arte et labore
Staten Island, NY
Male - 25 Years Old
That's simply inaccurate on two counts. First, it's an extreme generalization to say that "they" wanted to do anything. The European precursor for expansion had dozens or more reasons for doing so, and most had nothing to do with "taking out" Native Americans. Secondly, those that did have blood lust lacked the sophisticated means of intentionally spreading certain diseases. They didn't do it on purpose.
I'm going by what I've read in the past. The internet can be unreliable at times, but...
|Despite his fame, Jeffrey Amherst's name became tarnished by stories of smallpox-infected blankets used as germ warfare against American Indians. These stories are reported, for example, in Carl Waldman's Atlas of the North American Indian [NY: Facts on File, 1985]. Waldman writes, in reference to a siege of Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) by Chief Pontiac's forces during the summer of 1763:|
... Captain Simeon Ecuyer had bought time by sending smallpox-infected blankets and handkerchiefs to the Indians surrounding the fort -- an early example of biological warfare -- which started an epidemic among them. Amherst himself had encouraged this tactic in a letter to Ecuyer. [p. 108]
|"You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians, by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race." — Jeffery Amherst|
Ewald, Paul W. (2000). Plague Time: How Stealth Infections Cause Cancer, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments.
|During an Indian uprising in 1763, Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander of British forces in North America (and namesake of the Massachusetts city), suggested that the disease be sown deliberately. ''Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians?'' he wrote a subordinate, encouraging the use of ''every stratagem in our power to reduce them.''|
In fact, his men at Fort Pitt, today Pittsburgh, had already forged ahead without his encouragement, giving Indians infected blankets and a germ-laden handkerchief. Epidemics ensued, but historians are unsure to what extent the spread was due to natural or deliberate exposure.
Dr. Fenn, the George Washington historian, who is finishing a book on smallpox epidemics in America, said Amherst and his men's independent pursuit of smallpox weapons showed the idea's prevalence and wide appeal, which continued into the Revolutionary War.
''They were willing to use it in nasty ways,'' she said of British forces. ''But it's almost impossible to determine how effective it was.''
Still, she said, George Washington was suspicious enough of the British using smallpox as a weapon, and had lost so many troops to the disease, that in 1777 he ordered his men to undergo crude inoculations. The Americans, in contrast to English soldiers, had typically grown up without exposure to the disease. Thus, like the Indians, they had no acquired immunity.