The treaty of Paris, signed on the 10th February, 1763, formally ceded to England Canada as well as Acadia, with all their dependencies. The French Canadians were allowed full liberty “to profess the worship of their religion according to the rites of the Romish Church, as far as the laws of Great Britain permit.” The people had permission to retire from Canada with all their effects within eighteen months from the date of the ratification of the treaty. All the evidence before us goes to show that only a few officials and seigniors ever availed themselves of this permission to leave the country. At this time there was not a single French settlement beyond Vaudreuil until the traveller reached the banks of the Detroit between Lakes Erie and Huron. A chain of forts and posts connected Montreal with the basin of the great lakes and the country watered by the Ohio, Illinois, and other tributaries of the Mississippi. The forts on the Niagara, at Detroit, at Michillimackinac, at Great Bay, on the Maumee and Wabash, at Presqu’ isle, at the junction of French Creek with the Alleghany, at the forks of the Ohio, and at less important localities in the West and South-West, were held by small English garrisons, while the French still occupied Vincennes on the Wabash and Chartres on the Mississippi, in the vicinity of the French settlements at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and the present site of St. Louis.
Soon after the fall of Montreal, French traders from New Orleans and the French settlements on the Mississippi commenced to foment disaffection among the western Indians, who had strong sympathy with France, and were quite ready to believe the story that she would ere long regain Canada. The consequence was the rising of all the western tribes under the leadership of Pontiac, the principal chief of the Ottawas, whose warriors surrounded and besieged Detroit when he failed to capture it by a trick. Niagara was never attacked, and Detroit itself was successfully defended by Major Gladwin, a fearless soldier; but all the other forts and posts very soon fell into the hands of the Indians, who massacred the garrisons in several places. They also ravaged the border settlements of Pennsylvania