Quebec Expedition - Return


Francis Nicholson's land expedition learned of the naval disaster when it was encamped near Lake George; Nicholson aborted the expedition. He was reported to be so angry that he tore off his wig and threw it to the ground.

The expedition's fortunes did not improve on the return voyage. Walker had written to New York requesting the HMS Feversham and any available supply ships to join him; unbeknownst to him, the Feversham and three transports (Joseph, Mary, and Neptune) were wrecked on the coast of Cape Breton on 7 October with more than 100 men lost. The fleet returned to Portsmouth on 10 October; Walker's flagship, the Edgar, blew up several days, possibly due to improper handling of gunpowder. Walker lost a number of papers as a result, and claimed that the journal of William Phips was lost in the blast.

Despite the magnitude of the expedition's failure, the political consequences were relatively mild. The failure was an early setback in Robert Harley's "blue water" policy, which called for the aggressive use of the navy to keep England's enemies at bay; however, Harley continued to implement it, withdrawing further resources from European military campaigns. Since the project had been organised by the current government, it was also not interested in delving deeply into the reasons for its failure. Walker was sympathetically received by the queen, and both he and Hill were given new commands. Walker eventually wrote a detailed and frank account of the expedition, based on his memory as well as surviving journals and papers; it is reprinted in Graham. Walker was stripped of his rank in 1715 (amid a larger change of power including the accession of King George I), and died in 1728.

Popular sentiment in England tended to fault the colonies for failing to properly support the expedition, citing parsimony and stubbornness as reasons. These sentiments were rejected in the colonies, where Nicholson and Governor Dudley instead blamed Walker. The relations between the military leadership and the colonial populations was not always cordial during the army's stay outside Boston, and foreshadowed difficult relations between civilians and military occupiers in the political conflicts that preceded the American Revolutionary War. One of Hill's officers wrote of the "ill Nature and Sowerness of these People, whose Government, Doctrine, and Manners, whose Hypocracy and canting, are unsupportable", and further commented that unless they were brought under firmer control, the colonists would "grow more stiff and disobedient every Day." Colonists noted with some disgust the fact that both Walker and Hill escaped censure for the expedition's failure.

Read more about this topic:  Quebec Expedition

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Famous quotes containing the word return:

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    We perceive that the schemers return again and again to common sense and labor. Such is the evidence of history.
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