THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR.
But about that time a war broke out between England and France, the American part of which is known as the French and Indian War. Murray, Monckton and the brave romantic young Englishman, General James Wolfe, were raising an army to carry the war against the French on the St. Lawrence river in Canada, the whole of which was then under the dominion of Louis the XV. William Pitt had suc ceeded the weak Duke of New Castle as premier of England, and almost the first work of his great administration, was to inspire the young Briton with faith in the new ministry. War was shaking both Europe and America. The streets of London were filled with the sound of the bugle and the measured tread of the grenadiers. Energetic young men from every calling in life, were anxious to abandon their pursuits and enlist in the service of the crown. St. Clair, like many other talented youths, could not resist. His mother having died the year previous, upon securing an ensign's commission, dated May 13, 1757, he sailed for America with Admiral Ed ward Boscawen's fleet, the same which brought to our shores the historic army of General John Forbes. He was in the army of General Jeffrey Amherst, whose object was the cap ture of the strong-holds on the St. Lawrence, and in the division of the army that was commanded by General James Wolfe. His first experience in battle was therefore at the defeat at Louisburg, Canada, in 1758. On April 17, 1759, he was made a lieutenant and held that rank when the army to which he was attached, engaged in one of the most daring and romantic militar, expeditions in American history. He was with the army when under the cover of darkness, it silently floated down the St. Lawrence and landed under the shadowy Heights of Abraham, since known as Wolfe's Cove.
He heard Wolfe repeat the "Elegy in a Country Church yard," which the poet Thomas Gray had just published to the world, of which the General said he would rather be the author than to take Quebec : "The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The low'ng herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me." He was with them, too, when they clambered up the hitherto impossible Heights, and was near the brave young Englishman when he received his death wound ; when the shout of victory recalled for a moment his departing spirit, and was with him when he died with the song of battle on his lips at the very moment of success.
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour, The paths of glory lead but to the grave." More than this, to add to his superior military training, he was with the Sixtieth Royal American Regiment, which had been organized by the Duke of Cumberland for services in the Colonies, and in the same battalion was Charles Law rence, Robert Monckton, James Murray and Henry Bouquet, names without whose brave deeds the French and Indian War would be tame indeed.
When Quebec was captured from the French the fortress was garrisoned by the English, and St. Clair, among other young officers, remained with the army. After a few months occupation, a part of the Sixtieth Regiment was sent to Bos ton. St. Clair accompanied them, bearing letters and docu ments for General Thomas Gage, his kinsman. While sta tioned there he became acquainted with Phoebe Bayard with whom he was united in marriage at Trinity Church, Boston, on,May 15, 1760, by the rector, Rev. William Hooper. Phoebe Bayard, born in 1733, was the daughter of Balthazar Bayard and Mary Bowdoin, who was a half-sister of Governor James Bowdoin, of Massachusetts. With his wife St. Clair received a legacy of about 14,000 pounds, indeed a princely fortune, as fortunes were in those days.
Their social standing opened to them every avenue of cultured association in Boston. His wife was related to the foremost families of that city and of New York, the throps. Jays, Verplancks, and Stuyvesants and St. Clairs own connection with General Gage, the commandant of Boston, added military luster to their prospective future.
The French and Indian War was terminated in 1764, but after the victory at Quebec the English army had not been so active and St. Clair resigned his lieutenancy in 1762. For a few years they remained in Boston and with their position, a life of affluence either there or in Scotland. was easily with in his grasp. But the same spirit which prompted him to turn his back upon the culture of his native land, pushed him westward, and as early as 1765, a military permit to a tract of land near Fort Pitt, now Pittsburg, was granted to him by General Gage.