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Following up on my querie of yesterday and your response(s), I nipped over to the devil’s website and picked up a copy of Clive: The Life and Death of a British Emperor by Robert Harvey.

While I was there, I said to myself, “Self, I wonder if there’s a biography of Henry Bouquet out there as well?”

Well damme if there isn’t:

BouquetDefenders of the Frontier: Colonel Henry Bouquet and the Officers and Men of the Royal American Regiment, 1763-1764 by Kenneth Stuart.

“Okay,” my fellow port-swillers are no doubt saying to themselves, “We’ll bite: Who?”

Well, he was the Swiss-born Colonel of the Royal American Regiment and performed bravely in both the Seven Years’ War (during which, among other things, he founded Fort Pitt and therefore Pittsburgh), and during Pontiac’s Rebellion that irrupted almost immediately thereafter.

So far as he’s remembered at all these days, he is somewhat notorious for his correspondense with Sir Jeffrey Amherst during Pontiac’s Rebellion in which they discussed the possibility of deliberately infecting the Indians with small pox.  Even a stout 19th Century Manifest Destiny guy like Francis Parkman condemned this, but in Bouquet’s defense he never actually carried through with the idea.  Furthermore, one must remember that these letters were written  in the heat of frustration caused by almost continual reports of widespread slaughter of both soldiers and colonists throughout the Ohio Valley and the western parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia at the time.

Anyhoo, it’s a shame that this episode should overshadow an otherwise remarkable military career and that Bouquet isn’t better known these days.


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May 2009