—Sir Reginald Bacon, The Life of Lord Fisher
of Kilverstone, Admiral of the Fleet
In 1763 Indians including Pontiac – an Ottowa chief – attacked British forts and killed 2000 settlers. This became known as Pontiac’s Rebellion. In response, Amherst suggested the British “send the Small Pox amongst these disaffected tribes of Indians”. ordered infected blankets to be sent into camps. Hundreds were killed as disease spread amongst the tribes. The Indians were forced to sue for peace.
So was the British use of primative germ-warfare effectively a war crime? Or would it be justified, as Machiavelli argued: "When it is absolutely a question of the safety of one's country, there must be no consideration of just or unjust, of merciful or cruel, of praiseworthy or disgraceful; instead, setting aside every scruple, one must follow to the utmost any plan that will save her life and keep her liberty."
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