with the other side of the Mississippi as a constant reminder of what they had before - even though it was now under the symbolic government of Spain, they would not accept the fait accompli of the British annexation of their land. The British officers, engrossed in their multiple and conflicting responsibilities toward their own soldiers and the king's new subjects, lacking a good system of intelligence, with communication problems because of language (Stirling had to ask New York for more interpreters), reverted to the cliché of the drunken, un- ambitious Frenchman as the source of their troubles. Yet this same area had been Louisiana's granary and the same inhabitants were at that moment in the process of building a successful establishment across the river.
The flaw here is obvious: the British military was charged with a mission for which it was neither equipped nor prepared. The French, on the other hand, in addition to their intrinsic hostility, had some legitimate concerns regarding the protection of their traditional rights. The disappearance of the French administra- tive apparatus had left a vacuum which the British government was not filling. This lack of government was in fact also the concern of the English civilians who wanted to trade in Illinois. The English merchants in addition to trading had also an eye on the land for speculation and settlement. Such settlement would have been in complete contradiction with the terms of the Royal Proclamation issued on October 7 1763, which clearly stipulated: "And we do strictly forbid... all our loving subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of any of the lands above reserved."
In the meantime, there was still no provision contemplated for the forma- tion of a civilian government, and suggestions were made for the closing of the forts and the removal of the garrisons because of the cost and also the difficulty of communication. 12
While the discussion on what to do with the garrisons continued, its strength was again increased with the arrival on September 8 1766 of an addi- tional contingent from Mobile, also from the 34th Regiment of Foot, and with it a new commandant for Illinois, Lieutenant-colonel John Reed. Under Reed the situation in Illinois deteriorated even further. While this senior officer was ac- cused of all sorts of petty tyrannies by the French inhabitants and his subordi- nates as well, the French traders from Louisiana continued to enjoy the run of the country. The British traders, on the other hand, unwelcome by the Illinois Indians, were forced to remain in the settlements, or very close to them. In fact, the Indians there, even after the failure of Pontiac's uprising, were still a threat- ening force to the British. When Reed, through his excesses, was finally recalled and temporarily replaced by an officer who seemed to have excelled in the art of "mending fences," Captain Forbes, the rumblings of an imminent insurrection lapped the walls of Fort de Chartres with a few killings, a little too daring, of English civilians. Captain Forbes ordered all male English civilians to form a militia (they numbered about sixty), and instructed the French militia captains to