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Local and Global Powers

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Prompt: Using 6 of the 9 documents in the source pages below (which have been edited for this assignment), analyze connections between regional issues and European struggles for global power in the mid-eighteenth century. In addition, consider another document that would help you consider this question: you do not need to actually get this document, but identify what kind of document it would be and how it would help you do your analysis.

 

Your essay needs a clear and relevant thesis and varied support from the documents. You can group the documents you choose in as many appropriate ways as you can find. Be sure to truly analyze these documents, and do not simply summarize them.

 

Document 1

Source: Robert Clive, British East India Company officer, report to the company after defeating the ruler of Bengal and his French allies at Plassey, 1757.  

 

The substance of the settlement with Mir Jafar* is as follows:

 

  • 1. Mir Jafar will be the new viceroy of Bengal.
  • 2. Mir Jafar and the East India Company will enter into an alliance with the Mughal Empire, against all enemies, including other Europeans such as the French.
  • 3. The Bengali government will pay the Company for military expenses in this battle.
  • 4. The Bengali government will compensate English subjects, Hindus, Muslims, Armenian Christians, and other natives who suffered during the latest battles.
  • 5. Land around Calcutta will be given to our Company with permission to charge rents.
  • 6. Mir Jafar will pay our Company's troops if he needs them in the future.

 

*Mir Jafar: Bengali general who defected to the British during the Battle of Plassey

 

Document 2

Source: Kisensik, Nipissing chief, speech at the Council of Indian Nations convened by the French general Montcalm, Quebec, Canada, 1757.  

 

My brothers, we Catholic Indians from New York thank you Indians from the Great Lakes region for helping us defend our territory against the British who wish to usurp these lands. Our cause is good and the Master of Life favors it.

 

Document 3

Source: Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, letter to Maria Antonia, wife of the future ruler of Saxony, a German state that was allied with Austria against Prussia, October 1761.  

 

Our mutual enemy, King Frederick of Prussia, is at full strength because the Russians have withdrawn their forces. Now he will certainly attack somewhere with concentrated force. Austria has always hoped to change the theater of the war and to move troops to the territories Frederick seized from us. We had hoped to hold Frederick so firmly there that he could not turn back to your Saxony, but the deceptions and incompetence of the Russians upset all our plans.

 

Peace seems further away than ever. I fear that sometime during the coming winter the Prussians will move against our allies the French, and we will not be able to prevent this.

 

Document 4

Source: Letter from King Frederick of Prussia to his foreign minister after the Prussian army experienced a series of defeats by the Austrians, January 1762.  

 

If the aid of the Ottoman Turks is not forthcoming, our courage and our armed forces will be unequal to winning our next campaign, let alone recapturing our territory. Quite simply, we are lost without the Turks' help. It seems to me that we ought to open peace negotiations with our enemies, so as to rescue all we can from the wreckage of my cause. I therefore leave it to your judgment to decide whether to embark on these negotiations through the British, or whether the situation is so urgent that you must address yourself directly to France, Austria, or Russia.

 

Document 5

Source: Proposed terms of surrender by the French colonists of the Caribbean island of Martinique, with the responses of the British navy, signed February 7, 1762.  

 

To His British Majesty's military forces:
 

Article 4 Demand:

We shall be strictly neutral and shall not be obliged to the King of France, nor any other Power.
 

Article 4 Response:

You will become subjects of His British Majesty and must take the Oath of Allegiance but shall not be obliged to fight against the King of France until a Peace may determine the state of the island.
 

Article 6 Demand:

We and our clergy shall be allowed to keep the property of our estates, including slaves, and shall be preserved in our privileges, rights, honors, and exemptions, our free negroes and mulattoes, and shall have the enjoyment of our liberty.
 

Article 6 Response:

Granted in regard to the clergy; the rest of the inhabitants are now subjects of Great Britain and therefore subject to British law.

 

Document 6

Source: César de Choiseul, French minister of foreign affairs, letter to the French ambassador in London, September 19, 1762.  

 

The British negotiator has been unreceptive to compromise. However, he proposed that we insert some clause on the navigation of the Gulf of Mexico to quiet Spain about contraband trade, on condition that the clauses apply to both the French and British nations. We objected that since we have no communication with Louisiana by land, and are absolutely unable to reach it except by the sea, it would be impossible for us to accept any proposed restriction of our trade.

 

Document 7

Source: Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa, addressing a gathering of Ottawa, Huron, and Potawatomi Indians, near the Great Lakes, after the defeat of the French by the British, 1763.  

 

It is important for us to exterminate this nation, Britain, from our lands; it only seeks to destroy us. You see as well as I do that we can no longer supply our needs, as we have done from our brothers, the French. The British sell us goods twice as much as the French do, and their goods do not last. When we wish to set out for our winter camp, they do not want to give us any credit as the French do. When I go to see the British commander and say to him that some of our comrades are dead, instead of mourning their death, as our French brothers do, he laughs at us. If I ask for anything for our sick, he refuses and replies that he has no use for us. From all this you can well see that they are seeking our ruin. Therefore, my brothers, we must all swear their destruction and wait no longer. Have I not shown you the wampum* belts which I received from our great father, the French King? He tells us to strike the British. Why do we not listen to his words? What do we fear?
 

*wampum: beaded belts symbolizing an agreement or treaty

 

Document 8

Source: Secret report from a British East India Company employee to the company's board of directors in London, 1764.  

 

We find that all the Catholic Religious Orders in Manila were, by the Terms of Capitulation, granted the free exercise of their religion and all other inhabitants have been allowed to maintain their personal property. But our advisors from Manila inform us that soon after the Spanish surrender of Manila to the British, the heads of the Augustinian Order of friars traveled around the country and prevented the natives from submitting to our British government. The friars even instigated them to take up arms against us. The Augustinians also schemed to prevent all kinds of food from reaching Manila. This traitorous and outrageous behavior was planned by the Augustinians, so we have declared them rebels, confiscated their property, and arrested their leader and sent him out of the Philippines.

 

Document 9

Source: Andrew Symmer, British representative for the Turks Islands in the Caribbean, letter to the British government, 1764.  

 

The high taxes charged by Spain, upon every article of commerce, whether exported or imported into their American dominions, and their extensive coastal areas, are major advantages to British smugglers, who carry on a contraband commerce. I recommend that we allow the Spanish colonists into our ports without charging them taxes, so we can bring this trade openly into our territory now that the war is over.

 

 

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