Wars of New England, Commonly Called King William's and Queen Anne's Wars (New York, 1897); and Myrand, Sir William Phipps devant Québec (Quebec, 1893).