Smallpox, Indians, and Germ Warfare
The story of the British spreading smallpox as a form of germ warfare against the American Indians in the years before the Revolutionary War has received wide attention in recent years. But is it true or merely politically-inspired disinformation? Lord Jeffery Amherst was the commanding general of British forces in North America during the final battles of the French and Indian war (1754-1763). During this war, the French allied with the Indians in an attempt to drive the British out of North America. The evidence that suggests a possible "germ warfare" tactic during this war consists entirely of postscripts attached to the ends of two letters from Colonel Henry Bouquet during Pontiac's Rebellion:
Colonel Henry Bouquet to General Amherst, dated 13 July 1763:
P.S. I will try to inocculate the the Indians by means of Blankets that may fall in their hands, taking care however not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to oppose good men against them, I wish we could make use of the Spaniard's Method, and hunt them with english dogs, supported by Rangers, and some Light Horse, who would I think effectively extirpate or remove that Vermine.
This is a worthwhile look into the anti-American nonsense that passes for educated discourse these days, though this particular story has been floating around for 40 years or more. Yes, it's bull. But, what about Eskimos having 172 words for snow? That has to be true, doesn't it...?