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Title: Montcalm and Wolfe
Author: Parkman, Francis, 1823-1893
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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With a New Introduction by




This Collier Book is set from the 1884 edition

Collier Books is a division of The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company

First Collier Books Edition 1962

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 62:16974

Copyright (c) 1962 by The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company All Rights
Reserved Hecho en los E.E.U.U. Printed in the United States of America


                            Harvard College,

                the alma mater under whose influence the

                   purpose of writing it was conceived,

                               This Book

                       is affectionately inscribed.


The names on the titlepage stand as representative of the two nations
whose final contest for the control of North America is the subject of
the book.

A very large amount of unpublished material has been used in its
preparation, consisting for the most part of documents copied from the
archives and libraries of France and England, especially from the
Archives de la Marine et des Colonies, the Archives de la Guerre, and
the Archives Nationales at Paris, and the Public Record Office and the
British Museum at London, the papers copied for the present work in
France alone exceed six thousand folio pages of manuscript, additional
and supplementary to the "Paris Documents" procured for the State of New
York under the agency of Mr. Brodhead, the copies made in England form
ten volumes, besides many English documents consulted in the original
manuscript. Great numbers of autograph letters, diaries, and other
writings of persons engaged in the war have also been examined on this
side of the Atlantic.

I owe to the kindness of the present Marquis de Montcalm the permission
to copy all the letters written by his ancestor, General Montcalm, when
in America, to members of his family in France. General Montcalm, from
his first arrival in Canada to a few days before his death, also carried
on an active correspondence with one of his chief officers, Bourlamaque,
with whom he was on terms of intimacy. These autograph letters are now
preserved in a private collection. I have examined them, and obtained
copies of the whole. They form an interesting complement to the official
correspondence of the writer, and throw the most curious side-lights on
the persons and events of the time.

Besides manuscripts, the printed matter in the form of books, pamphlets,
contemporary newspapers, and other publications relating to the American
part of the Seven Years' War, is varied and abundant; and I believe I
may safely say that nothing in it of much consequence has escaped me.
The liberality of some of the older States of the Union, especially New
York and Pennsylvania, in printing the voluminous records of their
colonial history, has saved me a deal of tedious labor.

The whole of this published and unpublished mass of evidence has been
read and collated with extreme care, and more than common pains have
been taken to secure accuracy of statement. The study of books and
papers, however, could not alone answer the purpose. The plan of the
work was formed in early youth; and though various causes have long
delayed its execution, it has always been kept in view. Meanwhile, I
have visited and examined every spot where events of any importance in
connection with the contest took place, and have observed with attention
such scenes and persons as might help to illustrate those I meant to
describe. In short, the subject has been studied as much from life and
in the open air as at the library table.

These two volumes are a departure from chronological sequence. The
period between 1700 and 1748 has been passed over for a time. When this
gap is filled, the series of "France and England in North America" will
form a continuous history of the French occupation of the continent.

BOSTON, Sept. 16, 1884.


Author's Introduction

   The Combatants

England in the Eighteenth Century. Her Political and Social Aspects. Her
Military Condition. France. Her Power and Importance. Signs of Decay.
The Court, the Nobles, the Clergy, the People. The King and Pompadour.
The Philosophers. Germany. Prussia. Frederic II. Russia. State of
Europe. War of the Austrian Succession. American Colonies of France and
England. Contrasted Systems and their Results. Canada. Its Strong
Military Position. French Claims to the Continent. British Colonies. New
England. Virginia. Pennsylvania. New York, Jealousies, Divisions,
Internal Disputes, Military Weakness.

   Céloron de Bienville

La Galissonière. English Encroachment. Mission of Céloron. The Great
West. Its European Claimants. Its Indian Population. English
Fur-Traders. Céloron on the Alleghany. His Reception. His Difficulties.
Descent of the Ohio. Covert Hostility. Ascent of the Miami. La
Demoiselle. Dark Prospects for France. Christopher Gist. George Croghan.
Their Western Mission. Pickawillany. English Ascendency. English
Dissension and Rivalry. The Key of the Great West.

   Conflict for the West

The Five Nations. Caughnawaga. Abbé Piquet. His Schemes. His Journey.
Fort Frontenac. Toronto. Niagara. Oswego. Success of Piquet. Detroit. La
Jonquiére. His Intrigues. His Trials. His Death. English Intrigues.
Critical State of the West Pickawillany Destroyed. Duquesne. His Grand

   Conflict for Acadia

Acadia ceded to England. Acadians swear Fidelity. Halifax founded.
French Intrigue. Acadian Priests. Mildness of English Rule. Covert
Hostility of Acadians. The New Oath. Treachery of Versailles. Indians
incited to War. Clerical Agents of Revot. Abbé Le Loutre. Acadians
impelled to emigrate. Misery of the Emigrants. Humanity of Cornwallis
and Hopson. Fanaticism and Violence of Le Loutre. Capture of the "St.
Francois." The English at Beaubassin. Le Loutre drives out the
Inhabitants. Murder of Howe. Beauséjour. Insolence of Le Loutre. His
Harshness to the Acadians. The Boundary Commission. Its Failure.
Approaching War.

   1753, 1754

The French occupy the Sources of the Ohio. Their Sufferings. Fort Le
Boeuf. Legardeur de Saint-Pierre. Mission of Washington. Robert
Dinwiddie. He opposes the French. His Dispute with the Burgesses. His
Energy. His Appeals for Help. Fort Duquesne. Death of Jumonville.
Washington at the Great Meadows. Coulon de Villiers. Fort Necessity.

   1754, 1755
   The Signal of Battle

Troubles of Dinwiddie. Gathering of the Burgesses. Virginian Society.
Refractory Legislators. The Quaker Assembly It refuses to resist the
French. Apathy of New York. Shirley and the General Court of
Massachusetts. Short-sighted Policy. Attitude of Royal Governors. Indian
Allies waver. Convention at Albany. Scheme of Union. It fails. Dinwiddie
and Glen. Dinwiddie calls on England for Help. The Duke of Newcastle.
Weakness of the British Cabinet. Attitude of France. Mutual
Dissimulation. Both Powers send Troops to America. Collision. Capture of
the "Alcide" and the "Lis."


Arrival of Braddock. His Character. Council at Alexandria. Plan of the
Campaign. Apathy of the Colonists. Rage of Braddock. Franklin. Fort
Cumberland. Composition of the Army. Offended Friends. The March. The
French Fort. Savage Allies. The Captive. Beaujeu. He goes to meet the
English. Passage of the Monongahela. The Surprise. The Battle. Rout of
Braddock. His Death. Indian Ferocity. Reception of the Ill News.
Weakness of Dunbar. The Frontier abandoned.

   Removal of the Acadians

State of Acadia. Threatened Invasion. Peril of the English. Their Plans.
French Forts to be attacked. Beauséjour and its Occupants. French
Treatment of the Acadians. John Winslow. Siege and Capture of
Beauséjour. Attitude of Acadians. Influence of their Priests. They
refuse the Oath of Allegiance. Their Condition and Character. Pretended
Neutrals. Moderation of English Authorities. The Acadians persist in
their Refusal. Enemies or Subjects? Choice of the Acadians. The
Consequence. Their Removal determined. Winslow at Grand Pré. Conference
with Murray. Summons to the Inhabitants. Their Seizure. Their
Embarkation. Their Fate. Their Treatment in Canada. Misapprehension
concerning them.


Expedition against Crown Point. William Johnson. Vaudreuil. Dieskau.
Johnson and the Indians. The Provincial Army. Doubts and Delays. March
to Lake George. Sunday in Camp. Advance of Dieskau. He changes Plan.
Marches against Johnson. Ambush. Rout of Provincials. Battle of Lake
George. Rout of the French. Rage of the Mohawks. Peril of Dieskau.
Inaction of Johnson. The Homeward March. Laurels of Victory.

   1755, 1756
   Shirley. Border War

The Niagara Campaign. Albany. March to Oswego. Difficulties. The
Expedition abandoned. Shirley and Johnson. Results of the Campaign. The
Scourge of the Border. Trials of Washington. Misery of the Settlers.
Horror of their Situation. Philadelphia and the Quakers. Disputes with
the Penns. Democracy and Feudalism. Pennsylvanian Population. Appeals
from the Frontier. Quarrel of Governor and Assembly. Help refused.
Desperation of the Borderers. Fire and Slaughter. The Assembly alarmed.
They pass a mock Militia Law. They are forced to yield.


War declared. State of Europe. Pompadour and Maria Theresa. Infatuation
of the French Court. The European War. Montcalm to command in America.
His early Life. An intractable Pupil. His Marriage. His Family. His
Campaigns. Preparation for America. His Associates. Lévis, Bourlamaque,
Bougainville. Embarkation. The Voyage. Arrival. Vaudreuil. Forces of
Canada. Troops of the Line, Colony Troops, Militia, Indians. The
Military Situation. Capture of Fort Bull. Montcalm at Ticonderoga.


The new Campaign. Untimely Change of Commanders. Eclipse of Shirley.
Earl of Loudon. Muster of Provincials. New England Levies. Winslow at
Lake George. Johnson and the Five Nations. Bradstreet and his Boatmen.
Fight on the Onondaga. Pestilence at Oswego. Loudon and the Provincials.
New England Camps. Army Chaplains. A sudden Blow. Montcalm attacks
Oswego. Its Fall.

   1756, 1757
   Partisan War

Failure of Shirley's Plan. Causes. Loudon and Shirley. Close of the
Campaign. The Western Border. Armstrong destroys Kittanning. The Scouts
of Lake George War Parties from Ticonderoga. Robert Rogers. The Rangers.
Their Hardihood and Daring. Disputes as to Quarters of Troops.
Expedition of Rogers. A Desperate Bush-fight. Enterprise of Vaudreuil.
Rigaud attacks Fort William Henry.

   Montcalm and Vaudreuil

The Seat of War. Social Life at Montreal. Familiar Correspondence of
Montcalm. His Employments. His Impressions of Canada. His Hospitalities.
Misunderstandings with the Governor. Character of Vaudreuil. His
Accusations. Frenchmen and Canadians. Foibles of Montcalm. The opening
Campaign. Doubts and Suspense. London's Plan. His Character. Fatal
Delays. Abortive Attempt against Louisbourg. Disaster to the British

   Fort William Henry

Another Blow. The War-song. The Army at Ticonderoga. Indian Allies. The
War-feast. Treatment of Prisoners. Cannibalism. Surprise and Slaughter.
The War Council. March of Lévis. The Army embarks. Fort William Henry.
Nocturnal Scene. Indian Funeral. Advance upon the Fort. General Webb.
His Difficulties. His Weakness. The Siege begun. Conduct of the Indians.
The Intercepted Letter. Desperate Position of the Besieged.
Capitulation. Ferocity of the Indians. Mission of Bougainville. Murder
of Wounded Men. A Scene of Terror. The Massacre. Efforts of Montcalm.
The Fort burned.

   1757, 1758
   A Winter of Discontent

Boasts of Loudon. A Mutinous Militia. Panic. Accusations of Vaudreuil.
His Weakness. Indian Barbarities. Destruction of German Flats.
Discontent of Montcalm. Festivities at Montreal. Montcalm's Relations
with the Governor. Famine. Riots. Mutiny. Winter at Ticonderoga. A
desperate Bush-fight. Defeat of the Rangers. Adventures of Roche and


His Life and Character. Canadian Society. Official Festivities. A Party
of Pleasure. Hospitalities of Bigot. Desperate Gambling. Château Bigot.
Canadian Ladies. Cadet. La Friponne. Official Rascality. Methods of
Peculation. Cruel Frauds on the Acadians. Military Corruption. Péan.
Love and Knavery. Varin and his Partners. Vaudreuil and the Peculators.
He defends Bigot; praises Cadet and Péan. Canadian Finances. Peril of
Bigot. Threats of the Minister. Evidence of Montcalm. Impending Ruin of
the Confederates.

    CHAPTER 18
    1757, 1758

Frederic of Prussia. The Coalition against him. His desperate Position.
Rossbach. Leuthen. Reverses of England. Weakness of the Ministry. A
Change. Pitt and Newcastle. Character of Pitt. Sources of his Power. His
Aims. Louis XV. Pompadour. She controls the Court, and directs the War.
Gloomy Prospects of England. Disasters. The New Ministry. Inspiring
Influence of Pitt. The Tide turns. British Victories. Pitt's Plans for
America. Louisbourg, Ticonderoga, Duquesne. New Commanders. Naval


Condition of the Fortress. Arrival of the English. Gallantry of Wolfe.
The English Camp. The Siege begun. Progress of the Besiegers. Sallies of
the French. Madame Drucour. Courtesies of War. French Ships destroyed.
Conflagration. Fury of the Bombardment. Exploit of English Sailors. The
End near. The White Flag. Surrender. Reception of the News in England
and America. Wolfe not satisfied. His Letters to Amherst. He destroys
Gaspé. Returns to England.


Activity of the Provinces. Sacrifices of Massachusetts. The Army at Lake
George. Proposed Incursion of Lévis. Perplexities of Montcalm. His Plan
of Defence. Camp of Abercromby. His Character. Lord Howe, His
Popularity. Embarkation of Abercromby. Advance down Lake George.
Landing. Forest Skirmish. Death of Howe. Its Effects. Position of the
French. The Lines of Ticonderoga. Blunders of Abercromby. The Assault. A
Frightful Scene. Incidents of the Battle. British Repulse. Panic.
Retreat Triumph of Montcalm.

    CHAPTER 21
    Fort Frontenac

The Routed Army. Indignation at Abercromby. John Cleaveland and his
Brother Chaplains. Regulars and Provincials. Provincial Surgeons. French
Raids. Rogers defeats Marin. Adventures of Putnam. Expedition of
Bradstreet. Capture of Fort Frontenac.

   Fort Duquesne

Dinwiddie and Washington. Brigadier Forbes. His Army. Conflicting Views.
Difficulties. Illness of Forbes. His Sufferings. His Fortitude. His
Difference with Washington. Sir John Sinclair. Troublesome Allies.
Scouting Parties. Boasts of Vaudreuil. Forbes and the Indians. Mission
of Christian Frederic Post. Council of Peace. Second Mission of Post.
Defeat of Grant. Distress of Forbes. Dark Prospects. Advance of the
Army. Capture of the French Fort. The Slain of Braddock's Field. Death
of Forbes.

    CHAPTER 23
    1758, 1759
    The Brink of Ruin

Jealousy of Vaudreuil. He asks for Montcalm's Recall. His Discomfiture.
Scene at the Governor's House. Disgust of Montcalm. The Canadians
Despondent. Devices to encourage them. Gasconade of the Governor.
Deplorable State of the Colony. Mission of Bougainville. Duplicity of
Vaudreuil. Bougainville at Versailles. Substantial Aid refused to
Canada. A Matrimonial Treaty. Return of Bougainville. Montcalm abandoned
by the Court. His Plans of Defence. Sad News from Candiac. Promises of

   1758, 1759

The Exiles of Fort Cumberland. Relief. The Voyage to Louisbourg. The
British Fleet. Expedition against Quebec. Early Life of Wolfe. His
Character. His Letters to his Parents. His Domestic Qualities. Appointed
to command the Expedition. Sails for America.

   Wolfe at Quebec

French Preparation. Muster of Forces. Gasconade of Vaudreuil. Plan of
Defence. Strength of Montcalm. Advance of Wolfe. British Sailors.
Landing of the English. Difficulties before them. Storm. Fireships.
Confidence of French Commanders. Wolfe occupies Point Levi. A Futile
Night Attack. Quebec bombarded. Wolfe at the Montmorenci. Skirmishes.
Danger of the English Position. Effects of the Bombardment. Desertion
of Canadians. The English above Quebec. Severities of Wolfe. Another
Attempt to burn the Fleet. Desperate Enterprise of Wolfe. The Heights of
Montmorenci. Repulse of the English.

   Amherst. Niagara

Amherst on Lake George. Capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Delays
of Amherst. Niagara Expedition. La Corne attacks Oswego. His Repulse.
Niagara besieged. Aubry comes to its Relief. Battle. Rout of the French.
The Fort taken. Isle-aux-Noix. Amherst advances to attack it. Storm. The
Enterprise abandoned, Rogers attacks St. Francis. Destroys the Town.
Sufferings of the Rangers.

    CHAPTER 27
    The Heights of Abraham

Elation of the French. Despondency of Wolfe. The Parishes laid waste.
Operations above Quebec. Illness of Wolfe. A New Plan of Attack. Faint
Hope of Success. Wolfe's Last Despatch. Confidence of Vaudreuil. Last
Letters of Montcalm. French Vigilance. British Squadron at Cap-Rouge.
Last Orders of Wolfe. Embarkation. Descent of the St. Lawrence. The
Heights scaled. The British Line. Last Night of Montcalm. The Alarm.
March of French Troops. The Battle. The Rout. The Pursuit. Fall of Wolfe
and of Montcalm.

    CHAPTER 28
    Fall of Quebec

After the Battle. Canadians resist the Pursuit. Arrival of Vaudreuil.
Scene in the Redoubt. Panic. Movements of the Victors. Vaudreuil's
Council of War. Precipitate Retreat of the French Army. Last Hours of
Montcalm. His Death and Burial. Quebec abandoned to its Fate. Despair of
the Garrison. Lévis joins the Army. Attempts to relieve the Town.
Surrender. The British occupy Quebec. Slanders of Vaudreuil. Reception
in England of the News of Wolfe's Victory and Death. Prediction of
Jonathan Mayhew.

    CHAPTER 29
    1759, 1760

Quebec after the Siege. Captain Knox and the Nuns. Escape of French
Ships. Winter at Quebec. Threats of Lévis. Attacks. Skirmishes. Feat of
the Rangers. State of the Garrison. The French prepare to retake Quebec.
Advance of Levis. The Alarm. Sortie of the English. Rash Determination
of Murray. Battle of Ste.-Foy. Retreat of the English. Lévis besieges
Quebec. Spirit of the Garrison. Peril of their Situation. Relief. Quebec
saved. Retreat of Lévis. The News in England.

   Fall of Canada

Desperate Situation. Efforts of Vaudreuil and Lévis. Plans of Amherst. A
Triple Attack. Advance of Murray. Advance of Haviland. Advance of
Amherst. Capitulation of Montreal. Protest of Lévis. Injustice of Louis
XV. Joy in the British Colonies. Character of the War.

    CHAPTER 31
    The Peace of Paris

Exodus of Canadian Leaders. Wreck of the "Auguste." Trial of Bigot and
his Confederates. Frederic of Prussia. His Triumphs. His Reverses. His
Peril. His Fortitude. Death of George II. Change of Policy. Choiseul.
His Overtures of Peace. The Family Compact. Fall of Pitt. Death of the
Czarina. Frederic saved. War with Spain. Capture of Havana.
Negotiations. Terms of Peace. Shall Canada be restored? Speech of Pitt.
The Treaty signed. End of the Seven Years War.


Results of the War. Germany. France. England. Canada. The British



Author's Introduction

It is the nature of great events to obscure the great events that came
before them. The Seven Years War in Europe is seen but dimly through
revolutionary convulsions and Napoleonic tempests; and the same contest
in America is half lost to sight behind the storm-cloud of the War of
Independence. Few at this day see the momentous issues involved in it,
or the greatness of the danger that it averted. The strife that armed
all the civilized world began here. "Such was the complication of
political interests," says Voltaire, "that a cannon-shot fired in
America could give the signal that set Europe in a blaze." Not quite. It
was not a cannon-shot, but a volley from the hunting-pieces of a few
backwoodsmen, commanded by a Virginian youth, George Washington.

To us of this day, the result of the American part of the war seems a
foregone conclusion. It was far from being so; and very far from being
so regarded by our forefathers. The numerical superiority of the British
colonies was offset by organic weaknesses fatal to vigorous and united
action. Nor at the outset did they, or the mother-country, aim at
conquering Canada, but only at pushing back her boundaries.
Canada--using the name in its restricted sense--was a position of great
strength; and even when her dependencies were overcome, she could hold
her own against forces far superior. Armies could reach her only by
three routes,--the Lower St. Lawrence on the east, the Upper St.
Lawrence on the west, and Lake Champlain on the south. The first access
was guarded by a fortress almost impregnable by nature, and the second
by a long chain of dangerous rapids; while the third offered a series of
points easy to defend. During this same war, Frederic of Prussia held
his ground triumphantly against greater odds, though his kingdom was
open on all sides to attack.

It was the fatuity of Louis XV. and his Pompadour that made the conquest
of Canada possible. Had they not broken the traditionary policy of
France, allied themselves to Austria, her ancient enemy, and plunged
needlessly into the European war, the whole force of the kingdom would
have been turned, from the first, to the humbling of England and the
defence of the French colonies. The French soldiers left dead on
inglorious Continental battle-fields could have saved Canada, and
perhaps made good her claim to the vast territories of the West.

But there were other contingencies. The possession of Canada was a
question of diplomacy as well as of war. If England conquered her, she
might restore her, as she had lately restored Cape Breton. She had an
interest in keeping France alive on the American continent. More than
one clear eye saw, at the middle of the last century, that the
subjection of Canada would lead to a revolt of the British colonies. So
long as an active and enterprising enemy threatened their borders, they
could not break with the mother-country, because they needed her help.
And if the arms of France had prospered in the other hemisphere; if she
had gained in Europe or Asia territories with which to buy back what she
had lost in America, then, in all likelihood, Canada would have passed
again into her hands.

The most momentous and far-reaching question ever brought to issue on
this continent was: Shall France remain here, or shall she not? If, by
diplomacy or war, she had preserved but the half, or less than the half,
of her American possessions, then a barrier would have been set to the
spread of the English-speaking races; there would have been no
Revolutionary War; and for a long time, at least, no independence. It
was not a question of scanty populations strung along the banks of the
St. Lawrence; it was--or under a government of any worth it would have
been--a question of the armies and generals of France. America owes much
to the imbecility of Louis XV. and the ambitious vanity and personal
dislikes of his mistress.

The Seven Years War made England what she is. It crippled the commerce
of her rival, ruined France in two continents, and blighted her as a
colonial power. It gave England the control of the seas and the mastery
of North America and India, made her the first of commercial nations,
and prepared that vast colonial system that has planted new Englands in
every quarter of the globe. And while it made England what she is, it
supplied to the United States the indispensable condition of their
greatness, if not of their national existence.

Before entering on the story of the great contest, we will look at the
parties to it on both sides of the Atlantic.

Montcalm and Wolfe

Chapter 1


The Combatants

The latter half of the reign of George II. was one of the most prosaic
periods in English history. The civil wars and the Restoration had had
their enthusiasms, religion and liberty on one side, and loyalty on the
other; but the old fires declined when William III. came to the throne,
and died to ashes under the House of Hanover. Loyalty lost half its
inspiration when it lost the tenet of the divine right of kings; and
nobody could now hold that tenet with any consistency except the
defeated and despairing Jacobites. Nor had anybody as yet proclaimed the
rival dogma of the divine right of the people. The reigning monarch held
his crown neither of God nor of the nation, but of a parliament
controlled by a ruling class. The Whig aristocracy had done a priceless
service to English liberty. It was full of political capacity, and by no
means void of patriotism; but it was only a part of the national life.
Nor was it at present moved by political emotions in any high sense. It
had done its great work when it expelled the Stuarts and placed William
of Orange on the throne; its ascendency was now complete. The Stuarts
had received their death-blow at Culloden; and nothing was left to the
dominant party but to dispute on subordinate questions, and contend for
office among themselves. The Troy squires sulked in their
country-houses, hunted foxes, and grumbled against the reigning dynasty;
yet hardly wished to see the nation convulsed by a counter-revolution
and another return of the Stuarts.

If politics had run to commonplace, so had morals; and so too had
religion. Despondent writers of the day even complained that British
courage had died out. There was little sign to the common eye that under
a dull and languid surface, forces were at work preparing a new life,
material, moral, and intellectual. As yet, Whitefield and Wesley had not
wakened the drowsy conscience of the nation, nor the voice of William
Pitt roused it like a trumpet-peal.

It was the unwashed and unsavory England of Hogarth, Fielding, Smollett,
and Sterne; of Tom Jones, Squire Western, Lady Bellaston, and Parson
Adams; of the "Rake's Progress" and "Marriage à la Mode;" of the lords
and ladies who yet live in the undying gossip of Horace Walpole,
be-powdered, be-patched, and be-rouged, flirting at masked balls,
playing cards till daylight, retailing scandal, and exchanging double
meanings. Beau Nash reigned king over the gaming-tables of Bath; the
ostrich-plumes of great ladies mingled with the peacock-feathers of
courtesans in the rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens; and young lords in velvet
suits and embroidered ruffles played away their patrimony at White's
Chocolate-House or Arthur's Club. Vice was bolder than to-day, and
manners more courtly, perhaps, but far more coarse.

The humbler clergy were thought--sometimes with reason--to be no fit
company for gentlemen, and country parsons drank their ale in the
squire's kitchen. The passenger-wagon spent the better part of a
fortnight in creeping from London to York. Travellers carried pistols
against footpads and mounted highwaymen. Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard
were popular heroes. Tyburn counted its victims by scores; and as yet no
Howard had appeared to reform the inhuman abominations of the prisons.

The middle class, though fast rising in importance, was feebly and
imperfectly represented in parliament. The boroughs were controlled by
the nobility and gentry, or by corporations open to influence or
bribery. Parliamentary corruption had been reduced to a system; and
offices, sinecures, pensions, and gifts of money were freely used to
keep ministers in power. The great offices of state were held by men
sometimes of high ability, but of whom not a few divided their lives
among politics, cards, wine, horse-racing, and women, till time and the
gout sent them to the waters of Bath. The dull, pompous, and irascible
old King had two ruling passions,--money, and his Continental dominions
of Hanover. His elder son, the Prince of Wales, was a centre of
opposition to him. His younger son, the Duke of Cumberland, a character
far more pronounced and vigorous, had won the day at Culloden, and lost
it at Fontenoy; but whether victor or vanquished, had shown the same
vehement bull-headed courage, of late a little subdued by fast growing
corpulency. The Duke of Newcastle, the head of the government, had
gained power and kept it by his rank and connections, his wealth, his
county influence, his control of boroughs, and the extraordinary
assiduity and devotion with which he practised the arts of corruption.
Henry Fox, grasping, unscrupulous, with powerful talents, a warm friend
after his fashion, and a most indulgent father; Carteret, with his
strong, versatile intellect and jovial intrepidity; the two Townshends,
Mansfield, Halifax, and Chesterfield,--were conspicuous figures in the
politics of the time. One man towered above them all. Pitt had many
enemies and many critics. They called him ambitious, audacious,
arrogant, theatrical, pompous, domineering; but what he has left for
posterity is a loftiness of soul, undaunted courage, fiery and
passionate eloquence, proud incorruptibility, domestic virtues rare in
his day, unbounded faith in the cause for which he stood, and abilities
which without wealth or strong connections were destined to place him on
the height of power. The middle class, as yet almost voiceless, looked
to him as its champion; but he was not the champion of a class. His
patriotism was as comprehensive as it was haughty and unbending. He
lived for England, loved her with intense devotion, knew her, believed
in her, and made her greatness his own; or rather, he was himself
England incarnate.

The nation was not then in fighting equipment. After the peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle, the army within the three kingdoms had been reduced to
about eighteen thousand men. Added to these were the garrisons of
Minorca and Gibraltar, and six or seven independent companies in the
American colonies. Of sailors, less than seventeen thousand were left in
the Royal Navy. Such was the condition of England on the eve of one of
the most formidable wars in which she was ever engaged.

Her rival across the Channel was drifting slowly and unconsciously
towards the cataclysm of the Revolution; yet the old monarchy, full of
the germs of decay, was still imposing and formidable. The House of
Bourbon held the three thrones of France, Spain, and Naples; and their
threatened union in a family compact was the terror of European
diplomacy. At home France was the foremost of the Continental nations;
and she boasted herself second only to Spain as a colonial power. She
disputed with England the mastery of India, owned the islands of Bourbon
and Mauritius, held important possessions in the West Indies, and
claimed all North America except Mexico and a strip of sea-coast. Her
navy was powerful, her army numerous, and well appointed; but she lacked
the great commanders of the last reign. Soubise, Maillebois, Contades,
Broglie, and Clermont were but weak successors of Condé, Turenne,
Vendôme, and Villars. Marshal Richelieu was supreme in the arts of
gallantry, and more famous for conquests of love than of war. The best
generals of Louis XV. were foreigners. Lowendal sprang from the royal
house of Denmark; and Saxe, the best of all, was one of the three
hundred and fifty-four bastards of Augustus the Strong, Elector of
Saxony and King of Poland. He was now, 1750, dying at Chambord, his iron
constitution ruined by debaucheries.

The triumph of the Bourbon monarchy was complete. The government had
become one great machine of centralized administration, with a king for
its head; though a king who neither could nor would direct it. All
strife was over between the Crown and the nobles; feudalism was robbed
of its vitality, and left the mere image of its former self, with
nothing alive but its abuses, its caste privileges, its exactions, its
pride and vanity, its power to vex and oppress. In England, the nobility
were a living part of the nation, and if they had privileges, they paid
for them by constant service to the state; in France, they had no
political life, and were separated from the people by sharp lines of
demarcation. From warrior chiefs, they had changed to courtiers. Those
of them who could afford it, and many who could not, left their estates
to the mercy of stewards, and gathered at Versailles to revolve about
the throne as glittering satellites, paid in pomp, empty distinctions,
or rich sinecures, for the power they had lost. They ruined their
vassals to support the extravagance by which they ruined themselves.
Such as stayed at home were objects of pity and scorn. "Out of your
Majesty's presence," said one of them, "we are not only wretched, but

Versailles was like a vast and gorgeous theatre, where all were actors
and spectators at once; and all played their parts to perfection. Here
swarmed by thousands this silken nobility, whose ancestors rode cased in
iron. Pageant followed pageant. A picture of the time preserves for us
an evening in the great hall of the Château, where the King, with piles
of louis d'or before him, sits at a large oval green table, throwing the
dice, among princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, ambassadors,
marshals of France, and a vast throng of courtiers, like an animated bed
of tulips; for men and women alike wear bright and varied colors. Above
are the frescos of Le Brun; around are walls of sculptured and inlaid
marbles, with mirrors that reflect the restless splendors of the scene
and the blaze of chandeliers, sparkling with crystal pendants. Pomp,
magnificence, profusion, were a business and a duty at the Court.
Versailles was a gulf into which the labor of France poured its
earnings; and it was never full.

Here the graces and charms were a political power. Women had prodigious
influence, and the two sexes were never more alike. Men not only dressed
in colors, but they wore patches and carried muffs. The robust qualities
of the old nobility still lingered among the exiles of the provinces,
while at Court they had melted into refinements tainted with corruption.
Yet if the butterflies of Versailles had lost virility, they had not
lost courage. They fought as gayly as they danced. In the halls which
they haunted of yore, turned now into a historical picture-gallery, one
sees them still, on the canvas of Lenfant, Lepaon, or Vernet, facing
death with careless gallantry, in their small three-cornered hats,
powdered perukes, embroidered coats, and lace ruffles. Their valets
served them with ices in the trenches, under the cannon of besieged
towns. A troop of actors formed part of the army-train of Marshal Saxe.
At night there was a comedy, a ballet, or a ball, and in the morning a
battle. Saxe, however, himself a sturdy German, while he recognized
their fighting value, and knew well how to make the best of it,
sometimes complained that they were volatile, excitable, and difficult
to manage.

The weight of the Court, with its pomps, luxuries, and wars, bore on the
classes least able to support it. The poorest were taxed most; the
richest not at all. The nobles, in the main, were free from imposts. The
clergy, who had vast possessions, were wholly free, though they
consented to make voluntary gifts to the Crown; and when, in a time of
emergency, the minister Machault required them, in common with all
others hitherto exempt, to contribute a twentieth of their revenues to
the charges of government, they passionately refused, declaring that
they would obey God rather than the King. The cultivators of the soil
were ground to the earth by a threefold extortion,--the seigniorial
dues, the tithes of the Church, and the multiplied exactions of the
Crown, enforced with merciless rigor by the farmers of the revenue, who
enriched themselves by wringing the peasant on the one hand, and
cheating the King on the other. A few great cities shone with all that
is most brilliant in society, intellect, and concentrated wealth; while
the country that paid the costs lay in ignorance and penury, crushed and
despairing. Of the inhabitants of towns, too, the demands of the
tax-gatherer were extreme; but here the immense vitality of the French
people bore up the burden. While agriculture languished, and intolerable
oppression turned peasants into beggars or desperadoes; while the clergy
were sapped by corruption, and the nobles enervated by luxury and ruined
by extravagance, the middle class was growing in thrift and strength.
Arts and commerce prospered, and the seaports were alive with foreign
trade. Wealth tended from all sides towards the centre. The King did not
love his capital; but he and his favorites amused themselves with
adorning it. Some of the chief embellishments that make Paris what it is
to-day--the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées, and many of the
palaces of the Faubourg St. Germain--date from this reign.

One of the vicious conditions of the time was the separation in
sympathies and interests of the four great classes of the
nation,--clergy, nobles, burghers, and peasants; and each of these,
again, divided itself into incoherent fragments. France was an aggregate
of disjointed parts, held together by a meshwork of arbitrary power,
itself touched with decay. A disastrous blow was struck at the national
welfare when the Government of Louis XV. revived the odious persecution
of the Huguenots. The attempt to scour heresy out of France cost her the
most industrious and virtuous part of her population, and robbed her of
those most fit to resist the mocking scepticism and turbid passions that
burst out like a deluge with the Revolution.

Her manifold ills were summed up in the King. Since the Valois, she had
had no monarch so worthless. He did not want understanding, still less
the graces of person. In his youth the people called him the
"Well-beloved;" but by the middle of the century they so detested him
that he dared not pass through Paris, lest the mob should execrate him.
He had not the vigor of the true tyrant; but his langour, his hatred of
all effort, his profound selfishness, his listless disregard of public
duty, and his effeminate libertinism, mixed with superstitious devotion,
made him no less a national curse. Louis XIII. was equally unfit to
govern; but he gave the reins to the Great Cardinal. Louis XV. abandoned
them to a frivolous mistress, content that she should rule on condition
of amusing him. It was a hard task; yet Madame de Pompadour accomplished
it by methods infamous to him and to her. She gained and long kept the
power that she coveted: filled the Bastille with her enemies; made and
unmade ministers; appointed and removed generals. Great questions of
policy were at the mercy of her caprices. Through her frivolous vanity,
her personal likes and dislikes, all the great departments of
government--army, navy, war, foreign affairs, justice, finance--changed
from hand to hand incessantly, and this at a time of crisis when the
kingdom needed the steadiest and surest guidance. Few of the officers of
state, except, perhaps, D'Argenson, could venture to disregard her. She
turned out Orry, the comptroller-general, put her favorite, Machault,
into his place, then made him keeper of the seals, and at last minister
of marine. The Marquis de Puysieux, in the ministry of foreign affairs,
and the Comte de St.-Florentin, charged with the affairs of the clergy,
took their cue from her. The King stinted her in nothing. First and
last, she is reckoned to have cost him thirty-six million
francs,--answering now to more than as many dollars.

The prestige of the monarchy was declining with the ideas that had given
it life and strength. A growing disrespect for king, ministry, and
clergy was beginning to prepare the catastrophe that was still some
forty years in the future. While the valleys and low places of the
kingdom were dark with misery and squalor, its heights were bright with
a gay society,--elegant, fastidious, witty,--craving the pleasures of
the mind as well as of the senses, criticising everything, analyzing
everything, believing nothing. Voltaire was in the midst of it, hating,
with all his vehement soul, the abuses that swarmed about him, and
assailing them with the inexhaustible shafts of his restless and
piercing intellect. Montesquieu was showing to a despot-ridden age the
principles of political freedom. Diderot and D'Alembert were beginning
their revolutionary Encyclopaedia. Rousseau was sounding the first notes
of his mad eloquence,--the wild revolt of a passionate and diseased
genius against a world of falsities and wrongs. The _salons_ of Paris,
cloyed with other pleasures, alive to all that was racy and new,
welcomed the pungent doctrines, and played with them as children play
with fire, thinking no danger; as time went on, even embraced them in a
genuine spirit of hope and goodwill for humanity. The Revolution began
at the top,--in the world of fashion, birth, and intellect,--and
propagated itself downwards. "We walked on a carpet of flowers," Count
Ségur afterwards said, "unconscious that it covered an abyss;" till the
gulf yawned at last, and swallowed them.

Eastward, beyond the Rhine, lay the heterogeneous patchwork of the Holy
Roman, or Germanic, Empire. The sacred bonds that throughout the Middle
Ages had held together its innumerable fragments, had lost their
strength. The Empire decayed as a whole; but not so the parts that
composed it. In the south the House of Austria reigned over a formidable
assemblage of states; and in the north the House of Brandenburg,
promoted to royalty half a century before, had raised Prussia into an
importance far beyond her extent and population. In her dissevered rags
of territory lay the destinies of Germany. It was the late King, that
honest, thrifty, dogged, headstrong despot, Frederic William, who had
made his kingdom what it was, trained it to the perfection of drill, and
left it to his son, Frederic II. the best engine of war in Europe.
Frederic himself had passed between the upper and nether millstones of
paternal discipline. Never did prince undergo such an apprenticeship.
His father set him to the work of an overseer, or steward, flung plates
at his head in the family circle, thrashed him with his rattan in
public, bullied him for submitting to such treatment, and imprisoned him
for trying to run away from it. He came at last out of purgatory; and
Europe felt him to her farthest bounds. This bookish, philosophizing,
verse-making cynic and profligate was soon to approve himself the first
warrior of his time, and one of the first of all time.

Another power had lately risen on the European world. Peter the Great,
half hero, half savage, had roused the inert barbarism of Russia into a
titanic life. His daughter Elizabeth had succeeded to his
throne,--heiress of his sensuality, if not of his talents.

Over all the Continent the aspect of the times was the same. Power had
everywhere left the plains and the lower slopes, and gathered at the
summits. Popular life was at a stand. No great idea stirred the nations
to their depths. The religious convulsions of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries were over, and the earthquake of the French
Revolution had not begun. At the middle of the eighteenth century the
history of Europe turned on the balance of power; the observance of
treaties; inheritance and succession; rivalries of sovereign houses
struggling to win power or keep it, encroach on neighbors, or prevent
neighbors from encroaching; bargains, intrigue, force, diplomacy, and
the musket, in the interest not of peoples but of rulers. Princes, great
and small, brooded over some real or fancied wrong, nursed some dubious
claim born of a marriage, a will, or an ancient covenant fished out of
the abyss of time, and watched their moment to make it good. The general
opportunity came when, in 1740, the Emperor Charles VI. died and
bequeathed his personal dominions of the House of Austria to his
daughter, Maria Theresa. The chief Powers of Europe had been pledged in
advance to sustain the will; and pending the event, the veteran Prince
Eugene had said that two hundred thousand soldiers would be worth all
their guaranties together. The two hundred thousand were not there, and
not a sovereign kept his word. They flocked to share the spoil, and
parcel out the motley heritage of the young Queen. Frederic of Prussia
led the way, invaded her province of Silesia, seized it, and kept it.
The Elector of Bavaria and the King of Spain claimed their share, and
the Elector of Saxony and the King of Sardinia prepared to follow the
example. France took part with Bavaria, and intrigued to set the
imperial crown on the head of the Elector, thinking to ruin her old
enemy, the House of Austria, and rule Germany through an emperor too
weak to dispense with her support. England, jealous of her designs,
trembling for the balance of power, and anxious for the Hanoverian
possessions of her king, threw herself into the strife on the side of
Austria. It was now that, in the Diet at Presburg, the beautiful and
distressed Queen, her infant in her arms, made her memorable appeal to
the wild chivalry of her Hungarian nobles; and, clashing their swords,
they shouted with one voice: "Let us die for our king, Maria Theresa;"
_Moriamur pro rege nostro, Mariâ_,--one of the most dramatic scenes in
history; not quite true, perhaps, but near the truth. Then came that
confusion worse confounded called the war of the Austrian Succession,
with its Mollwitz, its Dettingen, its Fontenoy, and its Scotch episode
of Culloden. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle closed the strife in 1748.
Europe had time to breathe; but the germs of discord remained alive.

The American Combatants

The French claimed all America, from the Alleghanies to the Rocky
Mountains, and from Mexico and Florida to the North Pole, except only
the ill-defined possessions of the English on the borders of Hudson Bay;
and to these vast regions, with adjacent islands, they gave the general
name of New France. They controlled the highways of the continent, for
they held its two great rivers. First, they had seized the St. Lawrence,
and then planted themselves at the mouth of the Mississippi. Canada at
the north, and Louisiana at the south, were the keys of a boundless
interior, rich with incalculable possibilities. The English colonies,
ranged along the Atlantic coast, had no royal road to the great inland,
and were, in a manner, shut between the mountains and the sea. At the
middle of the century they numbered in all, from Georgia to Maine, about
eleven hundred and sixty thousand white inhabitants. By the census of
1754 Canada had but fifty-five thousand.[1] Add those of Louisiana and
Acadia, and the whole white population under the French flag might be
something more than eighty thousand. Here is an enormous disparity; and
hence it has been argued that the success of the English colonies and
the failure of the French was not due to difference of religious and
political systems, but simply to numerical preponderance. But this
preponderance itself grew out of a difference of systems. We have said
before, and it cannot be said too often, that in making Canada a citadel
of the state religion--a holy of holies of exclusive Roman Catholic
orthodoxy,--the clerical monitors of the Crown robbed their country of a
trans-Atlantic empire. New France could not grow with a priest on guard
at the gate to let in none but such as pleased him. One of the ablest of
Canadian governors, La Galissonière, seeing the feebleness of the colony
compared with the vastness of its claims, advised the King to send ten
thousand peasants to occupy the valley of the Ohio, and hold back the
British swarm that was just then pushing its advance-guard over the
Alleghanies. It needed no effort of the King to people his waste domain,
not with ten thousand peasants, but with twenty times ten thousand
Frenchmen of every station,--the most industrious, most instructed, most
disciplined by adversity and capable of self-rule, that the country
could boast. While La Galissonière was asking for colonists, the agents
of the Crown, set on by priestly fanaticism, or designing selfishness
masked with fanaticism, were pouring volleys of musketry into Huguenot
congregations, imprisoning for life those innocent of all but their
faith,--the men in the galleys, the women in the pestiferous dungeons of
Aigues Mortes,--hanging their ministers, kidnapping their children, and
reviving, in short, the dragonnades. Now, as in the past century, many
of the victims escaped to the British colonies, and became a part of
them. The Huguenots would have hailed as a boon the permission to
emigrate under the fleur-de-lis, and build up a Protestant France in the
valleys of the West. It would have been a bane of absolutism, but a
national glory; would have set bounds to English colonization, and
changed the face of the continent. The opportunity was spurned. The
dominant Church clung to its policy of rule and ruin. France built its
best colony on a principle of exclusion, and failed; England reversed
the system, and succeeded.

[Footnote 1: _Censuses of Canada_, iv. 61. Rameau _(La France aux
Colonies,_ ii. 81) estimates the Canadian population, in 1755, at
sixty-six thousand, besides _voyageurs_, Indian traders, etc. Vaudreuil,
in 1760, places it at seventy thousand.]

I have shown elsewhere the aspects of Canada, where a rigid scion of the
old European tree was set to grow in the wilderness. The military
Governor, holding his miniature Court on the rock of Quebec; the feudal
proprietors, whose domains lined the shores of the St. Lawrence; the
peasant; the roving bushranger; the half-tamed savage, with crucifix and
scalping-knife; priests; friars; nuns; and soldiers,--mingled to form a
society the most picturesque on the continent. What distinguished it
from the France that produced it was a total absence of revolt against
the laws of its being,--an absolute conservatism, an unquestioning
acceptance of Church and King. The Canadian, ignorant of everything but
what the priest saw fit to teach him, had never heard of Voltaire; and
if he had known him, would have thought him a devil. He had, it is true,
a spirit of insubordination born of the freedom of the forest; but if
his instincts rebelled, his mind and soul were passively submissive. The
unchecked control of a hierarchy robbed him of the independence of
intellect and character, without which, under the conditions of modern
life, a people must resign itself to a position of inferiority. Yet
Canada had a vigor of her own. It was not in spiritual deference only
that she differed from the country of her birth. Whatever she had caught
of its corruptions, she had caught nothing of its effeminacy. The mass
of her people lived in a rude poverty,--not abject, like the peasant of
old France, nor ground down by the tax-gatherer; while those of the
higher ranks--all more or less engaged in pursuits of war or adventure,
and inured to rough journeyings and forest exposures--were rugged as
their climate. Even the French regular troops, sent out to defend the
colony, caught its hardy spirit, and set an example of stubborn fighting
which their comrades at home did not always emulate.

Canada lay ensconced behind rocks and forests. All along her southern
boundaries, between her and her English foes, lay a broad tract of
wilderness, shaggy with primeval woods. Innumerable streams gurgled
beneath their shadows; innumerable lakes gleamed in the fiery sunsets;
innumerable mountains bared their rocky foreheads to the wind. These
wastes were ranged by her savage allies, Micmacs, Etechémins, Abenakis,
Caughnawagas; and no enemy could steal upon her unawares. Through the
midst of them stretched Lake Champlain, pointing straight to the heart
of the British settlement,--a watery thoroughfare of mutual attack, and
the only approach by which, without a long _détour_ by wilderness or
sea, a hostile army could come within striking distance of the colony.
The French advanced post of Fort Frederic, called Crown Point by the
English, barred the narrows of the lake, which thence spread northward
to the portals of Canada guarded by Fort St. Jean. Southwestward, some
fourteen hundred miles as a bird flies, and twice as far by the
practicable routes of travel, was Louisiana, the second of the two heads
of New France; while between lay the realms of solitude where the
Mississippi rolled its sullen tide, and the Ohio wound its belt of
silver through the verdant woodlands.

To whom belonged this world of prairies and forests? France claimed it
by right of discovery and occupation. It was her explorers who, after De
Soto, first set foot on it. The question of right, it is true, mattered
little; for, right or wrong, neither claimant would yield her
pretensions so long as she had strength to uphold them; yet one point is
worth a moment's notice. The French had established an excellent system
in the distribution of their American lands. Whoever received a grant
from the Crown was required to improve it, and this within reasonable
time. If he did not, the land ceased to be his, and was given to another
more able or industrious. An international extension of her own
principle would have destroyed the pretensions of France to all the
countries of the West. She had called them hers for three fourths of a
century, and they were still a howling waste, yielding nothing to
civilization but beaver-skins, with here and there a fort, trading-post,
or mission, and three or four puny hamlets by the Mississippi and the
Detroit. We have seen how she might have made for herself an
indisputable title, and peopled the solitudes with a host to maintain
it. She would not; others were at hand who both would and could; and the
late claimant, disinherited and forlorn, would soon be left to count the
cost of her bigotry.

The thirteen British colonies were alike, insomuch as they all had
representative governments, and a basis of English law. But the
differences among them were great. Some were purely English; others were
made up of various races, though the Anglo-Saxon was always predominant.
Some had one prevailing religious creed; others had many creeds. Some
had charters, and some had not. In most cases the governor was appointed
by the Crown; in Pennsylvania and Maryland he was appointed by a feudal
proprietor, and in Connecticut and Rhode Island he was chosen by the
people. The differences of disposition and character were still greater
than those of form.

The four northern colonies, known collectively as New England, were an
exception to the general rule of diversity. The smallest, Rhode Island,
had features all its own; but the rest were substantially one in nature
and origin. The principal among them, Massachusetts, may serve as the
type of all. It was a mosaic of little village republics, firmly
cemented together, and formed into a single body politic through
representatives sent to the "General Court" at Boston. Its government,
originally theocratic, now tended to democracy, ballasted as yet by
strong traditions of respect for established worth and ability, as well
as by the influence of certain families prominent in affairs for
generations. Yet there were no distinct class-lines, and popular power,
like popular education, was widely diffused. Practically Massachusetts
was almost independent of the mother-country. Its people were purely
English, of sound yeoman stock, with an abundant leaven drawn from the
best of the Puritan gentry; but their original character had been
somewhat modified by changed conditions of life. A harsh and exacting
creed, with its stiff formalism and its prohibition of wholesome
recreation; excess in the pursuit of gain--the only resource left to
energies robbed of their natural play; the struggle for existence on a
hard and barren soil; and the isolation of a narrow village
life,--joined to produce, in the meaner sort, qualities which were
unpleasant, and sometimes repulsive. Puritanism was not an unmixed
blessing. Its view of human nature was dark, and its attitude towards it
one of repression. It strove to crush out not only what is evil, but
much that is innocent and salutary. Human nature so treated will take
its revenge, and for every vice that it loses find another instead.
Nevertheless, while New England Puritanism bore its peculiar crop of
faults, it produced also many good and sound fruits. An uncommon vigor,
joined to the hardy virtues of a masculine race, marked the New England
type. The sinews, it is true, were hardened at the expense of blood and
flesh,--and this literally as well as figuratively; but the staple of
character was a sturdy conscientiousness, an undespairing courage,
patriotism, public spirit, sagacity, and a strong good sense. A great
change, both for better and for worse, has since come over it, due
largely to reaction against the unnatural rigors of the past. That
mixture, which is now too common, of cool emotions with excitable
brains, was then rarely seen. The New England colonies abounded in high
examples of public and private virtue, though not always under the most
prepossessing forms. They were conspicuous, moreover, for intellectual
activity, and were by no means without intellectual eminence.
Massachusetts had produced at least two men whose fame had crossed the
sea,--Edwards, who out of the grim theology of Calvin mounted to sublime
heights of mystical speculation; and Franklin, famous already by his
discoveries in electricity. On the other hand, there were few genuine
New Englanders who, however personally modest, could divest themselves
of the notion that they belonged to a people in an especial manner the
object of divine approval; and this self-righteousness, along with
certain other traits, failed to commend the Puritan colonies to the
favor of their fellows. Then, as now, New England was best known to her
neighbors by her worst side.

In one point, however, she found general applause. She was regarded as
the most military among the British colonies. This reputation was well
founded, and is easily explained. More than all the rest, she lay open
to attack. The long waving line of the New England border, with its
lonely hamlets and scattered farms, extended from the Kennebec to beyond
the Connecticut, and was everywhere vulnerable to the guns and
tomahawks of the neighboring French and their savage allies. The
colonies towards the south had thus far been safe from danger. New York
alone was within striking distance of the Canadian war-parties. That
province then consisted of a line of settlements up the Hudson and the
Mohawk, and was little exposed to attack except at its northern end,
which was guarded by the fortified town of Albany, with its outlying
posts, and by the friendly and warlike Mohawks, whose "castles" were
close at hand. Thus New England had borne the heaviest brunt of the
preceding wars, not only by the forest, but also by the sea; for the
French of Acadia and Cape Breton confronted her coast, and she was often
at blows with them. Fighting had been a necessity with her, and she had
met the emergency after a method extremely defective, but the best that
circumstances would permit. Having no trained officers and no
disciplined soldiers, and being too poor to maintain either, she
borrowed her warriors from the workshop and the plough, and officered
them with lawyers, merchants, mechanics, or farmers. To compare them
with good regular troops would be folly; but they did, on the whole,
better than could have been expected, and in the last war achieved the
brilliant success of the capture of Louisburg. This exploit, due partly
to native hardihood and partly to good luck, greatly enhanced the
military repute of New England, or rather was one of the chief sources
of it.

The great colony of Virginia stood in strong contrast to New England. In
both the population was English; but the one was Puritan with Roundhead
traditions, and the other, so far as concerned its governing class,
Anglican with Cavalier traditions. In the one, every man, woman, and
child could read and write; in the other, Sir William Berkeley once
thanked God that there were no free schools, and no prospect of any for
a century. The hope had found fruition. The lower classes of Virginia
were as untaught as the warmest friend of popular ignorance could wish.
New England had a native literature more than respectable under the
circumstances, while Virginia had none; numerous industries, while
Virginia was all agriculture, with but a single crop; a homogeneous
society and a democratic spirit, while her rival was an aristocracy.
Virginian society was distinctively stratified. On the lowest level were
the negro slaves, nearly as numerous as all the rest together; next, the
indented servants and the poor whites, of low origin, good-humored, but
boisterous, and some times vicious; next, the small and despised class
of tradesmen and mechanics; next, the farmers and lesser planters, who
were mainly of good English stock, and who merged insensibly into the
ruling class of the great landowners. It was these last who represented
the colony and made the laws. They may be described as English country
squires transplanted to a warm climate and turned slave-masters. They
sustained their position by entails, and constantly undermined it by the
reckless profusion which ruined them at last. Many of them were well
born, with an immense pride of descent, increased by the habit of
domination. Indolent and energetic by turns; rich in natural gifts and
often poor in book-learning, though some, in the lack of good teaching
at home, had been bred in the English universities; high-spirited,
generous to a fault; keeping open house in their capacious mansions,
among vast tobacco-fields and toiling negroes, and living in a rude pomp
where the fashions of St. James were somewhat oddly grafted on the
roughness of the plantation,--what they wanted in schooling was supplied
by an education which books alone would have been impotent to give, the
education which came with the possession and exercise of political
power, and the sense of a position to maintain, joined to a bold spirit
of independence and a patriotic attachment to the Old Dominion. They
were few in number; they raced, gambled, drank, and swore; they did
everything that in Puritan eyes was most reprehensible; and in the day
of need they gave the United Colonies a body of statesmen and orators
which had no equal on the continent. A vigorous aristocracy favors the
growth of personal eminence, even in those who are not of it, but only
near it.

The essential antagonism of Virginia and New England was afterwards to
become, and to remain for a century, an element of the first influence
in American history. Each might have learned much from the other; but
neither did so till, at last, the strife of their contending principles
shook the continent. Pennsylvania differed widely from both. She was a
conglomerate of creeds and races,--English, Irish, Germans, Dutch, and
Swedes; Quakers, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Romanists, Moravians, and a
variety of nondescript sects. The Quakers prevailed in the eastern
districts; quiet, industrious, virtuous, and serenely obstinate. The
Germans were strongest towards the centre of the colony, and were
chiefly peasants; successful farmers, but dull, ignorant, and
superstitious. Towards the west were the Irish, of whom some were
Celts, always quarrelling with their German neighbors, who detested
them; but the greater part were Protestants of Scotch descent, from
Ulster; a vigorous border population. Virginia and New England had each
a strong distinctive character. Pennsylvania, with her heterogeneous
population, had none but that which she owed to the sober neutral tints
of Quaker existence. A more thriving colony there was not on the
continent. Life, if monotonous, was smooth and contented. Trade and the
arts grew. Philadelphia, next to Boston, was the largest town in British
America; and was, moreover, the intellectual centre of the middle and
southern colonies. Unfortunately, for her credit in the approaching war,
the Quaker influence made Pennsylvania non-combatant. Politically, too,
she was an anomaly; for, though utterly unfeudal in disposition and
character, she was under feudal superiors in the persons of the
representatives of William Penn, the original grantee.

New York had not as yet reached the relative prominence which her
geographical position and inherent strength afterwards gave her. The
English, joined to the Dutch, the original settlers, were the dominant
population; but a half-score of other languages were spoken in the
province, the chief among them being that of the Huguenot French in the
southern parts, and that of the Germans on the Mohawk. In religion, the
province was divided between the Anglican Church, with government
support and popular dislike, and numerous dissenting sects, chiefly
Lutherans, Independents, Presbyterians, and members of the Dutch
Reformed Church. The little city of New York, like its great successor,
was the most cosmopolitan place on the continent, and probably the
gayest. It had, in abundance, balls, concerts, theatricals, and evening
clubs, with plentiful dances and other amusements, for the poorer
classes. Thither in the winter months came the great hereditary
proprietors on the Hudson; for the old Dutch feudality still held its
own, and the manors of Van Renselaer, Cortland, and Livingston, with
their seigniorial privileges, and the great estates and numerous
tenantry of the Schuylers and other leading families, formed the basis
of an aristocracy, some of whose members had done good service to the
province, and were destined to do more. Pennsylvania was feudal in form,
and not in spirit; Virginia in spirit, and not in form; New England in
neither; and New York largely in both. This social crystallization had,
it is true, many opponents. In politics, as in religion, there were
sharp antagonisms and frequent quarrels. They centred in the city; for
in the well-stocked dwellings of the Dutch farmers along the Hudson
there reigned a tranquil and prosperous routine; and the Dutch border
town of Albany had not its like in America for unruffled conservatism
and quaint picturesqueness.

Of the other colonies, the briefest mention will suffice: New Jersey,
with its wholesome population of farmers; tobacco-growing Maryland,
which, but for its proprietary government and numerous Roman Catholics,
might pass for another Virginia, inferior in growth, and less decisive
in features; Delaware, a modest appendage of Pennsylvania; wild and rude
North Carolina; and, farther on, South Carolina and Georgia, too remote
from the seat of war to take a noteworthy part in it. The attitude of
these various colonies towards each other is hardly conceivable to an
American of the present time. They had no political tie except a common
allegiance to the British Crown. Communication between them was
difficult and slow, by rough roads traced often through primeval
forests. Between some of them there was less of sympathy than of
jealousy kindled by conflicting interests or perpetual disputes
concerning boundaries. The patriotism of the colonist was bounded by the
lines of his government, except in the compact and kindred colonies of
New England, which were socially united, through politically distinct.
The country of the New Yorker was New York, and the country of the
Virginian was Virginia. The New England colonies had once confederated;
but, kindred as they were, they had long ago dropped apart. William Penn
proposed a plan of colonial union wholly fruitless. James II. tried to
unite all the northern colonies under one government; but the attempt
came to naught. Each stood aloof, jealously independent. At rare
intervals, under the pressure of an emergency, some of them would try to
act in concert; and, except in New England, the results had been most
discouraging. Nor was it this segregation only that unfitted them for
war. They were all subject to popular legislatures, through whom alone
money and men could be raised; and these elective bodies were sometimes
factious and selfish, and not always either far-sighted or reasonable.
Moreover, they were in a state of ceaseless friction with their
governors, who represented the king, or, what was worse, the feudal
proprietary. These disputes, though varying in intensity, were found
everywhere except in the two small colonies which chose their own
governors; and they were premonitions of the movement towards
independence which ended in the war of Revolution. The occasion of
difference mattered little. Active or latent, the quarrel was always
present. In New York it turned on a question of the governor's salary;
in Pennsylvania on the taxation of the proprietary estates; in Virginia
on a fee exacted for the issue of land patents. It was sure to arise
whenever some public crisis gave the representatives of the people an
opportunity of extorting concessions from the representative of the
Crown, or gave the representative of the Crown an opportunity to gain a
point for prerogative. That is to say, the time when action was most
needed was the time chosen for obstructing it.

In Canada there was no popular legislature to embarrass the central
power. The people, like an army, obeyed the word of command,--a military
advantage beyond all price.

Divided in government; divided in origin, feelings, and principles;
jealous of each other, jealous of the Crown; the people at war with the
executive, and, by the fermentation of internal politics, blinded to an
outward danger that seemed remote and vague,--such were the conditions
under which the British colonies drifted into a war that was to decide
the fate of the continent.

This war was the strife of a united and concentred few against a divided
and discordant many. It was the strife, too, of the past against the
future; of the old against the new; of moral and intellectual torpor
against moral and intellectual life; of barren absolutism against a
liberty, crude, incoherent, and chaotic, yet full of prolific vitality.

Chapter 2


Céleron de Bienville

When the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed, the Marquis de la
Galissonière ruled over Canada. Like all the later Canadian governors,
he was a naval officer; and, a few years after, he made himself famous
by a victory, near Minorca, over the English admiral Byng,--an
achievement now remembered chiefly by the fate of the defeated
commander, judicially murdered as the scapegoat of an imbecile ministry.
Galissonière was a humpback; but his deformed person was animated by a
bold spirit and a strong and penetrating intellect. He was the chief
representative of the American policy of France. He felt that, cost what
it might, she must hold fast to Canada, and link her to Louisiana by
chains of forts strong enough to hold back the British colonies, and
cramp their growth by confinement within narrow limits; while French
settlers, sent from the mother-country, should spread and multiply in
the broad valleys of the interior. It is true, he said, that Canada and
her dependencies have always been a burden; but they are necessary as a
barrier against English ambition; and to abandon them is to abandon
ourselves; for if we suffer our enemies to become masters in America,
their trade and naval power will grow to vast proportions, and they will
draw from their colonies a wealth that will make them preponderant in

[Footnote 2: La Galissonière, _Mémoire sur les Colonies de la France
dans l'Amêrique septentrionale_.]

The treaty had done nothing to settle the vexed question of boundaries
between France and her rival. It had but staved off the inevitable
conflict. Meanwhile, the English traders were crossing the mountains
from Pennsylvania and Virginia, poaching on the domain which France
claimed as hers, ruining the French fur-trade, seducing the Indian
allies of Canada, and stirring them up against her. Worse still, English
land speculators were beginning to follow. Something must be done, and
that promptly, to drive back the intruders, and vindicate French rights
in the valley of the Ohio. To this end the Governor sent Céloron de
Bienville thither in the summer of 1749.

He was a chevalier de St. Louis and a captain in the colony troops.
Under him went fourteen officers and cadets, twenty soldiers, a hundred
and eighty Canadians, and a band of Indians, all in twenty-three
birch-bark canoes. They left La Chine on the fifteenth of June, and
pushed up the rapids of the St. Lawrence, losing a man and damaging
several canoes on the way. Ten days brought them to the mouth of the
Oswegatchie, where Ogdensburg now stands. Here they found a Sulpitian
priest, Abbé Piquet, busy at building a fort, and lodging for the
present under a shed of bark like an Indian. This enterprising father,
ostensibly a missionary, was in reality a zealous political agent, bent
on winning over the red allies of the English, retrieving French
prestige, and restoring French trade. Thus far he had attracted but two
Iroquois to his new establishment; and these he lent to Céloron.

Reaching Lake Ontario, the party stopped for a time at the French fort
of Frontenac, but avoided the rival English post of Oswego, on the
southern shore, where a trade in beaver skins, disastrous to French
interests, was carried on, and whither many tribes, once faithful to
Canada, now made resort. On the sixth of July Céloron reached Niagara.
This, the most important pass of all the western wilderness, was guarded
by a small fort of palisades on the point where the river joins the
lake. Thence, the party carried their canoes over the portage road by
the cataract, and launched them upon Lake Erie. On the fifteenth they
landed on the lonely shore where the town of Portland now stands; and
for the next seven days were busied in shouldering canoes and baggage up
and down the steep hills, through the dense forest of beech, oak, ash,
and elm, to the waters of Chautauqua Lake, eight or nine miles distant.
Here they embarked again, steering southward over the sunny waters, in
the stillness and solitude of the leafy hills, till they came to the
outlet, and glided down the peaceful current in the shade of the tall
forests that overarched it. This prosperity was short. The stream was
low, in spite of heavy rains that had drenched them on the carrying
place. Father Bonnecamp, chaplain of the expedition, wrote, in his
Journal: "In some places--and they were but too frequent--the water was
only two or three inches deep; and we were reduced to the sad necessity
of dragging our canoes over the sharp pebbles, which, with all our care
and precaution, stripped off large slivers of the bark. At last, tired
and worn, and almost in despair of ever seeing La Belle Rivière, we
entered it at noon of the 29th." The part of the Ohio, or "La Belle
Rivière," which they had thus happily reached, is now called the
Alleghany. The Great West lay outspread before them, a realm of wild and
waste fertility.

French America had two heads,--one among the snows of Canada, and one
among the canebrakes of Louisiana; one communicating with the world
through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the other through the Gulf of
Mexico. These vital points were feebly connected by a chain of military
posts,--slender, and often interrupted,--circling through the wilderness
nearly three thousand miles. Midway between Canada and Louisiana lay the
valley of the Ohio. If the English should seize it, they would sever the
chain of posts, and cut French America asunder. If the French held it,
and entrenched themselves well along its eastern limits, they would shut
their rivals between the Alleghanies and the sea, control all the tribes
of the West, and turn them, in case of war, against the English
borders,--a frightful and insupportable scourge.

The Indian population of the Ohio and its northern tributaries was
relatively considerable. The upper or eastern half of the valley was
occupied by mingled hordes of Delawares, Shawanoes, Wyandots, and
Iroquois, or Indians of the Five Nations, who had migrated thither from
their ancestral abodes within the present limits of the State of New
York, and who were called Mingoes by the English traders. Along with
them were a few wandering Abenakis, Nipissings, and Ottawas. Farther
west, on the waters of the Miami, the Wabash, and other neighboring
streams, was the seat of a confederacy formed of the various bands of
the Miamis and their kindred or affiliated tribes. Still farther west,
towards the Mississippi, were the remnants of the Illinois.

France had done but little to make good her claims to this grand domain.
East of the Miami she had no military post whatever. Westward, on the
Maumee, there was a small wooden fort, another on the St. Joseph, and
two on the Wabash. On the meadows of the Mississippi, in the Illinois
country, stood Fort Chartres,--a much stronger work, and one of the
chief links of the chain that connected Quebec with New Orleans. Its
four stone bastions were impregnable to musketry; and, here in the
depths of the wilderness, there was no fear that cannon would be brought
against it. It was the centre and citadel of a curious little forest
settlement, the only vestige of civilization through all this region. At
Kaskaskia, extended along the borders of the stream, were seventy or
eighty French houses; thirty or forty at Cahokia, opposite the site of
St. Louis; and a few more at the intervening hamlets of St. Philippe and
Prairie à la Roche,--a picturesque but thriftless population, mixed with
Indians, totally ignorant, busied partly with the fur-trade, and partly
with the raising of corn for the market of New Orleans. They
communicated with it by means of a sort of row galley, of eighteen or
twenty oars, which made the voyage twice a year, and usually spent ten
weeks on the return up the river.[3]

[Footnote 3: Gordon, _Journal_, 1766, appended to Pownall,
_Topographical Description_. In the Dépôt des Cartes de la Marine at
Paris, C. 4,040, are two curious maps of the Illinois colony, made a
little after the middle of the century. In 1753 the Marquis Duquesne
denounced the colonists as debauched and lazy.]

The Pope and the Bourbons had claimed this wilderness for seventy years,
and had done scarcely more for it than the Indians, its natural owners.
Of the western tribes, even of those living at the French posts, the
Hurons or Wyandots alone were Christian.[4] The devoted zeal of the
early missionaries and the politic efforts of their successors had
failed alike. The savages of the Ohio and the Mississippi, instead of
being tied to France by the mild bonds of the faith, were now in a state
which the French called defection or revolt; that is, they received and
welcomed the English traders.

[Footnote 4: "De toutes les nations domiciliées dans les postes des pays
d'en haut, il n'y a que les hurons du détroit qui aient embrassé la
Réligion chretienne." _Mémoirs du Roy pour servir d'instruction au S'r.
Marqius de Lajonquière_.]

These traders came in part from Virginia, but chiefly from Pennsylvania.
Dinwiddie, governor of Virginia, says of them: "They appear to me to be
in general a set of abandoned wretches;" and Hamilton, governor of
Pennsylvania, replies: "I concur with you in opinion that they are a
very licentious people.[5] Indian traders, of whatever nation, are
rarely models of virtue; and these, without doubt, were rough and
lawless men, with abundant blackguardism and few scruples. Not all of
them, however, are to be thus qualified. Some were of a better stamp;
among whom were Christopher Gist, William Trent, and George Croghan.
These and other chief traders hired men on the frontiers, crossed the
Alleghanies with goods packed on the backs of horses, descended into the
valley of the Ohio, and journeyed from stream to stream and village to
village along the Indian trails, with which all this wilderness was
seamed, and which the traders widened to make them practicable. More
rarely, they carried their goods on horses to the upper waters of the
Ohio, and embarked them in large wooden canoes, in which they descended
the main river, and ascended such of its numerous tributaries as were
navigable. They were bold and enterprising; and French writers, with
alarm and indignation, declare that some of them had crossed the
Mississippi and traded with the distant Osages. It is said that about
three hundred of them came over the mountains every year.

[Footnote 5: _Dinwiddie to Hamilton, 21 May, 1753. Hamilton to
Dinwiddie,--May, 1753._]

On reaching the Alleghany, Céleron de Bienville entered upon the work
assigned him, and began by taking possession of the country. The men
were drawn up in order; Louis XV. was proclaimed lord of all that
region, the arms of France, stamped on a sheet of tin, were nailed to a
tree, a plate of lead was buried at its foot, and the notary of the
expedition drew up a formal act of the whole proceeding. The leaden
plate was inscribed as follows: "Year 1749, in the reign of Louis
Fifteenth, King of France. We, Céleron, commanding the detachment sent
by the Marquis de la Galissonière, commander-general of New France, to
restore tranquillity in certain villages of these cantons, have buried
this plate at the confluence of the Ohio and the Kanaouagon
_[Conewango],_ this 29th July, as a token of renewal of possession
heretofore taken of the aforesaid River Ohio, of all streams that fall
into it, and all lands on both sides to the source of the aforesaid
streams, as the preceding Kings of France have enjoyed or ought to have
enjoyed it, and which they have upheld by force of arms and by treaties,
notably by those of Ryswick, Utrecht, and Aix-la-Chapelle."

This done, the party proceeded on its way, moving downward with the
current, and passing from time to time rough openings in the forest,
with clusters of Indian wigwams, the inmates of which showed a strong
inclination to run off at their approach. To prevent this, Chabert de
Joncaire was sent in advance, as a messenger of peace. He was himself
half Indian, being the son of a French officer and a Seneca squaw,
speaking fluently his maternal tongue, and, like his father, holding an
important place in all dealings between the French and the tribes who
spoke dialects of the Iroquois. On this occasion his success was not
complete. It needed all his art to prevent the alarmed savages from
taking to the woods. Sometimes, however, Céloron succeeded in gaining
an audience; and at a village of Senecas called La Paille Coupée he read
them a message from La Galissonière couched in terms sufficiently
imperative: "My children, since I was at war with the English, I have
learned that they have seduced you; and not content with corrupting your
hearts, have taken advantage of my absence to invade lands which are not
theirs, but mine; and therefore I have resolved to send you Monsieur de
Céloron to tell you my intentions, which are that I will not endure the
English on my land. Listen to me, children; mark well the word that I
send you; follow my advice, and the sky will always be calm and clear
over your villages. I expect from you an answer worthy of true
children." And he urged them to stop all trade with the intruders, and
send them back to whence they came. They promised compliance; "and,"
says the chaplain, Bonnecamp, "we should all have been satisfied if we
had thought them sincere; but nobody doubted that fear had extorted
their answer."

Four leagues below French Creek, by a rock scratched with Indian
hieroglyphics, they buried another leaden plate. Three days after, they
reached the Delaware village of Attiqué, at the site of Kittanning,
whose twenty-two wigwams were all empty, the owners having fled. A
little farther on, at an old abandoned village of Shawanoes, they found
six English traders, whom they warned to begone, and return no more at
their peril. Being helpless to resist, the traders pretended obedience;
and Céloron charged them with a letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania,
in which he declared that he was "greatly surprised" to find Englishmen
trespassing on the domain of France. "I know," concluded the letter,
"that our Commandant-General would be very sorry to be forced to use
violence; but his orders are precise, to leave no foreign traders within
the limits of his government."[6]

[Footnote 6: Céloron, _Journal_. Compare the letter as translated in
_N.Y. Col. Docs_., VI. 532; also _Colonial Records of Pa_., V. 325.]

On the next day they reached a village of Iroquois under a female chief,
called Queen Alequippa by the English, to whom she was devoted. Both
Queen and subjects had fled; but among the deserted wigwams were six
more Englishmen, whom Céloron warned off like the others, and who, like
them, pretended to obey. At a neighboring town they found only two
withered ancients, male and female, whose united ages, in the judgment
of the chaplain, were full two centuries. They passed the site of the
future Pittsburg; and some seventeen miles below approached Chininguée,
called Logstown by the English, one of the chief places on the river.[7]
Both English and French flags were flying over the town, and the
inhabitants, lining the shore, greeted their visitors with a salute of
musketry,--not wholly welcome, as the guns were charged will ball.
Céloron threatened to fire on them if they did not cease. The French
climbed the steep bank, and encamped on the plateau above, betwixt the
forest and the village, which consisted of some fifty cabins and
wigwams, grouped in picturesque squalor, and tenanted by a mixed
population, chiefly of Delawares, Shawanoes, and Mingoes. Here, too,
were gathered many fugitives from the deserted towns above. Céloron
feared a night attack. The camp was encircled by a ring of sentries; the
officers walked the rounds till morning; a part of the men were kept
under arms, and the rest ordered to sleep in their clothes. Joncaire
discovered through some women of his acquaintance that an attack was
intended. Whatever the danger may have been, the precautions of the
French averted it; and instead of a battle, there was a council. Céloron
delivered to the assembled chiefs a message from the Governor more
conciliatory than the former, "Through the love I bear you, my children,
I send you Monsieur de Céloron to open your eyes to the designs of the
English against your lands. The establishments they mean to make, and of
which you are certainly ignorant, tend to your complete ruin. They hide
from you their plans, which are to settle here and drive you away, if I
let them. As a good father who tenderly loves his children, and though
far away from them bears them always in his heart, I must warn you of
the danger that threatens you. The English intend to rob you of your
country; and that they may succeed, they begin by corrupting your minds.
As they mean to seize the Ohio, which belongs to me, I send to warn them
to retire."

[Footnote 7: There was another Chiningué, the Shenango of the English,
on the Alleghany.]

The reply of the chiefs, though sufficiently humble, was not all that
could be wished. They begged that the intruders might stay a little
longer, since the goods they brought were necessary to them. It was in
fact, these goods, cheap, excellent, and abundant as they were, which
formed the only true bond between the English and the Western tribes.
Logstown was one of the chief resorts of the English traders; and at
this moment there were ten of them in the place. Céloron warned them
off. "They agreed," says the chaplain, "to all that was demanded, well
resolved, no doubt, to do the contrary as soon as our backs were

Having distributed gifts among the Indians, the French proceeded on
their way, and at or near the mouth of Wheeling Creek buried another
plate of lead. They repeated the same ceremony at the mouth of the
Muskingum. Here, half a century later, when this region belonged to the
United States, a party of boys, bathing in the river, saw the plate
protruding from the bank where the freshets had laid it bare, knocked it
down with a long stick, melted half of it into bullets, and gave what
remained to a neighbor from Marietta, who, hearing of this mysterious
relic, inscribed in an unknown tongue, came to rescue it from their
hands.[8] It is now in the cabinet of the American Antiquarian
Society.[9] On the eighteenth of August, Céloron buried yet another
plate, at the mouth of the Great Kenawha. This, too, in the course of a
century, was unearthed by the floods, and was found in 1846 by a boy at
play, by the edge of the water.[10] The inscriptions on all these plates
were much alike, with variations of date and place.

[Footnote 8: O.H. Marshall, in _Magazine of American History, March,_

[Footnote 9: For papers relating to it, see _Trans. Amer. Antiq. Soc_.,

[Footnote 10: For a facsimile of the inscription on this plate, see
_Olden Time,_ I. 288. Céloron calls the Kenawha, _Chinodahichetha_. The
inscriptions as given in his Journal correspond with those on the plates

The weather was by turns rainy and hot; and the men, tired and famished,
were fast falling ill. On the twenty-second they approached Scioto,
called by the French St. Yotoc, or Sinioto, a large Shawanoe town at the
mouth of the river which bears the same name. Greatly doubting what
welcome awaited them, they filled their powderhorns and prepared for the
worst. Joncaire was sent forward to propitiate the inhabitants; but they
shot bullets through the flag that he carried, and surrounded him,
yelling and brandishing their knives. Some were for killing him at once;
others for burning him alive. The interposition of a friendly Iroquois
saved him; and at length they let him go. Céloron was very uneasy at the
reception of his messenger. "I knew," he writes, "the weakness of my
party, two thirds of which were young men who had never left home
before, and would all have run at the sight of ten Indians. Still, there
was nothing for me but to keep on; for I was short of provisions, my
canoes were badly damaged, and I had no pitch or bark to mend them. So I
embarked again, ready for whatever might happen. I had good officers,
and about fifty men who could be trusted."

As they neared the town, the Indians swarmed to the shore, and began the
usual salute of musketry. "They fired," says Céloron, "full a thousand
shots; for the English give them powder for nothing." He prudently
pitched his camp on the farther side of the river, posted guards, and
kept close watch. Each party distrusted and feared the other. At length,
after much ado, many debates, and some threatening movements on the part
of the alarmed and excited Indians, a council took place at the tent of
the French commander; the chiefs apologized for the rough treatment of
Joncaire, and Céloron replied with a rebuke, which would doubtless have
been less mild, had he felt himself stronger. He gave them also a
message from the Governor, modified, apparently, to suit the
circumstances; for while warning them of the wiles of the English, it
gave no hint that the King of France claimed mastery of their lands.
Their answer was vague and unsatisfactory. It was plain that they were
bound to the enemy by interest, if not by sympathy. A party of English
traders were living in the place; and Céloron summoned them to withdraw,
on pain of what might ensue. "My instructions," he says, "enjoined me to
do this, and even to pillage the English; but I was not strong enough;
and as these traders were established in the village and well supported
by the Indians, the attempt would have failed, and put the French to
shame." The assembled chiefs having been regaled with a cup of brandy
each,--the only part of the proceeding which seemed to please
them,--Céloron reimbarked, and continued his voyage.

On the thirtieth they reached the Great Miami, called by the French,
Rivière à la Roche; and here Céloron buried the last of his leaden
plates. They now bade farewell to the Ohio, or, in the words of the
chaplain, to "La Belle Rivière,--that river so little known to the
French, and unfortunately too well known to the English." He speaks of
the multitude of Indian villages on its shores, and still more on its
northern branches. "Each, great or small, has one or more English
traders, and each of these has hired men to carry his furs. Behold,
then, the English well advanced upon our lands, and, what is worse,
under the protection of a crowd of savages whom they have drawn over to
them, and whose number increases daily."

The course of the party lay up the Miami; and they toiled thirteen days
against the shallow current before they reached a village of the Miami
Indians, lately built at the mouth of the rivulet now called Loramie
Creek. Over it ruled a chief to whom the French had given the singular
name of La Demoiselle, but whom the English, whose fast friend he was,
called Old Britain. The English traders who lived here had prudently
withdrawn, leaving only two hired men in the place. The object of
Cèloron was to induce the Demoiselle and his band to leave this new
abode and return to their old villages near the French fort on the
Maumee, where they would be safe from English seduction. To this end, he
called them to a council, gave them ample gifts, and made them an
harangue in the name of the Governor. The Demoiselle took the gifts,
thanked his French father for his good advice, and promised to follow it
at a more convenient time.[11] In vain Céloron insisted that he and his
tribesmen should remove at once. Neither blandishments nor threats would
prevail, and the French commander felt that his negotiation had failed.

[Footnote 11: Céloron, _Journal_. Compare _A Message from the
Twightwees_ (Miamis) in _Colonial Records of Pa_., V. 437, where they
say that they refused the gifts.]

He was not deceived. Far from leaving his village, the Demoiselle, who
was Great Chief of the Miami Confederacy, gathered his followers to the
spot, till, less than two years after the visit of Céloron, its
population had increased eightfold. Pique Town, or Pickawillany, as the
English called it, became one of the greatest Indian towns of the West,
the centre of English trade and influence, and a capital object of
French jealousy.

Céloron burned his shattered canoes, and led his party across the long
and difficult portage to the French post on the Maumee, where he found
Raymond, the commander, and all his men, shivering with fever and ague.
They supplied him with wooden canoes for his voyage down the river; and,
early in October, he reached Lake Erie, where he was detained for a time
by a drunken debauch of his Indians, who are called by the chaplain "a
species of men made to exercise the patience of those who have the
misfortune to travel with them." In a month more he was at Fort
Frontenac; and as he descended thence to Montreal, he stopped at the
Oswegatchie, in obedience to the Governor, who had directed him to
report the progress made by the Sulpitian, Abbé Piquet, at his new
mission. Piquet's new fort had been burned by Indians, prompted, as he
thought, by the English of Oswego; but the priest, buoyant and
undaunted, was still resolute for the glory of God and the confusion of
the heretics.

At length Céloron reached Montreal; and, closing his Journal, wrote
thus: "Father Bonnecamp, who is a Jesuit and a great mathematician,
reckons that we have travelled twelve hundred leagues; I and my officers
think we have travelled more. All I can say is, that the nations of
these countries are very ill-disposed towards the French, and devoted
entirely to the English."[12] If his expedition had done no more, it had
at least revealed clearly the deplorable condition of French interests
in the West.

[Footnote 12: _Journal de la Campagne que moy Céloron, Chevalier de
l'Ordre Royal et Militaire de St. Louis, Capitaine Commandant un
détachement envoyé dans la Belle Rivière par les ordres de M. le Marquis
de La Galissonière_, etc.

_Relation d'un voyage dans la Belle Rivière sous les ordres de M. de
Céloron, par le Père Bonnecamp, en_ 1749.]

While Céloron was warning English traders from the Ohio, a plan was on
foot in Virginia for a new invasion of the French domain. An association
was formed to settle the Ohio country; and a grant of five hundred
thousand acres was procured from the King, on condition that a hundred
families should be established upon it within seven years, a fort built,
and a garrison maintained. The Ohio Company numbered among its members
some of the chief men of Virginia, including two brothers of Washington;
and it had also a London partner, one Hanbury, a person of influence,
who acted as its agent in England. In the year after the expedition of
Céloron, its governing committee sent the trader Christopher Gist to
explore the country and select land. It must be "good level land," wrote
the Committee; "we had rather go quite down to the Mississippi than take
mean, broken land."[13] In November Gist reached Logstown, the Chiningué
of Céleron, where he found what he calls a "parcel of reprobate Indian
traders." Those whom he so stigmatizes were Pennsylvanians, chiefly
Scotch-Irish, between whom and the traders from Virginia there was great
jealousy. Gist was told that he "should never go home safe." He declared
himself the bearer of a message from the King. This imposed respect, and
he was allowed to proceed. At the Wyandot village of Muskingum he found
the trader George Croghan, sent to the Indians by the Governor of
Pennsylvania, to renew the chain of friendship.[14] "Croghan," he says,
"is a mere idol among his countrymen, the Irish traders;" yet they met
amicably, and the Pennsylvanian had with him a companion, Andrew
Montour, the interpreter, who proved of great service to Gist. As
Montour was a conspicuous person in his time, and a type of his class,
he merits a passing notice. He was the reputed grandson of a French
governor and an Indian squaw. His half-breed mother, Catharine Montour,
was a native of Canada, whence she was carried off by the Iroquois, and
adopted by them. She lived in a village at the head of Seneca Lake, and
still held the belief, inculcated by the guides of her youth, that
Christ was a Frenchman crucified by the English.[15] Her son Andrew is
thus described by the Moravian Zinzendorf, who knew him: "His face is
like that of a European, but marked with a broad Indian ring of
bear's-grease and paint drawn completely round it. He wears a coat of
fine cloth of cinnamon color, a black necktie with silver spangles, a
red satin waistcoat, trousers over which hangs his shirt, shoes and
stockings, a hat, and brass ornaments, something like the handle of a
basket, suspended from his ears."[16] He was an excellent interpreter,
and held in high account by his Indian kinsmen.

[Footnote 13: Instructions to Gist, in appendix to Pownall,
_Topographical Description of North America_.]

[Footnote 14: _Mr. Croghan's Transactions with the Indians_, in _N.Y.
Col. Docs.,_ VII. 267; _Croghan to Hamilton, 16 Dec_. 1750.]

[Footnote 15: This is stated by Count Zinzendorf, who visited her among
the Senecas. In a plan of the "Route of the Western Army," made in 1779,
and of which a tracing is before me, the village where she lived is
still called "French Catharine's Town."]

[Footnote 16: Journal of Zinzendorf, quoted in Schweinitz, _Life of
David Zeisberger, 112, note_.]

After leaving Muskingum, Gist, Croghan, and Montour went together to a
village on White Woman's Creek,--so called from one Mary Harris, who
lived here. She was born in New England, was made prisoner when a child
forty years before, and had since dwelt among her captors, finding such
comfort as she might in an Indian husband and a family of young
half-breeds. "She still remembers," says Gist, "that they used to be
very religious in New England, and wonders how white men can be so
wicked as she has seen them in these woods." He and his companions now
journeyed southwestward to the Shawanoe town at the mouth of the
Scioto, where they found a reception very different from that which had
awaited Céloron. Thence they rode northwestward along the forest path
that led to Pickawillany, the Indian town on the upper waters of the
Great Miami. Gist was delighted with the country; and reported to his
employers that "it is fine, rich, level land, well timbered with large
walnut, ash, sugar trees and cherry trees; well watered with a great
number of little streams and rivulets; full of beautiful natural
meadows, with wild rye, blue-grass, and clover, and abounding with
turkeys, deer, elks, and most sorts of game, particularly buffaloes,
thirty or forty of which are frequently seen in one meadow." A little
farther west, on the plains of the Wabash and the Illinois, he would
have found them by thousands.

They crossed the Miami on a raft, their horses swimming after them; and
were met on landing by a crowd of warriors, who, after smoking with
them, escorted them to the neighboring town, where they were greeted by
a fusillade of welcome. "We entered with English colors before us, and
were kindly received by their king, who invited us into his own house
and set our colors upon the top of it; then all the white men and
traders that were there came and welcomed us." This "king" was Old
Britain, or La Demoiselle. Great were the changes here since Céleron, a
year and a half before, had vainly enticed him to change his abode, and
dwell in the shadow of the fleur-de-lis. The town had grown to four
hundred families, or about two thousand souls; and the English traders
had built for themselves and their hosts a fort of pickets, strengthened
with logs.

There was a series of councils in the long house, or town-hall. Croghan
made the Indians a present from the Governor of Pennsylvania; and he and
Gist delivered speeches of friendship and good advice, which the
auditors received with the usual monosyllabic plaudits, ejected from the
depths of their throats. A treaty of peace was solemnly made between the
English and the confederate tribes, and all was serenity and joy; till
four Ottawas, probably from Detroit, arrived with a French flag, a gift
of brandy and tobacco, and a message from the French commandant inviting
the Miamis to visit him. Whereupon the great war-chief rose, and, with
"a fierce tone and very warlike air," said to the envoys: "Brothers the
Ottawas, we let you know, by these four strings of wampum, that we will
not hear anything the French say, nor do anything they bid us." Then
addressing the French as if actually present: "Fathers, we have made a
road to the sun-rising, and have been taken by the hand by our brothers
the English, the Six Nations, the Delawares, Shawanoes, and
Wyandots.[17] We assure you, in that road we will go; and as you
threaten us with war in the spring, we tell you that we are ready to
receive you." Then, turning again to the four envoys: "Brothers the
Ottawas, you hear what I say. Tell that to your fathers the French, for
we speak it from our hearts." The chiefs then took down the French flag
which the Ottawas had planted in the town, and dismissed the envoys with
their answer of defiance.

[Footnote 17: Compare _Message of Miamis and Hurons to the Governor of
Pennsylvania_ in _N.Y. Col. Docs_., VI. 594; and _Report of Croghan_ in
_Colonial Records of Pa_., V. 522, 523.]

On the next day the town-crier came with a message from the Demoiselle,
inviting his English guests to a "feather dance," which Gist thus
describes: "It was performed by three dancing-masters, who were painted
all over of various colors, with long sticks in their hands, upon the
ends of which were fastened long feathers of swans and other birds,
neatly woven in the shape of a fowl's wing; in this disguise they
performed many antic tricks, waving their sticks and feathers about with
great skill, to imitate the flying and fluttering of birds, keeping
exact time with their music." This music was the measured thumping of an
Indian drum. From time to time, a warrior would leap up, and the drum
and the dancers would cease as he struck a post with his tomahawk, and
in a loud voice recounted his exploits. Then the music and the dance
began anew, till another warrior caught the martial fire, and bounded
into the circle to brandish his tomahawk and vaunt his prowess.

On the first of March Gist took leave of Pickawillany, and returned
towards the Ohio. He would have gone to the Falls, where Louisville now
stands, but for a band of French Indians reported to be there, who would
probably have killed him. After visiting a deposit of mammoth bones on
the south shore, long the wonder of the traders, he turned eastward,
crossed with toil and difficulty the mountains about the sources of the
Kenawha, and after an absence of seven months reached his frontier home
on the Yadkin, whence he proceeded to Roanoke with the report of his

[Footnote 18: _Journal of Christopher Gist_, in appendix to Pownall,
_Topographical Description. Mr. Croghan's Transactions with the Indians_
in _N.Y. Col. Docs_., VII. 267.]

All looked well for the English in the West; but under this fair outside
lurked hidden danger. The Miamis were hearty in the English cause, and
so perhaps were the Shawanoes; but the Delawares had not forgotten the
wrongs that drove them from their old abodes east of the Alleghanies,
while the Mingoes, or emigrant Iroquois, like their brethren of New
York, felt the influence of Joncaire and other French agents, who spared
no efforts to seduce them.[19] Still more baneful to British interests
were the apathy and dissensions of the British colonies themselves. The
Ohio Company had built a trading-house at Will's Creek, a branch of the
Potomac, to which the Indians resorted in great numbers; whereupon the
jealous traders of Pennsylvania told them that the Virginians meant to
steal away their lands. This confirmed what they had been taught by the
French emissaries, whose intrigues it powerfully aided. The governors of
New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia saw the importance of Indian
alliances, and felt their own responsibility in regard to them; but they
could do nothing without their assemblies. Those of New York and
Pennsylvania were largely composed of tradesmen and farmers, absorbed in
local interests, and possessed by two motives,--the saving of the
people's money, and opposition to the governor, who stood for the royal
prerogative. It was Hamilton, of Pennsylvania, who had sent Croghan to
the Miamis to "renew the chain of friendship;" and when the envoy
returned, the Assembly rejected his report. "I was condemned," he says,
"for bringing expense on the Government, and the Indians were

[Footnote 19: Joncaire made anti-English speeches to the Ohio Indians
under the eyes of the English themselves, who did not molest him.
_Journal of George Croghan_, 1751, in _Olden Time, I_. 136.]

[Footnote 20: _Mr. Croghan's Transactions with the Indians, N.Y. Col.
Docs.,_ VII. 267.]

In the same year Hamilton again sent him over the mountains, with a
present for the Mingoes and Delawares. Croghan succeeded in persuading
them that it would be for their good if the English should build a
fortified trading-house at the fork of the Ohio, where Pittsburg now
stands; and they made a formal request to the Governor that it should be
built accordingly. But, in the words of Croghan, the Assembly "rejected
the proposal, and condemned me for making such a report." Yet this post
on the Ohio was vital to English interests. Even the Penns,
proprietaries of the province, never lavish of their money, offered four
hundred pounds towards the cost of it, besides a hundred a year towards
its maintenance; but the Assembly would not listen.[21] The Indians were
so well convinced that a strong English trading-station in their country
would add to their safety and comfort, that when Pennsylvania refused
it, they repeated the proposal to Virginia; but here, too, it found for
the present little favor.

[Footnote 21: _Colonial Records of Pa_., V. 515, 529, 547. At a council
at Logstown (1751), the Indians said to Croghan: "The French want to
cheat us out of our country; but we will stop them, and, Brothers the
English, you must help us. We expect that you will build a strong house
on the River Ohio, that in case of war we may have a place to secure our
wives and children, likewise our brothers that come to trade with us."
_Report of Treaty at Logstown, Ibid_., V. 538.]

The question of disputed boundaries had much to do with this most
impolitic inaction. A large part of the valley of the Ohio, including
the site of the proposed establishment, was claimed by both Pennsylvania
and Virginia; and each feared that whatever money it might spend there
would turn to the profit of the other. This was not the only evil that
sprang from uncertain ownership. "Till the line is run between the two
provinces," says Dinwiddie, governor of Virginia, "I cannot appoint
magistrates to keep the traders in good order."[22] Hence they did what
they pleased, and often gave umbrage to the Indians. Clinton, of New
York, appealed to his Assembly for means to assist Pennsylvania in
"securing the fidelity of the Indians on the Ohio," and the Assembly
refused.[23] "We will take care of our Indians, and they may take care
of theirs:" such was the spirit of their answer. He wrote to the various
provinces, inviting them to send commissioners to meet the tribes at
Albany, "in order to defeat the designs and intrigues of the French."
All turned a deaf ear except Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South
Carolina, who sent the commissioners, but supplied them very meagrely
with the indispensable presents.[24] Clinton says further: "The Assembly
of this province have not given one farthing for Indian affairs, nor for
a year past have they provided for the subsistence of the garrison at
Oswego, which is the key for the commerce between the colonies and the
inland nations of Indians."[25]

[Footnote 22: _Dinwiddie to the Lords of Trade, 6 Oct_. 1752.]

[Footnote 23: _Journals of New York Assembly_, II. 283, 284. _Colonial
Records of Pa_., V. 466.]

[Footnote 24: _Clinton to Hamilton, 18 Dec. 1750. Clinton to Lords of
Trade, 13 June, 1751; Ibid., 17 July_, 1751.]

[Footnote 25: _Clinton to Bedford, 30 July_, 1750.]

In the heterogeneous structure of the British colonies, their clashing
interests, their internal disputes, and the misplaced economy of
penny-wise and short-sighted assembly-men, lay the hope of France. The
rulers of Canada knew the vast numerical preponderance of their rivals;
but with their centralized organization they felt themselves more than a
match for any one English colony alone. They hoped to wage war under the
guise of peace, and to deal with the enemy in detail; and they at length
perceived that the fork of the Ohio, so strangely neglected by the
English, formed, together with Niagara, the key of the Great West. Could
France hold firmly these two controlling passes, she might almost boast
herself mistress of the continent.

NOTE: The Journal of Céloron (Archives de la Marine) is very long and
circumstantial, including the _procès verbaux_, and reports of councils
with Indians. The Journal of the chaplain, Bonnecamp (Dépôt de la
Marine), is shorter, but is the work of an intelligent and observing
man. The author, a Jesuit, was skilled in mathematics, made daily
observations, and constructed a map of the route, still preserved at the
Dépôt de la Marine. Concurrently with these French narratives, one may
consult the English letters and documents bearing on the same subjects,
in the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, the Archives of Pennsylvania,
and the Colonial Documents of New York.

Three of Céleron's leaden plates have been found,--the two mentioned in
the text, and another which was never buried, and which the Indians, who
regarded these mysterious tablets as "bad medicine," procured by a trick
from Joncaire, or, according to Governor Clinton, stole from him. A
Cayuga chief brought it to Colonel Johnson, on the Mohawk, who
interpreted the "Devilish writing" in such a manner as best to inspire
horror of French designs.

Chapter 3


Conflict for the West

The Iroquois, or Five Nations, sometimes called Six Nations after the
Tuscaroras joined them, had been a power of high importance in American
international politics. In a certain sense they may be said to have held
the balance between their French and English neighbors; but their
relative influence had of late declined. So many of them had emigrated
and joined the tribes of the Ohio, that the centre of Indian population
had passed to that region. Nevertheless, the Five Nations were still
strong enough in their ancient abodes to make their alliance an object
of the utmost consequence to both the European rivals. At the western
end of their "Long House," or belt of confederated villages, Joncaire
intrigued to gain them for France; while in the east he was counteracted
by the young colonel of militia, William Johnson, who lived on the
Mohawk, and was already well skilled in managing Indians. Johnson
sometimes lost his temper; and once wrote to Governor Clinton to
complain of the "confounded wicked things the French had infused into
the Indians' heads; among the rest that the English were determined, the
first opportunity, to destroy them all. I assure your Excellency I had
hard work to beat these and several other cursed villanous things, told
them by the French, out of their heads."[26]

[Footnote 26: _Johnson to Clinton, 28 April_, 1749.]

In former times the French had hoped to win over the Five Nations in a
body, by wholesale conversion to the Faith; but the attempt had failed.
They had, however, made within their own limits an asylum for such
converts as they could gain, whom they collected together at
Caughnawaga, near Montreal, to the number of about three hundred
warriors.[27] These could not be trusted to fight their kinsmen, but
willingly made forays against the English borders. Caughnawaga, like
various other Canadian missions, was divided between the Church, the
army, and the fur-trade. It had a chapel, fortifications, and
storehouses; two Jesuits, an officer, and three chief traders. Of these
last, two were maiden ladies, the Demoiselles Desauniers; and one of the
Jesuits, their friend Father Tournois, was their partner in business.
They carried on by means of the Mission Indians, and in collusion with
influential persons in the colony, a trade with the Dutch at Albany,
illegal, but very profitable.[28]

[Footnote 27: The estimate of a French official report, 1736, and of Sir
William Johnson, 1763.]

[Footnote 28: _La Jonquière au Ministre, 27 Fév. 1750. Ibid., 29 Oct.
1751. Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres, 1751. Notice biographique
de la Jonquière_. La Jonquifère, governor of Canada, at last broke up
their contraband trade, and ordered Tournois to Quebec.]

Besides this Iroquois mission, which was chiefly composed of Mohawks and
Oneidas, another was now begun farther westward, to win over the
Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. This was the establishment of Father
Piquet, which Céloron had visited in its infancy when on his way to the
Ohio, and again on his return. Piquet was a man in the prime of life, of
an alert, vivacious countenance, by no means unprepossessing;[29] an
enthusiastic schemer, with great executive talents; ardent, energetic,
vain, self-confident, and boastful. The enterprise seems to have been of
his own devising; but it found warm approval from the Government.[30] La
Présentation, as he called the new mission, stood on the bank of the
River Oswegatchie where it enters the St. Lawrence. Here the rapids
ceased, and navigation was free to Lake Ontario. The place commanded the
main river, and could bar the way to hostile war-parties or contraband
traders. Rich meadows, forests, and abundance of fish and game, made it
attractive to Indians, and the Oswegatchie gave access to the Iroquois
towns. Piquet had chosen his site with great skill. His activity was
admirable. His first stockade was burned by Indian incendiaries; but it
rose quickly from its ashes, and within a year or two the mission of La
Présentation had a fort of palisades flanked with blockhouses, a chapel,
a storehouse, a barn, a stable, ovens, a saw-mill, broad fields of corn
and beans, and three villages of Iroquois, containing, in all,
forty-nine bark lodges, each holding three or four families, more or
less converted to the Faith; and, as time went on, this number
increased. The Governor had sent a squad of soldiers to man the fort,
and five small cannon to mount upon it. The place was as safe for the
new proselytes as it was convenient and agreeable. The Pennsylvanian
interpreter, Conrad Weiser, was told at Onondaga, the Iroquois capital,
that Piquet had made a hundred converts from that place alone; and that,
"having clothed them all in very fine clothes, laced with silver and
gold, he took them down and presented them to the French Governor at
Montreal, who received them very kindly, and made them large

[Footnote 29: I once saw a contemporary portrait of him at the mission
of Two Mountains, where he had been stationed.]

[Footnote 30: _Rouillé à la Jonquière_, 1749. The Intendant Bigot gave
him money and provisions. _N.Y. Col. Docs., X_. 204.]

[Footnote 31: _Journal of Conrad Weiser,_ 1750.]

Such were some of the temporal attractions of La Présentation. The
nature of the spiritual instruction bestowed by Piquet and his
fellow-priests may be partly inferred from the words of a proselyte
warrior, who declared with enthusiasm that he had learned from the
Sulpitian missionary that the King of France was the eldest son of the
wife of Jesus Christ.[32] This he of course took in a literal sense, the
mystic idea of the Church as the spouse of Christ being beyond his
savage comprehension. The effect was to stimulate his devotion to the
Great Onontio beyond the sea, and to the lesser Onontio who represented
him as Governor of Canada.

[Footnote 32: Lalande, _Notice de L'Abbé Piquet, in Lettres Édifiantes_.
See also Tassé in _Revue Canadienne,_ 1870, p. 9.]

Piquet was elated by his success; and early in 1752 he wrote to the
Governor and Intendant: "It is a great miracle that, in spite of envy,
contradiction, and opposition from nearly all the Indian villages, I
have formed in less than three years one of the most flourishing
missions in Canada. I find myself in a position to extend the empire of
my good masters, Jesus Christ and the King, even to the extremities of
this new world; and, with some little help from you, to do more than
France and England have been able to do with millions of money and all
their troops."[33]

[Footnote 33: _Piquet à la Jonquière et Bigot, 8 Fév._ 1752. See
Appendix A. In spite of Piquet's self-laudation, and in spite also of
the detraction of the author of the _Mémoires sur le Canada,_ 1749-1760,
there can be no doubt of his practical capacity and his fertility of
resource. Duquesne, when governor of the colony, highly praises "ses
talents et son activité pour le service de Sa Majesté."]

The letter from which this is taken was written to urge upon the
Government a scheme in which the zealous priest could see nothing
impracticable. He proposed to raise a war-party of thirty-eight hundred
Indians, eighteen hundred of whom were to be drawn from the Canadian
missions, the Five Nations, and the tribes of the Ohio, while the
remaining two thousand were to be furnished by the Flatheads, or
Choctaws, who were at the same time to be supplied with missionaries.
The united force was first to drive the English from the Ohio, and next
attack the Dog Tribe, or Cherokees, who lived near the borders of
Virginia, with the people of which they were on friendly terms. "If,"
says Piquet, "the English of Virginia give any help to this last-named
tribe,--which will not fail to happen,--they [_the war-party_] will do
their utmost against them, through a grudge they bear them by reason of
some old quarrels." In other words, the missionary hopes to set a host
of savages to butchering English settlers in time of peace![34] His
wild project never took effect, though the Governor, he says, at first
approved it.

[Footnote 34: Appendix A.]

In the preceding year the "Apostle of the Iroquois," as he was called,
made a journey to muster recruits for his mission, and kept a copious
diary on the way. By accompanying him, one gets a clear view of an
important part of the region in dispute between the rival nations. Six
Canadians paddled him up the St. Lawrence, and five Indian converts
followed in another canoe. Emerging from among the Thousand Islands,
they stopped at Fort Frontenac, where Kingston now stands. Once the
place was a great resort of Indians; now none were here, for the English
post of Oswego, on the other side of the lake, had greater attractions.
Piquet and his company found the pork and bacon very bad, and he
complains that "there was not brandy enough in the fort to wash a
wound." They crossed to a neighboring island, where they were soon
visited by the chaplain of the fort, the storekeeper, his wife, and
three young ladies, glad of an excursion to relieve the monotony of the
garrison. "My hunters," says Piquet, "had supplied me with means of
giving them a pretty good entertainment. We drank, with all our hearts,
the health of the authorities, temporal and ecclesiastical, to the sound
of our musketry, which was very well fired, and delighted the
islanders." These islanders were a band of Indians who lived here.
Piquet gave them a feast, then discoursed of religion, and at last
persuaded them to remove to the new mission.

During eight days he and his party coasted the northern shore of Lake
Ontario, with various incidents, such as an encounter between his dog
Cerberus and a wolf, to the disadvantage of the latter, and the meeting
with "a very fine negro of twenty-two years, a fugitive from Virginia."
On the twenty-sixth of June they reached the new fort of Toronto, which
offered a striking contrast to their last stopping-place. "The wine here
is of the best; there is nothing wanting in this fort; everything is
abundant, fine, and good." There was reason for this. The Northern
Indians were flocking with their beaver-skins to the English of Oswego;
and in April, 1749, an officer named Portneuf had been sent with
soldiers and workmen to build a stockaded trading-house at Toronto, in
order to intercept them,--not by force, which would have been ruinous
to French interests, but by a tempting supply of goods and brandy.[35]
Thus the fort was kept well stocked, and with excellent effect. Piquet
found here a band of Mississagas, who would otherwise, no doubt, have
carried their furs to the English. He was strongly impelled to persuade
them to migrate to La Présentation; but the Governor had told him to
confine his efforts to other tribes; and lest, he says, the ardor of his
zeal should betray him to disobedience, he reimbarked, and encamped six
leagues from temptation.

[Footnote 35: On Toronto, _La Jonquière et Bigot au Ministre, 1749. La
Jonquière au Ministre, 30 Août, 1750. N.Y. Col. Docs. X_. 201, 246.]

Two days more brought him to Niagara, where he was warmly received by
the commandant, the chaplain, and the storekeeper,--the triumvirate who
ruled these forest outposts, and stood respectively for then: three
vital principles, war, religion, and trade. Here Piquet said mass; and
after resting a day, set out for the trading-house at the portage of the
cataract, recently built, like Toronto, to stop the Indians on their way
to Oswego.[36] Here he found Joncaire, and here also was encamped a
large band of Senecas; though, being all drunk, men, women, and
children, they were in no condition to receive the Faith, or appreciate
the temporal advantages that attended it. On the next morning, finding
them partially sober, he invited them to remove to La Présentation; "but
as they had still something left in their bottles, I could get no answer
till the following day." "I pass in silence," pursues the missionary,
"an infinity of talks on this occasion. Monsieur de Joncaire forgot
nothing that could help me, and behaved like a great servant of God and
the King. My recruits increased every moment. I went to say my breviary
while my Indians and the Senecas, without loss of time, assembled to
hold a council with Monsieur de Joncaire." The result of the council was
an entreaty to the missionary not to stop at Oswego, lest evil should
befall him at the hands of the English. He promised to do as they
wished, and presently set out on his return to Fort Niagara, attended by
Joncaire and a troop of his new followers. The journey was a triumphal
progress. "Whenever was passed a camp or a wigwam, the Indians saluted
me by firing their guns, which happened so often that I thought all the
trees along the way were charged with gunpowder; and when we reached the
fort, Monsieur de Becancour received us with great ceremony and the
firing of cannon, by which my savages were infinitely flattered."

[Footnote 36: _La Jonquière au Ministre, 23 Fév. 1750. Ibid., 6 Oct_.
1751. Compare _Colonial Records of Pa_., V. 508.]

His neophytes were gathered into the chapel for the first time in their
lives, and there rewarded with a few presents. He now prepared to turn
homeward, his flock at the mission being left in his absence without a
shepherd; and on the sixth of July he embarked, followed by a swarm of
canoes. On the twelfth they stopped at the Genesee, and went to visit
the Falls, where the city of Rochester now stands. On the way, the
Indians found a populous resort of rattlesnakes, and attacked the
gregarious reptiles with great animation, to the alarm of the
missionary, who trembled for his bare-legged retainers. His fears proved
needless. Forty-two dead snakes, as he avers, requited the efforts of
the sportsmen, and not one of them was bitten. When he returned to camp
in the afternoon he found there a canoe loaded with kegs of brandy. "The
English," he says, "had sent it to meet us, well knowing that this was
the best way to cause disorder among my new recruits and make them
desert me. The Indian in charge of the canoe, who had the look of a
great rascal, offered some to me first, and then to my Canadians and
Indians. I gave out that it was very probably poisoned, and immediately
embarked again."

He encamped on the fourteenth at Sodus Bay, and strongly advises the
planting of a French fort there. "Nevertheless," he adds, "it would be
still better to destroy Oswego, and on no account let the English build
it again." On the sixteenth he came in sight of this dreaded post.
Several times on the way he had met fleets of canoes going thither
or returning, in spite of the rival attractions of Toronto and Niagara.
No English establishment on the continent was of such ill omen to the
French. It not only robbed them of the fur-trade, by which they lived,
but threatened them with military and political, no less than commercial,
ruin. They were in constant dread lest ships of war should be built
here, strong enough to command Lake Ontario, thus separating Canada from
Louisiana, and cutting New France asunder. To meet this danger, they
soon after built at Fort Frontenac a large three-masted vessel, mounted
with heavy cannon; thus, as usual, forestalling their rivals by
promptness of action.[37] The ground on which Oswego stood was claimed
by the Province of New York, which alone had control of it; but through
the purblind apathy of the Assembly, and their incessant quarrels with
the Governor, it was commonly left to take care of itself. For some
time they would vote no money to pay the feeble little garrison; and
Clinton, who saw the necessity of maintaining it, was forced to do so on
his own personal credit.[38] "Why can't your Governor and your great men
[_the Assembly_] agree?" asked a Mohawk chief of the interpreter, Conrad

[Footnote 37: _Lieutenant Lindesay to Johnson, July, 1751._]

[Footnote 38: _Clinton to Lords of Trade, 30 July, 1750._]

[Footnote 39: _Journal of Conrad Weiser, 1750._]

Piquet kept his promise not to land at the English fort; but he
approached in his canoe, and closely observed it. The shores, now
covered by the city of Oswego, were then a desolation of bare hills and
fields, studded with the stumps of felled trees, and hedged about with a
grim border of forests. Near the strand, by the mouth of the Onondaga,
were the houses of some of the traders; and on the higher ground behind
them stood a huge blockhouse with a projecting upper story. This
building was surrounded by a rough wall of stone, with flankers at the
angles, forming what was called the fort.[40] Piquet reconnoitred it
from his canoe with the eye of a soldier. "It is commanded," he says,
"on almost every side; two batteries, of three twelve-pounders each,
would be more than enough to reduce it to ashes." And he enlarges on the
evils that arise from it. "It not only spoils our trade, but puts the
English into communication with a vast number of our Indians, far and
near. It is true that they like our brandy better than English rum; but
they prefer English goods to ours, and can buy for two beaver-skins at
Oswego a better silver bracelet than we sell at Niagara for ten."

[Footnote 40: Compare _Doc. Hist. N.Y._, I. 463.]

The burden of these reflections was lightened when he approached Fort
Frontenac. "Never was reception more solemn. The Nipissings and
Algonkins, who were going on a war-party with Monsieur Belêtre, formed a
line of their own accord, and saluted us with three volleys of musketry,
and cries of joy without end. All our little bark vessels replied in the
same way. Monsieur de Verchères and Monsieur de Valtry ordered the
cannon of the fort to be fired; and my Indians, transported with joy at
the honor done them, shot off their guns incessantly, with cries and
acclamations that delighted everybody." A goodly band of recruits joined
him, and he pursued his voyage to La Présentation, while the canoes of
his proselytes followed in a swarm to their new home; "that
establishment"--thus in a burst of enthusiasm he closes his
Journal--"that establishment which I began two years ago, in the midst
of opposition; that establishment which may be regarded as a key of the
colony; that establishment which officers, interpreters, and traders
thought a chamaera,--that establishment, I say, forms already a mission
of Iroquois savages whom I assembled at first to the number of only six,
increased last year to eighty-seven, and this year to three hundred and
ninety-six, without counting more than a hundred and fifty whom Monsieur
Chabert de Joncaire is to bring me this autumn. And I certify that thus
far I have received from His Majesty--for all favor, grace, and
assistance--no more than a half pound of bacon and two pounds of bread
for daily rations; and that he has not yet given a pin to the chapel,
which I have maintained out of my own pocket, for the greater glory of
my masters, God and the King."[41]

[Footnote 41: _Journal qui peut servir de Mémoire et de Relation du
Voyage que j'ay fait sur le Lac Ontario pour attirer au nouvel
Établissement de La Présentation les Sauvages Iroquois des Cinq Nations,
1751_. The last passage given above is condensed in the rendering, as
the original is extremely involved and ungrammatical.]

In his late journey he had made the entire circuit of Lake Ontario.
Beyond lay four other inland oceans, to which Fort Niagara was the key.
As that all-essential post controlled the passage from Ontario to Erie,
so did Fort Detroit control that from Erie to Huron, and Fort
Michillimackinac that from Huron to Michigan; while Fort Ste. Marie, at
the outlet of Lake Superior, had lately received a garrison, and changed
from a mission and trading-station to a post of war.[42] This immense
extent of inland navigation was safe in the hands of France so long as
she held Niagara. Niagara lost, not only the lakes, but also the Valley
of the Ohio was lost with it. Next in importance was Detroit. This was
not a military post alone, but also a settlement; and, except the
hamlets about Fort Chartres, the only settlement that France owned in
all the West. There were, it is true, but a few families; yet the hope
of growth seemed good; for to such as liked a wilderness home, no spot
in America had more attraction. Father Bonnecamp stopped here for a day
on his way back from the expedition of Céloron. "The situation," he
says, "is charming. A fine river flows at the foot of the
fortifications; vast meadows, asking only to be tilled, extend beyond
the sight. Nothing can be more agreeable than the climate. Winter lasts
hardly two months. European grains and fruits grow here far better than
in many parts of France. It is the Touraine and Beauce of Canada."[43]
The white flag of the Bourbons floated over the compact little
palisaded town, with its population of soldiers and fur-traders; and
from the blockhouses which served as bastions, one saw on either hand
the small solid dwellings of the _habitants_, ranged at intervals along
the margin of the water; while at a little distance three Indian
villages--Ottawa, Pottawattamie, and Wyandot--curled their wigwam smoke
into the pure summer air.[44]

[Footnote 42: _La Jonquière au Ministre, 24 Août, 1750_.]

[Footnote 43: _Relation du Voiage de la Belle Rivière, 1749_.]

[Footnote 44: A plan of Detroit is before me, made about this time by
the engineer Lery.]

When Céloron de Bienville returned from the Ohio, he went, with a royal
commission, sent him a year before, to command at Detroit.[45] His late
chaplain, the very intelligent Father Bonnecamp, speaks of him as
fearless, energetic, and full of resource; but the Governor calls him
haughty and insubordinate. Great efforts were made, at the same time, to
build up Detroit as a centre of French power in the West. The methods
employed were of the debilitating, paternal character long familiar to
Canada. All emigrants with families were to be carried thither at the
King's expense; and every settler was to receive in free gift a gun, a
hoe, an axe, a ploughshare, a scythe, a sickle, two augers, large and
small, a sow, six hens, a cock, six pounds of powder, and twelve pounds
of lead; while to these favors were added many others. The result was
that twelve families were persuaded to go, or about a twentieth part of
the number wanted.[46] Detroit was expected to furnish supplies to the
other posts for five hundred miles around, control the neighboring
Indians, thwart English machinations, and drive off English interlopers.

[Footnote 45: _Le Ministre à la Jonquière et Bigot, 14 Mai, 1749. Le
Ministre à Céloron, 23 Mai, 1749_.]

[Footnote 46: _Ordonnance du 2 Jan. 1750. La Jonquière et Bigot au
Ministre, 1750_. Forty-six persons of all ages and both sexes had been
induced by La Galissonière to go the year before. _Lettres communes de
la Jonquière et Bigot, 1749_. The total fixed population of Detroit and
its neighborhood in 1750 is stated at four hundred and eighty-three
souls. In the following two years, a considerable number of young men
came of their own accord, and Céloron wrote to Montreal to ask for girls
to marry them.]

La Galissonière no longer governed Canada. He had been honorably
recalled, and the Marquis de la Jonquière sent in his stead.[47] La
Jonquière, like his predecessor, was a naval officer of high repute; he
was tall and imposing in person, and of undoubted capacity and courage;
but old and, according to his enemies, very avaricious.[48] The Colonial
Minister gave him special instructions regarding that thorn in the side
of Canada, Oswego. To attack it openly would be indiscreet, as the two
nations were at peace; but there was a way of dealing with it less
hazardous, if not more lawful. This was to attack it vicariously by
means of the Iroquois. "If Abbé Piquet succeeds in his mission," wrote
the Minister to the new Governor, "we can easily persuade these savages
to destroy Oswego. This is of the utmost importance; but act with great
caution."[49] In the next year the Minister wrote again: "The only means
that can be used for such an operation in time of peace are those of the
Iroquois. If by making these savages regard such an establishment
[_Oswego_] as opposed to their liberty, and, so to speak, a usurpation
by which the English mean to get possession of their lands, they could
be induced to undertake its destruction, an operation of the sort is not
to be neglected; but M. le Marquis de la Jonquière should feel with what
circumspection such an affair should be conducted, and he should labor
to accomplish it in a manner not to commit himself."[50] To this La
Jonquière replies that it will need time; but that he will gradually
bring the Iroquois to attack and destroy the English post. He received
stringent orders to use every means to prevent the English from
encroaching, but to act towards them at the same time "with the greatest
politeness."[51] This last injunction was scarcely fulfilled in a
correspondence which he had with Clinton, governor of New York, who had
written to complain of the new post at the Niagara portage as an
invasion of English territory, and also of the arrest of four English
traders in the country of the Miamis. Niagara, like Oswego, was in the
country of the Five Nations, whom the treaty of Utrecht declared
"subject to the dominion of Great Britain."[52] This declaration,
preposterous in itself, was binding on France, whose plenipotentiaries
had signed the treaty. The treaty also provided that the subjects of the
two Crowns "shall enjoy full liberty of going and coming on account of
trade," and Clinton therefore demanded that La Jonquière should disavow
the arrest of the four traders and punish its authors. The French
Governor replied with great asperity, spurned the claim that the Five
Nations were British subjects, and justified the arrest.[53] He
presently went further. Rewards were offered by his officers for the
scalps of Croghan and of another trader named Lowry.[54] When this
reached the ears of William Johnson, on the Mohawk, he wrote to Clinton
in evident anxiety for his own scalp: "If the French go on so, there is
no man can be safe in his own house; for I can at any time get an Indian
to kill any man for a small matter. Their going on in that manner is
worse than open war."

[Footnote 47: _Le Ministre à la Galissonière, 14 Mai, 1749_.]

[Footnote 48: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_. The charges made here
and elsewhere are denied, somewhat faintly, by a descendant of La
Jonquière in his elaborate _Notice biographique_ of his ancestor.]

[Footnote 49: _Le Ministre à La Jonquière, Mai, 1749_. The instructions
given to La Jonquière before leaving France also urge the necessity of
destroying Oswego.]

[Footnote 50: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres; à MM. de la
Jonquière et Bigot, 15 Avril, 1750_. See Appendix A. for original.]

[Footnote 51: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres, 1750_.]

[Footnote 52: Chalmers, _Collection of Treaties_, I. 382.]

[Footnote 53: _La Jonquière à Clinton, 10 Août, 1751_.]

[Footnote 54: Deposition of Morris Turner and Ralph Kilgore, in
_Colonial Records of Pa._, V. 482. The deponents had been prisoners at

The French on their side made counter-accusations. The captive traders
were examined on oath before La Jonquière, and one of them, John Patton,
is reported to have said that Croghan had instigated Indians to kill
Frenchmen.[55] French officials declared that other English traders were
guilty of the same practices; and there is very little doubt that the
charge was true.

[Footnote 55: _Précis des Faits, avec leurs Pièces justificatives_,

The dispute with the English was not the only source of trouble to the
Governor. His superiors at Versailles would not adopt his views, and
looked on him with distrust. He advised the building of forts near Lake
Erie, and his advice was rejected. "Niagara and Detroit," he was told,
"will secure forever our communications with Louisiana."[56] "His
Majesty," again wrote the Colonial Minister, "thought that expenses
would diminish after the peace; but, on the contrary, they have
increased. There must be great abuses. You and the Intendant must look
to it."[57] Great abuses there were; and of the money sent to Canada for
the service of the King the larger part found its way into the pockets
of peculators. The colony was eaten to the heart with official
corruption; and the centre of it was François Bigot, the intendant. The
Minister directed La Jonquière's attention to certain malpractices
which had been reported to him; and the old man, deeply touched,
replied: "I have reached the age of sixty-six years, and there is not a
drop of blood in my veins that does not thrill for the service of my
King. I will not conceal from you that the slightest suspicion on your
part against me would cut the thread of my days."[58]

[Footnote 56: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres_, 1750.]

[Footnote 57: _Ibid., 6 Juin_, 1751.]

[Footnote 58: _La Jonquière au Ministre, 19 Oct_. 1751.]

Perplexities increased; affairs in the West grew worse and worse. La
Jonquière ordered Céloron to attack the English at Pickawillany; and
Céloron could not or would not obey. "I cannot express," writes the
Governor, "how much this business troubles me; it robs me of sleep; it
makes me ill." Another letter of rebuke presently came from Versailles.
"Last year you wrote that you would soon drive the English from the
Ohio; but private letters say that you have done nothing. This is
deplorable. If not expelled, they will seem to acquire a right against
us. Send force enough at once to drive them off, and cure them of all
wish to return."[59] La Jonquière answered with bitter complaints
against Céloron, and then begged to be recalled. His health, already
shattered, was ruined by fatigue and vexation; and he took to his bed.
Before spring he was near his end.[60] It is said that, though very
rich, his habits of thrift so possessed his last hours that, seeing
wax-candles burning in his chamber, he ordered others of tallow to be
brought instead, as being good enough to die by. Thus frugally lighted
on its way, his spirit fled; and the Baron de Longueuil took his place
till a new governor should arrive.

[Footnote 59: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres_, 1751.]

[Footnote 60: He died on the sixth of March, 1752 (_Bigot au Ministre, 6
Mai_); not on the seventeeth of May, as stated in the _Mémoires sur le
Canada_, 1749-1760.]

Sinister tidings came thick from the West. Raymond, commandant at the
French fort on the Maumee, close to the centre of intrigue, wrote: "My
people are leaving me for Detroit. Nobody wants to stay here and have
his throat cut. All the tribes who go to the English at Pickawillany
come back loaded with gifts. I am too weak to meet the danger. Instead
of twenty men, I need five hundred.... We have made peace with the
English, yet they try continually to make war on us by means of the
Indians; they intend to be masters of all this upper country. The tribes
here are leaguing together to kill all the French, that they may have
nobody on their lands but their English brothers. This I am told by
Coldfoot, a great Miami chief, whom I think an honest man, if there is
any such thing among Indians.... If the English stay in this country we
are lost. We must attack, and drive them out." And he tells of war-belts
sent from tribe to tribe, and rumors of plots and conspiracies far and

Without doubt, the English traders spared no pains to gain over the
Indians by fair means or foul; sold them goods at low rates, made ample
gifts, and gave gunpowder for the asking. Saint-Ange, who commanded at
Vincennes, wrote that a storm would soon burst on the heads of the
French. Joncaire reported that all the Ohio Indians sided with the
English. Longueuil informed the Minister that the Miamis had scalped two
soldiers; that the Piankishaws had killed seven Frenchmen; and that a
squaw who had lived with one of the slain declared that the tribes of
the Wabash and Illinois were leaguing with the Osages for a combined
insurrection. Every letter brought news of murder. Small-pox had broken
out at Detroit. "It is to be wished," says Longueuil, "that it would
spread among our rebels; it would be fully as good as an army.... We are
menaced with a general outbreak, and even Toronto is in danger....
Before long the English on the Miami will gain over all the surrounding
tribes, get possession of Fort Chartres, and cut our communications with

[Footnote 61: _Dépêches de Longueuil; Lettres de Raymond; Benoit de
Saint-Clere à la Jonquière, Oct. 1751._]

The moving spirit of disaffection was the chief called Old Britain, or
the Demoiselle, and its focus was his town of Pickawillany, on the
Miami. At this place it is said that English traders sometimes mustered
to the number of fifty or more. "It is they," wrote Longueuil, "who are
the instigators of revolt and the source of all our woes."[62] Whereupon
the Colonial Minister reiterated his instructions to drive them off and
plunder them, which he thought would "effectually disgust them," and
bring all trouble to an end.[63]

[Footnote 62: _Longueuil au Ministre, 21 Avril, 1752._]

[Footnote 63: _Le Ministre à la Jonquière, 1752. Le Ministre à Duquesne,
9 Juillet, 1752._]

La Jonquière's remedy had been more heroic, for he had ordered Céleron
to attack the English and their red allies alike; and he charged that
officer with arrogance and disobedience because he had not done so. It
is not certain that obedience was easy; for though, besides the garrison
of regulars, a strong body of militia was sent up to Detroit to aid the
stroke,[64] the Indians of that post, whose co-operation was thought
necessary, proved half-hearted, intractable, and even touched with
disaffection. Thus the enterprise languished till, in June, aid came
from another quarter. Charles Langlade, a young French trader married to
a squaw at Green Bay, and strong in influence with the tribes of that
region, came down the lakes from Michillimackinac with a fleet of canoes
manned by two hundred and fifty Ottawa and Ojibwa warriors; stopped a
while at Detroit; then embarked again, paddled up the Maumee to
Raymond's fort at the portage, and led his greased and painted rabble
through the forest to attack the Demoiselle and his English friends.
They approached Pickawillany at about nine o'clock on the morning of the
twenty-first. The scared squaws fled from the cornfields into the town,
where the wigwams of the Indians clustered about the fortified warehouse
of the traders. Of these there were at the time only eight in the place.
Most of the Indians also were gone on their summer hunt, though the
Demoiselle remained with a band of his tribesmen. Great was the
screeching of war-whoops and clatter of guns. Three of the traders were
caught outside the fort. The remaining five closed the gate, and stood
on their defence. The fight was soon over. Fourteen Miamis were shot
down, the Demoiselle among the rest. The five white men held out till
the afternoon, when three of them surrendered, and two, Thomas Burney
and Andrew McBryer, made their escape. One of the English prisoners
being wounded, the victors stabbed him to death. Seventy years of
missionaries had not weaned them from cannibalism, and they boiled and
eat the Demoiselle.[65]

[Footnote 64: _La Jonquière à Céleron, 1 Oct. 1751._]

[Footnote 65: On the attack of Pickawillany, _Longueuil au Ministre, 18
Août, 1752; Duquesne au Ministre, 25 Oct. 1752; Colonial Records of
Pa._, V. 599; _Journal of William Trent_, 1752. Trent was on the spot a
few days after the affair.]

The captive traders, plundered to the skin, were carried by Langlade to
Duquesne, the new governor, who highly praised the bold leader of the
enterprise, and recommended him to the Minister for such reward as
befitted one of his station. "As he is not in the King's service, and
has married a squaw, I will ask for him only a pension of two hundred
francs, which will flatter him infinitely."

The Marquis Duquesne, sprung from the race of the great naval commander
of that name, had arrived towards midsummer; and he began his rule by a
general review of troops and militia. His lofty bearing offended the
Canadians; but he compelled their respect, and, according to a writer of
the time, showed from the first that he was born to command. He
presently took in hand an enterprise which his predecessor would
probably have accomplished, had the Home Government encouraged him.
Duquesne, profiting by the infatuated neglect of the British provincial
assemblies, prepared to occupy the upper waters of the Ohio, and secure
the passes with forts and garrisons. Thus the Virginian and
Pennsylvanian traders would be debarred all access to the West, and the
tribes of that region, bereft henceforth of English guns, knives,
hatchets, and blankets, English gifts and English cajoleries, would be
thrown back to complete dependence on the French. The moral influence,
too, of such a movement would be incalculable; for the Indian respects
nothing so much as a display of vigor and daring, backed by force. In
short, the intended enterprise was a master-stroke, and laid the axe to
the very root of disaffection. It is true that, under the treaty,
commissioners had been long in session at Paris to settle the question
of American boundaries; but there was no likelihood that they would come
to agreement; and if France would make good her Western claims, it
behooved her, while there was yet time, to prevent her rival from
fastening a firm grasp on the countries in dispute.

Yet the Colonial Minister regarded the plan with distrust. "Be on your
guard," he wrote to Duquesne, "against new undertakings; private
interests are generally at the bottom of them. It is through these that
new posts are established. Keep only such as are indispensable, and
suppress the others. The expenses of the colony are enormous; and they
have doubled since the peace." Again, a little later: "Build on the Ohio
such forts as are absolutely necessary, but no more. Remember that His
Majesty suspects your advisers of interested views."[66]

[Footnote 66: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres_, 1753.]

No doubt there was justice in the suspicion. Every military movement,
and above all the establishment of every new post, was an opportunity to
the official thieves with whom the colony swarmed. Some band of favored
knaves grew rich; while a much greater number, excluded from sharing the
illicit profits, clamored against the undertaking, and wrote charges of
corruption to Versailles. Thus the Minister was kept tolerably well
informed; but was scarcely the less helpless, for with the Atlantic
between, the disorders of Canada defied his control. Duquesne was
exasperated by the opposition that met him on all hands, and wrote to
the Minister: "There are so many rascals in this country that one is
forever the butt of their attacks."[67]

[Footnote 67: _Duquesne au Ministre, 29 Sept._ 1754.]

It seems that unlawful gain was not the only secret spring of the
movement. An officer of repute says that the Intendant, Bigot,
enterprising in his pleasures as in his greed, was engaged in an
intrigue with the wife of Chevalier Péan; and wishing at once to console
the husband and to get rid of him, sought for him a high command at a
distance from the colony. Therefore while Marin, an able officer, was
made first in rank, Péan was made second. The same writer hints that
Duquesne himself was influenced by similar motives in his appointment of

[Footnote 68: Pouchot, _Mémoire sur la dernière Guerre de l'Amérique
septentrionale (ed._ 1781), I. 8.]

He mustered the colony troops, and ordered out the Canadians. With the
former he was but half satisfied; with the latter he was delighted; and
he praises highly their obedience and alacrity. "I had not the least
trouble in getting them to march. They came on the minute, bringing
their own guns, though many people tried to excite them to revolt; for
the whole colony opposes my operations." The expedition set out early in
the spring of 1753. The whole force was not much above a thousand men,
increased by subsequent detachments to fifteen hundred; but to the
Indians it seemed a mighty host; and one of their orators declared that
the lakes and rivers were covered with boats and soldiers from Montreal
to Presquisle.[69] Some Mohawk hunters by the St. Lawrence saw them as
they passed, and hastened home to tell the news to Johnson, whom they
wakened at midnight, "whooping and hollowing in a frightful manner."[70]
Lieutenant Holland at Oswego saw a fleet of canoes upon the lake, and
was told by a roving Frenchman that they belonged to an army of six
thousand men going to the Ohio, "to cause all the English to quit those

[Footnote 69: _Duquesne au Ministre, 27 Oct._ 1753.]

[Footnote 70: _Johnson to Clinton, 20 April_, 1753, in _N.Y. Col.
Docs._, VI. 778.]

[Footnote 71: _Holland to Clinton, 15 May_, 1753, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._,
VI. 780.]

The main body of the expedition landed at Presquisle, on the
southeastern shore of Lake Erie, where the town of Erie now stands; and
here for a while we leave them.

Chapter 4


Conflict for Acadia

While in the West all the signs of the sky foreboded storm, another
tempest was gathering the East, less in extent, but not less in peril.
The conflict in Acadia has a melancholy interest, since it ended in a
castastrophe which prose and verse have joined to commemorate, but of
which the causes have not been understood.

Acadia--that it to say, the peninsula of Nova Scotia, with the addition,
as the English claimed, of the present New Brunswick and some adjacent
country--was conquered by General Nicholson in 1710, and formally
transferred by France to the British Crown, three years later, by the
treaty of Utrecht. By that treaty it was "expressly provided" that such
of the French inhabitants as "are willing to remain there and to be
subject to the Kingdom of Great Britain, are to enjoy the free exercise
of their religion according to the usage of the Church of Rome, as far
as the laws of Great Britain do allow the same"; but that any who choose
may remove, with their effects, if they do so within a year. Very few
availed themselves of this right; and after the end of the year those
who remained were required to take an oath of allegiance to King George.
There is no doubt that in a little time they would have complied, had
they been let alone; but the French authorities of Canada and Cape
Breton did their utmost to prevent them, and employed agents to keep
them hostile to England. Of these the most efficient were the French
priests, who, in spite of the treaty, persuaded their flocks that they
were still subjects of King Louis. Hence rose endless perplexity to the
English commanders at Annapolis, who more than suspected that the Indian
attacks with which they were harassed were due mainly to French
instigation.[72] It was not till seventeen years after the treaty that
the Acadians could be brought to take the oath without qualifications
which made it almost useless. The English authorities seem to have shown
throughout an unusual patience and forbearance. At length, about 1730,
nearly all the inhabitants signed by crosses, since few of them could
write, an oath recognizing George II as sovereign of Acadia, and
promising fidelity and obedience to him.[73] This restored comparative
quiet till the war of 1745, when some of the Acadians remained neutral,
while some took arms against the English, and many others aided the
enemy with information and supplies.

[Footnote 72: See the numerous papers in _Selections from the Public
Documents of the Province of Nova Scotia_ (Halifax, 1869), pp. 1-165; a
Government publication of great value.]

[Footnote 73: The oath was _literatim_ as follows: "Je Promets et Jure
Sincerement en Foi de Chrétien que Je serai entierement Fidele, et
Obeierai Vraiment Sa Majesté Le Roy George Second, qui (_sic_) Je
reconnoi pour Le Souvrain Seigneur de l'Accadie ou Nouvelle Ecosse.
Ainsi Dieu me Soit en Aide."]

English power in Acadia, hitherto limited to a feeble garrison at
Annapolis and a feebler one at Canseau, received at this time a great
accession. The fortress of Louisbourg, taken by the English during the
war, had been restored by the treaty; and the French at once prepared to
make it a military and naval station more formidable than ever. Upon
this the British Ministry resolved to establish another station as a
counterpoise; and the harbor of Chebucto, on the south coast of Acadia,
was chosen as the site of it. Thither in June, 1749, came a fleet of
transports loaded with emigrants, tempted by offers of land and a home
in the New World. Some were mechanics, tradesmen, farmers, and laborers;
others were sailors, soldiers, and subaltern officers thrown out of
employment by the peace. Including women and children, they counted in
all about twenty-five hundred. Alone of all the British colonies on the
continent, this new settlement was the offspring, not of private
enterprise, but of royal authority. Yet is was free like the rest, with
the same popular representation and local self-government. Edward
Cornwallis, uncle of Lord Cornwallis of the Revolutionary War, was made
governor and commander-in-chief. Wolfe calls him "a man of approved
courage and fidelity"; and even the caustic Horace Walpole speaks of him
as "a brave, sensible young man, of great temper and good nature."

Before summer was over, the streets were laid out, and the building-lot
of each settler was assigned to him; before winter closed, the whole
were under shelter, the village was fenced with palisades and defended
by redoubts of timber, and the battalions lately in garrison at
Louisbourg manned the wooden ramparts. Succeeding years brought more
emigrants, and in 1752 the population was above four thousand. Thus was
born into the world the city of Halifax. Along with the crumbling old
fort and miserably disciplined garrison at Annapolis, besides six or
seven small detached posts to watch the Indians and Acadians, it
comprised the whole British force on the peninsula; for Canseau had been
destroyed by the French.

The French had never reconciled themselves to the loss of Acadia, and
were resolved, by diplomacy or force, to win it back again; but the
building of Halifax showed that this was to be no easy task, and filled
them at the same time with alarm for the safety of Louisbourg. On one
point, at least, they saw their policy clear. The Acadians, though those
of them who were not above thirty-five had been born under the British
flag, must be kept French at heart, and taught that they were still
French subjects. In 1748 they numbered eighty-eight hundred and fifty
communicants, or from twelve to thirteen thousand souls; but an
emigration, of which the causes will soon appear, had reduced them in
1752 to but little more than nine thousand.[74] These were divided into
six principal parishes, one of the largest being that of Annapolis.
Other centres of population were Grand Pré, on the basin of Mines;
Beaubassin, at the head of Chignecto Bay; Pisiquid, now Windsor; and
Cobequid, now Truro. Their priests, who were missionaries controlled by
the diocese of Quebec, acted also as their magistrates, ruling them for
this world and the next. Bring subject to a French superior, and being,
moreover, wholly French at heart, they formed in this British province a
wheel within a wheel, the inner movement always opposing the outer.

[Footnote 74: _Description de l'Acadie, avec le Nom des Paroisses et le
Nombre des Habitants, 1748. Mémoire à présenter à la Cour sur la
necessité de fixer les Limites de l'Acadie,_ par l'Abbé de l'Isle-Dieu,
1753 (1754?). Compare the estimates in _Censuses of Canada_ (Ottawa,

Although, by the twelfth article of the treaty of Utrecht, France had
solemnly declared the Acadians to be British subjects, the Government of
Louis XV intrigued continually to turn them from subjects into enemies.
Before me is a mass of English documents on Acadian affairs from the
peace of Aix-la-Chapelle to the catastrophe of 1755, and above a
thousand pages of French official papers from the archives of Paris,
memorials, reports, and secret correspondence, relating to the same
matters. With the help of these and some collateral lights, it is not
difficult to make a correct diagnosis of the political disease that
ravaged this miserable country. Of a multitude of proofs, only a few can
be given here; but these will suffice.

It was not that the Acadians had been ill-used by the English; the
reverse was the case. They had been left in free exercise of their
worship, as stipulated by treaty. It is true that, from time to time,
there were loud complaints from French officials that religion was in
danger, because certain priests had been rebuked, arrested, brought
before the Council at Halifax, suspended from their functions, or
required, on pain of banishment, to swear that they would do nothing
against the interests of King George. Yet such action on the part of the
provincial authorities seems, without a single exception, to have been
the consequence of misconduct on the part of the priest, in opposing the
Government and stirring his flock to disaffection. La Jonquière, the
determined adversary of the English, reported to the bishop that they
did not oppose the ecclesiastics in the exercise of their functions, and
an order of Louis XV admits that the Acadians have enjoyed liberty of
religion.[75] In a long document addressed in 1750 to the Colonial
Minister at Versailles, Roma, an officer at Louisbourg, testifies thus
to the mildness of British rule, though he ascribes it to interested
motives. "The fear that the Acadians have of the Indians is the
controlling motive which makes them side with the French. The English,
having in view the conquest of Canada, wished to give the French of that
colony, in their conduct towards the Acadians, a striking example of
the mildness of their government. Without raising the fortune of any of
the inhabitants, they have supplied them for more than thirty-five years
with the necessaries of life, often on credit and with an excess of
confidence, without troubling their debtors, without pressing them,
without wishing to force them to pay. They have left them an appearance
of liberty so excessive that they have not intervened in their disputes
or even punished their crimes. They have allowed them to refuse with
insolence certain moderate rents payable in grain and lawfully due. They
have passed over in silence the contemptuous refusal of the Acadians to
take titles from them for the new lands which they chose to occupy.[76]

[Footnote 75: _La Jonquière à Évêque de Québec, 14 Juin, 1750. Mémoire
du Roy pour servir d'Instruction au Comte de Raymond, commandant pour Sa
Majesté à l'Isle Royale_ [Cape Breton], _24 Avril, 1751_.]

[Footnote 76: See Appendix B.]

"We know very well," pursues Roma, "the fruits of this conduct in the
last war; and the English know it also. Judge then what will be the
wrath and vengeance of this cruel nation." The fruits to which Roma
alludes were the hostilities, open or secret, committed by the Acadians
against the English. He now ventures the prediction that the enraged
conquerors will take their revenge by drafting all the young Acadians on
board their ships of war, and there destroying them by slow starvation.
He proved, however, a false prophet. The English Governor merely
required the inhabitants to renew their oath of allegiance, without
qualification or evasion.

It was twenty years since the Acadians had taken such an oath; and
meanwhile a new generation had grown up. The old oath pledged them to
fidelity and obedience; but they averred that Phillips, then governor of
the province, had given them, at the same time, assurance that they
should not be required to bear arms against either French or Indians. In
fact, such service had not been demanded of them, and they would have
lived in virtual neutrality, had not many of them broken their oaths and
joined the French war-parties. For this reason Cornwallis thought it
necessary that, in renewing the pledge, they should bind themselves to
an allegiance as complete as that required of other British subjects.
This spread general consternation. Deputies from the Acadian
settlements appeared at Halifax, bringing a paper signed with the marks
of a thousand persons. The following passage contains the pith of it.
"The inhabitants in general, sir, over the whole extent of this country
are resolved not to take the oath which your Excellency requires of us;
but if your Excellency will grant us our old oath, with an exemption for
ourselves and our heirs from taking up arms, we will accept it."[77] The
answer of Cornwallis was by no means so stern as it has been
represented.[78] After the formal reception he talked in private with
the deputies; and "they went home in good humor, promising great

[Footnote 77: _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 173.]

[Footnote 78: See _Ibid._, 174, where the answer is printed.]

[Footnote 79: _Cornwallis to the Board of Trade, 11 Sept. 1749._]

The refusal of the Acadians to take the required oath was not wholly
spontaneous, but was mainly due to influence from without. The French
officials of Cape Breton and Isle St. Jean, now Prince Edward Island,
exerted themselves to the utmost, chiefly through the agency of the
priests, to excite the people to refuse any oath that should commit them
fully to British allegiance. At the same time means were used to induce
them to migrate to the neighboring islands under French rule, and
efforts were also made to set on the Indians to attack the English. But
the plans of the French will best appear in a despatch sent by La
Jonquière to the Colonial Minister in the autumn of 1749.

"Monsieur Cornwallis issued an order on the tenth of the said month
[_August_], to the effect that if the inhabitants will remain faithful
subjects of the King of Great Britain, he will allow them priests and
public exercise of their religion, with the understanding that no priest
shall officiate without his permission or before taking an oath of
fidelity to the King of Great Britain. Secondly, that the inhabitants
shall not be exempted from defending their houses, their lands, and the
Government. Thirdly, that they shall take an oath of fidelity to the
King of Great Britain, on the twenty-sixth of this month, before
officers sent them for that purpose."

La Jonquière proceeds to say that on hearing these conditions the
Acadians were filled with perplexity and alarm, and that he, the
governor, had directed Boishébert, his chief officer on the Acadian
frontier, to encourage them to leave their homes and seek asylum on
French soil. He thus recounts the steps he has taken to harass the
English of Halifax by means of their Indian neighbors. As peace had been
declared, the operation was delicate; and when three of these Indians
came to him from their missionary, Le Loutre, with letters on the
subject, La Jonquière was discreetly reticent. "I did not care to give
them any advice upon the matter, and confined myself to a promise that I
would on no account abandon them; and I have provided for supplying them
with everything, whether arms, ammunition, food, or other necessaries.
It is to be desired that these savages should succeed in thwarting the
designs of the English, and even their settlement at Halifax. They are
bent on doing so; and if they can carry out their plans, it is certain
that they will give the English great trouble, and so harass them that
they will be a great obstacle in their path. These savages are to act
alone; neither soldier nor French inhabitant is to join them; everything
will be done of their own motion, and without showing that I had any
knowledge of the matter. This is very essential; therefore I have
written to the Sieur de Boishébert to observe great prudence in his
measures, and to act very secretly, in order that the English may not
perceive that we are providing for the needs of the said savages."

"It will be the missionaries who will manage all the negotiation, and
direct the movements of the savages, who are in excellent hands, as the
Reverend Father Germain and Monsieur l'Abbé Le Loutre are very capable
of making the most of them, and using them to the greatest advantage for
our interests. They will manage their intrigue in such a way as not to
appear in it."

La Jonquière then recounts the good results which he expects from these
measures: first, the English will be prevented from making any new
settlements; secondly, we shall gradually get the Acadians out of their
hands; and lastly, they will be so discouraged by constant Indian
attacks that they will renounce their pretensions to the parts of the
country belonging to the King of France. "I feel, Monseigneur,"--thus
the Governor concludes his despatch,--"all the delicacy of this
negotiation; be assured that I will conduct it with such precaution that
the English will not be able to say that my orders had any part in

[Footnote 80: _La Jonquière au Ministre, 9 Oct. 1749_. See Appendix B.]

He kept his word, and so did the missionaries. The Indians gave great
trouble on the outskirts of Halifax, and murdered many harmless
settlers; yet the English authorities did not at first suspect that they
were hounded on by their priests, under the direction of the Governor
of Canada, and with the privity of the Minister at Versailles. More than
this; for, looking across the sea, we find royalty itself lending its
august countenance to the machination. Among the letters read before the
King in his cabinet in May, 1750, was one from Desherbiers, then
commanding at Louisbourg, saying that he was advising the Acadians not
to take the oath of allegiance to the King of England; another from Le
Loutre, declaring that he and Father Germain were consulting together
how to disgust the English with their enterprise of Halifax; and a third
from the Intendant, Bigot, announcing that Le Loutre was using the
Indians to harass the new settlement, and that he himself was sending
them powder, lead, and merchandise, "to confirm them in their good

[Footnote 81: _Resumé des Lettres lues au Travail du Roy, Mai, 1750_.]

To this the Minister replies in a letter to Desherbiers: "His Majesty is
well satisfied with all you have done to thwart the English in their new
establishment. If the dispositions of the savages are such as they seem,
there is reason to hope that in the course of the winter they will
succeed in so harassing the settlers that some of them will become
disheartened." Desherbiers is then told that His Majesty desires him to
aid English deserters in escaping from Halifax.[82] Supplies for the
Indians are also promised; and he is informed that twelve medals are
sent him by the frigate "La Mutine," to be given to the chiefs who shall
most distinguish themselves. In another letter Desherbiers is enjoined
to treat the English authorities with great politeness.[83]

[Footnote 82: In 1750 nine captured deserters from Phillips's regiment
declared on their trial that the French had aided them and supplied them
all with money. _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 193.]

[Footnote 83: _Le Ministre à Desherbiers, 23 Mai, 1750; Ibid., 31 Mai,

When Count Raymond took command at Louisbourg, he was instructed, under
the royal hand, to give particular attention to the affairs of Acadia,
especially in two points,--the management of the Indians, and the
encouraging of Acadian emigration to countries under French rule. "His
Majesty," says the document, "has already remarked that the savages have
been most favorably disposed. It is of the utmost importance that no
means be neglected to keep them so. The missionaries among them are in a
better position than anybody to contribute to this end, and His Majesty
has reason to be satisfied with the pains they take therein. The Sieur
de Raymond will excite these missionaries not to slacken their efforts;
but he will warn them at the same time so to contain their zeal as not
to compromise themselves with the English, and give just occasion of
complaint."[84] That is, the King orders his representative to encourage
the missionaries in instigating their flocks to butcher English
settlers, but to see that they take care not to be found out. The
injunction was hardly needed. "Monsieur Desherbiers," says a letter of
earlier date, "has engaged Abbé Le Loutre to distribute the usual
presents among the savages, and Monsieur Bigot has placed in his hands
an additional gift of cloth, blankets, powder, and ball, to be given
them in case they harass the English at Halifax. This missionary is to
induce them to do so."[85] In spite of these efforts, the Indians began
to relent in their hostilities; and when Longueuil became provisional
governor of Canada, he complained to the Minister that it was very
difficult to prevent them from making peace with the English, though
Father Germain was doing his best to keep them on the war-path.[86]
La Jonquière, too, had done his best, even to the point of departing
from his original policy of allowing no soldier or Acadian to take part
with them. He had sent a body of troops under La Corne, an able partisan
officer, to watch the English frontier; and in the same vessel was sent
a supply of "merchandise, guns, and munitions for the savages and the
Acadians who may take up arms with them; and the whole is sent under
pretext of trading in furs with the savages."[87] On another occasion
La Jonquière wrote: "In order that the savages may do their part
courageously, a few Acadians, dressed and painted in their way, could
join them to strike the English. I cannot help consenting to what these
savages do, because we have our hands tied [_by the peace_],
and so can do nothing ourselves. Besides, I do not think that any
inconvenience will come of letting the Acadians mingle among them,
because if they [_the Acadians_] are captured, we shall say that they
acted of their own accord."[88] In other words, he will encourage them
to break the peace; and then, by means of a falsehood, have them
punished as felons. Many disguised Acadians did in fact join the Indian
war-parties; and their doing so was no secret to the English. "What we
call here an Indian war," wrote Hopson, successor of Cornwallis, "is no
other than a pretence for the French to commit hostilities on His
Majesty's subjects."

[Footnote 84: _Mémoire du Roy pour servir d'Instruction au Comte de
Raymond, 24 Avril, 1751_.]

[Footnote 85: _Lettre commune de Desherbiers et Bigot au Ministre, 15
Août, 1749_.]

[Footnote 86: _Longueuil au Ministre, 26 Avril, 1752_.]

[Footnote 87: _Bigot au Ministre, 1749_.]

[Footnote 88: _Dépêches de la Jonquière, 1 Mai, 1751_. See Appendix B.]

At length the Indians made peace, or pretended to do so. The chief of Le
Loutre's mission, who called himself Major Jean-Baptiste Cope, came to
Halifax with a deputation of his tribe, and they all affixed their
totems to a solemn treaty. In the next summer they returned with ninety
or a hundred warriors, were well entertained, presented with gifts, and
sent homeward in a schooner. On the way they seized the vessel and
murdered the crew. This is told by Prévost, intendant at Louisbourg, who
does not say that French instigation had any part in the treachery.[89]
It is nevertheless certain that the Indians were paid for this or some
contemporary murder; for Prévost, writing just four weeks later, says:
"Last month the savages took eighteen English scalps, and Monsieur Le
Loutre was obliged to pay them eighteen hundred livres, Acadian money,
which I have reimbursed him."[90]

[Footnote 89: _Prévost au Ministre, 12 Mars, 1753; Ibid., 17 July_,
1753. Prévost was _ordonnateur_, or intendant, at Louisbourg. The treaty
will be found in full in _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 683.]

[Footnote 90: _Prévost au Ministre, 16 Août_, 1753.]

From the first, the services of this zealous missionary had been beyond
price. Prévost testifies that, though Cornwallis does his best to induce
the Acadians to swear fidelity to King George, Le Loutre keeps them in
allegiance to King Louis, and threatens to set his Indians upon them
unless they declare against the English. "I have already," adds Prévost,
"paid him 11,183 livres for his daily expenses; and I never cease
advising him to be as economical as possible, and always to take care
not to compromise himself with the English Government."[91] In
consequence of "good service to religion and the state," Le Loutre
received a pension of eight hundred livres, as did also Maillard, his
brother missionary on Cape Breton. "The fear is," writes the Colonial
Minister to the Governor of Louisbourg, "that their zeal may carry them
too far. Excite them to keep the Indians in our interests, but do not
let them compromise us. Act always so as to make the English appear as

[Footnote 91: _Ibid., 22 Juillet_, 1750.]

[Footnote 92: _Le Ministre au Comte de Raymond, 21 Juillet_, 1752. It is
curious to compare these secret instructions, given by the Minister to
the colonial officials, with a letter which the same Minister, Rouillé,
wrote ostensibly to La Jonquière, but which was really meant for the eye
of the British Minister at Versailles, Lord Albemarle, to whom it was
shown in proof of French good faith. It was afterwards printed, long
with other papers, in a small volume called _Précis des Faits, avec
Pièces justificatives_ which was sent by the French Government to all
the courts of Europe to show that the English alone were answerable for
the war. The letter, it is needless to say, breathes the highest
sentiments of international honor.]

All the Acadian clergy, in one degree or another, seem to have used
their influence to prevent the inhabitants from taking the oath, and to
persuade them that they were still French subjects. Some were noisy,
turbulent, and defiant; others were too tranquil to please the officers
of the Crown. A missionary at Annapolis is mentioned as old, and
therefore inefficient; while the curé at Grand Pré, also an elderly man,
was too much inclined to confine himself to his spiritual functions. It
is everywhere apparent that those who chose these priests, and sent them
as missionaries into a British province, expected them to act as enemies
of the British Crown. The maxim is often repeated that duty to religion
is inseparable from the duty to the King of France. The Bishop of Quebec
desired the Abbé de l'Isle-Dieu to represent to the court the need of
more missionaries to keep the Acadians Catholic and French; but, he
adds, there is danger that they (the missionaries) will be required to
take an oath to do nothing contrary to the interests of the King of
Great Britain.[93] It is a wonder that such a pledge was not always
demanded. It was exacted in a few cases, notably in that of Girard,
priest at Cobequid, who, on charges of instigating his flock to
disaffection, had been sent prisoner to Halifax, but released on taking
an oath in the above terms. Thereupon he wrote to Longueuil at Quebec
that his parishioners wanted to submit to the English, and that he,
having sworn to be true to the British King, could not prevent them.
"Though I don't pretend to be a casuist," writes Longueuil, "I could not
help answering him that he is not obliged to keep such an oath, and that
he ought to labor in all zeal to preserve and increase the number of the
faithful." Girard, to his credit, preferred to leave the colony, and
retired to Isle St. Jean.[94]

[Footnote 93: L'Isle-Dieu, _Mémoire sur l'État actuel des Missions,
1753_ (1754?).]

[Footnote 94: _Longueuil au Ministre, 27 Avril, 1752_.]

Cornwallis soon discovered to what extent the clergy stirred their
flocks to revolt; and he wrote angrily to the Bishop of Quebec: "Was it
you who sent Le Loutre as a missionary to the Micmacs? and is it for
their good that he excites these wretches to practise their cruelties
against those who have shown them every kindness? The conduct of the
priests of Acadia has been such that by command of his Majesty I have
published an Order declaring that if any one of them presumes to
exercise his functions without my express permission he shall be dealt
with according to the laws of England."[95]

[Footnote 95: _Cornwallis to the Bishop of Quebec, 1 Dec. 1749_.]

The English, bound by treaty to allow the Acadians the exercise of their
religion, at length conceived the idea of replacing the French priests
by others to be named by the Pope at the request of the British
Government. This, becoming known to the French, greatly alarmed them,
and the Intendant at Louisbourg wrote to the Minister that the matter
required serious attention.[96] It threatened, in fact, to rob them of
their chief agents of intrigue; but their alarm proved needless, as the
plan was not carried into execution.

[Footnote 96: _Daudin, prêtre, à Prévost, 23 Oct. 1753. Prévost au
Ministre, 24 Nov. 1753_.]

The French officials would have been better pleased had the conduct of
Cornwallis been such as to aid their efforts to alienate the Acadians;
and one writer, while confessing the "favorable treatment" of the
English towards the inhabitants, denounces it as a snare.[97] If so, it
was a snare intended simply to reconcile them to English rule. Nor was
it without effect. "We must give up altogether the idea of an
insurrection in Acadia," writes an officer of Cape Breton. "The Acadians
cannot be trusted; they are controlled by fear of the Indians, which
leads them to breathe French sentiments, even when their inclinations
are English. They will yield to their interests; and the English will
make it impossible that they should either hurt them or serve us, unless
we take measures different from those we have hitherto pursued."[98]

[Footnote 97: _Mémoire à présenter à la Cour, 1753_.]

[Footnote 98: _Roma au Ministre, 11 Mars, 1750_.]

During all this time, constant efforts were made to stimulate Acadian
emigration to French territory, and thus to strengthen the French
frontier. In this work the chief agent was Le Loutre. "This priest,"
says a French writer of the time, "urged the people of Les Mines, Port
Royal [_Annapolis_], and other places, to come and join the French, and
promised to all, in the name of the Governor, to settle and support them
for three years, and even indemnify them for any losses they might
incur; threatening if they did not do as he advised, to abandon them,
deprive them of their priests, have their wives and children carried
off, and their property laid waste by the Indians."[99] Some passed over
the isthmus to the shores of the gulf, and others made their way to the
Strait of Canseau. Vessels were provided to convey them, in the one case
to Isle St. Jean, now Prince Edward Island, and in the other to Isle
Royale, called by the English, Cape Breton. Some were eager to go; some
went with reluctance; some would scarcely be persuaded to go at all.
"They leave their homes with great regret," reports the Governor of Isle
St. Jean, speaking of the people of Cobequid, "and they began to move
their luggage only when the savages compelled them."[100] These savages
were the flock of Abbé Le Loutre, who was on the spot to direct the
emigration. Two thousand Acadians are reported to have left the
peninsula before the end of 1751, and many more followed within the next
two years. Nothing could exceed the misery of a great part of these
emigrants, who had left perforce most of their effects behind. They
became disheartened and apathetic. The Intendant at Louisbourg says that
they will not take the trouble to clear the land, and that some of them
live, like Indians, under huts of spruce-branches.[101] The Governor of
Isle St. Jean declares that they are dying of hunger.[102] Girard, the
priest who had withdrawn to this island rather than break his oath to
the English, writes: "Many of them cannot protect themselves day or
night from the severity of the cold. Most of the children are entirely
naked; and when I go into a house they are all crouched in the ashes,
close to the fire. They run off and hide themselves, without shoes,
stockings, or shirts. They are not all reduced to this extremity but
nearly all are in want."[103] Mortality among them was great, and would
have been greater but for rations supplied by the French Government.

[Footnote 99: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_.]

[Footnote 100: _Bonaventure à Desherbiers, 26 Juin, 1751_.]

[Footnote 101: _Prévost au Ministre, 25 Nov. 1750_.]

[Footnote 102: _Bonaventure, ut supra_.]

[Footnote 103: _Girard à (Bonaventure?), 27 Oct. 1753_.]

During these proceedings, the English Governor, Cornwallis, seems to
have justified the character of good temper given him by Horace Walpole.
His attitude towards the Acadians remained on the whole patient and
conciliatory. "My friends," he replied to a deputation of them asking a
general permission to leave the province, "I am not ignorant of the fact
that every means has been used to alienate the hearts of the French
subjects of His Britannic Majesty. Great advantages have been promised
you elsewhere, and you have been made to imagine that your religion was
in danger. Threats even have been resorted to in order to induce you to
remove to French territory. The savages are made use of to molest you;
they are to cut the throats of all who remain in their native country,
attached to their own interests and faithful to the Government. You know
that certain officers and missionaries, who came from Canada last
autumn, have been the cause of all our trouble during the winter. Their
conduct has been horrible, without honor, probity, or conscience. Their
aim is to embroil you with the Government. I will not believe that they
are authorized to do so by the Court of France, that being contrary to
good faith and the friendship established between the two Crowns."

What foundation there was for this amiable confidence in the Court of
Versailles has been seen already. "When you declared your desire to
submit yourselves to another Government," pursues Cornwallis, "our
determination was to hinder nobody from following what he imagined to be
his interest. We know that a forced service is worth nothing, and that a
subject compelled to be so against his will is not far from being an
enemy. We confess, however, that your determination to go gives us pain.
We are aware of your industry and temperance, and that you are not
addicted to any vice or debauchery. This province is your country. You
and your fathers have cultivated it; naturally you ought yourselves to
enjoy the fruits of your labor. Such was the design of the King, our
master. You know that we have followed his orders. You know that we have
done everything to secure to you not only the occupation of your lands,
but the ownership of them forever. We have given you also every possible
assurance of the free and public exercise of the Roman Catholic
religion. But I declare to you frankly that, according to our laws,
nobody can possess lands or houses in the province who shall refuse to
take the oath of allegiance to his King when required to do so. You know
very well that there are ill-disposed and mischievous persons among you
who corrupt the others. Your inexperience, your ignorance of the affairs
of government, and your habit of following the counsels of those who
have not your real interests at heart, make it an easy matter to seduce
you. In your petitions you ask for a general leave to quit the province.
The only manner in which you can do so is to follow the regulations
already established, and provide yourselves with our passport. And we
declare that nothing shall prevent us from giving such passports to all
who ask for them, the moment peace and tranquillity are
re-established."[104] He declares as his reason for not giving them at
once, that on crossing the frontier "you will have to pass the French
detachments and savages assembled there, and that they compel all the
inhabitants who go there to take up arms" against the English. How well
this reason was founded will soon appear.

[Footnote 104: The above passages are from two address of Cornwallis,
read to the Acadian deputies in April and May, 1750. The combined
extracts here given convey the spirit of the whole. See _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 185-190.]

Hopson, the next governor, described by the French themselves as a "mild
and peaceable officer," was no less considerate in his treatment of the
Acadians; and at the end of 1752 he issued the following order to his
military subordinates: "You are to look on the French inhabitants in the
same light as the rest of His Majesty's subjects, as to the protection
of the laws and government; for which reason nothing is to be taken from
them by force, or any price set upon their goods but what they
themselves agree to. And if at any time the inhabitants should
obstinately refuse to comply with what His Majesty's service may require
of them, you are not to redress yourself by military force or in any
unlawful manner, but to lay the case before the Governor and wait his
orders thereon."[105] Unfortunately, the mild rule of Cornwallis and
Hopson was not always maintained under their successor, Lawrence.

[Footnote 105: _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 197.]

Louis Joseph Le Loutre, vicar-general of Acadia and missionary to the
Micmacs, was the most conspicuous person in the province, and more than
any other man was answerable for the miseries that overwhelmed it. The
sheep of which he was the shepherd dwelt, at a day's journey from
Halifax, by the banks of the River Shubenacadie, in small cabins of
logs, mixed with wigwams of birch-bark. They were not a docile flock;
and to manage them needed address, energy, and money,--with all of which
the missionary was provided. He fed their traditional dislike of the
English, and fanned their fanaticism, born of the villanous counterfeit
of Christianity which he and his predecessors had imposed on them. Thus
he contrived to use them on the one hand to murder the English, and on
the other to terrify the Acadians; yet not without cost to the French
Government; for they had learned the value of money, and, except when
their blood was up, were slow to take scalps without pay. Le Loutre was
a man of boundless egotism, a violent spirit of domination, an intense
hatred of the English, and a fanaticism that stopped at nothing. Towards
the Acadians he was a despot; and this simple and superstitious people,
extremely susceptible to the influence of their priests, trembled before
him. He was scarcely less masterful in his dealings with the Acadian
clergy; and, aided by his quality of the Bishop's vicar-general, he
dragooned even the unwilling into aiding his schemes. Three successive
governors of New France thought him invaluable, yet feared the
impetuosity of his zeal, and vainly tried to restrain it within safe
bounds. The bishop, while approving his objects, thought his medicines
too violent, and asked in a tone of reproof: "Is it right for you to
refuse the Acadians the sacraments, to threaten that they shall be
deprived of the services of a priest, and that the savages shall treat
them as enemies?"[106] "Nobody," says a French Catholic contemporary,
"was more fit than he to carry discord and desolation into a
country."[107] Cornwallis called him "a good-for-nothing scoundrel," and
offered a hundred pounds for his head.[108]

[Footnote 106: _L'Évêque de Québec à Le Loutre_; translation in _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 240.]

[Footnote 107: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_.]

[Footnote 108: On Le Loutre, compare _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_,
178-180, _note_, with authorities there cited; _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 11;
_Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_ (Quebec, 1838).]

The authorities at Halifax, while exasperated by the perfidy practised
on them, were themselves not always models of international virtue. They
seized a French vessel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the
charge--probably true--that she was carrying arms and ammunition to the
Acadians and Indians. A less defensible act was the capture of the armed
brig "St. François," laden with supplies for a fort lately
re-established by the French, at the mouth of the River St. John, on
ground claimed by both nations. Captain Rous, a New England officer
commanding a frigate in the Royal Navy, opened fire on the "St.
François," took her after a short cannonade, and carried her into
Halifax, where she was condemned by the court. Several captures of small
craft, accused of illegal acts, were also made by the English. These
proceedings, being all of an overt nature, gave the officers of Louis
XV. precisely what they wanted,--an occasion for uttering loud
complaints, and denouncing the English as breakers of the peace.

But the movement most alarming to the French was the English occupation
of Beaubassin,--an act perfectly lawful in itself, since, without
reasonable doubt, the place was within the limits of Acadia, and
therefore on English ground.[109] Beaubassin was a considerable
settlement on the isthmus that joins the Acadian peninsula to the
mainland. Northwest of the settlement lay a wide marsh, through which
ran a stream called the Missaguash, some two miles beyond which rose a
hill called Beauséjour. On and near this hill were stationed the troops
and Canadians sent under Boishébert and La Corne to watch the English
frontier. This French force excited disaffection among the Acadians
through all the neighboring districts, and constantly helped them to
emigrate. Cornwallis therefore resolved to send an English force to the
spot; and accordingly, towards the end of April, 1750, Major Lawrence
landed at Beaubassin with four hundred men. News of their approach had
come before them, and Le Loutre was here with his Micmacs, mixed with
some Acadians whom he had persuaded or bullied to join him. Resolved
that the people of Beaubassin should not live under English influence,
he now with his own hand set fire to the parish church, while his white
and red adherents burned the houses of the inhabitants, and thus
compelled them to cross to the French side of the river.[110] This was
the first forcible removal of the Acadians. It was as premature as it
was violent; since Lawrence, being threatened by La Corne, whose force
was several times greater than his own, presently reimbarked. In the
following September he returned with seventeen small vessels and about
seven hundred men, and again attempted to land on the strand of
Beaubassin. La Jonquière says that he could only be resisted indirectly,
because he was on the English side of the river. This indirect
resistance was undertaken by Le Loutre, who had thrown up a breastwork
along the shore and manned it with his Indians and his painted and
be-feathered Acadians. Nevertheless the English landed, and, with some
loss, drove out the defenders. Le Loutre himself seems not to have been
among them; but they kept up for a time a helter-skelter fight,
encouraged by two other missionaries, Germain and Lalerne, who were near
being caught by the English.[111] Lawrence quickly routed them, took
possession of the cemetery, and prepared to fortify himself. The village
of Beaubassin, consisting, it is said, of a hundred and forty houses,
had been burned in the spring; but there were still in the neighborhood,
on the English side, many hamlets and farms, with barns full of grain
and hay. Le Loutre's Indians now threatened to plunder and kill the
inhabitants if they did not take arms against the English. Few complied,
and the greater part fled to the woods.[112] On this the Indians and
their Acadian allies set the houses and barns on fire, and laid waste
the whole district, leaving the inhabitants no choice but to seek food
and shelter with the French.[113]

[Footnote 109: La Jonquière himself admits that he thought so. "Cette
partie là étant, à ce que je crois, dépendante de l'Acadie." _La
Jonquière au Ministre, 3 Oct. 1750_.]

[Footnote 110: It has been erroneously stated that Beaubassin was burned
by its own inhabitants. "Laloutre, ayant vu que les Acadiens ne
paroissoient pas fort pressés d'abandonner leurs biens, avoit lui-même
mis le feu á l'Église, et l'avoit fait mettre aux maisons des habitants
par quelques-uns de ceux qu'il avoit gagnés," etc. _Mémoires sur le
Canada, 1749-1760_. "Les sauvages y mirent le feu." _Précis des Faits_,
85. "Les sauvages mirent le feu aux maisons." _Prévost au Ministre, 22
Juillet, 1750_.]

[Footnote 111: La Vallière, _Journal de ce qui s'est passé à Chenitou_
[Chignecto] _et autres parties des Frontières de l'Acadie, 1750-1751_.
La Vallière was an officer on the spot.]

[Footnote 112: _Prévost au Ministre, 27 Sept. 1750_.]

[Footnote 113: "Les sauvages et Accadiens mirent le feu dans toutes les
maisons et granges, pleines de bled et de fourrages, ce qui a causé une
grande disette." La Vallière, _ut supra_.]

The English fortified themselves on a low hill by the edge of the marsh,
planted palisades, built barracks, and named the new work Fort Lawrence.
Slight skirmishes between them and the French were frequent. Neither
party respected the dividing line of the Missaguash, and a petty warfare
of aggression and reprisal began, and became chronic. Before the end of
the autumn there was an atrocious act of treachery. Among the English
officers was Captain Edward Howe, an intelligent and agreeable person,
who spoke French fluently, and had been long stationed in the province.
Le Loutre detested him; dreading his influence over the Acadians, by
many of whom he was known and liked. One morning, at about eight
o'clock, the inmates of Fort Lawrence saw what seemed an officer from
Beauséjour, carrying a flag, and followed by several men in uniform,
wading through the sea of grass that stretched beyond the Missaguash.
When the tide was out, this river was but an ugly trench of reddish mud
gashed across the face of the marsh, with a thread of half-fluid slime
lazily crawling along the bottom; but at high tide it was filled to the
brim with an opaque torrent that would have overflowed, but for the
dikes thrown up to confine it. Behind the dike on the farther bank stood
the seeming officer, waving his flag in sign that he desired a parley.
He was in reality no officer, but one of Le Loutre's Indians in
disguise, Etienne Le Bâtard, or, as others say, the great chief,
Jean-Baptiste Cope. Howe, carrying a white flag, and accompanied by a
few officers and men, went towards the river to hear what he had to say.
As they drew near, his looks and language excited their suspicion. But
it was too late; for a number of Indians, who had hidden behind the dike
during the night, fired upon Howe across the stream, and mortally
wounded him. They continued their fire on his companions, but could not
prevent them from carrying the dying man to the fort. The French
officers, indignant at this villany, did not hesitate to charge it upon
Le Loutre; "for," says one of them, "what is not a wicked priest capable
of doing?" But Le Loutre's brother missionary, Maillard, declares that
it was purely an effect of religious zeal on the part of the Micmacs,
who, according to him, bore a deadly grudge against Howe because,
fourteen years before, he had spoken words disrespectful to the Holy
Virgin.[114] Maillard adds that the Indians were much pleased with what
they had done. Finding, however, that they could effect little against
the English troops, they changed their field of action, repaired to the
outskirts of Halifax, murdered about thirty settlers, and carried off
eight or ten prisoners.

[Footnote 114: Maillard, _Les Missions Micmaques_. On the murder of
Howe, _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 194, 195, 210; _Mémoires sur le
Canada, 1749-1760_, where it is said that Le Loutre was present at the
deed; La Vallière, _Journal_, who says that some Acadians took part in
it; _Dépêches de la Jonquière_, who says "les sauvages de l'Abbé le
Loutre l'ont tué par trahison;" and _Prévost au Ministre, 27 Oct.

Strong reinforcements came from Canada. The French began a fort on the
hill of Beauséjour, and the Acadians were required to work at it with no
compensation but rations. They were thinly clad, some had neither shoes
nor stockings, and winter was begun. They became so dejected that it was
found absolutely necessary to give them wages enough to supply their
most pressing needs. In the following season Fort Beauséjour was in a
state to receive a garrison. It stood on the crown of the hill, and a
vast panorama stretched below and around it. In front lay the Bay of
Chignecto, winding along the fertile shores of Chipody and Memeramcook.
Far on the right spread the great Tantemar marsh; on the left lay the
marsh of the Missaguash; and on a knoll beyond it, not three miles
distant, the red flag of England waved over the palisades of Fort
Lawrence, while hills wrapped in dark forests bounded the horizon.

How the homeless Acadians from Beaubassin lived through the winter is
not very clear. They probably found shelter at Chipody and its
neighborhood, where there were thriving settlements of their countrymen.
Le Loutre, fearing that they would return to their lands and submit to
the English, sent some of them to Isle St. Jean. "They refused to go,"
says a French writer; "but he compelled them at last, by threatening to
make the Indians pillage them, carry off their wives and children, and
even kill them before their eyes. Nevertheless he kept about him such as
were most submissive to his will."[115] In the spring after the English
occupied Beaubassin, La Jonquière issued a strange proclamation. It
commanded all Acadians to take forthwith an oath of fidelity to the King
of France, and to enroll themselves in the French militia, on pain of
being treated as rebels.[116] Three years after, Lawrence, who then
governed the province, proclaimed in his turn that all Acadians who had
at any time sworn fidelity to the King of England, and who should be
found in arms against him, would be treated as criminals.[117] Thus were
these unfortunates ground between the upper and nether millstones. Le
Loutre replied to this proclamation of Lawrence by a letter in which he
outdid himself. He declared that any of the inhabitants who had crossed
to the French side of the line, and who should presume to return to the
English, would be treated as enemies by his Micmacs; and in the name of
these, his Indian adherents, he demanded that the entire eastern half of
the Acadian peninsula, including the ground on which Fort Lawrence
stood, should be at once made over to their sole use and sovereign
ownership,[118]--"which being read and considered," says the record of
the Halifax Council, "the contents appeared too insolent and absurd to
be answered."

[Footnote 115: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_.]

[Footnote 116: _Ordonnance du 12 Avril, 1751_.]

[Footnote 117: _Écrit donné aux Habitants réfugiés à Beauséjour, 10
Août, 1754_.]

[Footnote 118: _Copie de la Lettre de M. l'Abbé Le Loutre, Prêtre
Missionnaire des Sauvages de l'Accadie, à M. Lawrence à Halifax, 26
Août, 1754_. There is a translation in _Public Documents of Nova

The number of Acadians who had crossed the line and were collected about
Beauséjour was now large. Their countrymen of Chipody began to find them
a burden, and they lived chiefly on Government rations. Le Loutre had
obtained fifty thousand livres from the Court in order to dike in, for
their use, the fertile marshes of Memeramcook; but the relief was
distant, and the misery pressing. They complained that they had been
lured over the line by false assurances, and they applied secretly to
the English authorities to learn if they would be allowed to return to
their homes. The answer was that they might do so with full enjoyment of
religion and property, if they would take a simple oath of fidelity and
loyalty to the King of Great Britain, qualified by an oral intimation
that they would not be required for the present to bear arms.[119] When
Le Loutre heard this, he mounted the pulpit, broke into fierce
invectives, threatened the terrified people with excommunication, and
preached himself into a state of exhaustion.[120] The military
commandant at Beauséjour used gentler means of prevention; and the
Acadians, unused for generations to think or act for themselves,
remained restless, but indecisive, waiting till fate should settle for
them the question, under which king?

[Footnote 119: _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 205, 209.]

[Footnote 120: Compare _Mémoires, 1749-1760_, and _Public Documents of
Nova Scotia_, 229, 230.]

Meanwhile, for the past three years, the commissioners appointed under
the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle to settle the question of boundaries
between France and England in America had been in session at Paris,
waging interminable war on paper; La Galissonière and Silhouette for
France, Shirley and Mildmay for England. By the treaty of Utrecht,
Acadia belonged to England; but what was Acadia? According to the
English commissioners, it comprised not only the peninsula now called
Nova Scotia, but all the immense tract of land between the River St.
Lawrence on the north, the Gulf of the same name on the east, the
Atlantic on the south, and New England on the west.[121] The French
commissioners, on their part, maintained that the name Acadia belonged
of right only to about a twentieth part of this territory, and that it
did not even cover the whole of the Acadian peninsula, but only its
southern coast, with an adjoining belt of barren wilderness. When the
French owned Acadia, they gave it boundaries as comprehensive as those
claimed for it by the English commissioners; now that it belonged to a
rival, they cut it down to a paring of its former self. The denial that
Acadia included the whole peninsula was dictated by the need of a winter
communication between Quebec and Cape Breton, which was possible only
with the eastern portions in French hands. So new was this denial that
even La Galissonière himself, the foremost in making it, had declared
without reservation two years before that Acadia was the entire
peninsula.[122] "If," says a writer on the question, "we had to do with
a nation more tractable, less grasping, and more conciliatory, it would
be well to insist also that Halifax should be given up to us." He thinks
that, on the whole, it would be well to make the demand in any case, in
order to gain some other point by yielding this one.[123] It is curious
that while denying that the country was Acadia, the French invariably
called the inhabitants Acadians. Innumerable public documents,
commissions, grants, treaties, edicts, signed by French kings and
ministers, had recognized Acadia as extending over New Brunswick and a
part of Maine. Four censuses of Acadia while it belonged to the French
had recognized the mainland as included in it; and so do also the early
French maps. Its prodigious shrinkage was simply the consequence of its
possession by an alien.

[Footnote 121: The commission of De Monts, in 1603, defines Acadia as
extending from the fortieth to the forty-sixth degrees of
latitude,--that is, from central New Brunswick to southern Pennsylvania.
Neither party cared to produce the document.]

[Footnote 122: "L'Acadie suivant ses anciennes limites est la presquisle
bornée par son isthme." _La Galissonière au Ministre, 25 Juillet, 1749_.
The English commissioners were, of course, ignorant of this admission.]

[Footnote 123: _Mémoire de l'Abbée de l'Isle-Dieu, 1753_ (1754?).]

Other questions of limits, more important and equally perilous, called
loudly for solution. What line should separate Canada and her western
dependencies from the British colonies? Various principles of
demarcation were suggested, of which the most prominent on the French
side was a geographical one. All countries watered by streams falling
into the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi were to
belong to her. This would have planted her in the heart of New York and
along the crests of the Alleghanies, giving her all the interior of the
continent, and leaving nothing to England but a strip of sea-coast. Yet
in view of what France had achieved; of the patient gallantry of her
explorers, the zeal of her missionaries, the adventurous hardihood of
her bushrangers, revealing to civilized mankind the existence of this
wilderness world, while her rivals plodded at their workshops, their
farms, or their fisheries,--in view of all this, her pretensions were
moderate and reasonable compared with those of England. The treaty of
Utrecht had declared the Iroquois, or Five Nations, to be British
subjects; therefore it was insisted that all countries conquered by them
belonged to the British Crown. But what was an Iroquois conquest? The
Iroquois rarely occupied the countries they overran. Their military
expeditions were mere raids, great or small. Sometimes, as in the case
of the Hurons, they made a solitude and called it peace; again, as in
the case of the Illinois, they drove off the occupants of the soil, who
returned after the invaders were gone. But the range of their
war-parties was prodigious; and the English laid claim to every
mountain, forest, or prairie where an Iroquois had taken a scalp. This
would give them not only the country between the Alleghanies and the
Mississippi, but also that between Lake Huron and the Ottawa, thus
reducing Canada to the patch on the American map now represented by the
province of Quebec,--or rather, by a part of it, since the extension of
Acadia to the St. Lawrence would cut off the present counties of Gaspé,
Rimouski, and Bonaventure. Indeed among the advocates of British claims
there were those who denied that France had any rights whatever on the
south side of the St. Lawrence.[124] Such being the attitude of the two
contestants, it was plain that there was no resort but the last argument
of kings. Peace must be won with the sword.

[Footnote 124: The extent of British claims is best shown on two maps of
the time, Mitchell's _Map of the British and French Dominions in North
America_ and Huske's _New and Accurate Map of North America_; both are
in the British Museum. Dr. John Mitchell, in his _Contest in America_
(London, 1757) pushes the English claim to its utmost extreme, and
denies that the French were rightful owners of anything in North
America except the town of Quebec and the trading-post of Tadoussac.
Besides the claim founded on the subjection of the Iroquois to the
British Crown, the English somewhat inconsistently advanced others
founded on titles obtained by treaty from these same tribes, and others
still, founded on the original grants of some of the colonies, which ran
indefinitely westward across the continent.]

The commissioners at Paris broke up their sessions, leaving as the
monument of their toils four quarto volumes of allegations, arguments,
and documentary proofs.[125] Out of the discussion rose also a swarm of
fugitive publications in French, English, and Spanish; for the question
of American boundaries had become European. There was one among them
worth notice from its amusing absurdity. It is an elaborate
disquisition, under the title of _Roman politique_, by an author
faithful to the traditions of European diplomacy, and inspired at the
same time by the new philosophy of the school of Rousseau. He insists
that the balance of power must be preserved in America as well as in
Europe, because "Nature," "the aggrandizement of the human soul," and
the "felicity of man" are unanimous in demanding it. The English
colonies are more populous and wealthy than the French; therefore the
French should have more land, to keep the balance. Nature, the human
soul, and the felicity of man require that France should own all the
country beyond the Alleghanies and all Acadia but a strip of the south
coast, according to the "sublime negotiations" of the French
commissioners, of which the writer declares himself a "religious

[Footnote 125: _Mémoires des Commissaires de Sa Majesté Très Chrétienne
et de ceux de Sa Majesté Brittanique_. Paris, 1755. Several editions

[Footnote 126: _Roman politique sur l'État présent des Affaires de
l'Amérique_ (Amsterdam, 1756). For extracts from French Documents, see
Appendix B.]

We know already that France had used means sharper than negotiation to
vindicate her claim to the interior of the continent; had marched to the
sources of the Ohio to entrench herself there, and hold the passes of
the West against all comers. It remains to see how she fared in her bold

Chapter 5

1753, 1754


Towards the end of spring the vanguard of the expedition sent by
Duquesne to occupy the Ohio landed at Presquisle, where Erie now stands.
This route to the Ohio, far better than that which Céleron had followed,
was a new discovery to the French; and Duquesne calls the harbor "the
finest in nature." Here they built a fort of squared chestnut logs, and
when it was finished they cut a road of several leagues through the
woods to Rivière aux Boeufs, now French Creek. At the farther end of
this road they began another wooden fort and called it Fort Le Boeuf.
Thence, when the water was high, they could descend French Creek to the
Allegheny, and follow that stream to the main current of the Ohio.

It was heavy work to carry the cumbrous load of baggage across the
portages. Much of it is said to have been superfluous, consisting of
velvets, silks, and other useless and costly articles, sold to the King
at enormous prices as necessaries of the expedition.[127] The weight of
the task fell on the Canadians, who worked with cheerful hardihood, and
did their part to admiration. Marin, commander of the expedition, a
gruff, choleric old man of sixty-three, but full of force and capacity,
spared himself so little that he was struck down with dysentery, and,
refusing to be sent home to Montreal, was before long in a dying state.
His place was taken by Péan, of whose private character there is little
good to be said, but whose conduct as an officer was such that Duquesne
calls him a prodigy of talents, resources, and zeal.[128] The subalterns
deserve no such praise. They disliked the service, and made no secret of
their discontent. Rumors of it filled Montreal; and Duquesne wrote to
Marin: "I am surprised that you have not told me of this change. Take
note of the sullen and discouraged faces about you. This sort are worse
than useless. Rid yourself of them at once; send them to Montreal, that
I may make an example of them."[129] Péan wrote at the end of September
that Marin was in extremity; and the Governor, disturbed and alarmed,
for he knew the value of the sturdy old officer, looked anxiously for a
successor. He chose another veteran, Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, who had
just returned from a journey of exploration towards the Rocky
Mountains,[130] and whom Duquesne now ordered to the Ohio.

[Footnote 127: Pouchot, _Mémoires sur la dernière Guerre de l'Amérique
Septentrionale_, I. 8.]

[Footnote 128: _Duquesne au Ministre, 2 Nov. 1753_; compare _Mémoire
pour Michel-Jean Hugues Péan_.]

[Footnote 129: _Duquesne à Marin, 27 Août, 1753_.]

[Footnote 130: _Mémoire ou Journal sommaire du Voyage de Jacques
Legardeur de Saint-Pierre._]

Meanwhile the effects of the expedition had already justified it. At
first the Indians of the Ohio had shown a bold front. One of them, a
chief whom the English called the Half-King, came to Fort Le Boeuf and
ordered the French to leave the country; but was received by Marin with
such contemptuous haughtiness that he went home shedding tears of rage
and mortification. The Western tribes were daunted. The Miamis, but
yesterday fast friends of the English, made humble submission to the
French, and offered them two English scalps to signalize their
repentance; while the Sacs, Pottawattamies, and Ojibwas were loud in
professions of devotion.[131] Even the Iroquois, Delawares, and
Shawanoes on the Alleghany had come to the French camp and offered their
help in carrying the baggage. It needed but perseverance and success in
the enterprise to win over every tribe from the mountains to the
Mississippi. To accomplish this and to curb the English, Duquesne had
planned a third fort, at the junction of French Creek with the
Alleghany, or at some point lower down; then, leaving the three posts
well garrisoned, Péan was to descend the Ohio with the whole remaining
force, impose terror on the wavering tribes, and complete their
conversion. Both plans were thwarted; the fort was not built, nor did
Péan descend the Ohio. Fevers, lung diseases, and scurvy made such
deadly havoc among troops and Canadians, that the dying Marin saw with
bitterness that his work must be left half done. Three hundred of the
best men were kept to garrison Forts Presquisle and Le Boeuf; and then,
as winter approached, the rest were sent back to Montreal. When they
arrived, the Governor was shocked at their altered looks. "I reviewed
them, and could not help being touched by the pitiable state to which
fatigues and exposures had reduced them. Past all doubt, if these
emaciated figures had gone down the Ohio as intended, the river would
have been strewn with corpses, and the evil-disposed savages would not
have failed to attack the survivors, seeing that they were but

[Footnote 131: _Rapports de Conseils avec les Sauvages à Montreal,
Juillet, 1753. Duquesne au Ministre, 31 Oct. 1753_. Letter of Dr.
Shuckburgh in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VI. 806.]

[Footnote 132: _Duquesne au Ministre, 29 Nov. 1753_. On this expedition,
compare the letter of Duquesne in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 255, and the
deposition of Stephen Coffen, _Ibid._, VI. 835.]

Legardeur de Saint-Pierre arrived at the end of autumn, and made his
quarters at Fort Le Boeuf. The surrounding forests had dropped their
leaves, and in gray and patient desolation bided the coming winter.
Chill rains drizzled over the gloomy "clearing," and drenched the
palisades and log-built barracks, raw from the axe. Buried in the
wilderness, the military exiles resigned themselves as they might to
months of monotonous solitude; when, just after sunset on the eleventh
of December, a tall youth came out of the forest on horseback, attended
by a companion much older and rougher than himself, and followed by
several Indians and four or five white men with packhorses. Officers
from the fort went out to meet the strangers; and, wading through mud
and sodden snow, they entered at the gate. On the next day the young
leader of the party, with the help of an interpreter, for he spoke no
French, had an interview with the commandant, and gave him a letter from
Governor Dinwiddie. Saint-Pierre and the officer next in rank, who knew
a little English, took it to another room to study it at their ease; and
in it, all unconsciously, they read a name destined to stand one of the
noblest in the annals of mankind; for it introduced Major George
Washington, Adjutant-General of the Virginia militia.[133]

[Footnote 133: _Journal of Major Washington. Journal of Mr. Christopher

Dinwiddie, jealously watchful of French aggression, had learned through
traders and Indians that a strong detachment from Canada had entered the
territories of the King of England, and built forts on Lake Erie and on
a branch of the Ohio. He wrote to challenge the invasion and summon the
invaders to withdraw; and he could find none so fit to bear his message
as a young man of twenty-one. It was this rough Scotchman who launched
Washington on his illustrious career.

Washington set out for the trading station of the Ohio Company on Will's
Creek; and thence, at the middle of November, struck into the wilderness
with Christopher Gist as a guide, Vanbraam, a Dutchman, as French
interpreter, Davison, a trader, as Indian interpreter, and four woodsmen
as servants. They went to the forks of the Ohio, and then down the river
to Logstown, the Chiningué of Céloron de Bienville. There Washington had
various parleys with the Indians; and thence, after vexatious delays, he
continued his journey towards Fort Le Boeuf, accompanied by the friendly
chief called the Half-King and by three of his tribesmen. For several
days they followed the traders' path, pelted with unceasing rain and
snow, and came at last to the old Indian town of Venango, where French
Creek enters the Alleghany. Here there was an English trading-house; but
the French had seized it, raised their flag over it, and turned it into
a military outpost.[134] Joncaire was in command, with two subalterns;
and nothing could exceed their civility. They invited the strangers to
supper; and, says Washington, "the wine, as they dosed themselves pretty
plentifully with it, soon banished the restraint which at first appeared
in their conversation, and gave a license to their tongues to reveal
their sentiments more freely. They told me that it was their absolute
design to take possession of the Ohio, and, by G----, they would do it;
for that although they were sensible the English could raise two men for
their one, yet they knew their motions were too slow and dilatory to
prevent any undertaking of theirs."[135]

[Footnote 134: Marin had sent sixty men in August to seize the house,
which belonged to the trader Fraser. _Dépêches de Duquesne_. They
carried off two men whom they found here. Letter of Fraser in _Colonial
Records of Pa._, V. 659.]

[Footnote 135: _Journal of Washington_, as printed at Williamsburg, just
after his return.]

With all their civility, the French officers did their best to entice
away Washington's Indians; and it was with extreme difficulty that he
could persuade them to go with him. Through marshes and swamps, forests
choked with snow, and drenched with incessant rain, they toiled on for
four days more, till the wooden walls of Fort Le Boeuf appeared at last,
surrounded by fields studded thick with stumps, and half-encircled by
the chill current of French Creek, along the banks of which lay more
than two hundred canoes, ready to carry troops in the spring. Washington
describes Legardeur de Saint-Pierre as "an elderly gentleman with much
the air of a soldier." The letter sent him by Dinwiddie expressed
astonishment that his troops should build forts upon lands "so
notoriously known to be the property of the Crown of Great Britain." "I
must desire you," continued the letter, "to acquaint me by whose
authority and instructions you have lately marched from Canada with an
armed force, and invaded the King of Great Britain's territories. It
becomes my duty to require your peaceable departure; and that you would
forbear prosecuting a purpose so interruptive of the harmony and good
understanding which His Majesty is desirous to continue and cultivate
with the Most Christian King. I persuade myself you will receive and
entertain Major Washington with the candor and politeness natural to
your nation; and it will give me the greatest satisfaction if you return
him with an answer suitable to my wishes for a very long and lasting
peace between us."

Saint-Pierre took three days to frame the answer. In it he said that he
should send Dinwiddie's letter to the Marquis Duquesne and wait his
orders; and that meanwhile he should remain at his post, according to
the commands of his general. "I made it my particular care," so the
letter closed, "to receive Mr. Washington with a distinction suitable to
your dignity as well as his own quality and great merit."[136] No form
of courtesy had, in fact, been wanting. "He appeared to be extremely
complaisant," says Washington, "though he was exerting every artifice to
set our Indians at variance with us. I saw that every stratagem was
practised to win the Half-King to their interest." Neither gifts nor
brandy were spared; and it was only by the utmost pains that Washington
could prevent his red allies from staying at the fort, conquered by
French blandishments.

[Footnote 136: "La Distinction qui convient à votre Dignitté à sa
Qualité et à son grand Mérite." Copy of original letter sent by
Dinwiddie to Governor Hamilton.]

After leaving Venango on his return, he found the horses so weak that,
to arrive the sooner, he left them and their drivers in charge of
Vanbraam and pushed forward on foot, accompanied by Gist alone. Each was
wrapped to the throat in an Indian "matchcoat," with a gun in his hand
and a pack at his back. Passing an old Indian hamlet called Murdering
Town, they had an adventure which threatened to make good the name. A
French Indian, whom they met in the forest, fired at them, pretending
that his gun had gone off by chance. They caught him, and Gist would
have killed him; but Washington interposed, and they let him go.[137]
Then, to escape pursuit from his tribesmen, they walked all night and
all the next day. This brought them to the banks of the Alleghany. They
hoped to have found it dead frozen; but it was all alive and turbulent,
filled with ice sweeping down the current. They made a raft, shoved out
into the stream, and were soon caught helplessly in the drifting ice.
Washington, pushing hard with his setting-pole, was jerked into the
freezing river; but caught a log of the raft, and dragged himself out.
By no efforts could they reach the farther bank, or regain that which
they had left; but they were driven against an island, where they
landed, and left the raft to its fate. The night was excessively cold,
and Gist's feet and hands were badly frost-bitten. In the morning, the
ice had set, and the river was a solid floor. They crossed it, and
succeeded in reaching the house of the trader Fraser, on the
Monongahela. It was the middle of January when Washington arrived at
Williamsburg and made his report to Dinwiddie.

[Footnote 137: _Journal of Mr. Christopher Gist_, in _Mass. Hist. Coll.,
3rd Series_, V.]

Robert Dinwiddie was lieutenant-governor of Virginia, in place of the
titular governor, Lord Albermarle, whose post was a sinecure. He had
been clerk in a government office in the West Indies; then surveyor of
customs in the "Old Dominion,"--a position in which he made himself
cordially disliked; and when he rose to the governorship he carried his
unpopularity with him. Yet Virginia and all the British colonies owed
him much; for, though past sixty, he was the most watchful sentinel
against French aggression and its most strenuous opponent. Scarcely had
Marin's vanguard appeared at Presquisle, when Dinwiddie warned the Home
Government of the danger, and urged, what he had before urged in vain on
the Virginian Assembly, the immediate building of forts on the Ohio.
There came in reply a letter, signed by the King, authorizing him to
build the forts at the cost of the Colony, and to repel force by force
in case he was molested or obstructed. Moreover, the King wrote, "If you
shall find that any number of persons shall presume to erect any fort or
forts within the limits of our province of Virginia, you are first to
require of them peaceably to depart; and if, notwithstanding your
admonitions, they do still endeavor to carry out any such unlawful and
unjustifiable designs, we do hereby strictly charge and command you to
drive them off by force of arms."[138]

[Footnote 138: _Instructions to Our Trusty and Well-beloved Robert
Dinwiddie, Esq., 28 Aug. 1753._]

The order was easily given; but to obey it needed men and money, and for
these Dinwiddie was dependent on his Assembly, or House of Burgesses. He
convoked them for the first of November, sending Washington at the same
time with the summons to Saint-Pierre. The burgesses met. Dinwiddie
exposed the danger, and asked for means to meet it.[139] They seemed
more than willing to comply; but debates presently arose concerning the
fee of a pistole, which the Governor had demanded on each patent of land
issued by him. The amount was trifling, but the principle was doubtful.
The aristocratic republic of Virginia was intensely jealous of the
slightest encroachment on its rights by the Crown or its representative.
The Governor defended the fee. The burgesses replied that "subjects
cannot be deprived of the least part of their property without their
consent," declared the fee unlawful, and called on Dinwiddie to confess
it to be so. He still defended it. They saw in his demand for supplies a
means of bringing him to terms, and refused to grant money unless he
would recede from his position. Dinwiddie rebuked them for "disregarding
the designs of the French, and disputing the rights of the Crown"; and
he "prorogued them in some anger."[140]

[Footnote 139: _Address of Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie to the Council
and Burgesses, 1 Nov. 1753._]

[Footnote 140: _Dinwiddie Papers._]

Thus he was unable to obey the instructions of the King. As a temporary
resource, he ventured to order a draft of two hundred men from the
militia. Washington was to have command, with the trader, William Trent,
as his lieutenant. His orders were to push with all speed to the forks
of the Ohio, and there build a fort; "but in case any attempts are made
to obstruct the works by any persons whatsoever, to restrain all such
offenders, and, in case of resistance, to make prisoners of, or kill and
destroy them."[141] The Governor next sent messengers to the Catawbas,
Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Iroquois of the Ohio, inviting them to take
up the hatchet against the French, "who, under pretence of embracing
you, mean to squeeze you to death." Then he wrote urgent letters to the
governors of Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Maryland, and New Jersey,
begging for contingents of men, to be at Wills Creeks in March at the
latest. But nothing could be done without money; and trusting for a
change of heart on the part of the burgesses, he summoned them to meet
again on the fourteenth of February. "If they come in good temper," he
wrote to Lord Fairfax, a nobleman settled in the colony, "I hope they
will lay a fund to qualify me to send four or five hundred men more to
the Ohio, which, with the assistance of our neighboring colonies, may
make some figure."

[Footnote 141: _Ibid. Instructions to Major George Washington, January,

The session began. Again, somewhat oddly, yet forcibly, the Governor set
before the Assembly the peril of the situation, and begged them to
postpone less pressing questions to the exigency of the hour.[142] This
time they listened; and voted ten thousand pounds in Virginia currency
to defend the frontier. The grant was frugal, and they jealously placed
its expenditure in the hands of a committee of their own.[143]
Dinwiddie, writing to the Lords of Trade, pleads necessity as his excuse
for submitting to their terms. "I am sorry," he says, "to find them too
much in a republican way of thinking." What vexed him still more was
their sending an agent to England to complain against him on the
irrepressible question of the pistole fee; and he writes to his London
friend, the merchant Hanbury: "I have had a great deal of trouble from
the factious disputes and violent heats of a most impudent, troublesome
party here in regard to that silly fee of a pistole. Surely every
thinking man will make a distinction between a fee and a tax. Poor
people! I pity their ignorance and narrow, ill-natured spirits. But, my
friend, consider that I could by no means give up this fee without
affronting the Board of Trade and the Council here who established it."
His thoughts were not all of this harassing nature, and he ends his
letter with the following petition: "Now, sir, as His Majesty is pleased
to make me a military officer, please send for Scott, my tailor, to make
me a proper suit of regimentals, to be here by His Majesty's birthday. I
do not much like gayety in dress, but I conceive this necessary. I do
not much care for lace on the coat, but a neat embroidered button-hole;
though you do not deal that way, I know you have a good taste, that I
may show my friend's fancy in that suit of clothes; a good laced hat and
two pair stockings, one silk, the other fine thread."[144]

[Footnote 142: _Speech of Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie to the Council
and Burgesses 14 Feb., 1754._]

[Footnote 143: See the bill in Hening, _Statutes of Virginia_, VI. 417.]

[Footnote 144: _Dinwiddie to Hanbury, 12 March, 1754; Ibid., 10 May,

If the Governor and his English sometimes provoke a smile, he deserves
admiration for the energy with which he opposed the public enemy, under
circumstances the most discouraging. He invited the Indians to meet him
in council at Winchester, and, as bait to attract them, coupled the
message with a promise of gifts. He sent circulars from the King to the
neighboring governors, calling for supplies, and wrote letter upon
letter to rouse them to effort. He wrote also to the more distant
governors, Delancey of New York, and Shirley of Massachusetts, begging
them to make what he called a "faint" against Canada, to prevent the
French from sending so large a force to the Ohio. It was to the nearer
colonies, from New Jersey to South Carolina, that he looked for direct
aid; and their several governors were all more or less active to procure
it; but as most of them had some standing dispute with their assemblies,
they could get nothing except on terms with which they would not, and
sometimes could not, comply. As the lands invaded by the French belonged
to one of the two rival claimants, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the other
colonies had no mind to vote money to defend them. Pennsylvania herself
refused to move. Hamilton, her governor, could do nothing against the
placid obstinacy of the Quaker non-combatants and the stolid obstinacy
of the German farmers who chiefly made up his Assembly. North Carolina
alone answered the appeal, and gave money enough to raise three or four
hundred men. Two independent companies maintained by the King in New
York, and one in South Carolina, had received orders from England to
march to the scene of action; and in these, with the scanty levies of
his own and the adjacent province, lay Dinwiddie's only hope. With men
abundant and willing, there were no means to put them into the field,
and no commander whom they would all obey.

From the brick house at Williamsburg pompously called the Governor's
Palace, Dinwiddie despatched letters, orders, couriers, to hasten the
tardy reinforcements of North Carolina and New York, and push on the raw
soldiers of the Old Dominion, who now numbered three hundred men. They
were called the Virginia regiment; and Joshua Fry, an English gentleman,
bred at Oxford, was made their colonel, with Washington as next in
command. Fry was at Alexandria with half the so-called regiment, trying
to get it into marching order; Washington, with the other half, had
pushed forward to the Ohio Company's storehouse at Wills Creek, which
was to form a base of operations. His men were poor whites, brave, but
hard to discipline; without tents, ill armed, and ragged as Falstaff's
recruits. Besides these, a band of backwoodsmen under Captain Trent had
crossed the mountains in February to build a fort at the forks of the
Ohio, where Pittsburg now stands,--a spot which Washington had examined
when on his way to Fort Le Boeuf, and which he had reported as the best
for the purpose. The hope was that Trent would fortify himself before
the arrival of the French, and that Washington and Fry would join him in
time to secure the position. Trent had begun the fort; but for some
unexplained reason had gone back to Wills Creek leaving Ensign Ward with
forty men at work upon it. Their labors were suddenly interrupted. On
the seventeenth of April a swarm of bateaux and canoes came down the
Alleghany, bringing, according to Ward, more than a thousand Frenchmen,
though in reality not much above five hundred, who landed, planted
cannon against the incipient stockade, and summoned the ensign to
surrender, on pain of what might ensue.[145] He complied, and was
allowed to depart with his men. Retracing his steps over the mountains,
he reported his mishap to Washington; while the French demolished his
unfinished fort, began a much larger and better one, and named it Fort

[Footnote 145: See the summons in _Précis des Faits_, 101.]

They had acted with their usual promptness. Their Governor, a practised
soldier, knew the value of celerity, and had set his troops in motion
with the first opening of spring. He had no refractory assembly to
hamper him; no lack of money, for the King supplied it; and all Canada
must march at his bidding. Thus, while Dinwiddie was still toiling to
muster his raw recruits, Duquesne's lieutenant, Contrecoeur, successor
of Saint-Pierre, had landed at Presquisle with a much greater force, in
part regulars, and in part Canadians.

Dinwiddie was deeply vexed when a message from Washington told him how
his plans were blighted; and he spoke his mind to his friend Hanbury:
"If our Assembly had voted the money in November which they did in
February, it's more than probable the fort would have been built and
garrisoned before the French had approached; but these things cannot be
done without money. As there was none in our treasury, I have advanced
my own to forward the expedition; and if the independent companies from
New York come soon, I am in hopes the eyes of the other colonies will be
opened; and if they grant a proper supply of men, I hope we shall be
able to dislodge the French or build a fort on that river. I
congratulate you on the increase of your family. My wife and two girls
join in our most sincere respects to good Mrs. Hanbury."[146]

[Footnote 146: _Dinwiddie to Hanbury, 10 May, 1754._]

The seizure of a king's fort by planting cannon against it and
threatening it with destruction was in his eyes a beginning of
hostilities on the part of the French; and henceforth both he and
Washington acted much as if war had been declared. From their station at
Wills Creek, the distance by the traders' path to Fort Duquesne was
about a hundred and forty miles. Midway was a branch of the Monongahela
called Redstone Creek, at the mouth of which the Ohio Company had built
another storehouse. Dinwiddie ordered all the forces to cross the
mountains and assemble at this point, until they should be strong enough
to advance against the French. The movement was critical in presence of
an enemy as superior in discipline as he was in numbers, while the
natural obstacles were great. A road for cannon and wagons must be cut
through a dense forest and over two ranges of high mountains, besides
countless hills and streams. Washington set all his force to the work,
and they spent a fortnight in making twenty miles. Towards the end of
May, however, Dinwiddie learned that he had crossed the main ridge of
the Alleghanies, and was encamped with a hundred and fifty men near the
parallel ridge of Laurel Hill, at a place called the Great Meadows.
Trent's backwoodsmen had gone off in disgust; Fry, with the rest of the
regiment, was still far behind; and Washington was daily expecting an
attack. Close upon this, a piece of good news, or what seemed such, came
over the mountains and gladdened the heart of the Governor. He heard
that a French detachment had tried to surprise Washington, and that he
had killed or captured the whole. The facts were as follows.

Washington was on the Youghiogany, a branch of the Monongahela,
exploring it in hopes that it might prove navigable, when a messenger
came to him from his old comrade, the Half-King, who was on the way to
join him. The message was to the effect that the French had marched from
their fort, and meant to attack the first English they should meet. A
report came soon after that they were already at the ford of the
Youghiogany, eighteen miles distant. Washington at once repaired to the
Great Meadows, a level tract of grass and bushes, bordered by wooded
hills, and traversed in one part by a gully, which with a little labor
the men turned into an entrenchment, at the same time cutting away the
bushes and clearing what the young commander called "a charming field
for an encounter." Parties were sent out to scour the woods, but they
found no enemy. Two days passed; when, on the morning of the
twenty-seventh, Christopher Gist, who had lately made a settlement on
the farther side of Laurel Hill, twelve or thirteen miles distant, came
to the camp with news that fifty Frenchmen had been at his house towards
noon of the day before, and would have destroyed everything but for the
intervention of two Indians whom he had left in charge during his
absence. Washington sent seventy-five men to look for the party; but the
search was vain, the French having hidden themselves so well as to
escape any eye but that of an Indian. In the evening a runner came from
the Half-King, who was encamped with a few warriors some miles distant.
He had sent to tell Washington that he had found the tracks of two men,
and traced them towards a dark glen in the forest, where in his belief
all the French were lurking.

Washington seems not to have hesitated a moment. Fearing a stratagem to
surprise his camp, he left his main force to guard it, and at ten
o'clock set out for the Half-King's wigwams at the head of forty men.
The night was rainy, and the forest, to use his own words, "as black as
pitch." "The path," he continues, "was hardly wide enough for one man;
we often lost it, and could not find it again for fifteen or twenty
minutes, and we often tumbled over each other in the dark[147]." Seven
of his men were lost in the woods and left behind. The rest groped their
way all night, and reached the Indian camp at sunrise. A council was
held with the Half-King, and he and his warriors agreed to join in
striking the French. Two of them led the way. The tracks of the two
French scouts seen the day before were again found, and, marching in
single file, the party pushed through the forest into the rocky hollow
where the French were supposed to be concealed. They were there in fact;
and they snatched their guns the moment they saw the English. Washington
gave the word to fire. A short fight ensued. Coulon de Jumonville, an
ensign in command, was killed, with nine others; twenty-two were
captured, and none escaped but a Canadian who had fled at the beginning
of the fray. After it was over, the prisoners told Washington that the
party had been sent to bring him a summons from Contrecoeur, the
commandant at Fort Duquesne.

[Footnote 147: _Journal of Washington_ in _Précis des Faits_, 109. This
Journal, which is entirely distinct from that before cited, was found by
the French among the baggage left on the field after the defeat of
Braddock in 1755, and a translation of it was printed by them as above.
The original has disappeared.]

Five days before, Contrecoeur had sent Jumonville to scour the country
as far as the dividing ridge of the Alleghanies. Under him were another
officer, three cadets, a volunteer, an interpreter, and twenty-eight
men. He was provided with a written summons, to be delivered to any
English he might find. It required them to withdraw from the domain of
the King of France, and threatened compulsion by force of arms in case
of refusal. But before delivering the summons Jumonville was ordered to
send two couriers back with all speed to Fort Duquesne to inform the
commandant that he had found the English, and to acquaint him when he
intended to communicate with them.[148] It is difficult to imagine any
object for such an order except that of enabling Contrecoeur to send to
the spot whatever force might be needed to attack the English on their
refusal to withdraw. Jumonville had sent the two couriers, and had
hidden himself, apparently to wait the result. He lurked nearly two days
within five miles of Washington's camp, sent out scouts to reconnoitre
it, but gave no notice of his presence; played to perfection the part of
a skulking enemy, and brought destruction on himself by conduct which
can only be ascribed to a sinister motive on the one hand, or to extreme
folly on the other. French deserters told Washington that the party came
as spies, and were to show the summons only if threatened by a superior
force. This last assertion is confirmed by the French officer Pouchot,
who says that Jumonville, seeing himself the weaker party, tried to show
the letter he had brought.[149]

[Footnote 148: The summons and the instructions to Jumonville are in
_Précis des Faits_.]

[Footnote 149: Pouchot, _Mémoire sur la dernière Guerre_.]

French writers say that, on first seeing the English, Jumonville's
interpreter called out that he had something to say to them; but
Washington, who was at the head of his men, affirms this to be
absolutely false. The French say further that Jumonville was killed in
the act of reading the summons. This is also denied by Washington, and
rests only on the assertion of the Canadian who ran off at the outset,
and on the alleged assertion of Indians who, if present at all, which is
unlikely, escaped like the Canadian before the fray began. Druillon, an
officer with Jumonville, wrote two letters to Dinwiddie after his
capture, to claim the privileges of the bearer of a summons; but while
bringing forward every other circumstance in favor of the claim, he does
not pretend that the summons was read or shown either before or during
the action. The French account of the conduct of Washington's Indians is
no less erroneous. "This murder," says a chronicler of the time,
"produced on the minds of the savages an effect very different from that
which the cruel Washington had promised himself. They have a horror of
crime; and they were so indignant at that which had just been
perpetrated before their eyes, that they abandoned him, and offered
themselves to us in order to take vengeance."[150] Instead of doing
this, they boasted of their part in the fight, scalped all the dead
Frenchmen, sent one scalp to the Delawares as an invitation to take up
the hatchet for the English, and distributed the rest among the various
Ohio tribes to the same end.

[Footnote 150: Poulin de Lumina, _Histoire de la Guerre contre les
Anglois_, 15.]

Coolness of judgment, a profound sense of public duty, and a strong
self-control, were even then the characteristics of Washington; but he
was scarcely twenty-two, was full of military ardor, and was vehement
and fiery by nature. Yet it is far from certain that, even when age and
experience had ripened him, he would have forborne to act as he did, for
there was every reason for believing that the designs of the French were
hostile; and though by passively waiting the event he would have thrown
upon them the responsibility of striking the first blow, he would have
exposed his small party to capture or destruction by giving them time to
gain reinforcements from Fort Duquesne. It was inevitable that the
killing of Jumonville should be greeted in France by an outcry of real
or assumed horror; but the Chevalier de Lévis, second in command to
Montcalm, probably expresses the true opinion of Frenchmen best fitted
to judge when he calls it "a pretended assassination."[151] Judge it as
we may, this obscure skirmish began the war that set the world on

[Footnote 151: Lévis, _Mémoire sur la Guerre du Canada_.]

[Footnote 152: On this affair, Sparks, _Writings of Washington_, II.
25-48, 447. _Dinwiddie Papers. Letter of Contrecoeur_ in _Précis des
Faits. Journal of Washington, Ibid. Washington to Dinwiddie, 3 June,
1754_. Dussieux, _Le Canada sous la Domination Française_, 118. Gaspé,
_Anciens Canadiens, appendix_, 396. The assertion of Abbé de
l'Isle-Dieu, that Jumonville showed a flag of truce, is unsupported.
Adam Stephen, who was in the fight, says that the guns of the English
were so wet that they had to trust mainly to the bayonet. The Half-King
boasted that he killed Jumonville with his tomahawk. Dinwiddie highly
approved Washington's conduct.

In 1755 the widow of Jumonville received a pension of one hundred and
fifty francs. In 1775 his daughter, Charlotte Aimable, wishing to become
a nun, was given by the King six hundred francs for her "trousseau" on
entering the convent. _Dossier de Jumonville et de sa Veuve, 22 Mars,
1755_. _Mémoire pour Mlle. de Jumonville, 10 Juillet, 1775_. _Résponse
du Garde des Sceaux, 25 Juillet, 1775_.]

Washington returned to the camp at the Great Meadows; and, expecting
soon to be attacked, sent for reinforcements to Colonel Fry, who was
lying dangerously ill at Wills Creek. Then he set his men to work at an
entrenchment, which he named Fort Necessity, and which must have been of
the slightest, as they finished it within three days.[153] The Half-King
now joined him, along with the female potentate known as Queen
Alequippa, and some thirty Indian families. A few days after, Gist came
from Wills Creek with news that Fry was dead. Washington succeeded to
the command of the regiment, the remaining three companies of which
presently appeared and joined their comrades, raising the whole number
to three hundred. Next arrived the independent company from South
Carolina; and the Great Meadows became an animated scene, with the
wigwams of the Indians, the camp-sheds of the rough Virginians, the
cattle grazing on the tall grass or drinking at the lazy brook that
traversed it; the surrounding heights and forests; and over all, four
miles away the lofty green ridge of Laurel Hill.

[Footnote 153: _Journal of Washington_ in _Précis des Faits_.]

The presence of the company of regulars was a doubtful advantage.
Captain Mackay, its commander, holding his commission from the King,
thought himself above any officer commissioned by the Governor. There
was great courtesy between him and Washington; but Mackay would take no
orders, nor even the countersign, from the colonel of volunteers. Nor
would his men work, except for an additional shilling a day. To give
this was impossible, both from want of money, and from the discontent it
would have bred in the Virginians, who worked for nothing besides their
daily pay of eightpence. Washington, already a leader of men, possessed
himself in a patience extremely difficult to his passionate temper; but
the position was untenable, and the presence of the military drones
demoralized his soldiers. Therefore, leaving Mackay at the Meadows, he
advanced towards Gist's settlement, cutting a wagon road as he went.

On reaching the settlement the camp was formed and an entrenchment
thrown up. Deserters had brought news that strong reinforcements were
expected at Fort Duquesne, and friendly Indians repeatedly warned
Washington that he would soon be attacked by overwhelming numbers. Forty
Indians from the Ohio came to the camp, and several days were spent in
councils with them; but they proved for the most part to be spies of the
French. The Half-King stood fast by the English, and sent out three of
his young warriors as scouts. Reports of attack thickened. Mackay and
his men were sent for, and they arrived on the twenty-eighth of June. A
council of war was held at Gist's house; and as the camp was commanded
by neighboring heights, it was resolved to fall back. The horses were so
few that the Virginians had to carry much of the baggage on their backs,
and drag nine swivels over the broken and rocky road. The regulars,
though they also were raised in the provinces, refused to give the
slightest help. Toiling on for two days, they reached the Great Meadows
on the first of July. The position, though perhaps the best in the
neighborhood, was very unfavorable, and Washington would have retreated
farther, but for the condition of his men. They were spent with fatigue,
and there was no choice but to stay and fight.

Strong reinforcements had been sent to Fort Duquesne in the spring, and
the garrison now consisted of about fourteen hundred men. When news of
the death of Jumonville reached Montreal, Coulon de Villiers, brother of
the slain officer, was sent to the spot with a body of Indians from all
the tribes in the colony. He made such speed that at eight o'clock on
the morning of the twenty-sixth of June he reached the fort with his
motley following. Here he found that five hundred Frenchmen and a few
Ohio Indians were on the point of marching against the English, under
Chevalier Le Mercier; but in view of his seniority in rank and his
relationship to Jumonville, the command was now transferred to Villiers.
Hereupon, the march was postponed; the newly-arrived warriors were
called to council, and Contrecoeur thus harangued them: "The English
have murdered my children, my heart is sick; to-morrow I shall send my
French soldiers to take revenge. And now, men of the Saut St. Louis, men
of the Lake of Two Mountains, Hurons, Abenakis, Iroquois of La
Présentation, Nipissings, Algonquins, and Ottawas,--I invite you all by
this belt of wampum to join your French father and help him to crush the
assassins. Take this hatchet, and with it two barrels of wine for a
feast." Both hatchet and wine were cheerfully accepted. Then Contrecoeur
turned to the Delawares, who were also present: "By these four strings
of wampum I invite you, if you are true children of Onontio, to follow
the example of your brethren;" and with some hesitation they also took
up the hatchet.

The next day was spent by the Indians in making moccasons for the march,
and by the French in preparing for an expedition on a larger scale than
had been at first intended. Contrecoeur, Villiers, Le Mercier, and
Longueuil, after deliberating together, drew up a paper to the effect
that "it was fitting (_convenable_) to march against the English with
the greatest possible number of French and savages, in order to avenge
ourselves and chastise them for having violated the most sacred laws of
civilized nations;" that, thought their conduct justified the French in
disregarding the existing treaty of peace, yet, after thoroughly
punishing them, and compelling them to withdraw from the domain of the
King, they should be told that, in pursuance of his royal orders, the
French looked on them as friends. But it was further agreed that should
the English have withdrawn to their own side of the mountains, "they
should be followed to their settlements to destroy them and treat them
as enemies, till that nation should give ample satisfaction and
completely change its conduct."[154]

[Footnote 154: _Journal de Campagne de M. de Villiers depuis son Arrivée
au Fort Duquesne jusqu'à son Retour au dit Fort_. These and other
passages are omitted in the Journal as printed in _Précis des Faits_.
Before me is a copy from the original in the Archives de la Marine.]

The party set out on the next morning, paddled their canoes up the
Monongahela, encamped, heard Mass; and on the thirtieth reached the
deserted storehouse of the Ohio Company at the mouth of Redstone Creek.
It was a building of solid logs, well loopholed for musketry. To please
the Indians by asking their advice, Villiers called all the chiefs to
council; which, being concluded to their satisfaction, he left a
sergeant's guard at the storehouse to watch the canoes, and began his
march through the forest. The path was so rough that at the first halt
the chaplain declared he could go no farther, and turned back for the
storehouse, though not till he had absolved the whole company in a body.
Thus lightened of their sins, they journeyed on, constantly sending out
scouts. On the second of July they reached the abandoned camp of
Washington at Gist's settlement; and here they bivouacked, tired, and
drenched all night by rain. At daybreak they marched again, and passed
through the gorge of Laurel Hill. It rained without ceasing; but
Villiers pushed his way through the dripping forest to see the place,
half a mile from the road, where his brother had been killed, and where
several bodies still lay unburied. They had learned from a deserter the
position of the enemy, and Villiers filled the woods in front with a
swarm of Indian scouts. The crisis was near. He formed his men in
column, and ordered every officer to his place.

Washington's men had had a full day at Fort Necessity; but they spent it
less in resting from their fatigue than in strengthening their rampart
with logs. The fort was a simple square enclosure, with a trench said by
a French writer to be only knee deep. On the south, and partly on the
west, there was an exterior embankment, which seems to have been made,
like a rifle-pit, with the ditch inside. The Virginians had but little
ammunition, and no bread whatever, living chiefly on fresh beef. They
knew the approach of the French, who were reported to Washington as nine
hundred strong, besides Indians. Towards eleven o'clock a wounded
sentinel came in with news that they were close at hand; and they
presently appeared at the edge of the woods, yelling, and firing from
such a distance that their shot fell harmless. Washington drew up his
men on the meadow before the fort, thinking, he says, that the enemy,
being greatly superior in force, would attack at once; and choosing for
some reason to meet them on the open plain. But Villiers had other
views. "We approached the English," he writes, "as near as possible,
without uselessly exposing the lives of the King's subjects;" and he and
his followers made their way through the forest till they came opposite
the fort, where they stationed themselves on two densely wooded hills,
adjacent, though separated by a small brook. One of these was about a
hundred paces from the English, and the other about sixty. Their
position was such that the French and Indians, well sheltered by trees
and bushes, and with the advantage of higher ground, could cross their
fire upon the fort and enfilade a part of it. Washington had meanwhile
drawn his followers within the entrenchment; and the firing now began on
both sides. Rain fell all day. The raw earth of the embankment was
turned to soft mud, and the men in the ditch of the outwork stood to the
knee in water. The swivels brought back from the camp at Gist's farm
were mounted on the rampart; but the gunners were so ill protected that
the pieces were almost silenced by the French musketry. The fight lasted
nine hours. At times the fire on both sides was nearly quenched by the
showers, and the bedrenched combatants could do little but gaze at each
other through a gray veil of mist and rain. Towards night, however, the
fusillade revived, and became sharp again until dark. At eight o'clock
the French called out to propose a parley.

Villiers thus gives his reason for these overtures. "As we had been wet
all day by the rain, as the soldiers were very tired, as the savages
said that they would leave us the next morning, and as there was a
report that drums and the firing of cannon had been heard in the
distance, I proposed to M. Le Mercier to offer the English a
conference." He says further that ammunition was falling short, and that
he thought the enemy might sally in a body and attack him.[155] The
English, on their side, were in a worse plight. They were half starved,
their powder was nearly spent, their guns were foul, and among them all
they had but two screw-rods to clean them. In spite of his desperate
position, Washington declined the parley, thinking it a pretext to
introduce a spy; but when the French repeated their proposal and
requested that he would send an officer to them, he could hesitate no
longer. There were but two men with him who knew French, Ensign
Peyroney, who was disabled by a wound, and the Dutchman, Captain
Vanbraam. To him the unpalatable errand was assigned. After a long
absence he returned with articles of capitulation offered by Villiers;
and while the officers gathered about him in the rain, he read and
interpreted the paper by the glimmer of a sputtering candle kept alight
with difficulty. Objection was made to some of the terms, and they were
changed. Vanbraam, however, apparently anxious to get the capitulation
signed and the affair ended, mistranslated several passages, and
rendered the words _l'assassinat du Sieur de Jumonville_ as _the death
of the Sieur de Jumonville_.[156] As thus understood, the articles were
signed about midnight. They provided that the English should march out
with drums beating and the honors of war, carrying with them one of
their swivels and all their other property; that they should be
protected against insult from French or Indians; that the prisoners
taken in the affair of Jumonville should be set free; and that two
officers should remain as hostages for their safe return to Fort
Duquesne. The hostages chosen were Vanbraam and a brave but eccentric
Scotchman, Robert Stobo, an acquaintance of the novelist Smollett, said
to be the original of his Lismahago.

[Footnote 155: _Journal de Villiers_, original. Omitted in the Journal
as printed by the French Government. A short and very incorrect abstract
of this Journal will be found in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X.]

[Footnote 156: See Appendix C. On the fight at Great Meadows, compare
Sparks, _Writings of Washington_, II. 456-468; also a letter of Colonel
Innes to Governor Hamilton, written a week after the event, in _Colonial
Records of Pa._, VI. 50, and a letter of Adam Stephen in _Pennsylvania
Gazette, 1754_.]

Washington reports that twelve of the Virginians were killed on the
spot, and forty-three wounded, while on the casualties in Mackay's
company no returns appear. Villiers reports his own loss at only twenty
in all.[157] The numbers engaged are uncertain. The six companies of the
Virginia regiment counted three hundred and five men and officers, and
Mackay's company one hundred; but many were on the sick list, and some
had deserted. About three hundred and fifty may have taken part in the
fight. On the side of the French, Villiers says that the detachment as
originally formed consisted of five hundred white men. These were
increased after his arrival at Fort Duquesne, and one of the party
reports that seven hundred marched on the expedition.[158] The number of
Indians joining them is not given; but as nine tribes and communities
contributed to it, and as two barrels of wine were required to give the
warriors a parting feast, it must have been considerable. White men and
red, it seems clear that the French force was more than twice that of
the English, while they were better posted and better sheltered, keeping
all day under cover, and never showing themselves on the open meadow.
There were no Indians with Washington. Even the Half-King held aloof;
though, being of a caustic turn, he did not spare his comments on the
fight, telling Conrad Weiser, the provincial interpreter, that the
French behaved like cowards, and the English like fools.[159]

[Footnote 157: Dinwiddie writes to the Lords of Trade that thirty in all
were killed, and seventy wounded, on the English side; and the
commissary Varin writes to Bigot that the French lost seventy-two
killed and wounded.]

[Footnote 158: _A Journal had from Thomas Forbes, lately a Private
Soldier in the King of France's Service_. (Public Record Office.) Forbes
was one of Villiers' soldiers. The commissary Varin puts the number of
French at six hundred, besides Indians.]

[Footnote 159: _Journal of Conrad Weiser_, in _Colonial Records of Pa._,
VI. 150. The Half-King also remarked that Washington "was a good-natured
man, but had no experience, and would by no means take advice from the
Indians, but was always driving them on to fight by his directions; that
he lay at one place from one full moon to the other, and made no
fortifications at all, except that little thing upon the meadow, where
he thought the French would come up to him in open field."]

In the early morning the fort was abandoned and the retreat began. The
Indians had killed all the horses and cattle, and Washington's men were
so burdened with the sick and wounded, whom they were obliged to carry
on their backs, that most of the baggage was perforce left behind. Even
then they could march but a few miles, and then encamped to wait for
wagons. The Indians increased the confusion by plundering, and
threatening an attack. They knocked to pieces the medicine-chest, thus
causing great distress to the wounded, two of whom they murdered and
scalped. For a time there was danger of panic; but order was restored,
and the wretched march began along the forest road that led over the
Alleghanies, fifty-two miles to the station at Wills Creek. Whatever may
have been the feelings of Washington, he has left no record of them. His
immense fortitude was doomed to severer trials in the future; yet
perhaps this miserable morning was the darkest of his life. He was
deeply moved by sights of suffering; and all around him were wounded men
borne along in torture, and weary men staggering under the living load.
His pride was humbled, and his young ambition seemed blasted in the bud.
It was the fourth of July. He could not foresee that he was to make that
day forever glorious to a new-born nation hailing him as its father.

The defeat at Fort Necessity was doubly disastrous to the English, since
it was a new step and a long one towards the ruin of their interest with
the Indians; and when, in the next year, the smouldering war broke into
flame, nearly all the western tribes drew their scalping-knives for

Villiers went back exultant to Fort Duquesne, burning on his way the
buildings of Gist's settlement and the storehouse at Redstone Creek. Not
an English flag now waved beyond the Alleghanies.[160]

[Footnote 160: See Appendix C.]

Chapter 6

1754, 1755

The Signal of Battle

The defeat of Washington was a heavy blow to the Governor, and he
angrily ascribed it to the delay of the expected reinforcements. The
King's companies from New York had reached Alexandria, and crawled
towards the scene of action with thin ranks, bad discipline, thirty
women and children, no tents, no blankets, no knapsacks, and for
munitions one barrel of spoiled gunpowder.[161] The case was still worse
with the regiment from North Carolina. It was commanded by Colonel
Innes, a countryman and friend of Dinwiddie, who wrote to him: "Dear
James, I now wish that we had none from your colony but yourself, for I
foresee nothing but confusion among them." The men were, in fact,
utterly unmanageable. They had been promised three shillings a day,
while the Virginians had only eightpence; and when they heard on the
march that their pay was to be reduced, they mutinied, disbanded, and
went home.

[Footnote 161: _Dinwiddie to the Lords of Trade, 24 July, 1754. Ibid. to
Delancey, 20 June, 1754._]

"You may easily guess," says Dinwiddie to a London correspondent, "the
great fatigue and trouble I have had, which is more than I ever went
through in my life." He rested his hopes on the session of his Assembly,
which was to take place in August; for he thought that the late disaster
would move them to give him money for defending the colony. These
meetings of the burgesses were the great social as well as political
event of the Old Dominion, and gave a gathering signal to the Virginian
gentry scattered far and wide on their lonely plantations. The capital
of the province was Williamsburg, a village of about a thousand
inhabitants, traversed by a straight and very wide street, and adorned
with various public buildings, conspicuous among which was William and
Mary College, a respectable structure, unjustly likened by Jefferson to
a brick kiln with a roof. The capitol, at the other end of the town, had
been burned some years before, and had just risen from its ashes. Not
far distant was the so-called Governor's Palace, where Dinwiddie with
his wife and two daughters exercised such official hospitality as his
moderate salary and Scottish thrift would permit.[162]

[Footnote 162: For a contemporary account of Williamsburg, Burnaby,
_Travels in North America_, 6. Smyth, _Tour in America_, I. 17,
describes it some years later.]

In these seasons of festivity the dull and quiet village was
transfigured. The broad, sandy street, scorching under a southern sun,
was thronged with coaches and chariots brought over from London at heavy
cost in tobacco, though soon to be bedimmed by Virginia roads and negro
care; racing and hard-drinking planters; clergymen of the Establishment,
not much more ascetic than their boon companions of the laity; ladies,
with manners a little rusted by long seclusion; black coachmen and
footmen, proud of their masters and their liveries; young cavaliers,
booted and spurred, sitting their thoroughbreds with the careless grace
of men whose home was the saddle. It was a proud little provincial
society, which might seem absurd in its lofty self-appreciation, had it
not soon approved itself so prolific in ability and worth.[163]

[Footnote 163: The English traveller Smyth, in his _Tour_, gives a
curious and vivid picture of Virginian life. For the social condition of
this and other colonies before the Revolution, one cannot do better than
to consult Lodge's _Short History of the English Colonies_.]

The burgesses met, and Dinwiddie made them an opening speech, inveighing
against the aggressions of the French, their "contempt of treaties," and
"ambitious views for universal monarchy;" and he concluded: "I could
expatiate very largely on these affairs, but my heart burns with
resentment at their insolence. I think there is no room for many
arguments to induce you to raise a considerable supply to enable me to
defeat the designs of these troublesome people and enemies of mankind."
The burgesses in their turn expressed the "highest and most becoming
resentment," and promptly voted twenty thousand pounds; but on the third
reading of the bill they added to it a rider which touched the old
question of the pistole fee, and which, in the view of the Governor, was
both unconstitutional and offensive. He remonstrated in vain; the
stubborn republicans would not yield, nor would he; and again he
prorogued them. This unexpected defeat depressed him greatly. "A
governor," he wrote, "is really to be pitied in the discharge of his
duty to his king and country, in having to do with such obstinate,
self-conceited people.... I cannot satisfy the burgesses unless I
prostitute the rules of government. I have gone through monstrous
fatigues. Such wrong-headed people, I thank God, I never had to do with
before."[164] A few weeks later he was comforted; for, having again
called the burgesses, they gave him the money, without trying this time
to humiliate him.[165]

[Footnote 164: _Dinwiddie to Hamilton, 6 Sept., 1754. Ibid. to J.
Abercrombie, 1 Sept., 1754._]

[Footnote 165: Hening, VI. 435.]

In straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, aristocratic Virginia was
far outdone by democratic Pennsylvania. Hamilton, her governor, had laid
before the Assembly a circular letter from the Earl of Holdernesse
directing him, in common with other governors, to call on his province
for means to repel any invasion which might be made "within the
undoubted limits of His Majesty's dominion."[166] The Assembly of
Pennsylvania was curiously unlike that of Virginia, as half and often
more than half of its members were Quaker tradesmen in sober raiment and
broad-brimmed hats; while of the rest, the greater part were Germans who
cared little whether they lived under English rule or French, provided
that they were left in peace upon their farms. The House replied to the
Governor's call: "It would be highly presumptuous in us to pretend to
judge of the undoubted limits of His Majesty's dominions;" and they
added: "the Assemblies of this province are generally composed of a
majority who are constitutionally principled against war, and represent
a well-meaning, peaceable people."[167] They then adjourned, telling the
Governor that, "As those our limits have not been clearly ascertained to
our satisfaction, we fear the precipitate call upon us as the province
invaded cannot answer any good purpose at this time."

[Footnote 166: _The Earl of Holdernesse to the Governors in America, 28
Aug. 1753._]

[Footnote 167: _Colonial Records of Pa._, V. 748.]

In the next month they met again, and again Hamilton asked for means to
defend the country. The question was put, Should the Assembly give money
for the King's use? and the vote was feebly affirmative. Should the sum
be twenty thousand pounds? The vote was overwhelming in the negative.
Fifteen thousand, ten thousand, and five thousand, were successively
proposed, and the answer was always, No. The House would give nothing
but five hundred pounds for a present to the Indians; after which they
adjourned "to the sixth of the month called May."[168] At their next
meeting they voted to give the Governor ten thousand pounds; but under
conditions which made them for some time independent of his veto, and
which, in other respects, were contrary to his instructions from the
King, as well as from the proprietaries of the province, to whom he had
given bonds to secure his obedience. He therefore rejected the bill, and
they adjourned. In August they passed a similar vote, with the same
result. At their October meeting they evaded his call for supplies. In
December they voted twenty thousand pounds, hampered with conditions
which were sure to be refused, since Morris, the new governor, who had
lately succeeded Hamilton, was under the same restrictions as his
predecessor. They told him, however, that in the present case they felt
themselves bound by no Act of Parliament, and added: "We hope the
Governor, notwithstanding any penal bond he may have entered into, will
on reflection think himself at liberty and find it consistent with his
safety and honor to give his assent to this bill." Morris, who had taken
the highest legal advice on the subject in England, declined to
compromise himself, saying: "Consider, gentlemen, in what light you will
appear to His Majesty while, instead of contributing towards your own
defence, you are entering into an ill-timed controversy concerning the
validity of royal instructions which may be delayed to a more convenient
time without the least injury to the rights of the people."[169] They
would not yield, and told him "that they had rather the French should
conquer them than give up their privileges."[170] "Truly," remarks
Dinwiddie, "I think they have given their senses a long holiday."

[Footnote 168: _Pennsylvania Archives_, II. 235. _Colonial Records of
Pa._, VI. 22-26. _Works of Franklin,_ III. 265.]

[Footnote 169: _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 215.]

[Footnote 170: _Morris to Penn, 1 Jan. 1755._]

New York was not much behind her sisters in contentious stubbornness. In
answer to the Governor's appeal, the Assembly replied: "It appears that
the French have built a fort at a place called French Creek, at a
considerable distance from the River Ohio, which may, but does not by
any evidence or information appear to us to be an invasion of any of His
Majesty's colonies."[171] So blind were they as yet to "manifest
destiny!" Afterwards, however, on learning the defeat of Washington,
they gave five thousand pounds to aid Virginia.[172] Maryland, after
long delay, gave six thousand. New Jersey felt herself safe behind the
other colonies, and would give nothing. New England, on the other hand,
and especially Massachusetts, had suffered so much from French
war-parties that they were always ready to fight. Shirley, the governor
of Massachusetts, had returned from his bootless errand to settle the
boundary question at Paris. His leanings were strongly monarchical; yet
he believed in the New Englanders, and was more or less in sympathy with
them. Both he and they were strenuous against the French, and they had
mutually helped each other to reap laurels in the last war. Shirley was
cautious of giving umbrage to his Assembly, and rarely quarrelled with
it, except when the amount of his salary was in question. He was not
averse to a war with France; for though bred a lawyer, and now past
middle life, he flattered himself with hopes of a high military command.
On the present occasion, making use of a rumor that the French were
seizing the carrying-place between the Chaudière and the Kennebec, he
drew from the Assembly a large grant of money, and induced them to call
upon him to march in person to the scene of danger. He accordingly
repaired to Falmouth (now Portland); and, though the rumor proved false,
sent eight hundred men under Captain John Winslow to build two forts on
the Kennebec as a measure of precaution.[173]

[Footnote 171: _Address of the Assembly to Lieutenant-Governor Delancey,
23 April, 1754. Lords of Trade to Delancey, 5 July, 1754_.]

[Footnote 172: _Delancey to Lords of Trade, 8 Oct. 1754_.]

[Footnote 173: _Massachusetts Archives, 1754_. Hutchinson, III. 26.
_Conduct of Major-General Shirley briefly stated. Journals of the Board
of Trade, 1754_.]

While to these northern provinces Canada was an old and pestilent enemy,
those towards the south scarcely knew her by name; and the idea of
French aggression on their borders was so novel and strange that they
admitted it with difficulty. Mind and heart were engrossed in strife
with their governors: the universal struggle for virtual self-rule. But
the war was often waged with a passionate stupidity. The colonist was
not then an American; he was simply a provincial, and a narrow one. The
time was yet distant when these dissevered and jealous communities
should weld themselves into one broad nationality, capable, at need, of
the mightiest efforts to purge itself of disaffection and vindicate its
commanding unity.

In the interest of that practical independence which they had so much at
heart, two conditions were essential to the colonists. The one was a
field for expansion, and the other was mutual help. Their first
necessity was to rid themselves of the French, who, by shutting them
between the Alleghanies and the sea, would cramp them into perpetual
littleness. With France on their backs, growing while they had no room
to grow, they must remain in helpless wardship, dependent on England,
whose aid they would always need; but with the West open before them,
their future was their own. King and Parliament would respect perforce
the will of a people spread from the ocean to the Mississippi, and
united in action as in aims. But in the middle of the last century the
vision of the ordinary colonist rarely reached so far. The immediate
victory over a governor, however slight the point at issue, was more
precious in his eyes than the remote though decisive advantage which he
saw but dimly.

The governors, representing the central power, saw the situation from
the national point of view. Several of them, notably Dinwiddie and
Shirley, were filled with wrath at the proceedings of the French; and
the former was exasperated beyond measure at the supineness of the
provinces. He had spared no effort to rouse them, and had failed. His
instincts were on the side of authority; but, under the circumstances,
it is hardly to be imputed to him as a very deep offence against human
liberty that he advised the compelling of the colonies to raise men and
money for their own defence, and proposed, in view of their "intolerable
obstinacy and disobedience to his Majesty's commands," that Parliament
should tax them half-a-crown a head. The approaching war offered to the
party of authority temptations from which the colonies might have saved
it by opening their purse-strings without waiting to be told.

The Home Government, on its part, was but half-hearted in the wish that
they should unite in opposition to the common enemy. It was very willing
that the several provinces should give money and men, but not that they
should acquire military habits and a dangerous capacity of acting
together. There was one kind of union, however, so obviously necessary,
and at the same time so little to be dreaded, that the British Cabinet,
instructed by the governors, not only assented to it, but urged it. This
was joint action in making treaties with the Indians. The practice of
separate treaties, made by each province in its own interest, had bred
endless disorders. The adhesion of all the tribes had been so shaken,
and the efforts of the French to alienate them were so vigorous and
effective, that not a moment was to be lost. Joncaire had gained over
most of the Senecas, Piquet was drawing the Onondagas more and more to
his mission, and the Dutch of Albany were alienating their best friends,
the Mohawks, by encroaching on their lands. Their chief, Hendrick, came
to New York with a deputation of the tribe to complain of their wrongs;
and finding no redress, went off in anger, declaring that the covenant
chain was broken.[174] The authorities in alarm called William Johnson
to their aid. He succeeded in soothing the exasperated chief, and then
proceeded to the confederate council at Onondaga, where he found the
assembled sachems full of anxieties and doubts. "We don't know what you
Christians, English and French, intend," said one of their orators. "We
are so hemmed in by you both that we have hardly a hunting-place left.
In a little while, if we find a bear in a tree, there will immediately
appear an owner of the land to claim the property and hinder us from
killing it, by which we live. We are so perplexed between you that we
hardly know what to say or think."[175] No man had such power over the
Five Nations as Johnson. His dealings with them were at once honest,
downright, and sympathetic. They loved and trusted him as much as they
detested the Indian commissioners at Albany, whom the province of New
York had charged with their affairs, and who, being traders, grossly
abused their office.

[Footnote 174: _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VI. 788. _Colonial Records of Pa._ V.

[Footnote 175: _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VI. 813.]

It was to remedy this perilous state of things that the Lords of Trade
and Plantations directed the several governors to urge on their
assemblies the sending of commissioners to make a joint treaty with the
wavering tribes.[176] Seven of the provinces, New York, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, and the four New England colonies, acceded to the plan, and
sent to Albany, the appointed place of meeting, a body of men who for
character and ability had never had an equal on the continent, but whose
powers from their respective assemblies were so cautiously limited as to
preclude decisive action. They met in the court-house of the little
frontier city. A large "chain-belt" of wampum was provided, on which the
King was symbolically represented, holding in his embrace the colonies,
the Five Nations, and all their allied tribes. This was presented to the
assembled warriors, with a speech in which the misdeeds of the French
were not forgotten. The chief, Hendrick, made a much better speech in
reply. "We do now solemnly renew and brighten the covenant chain. We
shall take the chain-belt to Onondaga, where our council-fire always
burns, and keep it so safe that neither thunder nor lightning shall
break it." The commissioners had blamed them for allowing so many of
their people to be drawn away to Piquet's mission. "It is true," said
the orator, "that we live disunited. We have tried to bring back our
brethren, but in vain; for the Governor of Canada is like a wicked,
deluding spirit. You ask why we are so dispersed. The reason is that you
have neglected us for these three years past." Here he took a stick and
threw it behind him. "You have thus thrown us behind your back; whereas
the French are a subtle and vigilant people, always using their utmost
endeavors to seduce and bring us over to them." He then told them that
it was not the French alone who invaded the country of the Indians. "The
Governor of Virginia and the Governor of Canada are quarrelling about
lands which belong to us, and their quarrel may end in our destruction."
And he closed with a burst of sarcasm. "We would have taken Crown Point
[_in the last war_], but you prevented us. Instead, you burned your own
fort at Saratoga and ran away from it,--which was a shame and a scandal
to you. Look about your country and see: you have no fortifications; no,
not even in this city. It is but a step from Canada hither, and the
French may come and turn you out of doors. You desire us to speak from
the bottom of our hearts, and we shall do it. Look at the French: they
are men; they are fortifying everywhere. But you are all like women,
bare and open, without fortifications."[177]

[Footnote 176: _Circular Letter of Lords of Trade to Governors in
America, 18 Sept. 1753. Lords of Trade to Sir Danvers Osborne, in N.Y.
Col. Docs._, VI. 800.]

[Footnote 177: _Proceedings of the Congress at Albany, N.Y. Col. Docs._,
VI. 853. A few verbal changes, for the sake of brevity, are made in the
above extracts.]

Hendrick's brother Abraham now took up the word, and begged that Johnson
might be restored to the management of Indian affairs, which he had
formerly held; "for," said the chief, "we love him and he us and he has
always been our good and trusty friend." The commissioners had not power
to grant the request, but the Indians were assured that it should not be
forgotten; and they returned to their villages soothed, but far from
satisfied. Nor were the commissioners empowered to take any effective
steps for fortifying the frontier.

The congress now occupied itself with another matter. Its members were
agreed that great danger was impending; that without wise and just
treatment of the tribes, the French would gain them all, build forts
along the back of the British colonies, and, by means of ships and
troops from France, master them one by one, unless they would combine
for mutual defence. The necessity of some form of union had at length
begun to force itself upon the colonial mind. A rough woodcut had lately
appeared in the _Pennsylvania Gazette_, figuring the provinces under the
not very flattering image of a snake cut to pieces, with the motto,
"Join, or die." A writer of the day held up the Five Nations for
emulation, observing that if ignorant savages could confederate, British
colonists might do as much.[178] Franklin, the leading spirit of the
congress, now laid before it his famous project of union, which has been
too often described to need much notice here. Its fate is well known.
The Crown rejected it because it gave too much power to the colonies;
the colonies, because it gave too much power to the Crown, and because
it required each of them to transfer some of its functions of
self-government to a central council. Another plan was afterwards
devised by the friends of prerogative, perfectly agreeable to the King,
since it placed all power in the hands of a council of governors, and
since it involved compulsory taxation of the colonists, who, for the
same reasons, would have doggedly resisted it, had an attempt been made
to carry it into effect.[179]

[Footnote 178: Kennedy, _Importance of gaining and preserving the
Friendship of the Indians_.]

[Footnote 179: On the Albany plan of union, _Franklin's Works_, I. 177.
Shirley thought it "a great strain upon the prerogative of the Crown,"
and was for requiring the colonies to raise money and men "without
farther consulting them upon any points whatever." _Shirley to Robinson,
24 Dec. 1754_.]

Even if some plan of union had been agreed upon, long delay must have
followed before its machinery could be set in motion; and meantime there
was need of immediate action. War-parties of Indians from Canada, set
on, it was thought, by the Governor, were already burning and murdering
among the border settlements of New York and New Hampshire. In the south
Dinwiddie grew more and more alarmed, "for the French are like so many
locusts; they are collected in bodies in a most surprising manner; their
number now on the Ohio is from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred." He
writes to Lord Granville that, in his opinion, they aim to conquer the
continent, and that "the obstinacy of this stubborn generation" exposes
the country "to the merciless rage of a rapacious enemy." What vexed him
even more than the apathy of the assemblies was the conduct of his
brother-governor, Glen of South Carolina, who, apparently piqued at the
conspicuous part Dinwiddie was acting, wrote to him in a "very
dictatorial style," found fault with his measures, jested at his
activity in writing letters, and even questioned the right of England to
lands on the Ohio; till he was moved at last to retort: "I cannot help
observing that your letters and arguments would have been more proper
from a French officer than from one of His Majesty's governors. My
conduct has met with His Majesty's gracious approbation; and I am sorry
it has not received yours." Thus discouraged, even in quarters where he
had least reason to expect it, he turned all his hopes to the Home
Government; again recommended a tax by Act of Parliament, and begged, in
repeated letters, for arms, munitions, and two regiments of
infantry.[180] His petition was not made in vain.

[Footnote 180: _Dinwiddie Papers_; letters to Granville, Albemarle,
Halifax, Fox, Holdernesse, Horace Walpole, and Lords of Trade.]

England at this time presented the phenomenon of a prime minister who
could not command the respect of his own servants. A more preposterous
figure than the Duke of Newcastle never stood at the head of a great
nation. He had a feverish craving for place and power, joined to a total
unfitness for both. He was an adept in personal politics, and was so
busied with the arts of winning and keeping office that he had no
leisure, even if he had had ability, for the higher work of government.
He was restless, quick in movement, rapid and confused in speech, lavish
of worthless promises, always in a hurry, and at once headlong, timid,
and rash. "A borrowed importance and real insignificance," says Walpole,
who knew him well, "gave him the perpetual air of a solicitor.... He had
no pride, though infinite self-love. He loved business immoderately; yet
was only always doing it, never did it. When left to himself, he always
plunged into difficulties, and then shuddered for the consequences."
Walpole gives an anecdote showing the state of his ideas on colonial
matters. General Ligonier suggested to him that Annapolis ought to be
defended. "To which he replied with his lisping, evasive hurry:
'Annapolis, Annapolis! Oh, yes, Annapolis must be defended,--where is
Annapolis?'"[181] Another contemporary, Smollett, ridicules him in his
novel of _Humphrey Clinker_, and tells a similar story, which, founded
in fact or not, shows in what estimation the minister was held: "Captain
C. treated the Duke's character without any ceremony. 'This wiseacre,'
said he, 'is still abed; and I think the best thing he can do is to
sleep on till Christmas; for when he gets up he does nothing but expose
his own folly. In the beginning of the war he told me in a great fright
that thirty thousand French had marched from Acadia to Cape Breton.
Where did they find transports? said I.--Transports! cried he, I tell
you they marched by land.--By land to the island of Cape Breton!--What,
is Cape Breton an island?--Certainly.--Ha! are you sure of that?--When I
pointed it out on the map, he examined it earnestly with his spectacles;
then, taking me in his arms,--My dear C., cried he, you always bring us
good news. Egad! I'll go directly and tell the King that Cape Breton is
an island.'"

[Footnote 181: Walpole, _George II._, I. 344.]

His wealth, county influence, flagitious use of patronage, and
long-practised skill in keeping majorities in the House of Commons by
means that would not bear the light, made his support necessary to Pitt
himself, and placed a fantastic political jobber at the helm of England
in a time when she needed a patriot and a statesman. Newcastle was the
growth of the decrepitude and decay of a great party, which had
fulfilled its mission and done its work. But if the Whig soil had become
poor for a wholesome crop, it was never so rich for toadstools.

Sir Thomas Robinson held the Southern Department, charged with the
colonies; and Lord Mahon remarks of him that the Duke had achieved the
feat of finding a secretary of state more incapable than himself. He had
the lead of the House of Commons. "Sir Thomas Robinson lead us!" said
Pitt to Henry Fox; "the Duke might as well send his jackboot to lead
us." The active and aspiring Halifax was at the head of the Board of
Trade and Plantations. The Duke of Cumberland commanded the army,--an
indifferent soldier, though a brave one; harsh, violent, and headlong.
Anson, the celebrated navigator, was First Lord of the Admiralty,--a
position in which he disappointed everybody.

In France the true ruler was Madame de Pompadour, once the King's
mistress, now his procuress, and a sort of feminine prime minister.
Machault d'Arnouville was at the head of the Marine and Colonial
Department. The diplomatic representatives of the two Crowns were more
conspicuous for social than for political talents. Of Mirepoix, French
ambassador at London, Marshal Saxe had once observed: "It is a good
appointment; he can teach the English to dance." Walpole says concerning
him: "He could not even learn to pronounce the names of our games of
cards,--which, however, engaged most of the hours of his negotiation. We
were to be bullied out of our colonies by an apprentice at whist!" Lord
Albemarle, English ambassador at Versailles, is held up by Chesterfield
as an example to encourage his son in the pursuit of the graces: "What
do you think made our friend Lord Albemarle colonel of a regiment of
Guards, Governor of Virginia, Groom of the Stole, and ambassador to
Paris,--amounting in all to sixteen or seventeen thousand pounds a year?
Was it his birth? No; a Dutch gentleman only. Was it his estate? No; he
had none. Was it his learning, his parts, his political abilities and
application? You can answer these questions as easily and as soon as I
can ask them. What was it then? Many people wondered; but I do not, for
I know, and will tell you,--it was his air, his address, his manners,
and his graces."

The rival nations differed widely in military and naval strength.
England had afloat more than two hundred ships of war, some of them of
great force; while the navy of France counted little more than half the
number. On the other hand, England had reduced her army to eighteen
thousand men, and France had nearly ten times as many under arms. Both
alike were weak in leadership. That rare son of the tempest, a great
commander, was to be found in neither of them since the death of Saxe.

In respect to the approaching crisis, the interests of the two Powers
pointed to opposite courses of action. What France needed was time. It
was her policy to put off a rupture, wreathe her face in diplomatic
smiles, and pose in an attitude of peace and good faith, while
increasing her navy, reinforcing her garrisons in America, and
strengthening her positions there. It was the policy of England to
attack at once, and tear up the young encroachments while they were yet
in the sap, before they could strike root and harden into stiff

When, on the fourteenth of November, the King made his opening speech to
the Houses of Parliament, he congratulated them on the prevailing peace,
and assured them that he should improve it to promote the trade of his
subjects, "and protect those possessions which constitute one great
source of their wealth." America was not mentioned; but his hearers
understood him, and made a liberal grant for the service of the
year.[182] Two regiments, each of five hundred men, had already been
ordered to sail for Virginia, where their numbers were to be raised by
enlistment to seven hundred.[183] Major-General Braddock, a man after
the Duke of Cumberland's own heart, was appointed to the chief command.
The two regiments--the forty-fourth and the forty-eighth--embarked at
Cork in the middle of January. The soldiers detested the service, and
many had deserted. More would have done so had they foreseen what
awaited them.

[Footnote 182: Entick, _Late War_, I. 118.]

[Footnote 183: _Robinson to Lords of the Admiralty, 30 Sept. 1754.
Ibid., to Board of Ordnance, 10 Oct. 1754. Ibid., Circular Letter to
American Governors, 26 Oct. 1754. Instructions to our Trusty and
Well-beloved Edward Braddock, 25 Nov. 1754_.]

This movement was no sooner known at Versailles than a counter
expedition was prepared on a larger scale. Eighteen ships of war were
fitted for sea at Brest and Rochefort, and the six battalions of La
Reine, Bourgogne, Languedoc, Guienne, Artois, and Béarn, three thousand
men in all, were ordered on board for Canada. Baron Dieskau, a German
veteran who had served under Saxe, was made their general; and with him
went the new governor of French America, the Marquis de Vaudreuil,
destined to succeed Duquesne, whose health was failing under the
fatigues of his office. Admiral Dubois de la Motte commanded the fleet;
and lest the English should try to intercept it, another squadron of
nine ships, under Admiral Macnamara, was ordered to accompany it to a
certain distance from the coast. There was long and tedious delay.
Doreil, commissary of war, who had embarked with Vaudreuil and Dieskau
in the same ship, wrote from the harbor of Brest on the twenty-ninth of
April: "At last I think we are off. We should have been outside by four
o'clock this morning, if M. de Macnamara had not been obliged to ask
Count Dubois de la Motte to wait till noon to mend some important part
of the rigging (I don't know the name of it) which was broken. It is
precious time lost, and gives the English the advantage over us of two
tides. I talk of these things as a blind man does of colors. What is
certain is that Count Dubois de la Motte is very impatient to get away,
and that the King's fleet destined for Canada is in very able and
zealous hands. It is now half-past two. In half an hour all may be
ready, and we may get out of the harbor before night." He was again
disappointed; it was the third of May before the fleet put to sea.[184]

[Footnote 184: _Lettres de Cremille, de Rostaing, et de Doreil au
Ministre, Avril 18, 24, 28, 29, 1755. Liste des Vaisseaux de Guerre qui
composent l'Escadre armée à Brest, 1755. Journal of M. de Vaudreuil's
Voyage to Canada_, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 297. Pouchot, I. 25.]

During these preparations there was active diplomatic correspondence
between the two Courts. Mirepoix demanded why British troops were sent
to America. Sir Thomas Robinson answered that there was no intention to
disturb the peace or offend any Power whatever; yet the secret orders to
Braddock were the reverse of pacific. Robinson asked on his part the
purpose of the French armament at Brest and Rochefort; and the answer,
like his own, was a protestation that no hostility was meant. At the
same time Mirepoix in the name of the King proposed that orders should
be given to the American governors on both sides to refrain from all
acts of aggression. But while making this proposal the French Court
secretly sent orders to Duquesne to attack and destroy Fort Halifax, one
of the two forts lately built by Shirley on the Kennebec,--a river
which, by the admission of the French themselves, belonged to the
English. But, in making this attack, the French Governor was expressly
enjoined to pretend that he acted without orders.[185] He was also told
that, if necessary, he might make use of the Indians to harass the
English.[186] Thus there was good faith on neither part; but it is clear
through all the correspondence that the English expected to gain by
precipitating an open rupture, and the French by postponing it. Projects
of convention were proposed on both sides, but there was no agreement.
The English insisted as a preliminary condition that the French should
evacuate all the western country as far as the Wabash. Then ensued a
long discussion of their respective claims, as futile as the former
discussion at Paris on Acadian boundaries.[187]

[Footnote 185: _Machault à Duquesne, 17 Fév. 1755_. The letter of
Mirepoix proposing mutual abstinence from aggression, is dated on the
6th of the same month. The French dreaded Fort Halifax, because they
thought it prepared the way for an advance on Quebec by way of the

[Footnote 186: _Ibid._]

[Footnote 187: This correspondence is printed among the _Pièces
justificatives_ of the _Précis des Faits_.]

The British Court knew perfectly the naval and military preparations of
the French. Lord Albemarle had died at Paris in December; but the
secretary of the embassy, De Cosne, sent to London full information
concerning the fleet at Brest and Rochefort.[188] On this, Admiral
Boscawen, with eleven ships of the line and one frigate, was ordered to
intercept it; and as his force was plainly too small, Admiral Melbourne,
with seven more ships, was sent, nearly three weeks after, to join him
if he could. Their orders were similar,--to capture or destroy any
French vessels bound to North America.[189] Boscawen, who got to sea
before La Motte, stationed himself near the southern coast of
Newfoundland to cut him off; but most of the French squadron eluded him,
and safely made their way, some to Louisbourg, and the others to Quebec.
Thus the English expedition was, in the main, a failure. Three of the
French ships, however, lost in fog and rain, had become separated from
the rest, and lay rolling and tossing on an angry sea not far from Cape
Race. One of them was the "Alcide," commanded by Captain Hocquart; the
others were the "Lis" and the "Dauphin." The wind fell; but the fogs
continued at intervals; till, on the afternoon of the seventh of June,
the weather having cleared, the watchman on the maintop saw the distant
ocean studded with ships. It was the fleet of Boscawen. Hocquart, who
gives the account, says that in the morning they were within three
leagues of him, crowding all sail in pursuit. Towards eleven o'clock one
of them, the "Dunkirk," was abreast of him to windward, within short
speaking distance; and the ship of the Admiral, displaying a red flag as
a signal to engage, was not far off. Hocquart called out: "Are we at
peace, or war?" He declares that Howe, captain of the "Dunkirk," replied
in French: "La paix, la paix." Hocquart then asked the name of the
British admiral; and on hearing it said: "I know him; he is a friend of
mine." Being asked his own name in return, he had scarcely uttered it
when the batteries of the "Dunkirk" belched flame and smoke, and
volleyed a tempest of iron upon the crowded decks of the "Alcide." She
returned the fire, but was forced at length to strike her colors.
Rostaing, second in command of the troops, was killed; and six other
officers, with about eighty men, were killed or wounded.[190] At the
same time the "Lis" was attacked and overpowered. She had on board eight
companies of the battalions of La Reine and Languedoc. The third French
ship, the "Dauphin," escaped under cover of a rising fog.[191]

[Footnote 188: Particulars in Entick, I. 121.]

[Footnote 189: _Secret Instructions for our Trusty and Well-beloved
Edward Boscawen, Esq., Vice-Admiral of the Blue, 16 April, 1755. Most
secret Instructions for Francis Holbourne, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the
Blue, 9 May, 1755. Robinson to Lords of the Admiralty, 8 May, 1755_.]

[Footnote 190: _Liste des Officiers tués et blessés dans le Combat de
l'Alcide et du Lis_.]

[Footnote 191: Hocquart's account is given in full by Pichon, _Lettres
et Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire du Cap-Breton_. The short account
in _Précis des Faits_, 272, seems, too, to be drawn from Hocquart. Also
_Boscawen to Robinson, 22 June, 1755. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 24 Juillet,
1755_, Entick, I. 137.

Some English accounts say that Captain Howe, in answer to the question,
"Are we at peace, or war?" returned, "I don't know; but you had better
prepare for war." Boscawen places the action on the 10th, instead of the
8th, and puts the English loss at seven killed and twenty-seven

Here at last was an end to negotiation. The sword was drawn and
brandished in the eyes of Europe.

Chapter 7



"I have the pleasure to acquaint you that General Braddock came to my
house last Sunday night," writes Dinwiddie, at the end of February, to
Governor Dobbs of North Carolina. Braddock had landed at Hampton from
the ship "Centurion," along with young Commodore Keppel, who commanded
the American squadron. "I am mighty glad," again writes Dinwiddie, "that
the General is arrived, which I hope will give me some ease; for these
twelve months past I have been a perfect slave." He conceived golden
opinions of his guest. "He is, I think, a very fine officer, and a
sensible, considerate gentleman. He and I live in great harmony."

Had he known him better, he might have praised him less. William
Shirley, son of the Governor of Massachusetts, was Braddock's secretary;
and after an acquaintance of some months wrote to his friend Governor
Morris: "We have a general most judiciously chosen for being
disqualified for the service he is employed in in almost every respect.
He may be brave for aught I know, and he is honest in pecuniary
matters."[192] The astute Franklin, who also had good opportunity of
knowing him, says: "This general was, I think, a brave man, and might
probably have made a good figure in some European war. But he had too
much self-confidence; too high an opinion of the validity of regular
troops; too mean a one of both Americans and Indians."[193] Horace
Walpole, in his function of gathering and immortalizing the gossip of
his time, has left a sharply drawn sketch of Braddock in two letters to
Sir Horace Mann, written in the summer of this year: "I love to give you
an idea of our characters as they rise upon the stage of history.
Braddock is a very Iroquois in disposition. He had a sister who, having
gamed away all her little fortune at Bath, hanged herself with a truly
English deliberation, leaving only a note upon the table with those
lines: 'To die is landing on some silent shore,' etc. When Braddock was
told of it, he only said: 'Poor Fanny! I always thought she would play
till she would be forced to _tuck herself up_.'" Under the name of Miss
Sylvia S----, Goldsmith, in his life of Nash, tells the story of this
unhappy woman. She was a rash but warm-hearted creature, reduced to
penury and dependence, not so much by a passion for cards as by her
lavish generosity to a lover ruined by his own follies, and with whom
her relations are said to have been entirely innocent. Walpole
continues: "But a more ridiculous story of Braddock, and which is
recorded in heroics by Fielding in his _Covent Garden Tragedy,_ was an
amorous discussion he had formerly with a Mrs. Upton, who kept him. He
had gone the greatest lengths with her pin-money, and was still craving.
One day, that he was very pressing, she pulled out her purse and showed
him that she had but twelve or fourteen shillings left. He twitched it
from her: 'Let me see that.' Tied up at the other end he found five
guineas. He took them, tossed the empty purse in her face, saying: 'Did
you mean to cheat me?' and never went near her more. Now you are
acquainted with General Braddock."

[Footnote 192: _Shirley the younger to Morris, 23 May, 1755_.]

[Footnote 193: Franklin, _Autobiography_.]

"He once had a duel with Colonel Gumley, Lady Bath's brother, who had
been his great friend. As they were going to engage, Gumley, who had
good-humor and wit (Braddock had the latter), said: 'Braddock, you are a
poor dog! Here, take my purse; if you kill me, you will be forced to run
away, and then you will not have a shilling to support you.' Braddock
refused the purse, insisted on the duel, was disarmed, and would not
even ask his life. However, with all his brutality, he has lately been
governor of Gibraltar, where he made himself adored, and where scarce
any governor was endured before."[194]

[Footnote 194: _Letters of Horace Walpole_ (1866), II. 459, 461. It is
doubtful if Braddock was ever governor of Gibraltar; though, as Mr.
Sargent shows, he once commanded a regiment there.]

Another story is told of him by an accomplished actress of the time,
George Anne Bellamy, whom Braddock had known from girlhood, and with
whom his present relations seem to have been those of an elderly adviser
and friend. "As we were walking in the Park one day, we heard a poor
fellow was to be chastised; when I requested the General to beg off the
offender. Upon his application to the general officer, whose name was
Dury, he asked Braddock how long since he had divested himself of the
brutality and insolence of his manners? To which the other replied: 'You
never knew me insolent to my inferiors. It is only to such rude men as
yourself that I behave with the spirit which I think they deserve.'"

Braddock made a visit to the actress on the evening before he left
London for America. "Before we parted," she says, "the General told me
that he should never see me more; for he was going with a handful of men
to conquer whole nations; and to do this they must cut their way through
unknown woods. He produced a map of the country, saying at the same
time: 'Dear Pop, we are sent like sacrifices to the altar,'"[195]--a
strange presentiment for a man of his sturdy temper.

[Footnote 195: _Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy, written by
herself_, II. 204 (London, 1786).]

Whatever were his failings, he feared nothing, and his fidelity and
honor in the discharge of public trusts were never questioned.
"Desperate in his fortune, brutal in his behavior, obstinate in his
sentiments," again writes Walpole, "he was still intrepid and
capable."[196] He was a veteran in years and in service, having entered
the Coldstream Guards as ensign in 1710.

[Footnote 196: Walpole, _George II._, I. 390.]

The transports bringing the two regiments from Ireland all arrived
safely at Hampton, and were ordered to proceed up the Potomac to
Alexandria, where a camp was to be formed. Thither, towards the end of
March, went Braddock himself, along with Keppel and Dinwiddie, in the
Governor's coach; while his aide-de-camp, Orme, his secretary, Shirley,
and the servants of the party followed on horseback. Braddock had sent
for the elder Shirley and other provincial governors to meet him in
council; and on the fourteenth of April they assembled in a tent of the
newly formed encampment. Here was Dinwiddie, who thought his troubles at
an end, and saw in the red-coated soldiery the near fruition of his
hopes. Here, too, was his friend and ally, Dobbs of North Carolina; with
Morris of Pennsylvania, fresh from Assembly quarrels; Sharpe of
Maryland, who, having once been a soldier, had been made a sort of
provisional commander-in-chief before the arrival of Braddock; and the
ambitious Delancey of New York, who had lately led the opposition
against the Governor of that province, and now filled the office
himself,--a position that needed all his manifold adroitness. But, next
to Braddock, the most noteworthy man present was Shirley, governor of
Massachusetts. There was a fountain of youth in this old lawyer. A few
years before, when he was boundary commissioner in Paris, he had had the
indiscretion to marry a young Catholic French girl, the daughter of his
landlord; and now, when more than sixty years old, he thirsted for
military honors, and delighted in contriving operations of war. He was
one of a very few in the colonies who at this time entertained the idea
of expelling the French from the continent. He held that Carthage must
be destroyed; and, in spite of his Parisian marriage, was the foremost
advocate of the root-and-branch policy. He and Lawrence, governor of
Nova Scotia, had concerted an attack on the French fort of Beauséjour;
and, jointly with others in New England, he had planned the capture of
Crown Point, the key of Lake Champlain. By these two strokes and by
fortifying the portage between the Kennebec and the Chaudière, he
thought that the northern colonies would be saved from invasion, and
placed in a position to become themselves invaders. Then, by driving the
enemy from Niagara, securing that important pass, and thus cutting off
the communication between Canada and her interior dependencies, all the
French posts in the West would die of inanition.[197] In order to
commend these schemes to the Home Government, he had painted in gloomy
colors the dangers that beset the British colonies. Our Indians, he
said, will all desert us if we submit to French encroachment. Some of
the provinces are full of negro slaves, ready to rise against their
masters, and of Roman Catholics, Jacobites, indented servants, and other
dangerous persons, who would aid the French in raising a servile
insurrection. Pennsylvania is in the hands of Quakers, who will not
fight, and of Germans, who are likely enough to join the enemy. The
Dutch of Albany would do anything to save their trade. A strong force of
French regulars might occupy that place without resistance, then descend
the Hudson, and, with the help of a naval force, capture New York and
cut the British colonies asunder.[198]

[Footnote 197: _Correspondence of Shirley, 1754, 1755_.]

[Footnote 198: _Shirley to Robinson, 24 Jan. 1755_.]

The plans against Crown Point and Beauséjour had already found the
approval of the Home Government and the energetic support of all the New
England colonies. Preparation for them was in full activity; and it was
with great difficulty that Shirley had disengaged himself from these
cares to attend the council at Alexandria. He and Dinwiddie stood in the
front of opposition to French designs. As they both defended the royal
prerogative and were strong advocates of taxation by Parliament, they
have found scant justice from American writers. Yet the British colonies
owed them a debt of gratitude, and the American States owe it still.

Braddock, laid his instructions before the Council, and Shirley found
them entirely to his mind; while the General, on his part, fully
approved the schemes of the Governor. The plan of the campaign was
settled. The French were to be attacked at four points at once. The two
British regiments lately arrived were to advance on Fort Duquesne; two
new regiments, known as Shirley's and Pepperell's, just raised in the
provinces, and taken into the King's pay, were to reduce Niagara; a body
of provincials from New England, New York, and New Jersey was to seize
Crown Point; and another body of New England men to capture Beauséjour
and bring Acadia to complete subjection. Braddock himself was to lead
the expedition against Fort Duquesne. He asked Shirley, who, though a
soldier only in theory, had held the rank of colonel since the last war,
to charge himself with that against Niagara; and Shirley eagerly
assented. The movement on Crown Point was intrusted to Colonel William
Johnson, by reason of his influence over the Indians and his reputation
for energy, capacity, and faithfulness. Lastly, the Acadian enterprise
was assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel Monckton, a regular officer of merit.

To strike this fourfold blow in time of peace was a scheme worthy of
Newcastle and of Cumberland. The pretext was that the positions to be
attacked were all on British soil; that in occupying them the French had
been guilty of invasion; and that to expel the invaders would be an act
of self-defence. Yet in regard to two of these positions, the French, if
they had no other right, might at least claim one of prescription. Crown
Point had been twenty-four years in their undisturbed possession, while
it was three quarters of a century since they first occupied Niagara;
and, though New York claimed the ground, no serious attempt had been
made to dislodge them.

Other matters now engaged the Council. Braddock, in accordance with his
instructions, asked the governors to urge upon their several assemblies
the establishment of a general fund for the service of the campaign; but
the governors were all of opinion that the assemblies would
refuse,--each being resolved to keep the control of its money in its own
hands; and all present, with one voice, advised that the colonies should
be compelled by Act of Parliament to contribute in due proportion to the
support of the war. Braddock next asked if, in the judgment of the
Council, it would not be well to send Colonel Johnson with full powers
to treat with the Five Nations, who had been driven to the verge of an
outbreak by the misconduct of the Dutch Indian commissioners at Albany.
The measure was cordially approved, as was also another suggestion of
the General, that vessels should be built at Oswego to command Lake
Ontario. The Council then dissolved.

Shirley hastened back to New England, burdened with the preparation for
three expeditions and the command of one of them. Johnson, who had been
in the camp, though not in the Council, went back to Albany, provided
with a commission as sole superintendent of Indian affairs, and charged,
besides, with the enterprise against Crown Point; while an express was
despatched to Monckton at Halifax, with orders to set at once to his
work of capturing Beauséjour.[199]

[Footnote 199: _Minutes of a Council held at the Camp at Alexandria, in
Virginia, April 14, 1755. Instructions to Major-General Braddock, 25
Nov. 1754. Secret Instructions to Major-General Braddock, same date.
Napier to Braddock, written by Order of the Duke of Cumberland, 25 Nov.
1754,_ in _Précis des Faits, Pièces justificatives,_ 168. Orme,
_Journal of Braddock's Expedition. Instructions to Governor Shirley.
Correspondence of Shirley. Correspondence of Braddock_ (Public Record
Office). _Johnson Papers. Dinwiddie Papers. Pennsylvania Archives_, II.]

In regard to Braddock's part of the campaign, there had been a serious
error. If, instead of landing in Virginia and moving on Fort Duquesne
by the long and circuitous route of Wills Creek, the two regiments had
disembarked at Philadelphia and marched westward, the way would have
been shortened, and would have lain through one of the richest and most
populous districts on the continent, filled with supplies of every kind.
In Virginia, on the other hand, and in the adjoining province of
Maryland, wagons, horses, and forage were scarce. The enemies of the
Administration ascribed this blunder to the influence of the Quaker
merchant, John Hanbury, whom the Duke of Newcastle had consulted as a
person familiar with American affairs. Hanbury, who was a prominent
stockholder in the Ohio Company, and who traded largely in Virginia, saw
it for his interest that the troops should pass that way; and is said to
have brought the Duke to this opinion.[200] A writer of the time thinks
that if they had landed in Pennsylvania, forty thousand pounds would
have been saved in money, and six weeks in time.[201]

[Footnote 200: _Shebbeare's Tracts_, Letter I. Dr. Shebbeare was a
political pamphleteer, pilloried by one ministry, and rewarded by the
next. He certainly speaks of Hanbury, though he does not give his name.
Compare Sargent, 107, 162.]

[Footnote 201: _Gentleman's Magazine, Aug_. 1755.]

Not only were supplies scarce, but the people showed such unwillingness
to furnish them, and such apathy in aiding the expedition, that even
Washington was provoked to declare that "they ought to be
chastised."[202] Many of them thought that the alarm about French
encroachment was a device of designing politicians; and they did not
awake to a full consciousness of the peril till it was forced upon them
by a deluge of calamities, produced by the purblind folly of their own
representatives, who, instead of frankly promoting the expedition,
displayed a perverse and exasperating narrowness which chafed Braddock
to fury. He praises the New England colonies, and echoes Dinwiddie's
declaration that they have shown a "fine martial spirit," and he
commends Virginia as having done far better than her neighbors; but for
Pennsylvania he finds no words to express his wrath.[203] He knew
nothing of the intestine war between proprietaries and people, and hence
could see no palliation for a conduct which threatened to ruin both the
expedition and the colony. Everything depended on speed, and speed was
impossible; for stores and provisions were not ready, though notice to
furnish them had been given months before. The quartermaster-general,
Sir John Sinclair, "stormed like a lion rampant," but with small
effect.[204] Contracts broken or disavowed, want of horses, want of
wagons, want of forage, want of wholesome food, or sufficient food of
any kind, caused such delay that the report of it reached England, and
drew from Walpole the comment that Braddock was in no hurry to be
scalped. In reality he was maddened with impatience and vexation.

[Footnote 202: _Writings of Washington_, II. 78. He speaks of the people
of Pennsylvania.]

[Footnote 203: _Braddock to Robinson, 18 March, 19 April, 5 June, 1755_,
etc. On the attitude of Pennsylvania, _Colonial Records of Pa_., VI.,

[Footnote 204: _Colonial Records of Pa_., VI. 368.]

A powerful ally presently came to his aid in the shape of Benjamin
Franklin, then postmaster-general of Pennsylvania. That sagacious
personage,--the sublime of common-sense, about equal in his instincts
and motives of character to the respectable average of the New England
that produced him, but gifted with a versatile power of brain rarely
matched on earth,--was then divided between his strong desire to repel a
danger of which he saw the imminence, and his equally strong antagonism
to the selfish claims of the Penns, proprietaries of Pennsylvania. This
last motive had determined his attitude towards their representative,
the Governor, and led him into an opposition as injurious to the
military good name of the province as it was favorable to its political
longings. In the present case there was no such conflict of
inclinations; he could help Braddock without hurting Pennsylvania. He
and his son had visited the camp, and found the General waiting
restlessly for the report of the agents whom he had sent to collect
wagons. "I stayed with him," says Franklin, "several days, and dined
with him daily. When I was about to depart, the returns of wagons to be
obtained were brought in, by which it appeared that they amounted only
to twenty-five, and not all of these were in serviceable condition." On
this the General and his officers declared that the expedition was at an
end, and denounced the Ministry for sending them into a country void of
the means of transportation. Franklin remarked that it was a pity they
had not landed in Pennsylvania, where almost every farmer had his wagon.
Braddock caught eagerly at his words, and begged that he would use his
influence to enable the troops to move. Franklin went back to
Pennsylvania, issued an address to the farmers appealing to their
interest and their fears, and in a fortnight procured a hundred and
fifty wagons, with a large number of horses.[205] Braddock, grateful to
his benefactor, and enraged at everybody else, pronounced him "Almost
the only instance of ability and honesty I have known in these
provinces."[206] More wagons and more horses gradually arrived, and at
the eleventh hour the march began.

[Footnote 205: Franklin, _Autobiography. Advertisement of B. Franklin
for Wagons; Address to the Inhabitants of the Counties of York,
Lancaster, and Cumberland, Pennsylvania Archives,_II.294]

[Footnote 206: _Braddock to Robinson,5 June_,1755. The letters of
Braddock here cited are the originals in the Public Record Office]

On the tenth of May Braddock reached Wills Creek, where the whole force
was now gathered, having marched thither by detachments along the banks
of the Potomac. This old trading-station of the Ohio Company had been
transformed into a military post and named Fort Cumberland. During the
past winter the independent companies which had failed Washington in his
need had been at work here to prepare a base of operations for Braddock.
Their axes had been of more avail than their muskets. A broad wound had
been cut in the bosom of the forest, and the murdered oaks and chestnuts
turned into ramparts, barracks, and magazines. Fort Cumberland was an
enclosure of logs set upright in the ground, pierced with loopholes, and
armed with ten small cannon. It stood on a rising ground near the point
where Wills Creek joined the Potomac, and the forest girded it like a
mighty hedge, or rather like a paling of gaunt brown stems upholding a
canopy of green. All around spread illimitable woods, wrapping hill,
valley, and mountain. The spot was an oasis in a desert of leaves,--if
the name oasis can be given to anything so rude and harsh. In this
rugged area, or "clearing," all Braddock's force was now assembled,
amounting, regulars, provincials, and sailors, to about twenty-two
hundred men. The two regiments, Halket's and Dunbar's, had been
completed by enlistment in Virginia to seven hundred men each. Of
Virginians there were nine companies of fifty men, who found no favor in
the eyes of Braddock or his officers. To Ensign Allen of Halket's
regiment was assigned the duty of "making them as much like soldiers as
possible."[207]--that is, of drilling them like regulars. The General
had little hope of them, and informed Sir Thomas Robinson that "their
slothful and languid disposition renders them very unfit for military
service,"--a point on which he lived to change his mind. Thirty sailors,
whom Commodore Keppel had lent him, were more to his liking, and were in
fact of value in many ways. He had now about six hundred baggage-horses,
besides those of the artillery, all weakening daily on their diet of
leaves; for no grass was to be found. There was great show of
discipline, and little real order. Braddock's executive capacity seems
to have been moderate, and his dogged, imperious temper, rasped by
disappointments, was in constant irritation. "He looks upon the country,
I believe," writes Washington, "as void of honor or honesty. We have
frequent disputes on this head, which are maintained with warmth on both
sides, especially on his, as he is incapable of arguing without it, or
giving up any point he asserts, be it ever so incompatible with reason
or common sense."[208] Braddock's secretary, the younger Shirley,
writing to his friend Governor Morris, spoke thus irreverently of his
chief: "As the King said of a neighboring governor of yours [_Sharpe_],
when proposed for the command of the American forces about a twelvemonth
ago, and recommended as a very honest man, though not remarkably able,
'a little more ability and a little less honesty upon the present
occasion might serve our turn better.' It is a joke to suppose that
secondary officers can make amends for the defects of the first; the
mainspring must be the mover. As to the others, I don't think we have
much to boast; some are insolent and ignorant, others capable, but
rather aiming at showing their own abilities than making a proper use of
them. I have a very great love for my friend Orme, and think it
uncommonly fortunate for our leader that he is under the influence of so
honest and capable a man; but I wish for the sake of the public he had
some more experience of business, particularly in America. I am greatly
disgusted at seeing an expedition (as it is called), so ill-concerted
originally in England, so improperly conducted since in America."[209]

[Footnote 207: Orme, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 208: _Writings of Washington_, II. 77.]

[Footnote 209: _Shirley the younger to Morris, 23 May, 1755_, in
_Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 404.]

Captain Robert Orme, of whom Shirley speaks, was aide-de-camp to
Braddock, and author of a copious and excellent Journal of the
expedition, now in the British Museum.[210] His portrait, painted at
full length by Sir Joshua Reynolds, hangs in the National Gallery at
London. He stands by his horse, a gallant young figure, with a face
pale, yet rather handsome, booted to the knee, his scarlet coat, ample
waistcoat, and small three-cornered hat all heavy with gold lace. The
General had two other aides-de-camp, Captain Roger Morris and Colonel
George Washington, whom he had invited, in terms that do him honor, to
become one of his military family.

[Footnote 210: Printed by Sargent, in his excellent monograph of
Braddock's Expedition.]

It has been said that Braddock despised not only provincials, but
Indians. Nevertheless he took some pains to secure their aid, and
complained that Indian affairs had been so ill conducted by the
provinces that it was hard to gain their confidence. This was true; the
tribes had been alienated by gross neglect. Had they been protected from
injustice and soothed by attentions and presents, the Five Nations,
Delawares, and Shawanoes would have been retained as friends. But their
complaints had been slighted, and every gift begrudged. The trader
Croghan brought, however, about fifty warriors, with as many women and
children, to the camp at Fort Cumberland. They were objects of great
curiosity to the soldiers, who gazed with astonishment on their faces,
painted red, yellow, and black, their ears slit and hung with pendants,
and their heads close shaved, except the feathered scalp-lock at the
crown. "In the day," says an officer, "they are in our camp, and in the
night they go into their own, where they dance and make a most horrible
noise." Braddock received them several times in his tent, ordered the
guard to salute them, made them speeches, caused cannon to be fired and
drums and fifes to play in their honor, regaled them with rum, and gave
them a bullock for a feast; whereupon, being much pleased, they danced a
war-dance, described by one spectator as "droll and odd, showing how
they scalp and fight;" after which, says another, "they set up the most
horrid song or cry that ever I heard."[211] These warriors, with a few
others, promised the General to join him on the march; but he apparently
grew tired of them, for a famous chief, called Scarroyaddy, afterwards
complained: "He looked upon us as dogs, and would never hear anything
that we said to him." Only eight of them remained with him to the

[Footnote 211: _Journal of a Naval Officer_, in Sargent. _The Expedition
of Major-General Braddock, being Extracts of Letters from an Officer_
(London, 1755).]

[Footnote 212: _Statement of George Croghan_, in Sargent, appendix iii.]

Another ally appeared at the camp. This was a personage long known in
Western fireside story as Captain Jack, the Black Hunter, or the Black
Rifle. It was said of him that, having been a settler on the farthest
frontier, in the Valley of the Juniata, he returned one evening to his
cabin and found it burned to the ground by Indians, and the bodies of
his wife and children lying among the ruins. He vowed undying vengeance,
raised a band of kindred spirits, dressed and painted like Indians, and
became the scourge of the red man and the champion of the white. But he
and his wild crew, useful as they might have been, shocked Braddock's
sense of military fitness; and he received them so coldly that they left

[Footnote 213: See several traditional accounts and contemporary letters
in _Hazard's Pennsylvania Register_, IV. 389, 390, 416; V. 191.]

It was the tenth of June before the army was well on its march. Three
hundred axemen led the way, to cut and clear the road; and the long
train of packhorses, wagons, and cannon toiled on behind, over the
stumps, roots, and stones of the narrow track, the regulars and
provincials marching in the forest close on either side. Squads of men
were thrown out on the flanks, and scouts ranged the woods to guard
against surprise; for, with all his scorn of Indians and Canadians,
Braddock did not neglect reasonable precautions. Thus, foot by foot,
they advanced into the waste of lonely mountains that divided the
streams flowing to the Atlantic from those flowing to the Gulf of
Mexico,--a realm of forests ancient as the world. The road was but
twelve feet wide, and the line of march often extended four miles. It
was like a thin, long party-colored snake, red, blue, and brown,
trailing slowly through the depth of leaves, creeping round inaccessible
heights, crawling over ridges, moving always in dampness and shadow, by
rivulets and waterfalls, crags and chasms, gorges and shaggy steps. In
glimpses only, through jagged boughs and flickering leaves, did this
wild primeval world reveal itself, with its dark green mountains,
flecked with the morning mist, and its distant summits pencilled in
dreamy blue. The army passed the main Alleghany, Meadow Mountain, and
Great Savage Mountain, and traversed the funereal pine-forest afterwards
called the Shades of Death. No attempt was made to interrupt their
march, though the commandant of Fort Duquesne had sent out parties for
that purpose. A few French and Indians hovered about them, now and then
scalping a straggler or inscribing filthy insults on trees; while others
fell upon the border settlements which the advance of the troops had
left defenceless. Here they were more successful, butchering about
thirty persons, chiefly women and children.

It was the eighteenth of June before the army reached a place called the
Little Meadows, less than thirty miles from Fort Cumberland. Fever and
dysentery among the men, and the weakness and worthlessness of many of
the horses, joined to the extreme difficulty of the road, so retarded
them that they could move scarcely more than three miles a day. Braddock
consulted with Washington, who advised him to leave the heavy baggage
to follow as it could, and push forward with a body of chosen troops.
This counsel was given in view of a report that five hundred regulars
were on the way to reinforce Fort Duquesne. It was adopted. Colonel
Dunbar was left to command the rear division, whose powers of movement
were now reduced to the lowest point. The advance corps, consisting of
about twelve hundred soldiers, besides officers and drivers, began its
march on the nineteenth with such artillery as was thought
indispensable, thirty wagons, and a large number of packhorses. "The
prospect," writes Washington to his brother, "conveyed infinite delight
to my mind, though I was excessively ill at the time. But this prospect
was soon clouded, and my hopes brought very low indeed when I found
that, instead of pushing on with vigor without regarding a little rough
road, they were halting to level every mole-hill, and to erect bridges
over every brook, by which means we were four days in getting twelve
miles." It was not till the seventh of July that they neared the mouth
of Turtle Creek, a stream entering the Monongahela about eight miles
from the French fort. The way was direct and short, but would lead them
through a difficult country and a defile so perilous that Braddock
resolved to ford the Monongahela to avoid this danger, and then ford it
again to reach his destination.

Fort Duquesne stood on the point of land where the Alleghany and the
Monongahela join to form the Ohio, and where now stands Pittsburg, with
its swarming population, its restless industries, the clang of its
forges, and its chimneys vomiting foul smoke into the face of heaven. At
that early day a white flag fluttering over a cluster of palisades and
embankments betokened the first intrusion of civilized men upon a scene
which, a few months before, breathed the repose of a virgin wilderness,
voiceless but for the lapping of waves upon the pebbles, or the note of
some lonely bird. But now the sleep of ages was broken, and bugle and
drum told the astonished forest that its doom was pronounced and its
days numbered. The fort was a compact little work, solidly built and
strong, compared with others on the continent. It was a square of four
bastions, with the water close on two sides, and the other two protected
by ravelins, ditch, glacis, and covered way. The ramparts on these sides
were of squared logs, filled in with earth, and ten feet or more thick.
The two water sides were enclosed by a massive stockade of upright logs,
twelve feet high, mortised together and loopholed. The armament
consisted of a number of small cannon mounted on the bastions. A gate
and drawbridge on the east side gave access to the area within, which
was surrounded by barracks for the soldiers, officers' quarters, the
lodgings of the commandant, a guardhouse, and a storehouse, all built
partly of logs and partly of boards. There were no casemates, and the
place was commanded by a high woody hill beyond the Monongahela. The
forest had been cleared away to the distance of more than a musket shot
from the ramparts, and the stumps were hacked level with the ground.
Here, just outside the ditch, bark cabins had been built for such of the
troops and Canadians as could not find room within; and the rest of the
open space was covered with Indian corn and other crops.[214]

[Footnote 214: _M'Kinney's Description of Fort Duquesne, 1756_, in
_Hazard's Pennsylvania Register_, VIII. 318. _Letters of Robert Stobo,
Hostage at Fort Duquesne, 1754_, in _Colonial Records of Pa._ VI. 141,
161. Stobo's _Plan of Fort Duquesne, 1754. Journal of Thomas Forbes,
1755. Letter of Captain Haslet, 1758_, in _Olden Time_, I. 184. _Plan of
Fort Duquesne_ in Public Record Office.]

The garrison consisted of a few companies of the regular troops
stationed permanently in the colony, and to these were added a
considerable number of Canadians. Contrecoeur still held the
command.[215] Under him were three other captains, Beaujeu, Dumas, and
Ligneris. Besides the troops and Canadians, eight hundred Indian
warriors, mustered from far and near, had built their wigwams and
camp-sheds on the open ground, or under the edge of the neighboring
woods,--very little to the advantage of the young corn. Some were
baptized savages settled in Canada,--Caughnawagas from Saut St. Louis,
Abenakis from St. Francis, and Hurons from Lorette, whose chief bore the
name of Anastase, in honor of that Father of the Church. The rest were
unmitigated heathen,--Pottawattamies and Ojibwas from the northern lakes
under Charles Langlade, the same bold partisan who had led them, three
years before, to attack the Miamis at Pickawillany; Shawanoes and
Mingoes from the Ohio; and Ottawas from Detroit, commanded, it is said,
by that most redoubtable of savages, Pontiac. The law of the survival of
the fittest had wrought on this heterogeneous crew through countless
generations; and with the primitive Indian, the fittest was the
hardiest, fiercest, most adroit, and most wily. Baptized and heathen
alike they had just enjoyed a diversion greatly to their taste. A young
Pennsylvanian named James Smith, a spirited and intelligent boy of
eighteen, had been waylaid by three Indians on the western borders of
the province and led captive to the fort. When the party came to the
edge of the clearing, his captors, who had shot and scalped his
companion, raised the scalp-yell; whereupon a din of responsive whoops
and firing of guns rose from all the Indian camps, and their inmates
swarmed out like bees, while the French in the fort shot off muskets and
cannon to honor the occasion. The unfortunate boy, the object of this
obstreperous rejoicing, presently saw a multitude of savages, naked,
hideously bedaubed with red, blue, black, and brown, and armed with
sticks or clubs, ranging themselves in two long parallel lines, between
which he was told that he must run, the faster the better, as they would
beat him all the way. He ran with his best speed, under a shower of
blows, and had nearly reached the end of the course, when he was knocked
down. He tried to rise, but was blinded by a handful of sand thrown into
his face; and then they beat him till he swooned. On coming to his
senses he found himself in the fort, with the surgeon opening a vein in
his arm and a crowd of French and Indians looking on. In a few days he
was able to walk with the help of a stick; and, coming out from his
quarters one morning, he saw a memorable scene.[216]

[Footnote 215: See Appendix D.]

[Footnote 216: _Account of Remarkable Occurrences in the Life of Colonel
James Smith, written by himself_. Perhaps the best of all the numerous
narratives of captives among the Indians.]

Three days before, an Indian had brought the report that the English
were approaching; and the Chevalier de la Perade was sent out to
reconnoitre.[217] He returned on the next day, the seventh, with news
that they were not far distant. On the eighth the brothers Normanville
went out, and found that they were within six leagues of the fort. The
French were in great excitement and alarm; but Contrecoeur at length
took a resolution, which seems to have been inspired by Beaujeu.[218] It
was determined to meet the enemy on the march, and ambuscade them if
possible at the crossing of the Monongahela, or some other favorable
spot. Beaujeu proposed the plan to the Indians, and offered them the
war-hatchet; but they would not take it. "Do you want to die, my father,
and sacrifice us besides?" That night they held a council, and in the
morning again refused to go. Beaujeu did not despair. "I am determined,"
he exclaimed, "to meet the English. What! will you let your father go
alone?"[219] The greater part caught fire at his words, promised to
follow him and put on their war-paint. Beaujeu received the communion,
then dressed himself like a savage, and joined the clamorous throng.
Open barrels of gunpowder and bullets were set before the gate of the
fort, and James Smith, painfully climbing the rampart with the help of
his stick, looked down on the warrior rabble as, huddling together, wild
with excitement, they scooped up the contents to fill their powder-horns
and pouches. Then, band after band, they filed off along the forest
track that led to the ford of the Monongahela. They numbered six hundred
and thirty-seven; and with them went thirty-six French officers and
cadets, seventy-two regular soldiers, and a hundred and forty-six
Canadians, or about nine hundred in all.[220] At eight o'clock the
tumult was over. The broad clearing lay lonely and still, and
Contrecoeur, with what was left of his garrison, waited in suspense for
the issue.

[Footnote 217: _Relation de Godefroy_, in Shea, _Bataille du
Malangueulé_ (Monongahela).]

[Footnote 218: Dumas, however, declares that Beaujeu adopted the plan at
his suggestion. _Dumas au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1756_.]

[Footnote 219: _Relation depuis le Départ des Trouppes de Québec
jusqu'au 30 du Mois de Septembre, 1755_.]

[Footnote 220: _Liste des Officiers, Cadets, Soldats, Miliciens, et
Sauvages qui composaient le Détachement qui a été au devant d'un Corps
de 2,000 Anglois à 3 Lieues du Fort Duquesne, le 9 Juillet, 1755; joint
à la Lettre de M. Bigot du 6 Août, 1755_.]

It was near one o'clock when Braddock crossed the Monongahela for the
second time. If the French made a stand anywhere, it would be, he
thought, at the fording-place; but Lieutenant-Colonel Gage, whom he sent
across with a strong advance-party, found no enemy, and quietly took
possession of the farther shore. Then the main body followed. To impose
on the imagination of the French scouts, who were doubtless on the
watch, the movement was made with studied regularity and order. The sun
was cloudless, and the men were inspirited by the prospect of near
triumph. Washington afterwards spoke with admiration of the
spectacle.[221] The music, the banners, the mounted officers, the troop
of light cavalry, the naval detachment, the red-coated regulars, the
blue-coated Virginians, the wagons and tumbrils, cannon, howitzers, and
coehorns, the train of packhorses, and the droves of cattle, passed in
long procession through the rippling shallows, and slowly entered the
bordering forest. Here, when all were over, a short halt was ordered for
rest and refreshment.

[Footnote 221: Compare the account of another eye-witness, Dr. Walker,
in _Hazard's Pennsylvania Register_, VI. 104.]

Why had not Beaujeu defended the ford? This was his intention in the
morning; but he had been met by obstacles, the nature of which is not
wholly clear. His Indians, it seems, had proved refractory. Three
hundred of them left him, went off in another direction, and did not
rejoin him till the English had crossed the river.[222] Hence perhaps it
was that, having left Fort Duquesne at eight o'clock, he spent half the
day in marching seven miles, and was more than a mile from the
fording-place when the British reached the eastern shore. The delay,
from whatever cause arising, cost him the opportunity of laying an
ambush either at the ford or in the gullies and ravines that channelled
the forest through which Braddock was now on the point of marching.

[Footnote 222: _Relation de Godefroy_, in Shea, _Bataille du

Not far from the bank of the river, and close by the British line of
march, there was a clearing and a deserted house that had once belonged
to the trader Fraser. Washington remembered it well. It was here that he
found rest and shelter on the winter journey homeward from his mission
to Fort Le Boeuf. He was in no less need of rest at this moment; for
recent fever had so weakened him that he could hardly sit his horse.
From Fraser's house to Fort Duquesne the distance was eight miles by a
rough path, along which the troops were now beginning to move after
their halt. It ran inland for a little; then curved to the left, and
followed a course parallel to the river along the base of a line of
steep hills that here bordered the valley. These and all the country
were buried in dense and heavy forest, choked with bushes and the
carcases of fallen trees. Braddock has been charged with marching
blindly into an ambuscade; but it was not so. There was no ambuscade;
and had there been one, he would have found it. It is true that he did
not reconnoitre the woods very far in advance of the head of the column;
yet, with this exception, he made elaborate dispositions to prevent
surprise. Several guides, with six Virginian light horsemen, led the
way. Then, a musket-shot behind, came the vanguard; then three hundred
soldiers under Gage; then a large body of axemen, under Sir John
Sinclair, to open the road; then two cannon with tumbrils and
tool-wagons; and lastly the rear-guard, closing the line, while
flanking-parties ranged the woods on both sides. This was the
advance-column. The main body followed with little or no interval. The
artillery and wagons moved along the road, and the troops filed through
the woods close on either hand. Numerous flanking-parties were thrown
out a hundred yards and more to right and left; while, in the space
between them and the marching column, the pack horses and cattle, with
their drivers, made their way painfully among the trees and thickets;
since, had they been allowed to follow the road, the line of march would
have been too long for mutual support. A body of regulars and
provincials brought up the rear.

Gage, with his advance-column, had just passed a wide and bushy ravine
that crossed their path, and the van of the main column was on the point
of entering it, when the guides and light horsemen in the front suddenly
fell back; and the engineer, Gordon, then engaged in marking out the
road, saw a man, dressed like an Indian, but wearing the gorget of an
officer, bounding forward along the path.[223] He stopped when he
discovered the head of the column, turned, and waved his hat. The forest
behind was swarming with French and savages. At the signal of the
officer, who was probably Beaujeu, they yelled the war-whoop, spread
themselves to right and left, and opened a sharp fire under cover of the
trees. Gage's column wheeled deliberately into line, and fired several
volleys with great steadiness against the now invisible assailants. Few
of them were hurt; the trees caught the shot, but the noise was
deafening under the dense arches of the forest. The greater part of the
Canadians, to borrow the words of Dumas, "fled shamefully, crying 'Sauve
qui peut!'"[224] Volley followed volley, and at the third Beaujeu
dropped dead. Gage's two cannon were now brought to bear, on which the
Indians, like the Canadians, gave way in confusion, but did not, like
them, abandon the field. The close scarlet ranks of the English were
plainly to be seen through the trees and the smoke; they were moving
forward, cheering lustily, and shouting "God save the King." Dumas, now
chief in command, thought that all was lost. "I advanced," he says,
"with the assurance that comes from despair, exciting by voice and
gesture the few soldiers that remained. The fire of my platoon was so
sharp that the enemy seemed astonished." The Indians, encouraged, began
to rally. The French officers who commanded them showed admirable
courage and address; and while Dumas and Ligneris, with the regulars and
what was left of the Canadians, held the ground in front, the savage
warriors, screeching their war-cries, swarmed through the forest along
both flanks of the English, hid behind trees, bushes, and fallen trunks,
or crouched in gullies and ravines, and opened a deadly fire on the
helpless soldiery, who, themselves completely visible, could see no
enemy, and wasted volley after volley on the impassive trees. The most
destructive fire came from a hill on the English right, where the
Indians lay in multitudes, firing from their lurking-places on the
living target below. But the invisible death was everywhere, in front,
flank, and rear. The British cheer was heard no more. The troops broke
their ranks and huddled together in a bewildered mass, shrinking from
the bullets that cut them down by scores.

[Footnote 223: _Journal of the Proceeding of the Detachment of Seamen_,
in Sargent.]

[Footnote 224: _Dumas au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1756. Contrecoeur à
Vaudreuil, 14 Juillet, 1755_. See Appendix D, where extracts are given.]

When Braddock heard the firing in the front, he pushed forward with the
main body to the support of Gage, leaving four hundred men in the rear,
under Sir Peter Halket, to guard the baggage. At the moment of his
arrival Gage's soldiers had abandoned their two cannon, and were falling
back to escape the concentrated fire of the Indians. Meeting the
advancing troops, they tried to find cover behind them. This threw the
whole into confusion. The men of the two regiments became mixed
together; and in a short time the entire force, except the Virginians
and the troops left with Halket, were massed in several dense bodies
within a small space of ground, facing some one way and some another,
and all alike exposed without shelter to the bullets that pelted them
like hail. Both men and officers were new to this blind and frightful
warfare of the savage in his native woods. To charge the Indians in
their hiding-places would have been useless. They would have eluded
pursuit with the agility of wildcats, and swarmed back, like angry
hornets, the moment that it ceased. The Virginians alone were equal to
the emergency. Fighting behind trees like the Indians themselves, they
might have held the enemy in check till order could be restored, had not
Braddock, furious at a proceeding that shocked all his ideas of courage
and discipline, ordered them, with oaths, to form into line. A body of
them under Captain Waggoner made a dash for a fallen tree lying in the
woods, far out towards the lurking-places of the Indians, and, crouching
behind the huge trunk, opened fire; but the regulars, seeing the smoke
among the bushes, mistook their best friends for the enemy, shot at them
from behind, killed many, and forced the rest to return. A few of the
regulars also tried in their clumsy way to fight behind trees; but
Braddock beat them with his sword, and compelled them to stand with the
rest, an open mark for the Indians. The panic increased; the soldiers
crowded together, and the bullets spent themselves in a mass of human
bodies. Commands, entreaties, and threats were lost upon them. "We would
fight," some of them answered, "if we could see anybody to fight with."
Nothing was visible but puffs of smoke. Officers and men who had stood
all the afternoon under fire afterwards declared that they could not be
sure they had seen a single Indian. Braddock ordered Lieutenant-Colonel
Burton to attack the hill where the puffs of smoke were thickest, and
the bullets most deadly. With infinite difficulty that brave officer
induced a hundred men to follow him; but he was soon disabled by a
wound, and they all faced about. The artillerymen stood for some time by
their guns, which did great damage to the trees and little to the enemy.
The mob of soldiers, stupefied with terror, stood panting, their
foreheads beaded with sweat, loading and firing mechanically, sometimes
into the air, sometimes among their own comrades, many of whom they
killed. The ground, strewn with dead and wounded men, the bounding of
maddened horses, the clatter and roar of musketry and cannon, mixed with
the spiteful report of rifles and the yells that rose from the
indefatigable throats of six hundred unseen savages, formed a chaos of
anguish and terror scarcely paralleled even in Indian war. "I cannot
describe the horrors of that scene," one of Braddock's officers wrote
three weeks after; "no pen could do it. The yell of the Indians is fresh
on my ear, and the terrific sound will haunt me till the hour of my

[Footnote 225: _Leslie to a Merchant of Philadelphia, 30 July, 1755_, in
_Hazard's Pennsylvania Register_, V. 191. Leslie was a lieutenant of the

Braddock showed a furious intrepidity. Mounted on horseback, he dashed
to and fro, storming like a madman. Four horses were shot under him, and
he mounted a fifth. Washington seconded his chief with equal courage; he
too no doubt using strong language, for he did not measure words when
the fit was on him. He escaped as by miracle. Two horses were killed
under him, and four bullets tore his clothes. The conduct of the British
officers was above praise. Nothing could surpass their undaunted
self-devotion; and in their vain attempts to lead on the men, the havoc
among them was frightful. Sir Peter Halket was shot dead. His son, a
lieutenant in his regiment, stooping to raise the body of his father,
was shot dead in turn. Young Shirley, Braddock's secretary, was pierced
through the brain. Orme and Morris, his aides-de-camp, Sinclair, the
quartermaster-general, Gates and Gage, both afterwards conspicuous on
opposite sides in the War of the Revolution, and Gladwin, who, eight
years later, defended Detroit against Pontiac, were all wounded. Of
eighty-six officers, sixty-three were killed or disabled;[226] while out
of thirteen hundred and seventy-three noncommissioned officers and
privates, only four hundred and fifty-nine came off unharmed.[227]

[Footnote 226: _A List of the Officers who were present, and of those
killed and wounded, in the Action on the Banks of the Monongahela, 9
July, 1755_ (Public Record Office, _America and West Indies_, LXXXII).]

[Footnote 227: Statement of the engineer, Mackellar. By another account,
out of a total, officers and men, of 1,460, the number of all ranks who
escaped was 583. Braddock's force, originally 1,200, was increased, a
few days before the battle, by detachments from Dunbar.]

Braddock saw that all was lost. To save the wreck of his force from
annihilation, he at last commanded a retreat; and as he and such of his
officers as were left strove to withdraw the half-frenzied crew in some
semblance of order, a bullet struck him down. The gallant bulldog fell
from his horse, shot through the arm into the lungs. It is said, though
on evidence of no weight, that the bullet came from one of his own men.
Be this as it may, there he lay among the bushes, bleeding, gasping,
unable even to curse. He demanded to be left where he was. Captain
Stewart and another provincial bore him between them to the rear.

It was about this time that the mob of soldiers, having been three hours
under fire, and having spent their ammunition, broke away in a blind
frenzy, rushed back towards the ford, "and when," says Washington, "we
endeavored to rally them, it was with as much success as if we had
attempted to stop the wild bears of the mountains." They dashed across,
helter-skelter, plunging through the water to the farther bank, leaving
wounded comrades, cannon, baggage, the military chest, and the General's
papers, a prey to the Indians. About fifty of these followed to the edge
of the river. Dumas and Ligneris, who had now only about twenty
Frenchmen with them, made no attempt to pursue, and went back to the
fort, because, says Contrecoeur, so many of the Canadians had "retired
at the first fire." The field, abandoned to the savages, was a
pandemonium of pillage and murder.[228]

[Footnote 228: "Nous prîmes le parti de nous retirer en vue de rallier
notre petite armée." _Dumas au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1756_.

On the defeat of Braddock, besides authorities already cited,--_Shirley
to Robinson, 5 Nov. 1755_, accompanying the plans of the battle
reproduced in this volume (Public Record Office, _America and West
Indies_, LXXXIL). The plans were drawn at Shirley's request by Patrick
Mackellar, chief engineer of the expedition, who was with Gage in the
advance column when the fight began. They were examined and fully
approved by the chief surviving officers, and they closely correspond
with another plan made by the aide-de-camp Orme,--which, however, shows
only the beginning of the affair.

_Report of the Court of Inquiry into the Behavior of the Troops at the
Monongahela. Letters of Dinwiddie. Letters of Gage. Burd to Morris, 25
July, 1755. Sinclair to Robinson, 3 Sept. Rutherford to----, 12 July.
Writings of Washington_, II. 68-93. _Review of Military Operations in
North America_. Entick, I. 145. _Gentleman's Magazine_ (1755), 378, 426.
_Letter to a Friend on the Ohio Defeat_ (Boston, 1755).

_Contrecoeur à Vaudreuil, 14 Juillet, 1755. Estat de l'Artillerie, etc.,
qui se sont trouvés sur le Champ de Bataille. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 5
Août, 1755. Bigot au Ministre, 27 Août. Relation du Combat du 9 Juillet.
Relation depuis le Départ des Trouppes de Québec jusqu'au 30 du Mois de
Septembre. Lotbinière à d'Argenson, 24 Oct. Relation officielle imprimée
au Louvre. Relation de Godefroy_ (Shea). _Extraits du Registre du Fort
Duquesne_ (_Ibid._). _Relation de diverses Mouvements_ (_Ibid._).
Pouchot, I. 37.]

James Smith, the young prisoner at Fort Duquesne, had passed a day of
suspense, waiting the result. "In the afternoon I again observed a great
noise and commotion in the fort, and, though at that time I could not
understand French, I found it was the voice of joy and triumph, and
feared that they had received what I called bad news. I had observed
some of the old-country soldiers speak Dutch; as I spoke Dutch, I went
to one of them and asked him what was the news. He told me that a runner
had just arrived who said that Braddock would certainly be defeated;
that the Indians and French had surrounded him, and were concealed
behind trees and in gullies, and kept a constant fire upon the English;
and that they saw the English falling in heaps; and if they did not take
the river, which was the only gap, and make their escape, there would
not be one man left alive before sundown. Some time after this, I heard
a number of scalp-halloos, and saw a company of Indians and French
coming in. I observed they had a great number of bloody scalps,
grenadiers' caps, British canteens, bayonets, etc., with them. They
brought the news that Braddock was defeated. After that another company
came in, which appeared to be about one hundred, and chiefly Indians;
and it seemed to me that almost every one of this company was carrying
scalps. After this came another company with a number of wagon-horses,
and also a great many scalps. Those that were coming in and those that
had arrived kept a constant firing of small arms, and also the great
guns in the fort, which were accompanied with the most hideous shouts
and yells from all quarters, so that it appeared to me as though the
infernal regions had broke loose."

"About sundown I beheld a small party coming in with about a dozen
prisoners, stripped naked, with their hands tied behind their backs and
their faces and part of their bodies blacked; these prisoners they
burned to death on the bank of Alleghany River, opposite the fort. I
stood on the fort wall until I beheld them begin to burn one of these
men; they had him tied to a stake, and kept touching him with
firebrands, red-hot irons, etc., and he screaming in a most doleful
manner, the Indians in the meantime yelling like infernal spirits. As
this scene appeared too shocking for me to behold, I retired to my
lodging, both sore and sorry. When I came into my lodgings I saw
Russel's _Seven Sermons_, which they had brought from the field of
battle, which a Frenchman made a present of to me."

The loss of the French was slight, but fell chiefly on the officers,
three of whom were killed, and four wounded. Of the regular soldiers,
all but four escaped untouched. The Canadians suffered still less in
proportion to their numbers, only five of them being hurt. The Indians,
who won the victory, bore the principal loss. Of those from Canada,
twenty-seven were killed and wounded; while the casualties among the
Western tribes are not reported.[229] All of these last went off the
next morning with their plunder and scalps, leaving Contrecoeur in great
anxiety lest the remnant of Braddock's troops, reinforced by the
division under Dunbar, should attack him again. His doubts would have
vanished had he known the condition of his defeated enemy.

[Footnote 229: _Liste des Officiers, Soldats, Miliciens, et Sauvages de
Canada qui out été tués et blessés le 9 Juillet, 1755_.]

In the pain and languor of a mortal wound, Braddock showed unflinching
resolution. His bearers stopped with him at a favorable spot beyond the
Monongahela; and here he hoped to maintain his position till the arrival
of Dunbar. By the efforts of the officers about a hundred men were
collected around him; but to keep them there was impossible. Within an
hour they abandoned him, and fled like the rest. Gage, however,
succeeded in rallying about eighty beyond the other fording-place; and
Washington, on an order from Braddock, spurred his jaded horse towards
the camp of Dunbar to demand wagons, provisions, and hospital stores.

Fright overcame fatigue. The fugitives toiled on all night, pursued by
spectres of horror and despair; hearing still the war-whoops and the
shrieks; possessed with the one thought of escape from the wilderness of
death. In the morning some order was restored. Braddock was placed on a
horse; then, the pain being insufferable, he was carried on a litter,
Captain Orme having bribed the carriers by the promise of a guinea and a
bottle of rum apiece. Early in the succeeding night, such as had not
fainted on the way reached the deserted farm of Gist. Here they met
wagons and provisions, with a detachment of soldiers sent by Dunbar,
whose camp was six miles farther on; and Braddock ordered them to go to
the relief of the stragglers left behind.

At noon of that day a number of wagoners and packhorse-drivers had come
to Dunbar's camp with wild tidings of rout and ruin. More fugitives
followed; and soon after a wounded officer was brought in upon a sheet.
The drums beat to arms. The camp was in commotion; and many soldiers and
teamsters took to flight, in spite of the sentinels, who tried in vain
to stop them.[230] There was a still more disgraceful scene on the next
day, after Braddock, with the wreck of his force, had arrived. Orders
were given to destroy such of the wagons, stores, and ammunition as
could not be carried back at once to Fort Cumberland. Whether Dunbar or
the dying General gave these orders is not clear; but it is certain that
they were executed with shameful alacrity. More than a hundred wagons
were burned; cannon, coehorns, and shells were burst or buried; barrels
of gunpowder were staved, and the contents thrown into a brook;
provisions were scattered through the woods and swamps. Then the whole
command began its retreat over the mountains to Fort Cumberland, sixty
miles distant. This proceeding, for which, in view of the condition of
Braddock, Dunbar must be held answerable, excited the utmost
indignation among the colonists. If he could not advance, they thought,
he might at least have fortified himself and held his ground till the
provinces could send him help; thus covering the frontier, and holding
French war-parties in check.

[Footnote 230: _Depositions of Matthew Laird, Michael Hoover, and Jacob
Hoover, Wagoners_, in _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 482.]

Braddock's last moment was near. Orme, who, though himself severely
wounded, was with him till his death, told Franklin that he was totally
silent all the first day, and at night said only, "Who would have
thought it?" that all the next day he was again silent, till at last he
muttered, "We shall better know how to deal with them another time," and
died a few minutes after. He had nevertheless found breath to give
orders at Gist's for the succor of the men who had dropped on the road.
It is said, too, that in his last hours "he could not bear the sight of
a red coat," but murmured praises of "the blues," or Virginians, and
said that he hoped he should live to reward them.[231] He died at about
eight o'clock in the evening of Sunday, the thirteenth. Dunbar had begun
his retreat that morning, and was then encamped near the Great Meadows.
On Monday the dead commander was buried in the road; and men, horses,
and wagons passed over his grave, effacing every sign of it, lest the
Indians should find and mutilate the body.

[Footnote 231: _Bolling to his Son, 13 Aug. 1755_. Bolling was a
Virginian gentleman whose son was at school in England.]

Colonel James Innes, commanding at Fort Cumberland, where a crowd of
invalids with soldiers' wives and other women had been left when the
expedition marched, heard of the defeat, only two days after it
happened, from a wagoner who had fled from the field on horseback. He at
once sent a note of six lines to Lord Fairfax: "I have this moment
received the most melancholy news of the defeat of our troops, the
General killed, and numbers of our officers; our whole artillery taken.
In short, the account I have received is so very bad, that as, please
God, I intend to make a stand here, 'tis highly necessary to raise the
militia everywhere to defend the frontiers." A boy whom he sent out on
horseback met more fugitives, and came back on the fourteenth with
reports as vague and disheartening as the first. Innes sent them to
Dinwiddie.[232] Some days after, Dunbar and his train arrived in
miserable disorder, and Fort Cumberland was turned into a hospital for
the shattered fragments of a routed and ruined army.

[Footnote 232: _Innes to Dinwiddie, 14 July, 1755_.]

On the sixteenth a letter was brought in haste to one Buchanan at
Carlisle, on the Pennsylvanian frontier:--

     Sir,--I thought it proper to let you know that I was in the battle
     where we were defeated. And we had about eleven hundred and fifty
     private men, besides officers and others. And we were attacked the
     ninth day about twelve o'clock, and held till about three in the
     afternoon, and then we were forced to retreat, when I suppose we
     might bring off about three hundred whole men, besides a vast many
     wounded. Most of our officers were either wounded or killed;
     General Braddock is wounded, but I hope not mortal; and Sir John
     Sinclair and many others, but I hope not mortal. All the train is
     cut off in a manner. Sir Peter Halket and his son, Captain Polson,
     Captain Gethan, Captain Rose, Captain Tatten killed, and many
     others. Captain Ord of the train is wounded, but I hope not mortal.
     We lost all our artillery entirely, and everything else.

     To Mr. John Smith and Buchannon, and give it to the next post, and
     let him show this to Mr. George Gibson in Lancaster, and Mr.
     Bingham, at the sign of the Ship, and you'll oblige,

     Yours to command,

     JOHN CAMPBELL, _Messenger_.[233]

[Footnote 233: _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 481.]

The evil tidings quickly reached Philadelphia, where such confidence had
prevailed that certain over-zealous persons had begun to collect money
for fireworks to celebrate the victory. Two of these, brother physicians
named Bond, came to Franklin and asked him to subscribe; but the sage
looked doubtful. "Why, the devil!" said one of them, "you surely don't
suppose the fort will not be taken?" He reminded them that war is always
uncertain; and the subscription was deferred.[234]The Governor laid the
news of the disaster before his Council, telling them at the same time
that his opponents in the Assembly would not believe it, and had
insulted him in the street for giving it currency.[235]

[Footnote 234: _Autobiography of Franklin_.]

[Footnote 235: _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 480.]

Dinwiddie remained tranquil at Williamsburg, sure that all would go
well. The brief note of Innes, forwarded by Lord Fairfax, first
disturbed his dream of triumph; but on second thought he took comfort.
"I am willing to think that account was from a deserter who, in a great
panic, represented what his fears suggested. I wait with impatience for
another express from Fort Cumberland, which I expect will greatly
contradict the former." The news got abroad, and the slaves showed signs
of excitement. "The villany of the negroes on any emergency is what I
always feared," continues the Governor. "An example of one or two at
first may prevent these creatures entering into combinations and wicked
designs."[236] And he wrote to Lord Halifax: "The negro slaves have been
very audacious on the news of defeat on the Ohio. These poor creatures
imagine the French will give them their freedom. We have too many here;
but I hope we shall be able to keep them in proper subjection." Suspense
grew intolerable. "It's monstrous they should be so tardy and dilatory
in sending down any farther account." He sent Major Colin Campbell for
news; when, a day or two later, a courier brought him two letters, one
from Orme, and the other from Washington, both written at Fort
Cumberland on the eighteenth. The letter of Orme began thus: "My dear
Governor, I am so extremely ill in bed with the wound I have received
that I am under the necessity of employing my friend Captain Dobson as
my scribe." Then he told the wretched story of defeat and humiliation.
"The officers were absolutely sacrificed by their unparalleled good
behavior; advancing before their men sometimes in bodies, and sometimes
separately, hoping by such an example to engage the soldiers to follow
them; but to no purpose. Poor Shirley was shot through the head, Captain
Morris very much wounded. Mr. Washington had two horses shot under him,
and his clothes shot through in several places; behaving the whole time
with the greatest courage and resolution."

[Footnote 236: _Dinwiddie to Colonel Charles Carter, 18 July, 1755_.]

Washington wrote more briefly, saying that, as Orme was giving a full
account of the affair, it was needless for him to repeat it. Like many
others in the fight, he greatly underrated the force of the enemy, which
he placed at three hundred, or about a third of the actual number,--a
natural error, as most of the assailants were invisible. "Our poor
Virginians behaved like men, and died like soldiers; for I believe that
out of three companies that were there that day, scarce thirty were left
alive. Captain Peronney and all his officers down to a corporal were
killed. Captain Polson shared almost as hard a fate, for only one of his
escaped. In short, the dastardly behavior of the English soldiers
exposed all those who were inclined to do their duty to almost certain
death. It is imagined (I believe with great justice, too) that two
thirds of both killed and wounded received their shots from our own
cowardly dogs of soldiers, who gathered themselves into a body, contrary
to orders, ten and twelve deep, would then level, fire, and shoot down
the men before them."[237]

[Footnote 237: These extracts are taken from the two letters preserved
in the Public Record Office, _America and West Indies_, LXXIV, LXXXII.]

To Orme, Dinwiddie replied: "I read your letter with tears in my eyes;
but it gave me much pleasure to see your name at the bottom, and more so
when I observed by the postscript that your wound is not dangerous. But
pray, dear sir, is it not possible by a second attempt to retrieve the
great loss we have sustained? I presume the General's chariot is at the
fort. In it you may come here, and my house is heartily at your command.
Pray take care of your valuable health; keep your spirits up, and I
doubt not of your recovery. My wife and girls join me in most sincere
respects and joy at your being so well, and I always am, with great
truth, dear friend, your affectionate humble servant."

To Washington he is less effusive, though he had known him much longer.
He begins, it is true, "Dear Washington," and congratulates him on his
escape; but soon grows formal, and asks: "Pray, sir, with the number of
them remaining, is there no possibility of doing something on the other
side of the mountains before the winter months? Surely you must mistake.
Colonel Dunbar will not march to winter-quarters in the middle of
summer, and leave the frontiers exposed to the invasions of the enemy!
No; he is a better officer, and I have a different opinion of him. I
sincerely wish you health and happiness, and am, with great respect,
sir, your obedient, humble servant."

Washington's letter had contained the astonishing announcement that
Dunbar meant to abandon the frontier and march to Philadelphia.
Dinwiddie, much disturbed, at once wrote to that officer, though without
betraying any knowledge of his intention. "Sir, the melancholy account
of the defeat of our forces gave me a sensible and real concern"--on
which he enlarges for a while; then suddenly changes style: "Dear
Colonel, is there no method left to retrieve the dishonor done to the
British arms? As you now command all the forces that remain, are you not
able, after a proper refreshment of your men, to make a second attempt?
You have four months now to come of the best weather of the year for
such an expedition. What a fine field for honor will Colonel Dunbar have
to confirm and establish his character as a brave officer." Then, after
suggesting plans of operation, and entering into much detail, the fervid
Governor concludes: "It gives me great pleasure that under our great
loss and misfortunes the command devolves on an officer of so great
military judgment and established character. With my sincere respect and
hearty wishes for success to all your proceedings, I am, worthy sir,
your most obedient, humble servant."

Exhortation and flattery were lost on Dunbar. Dinwiddie received from
him in reply a short, dry note, dated on the first of August, and
acquainting him that he should march for Philadelphia on the second.
This, in fact, he did, leaving the fort to be defended by invalids and a
few Virginians. "I acknowledge," says Dinwiddie, "I was not brought up
to arms; but I think common sense would have prevailed not to leave the
frontiers exposed after having opened a road over the mountains to the
Ohio, by which the enemy can the more easily invade us.... Your great
colonel," he writes to Orme, "is gone to a peaceful colony, and left our
frontiers open.... The whole conduct of Colonel Dunbar appears to me
monstrous.... To march off all the regulars, and leave the fort and
frontiers to be defended by four hundred sick and wounded, and the poor
remains of our provincial forces, appears to me absurd."[238]

[Footnote 238: Dinwiddie's view of Dunbar's conduct is fully justified
by the letters of Shirley, Governor Morris, and Dunbar himself.]

He found some comfort from the burgesses, who gave him forty thousand
pounds, and would, he thinks, have given a hundred thousand if another
attempt against Fort Duquesne had been set afoot. Shirley, too, whom the
death of Braddock had made commander-in-chief, approved the Governor's
plan of renewing offensive operations, and instructed Dunbar to that
effect; ordering him, however, should they prove impracticable, to march
for Albany in aid of the Niagara expedition.[239] The order found him
safe in Philadelphia. Here he lingered for a while; then marched to join
the northern army, moving at a pace which made it certain that he could
not arrive in time to be of the least use.

[Footnote 239: _Orders for Colonel Thomas Dunbar, 12 Aug. 1755_. These
supersede a previous order of August 6, by which Shirley had directed
Dunbar to march northward at once.]

Thus the frontier was left unguarded; and soon, as Dinwiddie had
foreseen, there burst upon it a storm of blood and fire.

Chapter 8


Removal of the Acadians

By the plan which the Duke of Cumberland had ordained and Braddock had
announced in the Council at Alexandria, four blows were to be struck at
once to force back the French boundaries, lop off the dependencies of
Canada, and reduce her from a vast territory to a petty province. The
first stroke had failed, and had shattered the hand of the striker; it
remains to see what fortune awaited the others.

It was long since a project of purging Acadia of French influence had
germinated in the fertile mind of Shirley. We have seen in a former
chapter the condition of that afflicted province. Several thousands of
its inhabitants, wrought upon by intriguing agents of the French
Government, taught by their priests that fidelity to King Louis was
inseparable from fidelity to God, and that to swear allegiance to the
British Crown was eternal perdition; threatened with plunder and death
at the hands of the savages whom the ferocious missionary, Le Loutre,
held over them in terror,--had abandoned, sometimes willingly, but
oftener under constraint, the fields which they and their fathers had
tilled, and crossing the boundary line of the Missaguash, had placed
themselves under the French flag planted on the hill of Beauséjour.[240]
Here, or in the neighborhood, many of them had remained, wretched and
half starved; while others had been transported to Cape Breton, Isle St.
Jean, or the coasts of the Gulf,--not so far, however, that they could
not on occasion be used to aid in an invasion of British Acadia.[241]
Those of their countrymen who still lived under the British flag were
chiefly the inhabitants of the district of Mines and of the valley of
the River Annapolis, who, with other less important settlements,
numbered a little more than nine thousand souls. We have shown already,
by the evidence of the French themselves, that neither they nor their
emigrant countrymen had been oppressed or molested in matters temporal
or spiritual, but that the English authorities, recognizing their value
as an industrious population, had labored to reconcile them to a change
of rulers which on the whole was to their advantage. It has been shown
also how, with a heartless perfidy and a reckless disregard of their
welfare and safety, the French Government and its agents labored to keep
them hostile to the Crown of which it had acknowledged them to be
subjects. The result was, that though they did not, like their emigrant
countrymen, abandon their homes, they remained in a state of restless
disaffection, refused to supply English garrisons with provisions,
except at most exorbitant rates, smuggled their produce to the French
across the line, gave them aid and intelligence, and sometimes disguised
as Indians, robbed and murdered English settlers. By the new-fangled
construction of the treaty of Utrecht which the French boundary
commissioners had devised,[242] more than half the Acadian peninsula,
including nearly all the cultivated land and nearly all the population
of French descent, was claimed as belonging to France, though England
had held possession of it more than forty years. Hence, according to the
political ethics adopted at the time by both nations, it would be lawful
for France to reclaim it by force. England, on her part, it will be
remembered, claimed vast tracts beyond the isthmus; and, on the same
pretext, held that she might rightfully seize them and capture
Beauséjour, with the other French garrisons that guarded them.

[Footnote 240: See _ante_, Chapter 4.]

[Footnote 241: Rameau (_La France aux Colonies_, I. 63), estimates the
total emigration from 1748 to 1755 at 8,600 souls,--which number seems
much too large. This writer, though vehemently anti-English, gives the
following passage from a letter of a high French official: "que les
Acadiens émigrés et en grande misère comptaient se retirer à Québec et
demander des terres, mais il conviendrait mieux qu'ils restent où ils
sont, afin d'avoir le voisinage de l'Acadie bien peuplé et défriché,
pour approvisionner l'Isle Royale [_Cape Breton_] et tomber en cas de
guerre sur l'Acadie." Rameau, I. 133.]

[Footnote 242: _Supra_, p. 102.]

On the part of France, an invasion of the Acadian peninsula seemed more
than likely. Honor demanded of her that, having incited the Acadians to
disaffection, and so brought on them the indignation of the English
authorities, she should intervene to save them from the consequences.
Moreover the loss of the Acadian peninsula had been gall and wormwood to
her; and in losing it she had lost great material advantages. Its
possession was necessary to connect Canada with the Island of Cape
Breton and the fortress of Louisbourg. Its fertile fields and
agricultural people would furnish subsistence to the troops and
garrisons in the French maritime provinces, now dependent on supplies
illicitly brought by New England traders, and liable to be cut off in
time of war when they were needed most. The harbors of Acadia, too,
would be invaluable as naval stations from which to curb and threaten
the northern English colonies. Hence the intrigues so assiduously
practised to keep the Acadians French at heart, and ready to throw off
British rule at any favorable moment. British officers believed that
should a French squadron with a sufficient force of troops on board
appear in the Bay of Fundy, the whole population on the Basin of Mines
and along the Annapolis would rise in arms, and that the emigrants
beyond the isthmus, armed and trained by French officers, would come to
their aid. This emigrant population, famishing in exile, looked back
with regret to the farms they had abandoned; and, prevented as they were
by Le Loutre and his colleagues from making their peace with the
English, they would, if confident of success, have gladly joined an
invading force to regain their homes by reconquering Acadia for Louis
XV. In other parts of the continent it was the interest of France to put
off hostilities; if Acadia alone had been in question, it would have
been her interest to precipitate them.

Her chances of success were good. The French could at any time send
troops from Louisbourg or Quebec to join those maintained upon the
isthmus; and they had on their side of the lines a force of militia and
Indians amounting to about two thousand, while the Acadians within the
peninsula had about an equal number of fighting men who, while calling
themselves neutrals, might be counted on to join the invaders. The
English were in no condition to withstand such an attack. Their regular
troops were scattered far and wide through the province, and were
nowhere more than equal to the local requirement; while of militia,
except those of Halifax, they had few or none whom they dared to trust.
Their fort at Annapolis was weak and dilapidated, and their other posts
were mere stockades. The strongest place in Acadia was the French fort
of Beauséjour, in which the English saw a continual menace. Their
apprehensions were well grounded. Duquesne, governor of Canada, wrote to
Le Loutre, who virtually shared the control of Beauséjour with Vergor,
its commandant: "I invite both yourself and M. Vergor to devise a
plausible pretext for attacking them [_the English_] vigorously."[243]
Three weeks after this letter was written, Lawrence, governor of Nova
Scotia, wrote to Shirley from Halifax: "Being well informed that the
French have designs of encroaching still farther upon His Majesty's
rights in this province, and that they propose, the moment they have
repaired the fortifications of Louisbourg, to attack our fort at
Chignecto [_Fort Lawrence_], I think it high time to make some effort to
drive them from the north side of the Bay of Fundy."[244] This letter
was brought to Boston by Lieutenant-Colonel Monckton, who was charged by
Lawrence to propose to Shirley the raising of two thousand men in New
England for the attack of Beauséjour and its dependent forts. Almost at
the moment when Lawrence was writing these proposals to Shirley, Shirley
was writing with the same object to Lawrence, enclosing a letter from
Sir Thomas Robinson, concerning which he said: "I construe the contents
to be orders to us to act in concert for taking _any_ advantages to
drive the French of Canada out of Nova Scotia. If that is your sense of
them, and your honor will be pleased to let me know whether you want any
and what assistance to enable you to execute the orders, I will endeavor
to send you such assistance from this province as you shall want."[245]

[Footnote 243: _Duquesne à Le Loutre, 15 Oct. 1754_; extract in _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 239.]

[Footnote 244: _Lawrence to Shirley, 5 Nov. 1754. Instructions of
Lawrence to Monckton, 1 Nov. 1754_.]

[Footnote 245: _Shirley to Lawrence, 7 Nov. 1754_.]

The letter of Sir Thomas Robinson, of which a duplicate had already been
sent to Lawrence, was written in answer to one of Shirley informing the
Minister that the Indians of Nova Scotia, prompted by the French, were
about to make an attack on all the English settlements east of the
Kennebec; whereupon Robinson wrote: "You will without doubt have given
immediate intelligence thereof to Colonel Lawrence, and will have
concerted the properest measures with him for taking all possible
advantage in Nova Scotia itself from the absence of those Indians, in
case Mr. Lawrence shall have force enough to attack the forts erected by
the French in those parts, without exposing the English settlements; and
I am particularly to acquaint you that if you have not already entered
into such a concert with Colonel Lawrence, it is His Majesty's pleasure
that you should immediately proceed thereupon."[246]

[Footnote 246: _Robinson to Shirley, 5 July, 1754_.]

The Indian raid did not take place; but not the less did Shirley and
Lawrence find in the Minister's letter their authorization for the
attack of Beauséjour. Shirley wrote to Robinson that the expulsion of
the French from the forts on the isthmus was a necessary measure of
self-defence; that they meant to seize the whole country as far as Mines
Basin, and probably as far as Annapolis, to supply their Acadian rebels
with land; that of these they had, without reckoning Indians, fourteen
hundred fighting men on or near the isthmus, and two hundred and fifty
more on the St. John, with whom, aided by the garrison of Beauséjour,
they could easily take Fort Lawrence; that should they succeed in this,
the whole Acadian population would rise in arms, and the King would lose
Nova Scotia. We should anticipate them, concludes Shirley, and strike
the first blow.[247]

[Footnote 247: _Shirley to Robinson, 8 Dec. 1754. Ibid., 24 Jan. 1755_.
The Record Office contains numerous other letters of Shirley on the
subject. "I am obliged to your Honor for communicating to me the French
Mémoire, which, with other reasons, puts it out of doubt that the French
are determined to begin an offensive war on the peninsula as soon as
ever they shall think themselves strengthened enough to venture up it,
and that they have thoughts of attempting it in the ensuing spring. I
enclose your Honor extracts from two letters from Annapolis Royal, which
show that the French inhabitants are in expectation of its being begun
in the spring." _Shirley to Lawrence, 6 Jan. 1755_.]

He opened his plans to his Assembly in secret session, and found them of
one mind with himself. Preparation was nearly complete, and the men
raised for the expedition, before the Council at Alexandria, recognized
it as a part of a plan of the summer campaign.

The French fort of Beauséjour, mounted on its hill between the marshes
of Missaguash and Tantemar, was a regular work, pentagonal in form, with
solid earthern ramparts, bomb-proofs, and an armament of twenty-four
cannon and one mortar. The commandant, Duchambon de Vergor, a captain in
the colony regulars, was a dull man of no education, of stuttering
speech, unpleasing countenance, and doubtful character. He owed his
place to the notorious Intendant, Bigot, who it is said, was in his debt
for disreputable service in an affair of gallantry, and who had ample
means of enabling his friends to enrich themselves by defrauding the
King. Beauséjour was one of those plague-spots of official corruption
which dotted the whole surface of New France. Bigot, sailing for Europe
in the summer of 1754, wrote thus to his confederate: "Profit by your
place, my dear Vergor; clip and cut--you are free to do what you
please--so that you can come soon to join me in France and buy an estate
near me."[248] Vergor did not neglect his opportunities. Supplies in
great quantities were sent from Quebec for the garrison and the emigrant
Acadians. These last got but a small part of them. Vergor and his
confederates sent the rest back to Quebec, or else to Louisbourg, and
sold them for their own profit to the King's agents there, who were
also in collusion with him.

[Footnote 248: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_. This letter is also
mentioned in another contemporary document, _Mémoire sur les Fraudes
commises dans la Colonie_.]

Vergor, however, did not reign alone. Le Loutre, by force of energy,
capacity, and passionate vehemence, held him in some awe, and divided
his authority. The priest could count on the support of Duquesne, who
had found, says a contemporary, that "he promised more than he could
perform, and that he was a knave," but who nevertheless felt compelled
to rely upon him for keeping the Acadians on the side of France. There
was another person in the fort worthy of notice. This was Thomas Pichon,
commissary of stores, a man of education and intelligence, born in
France of an English mother. He was now acting the part of a traitor,
carrying on a secret correspondence with the commandant of Fort
Lawrence, and acquainting him with all that passed at Beauséjour. It was
partly from this source that the hostile designs of the French became
known to the authorities of Halifax, and more especially the proceedings
of "Moses," by which name Pichon always designated Le Loutre, because he
pretended to have led the Acadians from the land of bondage.[249]

[Footnote 249: Pichon, called also Tyrrell from the name of his mother,
was author of _Genuine Letters and Memoirs relating to Cape Breton_,--a
book of some value. His papers are preserved at Halifax, and some of
them are printed in the _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_.]

These exiles, who cannot be called self-exiled, in view of the
outrageous means used to force most of them from their homes, were in a
deplorable condition. They lived in constant dread of Le Loutre, backed
by Vergor and his soldiers. The savage missionary, bad as he was, had in
him an ingredient of honest fanaticism, both national and religious;
though hatred of the English held a large share in it. He would gladly,
if he could, have forced the Acadians into a permanent settlement on the
French side of the line, not out of love for them, but in the interest
of the cause with which he had identified his own ambition. His efforts
had failed. There was not land enough for their subsistence and that of
the older settlers; and the suffering emigrants pined more and more for
their deserted farms. Thither he was resolved that they should not
return. "If you go," he told them, "you will have neither priests nor
sacraments, but will die like miserable wretches."[250] The assertion
was false. Priests and sacraments had never been denied them. It is
true that Daudin, priest of Pisiquid, had lately been sent to Halifax
for using insolent language to the commandant, threatening him with an
insurrection of the inhabitants, and exciting them to sedition; but on
his promise to change conduct, he was sent back to his parishioners.[251]
Vergor sustained Le Loutre, and threatened to put in irons any of the
exiles who talked of going back to the English. Some of them bethought
themselves of an appeal to Duquesne, and drew up a petition asking leave
to return home. Le Loutre told the signers that if they did not efface
their marks from the paper they should have neither sacraments in this
life nor heaven in the next. He nevertheless allowed two of them to go
to Quebec as deputies, writing at the same time to the Governor, that
his mind might be duly prepared. Duquesne replied: "I think that the
two rascals of deputies whom you sent me will not soon recover from the
fright I gave them, notwithstanding the emollient I administered after
my reprimand; and since I told them that they were indebted to you for
not being allowed to rot in a dungeon, they have promised me to comply
with your wishes."[252]

[Footnote 250: _Pichon to Captain Scott, 14 Oct. 1754_, in _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 229.]

[Footnote 251: _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 223, 224, 226, 227,

[Footnote 252: _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 239.]

An entire heartlessness marked the dealings of the French authorities
with the Acadians. They were treated as mere tools of policy, to be
used, broken, and flung away. Yet, in using them, the sole condition of
their efficiency was neglected. The French Government, cheated of
enormous sums by its own ravenous agents, grudged the cost of sending a
single regiment to the Acadian border. Thus unsupported, the Acadians
remained in fear and vacillation, aiding the French but feebly, though a
ceaseless annoyance and menace to the English.

This was the state of affairs at Beauséjour while Shirley and Lawrence
were planning its destruction. Lawrence had empowered his agent,
Monckton, to draw without limit on two Boston merchants, Apthorp and
Hancock. Shirley, as commander-in-chief of the province of
Massachusetts, commissioned John Winslow to raise two thousand
volunteers. Winslow was sprung from the early governors of Plymouth
colony; but, though well-born, he was ill-educated, which did not
prevent him from being both popular and influential. He had strong
military inclinations, had led a company of his own raising in the
luckless attack on Carthagena, had commanded the force sent in the
preceding summer to occupy the Kennebec, and on various other occasions
had left his Marshfield farm to serve his country. The men enlisted
readily at his call, and were formed into a regiment, of which Shirley
made himself the nominal colonel. It had two battalions, of which
Winslow, as lieutenant-colonel, commanded the first, and George Scott
the second, both under the orders of Monckton. Country villages far and
near, from the western borders of the Connecticut to uttermost Cape Cod,
lent soldiers to the new regiment. The muster-rolls preserve their
names, vocations, birthplaces, and abode. Obadiah, Nehemiah, Jedediah,
Jonathan, Ebenezer, Joshua, and the like Old Testament names abound upon
the list. Some are set down as "farmers," "yeomen," or "husbandmen;"
others as "shopkeepers," others as "fishermen," and many as "laborers;"
while a great number were handicraftsmen of various trades, from
blacksmiths to wig-makers. They mustered at Boston early in April, where
clothing, haversacks, and blankets were served out to them at the charge
of the King; and the crooked streets of the New England capital were
filled with staring young rustics. On the next Saturday the following
mandate went forth: "The men will behave very orderly on the Sabbath
Day, and either stay on board their transports, or else go to church,
and not stroll up and down the streets." The transports, consisting of
about forty sloops and schooners, lay at Long Wharf; and here on Monday
a grand review took place,--to the gratification, no doubt, of a
populace whose amusements were few. All was ready except the muskets,
which were expected from England, but did not come. Hence the delay of a
month, threatening to ruin the enterprise. When Shirley returned from
Alexandria he found, to his disgust, that the transports still lay at
the wharf where he had left them on his departure.[253] The muskets
arrived at length, and the fleet sailed on the twenty-second of May.
Three small frigates, the "Success," the "Mermaid," and the "Siren,"
commanded by the ex-privateersman, Captain Rous, acted as convoy; and on
the twenty-sixth the whole force safely reached Annapolis. Thence after
some delay they sailed up the Bay of Fundy, and at sunset on the first
of June anchored within five miles of the hill of Beauséjour.

[Footnote 253: _Shirley to Robinson, 20 June, 1755._]

At two o'clock on the next morning a party of Acadians from Chipody
roused Vergor with the news. In great alarm, he sent a messenger to
Louisbourg to beg for help, and ordered all the fighting men of the
neighborhood to repair to the fort. They counted in all between twelve
and fifteen hundred;[254] but they had no appetite for war. The force
of the invaders daunted them; and the hundred and sixty regulars who
formed the garrison of Beauséjour were too few to revive their
confidence. Those of them who had crossed from the English side dreaded
what might ensue should they be caught in arms; and, to prepare an
excuse beforehand, they begged Vergor to threaten them with punishment
if they disobeyed his order. He willingly complied, promised to have
them killed if they did not fight, and assured them at the same time
that the English could never take the fort.[255] Three hundred of them
thereupon joined the garrison, and the rest, hiding their families in
the woods, prepared to wage guerilla war against the invaders.

[Footnote 254: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760._ An English document,
_State of the English and French Forts in Nova Scotia_, says 1,200 to

[Footnote 255: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760._]

Monckton, with all his force, landed unopposed, and encamped at night on
the fields around Fort Lawrence, whence he could contemplate Fort
Beauséjour at his ease. The regulars of the English garrison joined the
New England men; and then, on the morning of the fourth, they marched to
the attack. Their course lay along the south bank of the Missaguash to
where it was crossed by a bridge called Pont-à-Buot. This bridge had
been destroyed; and on the farther bank there was a large blockhouse and
a breastwork of timber defended by four hundred regulars, Acadians, and
Indians. They lay silent and unseen till the head of the column reached
the opposite bank; then raised a yell and opened fire, causing some
loss. Three field-pieces were brought up, the defenders were driven out,
and a bridge was laid under a spattering fusillade from behind bushes,
which continued till the English had crossed the stream. Without further
opposition, they marched along the road to Beauséjour, and, turning to
the right, encamped among the woody hills half a league from the fort.
That night there was a grand illumination, for Vergor set fire to the
church and all the houses outside the ramparts.[256]

[Footnote 256: Winslow, _Journal and Letter Book. Mémoires sur le
Canada, 1749-1760_. Letters from officers on the spot in _Boston Evening
Post_ and _Boston News Letter. Journal of Surgeon John Thomas_.]

The English spent some days in preparing their camp and reconnoitring
the ground. Then Scott, with five hundred provincials, seized upon a
ridge within easy range of the works. An officer named Vannes came out
to oppose him with a hundred and eighty men, boasting that he would do
great things; but on seeing the enemy, quietly returned, to become the
laughing-stock of the garrison. The fort fired furiously, but with
little effect. In the night of the thirteenth, Winslow, with a part of
his own battalion, relieved Scott, and planted in the trenches two small
mortars, brought to the camp on carts. On the next day they opened fire.
One of them was disabled by the French cannon, but Captain Hazen brought
up two more, of larger size, on ox-wagons; and, in spite of heavy rain,
the fire was brisk on both sides.

Captain Rous, on board his ship in the harbor, watched the bombardment
with great interest. Having occasion to write to Winslow, he closed his
letter in a facetious strain. "I often hear of your success in plunder,
particularly a coach.[257] I hope you have some fine horses for it, at
least four, to draw it, that it may be said a New England colonel [_rode
in_] his coach and four in Nova Scotia. If you have any good
saddle-horses in your stable, I should be obliged to you for one to ride
round the ship's deck on for exercise, for I am not likely to have any

[Footnote 257: "11 June. Capt. Adams went with a Company of Raingers,
and Returned at 11 Clock with a Coach and Sum other Plunder." _Journal
of John Thomas_.]

Within the fort there was little promise of a strong defence. Le Loutre,
it is true, was to be seen in his shirt-sleeves, with a pipe in his
mouth, directing the Acadians in their work of strengthening the
fortifications.[258] They, on their part, thought more of escape than of
fighting. Some of them vainly begged to be allowed to go home; others
went off without leave,--which was not difficult, as only one side of
the place was attacked. Even among the officers there were some in whom
interest was stronger than honor, and who would rather rob the King than
die for him. The general discouragement was redoubled when, on the
fourteenth, a letter came from the commandant of Louisbourg to say that
he could send no help, as British ships blocked the way. On the morning
of the sixteenth, a mischance befell, recorded in these words in the
diary of Surgeon John Thomas: "One of our large shells fell through what
they called their bomb-proof, where a number of their officers were
sitting, killed six of them dead, and one Ensign Hay, which the Indians
had took prisoner a few days agone and carried to the fort." The party
was at breakfast when the unwelcome visitor burst in. Just opposite was
a second bomb-proof, where was Vergor himself, with Le Loutre, another
priest, and several officers, who felt that they might at any time share
the same fate. The effect was immediate. The English, who had not yet
got a single cannon into position, saw to their surprise a white flag
raised on the rampart. Some officers of the garrison protested against
surrender; and Le Loutre, who thought that he had everything to fear at
the hands of the victors, exclaimed that it was better to be buried
under the ruins of the fort than to give it up; but all was in vain, and
the valiant Vannes was sent out to propose terms of capitulation. They
were rejected, and others offered, to the following effect: the garrison
to march out with the honors of war and to be sent to Louisbourg at the
charge of the King of England, but not to bear arms in America for the
space of six months. The Acadians to be pardoned the part they had just
borne in the defence, "seeing that they had been compelled to take arms
on pain of death." Confusion reigned all day at Beauséjour. The Acadians
went home loaded with plunder. The French officers were so busy in
drinking and pillaging that they could hardly be got away to sign the
capitulation. At the appointed hour, seven in the evening, Scott marched
in with a body of provincials, raised the British flag on the ramparts,
and saluted it by a general discharge of the French cannon, while Vergor
as a last act of hospitality gave a supper to the officers.[259]

[Footnote 258: _Journal of Pichon_, cited by Beamish Murdoch.]

[Footnote 259: On the capture of Beauséjour, _Mémoires sur le Canada,
1749-1760_; Pichon, _Cape Breton_, 318; _Journal of Pichon_, cited by
Murdoch; and the English accounts already mentioned.]

Le Loutre was not to be found; he had escaped in disguise with his box
of papers, and fled to Baye Verte to join his brother missionary,
Manach. Thence he made his way to Quebec, where the Bishop received him
with reproaches. He soon embarked for France; but the English captured
him on the way, and kept him eight years in Elizabeth Castle, on the
Island of Jersey. Here on one occasion a soldier on guard made a dash at
the father, tried to stab him with his bayonet, and was prevented with
great difficulty. He declared that, when he was with his regiment in
Acadia, he had fallen into the hands of Le Loutre, and narrowly escaped
being scalped alive, the missionary having doomed him to this fate, and
with his own hand drawn a knife round his head as a beginning of the
operation. The man swore so fiercely that he would have his revenge,
that the officer in command transferred him to another post.[260]

[Footnote 260: Knox, _Campaigns in North America_, I. 114, _note_. Knox,
who was stationed in Nova Scotia, says that Le Loutre left behind him "a
most remarkable character for inhumanity."]

Throughout the siege, the Acadians outside the fort, aided by Indians,
had constantly attacked the English, but were always beaten off with
loss. There was an affair of this kind on the morning of the surrender,
during which a noted Micmac chief was shot, and being brought into the
camp, recounted the losses of his tribe; "after which, and taking a dram
or two, he quickly died," writes Winslow in his Journal.

Fort Gaspereau, at Baye Verte, twelve miles distant, was summoned by
letter to surrender. Villeray, its commandant, at once complied; and
Winslow went with a detachment to take possession.[261] Nothing remained
but to occupy the French post at the mouth of the St. John. Captain
Rous, relieved at last from inactivity, was charged with the task; and
on the thirtieth he appeared off the harbor, manned his boats, and rowed
for shore. The French burned their fort, and withdrew beyond his
reach.[262] A hundred and fifty Indians, suddenly converted from enemies
to pretended friends, stood on the strand, firing their guns into the
air as a salute, and declaring themselves brothers of the English. All
Acadia was now in British hands. Fort Beausejour became Fort
Cumberland,--the second fort in America that bore the name of the royal

[Footnote 261: Winslow, _Journal. Villeray au Ministre, 20 Sept. 1755._]

[Footnote 262: _Drucour au Ministre, 1 Déc. 1755._]

The defence had been of the feeblest. Two years later, on pressing
demands from Versailles, Vergor was brought to trial, as was also
Villeray. The Governor, Vaudreuil, and the Intendant, Bigot, who had
returned to Canada, were in the interest of the chief defendant. The
court-martial was packed; adverse evidence was shuffled out of sight;
and Vergor, acquitted and restored to his rank, lived to inflict on New
France another and a greater injury.[263]

[Footnote 263: _Memoire sur les Fraudes commises dans la Colonie_, 1759.
_Memoires sur le Canada_, 1749-1760.]

Now began the first act of a deplorable drama. Monckton, with his small
body of regulars, had pitched their tents under the walls of
Beauséjour. Winslow and Scott, with the New England troops, lay not far
off. There was little intercourse between the two camps. The British
officers bore themselves towards those of the provincials with a
supercilious coldness common enough on their part throughout the war.
July had passed in what Winslow calls "an indolent manner," with prayers
every day in the Puritan camp, when, early in August, Monckton sent for
him, and made an ominous declaration. "The said Monckton was so free as
to acquaint me that it was determined to remove all the French
inhabitants out of the province, and that he should send for all the
adult males from Tantemar, Chipody, Aulac, Beauséjour, and Baye Verte to
read the Governor's orders; and when that was done, was determined to
retain them all prisoners in the fort. And this is the first conference
of a public nature I have had with the colonel since the reduction of
Beauséjour; and I apprehend that no officer of either corps has been
made more free with."

Monckton sent accordingly to all the neighboring settlements, commanding
the male inhabitants to meet him at Beauséjour. Scarcely a third part of
their number obeyed. These arrived on the tenth, and were told to stay
all night under the guns of the fort. What then befell them will appear
from an entry in the diary of Winslow under date of August eleventh:
"This day was one extraordinary to the inhabitants of Tantemar, Oueskak,
Aulac, Baye Verte, Beauséjour, and places adjacent; the male
inhabitants, or the principal of them, being collected together in Fort
Cumberland to hear the sentence, which determined their property, from
the Governor and Council of Halifax; which was that they were declared
rebels, their lands, goods, and chattels forfeited to the Crown, and
their bodies to be imprisoned. Upon which the gates of the fort were
shut, and they all confined, to the amount of four hundred men and
upwards." Parties were sent to gather more, but caught very few, the
rest escaping to the woods.

Some of the prisoners were no doubt among those who had joined the
garrison at Beauséjour, and had been pardoned for doing so by the terms
of the capitulation. It was held, however, that, though forgiven this
special offence, they were not exempted from the doom that had gone
forth against the great body of their countrymen. We must look closely
at the motives and execution of this stern sentence.

At any time up to the spring of 1755 the emigrant Acadians were free to
return to their homes on taking the ordinary oath of allegiance required
of British subjects. The English authorities of Halifax used every means
to persuade them to do so; yet the greater part refused. This was due
not only to Le Loutre and his brother priests, backed by the military
power, but also to the Bishop of Quebec, who enjoined the Acadians to
demand of the English certain concessions, the chief of which were that
the priests should exercise their functions without being required to
ask leave of the Governor, and that the inhabitants should not be called
upon for military service of any kind. The Bishop added that the
provisions of the treaty of Utrecht were insufficient, and that others
ought to be exacted.[264] The oral declaration of the English
authorities, that for the present the Acadians should not be required to
bear arms, was not thought enough. They, or rather their prompters,
demanded a written pledge.

[Footnote 264: _L'Evéque de Quebec à Le Loutre, Nov_. 1754, in _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 240.]

The refusal to take the oath without reservation was not confined to the
emigrants. Those who remained in the peninsula equally refused it,
though most of them were born and had always lived under the British
flag. Far from pledging themselves to complete allegiance, they showed
continual signs of hostility. In May three pretended French deserters
were detected among them inciting them to take arms against the

[Footnote 265: _Ibid_., 242.]

On the capture of Beauséjour the British authorities found themselves in
a position of great difficulty. The New England troops were enlisted for
the year only, and could not be kept in Acadia. It was likely that the
French would make a strong effort to recover the province, sure as they
were of support from the great body of its people. The presence of this
disaffected population was for the French commanders a continual
inducement to invasion; and Lawrence was not strong enough to cope at
once with attack from without and insurrection from within.

Shirley had held for some time that there was no safety for Acadia but
in ridding it of the Acadians. He had lately proposed that the lands of
the district of Chignecto, abandoned by their emigrant owners, should be
given to English settlers, who would act as a check and a counterpoise
to the neighboring French population. This advice had not been acted
upon. Nevertheless Shirley and his brother Governor of Nova Scotia were
kindred spirits, and inclined to similar measures. Colonel Charles
Lawrence had not the good-nature and conciliatory temper which marked
his predecessors, Cornwallis and Hopson. His energetic will was not apt
to relent under the softer sentiments, and the behavior of the Acadians
was fast exhausting his patience. More than a year before, the Lords of
Trade had instructed him that they had no right to their lands if they
persisted in refusing the oath.[266] Lawrence replied, enlarging on
their obstinacy, treachery, and "ingratitude for the favor, indulgence,
and protection they have at all times so undeservedly received from His
Majesty's Government;" declaring at the same time that, "while they
remain without taking the oaths, and have incendiary French priests
among them, there are no hopes of their amendment;" and that "it would
be much better, if they refuse the oaths, that they were away."[267] "We
were in hopes," again wrote the Lords of Trade, "that the lenity which
had been shown to those people by indulging them in the free exercise of
their religion and the quiet possession of their lands, would by degrees
have gained their friendship and assistance, and weaned their affections
from the French; but we are sorry to find that this lenity has had so
little effect, and that they still hold the same conduct, furnishing
them with labor, provisions, and intelligence, and concealing their
designs from us." In fact, the Acadians, while calling themselves
neutrals, were an enemy encamped in the heart of the province. These are
the reasons which explain and palliate a measure too harsh and
indiscriminate to be wholly justified.

[Footnote 266: _Lords of Trade to Lawrence, 4 March_, 1754.]

[Footnote 267: _Lawrence to Lords of Trade, 1 Aug_. 1754.]

Abbé Raynal, who never saw the Acadians, has made an ideal picture of
them,[268] since copied and improved in prose and verse, till Acadia has
become Arcadia. The plain realities of their condition and fate are
touching enough to need no exaggeration. They were a simple and very
ignorant peasantry, industrious and frugal till evil days came to
discourage them; living aloof from the world, with little of that spirit
of adventure which an easy access to the vast fur-bearing interior had
developed in their Canadian kindred; having few wants, and those of the
rudest; fishing a little and hunting in the winter, but chiefly employed
in cultivating the meadows along the River Annapolis, or rich marshes
reclaimed by dikes from the tides of the Bay of Fundy. The British
Government left them entirely free of taxation. They made clothing of
flax and wool of their own raising, hats of similar materials, and shoes
or moccasons of moose and seal skin. They bred cattle, sheep, hogs, and
horses in abundance; and the valley of the Annapolis, then as now, was
known for the profusion and excellence of its apples. For drink, they
made cider or brewed spruce-beer. French officials describe their
dwellings as wretched wooden boxes, without ornaments or conveniences,
and scarcely supplied with the most necessary furniture.[269] Two or
more families often occupied the same house; and their way of life,
though simple and virtuous, was by no means remarkable for cleanliness.
Such as it was, contentment reigned among them, undisturbed by what
modern America calls progress. Marriages were early, and population grew
apace. This humble society had its disturbing elements; for the
Acadians, like the Canadians, were a litigious race, and neighbors often
quarrelled about their boundaries. Nor were they without a bountiful
share of jealousy, gossip, and backbiting, to relieve the monotony of
their lives; and every village had its turbulent spirits, sometimes by
fits, though rarely long, contumacious even toward the curé, the guide,
counsellor, and ruler of his flock. Enfeebled by hereditary mental
subjection, and too long kept in leading-strings to walk alone, they
needed him, not for the next world only, but for this; and their
submission, compounded of love and fear, was commonly without bounds. He
was their true government; to him they gave a frank and full allegiance,
and dared not disobey him if they would. Of knowledge he gave them
nothing; but he taught them to be true to their wives and constant at
confession and Mass, to stand fast for the Church and King Louis, and to
resist heresy and King George; for, in one degree or another, the
Acadian priest was always the agent of a double-headed foreign
power,--the Bishop of Quebec allied with the Governor of Canada.[270]

[Footnote 268: _Histoire philosophique et politique_, VI. 242 (ed.

[Footnote 269: _Beauharnois et Hocquart au Comte de Maurepas_, 12 Sept.

[Footnote 270: Franquet, _Journal_, 1751, says of the Acadians: "Ils
aiment l'argent, n'ont dans toute leur conduite que leur intérêt pour
objet, sont, indifféremment des deux sexes, d'une inconsidération dans
leurs discours qui dénote de la méchanceté." Another observer,
Dieréville, gives a more favorable picture.]

When Monckton and the Massachusetts men laid siege to Beauséjour,
Governor Lawrence thought the moment favorable for exacting an
unqualified oath of allegiance from the Acadians. The presence of a
superior and victorious force would help, he thought, to bring them to
reason; and there were some indications that this would be the result. A
number of Acadian families, who at the promptings of Le Loutre had
emigrated to Cape Breton, had lately returned to Halifax, promising to
be true subjects of King George if they could be allowed to repossess
their lands. They cheerfully took the oath; on which they were
reinstated in their old homes, and supplied with food for the
winter.[271] Their example unfortunately found few imitators.

[Footnote 271: _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 228.]

Early in June the principal inhabitants of Grand Pré and other
settlements about the Basin of Mines brought a memorial, signed with
their crosses, to Captain Murray, the military commandant in their
district, and desired him to send it to Governor Lawrence, to whom it
was addressed. Murray reported that when they brought it to him they
behaved with the greatest insolence, though just before they had been
unusually submissive. He thought that this change of demeanor was caused
by a report which had lately got among them of a French fleet in the Bay
of Fundy; for it had been observed that any rumor of an approaching
French force always had a similar effect. The deputies who brought the
memorial were sent with it to Halifax, where they laid it before the
Governor and Council. It declared that the signers had kept the
qualified oath they had taken, "in spite of the solicitations and
dreadful threats of another power," and that they would continue to
prove "an unshaken fidelity to His Majesty, provided that His Majesty
shall allow us the same liberty that he has _[hitherto]_ granted us."
Their memorial then demanded, in terms highly offensive to the Council,
that the guns, pistols, and other weapons, which they had lately been
required to give up, should be returned to them. They were told in reply
that they had been protected for many years in the enjoyment of their
lands, though they had not complied with the terms on which the lands
were granted; "that they had always been treated by the Government with
the greatest lenity and tenderness, had enjoyed more privileges than
other English subjects, and had been indulged in the free exercise of
their religion;" all which they acknowledged to be true. The Governor
then told them that their conduct had been undutiful and ungrateful;
"that they had discovered a constant disposition to assist His Majesty's
enemies and to distress his subjects; that they had not only furnished
the enemy with provisions and ammunition, but had refused to supply the
[_English_] inhabitants or Government, and when they did supply them,
had exacted three times the price for which they were sold at other
markets." The hope was then expressed that they would no longer obstruct
the settlement of the province by aiding the Indians to molest and kill
English settlers; and they were rebuked for saying in their memorial
that they would be faithful to the King only on certain conditions. The
Governor added that they had some secret reason for demanding _their_
weapons, and flattered themselves that French troops were at hand to
support their insolence. In conclusion, they were told that now was a
good opportunity to prove their sincerity by taking the oath of
allegiance, in the usual form, before the Council. They replied that
they had not made up their minds on that point, and could do nothing
till they had consulted their constituents. Being reminded that the oath
was personal to themselves, and that six years had already been given
them to think about it, they asked leave to retire and confer together.
This was granted, and at the end of an hour they came back with the same
answer as before; whereupon they were allowed till ten o'clock on the
next morning for a final decision.[272]

[Footnote 272: _Minutes of Council at Halifax, 3 July, 1755_, in _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 247-255.]

At the appointed time the Council again met, and the deputies were
brought in. They persisted stubbornly in the same refusal. "They were
then informed," says the record, "that the Council could no longer look
on them as subjects to His Britannic Majesty, but as subjects to the
King of France, and as such they must hereafter be treated; and they
were ordered to withdraw." A discussion followed in the Council. It was
determined that the Acadians should be ordered to send new deputies to
Halifax, who should answer for them, once for all, whether they would
accept the oath or not; that such as refused it should not thereafter be
permitted to take it; and "that effectual measures ought to be taken to
remove all such recusants out of the province."

The deputies, being then called in and told this decision, became
alarmed, and offered to swear allegiance in the terms required. The
answer was that it was too late; that as they had refused the oath under
persuasion, they could not be trusted when they took it under
compulsion. It remained to see whether the people at large would profit
by their example.

"I am determined," wrote Lawrence to the Lords of Trade, "to bring the
inhabitants to a compliance, or rid the province of such perfidious
subjects."[273] First, in answer to the summons of the Council, the
deputies from Annapolis appeared, declaring that they had always been
faithful to the British Crown, but flatly refusing the oath. They were
told that, far from having been faithful subjects, they had always
secretly aided the Indians, and that many of them had been in arms
against the English; that the French were threatening the province; and
that its affairs had reached a crisis when its inhabitants must either
pledge themselves without equivocation to be true to the British Crown,
or else must leave the country. They all declared that they would lose
their lands rather than take the oath. The Council urged them to
consider the matter seriously, warning them that, if they now persisted
in refusal, no farther choice would be allowed them; and they were given
till ten o'clock on the following Monday to make their final answer.

[Footnote 273: _Lawrence to Lords of Trade, 18 July, 1755._]

When that day came, another body of deputies had arrived from Grand Pré
and the other settlements of the Basin of Mines; and being called before
the Council, both they and the former deputation absolutely refused to
take the oath of allegiance. These two bodies represented nine tenths of
the Acadian population within the peninsula. "Nothing," pursues the
record of the Council, "now remained to be considered but what measures
should be taken to send the inhabitants away, and where they should be
sent to." If they were sent to Canada, Cape Breton, or the neighboring
islands, they would strengthen the enemy, and still threaten the
province. It was therefore resolved to distribute them among the various
English colonies, and to hire vessels for the purpose with all

[Footnote 274: _Minutes of Council, 4 July--28 July_, in _Public
Documents of Nova Scotia_, 255-267. Copies of these and other parts of
the record were sent at the time to England, and are now in the Public
Record Office, along with the letters of Lawrence.]

The oath, the refusal of which had brought such consequences, was a
simple pledge of fidelity and allegiance to King George II. and his
successors. Many of the Acadians had already taken an oath of fidelity,
though with the omission of the word "allegiance," and, as they
insisted, with a saving clause exempting them from bearing arms. The
effect of this was that they did not regard themselves as British
subjects, and claimed, falsely as regards most of them, the character
of neutrals. It was to put an end to this anomalous state of things that
the oath without reserve had been demanded of them. Their rejection of
it, reiterated in full view of the consequences, is to be ascribed
partly to a fixed belief that the English would not execute their
threats, partly to ties of race and kin, but mainly to superstition.
They feared to take part with heretics against the King of France, whose
cause, as already stated, they had been taught to regard as one with the
cause of God; they were constrained by the dread of perdition. "If the
Acadians are miserable, remember that the priests are the cause of it,"
writes the French officer Boishébert to the missionary Manach.[275]

[Footnote 275: On the oath and his history, compare a long note by Mr.
Akin in _Public Documents of Nova Scotia_, 263-267. Winslow in his
Journal gives an abstract of a memorial sent him by the Acadians, in
which they say that they had refused the oath, and so forfeited their
lands, from motives of religion. I have shown in a former chapter that
the priests had been the chief instruments in preventing them from
accepting the English government. Add the following:--

"Les malheurs des Accadiens sont beaucoup moins leur ouvrage que le
fruit des sollicitations et des démarches des missionnaires." _Vaudreuil
au Ministre, 6 Mai, 1760_.

"Si nous avons la guerre, et si les Accadiens sont misérables, souvenez
vous que ce sont les prêtres qui en sont la cause." _Boishébert á
Manach, 21 Fév. 1760_. Both these writers had encouraged the priests in
their intrigues so long as there were likely to profit the French
Government, and only blamed them after they failed to accomplished what
was expected of them.

"Nous avons six missionnaires dont l'occupation perpetuelle est de
porter les esprits au fanatisme et à la vengeance.... Je ne puis
supporter dans nos prêtres ces odieuses déclamations qu'ils font tous
les jours aux sauvages: 'Les Anglois sont les ennemis de Dieu, les
compagnons du Diable.'" Pichon, _Lettres et Mémoires pour servir à
l'Histoire du Cap-Breton_, 160, 161. (La Haye, 1760.)]

The Council having come to a decision, Lawrence acquainted Monckton with
the result, and ordered him to seize all the adult males in the
neighborhood of Beauséjour; and this, as we have seen, he promptly did.
It remains to observe how the rest of the sentence was carried into

Instructions were sent to Winslow to secure the inhabitants on or near
the Basin of Mines and place them on board transports, which, he was
told, would soon arrive from Boston. His orders were stringent: "If you
find that fair means will not do with them, you must proceed by the most
vigorous measures possible, not only in compelling them to embark, but
in depriving those who shall escape of all means of shelter or support,
by burning their houses and by destroying everything that may afford
them the means of subsistence in the country." Similar orders were given
to Major Handfield, the regular officer in command at Annapolis.

On the fourteenth of August Winslow set out from his camp at Fort
Beauséjour, or Cumberland, on his unenviable errand. He had with him but
two hundred and ninety-seven men. His mood of mind was not serene. He
was chafed because the regulars had charged his men with stealing sheep;
and he was doubly vexed by an untoward incident that happened on the
morning of his departure. He had sent forward his detachment under
Adams, the senior captain, and they were marching by the fort with drums
beating and colors flying, when Monckton sent out his aide-de-camp with
a curt demand that the colors should be given up, on the ground that
they ought to remain with the regiment. Whatever the soundness of the
reason, there was no courtesy in the manner of enforcing it. "This
transaction raised my temper some," writes Winslow in his Diary; and he
proceeds to record his opinion that "it is the most ungenteel,
ill-natured thing that ever I saw." He sent Monckton a quaintly
indignant note, in which he observed that the affair "looks odd, and
will appear so in future history;" but his commander, reckless of the
judgments of posterity, gave him little satisfaction.

Thus ruffled in spirit, he embarked with his men and sailed down
Chignecto Channel to the Bay of Fundy. Here, while they waited the turn
of the tide to enter the Basin of Mines, the shores of Cumberland lay
before them dim in the hot and hazy air, and the promontory of Cape
Split, like some misshapen monster of primeval chaos, stretched its
portentous length along the glimmering sea, with head of yawning rock,
and ridgy back bristled with forests. Borne on the rushing flood, they
soon drifted through the inlet, glided under the rival promontory of
Cape Blomedon, passed the red sandstone cliffs of Lyon's Cove, and
descried the mouths of the rivers Canard and Des Habitants, where
fertile marshes, diked against the tide, sustained a numerous and
thriving population. Before them spread the boundless meadows of Grand
Pré, waving with harvests or alive with grazing cattle; the green slopes
behind were dotted with the simple dwellings of the Acadian farmers, and
the spire of the village church rose against a background of woody
hills. It was a peaceful, rural scene, soon to become one of the most
wretched spots on earth. Winslow did not land for the present, but held
his course to the estuary of the River Pisiquid, since called the Avon.
Here, where the town of Windsor now stands, there was a stockade called
Fort Edward, where a garrison of regulars under Captain Alexander Murray
kept watch over the surrounding settlements. The New England men pitched
their tents on shore, while the sloops that had brought them slept on
the soft bed of tawny mud left by the fallen tide.

Winslow found a warm reception, for Murray and his officers had been
reduced too long to their own society not to welcome the coming of
strangers. The two commanders conferred together. Both had been ordered
by Lawrence to "clear the whole country of such bad subjects;" and the
methods of doing so had been outlined for their guidance. Having come to
some understanding with his brother officer concerning the duties
imposed on both, and begun an acquaintance which soon grew cordial on
both sides, Winslow embarked again and retraced his course to Grand Pré,
the station which the Governor had assigned him. "Am pleased," he wrote
to Lawrence, "with the place proposed by your Excellency for our
reception [_the village church_]. I have sent for the elders to remove
all sacred things, to prevent their being defiled by heretics." The
church was used as a storehouse and place of arms; the men pitched their
tents between it and the graveyard; while Winslow took up his quarters
in the house of the priest, where he could look from his window on a
tranquil scene. Beyond the vast tract of grassland to which Grand Pré
owed its name, spread the blue glistening breast of the Basin of Mines;
beyond this again, the distant mountains of Cobequid basked in the
summer sun; and nearer, on the left, Cape Blomedon reared its bluff head
of rock and forest above the sleeping waves.

As the men of the settlement greatly outnumbered his own, Winslow set
his followers to surrounding the camp with a stockade. Card-playing was
forbidden, because it encouraged idleness, and pitching quoits in camp,
because it spoiled the grass. Presently there came a letter from
Lawrence expressing a fear that the fortifying of the camp might alarm
the inhabitants. To which Winslow replied that the making of the
stockade had not alarmed them in the least, since they took it as a
proof that the detachment was to spend the winter with them; and he
added, that as the harvest was not yet got in, he and Murray had agreed
not to publish the Governor's commands till the next Friday. He
concludes: "Although it is a disagreeable part of duty we are put upon,
I am sensible it is a necessary one, and shall endeavor strictly to obey
your Excellency's orders."

On the thirtieth, Murray, whose post was not many miles distant, made
him a visit. They agreed that Winslow should summon all the male
inhabitants about Grand Pré to meet him at the church and hear the
King's orders, and that Murray should do the same for those around Fort
Edward. Winslow then called in his three captains,--Adams, Hobbs, and
Osgood,--made them swear secrecy, and laid before them his instructions
and plans; which latter they approved. Murray then returned to his post,
and on the next day sent Winslow a note containing the following: "I
think the sooner we strike the stroke the better, therefore will be glad
to see you here as soon as conveniently you can. I shall have the orders
for assembling ready written for your approbation, only the day blank,
and am hopeful everything will succeed according to our wishes. The
gentlemen join me in our best compliments to you and the Doctor."

On the next day, Sunday, Winslow and the Doctor, whose name was
Whitworth, made the tour of the neighborhood, with an escort of fifty
men, and found a great quantity of wheat still on the fields. On Tuesday
Winslow "set out in a whale-boat with Dr. Whitworth and Adjutant
Kennedy, to consult with Captain Murray in this critical conjuncture."
They agreed that three in the afternoon of Friday should be the time of
assembling; then between them they drew up a summons to the inhabitants,
and got one Beauchamp, a merchant, to "put it into French." It ran as

     By John Winslow, Esquire, Lieutenant-Colonel and Commander of His
     Majesty's troops at Grand Pré, Mines, River Canard, and places

     To the inhabitants of the districts above named, as well ancients
     as young men and lads.

     Whereas His Excellency the Governor has instructed us of his last
     resolution respecting the matters proposed lately to the
     inhabitants, and has ordered us to communicate the same to the
     inhabitants in general in person, His Excellency being desirous
     that each of them should be fully satisfied of His Majesty's
     intentions, which he has also ordered us to communicate to you,
     such as they have been given him.

     We therefore order and strictly enjoin by these presents to all the
     inhabitants, as well of the above-named districts as of all the
     other districts, both old men and young men, as well as all the
     lads of ten years of age, to attend at the church in Grand Pré on
     Friday, the fifth instant, at three of the clock in the afternoon,
     that we may impart what we are ordered to communicate to them;
     declaring that no excuse will be admitted on any pretence
     whatsoever, on pain of forfeiting goods and chattels in default.

     Given at Grand Pré, the second of September, in the twenty-ninth
     year of His Majesty's reign, A.D. 1755.

A similar summons was drawn up in the name of Murray for the inhabitants
of the district of Fort Edward.

Captain Adams made a reconnoissance of the rivers Canard and Des
Habitants, and reported "a fine country and full of inhabitants, a
beautiful church, and abundance of the goods of the world." Another
reconnoissance by Captains Hobbs and Osgood among the settlements behind
Grand Pré brought reports equally favorable. On the fourth, another
letter came from Murray: "All the people quiet, and very busy at their
harvest; if this day keeps fair, all will be in here in their barns. I
hope to-morrow will crown all our wishes." The Acadians, like the bees,
were to gather a harvest for others to enjoy. The summons was sent out
that afternoon. Powder and ball were served to the men, and all were
ordered to keep within the lines.

On the next day the inhabitants appeared at the hour appointed, to the
number of four hundred and eighteen men. Winslow ordered a table to be
set in the middle of the church, and placed on it his instructions and
the address he had prepared. Here he took his stand in his laced
uniform, with one or two subalterns from the regulars at Fort Edward,
and such of the Massachusetts officers as were not on guard duty;
strong, sinewy figures, bearing, no doubt, more or less distinctly, the
peculiar stamp with which toil, trade, and Puritanism had imprinted the
features of New England. Their commander was not of the prevailing type.
He was fifty-three years of age, with double chin, smooth forehead,
arched eyebrows, close powdered wig, and round, rubicund face, from
which the weight of an odious duty had probably banished the smirk of
self-satisfaction that dwelt there at other times.[276] Nevertheless, he
had manly and estimable qualities. The congregation of peasants, clad in
rough homespun, turned their sunburned faces upon him, anxious and
intent; and Winslow "delivered them by interpreters the King's orders in
the following words," which, retouched in orthography and syntax, ran

     GENTLEMEN,--I have received from His Excellency, Governor Lawrence,
     the King's instructions, which I have in my hand. By his orders you
     are called together to hear His Majesty's final resolution
     concerning the French inhabitants of this his province of Nova
     Scotia, who for almost half a century have had more indulgence
     granted them than any of his subjects in any part of his dominions.
     What use you have made of it you yourselves best know.

     The duty I am now upon, though necessary, is very disagreeable to
     my natural make and temper, as I know it must be grievous to you,
     who are of the same species. But it is not my business to
     animadvert on the orders I have received, but to obey them; and
     therefore without hesitation I shall deliver to you His Majesty's
     instructions and commands, which are that your lands and tenements
     and cattle and live-stock of all kinds are forfeited to the Crown,
     with all your other effects, except money and household goods, and
     that you yourselves are to be removed from this his province.

     The peremptory orders of His Majesty are that all the French
     inhabitants of these districts be removed; and through His
     Majesty's goodness I am directed to allow you the liberty of
     carrying with you your money and as many of your household goods as
     you can take without overloading the vessels you go in. I shall do
     everything in my power that all these goods be secured to you, and
     that you be not molested in carrying them away, and also that whole
     families shall go in the same vessel; so that this removal, which I
     am sensible must give you a great deal of trouble, may be made as
     easy as His Majesty's service will admit; and I hope that in
     whatever part of the world your lot may fall, you may be faithful
     subjects, and a peaceable and happy people.

     I must also inform you that it is His Majesty's pleasure that you
     remain in security under the inspection and direction of the troops
     that I have the honor to command.

[Footnote 276: See his portrait, at the rooms of the Massachusetts
Historical Society.]

He then declared them prisoners of the King. "They were greatly struck,"
he says, "at this determination, though I believe they did not imagine
that they were actually to be removed." After delivering the address, he
returned to his quarters at the priest's house, whither he was followed
by some of the elder prisoners, who begged leave to tell their families
what had happened, "since they were fearful that the surprise of their
detention would quite overcome them." Winslow consulted with his
officers, and it was arranged that the Acadians should choose twenty of
their number each day to revisit their homes, the rest being held
answerable for their return.

A letter, dated some days before, now came from Major Handfield at
Annapolis, saying that he had tried to secure the men of that
neighborhood, but that many of them had escaped to the woods. Murray's
report from Fort Edward came soon after, and was more favorable: "I have
succeeded finely, and have got a hundred and eighty-three men into my
possession." To which Winslow replies: "I have the favor of yours of
this day, and rejoice at your success, and also for the smiles that have
attended the party here." But he adds mournfully: "Things are now very
heavy on my heart and hands." The prisoners were lodged in the church,
and notice was sent to their families to bring them food. "Thus," says
the Diary of the commander, "ended the memorable fifth of September, a
day of great fatigue and trouble."

There was one quarter where fortune did not always smile. Major Jedediah
Preble, of Winslow's battalion, wrote to him that Major Frye had just
returned from Chipody, whither he had gone with a party of men to
destroy the settlements and bring off the women and children. After
burning two hundred and fifty-three buildings he had reimbarked, leaving
fifty men on shore at a place called Peticodiac to give a finishing
stroke to the work by burning the "Mass House," or church. While thus
engaged, they were set upon by three hundred Indians and Acadians, led
by the partisan officer Boishébert. More than half their number were
killed, wounded, or taken. The rest ensconced themselves behind the
neighboring dikes, and Frye, hastily landing with the rest of his men,
engaged the assailants for three hours, but was forced at last to
reimbark.[277] Captain Speakman, who took part in the affair, also sent
Winslow an account of it, and added: "The people here are much concerned
for fear your party should meet with the same fate (being in the heart
of a numerous devilish crew), which I pray God avert."

[Footnote 277: Also _Boishébert à Drucourt, 10 Oct. 1755_, an
exaggerated account. _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 18 Oct. 1755_, sets
Boishébert's force at one hundred and twenty-five men.]

Winslow had indeed some cause for anxiety. He had captured more Acadians
since the fifth; and had now in charge nearly five hundred able-bodied
men, with scarcely three hundred to guard them. As they were allowed
daily exercise in the open air, they might by a sudden rush get
possession of arms and make serious trouble. On the Wednesday after the
scene in the church some unusual movements were observed among them, and
Winslow and his officers became convinced that they could not safely be
kept in one body. Five vessels, lately arrived from Boston, were lying
within the mouth of the neighboring river. It was resolved to place
fifty of the prisoners on board each of these, and keep them anchored in
the Basin. The soldiers were all ordered under arms, and posted on an
open space beside the church and behind the priest's house. The
prisoners were then drawn up before them, ranked six deep,--the young
unmarried men, as the most dangerous, being told off and placed on the
left, to the number of a hundred and forty-one. Captain Adams, with
eighty men, was then ordered to guard them to the vessels. Though the
object of the movement had been explained to them, they were possessed
with the idea that they were to be torn from their families and sent
away at once; and they all, in great excitement, refused to go. Winslow
told them that there must be no parley or delay; and as they still
refused, a squad of soldiers advanced towards them with fixed bayonets;
while he himself, laying hold of the foremost young man, commanded him
to move forward. "He obeyed; and the rest followed, though slowly, and
went off praying, singing, and crying, being met by the women and
children all the way (which is a mile and a half) with great
lamentation, upon their knees, praying." When the escort returned, about
a hundred of the married men were ordered to follow the first party;
and, "the ice being broken," they readily complied. The vessels were
anchored at a little distance from shore, and six soldiers were placed
on board each of them as a guard. The prisoners were offered the King's
rations, but preferred to be supplied by their families, who, it was
arranged, should go in boats to visit them every day; "and thus," says
Winslow, "ended this troublesome job." He was not given to effusions of
feeling, but he wrote to Major Handfield: "This affair is more grievous
to me than any service I was ever employed in."[278]

[Footnote 278: Haliburton, who knew Winslow's Journal only by imperfect
extracts, erroneously states that the men put on board the vessels were
sent away immediately. They remained at Grand Pré several weeks, and
were then sent off at intervals with their families.]

Murray sent him a note of congratulation: "I am extremely pleased that
things are so clever at Grand Pré, and that the poor devils are so
resigned. Here they are more patient than I could have expected for
people in their circumstances; and what surprises me still more is the
indifference of the women, who really are, or seem, quite unconcerned. I
long much to see the poor wretches embarked and our affair a little
settled; and then I will do myself the pleasure of meeting you and
drinking their good voyage."

This agreeable consummation was still distant. There was a long and
painful delay. The provisions for the vessels which were to carry the
prisoners did not come; nor did the vessels themselves, excepting the
five already at Grand Pré. In vain Winslow wrote urgent letters to
George Saul, the commissary, to bring the supplies at once. Murray, at
Fort Edward, though with less feeling than his brother officer, was
quite as impatient of the burden of suffering humanity on his hands. "I
am amazed what can keep the transports and Saul. Surely our friend at
Chignecto is willing to give us as much of our neighbors' company as he
well can."[279] Saul came at last with a shipload of provisions; but the
lagging transports did not appear. Winslow grew heart-sick at the daily
sight of miseries which he himself had occasioned, and wrote to a friend
at Halifax: "I know they deserve all and more than they feel; yet it
hurts me to hear their weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I am
in hopes our affairs will soon put on another face, and we get
transports, and I rid of the worst piece of service that ever I was in."

[Footnote 279: _Murray to Winslow, 26 Sept. 1755_.]

After weeks of delay, seven transports came from Annapolis; and Winslow
sent three of them to Murray, who joyfully responded: "Thank God, the
transports are come at last. So soon as I have shipped off my rascals,
I will come down and settle matters with you, and enjoy ourselves a

Winslow prepared for the embarkation. The Acadian prisoners and their
families were divided into groups answering to their several villages,
in order that those of the same village might, as far as possible, go in
the same vessel. It was also provided that the members of each family
should remain together; and notice was given them to hold themselves in
readiness. "But even now," he writes, "I could not persuade the people I
was in earnest." Their doubts were soon ended. The first embarkation
took place on the eighth of October, under which date the Diary contains
this entry: "Began to embark the inhabitants who went off very
solentarily [_sic_] and unwillingly, the women in great distress,
carrying off their children in their arms; others carrying their
decrepit parents in their carts, with all their goods; moving in great
confusion, and appeared a scene of woe and distress."[280]

[Footnote 280: In spite of Winslow's care, some cases of separation of
families occurred; but they were not numerous.]

Though a large number were embarked on this occasion, still more
remained; and as the transports slowly arrived, the dismal scene was
repeated at intervals, with more order than at first, as the Acadians
had learned to accept their fate as a certainty. So far as Winslow was
concerned, their treatment seems to have been as humane as was possible
under the circumstances; but they complained of the men, who disliked
and despised them. One soldier received thirty lashes for stealing fowls
from them; and an order was issued forbidding soldiers or sailors, on
pain of summary punishment, to leave their quarters without permission,
"that an end may be put to distressing this distressed people." Two of
the prisoners, however, while trying to escape, were shot by a
reconnoitring party.

At the beginning of November Winslow reported that he had sent off
fifteen hundred and ten persons, in nine vessels, and that more than six
hundred still remained in his district.[281] The last of these were not
embarked till late in December. Murray finished his part of the work at
the end of October, having sent from the district of Fort Edward eleven
hundred persons in four frightfully crowded transports.[282] At the
close of that month sixteen hundred and sixty-four had been sent from
the district of Annapolis, where many others escaped to the woods.[283]
A detachment which was ordered to seize the inhabitants of the district
of Cobequid failed entirely, finding the settlements abandoned. In the
country about Fort Cumberland, Monckton, who directed the operation in
person, had very indifferent success, catching in all but little more
than a thousand.[284] Le Guerne, missionary priest in this neighborhood,
gives a characteristic and affecting incident of the embarkation. "Many
unhappy women, carried away by excessive attachment to their husbands,
whom they had been allowed to see too often, and closing their ears to
the voice of religion and their missionary, threw themselves blindly and
despairingly into the English vessels. And now was seen the saddest of
spectacles; for some of these women, solely from a religious motive,
refused to take with them their grown-up sons and daughters."[285] They
would expose their own souls to perdition among heretics, but not those
of their children.

[Footnote 281: _Winslow to Monckton, 3 Nov. 1755_.]

[Footnote 282: _Ibid._]

[Footnote 283: _Captain Adams to Winslow, 29 Nov. 1755_; see also Knox,
I. 85, who exactly confirms Adams's figures.]

[Footnote 284: _Monckton to Winslow, 7 Oct. 1755_.]

[Footnote 285: _Le Guerne à Prévost, 10 Mars, 1756_.]

When all, or nearly all, had been sent off from the various points of
departure, such of the houses and barns as remained standing were
burned, in obedience to the orders of Lawrence, that those who had
escaped might be forced to come in and surrender themselves. The whole
number removed from the province, men, women, and children, was a little
above six thousand. Many remained behind; and while some of these
withdrew to Canada, Isle St. Jean, and other distant retreats, the rest
lurked in the woods or returned to their old haunts, whence they waged,
for several years a guerilla warfare against the English. Yet their
strength was broken, and they were no longer a danger to the province.

Of their exiled countrymen, one party overpowered the crew of the vessel
that carried them, ran her ashore at the mouth of the St. John, and
escaped.[286] The rest were distributed among the colonies from
Massachusetts to Georgia, the master of each transport having been
provided with a letter from Lawrence addressed to the Governor of the
province to which he was bound, and desiring him to receive the
unwelcome strangers. The provincials were vexed at the burden imposed
upon them; and though the Acadians were not in general ill-treated,
their lot was a hard one. Still more so was that of those among them who
escaped to Canada. The chronicle of the Ursulines of Quebec, speaking of
these last, says that their misery was indescribable, and attributes it
to the poverty of the colony. But there were other causes. The exiles
found less pity from kindred and fellow Catholics than from the heretics
of the English colonies. Some of them who had made their way to Canada
from Boston, whither they had been transported, sent word to a gentleman
of that place who had befriended them, that they wished to return.[287]
Bougainville, the celebrated navigator, then aide-de-camp to Montcalm,
says concerning them: "They are dying by wholesale. Their past and
present misery, joined to the rapacity of the Canadians, who seek only
to squeeze out of them all the money they can, and then refuse them the
help so dearly bought, are the cause of this mortality." "A citizen of
Quebec," he says farther on, "was in debt to one of the partners of the
Great Company [_Government officials leagued for plunder_]. He had no
means of paying. They gave him a great number of Acadians to board and
lodge. He starved them with hunger and cold, got out of them what money
they had, and paid the extortioner. _Quel pays! Quels moeurs_!"[288]

[Footnote 286: _Lettre commune de Drucour et Prévost au Ministre, 6
Avril, 1756. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 1 Juin, 1756_.]

[Footnote 287: Hutchinson, _Hist. Mass._, III. 42, _note_.]

[Footnote 288: Bougainville, _Journal, 1756-1758_. His statements are
sustained by _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760_.]

Many of the exiles eventually reached Louisiana, where their descendants
now form a numerous and distinct population. Some, after incredible
hardship, made their way back to Acadia, where, after the peace, they
remained unmolested, and, with those who had escaped seizure, became the
progenitors of the present Acadians, now settled in various parts of the
British maritime provinces, notably at Madawaska, on the upper St. John,
and at Clare, in Nova Scotia. Others were sent from Virginia to England;
and others again, after the complete conquest of the country, found
refuge in France.

In one particular the authors of the deportation were disappointed in
its results. They had hoped to substitute a loyal population for a
disaffected one; but they failed for some time to find settlers for the
vacated lands. The Massachusetts soldiers, to whom they were offered,
would not stay in the province; and it was not till five years later
that families of British stock began to occupy the waste fields of the
Acadians. This goes far to show that a longing to become their heirs had
not, as has been alleged, any considerable part in the motives for their

New England humanitarianism, melting into sentimentality at a tale of
woe, has been unjust to its own. Whatever judgment may be passed on the
cruel measure of wholesale expatriation, it was not put in execution
till every resource of patience and persuasion had been tried in vain.
The agents of the French Court, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, had
made some act of force a necessity. We have seen by what vile practices
they produced in Acadia a state of things intolerable, and impossible of
continuance. They conjured up the tempest; and when it burst on the
heads of the unhappy people, they gave no help. The Government of Louis
XV. began with making the Acadians its tools, and ended with making them
its victims.[289]

[Footnote 289: It may not be remembered that the predecessor of Louis
XV., without the slightest provocation or the pretence of any, gave
orders that the whole Protestant population of the colony of New York,
amounting to about eighteen thousand, should be seized, despoiled of
their property, placed on board his ships and dispersed among the other
British colonies in such a way that they could not reunite. Want of
power alone prevented the execution of the order.]

Chapter 9



The next stroke of the campaign was to be the capture of Crown Point,
that dangerous neighbor which, for a quarter of a century, had
threatened the northern colonies. Shirley, in January, had proposed an
attack on it to the Ministry; and in February, without waiting their
reply, he laid the plan before his Assembly. They accepted it, and
voted money for the pay and maintenance of twelve hundred men, provided
the adjacent colonies would contribute in due proportion.[290]
Massachusetts showed a military activity worthy of the reputation she
had won. Forty-five hundred of her men, or one in eight of her adult
males, volunteered to fight the French, and enlisted for the various
expeditions, some in the pay of the province, and some in that of the
King.[291] It remained to name a commander for the Crown Point
enterprise. Nobody had power to do so, for Braddock was not yet come;
but that time might not be lost, Shirley, at the request of his
Assembly, took the responsibility on himself. If he had named a
Massachusetts officer, it would have roused the jealousy of the other
New England colonies; and he therefore appointed William Johnson of New
York, thus gratifying that important province and pleasing the Five
Nations, who at this time looked on Johnson with even more than usual
favor. Hereupon, in reply to his request, Connecticut voted twelve
hundred men, New Hampshire five hundred, and Rhode Island four hundred,
all at their own charge; while New York, a little later, promised eight
hundred more. When, in April, Braddock and the Council at Alexandria
approved the plan and the commander, Shirley gave Johnson the commission
of major-general of the levies of Massachusetts; and the governors of
the other provinces contributing to the expedition gave him similar
commissions for their respective contingents. Never did general take the
field with authority so heterogeneous.

[Footnote 290: _Governor Shirley's Message to his Assembly, 13 Feb.
1755. Resolutions of the Assembly of Massachusetts, 18 Feb. 1755_.
Shirley's original idea was to build a fort on a rising ground near
Crown Point, in order to command it. This was soon abandoned for the
more honest and more practical plan of direct attack.]

[Footnote 291: _Correspondence of Shirley, Feb. 1755_. The number was
much increased later in the season.]

He had never seen service, and knew nothing of war. By birth he was
Irish, of good family, being nephew of Admiral Sir Peter Warren, who,
owning extensive wild lands on the Mohawk, had placed the young man in
charge of them nearly twenty years before. Johnson was born to prosper.
He had ambition, energy, an active mind, a tall, strong person, a rough,
jovial temper, and a quick adaptation to his surroundings. He could
drink flip with Dutch boors, or Madeira with royal governors. He liked
the society of the great, would intrigue and flatter when he had an end
to gain, and foil a rival without looking too closely at the means; but
compared with the Indian traders who infested the border, he was a model
of uprightness. He lived by the Mohawk in a fortified house which was a
stronghold against foes and a scene of hospitality to friends, both
white and red. Here--for his tastes were not fastidious--presided for
many years a Dutch or German wench whom he finally married; and after
her death a young Mohawk squaw took her place. Over his neighbors, the
Indians of the Five Nations, and all others of their race with whom he
had to deal, he acquired a remarkable influence. He liked them, adopted
their ways, and treated them kindly or sternly as the case required, but
always with a justice and honesty in strong contrast with the
rascalities of the commission of Albany traders who had lately managed
their affairs, and whom they so detested that one of their chiefs called
them "not men, but devils." Hence, when Johnson was made Indian
superintendent there was joy through all the Iroquois confederacy. When,
in addition, he was made a general, he assembled the warriors in council
to engage them to aid the expedition.

This meeting took place at his own house, known as Fort Johnson; and as
more than eleven hundred Indians appeared at his call, his larder was
sorely taxed to entertain them. The speeches were interminable. Johnson,
as master of Indian rhetoric, knew his audience too well not to contest
with them the palm of insufferable prolixity. The climax was reached on
the fourth day, and he threw down the war-belt. An Oneida chief took it
up; Stevens, the interpreter, began the war-dance, and the assembled
warriors howled in chorus. Then a tub of punch was brought in, and they
all drank the King's health.[292] They showed less alacrity, however, to
fight his battles, and scarcely three hundred of them would take the
war-path. Too many of their friends and relatives were enlisted for the

[Footnote 292: _Report of Conference between Major-General Johnson and
the Indians, June, 1755_.]

While the British colonists were preparing to attack Crown Point, the
French of Canada were preparing to defend it. Duquesne, recalled from
his post, had resigned the government to the Marquis de Vaudreuil, who
had at his disposal the battalions of regulars that had sailed in the
spring from Brest under Baron Dieskau. His first thought was to use them
for the capture of Oswego; but the letters of Braddock, found on the
battle-field, warned him of the design against Crown Point; while a
reconnoitring party which had gone as far as the Hudson brought back
news that Johnson's forces were already in the field. Therefore the plan
was changed, and Dieskau was ordered to lead the main body of his
troops, not to Lake Ontario, but to Lake Champlain. He passed up the
Richelieu, and embarked in boats and canoes for Crown Point. The veteran
knew that the foes with whom he had to deal were but a mob of
countrymen. He doubted not of putting them to rout, and meant never to
hold his hand till he had chased them back to Albany.[293] "Make all
haste," Vaudreuil wrote to him; "for when you return we shall send you
to Oswego to execute our first design."[294]

[Footnote 293: _Bigot au Ministre, 27 Août, 1755. Ibid., 5 Sept. 1755_.]

[Footnote 294: _Mémoire pour servir d'Instruction à M. le Baron de
Dieskau, Maréchal des Camps et Armées du Roy, 15 Août, 1755_.]

Johnson on his part was preparing to advance. In July about three
thousand provincials were encamped near Albany, some on the "Flats"
above the town, and some on the meadows below. Hither, too, came a swarm
of Johnson's Mohawks,--warriors, squaws, and children. They adorned the
General's face with war-paint, and he danced the war-dance; then with
his sword he cut the first slice from the ox that had been roasted
whole for their entertainment. "I shall be glad," wrote the surgeon of a
New England regiment, "if they fight as eagerly as they ate their ox and
drank their wine."

Above all things the expedition needed promptness; yet everything moved
slowly. Five popular legislatures controlled the troops and the
supplies. Connecticut had refused to send her men till Shirley promised
that her commanding officer should rank next to Johnson. The whole
movement was for some time at a deadlock because the five governments
could not agree about their contributions of artillery and stores.[295]
The New Hampshire regiment had taken a short cut for Crown Point across
the wilderness of Vermont; but had been recalled in time to save them
from probable destruction. They were now with the rest in the camp at
Albany, in such distress for provisions that a private subscription was
proposed for their relief.[296]

[Footnote 295: _The Conduct of Major-General Shirley briefly stated_
(London, 1758).]

[Footnote 296: _Blanchard to Wentworth, 28 Aug. 1755_, in _Provincial
Papers of New Hampshire_, VI. 429.]

Johnson's army, crude as it was, had in it good material. Here was
Phineas Lyman, of Connecticut, second in command, once a tutor at Yale
College, and more recently a lawyer,--a raw soldier, but a vigorous and
brave one; Colonel Moses Titcomb, of Massachusetts, who had fought with
credit at Louisbourg; and Ephraim Williams, also colonel of a
Massachusetts regiment, a tall and portly man, who had been a captain in
the last war, member of the General Court, and deputy-sheriff. He made
his will in the camp at Albany, and left a legacy to found the school
which has since become Williams College. His relative, Stephen Williams,
was chaplain of his regiment, and his brother Thomas was its surgeon.
Seth Pomeroy, gunsmith at Northampton, who, like Titcomb, had seen
service at Louisbourg, was its lieutenant-colonel. He had left a wife at
home, an excellent matron, to whom he was continually writing
affectionate letters, mingling household cares with news of the camp,
and charging her to see that their eldest boy, Seth, then in college at
New Haven, did not run off to the army. Pomeroy had with him his brother
Daniel; and this he thought was enough. Here, too, was a man whose name
is still a household word in New England,--the sturdy Israel Putnam,
private in a Connecticut regiment; and another as bold as he, John
Stark, lieutenant in the New Hampshire levies, and the future victor of

The soldiers were no soldiers, but farmers and farmers' sons who had
volunteered for the summer campaign. One of the corps had a blue uniform
faced with red. The rest wore their daily clothing. Blankets had been
served out to them by the several provinces, but the greater part
brought their own guns; some under the penalty of a fine if they came
without them, and some under the inducement of a reward.[297] They had
no bayonets, but carried hatchets in their belts as a sort of
substitute.[298] At their sides were slung powder-horns, on which, in
the leisure of the camp, they carved quaint devices with the points of
their jack-knives. They came chiefly from plain New England
homesteads,--rustic abodes, unpainted and dingy, with long well-sweeps,
capacious barns, rough fields of pumpkins and corn, and vast kitchen
chimneys, above which in winter hung squashes to keep them from frost,
and guns to keep them from rust.

[Footnote 297: _Proclamation of Governor Shirley, 1755_.]

[Footnote 298: _Second Letter to a Friend on the Battle of Lake

As to the manners and morals of the army there is conflict of evidence.
In some respects nothing could be more exemplary. "Not a chicken has
been stolen," says William Smith, of New York; while, on the other hand,
Colonel Ephraim Williams writes to Colonel Israel Williams, then
commanding on the Massachusetts frontier: "We are a wicked, profane
army, especially the New York and Rhode Island troops. Nothing to be
heard among a great part of them but the language of Hell. If Crown
Point is taken, it will not be for our sakes, but for those good people
left behind."[299] There was edifying regularity in respect to form.
Sermons twice a week, daily prayers, and frequent psalm-singing
alternated with the much-needed military drill.[300] "Prayers among us
night and morning," writes Private Jonathan Caswell, of Massachusetts,
to his father. "Here we lie, knowing not when we shall march for Crown
Point; but I hope not long to tarry. Desiring your prayers to God for me
as I am going to war, I am Your Ever Dutiful son."[301]

[Footnote 299: _Papers of Colonel Israel Williams_.]

[Footnote 300: _Massachusetts Archives_.]

[Footnote 301: _Jonathan Caswell to John Caswell, 6 July, 1755_.]

To Pomeroy and some of his brothers in arms it seemed that they were
engaged in a kind of crusade against the myrmidons of Rome. "As you have
at heart the Protestant cause," he wrote to his friend Israel Williams,
"so I ask an interest in your prayers that the Lord of Hosts would go
forth with us and give us victory over our unreasonable, encroaching,
barbarous, murdering enemies."

Both Williams the surgeon and Williams the colonel chafed at the
incessant delays. "The expedition goes on very much as a snail runs,"
writes the former to his wife; "it seems we may possibly see Crown Point
this time twelve months." The Colonel was vexed because everything was
out of joint in the department of transportation: wagoners mutinous for
want of pay; ordnance stores, camp-kettles, and provisions left behind.
"As to rum," he complains, "it won't hold out nine weeks. Things appear
most melancholy to me." Even as he was writing, a report came of the
defeat of Braddock; and, shocked at the blow, his pen traced the words:
"The Lord have mercy on poor New England!"

Johnson had sent four Mohawk scouts to Canada. They returned on the
twenty-first of August with the report that the French were all astir
with preparation, and that eight thousand men were coming to defend
Crown Point. On this a council of war was called; and it was resolved to
send to the several colonies for reinforcements.[302] Meanwhile the main
body had moved up the river to the spot called the Great Carrying Place,
where Lyman had begun a fortified storehouse, which his men called Fort
Lyman, but which was afterwards named Fort Edward. Two Indian trails led
from this point to the waters of Lake Champlain, one by way of Lake
George, and the other by way of Wood Creek. There was doubt which course
the army should take. A road was begun to Wood Creek; then it was
countermanded, and a party was sent to explore the path to Lake George.
"With submission to the general officers," Surgeon Williams again
writes, "I think it a very grand mistake that the business of
reconnoitring was not done months agone." It was resolved at last to
march for Lake George; gangs of axemen were sent to hew out the way; and
on the twenty-sixth two thousand men were ordered to the lake, while
Colonel Blanchard, of New Hampshire, remained with five hundred to
finish and defend Fort Lyman.

[Footnote 302: _Minutes of Council of War, 22 Aug. 1755. Ephraim
Williams to Benjamin Dwight, 22 Aug. 1755_.]

The train of Dutch wagons, guarded by the homely soldiery, jolted slowly
over the stumps and roots of the newly made road, and the regiments
followed at their leisure. The hardships of the way were not without
their consolations. The jovial Irishman who held the chief command made
himself very agreeable to the New England officers. "We went on about
four or five miles," says Pomeroy in his Journal, "then stopped, ate
pieces of broken bread and cheese, and drank some fresh lemon-punch and
the best of wine with General Johnson and some of the field-officers."
It was the same on the next day. "Stopped about noon and dined with
General Johnson by a small brook under a tree; ate a good dinner of cold
boiled and roast venison; drank good fresh lemon-punch and wine."

That afternoon they reached their destination, fourteen miles from Fort
Lyman. The most beautiful lake in America lay before them; then more
beautiful than now, in the wild charm of untrodden mountains and virgin
forests. "I have given it the name of Lake George," wrote Johnson to the
Lords of Trade, "not only in honor of His Majesty, but to ascertain his
undoubted dominion here." His men made their camp on a piece of rough
ground by the edge of the water, pitching their tents among the stumps
of the newly felled trees. In their front was a forest of pitch-pine; on
their right, a marsh, choked with alders and swamp-maples; on their
left, the low hill where Fort George was afterwards built; and at their
rear, the lake. Little was done to clear the forest in front, though it
would give excellent cover to an enemy. Nor did Johnson take much pains
to learn the movements of the French in the direction of Crown Point,
though he sent scouts towards South Bay and Wood Creek. Every day stores
and bateaux, or flat boats, came on wagons from Fort Lyman; and
preparation moved on with the leisure that had marked it from the first.
About three hundred Mohawks came to the camp, and were regarded by the
New England men as nuisances. On Sunday the gray-haired Stephen Williams
preached to these savage allies a long Calvinistic sermon, which must
have sorely perplexed the interpreter whose business it was to turn it
into Mohawk; and in the afternoon young Chaplain Newell, of Rhode
Island, expounded to the New England men the somewhat untimely text,
"Love your enemies." On the next Sunday, September seventh, Williams
preached again, this time to the whites from a text in Isaiah. It was a
peaceful day, fair and warm, with a few light showers; yet not wholly a
day of rest, for two hundred wagons came up from Fort Lyman, loaded with
bateaux. After the sermon there was an alarm. An Indian scout came in
about sunset, and reported that he had found the trail of a body of men
moving from South Bay towards Fort Lyman. Johnson called for a volunteer
to carry a letter of warning to Colonel Blanchard, the commander. A
wagoner named Adams offered himself for the perilous service, mounted,
and galloped along the road with the letter. Sentries were posted, and
the camp fell asleep.

While Johnson lay at Lake George, Dieskau prepared a surprise for him.
The German Baron had reached Crown Point at the head of three thousand
five hundred and seventy-three men, regulars, Canadians, and
Indians.[303] He had no thought of waiting there to be attacked. The
troops were told to hold themselves ready to move at a moment's notice.
Officers--so ran the order--will take nothing with them but one spare
shirt, one spare pair of shoes, a blanket, a bearskin, and provisions
for twelve days; Indians are not to amuse themselves by taking scalps
till the enemy is entirely defeated, since they can kill ten men in the
time required to scalp one.[304] Then Dieskau moved on, with nearly all
his force, to Carillon, or Ticonderoga, a promontory commanding both the
routes by which alone Johnson could advance, that of Wood Creek and that
of Lake George.

[Footnote 303: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 25 Sept. 1755_.]

[Footnote 304: _Livre d'Ordres, Août, Sept. 1755_.]

The Indians allies were commanded by Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, the
officer who had received Washington on his embassy to Fort Le Boeuf.
These unmanageable warriors were a constant annoyance to Dieskau, being
a species of humanity quite new to him. "They drive us crazy," he says,
"from morning till night. There is no end to their demands. They have
already eaten five oxen and as many hogs, without counting the kegs of
brandy they have drunk. In short, one needs the patience of an angel to
get on with these devils; and yet one must always force himself to seem
pleased with them."[305]

[Footnote 305: _Dieskau à Vaudreuil, 1 Sept. 1755_.]

They would scarcely even go out as scouts. At last, however, on the
fourth of September, a reconnoitring party came in with a scalp and an
English prisoner caught near Fort Lyman. He was questioned under the
threat of being given to the Indians for torture if he did not tell the
truth; but, nothing daunted, he invented a patriotic falsehood; and
thinking to lure his captors into a trap, told them that the English
army had fallen back to Albany, leaving five hundred men at Fort Lyman,
which he represented as indefensible. Dieskau resolved on a rapid
movement to seize the place. At noon of the same day, leaving a part of
his force at Ticonderoga, he embarked the rest in canoes and advanced
along the narrow prolongation of Lake Champlain that stretched southward
through the wilderness to where the town of Whitehall now stands. He
soon came to a point where the lake dwindled to a mere canal, while two
mighty rocks, capped with stunted forests, faced each other from the
opposing banks. Here he left an officer named Roquemaure with a
detachment of troops, and again advanced along a belt of quiet water
traced through the midst of a deep marsh, green at that season with
sedge and water-weeds, and known to the English as the Drowned Lands.
Beyond, on either hand, crags feathered with birch and fir, or hills
mantled with woods, looked down on the long procession of canoes.[306]
As they neared the site of Whitehall, a passage opened on the right, the
entrance to a sheet of lonely water slumbering in the shadow of woody
mountains, and forming the lake then, as now, called South Bay. They
advanced to its head, landed where a small stream enters it, left the
canoes under a guard, and began their march through the forest. They
counted in all two hundred and sixteen regulars of the battalions of
Languedoc and La Reine, six hundred and eighty-four Canadians, and above
six hundred Indians.[307] Every officer and man carried provisions for
eight days in his knapsack. They encamped at night by a brook, and in
the morning, after hearing Mass, marched again. The evening of the next
day brought them near the road that led to Lake George. Fort Lyman was
but three miles distant. A man on horseback galloped by; it was Adams,
Johnson's unfortunate messenger. The Indians shot him, and found the
letter in his pocket. Soon after, ten or twelve wagons appeared in
charge of mutinous drivers, who had left the English camp without
orders. Several of them were shot, two were taken, and the rest ran off.
The two captives declared that, contrary to the assertion of the
prisoner at Ticonderoga, a large force lay encamped at the lake. The
Indians now held a council, and presently gave out that they would not
attack the fort, which they thought well supplied with cannon, but that
they were willing to attack the camp at Lake George. Remonstrance was
lost upon them. Dieskau was not young, but he was daring to rashness,
and inflamed to emulation by the victory over Braddock. The enemy were
reported greatly to outnumber him; but his Canadian advisers had assured
him that the English colony militia were the worst troops on the face of
the earth. "The more there are," he said to the Canadians and Indians,
"the more we shall kill;" and in the morning the order was given to
march for the lake.

[Footnote 306: I passed this way three weeks ago. There are some points
where the scene is not much changed since Dieskau saw it.]

[Footnote 307: _Mémoire sur l'Affaire du 8 Septembre_.]

They moved rapidly on through the waste of pines, and soon entered the
rugged valley that led to Johnson's camp. On their right was a gorge
where, shadowed in bushes, gurgled a gloomy brook; and beyond rose the
cliffs that buttressed the rocky heights of French Mountain, seen by
glimpses between the boughs. On their left rose gradually the lower
slopes of West Mountain. All was rock, thicket, and forest; there was no
open space but the road along which the regulars marched, while the
Canadians and Indians pushed their way through the woods in such order
as the broken ground would permit.

They were three miles from the lake, when their scouts brought in a
prisoner who told them that a column of English troops was approaching.
Dieskau's preparations were quickly made. While the regulars halted on
the road, the Canadians and Indians moved to the front, where most of
them hid in the forest along the slopes of West Mountain, and the rest
lay close among the thickets on the other side. Thus, when the English
advanced to attack the regulars in front, they would find themselves
caught in a double ambush. No sight or sound betrayed the snare; but
behind every bush crouched a Canadian or a savage, with gun cocked and
ears intent, listening for the tramp of the approaching column.

The wagoners who escaped the evening before had reached the camp about
midnight, and reported that there was a war-party on the road near Fort
Lyman. Johnson had at this time twenty-two hundred effective men,
besides his three hundred Indians.[308] He called a council of war in
the morning, and a resolution was taken which can only be explained by a
complete misconception as to the force of the French. It was determined
to send out two detachments of five hundred men each, one towards Fort
Lyman, and the other towards South Bay, the object being, according to
Johnson "to catch the enemy in their retreat."[309] Hendrick, chief of
the Mohawks, a brave and sagacious warrior, expressed his dissent after
a fashion of his own. He picked up a stick and broke it; then he picked
up several sticks, and showed that together they could not be broken.
The hint was taken, and the two detachments were joined in one. Still
the old savage shook his head. "If they are to be killed," he said,
"they are too many; if they are to fight, they are too few."
Nevertheless, he resolved to share their fortunes; and mounting on a
gun-carriage, he harangued his warriors with a voice so animated and
gestures so expressive, that the New England officers listened in
admiration, though they understood not a word. One difficulty remained.
He was too old and fat to go afoot; but Johnson lent him a horse, which
he bestrode, and trotted to the head of the column, followed by two
hundred of his warriors as fast as they could grease, paint, and
befeather themselves.

[Footnote 308: _Wraxall to Lieutenant-Governor Delancey, 10 Sept. 1755_.
Wraxall was Johnson's aide-de-camp and secretary. The _Second Letter to
a Friend_ says twenty-one hundred whites and two hundred or three
hundred Indians. Blodget, who was also on the spot, sets the whites at
two thousand.]

[Footnote 309: _Letter to the Governors of the several Colonies, 9 Sept.

Captain Elisha Hawley was in his tent, finishing a letter which he had
just written to his brother Joseph; and these were the last words: "I am
this minute agoing out in company with five hundred men to see if we can
intercept 'em in their retreat, or find their canoes in the Drowned
Lands; and therefore must conclude this letter." He closed and directed
it; and in an hour received his death-wound.

It was soon after eight o'clock when Ephraim Williams left the camp with
his regiment, marched a little distance, and then waited for the rest of
the detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Whiting. Thus Dieskau had full
time to lay his ambush. When Whiting came up, the whole moved on
together, so little conscious of danger that no scouts were thrown out
in front or flank; and, in full security, they entered the fatal snare.
Before they were completely involved in it, the sharp eye of old
Hendrick detected some sign of an enemy. At that instant, whether by
accident or design, a gun was fired from the bushes. It is said that
Dieskau's Iroquois, seeing Mohawks, their relatives, in the van, wished
to warn them of danger. If so, the warning came too late. The thickets
on the left blazed out a deadly fire, and the men fell by scores. In the
words of Dieskau, the head of the column "was doubled up like a pack of
cards." Hendrick's horse was shot down, and the chief was killed with a
bayonet as he tried to rise. Williams, seeing a rising ground on his
right, made for it, calling on his men to follow; but as he climbed the
slope, guns flashed from the bushes, and a shot through the brain laid
him dead. The men in the rear pressed forward to support their comrades,
when a hot fire was suddenly opened on them from the forest along their
right flank. Then there was a panic; some fled outright, and the whole
column recoiled. The van now became the rear, and all the force of the
enemy rushed upon it, shouting and screeching. There was a moment of
total confusion; but a part of Williams's regiment rallied under command
of Whiting, and covered the retreat, fighting behind trees like Indians,
and firing and falling back by turns, bravely aided by some of the
Mohawks and by a detachment which Johnson sent to their aid. "And a very
handsome retreat they made," writes Pomeroy; "and so continued till they
came within about three quarters of a mile of our camp. This was the
last fire our men gave our enemies, which killed great numbers of them;
they were seen to drop as pigeons." So ended the fray long known in New
England fireside story as the "bloody morning scout." Dieskau now
ordered a halt, and sounded his trumpets to collect his scattered men.
His Indians, however, were sullen and unmanageable, and the Canadians
also showed signs of wavering. The veteran who commanded them all,
Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, had been killed. At length they were
persuaded to move again, the regulars leading the way.

About an hour after Williams and his men had begun their march, a
distant rattle of musketry was heard at the camp; and as it grew nearer
and louder, the listeners knew that their comrades were on the retreat.
Then, at the eleventh hour, preparations were begun for defence. A sort
of barricade was made along the front of the camp, partly of wagons, and
partly of inverted bateaux, but chiefly of the trunks of trees hastily
hewn down in the neighboring forest and laid end to end in a single row.
The line extended from the southern slopes of the hill on the left
across a tract of rough ground to the marshes on the right. The forest,
choked with bushes and clumps of rank ferns, was within a few yards of
the barricade, and there was scarcely time to hack away the intervening
thickets. Three cannon were planted to sweep the road that descended
through the pines, and another was dragged up to the ridge of the hill.
The defeated party began to come in; first, scared fugitives both white
and red, then, gangs of men bringing the wounded; and at last, an hour
and a half after the first fire was heard, the main detachment was seen
marching in compact bodies down the road.

Five hundred men were detailed to guard the flanks of the camp. The rest
stood behind the wagons or lay flat behind the logs and inverted
bateaux, the Massachusetts men on the right, and the Connecticut men on
the left. Besides Indians, this actual fighting force was between
sixteen and seventeen hundred rustics, very few of whom had been under
fire before that morning. They were hardly at their posts when they saw
ranks of white-coated soldiers moving down the road, and bayonets that
to them seemed innumerable glittering between the boughs. At the same
time a terrific burst of war-whoops rose along the front; and, in the
words of Pomeroy, "the Canadians and Indians, helter-skelter, the woods
full of them, came running with undaunted courage right down the hill
upon us, expecting to make us flee."[310] Some of the men grew uneasy;
while the chief officers, sword in hand, threatened instant death to any
who should stir from their posts.[311] If Dieskau had made an assault at
that instant, there could be little doubt of the result.

[Footnote 310: _Seth Pomeroy to his Wife, 10 Sept. 1755_.]

[Footnote 311: _Dr. Perez Marsh to William Williams, 25 Sept. 1755_.]

This he well knew; but he was powerless. He had his small force of
regulars well in hand; but the rest, red and white, were beyond control,
scattering through the woods and swamps, shouting, yelling, and firing
from behind trees. The regulars advanced with intrepidity towards the
camp where the trees were thin, deployed, and fired by platoons, till
Captain Eyre, who commanded the artillery, opened on them with grape,
broke their ranks, and compelled them to take to cover. The fusillade
was now general on both sides, and soon grew furious. "Perhaps," Seth
Pomeroy wrote to his wife, two days after, "the hailstones from heaven
were never much thicker than their bullets came; but, blessed be God!
that did not in the least daunt or disturb us." Johnson received a
flesh-wound in the thigh, and spent the rest of the day in his tent.
Lyman took command; and it is a marvel that he escaped alive, for he was
four hours in the heat of the fire, directing and animating the men. "It
was the most awful day my eyes ever beheld," wrote Surgeon Williams to
his wife; "there seemed to be nothing but thunder and lightning and
perpetual pillars of smoke." To him, his colleague Doctor Pynchon, one
assistant, and a young student called "Billy," fell the charge of the
wounded of his regiment. "The bullets flew about our ears all the time
of dressing them; so we thought best to leave our tent and retire a few
rods behind the shelter of a log-house." On the adjacent hill stood one
Blodget, who seems to have been a sutler, watching, as well as bushes,
trees, and smoke would let him, the progress of the fight, of which he
soon after made and published a curious bird's-eye view. As the wounded
men were carried to the rear, the wagoners about the camp took their
guns and powder-horns, and joined in the fray. A Mohawk, seeing one of
these men still unarmed, leaped over the barricade, tomahawked the
nearest Canadian, snatched his gun, and darted back unhurt. The brave
savage found no imitators among his tribesmen, most of whom did nothing
but utter a few war-whoops, saying that they had come to see their
English brothers fight. Some of the French Indians opened a distant
flank fire from the high ground beyond the swamp on the right, but were
driven off by a few shells dropped among them.

Dieskau had directed his first attack against the left and center of
Johnson's position. Making no impression here, he tried to force the
right, where lay the regiments of Titcomb, Ruggles, and Williams. The
fire was hot for about an hour. Titcomb was shot dead, a rod in front of
the barricade, firing from behind a tree like a common soldier. At
length Dieskau, exposing himself within short range of the English line,
was hit in the leg. His adjutant, Montreuil, himself wounded, came to
his aid, and was washing the injured limb with brandy, when the
unfortunate commander was again hit in the knee and thigh. He seated
himself behind a tree, while the Adjutant called two Canadians to carry
him to the rear. One of them was instantly shot down. Montreuil took his
place; but Dieskau refused to be moved, bitterly denounced the Canadians
and Indians, and ordered the Adjutant to leave him and lead the regulars
in a last effort against the camp.

It was too late. Johnson's men, singly or in small squads, already
crossing their row of logs; and in a few moments the whole dashed
forward with a shout, falling upon the enemy with hatchets and the butts
of their guns. The French and their allies fled. The wounded General
still sat helpless by the tree, when he saw a soldier aiming at him. He
signed to the man not to fire; but he pulled trigger, shot him across
the hips, leaped upon him, and ordered him in French to surrender. "I
said," writes Dieskau, "'You rascal, why did you fire? You see a man
lying in his blood on the ground, and you shoot him!' He answered: 'How
did I know that you had not got a pistol? I had rather kill the devil
than have the devil kill me.' 'You are a Frenchman?' I asked. 'Yes,' he
replied; 'it is more than ten years since I left Canada;' whereupon
several others fell on me and stripped me. I told them to carry me to
their general, which they did. On learning who I was, he sent for
surgeons, and, though wounded himself, refused all assistance till my
wounds were dressed."[312]

[Footnote 312: _Dialogue entre le Maréchal de Saxe et le Baron de
Dieskau aux Champs Élysées_. This paper is in the Archives de la Guerre,
and was evidently written or inspired by Dieskau himself. In spite of
its fanciful form, it is a sober statement of the events of the
campaign. There is a translation of it in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 340.]

It was near five o'clock when the final rout took place. Some time
before, several hundred of the Canadians and Indians had left the field
and returned to the scene of the morning fight, to plunder and scalp the
dead. They were resting themselves near a pool in the forest, close
beside the road, when their repose was interrupted by a volley of
bullets. It was fired by a scouting party from Fort Lyman, chiefly
backwoodsmen, under Captains Folsom and McGinnis. The assailants were
greatly outnumbered; but after a hard fight the Canadians and Indians
broke and fled. McGinnis was mortally wounded. He continued to give
orders till the firing was over; then fainted, and was carried, dying,
to the camp. The bodies of the slain, according to tradition, were
thrown into the pool, which bears to this day the name of Bloody Pond.

The various bands of fugitives rejoined each other towards night, and
encamped in the forest; then made their way round the southern shoulder
of French Mountain, till, in the next evening, they reached their
canoes. Their plight was deplorable; for they had left their knapsacks
behind, and were spent with fatigue and famine.

Meanwhile their captive general was not yet out of danger. The Mohawks
were furious at their losses in the ambush of the morning, and above all
at the death of Hendrick. Scarcely were Dieskau's wounds dressed, when
several of them came into the tent. There was a long and angry dispute
in their own language between them and Johnson, after which they went
out very sullenly. Dieskau asked what they wanted. "What do they want?"
returned Johnson. "To burn you, by God, eat you, and smoke you in their
pipes, in revenge for three or four of their chiefs that were killed.
But never fear; you shall be safe with me, or else they shall kill us
both."[313] The Mohawks soon came back, and another talk ensued, excited
at first, and then more calm; till at length the visitors, seemingly
appeased, smiled, gave Dieskau their hands in sign of friendship, and
quietly went out again. Johnson warned him that he was not yet safe; and
when the prisoner, fearing that his presence might incommode his host,
asked to be removed to another tent, a captain and fifty men were
ordered to guard him. In the morning an Indian, alone and apparently
unarmed, loitered about the entrance, and the stupid sentinel let him
pass in. He immediately drew a sword from under a sort of cloak which he
wore, and tried to stab Dieskau; but was prevented by the Colonel to
whom the tent belonged, who seized upon him, took away his sword, and
pushed him out. As soon as his wounds would permit, Dieskau was carried
on a litter, strongly escorted, to Fort Lyman, whence he was sent to
Albany, and afterwards to New York. He is profuse in expressions of
gratitude for the kindness shown him by the colonial officers, and
especially by Johnson. Of the provincial soldiers he remarked soon after
the battle that in the morning they fought like good boys, about noon
like men, and in the afternoon like devils.[314] In the spring of 1757
he sailed for England, and was for a time at Falmouth; whence Colonel
Matthew Sewell, fearing that he might see and learn too much, wrote to
the Earl of Holdernesse: "The Baron has great penetration and quickness
of apprehension. His long service under Marshal Saxe renders him a man
of real consequence, to be cautiously observed. His circumstances
deserve compassion, for indeed they are very melancholy, and I much
doubt of his being ever perfectly cured." He was afterwards a long time
at Bath, for the benefit of the waters. In 1760 the famous Diderot met
him at Paris, cheerful and full of anecdote, though wretchedly shattered
by his wounds. He died a few years later.

[Footnote 313: See the story as told by Dieskau to the celebrated
Diderot, at Paris, in 1760. _Mémoires de Diderot_, I. 402 (1830).
Compare _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 343.]

[Footnote 314: _Dr. Perez Marsh to William Williams, 25 Sept. 1755_.]

On the night after the battle the yeomen warriors felt the truth of the
saying that, next to defeat, the saddest thing is victory. Comrades and
friends by scores lay scattered through the forest. As soon as he could
snatch a moment's leisure, the overworked surgeon sent the dismal
tidings to his wife: "My dear brother Ephraim was killed by a ball
through his head; poor brother Josiah's wound I fear will prove mortal;
poor Captain Hawley is yet alive, though I did not think he would live
two hours after bringing him in." Daniel Pomeroy was shot dead; and his
brother Seth wrote the news to his wife Rachel, who was just delivered
of a child: "Dear Sister, this brings heavy tidings; but let not your
heart sink at the news, though it be your loss of a dear husband. Monday
the eighth instant was a memorable day; and truly you may say, had not
the Lord been on our side, we must all have been swallowed up. My
brother, being one that went out in the first engagement, received a
fatal shot through the middle of the head." Seth Pomeroy found a moment
to write also to his own wife, whom he tells that another attack is
expected; adding, in quaintly pious phrase: "But as God hath begun to
show mercy, I hope he will go on to be gracious." Pomeroy was employed
during the next few days with four hundred men in what he calls "the
melancholy piece of business" of burying the dead. A letter-writer of
the time does not approve what was done on this occasion. "Our people,"
he says, "not only buried the French dead, but buried as many of them as
might be without the knowledge of our Indians, to prevent their being
scalped. This I call an excess of civility;" his reason being that
Braddock's dead soldiers had been left to the wolves.

The English loss in killed, wounded, and missing was two hundred and
sixty-two;[315] and that of the French by their own account, two hundred
and twenty-eight,[316]--a somewhat modest result of five hours'
fighting. The English loss was chiefly in the ambush of the morning,
where the killed greatly outnumbered the wounded, because those who fell
and could not be carried away were tomahawked by Dieskau's Indians. In
the fight at the camp, both Indians and Canadians kept themselves so
well under cover that it was very difficult for the New England men to
pick them off, while they on their part lay close behind their row of
logs. On the French side, the regular officers and troops bore the brunt
of the battle and suffered the chief loss, nearly all of the former and
nearly half of the latter being killed or wounded.

[Footnote 315: _Return of Killed, Wounded, and Missing at the Battle of
Lake George_.]

[Footnote 316: _Doreil au Ministre, 20 Oct. 1755_. Surgeon Williams
gives the English loss as two hundred and sixteen killed, and ninety-six
wounded. Pomeroy thinks that the French lost four or five hundred.
Johnson places their loss at four hundred.]

Johnson did not follow up his success. He says that his men were tired.
Yet five hundred of them had stood still all day, and boats enough for
their transportation were lying on the beach. Ten miles down the lake, a
path led over a gorge of the mountains to South Bay, where Dieskau had
left his canoes and provisions. It needed but a few hours to reach and
destroy them; but no such attempt was made. Nor, till a week after, did
Johnson send out scouts to learn the strength of the enemy at
Ticonderoga. Lyman strongly urged him to make an effort to seize that
important pass; but Johnson thought only of holding his own position. "I
think," he wrote, "we may expect very shortly a more formidable attack."
He made a solid breastwork to defend his camp; and as reinforcements
arrived, set them at building a fort on a rising ground by the lake. It
is true that just after the battle he was deficient in stores, and had
not bateaux enough to move his whole force. It is true, also, that he
was wounded, and that he was too jealous of Lyman to delegate the
command to him; and so the days passed till, within a fortnight, his
nimble enemy were entrenched at Ticonderoga in force enough to defy him.

The Crown Point expedition was a failure disguised under an incidental
success. The northern provinces, especially Massachusetts and
Connecticut, did what they could to forward it, and after the battle
sent a herd of raw recruits to the scene of action. Shirley wrote to
Johnson from Oswego; declared that his reasons for not advancing were
insufficient, and urged him to push for Ticonderoga at once. Johnson
replied that he had not wagons enough, and that his troops were
ill-clothed, ill-fed, discontented, insubordinate and sickly. He
complained that discipline was out of the question, because the officers
were chosen by popular election; that many of them were no better than
the men, unfit for command, and like so many "heads of a mob."[317] The
reinforcements began to come in, till, in October there were thirty-six
hundred men in the camp; and as most of them wore summer clothing and
had but one thin domestic blanket, they were half frozen in the chill
autumn nights.

[Footnote 317: _Shirley to Johnson, 19 Sept. 1755. Ibid., 24 Sept. 1755.
Johnson to Shirley, 22 Sept. 1755. Johnson to Phipps, 10 Oct. 1755_
(Massachusetts Archives).]

Johnson called a council of war; and as he was suffering from inflamed
eyes, and was still kept in his tent by his wound, he asked Lyman to
preside,--not unwilling, perhaps, to shift the responsibility upon him.
After several sessions and much debate, the assembled officers decided
that it was inexpedient to proceed.[318] Yet the army lay more than a
month longer at the lake, while the disgust of the men increased daily
under the rains, frosts, and snows of a dreary November. On the
twenty-second, Chandler, chaplain of one of the Massachusetts regiments,
wrote in the interleaved almanac that served him as a diary: "The men
just ready to mutiny. Some clubbed their firelocks and marched, but
returned back. Very rainy night. Miry water standing the tents. Very
distressing time among the sick." The men grew more and more unruly, and
went off in squads without asking leave. A difficult question arose: Who
should stay for the winter to garrison the new forts, and who should
command them? It was settled at last that a certain number of soldiers
from each province should be assigned to this ungrateful service, and
that Massachusetts should have the first officer, Connecticut the
second, and New York the third. Then the camp broke up. "Thursday the
27th," wrote the chaplain in his almanac, "we set out about ten of the
clock, marched in a body, about three thousand, the wagons and baggage
in the centre, our colonel much insulted by the way." The soldiers
dispersed to their villages and farms, where in blustering winter
nights, by the blazing logs of New England hearth-stones, they told
their friends and neighbors the story of the campaign.

[Footnote 318: _Reports of Council of War, 11-21 Oct. 1755_.]

The profit of it fell to Johnson. If he did not gather the fruits of
victory, at least he reaped its laurels. He was a courtier in his rough
way. He had changed the name of Lac St. Sacrement to Lake George, in
compliment to the King.

He now changed that of Fort Lyman to Fort Edward, in compliment to one
of the King's grandsons; and, in compliment to another, called his new
fort at the lake, William Henry. Of General Lyman he made no mention in
his report of the battle, and his partisans wrote letters traducing
that brave officer; though Johnson is said to have confessed in private
that he owed him the victory. He himself found no lack of eulogists;
and, to quote the words of an able but somewhat caustic and prejudiced
opponent, "to the panegyrical pen of his secretary, Mr. Wraxall, and the
_sic volo sic jubeo_ of Lieutenant-Governor Delancey, is to be ascribed
that mighty renown which echoed through the colonies, reverberated to
Europe, and elevated a raw, inexperienced youth into a kind of second
Marlborough.[319] Parliament gave him five thousand pounds, and the King
made him a baronet."

[Footnote 319: _Review of Military Operations in North America, in a
Letter to a Nobleman_ (ascribed to William Livingston).

On the Battle of Lake George a mass of papers will be found in the _N.Y.
Col. Docs._, Vols. VI. and X. Those in Vol. VI., taken chiefly from the
archives of New York, consist of official and private letters, reports,
etc., on the English side. Those in Vol. X. are drawn chiefly from the
archives of the French War Department, and include the correspondence of
Dieskau and his adjutant Montreuil. I have examined most of them in the
original. Besides these I have obtained from the Archives de la Marine
and other sources a number of important additional papers, which have
never been printed, including Vaudreuil's reports to the Minister of
War, and his strictures on Dieskau, whom he accuses of disobeying orders
by dividing his force; also the translation of an English journal of the
campaign found in the pocket of a captured officer, and a long account
of the battle sent by Bigot to the Minister of Marine, 4 Oct. 1755.

I owe to the kindness of Theodore Pomeroy, Esq., a copy of the Journal
of Lieutenant-Colonel Seth Pomeroy, whose letters are full of interest;
as are those of Surgeon Williams, from the collection of William L.
Stone, Esq. The papers of Colonel Israel Williams, in the Library of the
Massachusetts Historical Society, contain many other curious letters
relating to the campaign, extracts from some of which are given in the
text. One of the most curious records of the battle is _A
Prospective-Plan of the Battle near Lake George, with an Explanation
thereof, containing a full, though short, History of that important
Affair, by Samuel Blodget, occasionally at the Camp when the Battle was
fought_. It is an engraving, printed at Boston soon after the fight, of
which it gives a clear idea. Four years after, Blodget opened a shop in
Boston, where, as appears by his advertisements in the newspapers, he
sold "English Goods, also English Hatts, etc." The engraving is
reproduced in the _Documentary History of New York_, IV., and
elsewhere. The _Explanation thereof_ is only to be found complete in the
original. This, as well as the anonymous _Second Letter to a Friend_,
also printed at Boston in 1755, is excellent for the information it
gives as to the condition of the ground where the conflict took place,
and the position of the combatants. The unpublished Archives of
Massachusetts; the correspondence of Sir William Johnson; the _Review of
Military Operations in North America_; Dwight, _Travels in New England
and New York_, III.; and Hoyt, _Antiquarian Researches on Indian
Wars,_--should also be mentioned. Dwight and Hoyt drew their information
from aged survivors of the battle. I have repeatedly examined the

In the odd effusion of the colonial muse called _Tilden's Poems, chiefly
to Animate and Rouse the Soldiers, printed 1756_, is a piece styled _The
Christian Hero, or New England's Triumphs_, beginning with the

    "O Heaven, indulge my feeble Muse,
    Teach her what numbers for to choose!"

and containing the following stanza:--

    "Their Dieskau we from them detain,
    While Canada aloud complains
    And counts the numbers of their slain
      and makes a dire complaint;
    The Indians to their demon gods;
    And with the French there's little odds,
    While images receive their nods,
    Invoking rotten saints."]

Chapter 10

1755, 1756

Shirley. Border War

The capture of Niagara was to finish the work of the summer. This alone
would have gained for England the control of the valley of the Ohio, and
made Braddock's expedition superfluous. One marvels at the
short-sightedness, the dissensions, the apathy which had left this key
of the interior so long in the hands of France without an effort to
wrest it from her. To master Niagara would be to cut the communications
of Canada with the whole system of French forts and settlements in the
West, and leave them to perish like limbs of a girdled tree.

Major-General Shirley, in the flush of his new martial honors, was to
try his prentice hand at the work. The lawyer-soldier could plan a
campaign boldly and well. It remained to see how he would do his part
towards executing it. In July he arrived at Albany, the starting-point
of his own expedition as well as that of Johnson. This little Dutch city
was an outpost of civilization. The Hudson, descending from the northern
wilderness, connected it with the lakes and streams that formed the
thoroughfare to Canada; while the Mohawk, flowing from the west, was a
liquid pathway to the forest homes of the Five Nations. Before the war
was over, a little girl, Anne MacVicar, daughter of a Highland officer,
was left at Albany by her father, and spent several years there in the
house of Mrs. Schuyler, aunt of General Schuyler of the Revolution. Long
after, married and middle-aged, she wrote down her recollections of the
place,--the fort on the hill behind; the great street, grassy and broad,
that descended thence to the river, with market, guardhouse, town hall,
and two churches in the middle, and rows of quaint Dutch-built houses on
both sides, each detached from its neighbors, each with its well,
garden, and green, and its great overshadowing tree. Before every house
was a capacious porch, with seats where the people gathered in the
summer twilight; old men at one door, matrons at another, young men and
girls mingling at a third; while the cows with their tinkling bells came
from the common at the end of the town, each stopping to be milked at
the door of its owner; and children, porringer in hand, sat on the
steps, watching the process and waiting their evening meal.

Such was the quiet picture painted on the memory of Anne MacVicar, and
reproduced by the pen of Mrs. Ann Grant.[320] The patriarchal,
semi-rural town had other aspects, not so pleasing. The men were mainly
engaged in the fur-trade, sometimes legally with the Five Nations, and
sometimes illegally with the Indians of Canada,--an occupation which by
no means tends to soften the character. The Albany Dutch traders were a
rude, hard race, loving money, and not always scrupulous as to the means
of getting it. Coming events, too, were soon to have their effect on
this secluded community. Regiments, red and blue, trumpets, drums,
banners, artillery trains, and all the din of war transformed its
peaceful streets, and brought some attaint to domestic morals hitherto
commendable; for during the next five years Albany was to be the
principal base of military operations on the continent.

[Footnote 320: _Memoirs of an American Lady_ (Mrs. Schuyler), Chap. VI.
A genuine picture of colonial life, and a charming book, though far from
being historically trustworthy. Compare the account of Albany in Kalm,
II. 102.]

Shirley had left the place, and was now on his way up the Mohawk. His
force, much smaller than at first intended, consisted of the New Jersey
regiment, which mustered five hundred men, known as the Jersey Blues,
and of the fiftieth and fifty-first regiments, called respectively
Shirley's and Pepperell's. These, though paid by the King and counted as
regulars, were in fact raw provincials, just raised in the colonies, and
wearing their gay uniforms with an awkward, unaccustomed air. How they
gloried in them may be gathered from a letter of Sergeant James Gray, of
Pepperell's, to his brother John: "I have two Holland shirts, found me
by the King, and two pair of shoes and two pair of worsted stockings; a
good silver-laced hat (the lace I could sell for four dollars); and my
clothes is as fine scarlet broadcloth as ever you did see. A sergeant
here in the King's regiment is counted as good as an ensign with you;
and one day in every week we must have our hair or wigs powdered."[321]
Most of these gorgeous warriors were already on their way to Oswego,
their first destination.

[Footnote 321: _James Gray to John Gray, 11 July, 1755_.]

Shirley followed, embarking at the Dutch village of Schenectady, and
ascending the Mohawk with about two hundred of the so-called regulars in
bateaux. They passed Fort Johnson, the two villages of the Mohawks, and
the Palatine settlement of German Flats; left behind the last trace of
civilized man, rowed sixty miles through wilderness, and reached the
Great Carrying Place, which divided the waters that flow to the Hudson
from those that flow to Lake Ontario. Here now stands the city which the
classic zeal of its founders has adorned with the name of Rome. Then all
was swamp and forest, traversed by a track that led to Wood
Creek,--which is not to be confounded with the Wood Creek of Lake
Champlain. Thither the bateaux were dragged on sledges and launched on
the dark and tortuous stream, which, fed by a decoction of forest leaves
that oozed from the marshy shores, crept in shadow through depths of
foliage, with only a belt of illumined sky gleaming between the jagged
tree-tops. Tall and lean with straining towards the light, their rough,
gaunt stems trickling with perpetual damps, stood on either hand the
silent hosts of the forest. The skeletons of their dead, barkless,
blanched, and shattered, strewed the mudbanks and shallows; others lay
submerged, like bones of drowned mammoths, thrusting lank, white limbs
above the sullen water; and great trees, entire as yet, were flung by
age or storms athwart the current,--a bristling barricade of matted
boughs. There was work for the axe as well as for the oar; till at
length Lake Oneida opened before them, and they rowed all day over its
sunny breast, reached the outlet, and drifted down the shallow eddies of
the Onondaga, between walls of verdure, silent as death, yet haunted
everywhere with ambushed danger. It was twenty days after leaving
Schenectady when they neared the mouth of the river; and Lake Ontario
greeted them, stretched like a sea to the pale brink of the northern
sky, while on the bare hill at their left stood the miserable little
fort of Oswego.

Shirley's whole force soon arrived; but not the needful provisions and
stores. The machinery of transportation and the commissariat was in the
bewildered state inevitable among a peaceful people at the beginning of
a war; while the news of Braddock's defeat produced such an effect on
the boatmen and the draymen at the carrying-places, that the greater
part deserted. Along with these disheartening tidings, Shirley learned
the death of his eldest son, killed at the side of Braddock. He had with
him a second son, Captain John Shirley, a vivacious young man, whom his
father and his father's friends in their familiar correspondence always
called "Jack." John Shirley's letters give a lively view of the

"I have sat down to write to you,"--thus he addresses Governor Morris,
of Pennsylvania, who seems to have had a great liking for him,--"because
there is an opportunity of sending you a few lines; and if you will
promise to excuse blots, interlineations, and grease (for this is
written in the open air, upon the head of a pork-barrel, and twenty
people about me), I will begin another half-sheet. We are not more than
about fifteen hundred men fit for duty; but that I am pretty sure, if we
can go in time in our sloop, schooner, row-galleys, and whaleboats, will
be sufficient to take Frontenac; after which we may venture to go upon
the attack of Niagara, but not before. I have not the least doubt with
myself of knocking down both these places yet this fall, if we can get
away in a week. If we take or destroy their two vessels at Frontenac,
and ruin their harbor there, and destroy the two forts of that and
Niagara, I shall think we have done great things. Nobody holds it out
better than my father and myself. We shall all of us relish a good house
over our heads, being all encamped, except the General and some few
field-officers, who have what are called at Oswego houses; but they
would in other countries be called only sheds, except the fort, where my
father is. Adieu, dear sir; I hope my next will be directed from
Frontenac. Yours most affectionately, John Shirley."[322]

[Footnote 322: The young author of this letter was, like his brother, a
victim of the war.

"Permit me, good sir, to offer you my hearty condolence upon the death
of my friend Jack, whose worth I admired, and feel for him more than I
can express.... Few men of his age had so many friends." _Governor
Morris to Shirley, 27 Nov. 1755_.

"My heart bleeds for Mr. Shirley. He must be overwhelmed with Grief when
he hears of Capt. John Shirley's Death, of which I have an Account by
the last Post from New York, where he died of a Flux and Fever that he
had contracted at Oswego. The loss of Two Sons in one Campaign scarcely
admits of Consolation. I feel the Anguish of the unhappy Father, and mix
my Tears very heartily with his. I have had an intimate Acquaintance
with Both of Them for many Years, and know well their inestimable
Value." _Morris to Dinwiddie, 29 Nov. 1755_.]

Fort Frontenac lay to the northward, fifty miles or more across the
lake. Niagara lay to the westward, at the distance of four or five days
by boat or canoe along the south shore. At Frontenac there was a French
force of fourteen hundred regulars and Canadians.[323] They had vessels
and canoes to cross the lake and fall upon Oswego as soon as Shirley
should leave it to attack Niagara; for Braddock's captured papers had
revealed to them the English plan. If they should take it, Shirley would
be cut off from his supplies and placed in desperate jeopardy, with the
enemy in his rear. Hence it is that John Shirley insists on taking
Frontenac before attempting Niagara. But the task was not easy; for the
French force at the former place was about equal in effective strength
to that of the English at Oswego. At Niagara, too, the French had, at
the end of August, nearly twelve hundred Canadians and Indians from Fort
Duquesne and the upper lakes.[324] Shirley was but imperfectly informed
by his scouts of the unexpected strength of the opposition that awaited
him; but he knew enough to see that his position was a difficult one.
His movement on Niagara was stopped, first by want of provisions, and
secondly because he was checkmated by the troops at Frontenac. He did
not despair. Want of courage was not among his failings, and he was but
too ready to take risks. He called a council of officers, told them that
the total number of men fit for duty was thirteen hundred and
seventy-six, and that as soon as provisions enough should arrive he
would embark for Niagara with six hundred soldiers and as many Indians
as possible, leaving the rest to defend Oswego against the expected
attack from Fort Frontenac.[325]

[Footnote 323: _Bigot au Ministre, 27 Août, 1755_.]

[Footnote 324: _Bigot au Ministre, 5 Sept. 1755_.]

[Footnote 325: _Minutes of a Council of War at Oswego, 18 Sept. 1755_.]

"All I am uneasy about is our provisions," writes John Shirley to his
friend Morris; "our men have been upon half allowance of bread these
three weeks past, and no rum given to 'em. My father yesterday called
all the Indians together and made 'em a speech on the subject of General
Johnson's engagement, which he calculated to inspire them with a spirit
of revenge." After the speech he gave them a bullock for a feast, which
they roasted and ate, pretending that they were eating the Governor of
Canada! Some provisions arriving, orders were given to embark on the
next day; but the officers murmured their dissent. The weather was
persistently bad, their vessels would not hold half the party, and the
bateaux, made only for river navigation, would infallibly founder on the
treacherous and stormy lake. "All the field-officers," says John
Shirley, "think it too rash an attempt; and I have heard so much of it
that I think it my duty to let my father know what I hear." Another
council was called; and the General, reluctantly convinced of the
danger, put the question whether to go or not. The situation admitted
but one reply. The council was of opinion that for the present the
enterprise was impracticable; that Oswego should be strengthened, more
vessels built, and preparation made to renew the attempt as soon as
spring opened.[326] All thoughts of active operations were now
suspended, and during what was left of the season the troops exchanged
the musket for the spade, saw, and axe. At the end of October, leaving
seven hundred men at Oswego, Shirley returned to Albany, and narrowly
escaped drowning on the way, while passing a rapid in a whale-boat, to
try the fitness of that species of craft for river navigation.[327]

[Footnote 326: _Minutes of a Council of War at Oswego, 27 Sept._ 1755.]

[Footnote 327: On the Niagara expedition, _Braddock's Instructions to
Major-General Shirley. Correspondence of Shirley_, 1755. _Conduct of
Major-General Shirley_ (London, 1758). Letters of John Shirley in
_Pennsylvania Archives_, II. _Bradstreet to Shirley, 17 Aug._ 1755. MSS.
in Massachusetts Archives, _Review of Military Operations in North
America. Gentleman's Magazine_, 1757, p. 73. _London Magazine,_ 1759, p.
594. Trumbull, _Hist. Connecticut_, II. 370.]

Unfortunately for him, he had fallen out with Johnson, whom he had made
what he was, but who now turned against him,--a seeming ingratitude not
wholly unprovoked. Shirley had diverted the New Jersey regiment,
destined originally for Crown Point, to his own expedition against
Niagara. Naturally inclined to keep all the reins in his own hands, he
had encroached on Johnson's new office of Indian superintendent, held
conferences with the Five Nations, and employed agents of his own to
deal with them. These agents were persons obnoxious to Johnson, being
allied with the clique of Dutch traders at Albany, who hated him because
he had supplanted them in the direction of Indian affairs; and in a
violent letter to the Lords of Trade, he inveighs against their
"licentious and abandoned proceedings," "villanous conduct," "scurrilous
falsehoods," and "base and insolent behavior."[328] "I am considerable
enough," he says, "to have enemies and to be envied;"[329] and he
declares he has proof that Shirley told the Mohawks that he, Johnson,
was an upstart of his creating, whom he had set up and could pull down.
Again, he charges Shirley's agents with trying to "debauch the Indians
from joining him;" while Shirley, on his side, retorts the same
complaint against his accuser.[330] When, by the death of Braddock,
Shirley became commander-in-chief, Johnson grew so restive at being
subject to his instructions that he declined to hold the management of
Indian affairs unless it was made independent of his rival. The dispute
became mingled with the teapot-tempest of New York provincial politics.
The Lieutenant-Governor, Delancey, a politician of restless ambition and
consummate dexterity, had taken umbrage at Shirley, of whose rising
honors, not borne with remarkable humility, he appears to have been
jealous. Delancey had hitherto favored the Dutch faction in the
Assembly, hostile to Johnson; but he now changed attitude, and joined
hands with him against the object of their common dislike. The one was
strong in the prestige of a loudly-trumpeted victory, and the other had
means of influence over the Ministry. Their coalition boded ill to
Shirley, and he soon felt its effects.[331]

[Footnote 328: _Johnson to the Lords of Trade,_ 3 Sept. 1755.]

[Footnote 329: _Johnson to the Lords of Trade, 17 Jan_. 1756.]

[Footnote 330: _John Shirley to Governor Morris, 12 Aug_. 1755.]

[Footnote 331: On this affair, see various papers in _N.Y. Col. Docs_.,
VI., VII. Smith, _Hist. New York_, Part II., Chaps. IV. V. _Review of
Military Operations in North America_. Both Smith and Livingston, the
author of the _Review_, were personally cognizant of the course of the

The campaign was now closed,--a sufficiently active one, seeing that the
two nations were nominally at peace. A disastrous rout on the
Monongahela, failure at Niagara, a barren victory at Lake George, and
three forts captured in Acadia, were the disappointing results on the
part of England. Nor had her enemies cause to boast. The Indians, it is
true, had won a battle for them: but they had suffered mortifying defeat
from a raw militia; their general was a prisoner; and they had lost
Acadia past hope.

The campaign was over; but not its effects. It remains to see what
befell from the rout of Braddock and the unpardonable retreat of Dunbar
from the frontier which it was his duty to defend. Dumas had replaced
Contrecoeur in the command of Fort Duquesne; and his first care was to
set on the Western tribes to attack the border settlements. His success
was triumphant. The Delawares and Shawanoes, old friends of the English,
but for years past tending to alienation through neglect and ill-usage,
now took the lead against them. Many of the Mingoes, or Five Nation
Indians on the Ohio, also took up the hatchet, as did various remoter
tribes. The West rose like a nest of hornets, and swarmed in fury
against the English frontier. Such was the consequence of the defeat of
Braddock aided by the skilful devices of the French commander. "It is by
means such as I have mentioned," says Dumas, "varied in every form to
suit the occasion, that I have succeeded in ruining the three adjacent
provinces, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, driving off the
inhabitants, and totally destroying the settlements over a tract of
country thirty leagues wide, reckoning from the line of Fort Cumberland.
M. de Contrecoeur had not been gone a week before I had six or seven
different war-parties in the field at once, always accompanied by
Frenchmen. Thus far, we have lost only two officers and a few soldiers;
but the Indian villages are full of prisoners of every age and sex. The
enemy has lost far more since the battle than on the day of his

[Footnote 332: _Dumas au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1756._]

Dumas, required by the orders of his superiors to wage a detestable
warfare against helpless settlers and their families, did what he could
to temper its horrors, and enjoined the officers who went with the
Indians to spare no effort to prevent them from torturing
prisoners.[333] The attempt should be set down to his honor; but it did
not avail much. In the record of cruelties committed this year on the
borders, we find repeated instances of children scalped alive. "They
kill all they meet," writes a French priest; "and after having abused
the women and maidens, they slaughter or burn them."[334]

[Footnote 333: _Mémoires de Famille de l'Abbé Casgrain_, cited in _Le
Foyer Canadien,_ III. 26, where an extract is given from an order of
Dumas to Baby, a Canadian officer. Orders of Contrecoeur and Ligneris to
the same effect are also given. A similar order, signed by Dumas, was
found in the pocket of Douville, an officer killed by the English on the
Frontier. _Writings of Washington_, II. 137, _note_.]

[Footnote 334: _Rec. Claude Godefroy Cocquard, S.J., à son Frère, Mars
(?)_, 1757.]

Washington was now in command of the Virginia regiment, consisting of a
thousand men, raised afterwards to fifteen hundred. With these he was to
protect a frontier of three hundred and fifty miles against more
numerous enemies, who could choose their time and place of attack. His
headquarters were at Winchester. His men were an ungovernable crew,
enlisted chiefly on the turbulent border, and resenting every kind of
discipline as levelling them with negroes; while the sympathizing House
of Burgesses hesitated for months to pass any law for enforcing
obedience, lest it should trench on the liberties of free white men. The
service was to the last degree unpopular. "If we talk of obliging men to
serve their country," wrote London Carter, "we are sure to hear a fellow
mumble over the words 'liberty' and 'property' a thousand times."[335]
The people, too, were in mortal fear of a slave insurrection, and
therefore dared not go far from home.[336] Meanwhile a panic reigned
along the border. Captain Waggoner, passing a gap in the Blue Ridge,
could hardly make his way for the crowd of fugitives. "Every day,"
writes Washington, "we have accounts of such cruelties and barbarities
as are shocking to human nature. It is not possible to conceive the
situation and danger of this miserable country. Such numbers of French
and Indians are all around that no road is safe."

[Footnote 335: Extract in _Writings of Washington_, II. 145, _note._]

[Footnote 336: _Letters of Dinwiddie_, 1755.]

These frontiers had always been at peace. No forts of refuge had thus
far been built, and the scattered settlers had no choice but flight.
Their first impulse was to put wife and children beyond reach of the
tomahawk. As autumn advanced, the invading bands grew more and more
audacious. Braddock had opened a road for them by which they could cross
the mountains at their ease; and scouts from Fort Cumberland reported
that this road was beaten by as many feet as when the English army
passed last summer. Washington was beset with difficulties. Men and
officers alike were unruly and mutinous. He was at once blamed for their
disorders and refused the means of repressing them. Envious detractors
published slanders against him. A petty Maryland captain, who had once
had a commission from the King, refused to obey his orders, and stirred
up factions among his officers. Dinwiddie gave him cold support. The
temper of the old Scotchman, crabbed at the best, had been soured by
disappointment, vexation, weariness, and ill-health. He had, besides, a
friend and countryman, Colonel Innes, whom, had he dared, he would
gladly have put in Washington's place. He was full of zeal in the common
cause, and wanted to direct the defence of the borders from his house at
Williamsburg, two hundred miles distant. Washington never hesitated to
obey; but he accompanied his obedience by a statement of his own
convictions and his reasons for them, which, though couched in terms the
most respectful, galled his irascible chief. The Governor acknowledged
his merit; but bore him no love, and sometimes wrote to him in terms
which must have tried his high temper to the utmost. Sometimes, though
rarely, he gave words to his emotion.

"Your Honor," he wrote in April, "may see to what unhappy straits the
distressed inhabitants and myself are reduced. I see inevitable
destruction in so clear a light, that unless vigorous measures are taken
by the Assembly, and speedy assistance sent from below, the poor
inhabitants that are now in forts must unavoidably fall, while the
remainder are flying before the barbarous foe. In fine, the melancholy
situation of the people; the little prospect of assistance; the gross
and scandalous abuse cast upon the officers in general, which is
reflecting upon me in particular for suffering misconduct of such
extraordinary kinds; and the distant prospect, if any, of gaining honor
and reputation in the service,--cause me to lament the hour that gave me
a commission, and would induce me at any other time than this of
imminent danger to resign, without one hesitating moment, a command from
which I never expect to reap either honor or benefit, but, on the
contrary, have almost an absolute certainty of incurring displeasure
below, while the murder of helpless families may be laid to my account

"The supplicating tears of the women and moving petitions of the men
melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I know my
own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering
enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's ease."[337]

[Footnote 337: _Writings of Washington_, II. 143.]

In the turmoil around him, patriotism and public duty seemed all to be
centred in the breast of one heroic youth. He was respected and
generally beloved, but he did not kindle enthusiasm. His were the
qualities of an unflagging courage, an all-enduring fortitude, and a
deep trust. He showed an astonishing maturing of character, and the kind
of mastery over others which begins with mastery over self. At
twenty-four he was the foremost man, and acknowledged as such, along the
whole long line of the western border.

To feel the situation, the nature of these frontiers must be kept in
mind. Along the skirts of the southern and middle colonies ran for six
or seven hundred miles a loose, thin, dishevelled fringe of population,
the half-barbarous pioneers of advancing civilization. Their rude
dwellings were often miles apart. Buried in woods, the settler lived in
an appalling loneliness. A low-browed cabin of logs, with moss stuffed
in the chinks to keep out the wind, roof covered with sheets of bark,
chimney of sticks and clay, and square holes closed by a shutter in
place of windows; an unkempt matron, lean with hard work, and a brood of
children with bare heads and tattered garments eked out by
deer-skin,--such was the home of the pioneer in the remoter and wilder
districts. The scene around bore witness to his labors. It was the
repulsive transition from savagery to civilization, from the forest to
the farm. The victims of his axe lay strewn about the dismal "clearing"
in a chaos of prostrate trunks, tangled boughs, and withered leaves,
waiting for the fire that was to be the next agent in the process of
improvement; while around, voiceless and grim, stood the living forest,
gazing on the desolation, and biding its own day of doom. The owner of
the cabin was miles away, hunting in the woods for the wild turkey and
venison which were the chief food of himself and his family till the
soil could be tamed into the bearing of crops.

Towards night he returned; and as he issued from the forest shadows he
saw a column of blue smoke rising quietly in the still evening air. He
ran to the spot; and there, among the smouldering logs of his dwelling,
lay, scalped and mangled, the dead bodies of wife and children. A
war-party had passed that way. Breathless, palpitating, his brain on
fire, he rushed through the thickening night to carry the alarm to his
nearest neighbor, three miles distant.

Such was the character and the fate of many incipient settlements of the
utmost border. Farther east, they had a different aspect. Here, small
farms with well-built log-houses, cattle, crops of wheat and Indian
corn, were strung at intervals along some woody valley of the lower
Alleghanies: yesterday a scene of hardy toil; to-day swept with
destruction from end to end. There was no warning; no time for concert,
perhaps none for flight. Sudden as the leaping panther, a pack of human
wolves burst out of the forest, did their work, and vanished.

If the country had been an open one, like the plains beyond the
Mississippi, the situation would have been less frightful; but the
forest was everywhere, rolled over hill and valley in billows of
interminable green,--a leafy maze, a mystery of shade, a universal
hiding-place, where murder might lurk unseen at its victim's side, and
Nature seemed formed to nurse the mind with wild and dark imaginings.
The detail of blood is set down in the untutored words of those who saw
and felt it. But there was a suffering that had no record,--the mortal
fear of women and children in the solitude of their wilderness homes,
haunted, waking and sleeping, with nightmares of horror that were but
the forecast of an imminent reality. The country had in past years been
so peaceful, and the Indians so friendly, that many of the settlers,
especially on the Pennsylvanian border, had no arms, and were doubly in
need of help from the Government. In Virginia they had it, such as it
was. In Pennsylvania they had for months none whatever; and the Assembly
turned a deaf ear to their cries.

Far to the east, sheltered from danger, lay staid and prosperous
Philadelphia, the home of order and thrift. It took its stamp from the
Quakers, its original and dominant population, set apart from the other
colonists not only in character and creed, but in the outward symbols of
a peculiar dress and a daily sacrifice of grammar on the altar of
religion. The even tenor of their lives counteracted the effects of
climate, and they are said to have been perceptibly more rotund in
feature and person than their neighbors. Yet, broad and humanizing as
was their faith, they were capable of extreme bitterness towards
opponents, clung tenaciously to power, and were jealous for the
ascendency of their sect, which had begun to show signs of wavering. On
other sects they looked askance; and regarded the Presbyterians in
particular with a dislike which in moments of crisis rose to
detestation.[338] They held it sin to fight, and above all to fight
against Indians.

[Footnote 338: See a crowd of party pamphlets, Quaker against
Presbyterian, which appeared in Philadelphia in 1764, abusively
acrimonious on both sides.]

Here was one cause of military paralysis. It was reinforced by another.
The old standing quarrel between governor and assembly had grown more
violent than ever; and this as a direct consequence of the public
distress, which above all things demanded harmony. The dispute turned
this time on a single issue,--that of the taxation of the proprietary
estates. The estates in question consisted of vast tracts of wild land,
yielding no income, and at present to a great extent worthless, being
overrun by the enemy.[339] The Quaker Assembly had refused to protect
them; and on one occasion had rejected an offer of the proprietaries to
join them in paying the cost of their defence.[340] But though they
would not defend the land, they insisted on taxing it; and farther
insisted that the taxes upon it should be laid by the provincial
assessors. By a law of the province, these assessors were chosen by
popular vote; and in consenting to this law, the proprietaries had
expressly provided that their estates should be exempted from all taxes
to be laid by officials in whose appointment they had no voice.[341]
Thomas and Richard Penn, the present proprietaries, had debarred their
deputy, the Governor, both by the terms of his commission and by special
instruction, from consenting to such taxation, and had laid him under
heavy bonds to secure his obedience. Thus there was another side to the
question than that of the Assembly; though our American writers have
been slow to acknowledge it.

[Footnote 339: The productive estates of the proprietaries were taxed
through the tenants.]

[Footnote 340: The proprietaries offered to contribute to the cost of
building and maintaining a fort on the spot where the French soon after
built Fort Duquesne. This plan, vigorously executed, would have saved
the province from a deluge of miseries. One of the reasons assigned by
the Assembly for rejecting it was that it would irritate the enemy. See
_supra_, p. 63.]

[Footnote 341: _A Brief View of the Conduct of Pennsylvania for the year

Benjamin Franklin was leader in the Assembly and shared its views. The
feudal proprietorship of the Penn family was odious to his democratic
nature. It was, in truth, a pestilent anomaly, repugnant to the genius
of the people; and the disposition and character of the present
proprietaries did not tend to render it less vexatious. Yet there were
considerations which might have tempered the impatient hatred with which
the colonists regarded it. The first proprietary, William Penn, had used
his feudal rights in the interest of a broad liberalism; and through
them had established the popular institutions and universal tolerance
which made Pennsylvania the most democratic province in America, and
nursed the spirit of liberty which now revolted against his heirs. The
one absorbing passion of Pennsylvania was resistance of their deputy,
the Governor. The badge of feudalism, though light, was insufferably
irritating; and the sons of William Penn were moreover detested by the
Quakers as renegades from the faith of their father. Thus the immediate
political conflict engrossed mind and heart; and in the rancor of their
quarrel with the proprietaries, the Assembly forgot the French and

In Philadelphia and the eastern districts the Quakers could ply their
trades, tend their shops, till their farms, and discourse at their ease
on the wickedness of war. The midland counties, too, were for the most
part tolerably safe. They were occupied mainly by crude German peasants,
who nearly equalled in number all the rest of the population, and who,
gathered at the centre of the province, formed a mass politically
indigestible. Translated from servitude to the most ample liberty, they
hated the thought of military service, which reminded them of former
oppression, cared little whether they lived under France or England,
and, thinking themselves out of danger, had no mind to be taxed for the
defence of others. But while the great body of the Germans were
sheltered from harm, those of them who lived farther westward were not
so fortunate. Here, mixed with Scotch Irish Presbyterians and Celtic
Irish Catholics, they formed a rough border population, the discordant
elements of which could rarely unite for common action; yet, though
confused and disjointed, they were a living rampart to the rest of the
colony. Against them raged the furies of Indian war; and, maddened with
distress and terror, they cried aloud for help.

Petition after petition came from the borders for arms and ammunition,
and for a militia law to enable the people to organize and defend
themselves. The Quakers resisted. "They have taken uncommon pains,"
writes Governor Morris to Shirley, "to prevent the people from taking up
arms."[342] Braddock's defeat, they declared, was a just judgment on him
and his soldiers for molesting the French in their settlements on the
Ohio.[343] A bill was passed by the Assembly for raising fifty thousand
pounds for the King's use by a tax which included the proprietary lands.
The Governor, constrained by his instructions and his bonds, rejected
it. "I can only say," he told them, "that I will readily pass a bill for
striking any sum in paper money the present exigency may require,
provided funds are established for sinking the same in five years."
Messages long and acrimonious were exchanged between the parties. The
Assembly, had they chosen, could easily have raised money enough by
methods not involving the point in dispute; but they thought they saw in
the crisis a means of forcing the Governor to yield. The Quakers had an
alternative motive: if the Governor gave way, it was a political
victory; if he stood fast, their non-resistance principles would
triumph, and in this triumph their ascendency as a sect would be
confirmed. The debate grew every day more bitter and unmannerly. The
Governor could not yield; the Assembly would not. There was a complete
deadlock. The Assembly requested the Governor "not to make himself the
hateful instrument of reducing a free people to the abject state of
vassalage."[344] As the raising of money and the control of its
expenditure was in their hands; as he could not prorogue or dissolve
them, and as they could adjourn on their own motion to such time as
pleased them; as they paid his support, and could withhold it if he
offended them,--which they did in the present case,--it seemed no easy
task for him to reduce them to vassalage. "What must we do," pursued the
Assembly, "to please this kind governor, who takes so much pains to
render us obnoxious to our sovereign and odious to our fellow-subjects?
If we only tell him that the difficulties he meets with are not owing to
the causes he names,--which indeed have no existence,--but to his own
want of skill and abilities for his station, he takes it extremely
amiss, and say 'we forget all decency to those in authority.' We are apt
to think there is likewise some decency due to the Assembly as a part of
the government; and though we have not, like the Governor, had a courtly
education, but are plain men, and must be very imperfect in our
politeness, yet we think we have no chance of improving by his
example."[345] Again, in another Message, the Assembly, with a thrust at
Morris himself, tell him that colonial governors have often been
"transient persons, of broken fortunes, greedy of money, destitute of
all concern for those they govern, often their enemies, and endeavoring
not only to oppress, but to defame them."[346] In such unseemly fashion
was the battle waged. Morris, who was himself a provincial, showed more
temper and dignity; though there was not too much on either side. "The
Assembly," he wrote to Shirley, "seem determined to take advantage of
the country's distress to get the whole power of government into their
own hands." And the Assembly proclaimed on their part that the Governor
was taking advantage of the country's distress to reduce the province to
"Egyptian bondage."

[Footnote 342: _Morris to Shirley, 16 Aug. 1755_.]

[Footnote 343: _Morris to Sir Thomas Robinson, 28 Aug. 1755._]

[Footnote 344: _Colonial Records of Pa_., VI. 584.]

[Footnote 345: _Message of the Assembly to the Governor, 29 Sept. 1755_
(written by Franklin), in _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 631, 632.]

[Footnote 346: _Writings of Franklin_, III. 447. The Assembly at first
suppressed this paper, but afterwards printed it.]

Petitions poured in from the miserable frontiersmen. "How long will
those in power, by their quarrels, suffer us to be massacred?" demanded
William Trent, the Indian trader. "Two and forty bodies have been buried
on Patterson's Creek; and since they have killed more, and keep on
killing."[347] Early in October news came that a hundred persons had
been murdered near Fort Cumberland. Repeated tidings followed of murders
on the Susquehanna; then it was announced that the war-parties had
crossed that stream, and were at their work on the eastern side. Letter
after letter came from the sufferers, bringing such complaints as this:
"We are in as bad circumstances as ever any poor Christians were ever
in; for the cries of widowers, widows, fatherless and motherless
children, are enough to pierce the most hardest of hearts. Likewise it's
a very sorrowful spectacle to see those that escaped with their lives
with not a mouthful to eat, or bed to lie on, or clothes to cover their
nakedness, or keep them warm, but all they had consumed into ashes.
These deplorable circumstances cry aloud for your Honor's most wise
consideration; for it is really very shocking for the husband to see the
wife of his bosom her head cut off, and the children's blood drunk like
water, by these bloody and cruel savages."[348]

[Footnote 347: _Trent to James Burd, 4 Oct. 1755_.]

[Footnote 348: _Adam Hoops to Governor Morris, 3 Nov. 1755._]

Morris was greatly troubled. "The conduct of the Assembly," he wrote to
Shirley, "is to me shocking beyond parallel." "The inhabitants are
abandoning their plantations, and we are in a dreadful situation," wrote
John Harris from the east bank of the Susquehanna. On the next day he
wrote again: "The Indians are cutting us off every day, and I had a
certain account of about fifteen hundred Indians, besides French, being
on their march against us and Virginia, and now close on our borders,
their scouts scalping our families on our frontiers daily." The report
was soon confirmed; and accounts came that the settlements in the valley
called the Great Cove had been completely destroyed. All this was laid
before the Assembly. They declared the accounts exaggerated, but
confessed that outrages had been committed; hinted that the fault was
with the proprietaries; and asked the Governor to explain why the
Delawares and Shawanoes had become unfriendly. "If they have suffered
wrongs," said the Quakers, "we are resolved to do all in our power to
redress them, rather than entail upon ourselves and our posterity the
calamities of a cruel Indian war." The Indian records were searched, and
several days spent in unsuccessful efforts to prove fraud in a late

Post after post still brought news of slaughter. The upper part of
Cumberland County was laid waste. Edward Biddle wrote from Reading: "The
drum is beating and bells ringing, and all the people under arms. This
night we expect an attack. The people exclaim against the Quakers." "We
seem to be given up into the hands of a merciless enemy," wrote John
Elder from Paxton. And he declares that more than forty persons have
been killed in that neighborhood, besides numbers carried off. Meanwhile
the Governor and Assembly went on fencing with words and exchanging
legal subtleties; while, with every cry of distress that rose from the
west, each hoped that the other would yield.

On the eighth of November the Assembly laid before Morris for his
concurrence a bill for emitting bills of credit to the amount of sixty
thousand pounds, to be sunk in four years by a tax including the
proprietary estates.[349] "I shall not," he replied, "enter into a
dispute whether the proprietaries ought to be taxed or not. It is
sufficient for me that they have given me no power in that case; and I
cannot think it consistent either with my duty or safety to exceed the
powers of my commission, much less to do what that commission expressly
prohibits."[350] He stretched his authority, however, so far as to
propose a sort of compromise by which the question should be referred to
the King; but they refused it; and the quarrel and the murders went on
as before. "We have taken," said the Assembly, "every step in our power
consistent with the just rights of the freemen of Pennsylvania, for the
relief of the poor distressed inhabitants; and we have reason to believe
that they themselves would not wish us to go farther. Those who would
give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety."[351] Then the borderers deserved neither;
for, rather than be butchered, they would have let the proprietary lands
lie untaxed for another year. "You have in all," said the Governor,
"proposed to me five money bills, three of them rejected because
contrary to royal instructions; the other two on account of the unjust
method proposed for taxing the proprietary estate. If you are disposed
to relieve your country, you have many other ways of granting money to
which I shall have no objection. I shall put one proof more both of your
sincerity and mine in our professions of regard for the public, by
offering to agree to any bill in the present exigency which it is
consistent with my duty to pass; lest, before our present disputes can
be brought to an issue, we should neither have a privilege to dispute
about, nor a country to dispute in."[352] They stood fast; and with an
obstinacy for which the Quakers were chiefly answerable, insisted that
they would give nothing, except by a bill taxing real estate, and
including that of the proprietaries.

[Footnote 349: _Colonial Records of Pa_., VI. 682.]

[Footnote 350: _Message of the Governor to the Assembly, 8 Nov. 1755_,
in _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 684.]

[Footnote 351: _Message of the Assembly to the Governor, 11 Nov. Ibid._
VI. 692. The words are Franklin's.]

[Footnote 352: _Message of the Governor to the Assembly, 22 Nov. 1755_,
in _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI. 714.]

But now the Assembly began to feel the ground shaking under their feet.
A paper, called a "Representation," signed by some of the chief
citizens, was sent to the House, calling for measures of defence. "You
will forgive us, gentlemen," such was its language, "if we assume
characters somewhat higher than that of humble suitors praying for the
defence of our lives and properties as a matter of grace or favor on
your side. You will permit us to make a positive and immediate demand of
it."[353] This drove the Quakers mad. Preachers, male and female,
harangued in the streets, denouncing the iniquity of war. Three of the
sect from England, two women and a man, invited their brethren of the
Assembly to a private house, and fervently exhorted them to stand firm.
Some of the principal Quakers joined in an address to the House, in
which they declared that any action on its part "inconsistent with the
peaceable testimony we profess and have borne to the world appears to us
in its consequences to be destructive of our religious liberties."[354]
And they protested that they would rather "suffer" than pay taxes for
such ends. Consistency, even in folly, has in it something respectable;
but the Quakers were not consistent. A few years after, when heated
with party-passion and excited by reports of an irruption of incensed
Presbyterian borderers, some of the pacific sectaries armed for battle;
and the streets of Philadelphia beheld the curious conjunction of musket
and broad-brimmed hat.[355]

[Footnote 353: _Pennsylvania Archives_, II. 485.]

[Footnote 354: _Ibid_., II. 487.]

[Footnote 355: See _Conspiracy of Pontiac_, Chaps. 24 and 25.]

The mayor, aldermen, and common council next addressed the Assembly,
adjuring them, "in the most solemn manner, before God and in the name of
all our fellow-citizens," to provide for defending the lives and
property of the people.[356] A deputation from a band of Indians on the
Susquehanna, still friendly to the province, came to ask whether the
English meant to fight or not; for, said their speaker, "if they will
not stand by us, we will join the French." News came that the settlement
of Tulpehocken, only sixty miles distant, had been destroyed; and then
that the Moravian settlement of Gnadenhütten was burned, and nearly all
its inmates massacred. Colonel William Moore wrote to the Governor that
two thousand men were coming from Chester County to compel him and the
Assembly to defend the province; and Conrad Weiser wrote that more were
coming from Berks on the same errand. Old friends of the Assembly began
to cry out against them. Even the Germans, hitherto their fast allies,
were roused from their attitude of passivity, and four hundred of them
came in procession to demand measures of war. A band of frontiersmen
presently arrived, bringing in a wagon the bodies of friends and
relatives lately murdered, displaying them at the doors of the Assembly,
cursing the Quakers, and threatening vengeance.[357]

[Footnote 356: _A Remonstrance_, etc., in _Colonial Records of Pa._, VI.

[Footnote 357: Mante, 47; Entick, I. 377.]

Finding some concession necessary, the House at length passed a militia
law,--probably the most futile ever enacted. It specially exempted the
Quakers, and constrained nobody; but declared it lawful, for such as
chose, to form themselves into companies and elect officers by ballot.
The company officers thus elected might, if they saw fit, elect, also
by ballot, colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors. These last might
then, in conjunction with the Governor, frame articles of war; to which,
however, no officer or man was to be subjected unless, after three days'
consideration, he subscribed them in presence of a justice of the peace,
and declared his willingness to be bound by them.[358]

[Footnote 358: This remarkable bill, drawn by Franklin, was meant for
political rather than military effect. It was thought that Morris would
refuse to pass it, and could therefore be accused of preventing the
province from defending itself; but he avoided the snare by signing it.]

This mockery could not appease the people; the Assembly must raise money
for men, arms, forts, and all the detested appliances of war. Defeat
absolute and ignominious seemed hanging over the House, when an incident
occurred which gave them a decent pretext for retreat. The Governor
informed them that he had just received a letter from the proprietaries,
giving to the province five thousand pounds sterling to aid in its
defence, on condition that the money should be accepted as a free gift,
and not as their proportion of any tax that was or might be laid by the
Assembly. They had not learned the deplorable state of the country, and
had sent the money in view of the defeat of Braddock and its probable
consequences. The Assembly hereupon yielded, struck out from the bill
before them the clause taxing the proprietary estates, and, thus
amended, presented it to the Governor, who by his signature made it a

[Footnote 359: _Minutes of Council, 27 Nov. 1755_.]

The House had failed to carry its point. The result disappointed
Franklin, and doubly disappointed the Quakers. His maxim was: Beat the
Governor first, and then beat the enemy; theirs: Beat the Governor, and
let the enemy alone. The measures that followed, directed in part by
Franklin himself, held the Indians in check, and mitigated the distress
of the western counties; yet there was no safety for them throughout the
two or three years when France was cheering on her hell-hounds against
this tormented frontier.

As in Pennsylvania, so in most of the other colonies there was conflict
between assemblies and governors, to the unspeakable detriment of the
public service. In New York, though here no obnoxious proprietary stood
between the people and the Crown, the strife was long and severe. The
point at issue was an important one,--whether the Assembly should
continue their practice of granting yearly supplies to the Governor, or
should establish a permanent fund for the ordinary expenses of
government,--thus placing him beyond their control. The result was a
victory for the Assembly.

Month after month the great continent lay wrapped in snow. Far along the
edge of the western wilderness men kept watch and ward in lonely
blockhouses, or scoured the forest on the track of prowling war-parties.
The provincials in garrison at forts Edward, William Henry, and Oswego
dragged out the dreary winter; while bands of New England rangers,
muffled against the piercing cold, caps of fur on their heads, hatchets
in their belts, and guns in the mittened hands, glided on skates along
the gleaming ice-floor of Lake George, to spy out the secrets of
Ticonderoga, or seize some careless sentry to tell them tidings of the
foe. Thus the petty war went on; but the big war was frozen into torpor,
ready, like a hibernating bear, to wake again with the birds, the bees,
and the flowers.[360]

[Footnote 360: On Pennsylvanian disputes,--_A Brief State of the
Province of Pennsylvania_ (London, 1755). _A Brief View of the Conduct
of Pennsylvania_ (London, 1756). These are pamphlets on the Governor's
side, by William Smith, D.D., Provost of the College of Pennsylvania.
_An Answer to an invidious Pamphlet, intituled a Brief State_, etc.
(London, 1755). Anonymous. _A True and Impartial State of the Province
of Pennsylvania_ (Philadelphia, 1759). Anonymous. The last two works
attack the first two with great vehemence. _The True and Impartial
State_ is an able presentation of the case of the Assembly, omitting,
however, essential facts. But the most elaborate work on the subject is
the _Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of
Pennsylvania_, inspired and partly written by Franklin. It is hotly
partisan, and sometimes sophistical and unfair. Articles on the quarrel
will also be found in the provincial newspapers, especially the _New
York Mercury,_ and in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for 1755 and 1756. But
it is impossible to get any clear and just view of it without wading
through the interminable documents concerning it in the _Colonial
Records of Pennsylvania_ and the _Pennsylvania Archives_.]

Chapter 11



On the eighteenth of May, 1756, England, after a year of open hostility,
at length declared war. She had attacked France by land and sea, turned
loose her ships to prey on French commerce, and brought some three
hundred prizes into her ports. It was the act of a weak Government,
supplying by spasms of violence what it lacked in considerate
resolution. France, no match for her amphibious enemy in the game of
marine depredation, cried out in horror; and to emphasize her complaints
and signalize a pretended good faith which her acts had belied,
ostentatiously released a British frigate captured by her cruisers. She
in her turn declared war on the ninth of June: and now began the most
terrible conflict of the eighteenth century; one that convulsed Europe
and shook America, India, the coasts of Africa, and the islands of the

In Europe the ground was trembling already with the coming earthquake.
Such smothered discords, such animosities, ambitions, jealousies,
possessed the rival governments; such entanglements of treaties and
alliances, offensive or defensive, open or secret,--that a blow at one
point shook the whole fabric. Hanover, like the heel of Achilles, was
the vulnerable part for which England was always trembling. Therefore
she made a defensive treaty with Prussia, by which each party bound
itself to aid the other, should its territory be invaded. England thus
sought a guaranty against France, and Prussia against Russia. She had
need. Her King, Frederic the Great, had drawn upon himself an avalanche.
Three women--two empresses and a concubine--controlled the forces of the
three great nations, Austria, Russia, and France; and they all hated
him: Elizabeth of Russia, by reason of a distrust fomented by secret
intrigue and turned into gall by the biting tongue of Frederic himself,
who had jibed at her amours, compared her to Messalina, and called her
"_infâme catin du Nord_;" Maria Theresa of Austria, because she saw in
him a rebellious vassal of the Holy Roman Empire, and, above all,
because he had robbed her of Silesia; Madame de Pompadour, because when
she sent him a message of compliment, he answered, "_Je ne la connais
pas_," forbade his ambassador to visit her, and in his mocking wit
spared neither her nor her royal lover. Feminine pique, revenge, or
vanity had then at their service the mightiest armaments of Europe.

The recovery of Silesia and the punishment of Frederic for his audacity
in seizing it, possessed the mind of Maria Theresa with the force of a
ruling passion. To these ends she had joined herself in secret league
with Russia; and now at the prompting of her minister Kaunitz she
courted the alliance of France. It was a reversal of the hereditary
policy of Austria; joining hands with an old and deadly foe, and
spurning England, of late her most trusty ally. But France could give
powerful aid against Frederic; and hence Maria Theresa, virtuous as she
was high-born and proud, stooped to make advances to the all-powerful
mistress of Louis XV., wrote her flattering letters, and addressed her,
it is said, as "_Ma chère cousine_." Pompadour was delighted, and could
hardly do enough for her imperial friend. She ruled the King, and could
make and unmake ministers at will. They hastened to do her pleasure,
disguising their subserviency by dressing it out in specious reasons of
state. A conference at her summer-house, called Babiole, "Bawble,"
prepared the way for a treaty which involved the nation in the
anti-Prussian war, and made it the instrument of Austria in the attempt
to humble Frederic,--an attempt which if successful would give the
hereditary enemy of France a predominance over Germany. France engaged
to aid the cause with twenty-four thousand men; but in the zeal of her
rulers began with a hundred thousand. Thus the three great Powers stood
leagued against Prussia. Sweden and Saxony joined them; and the Empire
itself, of which Prussia was a part, took arms against its obnoxious

Never in Europe had power been more centralized, and never in France had
the reins been held by persons so pitiful, impelled by motives so
contemptible. The levity, vanity, and spite of a concubine became a
mighty engine to influence the destinies of nations. Louis XV.,
enervated by pleasures and devoured by _ennui_, still had his emotions;
he shared Pompadour's detestation of Frederic, and he was tormented at
times by a lively fear of damnation. But how damn a king who had entered
the lists as champion of the Church? England was Protestant, and so was
Prussia; Austria was supremely Catholic. Was it not a merit in the eyes
of God to join her in holy war against the powers of heresy? The King of
the Parc-aux-Cerfs would propitiate Heaven by a new crusade.

Henceforth France was to turn her strength against her European foes;
and the American war, the occasion of the universal outbreak, was to
hold in her eyes a second place. The reasons were several: the vanity of
Pompadour, infatuated by the advances of the Empress-Queen, and eager to
secure her good graces; the superstition of the King; the anger of both
against Frederic; the desire of D'Argenson, minister of war, that the
army, and not the navy, should play the foremost part; and the passion
of courtiers and nobles, ignorant of the naval service, to win laurels
in a continental war,--all conspired to one end. It was the interest of
France to turn her strength against her only dangerous rival; to
continue as she had begun, in building up a naval power that could face
England on the seas and sustain her own rising colonies in America,
India, and the West Indies: for she too might have multiplied herself,
planted her language and her race over all the globe, and grown with the
growth of her children, had she not been at the mercy of an effeminate
profligate, a mistress turned procuress, and the favorites to whom they
delegated power.

Still, something must be done for the American war; at least there must
be a new general to replace Dieskau. None of the Court favorites wanted
a command in the backwoods, and the minister of war was free to choose
whom he would. His choice fell on Louis Joseph, Marquis de
Montcalm-Gozon de Saint-Véran.

Montcalm was born in the south of France, at the Château of Candiac,
near Nimes, on the twenty-ninth of February, 1712. At the age of six he
was placed in the charge of one Dumas, a natural son of his grandfather.
This man, a conscientious pedant, with many theories of education, ruled
his pupil stiffly; and, before the age of fifteen, gave him a good
knowledge of Latin, Greek, and history. Young Montcalm had a taste for
books, continued his reading in such intervals of leisure as camps and
garrisons afforded, and cherished to the end of his life the ambition of
becoming a member of the Academy. Yet, with all his liking for study, he
sometimes revolted against the sway of the pedagogue who wrote letters
of complaint to his father protesting against the "judgments of the
vulgar, who, contrary to the experience of ages, say that if children
are well reproved they will correct their faults." Dumas, however, was
not without sense, as is shown by another letter to the elder Montcalm,
in which he says that the boy had better be ignorant of Latin and Greek
"than know them as he does without knowing how to read, write, and speak
French well." The main difficulty was to make him write a good hand,--a
point in which he signally failed to the day of his death. So refractory
was he at times, that his master despaired. "M. de Montcalm," Dumas
informs the father, "has great need of docility, industry, and
willingness to take advice. What will become of him?" The pupil, aware
of these aspersions, met them by writing to his father his own ideas of
what his aims should be. "First, to be an honorable man, of good
morals, brave, and a Christian. Secondly, to read in moderation; to know
as much Greek and Latin as most men of the world; also the four rules of
arithmetic, and something of history, geography, and French and Latin
_belles-lettres_, as well as to have a taste for the arts and sciences.
Thirdly, and above all, to be obedient, docile, and very submissive to
your orders and those of my dear mother; and also to defer to the advice
of M. Dumas. Fourthly, to fence and ride as well as my small abilities
will permit."[361]

[Footnote 361: This passage is given by Somervogel from the original

If Louis de Montcalm failed to satisfy his preceptor, he had a brother
who made ample amends. Of this infant prodigy it is related that at six
years he knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and had some acquaintance with
arithmetic, French history, geography, and heraldry. He was destined for
the Church, but died at the age of seven; his precocious brain having
been urged to fatal activity by the exertions of Dumas.

Other destinies and a more wholesome growth were the lot of young Louis.
At fifteen he joined the army as ensign in the regiment of Hainaut. Two
years after, his father bought him a captaincy, and he was first under
fire at the siege of Philipsbourg. His father died in 1735, and left him
heir to a considerable landed estate, much embarrassed by debt. The
Marquis de la Fare, a friend of the family, soon after sought for him an
advantageous marriage to strengthen his position and increase his
prospects of promotion; and he accordingly espoused Mademoiselle
Angélique Louise Talon du Boulay,--a union which brought him influential
alliances and some property. Madame de Montcalm bore him ten children,
of whom only two sons and four daughters were living in 1752. "May God
preserve them all," he writes in his autobiography, "and make them
prosper for this world and the next! Perhaps it will be thought that the
number is large for so moderate a fortune, especially as four of them
are girls; but does God ever abandon his children in their need?"

   "'Aux petits des oiseaux il donne la pâture,
   Et sa bonté s'étend sur toute la nature.'"

He was pious in his soldierly way, and ardently loyal to Church and

His family seat was Candiac; where, in the intervals of campaigning, he
found repose with his wife, his children, and his mother, who was a
woman of remarkable force of character and who held great influence over
her son. He had a strong attachment to this home of his childhood; and
in after years, out of the midst of the American wilderness, his
thoughts turned longingly towards it. "_Quand reverrai-je mon cher

In 1741 Montcalm took part in the Bohemian campaign. He was made colonel
of the regiment of Auxerrois two years later, and passed unharmed
through the severe campaign of 1744. In the next year he fought in Italy
under Maréchal de Maillebois. In 1746, at the disastrous action under
the walls of Piacenza, where he twice rallied his regiment, he received
five sabre-cuts,--two of which were in the head,--and was made prisoner.
Returning to France on parole, he was promoted in the year following to
the rank of brigadier; and being soon after exchanged, rejoined the
army, and was again wounded by a musket-shot. The peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle now gave him a period of rest.[362] At length, being on
a visit to Paris late in the autumn of 1755, the minister, D'Argenson,
hinted to him that he might be appointed to command the troops in
America. He heard no more of the matter till, after his return home, he
received from D'Argenson a letter dated at Versailles the twenty-fifth
of January, at midnight. "Perhaps, Monsieur," it began, "you did not
expect to hear from me again on the subject of the conversation I had
with you the day you came to bid me farewell at Paris. Nevertheless I
have not forgotten for a moment the suggestion I then made you; and it
is with the greatest pleasure that I announce to you that my views have
prevailed. The King has chosen you to command his troops in North
America, and will honor you on your departure with the rank of

[Footnote 362: The account of Montcalm up to this time is chiefly from
his unpublished autobiography, preserved by his descendants, and
entitled _Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de ma Vie_. Somervogel,
_Comme on servait autrefois_; Bonnechose, _Montcalm et le Canada;_
Martin, _Le Marquis de Montcalm; Éloge de Montcalm; Autre Éloge de
Montcalm; Mémoires sur le Canada_, 1749-1760, and other writings in
print and manuscript have also been consulted.]

The Chevalier de Lévis, afterwards Marshal of France, was named as his
second in command, with the rank of brigadier, and the Chevalier de
Bourlamaque as his third, with the rank of colonel; but what especially
pleased him was the appointment of his eldest son to command a regiment
in France. He set out from Candiac for the Court, and occupied himself
on the way with reading Charlevoix. "I take great pleasure in it," he
writes from Lyons to his mother; "he gives a pleasant account of Quebec.
But be comforted; I shall always be glad to come home." At Paris he
writes again: "Don't expect any long letter from me before the first of
March; all my business will be done by that time, and I shall begin to
breathe again. I have not yet seen the Chevalier de Montcalm [_his
son_]. Last night I came from Versailles, and am going back to-morrow.
The King gives me twenty-five thousand francs a year, as he did to M.
Dieskau, besides twelve thousand for my equipment, which will cost me
above a thousand crowns more; but I cannot stop for that. I embrace my
dearest and all the family." A few days later his son joined him. "He is
as thin and delicate as ever, but grows prodigiously tall."

On the second of March he informs his mother, "My affairs begin to get
on. A good part of the baggage went off the day before yesterday in the
King's wagons; an assistant-cook and two liverymen yesterday. I have got
a good cook. Estève, my secretary, will go on the eighth; Joseph and
Déjean will follow me. To-morrow evening I go to Versailles till Sunday,
and will write from there to Madame de Montcalm [_his wife_]. I have
three aides-de-camp; one of them, Bougainville, a man of parts, pleasant
company. Madame Mazade was happily delivered on Wednesday; in extremity
on Friday with a malignant fever; Saturday and yesterday, reports
favorable. I go there twice a day, and am just going now. She has a
girl. I embrace you all." Again, on the fifteenth: "In a few hours I set
out for Brest. Yesterday I presented my son, with whom I am well
pleased, to all the royal family. I shall have a secretary at Brest, and
will write more at length." On the eighteenth he writes from Rennes to
his wife: "I arrived, dearest, this morning, and stay here all day. I
shall be at Brest on the twenty-first. Everything will be on board on
the twenty-sixth. My son has been here since yesterday for me to coach
him and get him a uniform made, in which he will give thanks for his
regiment at the same time that I take leave in my embroidered coat.
Perhaps I shall leave debts behind. I wait impatiently for the bills.
You have my will; I wish you would get it copied, and send it to me
before I sail."

Reaching Brest, the place of embarkation, he writes to his mother: "I
have business on hand still. My health is good, and the passage will be
a time of rest. I embrace you, and my dearest, and my daughters. Love to
all the family. I shall write up to the last moment."

No translation can give an idea of the rapid, abrupt, elliptical style
of this familiar correspondence, where the meaning is sometimes
suggested by a single word, unintelligible to any but those for whom it
is written.

At the end of March Montcalm, with all his following, was ready to
embark; and three ships of the line, the "Léopard," the "Héros," and the
"Illustre," fitted out as transports, were ready to receive the troops;
while the General, with Lévis and Bourlamaque, were to take passage in
the frigates "Licorne," "Sauvage," and "Sirène." "I like the Chevalier
de Lévis," says Montcalm, "and I think he likes me." His first
aide-de-camp, Bougainville, pleased him, if possible, still more. This
young man, son of a notary, had begun life as an advocate in the
Parliament of Paris, where his abilities and learning had already made
him conspicuous, when he resigned the gown for the sword, and became a
captain of dragoons. He was destined in later life to win laurels in
another career, and to become one of the most illustrious of French
navigators. Montcalm, himself a scholar, prized his varied talents and
accomplishments, and soon learned to feel for him a strong personal

The troops destined for Canada were only two battalions, one belonging
to the regiment of La Sarre, and the other to that of Royal Roussillon.
Louis XV. and Pompadour sent a hundred thousand men to fight the battles
of Austria, and could spare but twelve hundred to reinforce New France.
These troops marched into Brest at early morning, breakfasted in the
town, and went at once on board the transports, "with an incredible
gayety," says Bougainville. "What a nation is ours! Happy he who
commands it, and commands it worthily!"[363] Montcalm and he embarked in
the "Licorne," and sailed on the third of April, leaving Lévis and
Bourlamaque to follow a few days after.[364]

[Footnote 363: _Journal de Bougainville_. This is a fragment; his
Journal proper begins a few weeks later.]

[Footnote 364: _Lévis à----, 5 Avril_, 1756.]

The voyage was a rough one. "I have been fortunate," writes Montcalm to
his wife, "in not being ill nor at all incommoded by the heavy gale we
had in Holy Week. It was not so with those who were with me, especially
M. Estève, my secretary, and Joseph, who suffered cruelly,--seventeen
days without being able to take anything but water. The season was very
early for such a hard voyage, and it was fortunate that the winter has
been so mild. We had very favorable weather till Monday the twelfth; but
since then till Saturday evening we had rough weather, with a gale that
lasted ninety hours, and put us in real danger. The forecastle was
always under water, and the waves broke twice over the quarter-deck.
From the twenty-seventh of April to the evening of the fourth of May we
had fogs, great cold, and an amazing quantity of icebergs. On the
thirtieth, when luckily the fog lifted for a time, we counted sixteen of
them. The day before, one drifted under the bowsprit, grazed it, and
might have crushed us if the deck-officer had not called out quickly,
_Luff_. After speaking of our troubles and sufferings, I must tell you
of our pleasures, which were fishing for cod and eating it. The taste is
exquisite. The head, tongue, and liver are morsels worthy of an epicure.
Still, I would not advise anybody to make the voyage for their sake. My
health is as good as it has been for a long time. I found it a good plan
to eat little and take no supper; a little tea now and then, and plenty
of lemonade. Nevertheless I have taken very little liking for the sea,
and think that when I shall be so happy as to rejoin you I shall end my
voyages there. I don't know when this letter will go. I shall send it by
the first ship that returns to France, and keep on writing till then. It
is pleasant, I know, to hear particulars about the people one loves, and
I thought that my mother and you, my dearest and most beloved, would be
glad to read all these dull details. We heard Mass on Easter Day. All
the week before, it was impossible, because the ship rolled so that I
could hardly keep my legs. If I had dared, I think I should have had
myself lashed fast. I shall not soon forget that Holy Week."

This letter was written on the eleventh of May, in the St. Lawrence,
where the ship lay at anchor, ten leagues below Quebec, stopped by ice
from proceeding farther. Montcalm made his way to the town by land, and
soon after learned with great satisfaction that the other ships were
safe in the river below. "I see," he writes again, "that I shall have
plenty of work. Our campaign will soon begin. Everything is in motion.
Don't expect details about our operations; generals never speak of
movements till they are over. I can only tell you that the winter has
been quiet enough, though the savages have made great havoc in
Pennsylvania and Virginia, and carried off, according to their custom,
men, women, and children. I beg you will have High Mass said at
Montpellier or Vauvert to thank God for our safe arrival and ask for
good success in future."[365]

[Footnote 365: These extracts are translated from copies of the original
letters, in possession of the present Marquis de Montcalm.]

Vaudreuil, the governor-general, was at Montreal, and Montcalm sent a
courier to inform him of his arrival. He soon went thither in person,
and the two men met for the first time. The new general was not welcome
to Vaudreuil, who had hoped to command the troops himself, and had
represented to the Court that it was needless and inexpedient to send
out a general officer from France.[366] The Court had not accepted his
views;[367] and hence it was with more curiosity than satisfaction that
he greeted the colleague who had been assigned him. He saw before him a
man of small stature, with a lively countenance, a keen eye, and, in
moments of animation, rapid, vehement utterance, and nervous
gesticulation. Montcalm, we may suppose, regarded the Governor with no
less attention. Pierre François Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, who had
governed Canada early in the century; and he himself had been governor
of Louisiana. He had not the force of character which his position
demanded, lacked decision in times of crisis; and though tenacious of
authority, was more jealous in asserting than self-reliant in exercising
it. One of his traits was a sensitive egotism, which made him forward to
proclaim his own part in every success, and to throw on others the
burden of every failure. He was facile by nature, and capable of being
led by such as had skill and temper for the task. But the impetuous
Montcalm was not of their number; and the fact that he was born in
France would in itself have thrown obstacles in his way to the good
graces of the Governor. Vaudreuil, Canadian by birth, loved the colony
and its people, and distrusted Old France and all that came out of it.
He had been bred, moreover, to the naval service; and, like other
Canadian governors, his official correspondence was with the minister of
marine, while that of Montcalm was with the minister of war. Even had
Nature made him less suspicious, his relations with the General would
have been critical. Montcalm commanded the regulars from France, whose
very presence was in the eyes of Vaudreuil an evil, though a necessary
one. Their chief was, it is true, subordinate to him in virtue of his
office of governor;[368] yet it was clear that for the conduct of the
war the trust of the Government was mainly in Montcalm; and the Minister
of War had even suggested that he should have the immediate command, not
only of the troops from France, but of the colony regulars and the
militia. An order of the King to this effect was sent to Vaudreuil, with
instructions to communicate it to Montcalm or withhold it, as he should
think best.[369] He lost no time in replying that the General "ought to
concern himself with nothing but the command of the troops from France;"
and he returned the order to the minister who sent it.[370] The Governor
and the General represented the two parties which were soon to divide
Canada,--those of New France and of Old.

[Footnote 366: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 30 Oct. 1755._]

[Footnote 367: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres, Fév. 1756._]

[Footnote 368: _Le Ministre à Vaudreuil, 15 Mars, 1756. Commission du
Marquis de Montcalm. Mémoire du Roy pour servir d'Instruction au Marquis
de Montcalm_.]

[Footnote 369: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres, 1756. Le
Ministre à Vaudreuil, 15 Mars, 1756_.]

[Footnote 370: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 16 Juin, 1756_. "Qu'il ne se mêle
que du commandement des troupes de terre."]

A like antagonism was seen in the forces commanded by the two chiefs.
These were of three kinds,--the _troupes de terre,_ troops of the line,
or regulars from France; the _troupes de la marine_, or colony regulars;
and lastly the militia. The first consisted of the four battalions that
had come over with Dieskau and the two that had come with Montcalm,
comprising in all a little less than three thousand men.[371] Besides
these, the battalions of Artois and Bourgogne, to the number of eleven
hundred men, were in garrison at Louisbourg. All these troops wore a
white uniform, faced with blue, red, yellow, or violet,[372] a black
three-cornered hat, and gaiters, generally black, from the foot to the
knee. The subaltern officers in the French service were very numerous,
and were drawn chiefly from the class of lesser nobles. A well-informed
French writer calls them "a generation of _petits-maîtres,_ dissolute,
frivolous, heedless, light-witted; but brave always, and ready to die
with their soldiers, though not to suffer with them."[373] In fact the
course of the war was to show plainly that in Europe the regiments of
France were no longer what they had once been. It was not so with those
who fought in America. Here, for enduring gallantry, officers and men
alike deserve nothing but praise.

[Footnote 371: Of about twelve hundred who came with Montcalm, nearly
three hundred were now in hospital. The four battalions that came with
Dieskau are reported at the end of May to have sixteen hundred and
fifty-three effective men. _État de la Situation actuelle des
Bataillons,_ appended to Montcalm's despatch of 12 June. Another
document, _Dêtail de ce qui s'est passé en Canada, Juin, 1755, jusqu'à
Juin_, 1756, sets the united effective strength of the battalions in
Canada at twenty-six hundred and seventy-seven, which was increased by
recruits which arrived from France about midsummer.]

[Footnote 372: Except perhaps, the battalion of Béarn, which formerly
wore, and possibly wore still, a uniform of light blue.]

[Footnote 373: Susane, _Ancienne Infanterie Française_. In the atlas of
this work are colored plates of the uniforms of all the regiments of

The _troupes de la marine_ had for a long time formed the permanent
military establishment of Canada. Though attached to the naval
department, they served on land, and were employed as a police within
the limits of the colony, or as garrisons of the outlying forts, where
their officers busied themselves more with fur-trading than with their
military duties. Thus they had become ill-disciplined and inefficient,
till the hard hand of Duquesne restored them to order. They originally
consisted of twenty-eight independent companies, increased in 1750 to
thirty companies, at first of fifty, and afterwards of sixty-five men
each, forming a total of nineteen hundred and fifty rank and file. In
March, 1757, ten more companies were added. Their uniform was not unlike
that of the troops attached to the War Department, being white, with
black facings. They were enlisted for the most part in France; but when
their term of service expired, and even before, in time of peace, they
were encouraged to become settlers in the colony, as was also the case
with their officers, of whom a great part were of European birth. Thus
the relations of the _troupes de la marine_ with the colony were close;
and formed a sort of connecting link between the troops of the line and
the native militia.[374] Besides these colony regulars, there was a
company of colonial artillery, consisting this year of seventy men, and
replaced in 1757 by two companies of fifty men each.

[Footnote 374: On the _troupes de la marine,--Mémoire pour servir
d'Instruction a MM. Jonquière et Bigot, 30 Avril, 1749. Ordres du Roy et
Dépêches des Ministres, 1750. Ibid., 1755. Ibid., 1757. Instruction
pour Vaudreuil, 22 Mars, 1755. Ordonnance pour l'Augmentation de
Soldats dans les Compagnies de Canada, 14 Mars, 1755. Duquesne au
Ministre, 26 Oct. 1753. Ibid., 30 Oct. 1753. Ibid., 29 Fév. 1754.
Duquesne à Marin, 27 Août, 1753. Atlas de Susane._]

All the effective male population of Canada, from fifteen years to
sixty, was enrolled in the militia, and called into service at the will
of the Governor. They received arms, clothing, equipment, and rations
from the King, but no pay; and instead of tents they made themselves
huts of bark or branches. The best of them were drawn from the upper
parts of the colony, where habits of bushranging were still in full
activity. Their fighting qualities were much like those of the Indians,
whom they rivalled in endurance and in the arts of forest war. As
bush-fighters they had few equals; they fought well behind earthworks,
and were good at a surprise or sudden dash; but for regular battle on
the open field they were of small account, being disorderly, and apt to
break and take to cover at the moment of crisis. They had no idea of the
great operations of war. At first they despised the regulars for their
ignorance of woodcraft, and thought themselves able to defend the colony
alone; while the regulars regarded them in turn with a contempt no less
unjust. They were excessively given to gasconade, and every true
Canadian boasted himself a match for three Englishmen at least. In 1750
the militia of all ranks counted about thirteen thousand; and eight
years later the number had increased to about fifteen thousand.[375]
Until the last two years of the war, those employed in actual warfare
were but few. Even in the critical year 1758 only about eleven hundred
were called to arms, except for two or three weeks in summer;[376]
though about four thousand were employed in transporting troops and
supplies, for which service they received pay.

[Footnote 375: _Récapitulation des Milices du Gouvernement de Canada_,
1750. _Dénombrement des Milices_, 1758, 1759. On the militia, see also
Bougainville in Margry, _Rélations et Mémoires inédits_, 60, and _N.Y.
Col. Docs._, X. 680.]

[Footnote 376: _Montcalm au Ministre_, _1 Sept. 1758._]

To the white fighting force of the colony are to be added the red men.
The most trusty of them were the Mission Indians, living within or near
the settled limits of Canada, chiefly the Hurons of Lorette, the
Abenakis of St. Francis and Batiscan, the Iroquois of Caughnawaga and La
Présentation, and the Iroquois and Algonkins at the Two Mountains on the
Ottawa. Besides these, all the warriors of the west and north, from Lake
Superior to the Ohio, and from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi, were
now at the beck of France. As to the Iroquois or Five Nations who still
remained in their ancient seats within the present limits of New York,
their power and pride had greatly fallen; and crowded as they were
between the French and the English, they were in a state of vacillation,
some leaning to one side, some to the other, and some to each in turn.
As a whole, the best that France could expect from them was neutrality.

Montcalm at Montreal had more visits than he liked from his red allies.
"They are _vilains messieurs_," he informs his mother, "even when fresh
from their toilet, at which they pass their lives. You would not believe
it, but the men always carry to war, along with their tomahawk and gun,
a mirror to daub their faces with various colors, and arrange feathers
on their heads and rings in their ears and noses. They think it a great
beauty to cut the rim of the ear and stretch it till it reaches the
shoulder. Often they wear a laced coat, with no shirt at all. You would
take them for so many masqueraders or devils. One needs the patience of
an angel to get on with them. Ever since I have been here, I have had
nothing but visits, harangues, and deputations of these gentry. The
Iroquois ladies, who always take part in their government, came also,
and did me the honor to bring me belts of wampum, which will oblige me
to go to their village and sing the war-song. They are only a little way
off. Yesterday we had eighty-three warriors here, who have gone out to
fight. They make war with astounding cruelty, sparing neither men,
women, nor children, and take off your scalp very neatly,--an operation
which generally kills you."

"Everything is horribly dear in this country; and I shall find it hard
to make the two ends of the year meet, with the twenty-five thousand
francs the King gives me. The Chevalier de Lévis did not join me till
yesterday. His health is excellent. In a few days I shall send him to
one camp, and M. de Bourlamaque to another; for we have three of them:
one at Carillon, eighty leagues from here, towards the place where M. de
Dieskau had his affair last year; another at Frontenac, sixty leagues;
and the third at Niagara, a hundred and forty leagues. I don't know when
or whither I shall go myself; that depends on the movements of the
enemy. It seems to me that things move slowly in this new world; and I
shall have to moderate my activity accordingly. Nothing but the King's
service and the wish to make a career for my son could prevent me from
thinking too much of my expatriation, my distance from you, and the dull
existence here, which would be duller still if I did not manage to keep
some little of my natural gayety."

The military situation was somewhat perplexing. Iroquois spies had
brought reports of great preparations on the part of the English. As
neither party dared offend these wavering tribes, their warriors could
pass with impunity from one to the other, and were paid by each for
bringing information, not always trustworthy. They declared that the
English were gathering in force to renew the attempt made by Johnson the
year before against Crown Point and Ticonderoga, as well as that made by
Shirley against forts Frontenac and Niagara. Vaudreuil had spared no
effort to meet the double danger. Lotbinière, a Canadian engineer, had
been busied during the winter in fortifying Ticonderoga, while Pouchot,
a captain in the battalion of Béarn, had rebuilt Niagara, and two French
engineers were at work in strengthening the defences of Frontenac. The
Governor even hoped to take the offensive, anticipate the movements of
the English, capture Oswego, and obtain the complete command of Lake
Ontario. Early in the spring a blow had been struck which materially
aided these schemes.

The English had built two small forts to guard the Great Carrying Place
on the route to Oswego. One of these, Fort Williams, was on the Mohawk;
the other, Fort Bull, a mere collection of storehouses surrounded by a
palisade, was four miles distant, on the bank of Wood Creek. Here a
great quantity of stores and ammunition had imprudently been collected
against the opening campaign. In February Vaudreuil sent Léry, a colony
officer, with three hundred and sixty-two picked men, soldiers,
Canadians, and Indians, to seize these two posts. Towards the end of
March, after extreme hardship, they reached the road that connected
them, and at half-past five in the morning captured twelve men going
with wagons to Fort Bull. Learning from them the weakness of that place,
they dashed forward to surprise it. The thirty provincials of Shirley's
regiment who formed the garrison had barely time to shut the gate, while
the assailants fired on them through the loopholes, of which they got
possession in the tumult. Léry called on the defenders to yield; but
they refused, and pelted the French for an hour with bullets and
hand-grenades. The gate was at last beat down with axes, and they were
summoned again; but again refused, and fired hotly through the opening.
The French rushed in, shouting _Vive le roi_, and a frightful struggle
followed. All the garrison were killed, except two or three who hid
themselves till the slaughter was over; the fort was set on fire and
blown to atoms by the explosion of the magazines; and Léry then
withdrew, not venturing to attack Fort Williams. Johnson, warned by
Indians of the approach of the French, had pushed up the Mohawk with
reinforcements; but came too late.[377]

[Footnote 377: _Bigot au Ministre, 12 Avril, 1756. Vaudreuil au
Ministre, 1 Juin, 1756. Ibid., 8 Juin, 1756. Journal de ce qui s'est
passé en Canada depuis le Mois d'Octobre, 1755, jusqu'au Mois de Juin,
1756. Shirley to Fox, 7 May, 1756. Conduct of Major-General Shirley
briefly stated. Information of Captain John Vicars, of the Fiftieth
(Shirley's) Regiment. _Eastburn_, _Faithful Narrative_. Entick, I. 471.
The French accounts place the number of English at sixty or eighty.]

Vaudreuil, who always exaggerates any success in which he has had part,
says that besides bombs, bullets, cannon-balls, and other munitions,
forty-five thousand pounds of gunpowder were destroyed on this occasion.
It is certain that damage enough was done to retard English operations
in the direction of Oswego sufficiently to give the French time for
securing all their posts on Lake Ontario. Before the end of June this
was in good measure done. The battalion of Béarn lay encamped before the
now strong fort of Niagara, and the battalions of Guienne and La Sarre,
with a body of Canadians, guarded Frontenac against attack. Those of La
Reine and Languedoc had been sent to Ticonderoga, while the Governor,
with Montcalm and Lévis, still remained at Montreal watching the turn of
events.[378] Hither, too, came the intendant François Bigot, the most
accomplished knave in Canada, yet indispensable for his vigor and
executive skill; Bougainville, who had disarmed the jealousy of
Vaudreuil, and now stood high in his good graces; and the
Adjutant-General, Montreuil, clearly a vain and pragmatic personage,
who, having come to Canada with Dieskau the year before, thought it
behooved him to give the General the advantage of his experience. "I
like M. de Montcalm very much," he writes to the minister, "and will do
the impossible to deserve his confidence. I have spoken to him in the
same terms as to M. Dieskau; thus: 'Trust only the French regulars for
an expedition, but use the Canadians and Indians to harass the enemy.
Don't expose yourself; send me to carry your orders to points of
danger.' The colony officers do not like those from France. The
Canadians are independent, spiteful, lying, boastful; very good for
skirmishing, very brave behind a tree, and very timid when not under
cover. I think both sides will stand on the defensive. It does not seem
to me that M. de Montcalm means to attack the enemy; and I think he is
right. In this country a thousand men could stop three thousand."[379]

[Footnote 378: _Correspondance de Montcalm, Vaudreuil, et Lévis._]

[Footnote 379: _Montreuil au Ministre, 12 Juin, 1756_. The original is
in cipher.] "M. de Vaudreuil overwhelms me with civilities," Montcalm
writes to the Minister of War. "I think that he is pleased with my
conduct towards him, and that it persuades him there are general
officers in France who can act under his orders without prejudice or
ill-humor."[380] "I am on good terms with him," he says again; "but not
in his confidence, which he never gives to anybody from France. His
intentions are good, but he is slow and irresolute."[381]

[Footnote 380: _Montcalm au Ministre, 12 Juin, 1756._]

[Footnote 381: _Ibid., 19 Juin, 1756._ "Je suis bien avec luy, sans sa
confiance, qu'il ne donne jamais à personne de la France." Erroneously
rendered in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 421.]

Indians presently brought word that ten thousand English were coming to
attack Ticonderoga. A reinforcement of colony regulars was at once
despatched to join the two battalions already there; a third battalion,
Royal Roussillon, was sent after them. The militia were called out and
ordered to follow with all speed, while both Montcalm and Lévis hastened
to the supposed scene of danger.[382] They embarked in canoes on the
Richelieu, coasted the shore of Lake Champlain, passed Fort Frederic or
Crown Point, where all was activity and bustle, and reached Ticonderoga
at the end of June. They found the fort, on which Lotbinière had been at
work all winter, advanced towards completion. It stood on the crown of
the promontory, and was a square with four bastions, a ditch, blown in
some parts out of the solid rock, bomb-proofs, barracks of stone, and a
system of exterior defences as yet only begun. The rampart consisted of
two parallel walls ten feet apart, built of the trunks of trees, and
held together by transverse logs dovetailed at both ends, the space
between being filled with earth and gravel well packed.[383] Such was
the first Fort Ticonderoga, or Carillon,--a structure quite distinct
from the later fort of which the ruins still stand on the same spot. The
forest had been hewn away for some distance around, and the tents of the
regulars and huts of the Canadians had taken its place; innumerable bark
canoes lay along the strand, and gangs of men toiled at the unfinished

[Footnote 382: _Montcalm au Ministre, 26 Juin, 1756. Détail de ce qui
s'est passé, Oct. 1755 Juin, 1756._]

[Footnote 383: _Lotbinière au Ministre, 31 Oct. 1756. Montcalm au
Ministre, 20 Juillet, 1756._]

Ticonderoga was now the most advanced position of the French, and Crown
Point, which had before held that perilous honor, was in the second
line. Lévis, to whom had been assigned the permanent command of this
post of danger, set out on foot to explore the neighboring woods and
mountains, and slept out several nights before he reappeared at the
camp. "I do not think," says Montcalm, "that many high officers in
Europe would have occasion to take such tramps as this. I cannot speak
too well of him. Without being a man of brilliant parts, he has good
experience, good sense, and a quick eye; and, though I had served with
him before, I never should have thought that he had such promptness and
efficiency. He has turned his campaigns to good account."[384] Lévis
writes of his chief with equal warmth. "I do not know if the Marquis de
Montcalm is pleased with me, but I am sure that I am very much so with
him, and shall always be charmed to serve under his orders. It is not
for me, Monseigneur, to speak to you of his merit and his talents. You
know him better than anybody else; but I may have the honor of assuring
you that he has pleased everybody in this colony, and manages affairs
with the Indians extremely well."[385]

[Footnote 384: _Montcalm au Ministre, 20 Juillet, 1756._]

[Footnote 385: _Lévis au Ministre, 17 Juillet, 1756._]

The danger from the English proved to be still remote, and there was
ample leisure in the camp. Duchat, a young captain in the battalion of
Languedoc, used it in writing to his father a long account of what he
saw about him,--the forests full of game; the ducks, geese, and
partridges; the prodigious flocks of wild pigeons that darkened the air,
the bears, the beavers; and above all the Indians, their canoes, dress,
ball-play, and dances. "We are making here," says the military prophet,
"a place that history will not forget. The English colonies have ten
times more people than ours; but these wretches have not the least
knowledge of war, and if they go out to fight, they must abandon wives,
children, and all that they possess. Not a week passes but the French
send them a band of _hairdressers_, whom they would be very glad to
dispense with. It is incredible what a quantity of scalps they bring us.
In Virginia they have committed unheard-of cruelties, carried off
families, burned a great many houses, and killed an infinity of people.
These miserable English are in the extremity of distress, and repent too
late the unjust war they began against us. It is a pleasure to make war
in Canada. One is troubled neither with horses nor baggage; the King
provides everything. But it must be confessed that if it costs no money,
one pays for it in another way, by seeing nothing but pease and bacon on
the mess-table. Luckily the lakes are full of fish, and both officers
and soldiers have to turn fishermen."[386]

[Footnote 386: _Relation de M. Duchat, Capitaine au Régiment de
Languedoc, écrite au Camp de Carillon, 15 Juillet, 1756._]

Meanwhile, at the head of Lake George, the raw bands of ever-active New
England were mustering for the fray.

Chapter 12



When, at the end of the last year, Shirley returned from his bootless
Oswego campaign, he called a council of war at New York and laid before
it his scheme for the next summer's operations. It was a comprehensive
one: to master Lake Ontario by an overpowering naval force and seize the
French forts upon it, Niagara, Frontenac, and Toronto; attack
Ticonderoga and Crown Point on the one hand, and Fort Duquesne on the
other, and at the same time perplex and divide the enemy by an inroad
down the Chaudière upon the settlements about Quebec.[387] The council
approved the scheme; but to execute it the provinces must raise at least
sixteen thousand men. This they refused to do. Pennsylvania and Virginia
would take no active part, and were content with defending themselves.
The attack on Fort Duquesne was therefore abandoned, as was also the
diversion towards Quebec. The New England colonies were discouraged by
Johnson's failure to take Crown Point, doubtful of the military
abilities of Shirley, and embarrassed by the debts of the last campaign;
but when they learned that Parliament would grant a sum of money in
partial compensation for their former sacrifices,[388] they plunged into
new debts without hesitation, and raised more men than the General had
asked; though, with their usual jealousy, they provided that their
soldiers should be employed for no other purpose than the attack on
Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Shirley chose John Winslow to command them,
and gave him a commission to that effect; while he, to clinch his
authority, asked and obtained supplementary commissions from every
government that gave men to the expedition.[389] For the movement
against the fort of Lake Ontario, which Shirley meant to command in
person, he had the remains of his own and Pepperell's regiments, the two
shattered battalions brought over by Braddock, the "Jersey Blues," four
provincial companies from North Carolina, and the four King's companies
of New York. His first care was to recruit their ranks and raise them to
their full complement; which, when effected, would bring them up to the
insufficient strength of about forty-four hundred men.

[Footnote 387: _Minutes of Council of War held at New York, 12 and 13
Dec. 1755. Shirley to Robinson, 19 Dec. 1755. The Conduct of
Major-General Shirley briefly stated. Review of Military Operations in
North America._]

[Footnote 388: _Lords of Trade to Lords of the Treasury, 12 Feb. 1756.
Fox to American Governors, 13 March, 1756. Shirley to Phipps, 15 June,
1756._ The sum was £115,000, divided in proportion to the expense
incurred by the several colonies; Massachusetts having £54,000,
Connecticut £26,000, and New York £15,000, the rest being given to New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.]

[Footnote 389: _Letter and Order Books of General Winslow, 1756._]

While he was struggling with contradictions and cross purposes, a
withering blow fell upon him; he learned that he was superseded in the
command. The cabal formed against him, with Delancey at its head, had
won over Sir Charles Hardy, the new governor of New York, and had
painted Shirley's conduct in such colors that the Ministry removed him.
It was essential for the campaign that a successor should be sent at
once, to form plans on the spot and make preparations accordingly. The
Ministry were in no such haste. It was presently announced that Colonel
Daniel Webb would be sent to America, followed by General James
Abercromby; who was to be followed in turn by the Earl of Loudon, the
destined commander-in-chief. Shirley was to resign his command to Webb,
Webb to Abercromby, and Abercromby to Loudon.[390] It chanced that the
two former arrived in June at about the same time, while the Earl came
in July; and meanwhile it devolved on Shirley to make ready for them.
Unable to divine what their plans would be, he prepared the campaign in
accordance with his own.

[Footnote 390: _Fox to Shirley, 13 March, 1756. Ibid., 31 March, 1756.
Order to Colonel Webb, 31 March, 1756. Order to Major-General
Abercromby, 1 April, 1756. Halifax to Shirley, 1 April, 1756. Shirley to
Fox, 13 June, 1756._]

His star, so bright a twelvemonth before, was now miserably dimmed. In
both his public and private life he was the butt of adversity. He had
lost two promising sons; he had made a mortifying failure as a soldier;
and triumphant enemies were rejoicing in his fall. It is to the credit
of his firmness and his zeal in the cause that he set himself to his
task with as much vigor as if he, and not others, were to gather the
fruits. His chief care was for his favorite enterprise in the direction
of Lake Ontario. Making Albany his headquarters, he rebuilt the fort at
the Great Carrying Place destroyed in March by the French, sent troops
to guard the perilous route to Oswego, and gathered provisions and
stores at the posts along the way.

Meanwhile the New England men, strengthened by the levies of New York,
were mustering at Albany for the attack of Crown Point. At the end of
May they moved a short distance up the Hudson, and encamped at a place
called Half-Moon, where the navigation was stopped by rapids. Here and
at the posts above were gathered something more than five thousand men,
as raw and untrained as those led by Johnson in the summer before.[391]
The four New England colonies were much alike in their way of raising
and equipping men, and the example of Massachusetts may serve for them
all. The Assembly or "General Court" voted the required number, and
chose a committee of war authorized to impress provisions, munitions,
stores, clothing, tools, and other necessaries, for which fair prices
were to be paid within six months. The Governor issued a proclamation
calling for volunteers. If the full number did not appear within the
time named, the colonels of militia were ordered to muster their
regiments, and immediately draft out of them men enough to meet the
need. A bounty of six dollars was offered this year to stimulate
enlistment, and the pay of a private soldier was fixed at one pound six
shillings a month, Massachusetts currency. If he brought a gun, he had
an additional bounty of two dollars. A powderhorn, bullet-pouch,
blanket, knapsack, and "wooden bottle," or canteen, were supplied by the
province; and if he brought no gun of his own, a musket was given him,
for which, as for the other articles, he was to account at the end of
the campaign. In the next year it was announced that the soldier should
receive, besides his pay, "a coat and soldier's hat." The coat was of
coarse blue cloth, to which breeches of red or blue were afterwards
added. Along with his rations, he was promised a gill of rum each day, a
privilege of which he was extremely jealous, deeply resenting every
abridgment of it. He was enlisted for the campaign, and could not be
required to serve above a year at farthest.

[Footnote 391: _Letter and Order Books of Winslow, 1756._]

The complement of a regiment was five hundred, divided into companies of
fifty; and as the men and officers of each were drawn from the same
neighborhood, they generally knew each other. The officers, though
nominally appointed by the Assembly, were for the most part the virtual
choice of the soldiers themselves, from whom they were often
indistinguishable in character and social standing. Hence discipline was
weak. The pay--or, as it was called, the wages--of a colonel was twelve
pounds sixteen shillings, Massachusetts currency, a month; that of a
captain, five pounds eight shillings,--an advance on the pay of the last
year; and that of a chaplain, six pounds eight shillings.[392] Penalties
were enacted against "irreligion, immorality, drunkenness, debauchery,
and profaneness." The ordinary punishments were the wooden horse, irons,
or, in bad cases, flogging.

[Footnote 392: _Vote of General Court, 26 Feb. 1756._]

Much difficulty arose from the different rules adopted by the various
colonies for the regulation of their soldiers. Nor was this the only
source of trouble. Besides its war committee, the Assembly of each of
the four New England colonies chose another committee "for clothing,
arming, paying, victualling, and transporting" its troops. They were to
go to the scene of operations, hire wagons, oxen, and horses, build
boats and vessels, and charge themselves with the conveyance of all
supplies belonging to their respective governments. They were to keep in
correspondence with the committee of war at home, to whom they were
responsible; and the officer commanding the contingent of their colony
was required to furnish them with guards and escorts. Thus four
independent committees were engaged in the work of transportation at the
same time, over the same roads, for the same object. Each colony chose
to keep the control of its property in its own hands. The inconveniences
were obvious: "I wish to God," wrote Lord Loudon to Winslow, "you could
persuade your people to go all one way." The committees themselves did
not always find their task agreeable. One of their number, John Ashley,
of Massachusetts, writes in dudgeon to Governor Phipps: "Sir, I am apt
to think that things have been misrepresented to your Honor, or else I
am certain I should not suffer in my character, and be styled a damned
rascal, and ought to be put in irons, etc., when I am certain I have
exerted myself to the utmost of my ability to expedite the business
assigned me by the General Court." At length, late in the autumn, Loudon
persuaded the colonies to forego this troublesome sort of independence,
and turn over their stores to the commissary-general, receipts being
duly given.[393]

[Footnote 393: The above particulars are gathered from the voluminous
papers in the State House at Boston, _Archives, Military_, Vols. LXXV.,
LXXVI. These contain the military acts of the General Court,
proclamations, reports of committees, and other papers relating to
military affairs in 1755 and 1756. The _Letter and Order Books of
Winslow_, in the Library of the Massachusetts Historical Society, have
supplied much concurrent matter. See also _Colonial Records of R.I._,
V., and _Provincial Papers of N.H._, VI.]

From Winslow's headquarters at Half-Moon a road led along the banks of
the Hudson to Stillwater, whence there was water carriage to Saratoga.
Here stores were again placed in wagons and carried several miles to
Upper Falls; thence by boat to Fort Edward; and thence, fourteen miles
across country, to Fort William Henry at Lake George, where the army was
to embark for Ticonderoga. Each of the points of transit below Fort
Edward was guarded by a stockade and two or more companies of
provincials. They were much pestered by Indians, who now and then
scalped a straggler, and escaped with their usual nimbleness. From time
to time strong bands of Canadians and Indians approached by way of South
Bay or Wood Creek, and threatened more serious mischief. It is
surprising that some of the trains were not cut off, for the escorts
were often reckless and disorderly to the last degree. Sometimes the
invaders showed great audacity. Early in June Colonel Fitch at Albany
scrawls a hasty note to Winslow: "Friday, 11 o'clock: Sir, about half an
hour since, a party of near fifty French and Indians had the impudence
to come down to the river opposite to this city and captivate two men;"
and Winslow replies with equal quaintness: "We daily discover the
Indians about us; but not yet have been so happy as to obtain any of

[Footnote 394: Vaudreuil, in his despatch of 12 August, gives
particulars of these raids, with an account of the scalps taken on each
occasion. He thought the results disappointing.]

Colonel Jonathan Bagley commanded at Fort William Henry, where gangs of
men were busied under his eye in building three sloops and making
several hundred whaleboats to carry the army of Ticonderoga. The season
was advancing fast, and Winslow urged him to hasten on the work; to
which the humorous Bagley answered; "Shall leave no stone unturned;
every wheel shall go that rum and human flesh can move."[395] A
fortnight after he reports: "I must really confess I have almost wore
the men out, poor dogs. Pray where are the committee, or what are they
about?" He sent scouts to watch the enemy, with results not quite
satisfactory. "There is a vast deal of news here; every party brings
abundance, but all different." Again, a little later: "I constantly keep
out small scouting parties to the eastward and westward of the lake, and
make no discovery but the tracks of small parties who are plaguing us
constantly; but what vexes me most, we can't catch one of the sons
of----. I have sent out skulking parties some distance from the sentries
in the night, to lie still in the bushes to intercept them; but the
flies are so plenty, our people can't bear them."[396] Colonel David
Wooster, at Fort Edward, was no more fortunate in his attempts to take
satisfaction on his midnight visitors; and reports that he has not thus
far been able "to give those villains a dressing."[397] The English,
however, were fast learning the art of forest war, and the partisan
chief, Captain Robert Rogers, began already to be famous. On the
seventeenth of June he and his band lay hidden in the bushes within the
outposts of Ticonderoga, and made a close survey of the fort and
surrounding camps.[398] His report was not cheering. Winslow's so-called
army had now grown to nearly seven thousand men; and these, it was
plain, were not too many to drive the French from their stronghold.

[Footnote 395: _Bagley to Winslow, 2 July, 1756._]

[Footnote 396: _Ibid., 15 July, 1756._]

[Footnote 397: _Wooster to Winslow, 2 June, 1756._]

[Footnote 398: _Report of Rogers, 19 June, 1756._ Much abridged in his
published _Journals_.]

While Winslow pursued his preparations, tried to settle disputes of rank
among the colonels of the several colonies, and strove to bring order
out of the little chaos of his command, Sir William Johnson was engaged
in a work for which he was admirably fitted. This was the attaching of
the Five Nations to the English interest. Along with his patent of
baronetcy, which reached him about this time, he received, direct from
the Crown, the commission of "Colonel, Agent, and Sole Superintendent of
the Six Nations and other Northern Tribes."[399] Henceforth he was
independent of governors and generals, and responsible to the Court
alone. His task was a difficult one. The Five Nations would fain have
remained neutral, and let the European rivals fight it out; but, on
account of their local position, they could not. The exactions and lies
of the Albany traders, the frauds of land-speculators, the contradictory
action of the different provincial governments, joined to English
weakness and mismanagement in the last war, all conspired to alienate
them and to aid the efforts of the French agents, who cajoled and
threatened them by turns. But for Johnson these intrigues would have
prevailed. He had held a series of councils with them at Fort Johnson
during the winter, and not only drew from them a promise to stand by the
English, but persuaded all the confederated tribes, except the Cayugas,
to consent that the English should build forts near their chief towns,
under the pretext of protecting them from the French.[400]

[Footnote 399: _Fox to Johnson, 13 March, 1756. Papers of Sir William

[Footnote 400: _Conferences between Sir William Johnson and the Indians,
Dec. 1755, to Feb. 1756_, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VII. 44-74. _Account of
Conferences held and Treaties made between Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
and the Indian Nations of North America_ (London, 1756).]

In June he went to Onondaga, well escorted, for the way was dangerous.
This capital of the Confederacy was under a cloud. It had just lost one
Red Head, its chief sachem; and first of all it behooved the baronet to
condole their affliction. The ceremony was long, with compliments,
lugubrious speeches, wampum-belts, the scalp of an enemy to replace the
departed, and a final glass of rum for each of the assembled mourners.
The conferences lasted a fortnight; and when Johnson took his leave, the
tribes stood pledged to lift the hatchet for the English.[401]

[Footnote 401: _Minutes of Councils of Onondaga, 19 June to 3 July,
1756_, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VII. 134-150.]

When he returned to Fort Johnson a fever seized him, and he lay helpless
for a time; then rose from his sick bed to meet another congregation of
Indians. These were deputies of the Five Nations, with Mohegans from the
Hudson, and Delawares and Shawanoes from the Susquehanna, whom he had
persuaded to visit him in hope that he might induce them to cease from
murdering the border settlers. All their tribesmen were in arms against
the English; but he prevailed at last, and they accepted the war-belt at
his hands. The Delawares complained that their old conquerors, the Five
Nations, had forced them "to wear the petticoat," that is, to be counted
not as warriors but as women. Johnson, in presence of all the Assembly,
now took off the figurative garment, and pronounced them henceforth men.
A grand war-dance followed. A hundred and fifty Mohawks, Oneidas,
Onondagas, Delawares, Shawanoes, and Mohegans stamped, whooped, and
yelled all night.[402] In spite of Piquet, the two Joncaires, and the
rest of the French agents, Johnson had achieved a success. But would the
Indians keep their word? It was more than doubtful. While some of them
treated with him on the Mohawk, others treated with Vaudreuil at
Montreal.[403] A display of military vigor on the English side, crowned
by some signal victory, would alone make their alliance sure.

[Footnote 402: _Minutes of Councils at Fort Johnson, 9 July to 12 July_,
in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VII. 152-160.]

[Footnote 403: _Conferences between M. de Vaudreuil and the Five
Nations, 28 July to 20 Aug._, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 445-453.]

It was not the French only who thwarted the efforts of Johnson; for
while he strove to make friends of the Delawares and Shawanoes, Governor
Morris of Pennsylvania declared war against them, and Governor Belcher
of New Jersey followed his example; though persuaded at last to hold his
hand till the baronet had tried the virtue of pacific measures.[404]

[Footnote 404: _Johnson to Lords of Trade, 28 May, 1756. Ibid., 17 July,
1756. Johnson to Shirley, 24 April, 1756. Colonial Records of Pa._, VII.
75, 88, 194.]

What Shirley longed for was the collecting of a body of Five Nation
warriors at Oswego to aid him in his cherished enterprise against
Niagara and Frontenac. The warriors had promised him to come; but there
was small hope that they would do so. Meanwhile he was at Albany
pursuing his preparations, posting his scanty force in the forts newly
built on the Mohawk and the Great Carrying Place, and sending forward
stores and provisions. Having no troops to spare for escorts, he
invented a plan which, like everything he did, was bitterly criticised.
He took into pay two thousand boatmen, gathered from all parts of the
country, including many whale-men from the eastern coasts of New
England, divided them into companies of fifty, armed each with a gun and
a hatchet, and placed them under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John
Bradstreet.[405] Thus organized, they would, he hoped, require no
escort. Bradstreet was a New England officer who had been a captain in
the last war, somewhat dogged and self-opinioned, but brave, energetic,
and well fitted for this kind of service.

[Footnote 405: _Shirley to Fox, 7 May, 1756. Shirley to Abercromby, 27
June, 1756. London to Fox, 19 Aug. 1756._]

In May Vaudreuil sent Coulon de Villiers with eleven hundred soldiers,
Canadians, and Indians, to harass Oswego and cut its communications with
Albany.[406] Nevertheless Bradstreet safely conducted a convoy of
provisions and military stores to the garrison; and on the third of July
set out on his return with the empty boats. The party were pushing their
way up the river in three divisions. The first of these, consisting of a
hundred boats and three hundred men, with Bradstreet at their head, were
about nine miles from Oswego, when, at three in the afternoon, they
received a heavy volley from the forest on the east bank. It was fired
by a part of Villiers' command, consisting, by English accounts, of
about seven hundred men. A considerable number of the boatmen were
killed or disabled, and the others made for the shelter of the western
shore. Some prisoners were taken in the confusion; and if the French had
been content to stop here, they might fairly have claimed a kind of
victory; but, eager to push their advantage, they tried to cross under
cover of an island just above. Bradstreet saw the movement, and landed
on the island with six or eight followers, among whom was young Captain
Schuyler, afterwards General Schuyler of the Revolution. Their fire kept
the enemy in check till others joined them, to the number of about
twenty. These a second and a third time beat back the French, who now
gave over the attempt, and made for another ford at some distance above.
Bradstreet saw their intention; and collecting two hundred and fifty
men, was about to advance up the west bank to oppose them, when Dr.
Kirkland, a surgeon, came to tell him that the second division of boats
had come up, and that the men had landed. Bradstreet ordered them to
stay where they were, and defend the lower crossing: then hastened
forward; but when he reached the upper ford, the French had passed the
river, and were ensconced in a pine-swamp near the shore. Here he
attacked them; and both parties fired at each other from behind trees
for an hour, with little effect. Bradstreet at length encouraged his men
to make a rush at the enemy, who were put to flight and driven into the
river, where many were shot or drowned as they tried to cross. Another
party of the French had meanwhile passed by a ford still higher up to
support their comrades; but the fight was over before they reached the
spot, and they in their turn were set upon and driven back across the
stream. Half an hour after, Captain Patten arrived from Onondaga with
the grenadiers of Shirley's regiment; and late in the evening two
hundred men came from Oswego to reinforce the victors. In the morning
Bradstreet prepared to follow the French to their camp, twelve miles
distant; but was prevented by a heavy rain which lasted all day. On the
Monday following, he and his men reached Albany, bringing two prisoners,
eighty French muskets, and many knapsacks picked up in the woods. He had
lost between sixty and seventy killed, wounded, and taken.[407]

[Footnote 406: _Détail de ce qui s'est passé en Canada, Oct. 1755 Juin,

[Footnote 407: _Letter of J. Choate, Albany, 12 July, 1756_, in
Massachusetts Archives, LV. _Three Letters from Albany, July, Aug.
1756_, in _Doc. Hist, of N.Y._, I. 482. _Review of Military Operations.
Shirley to Fox, 26 July, 1756. Abercromby to Sir Charles Hardy, 11 July,
1756_. Niles, in _Mass. His. Coll., Fourth Series_, V. 417. Lossing,
_Life of Schuyler_, I. 121 (1860). Mante, 60. Bradstreet's conduct on
this occasion afterwards gained for him the warm praises of Wolfe.]

This affair was trumpeted through Canada as a victory of the French.
Their notices of it are discordant, though very brief. One of them says
that Villiers had four hundred men. Another gives him five hundred, and
a third eight hundred, against fifteen hundred English, of whom they
killed eight hundred, or an Englishman apiece. A fourth writer boasts
that six hundred Frenchmen killed nine hundred English. A fifth contents
himself with four hundred; but thinks that forty more would have been
slain if the Indians had not fired too soon. He says further that there
were three hundred boats; and presently forgetting himself, adds that
five hundred were taken or destroyed. A sixth announces a great capture
of stores and provisions, though all the boats were empty. A seventh
reports that the Canadians killed about three hundred, and would have
killed more but for the bad quality of their tomahawks. An eighth, with
rare modesty, puts the English loss at fifty or sixty. That of Villiers
is given in every proportion of killed or wounded, from one up to ten.
Thus was Canada roused to martial ardor, and taught to look for future
triumphs cheaply bought.[408]

[Footnote 408: _Nouvelles du Camp établi au Portage de Chouaguen,
première Relation. Ibid., Séconde Relation, 10 Juillet, 1756_.
Bougainville, _Journal_, who gives the report as he heard it _Lettre du
R.P. Cocquard, S.J., 1756. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 10 Juillet, 1756.
Ursulines de Québec_, II. 292. _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 434, 467, 477, 483.
Some prisoners taken in the first attack were brought to Montreal, where
their presence gave countenance to these fabrications.]

The success of Bradstreet silenced for a time the enemies of Shirley.
His cares, however, redoubled. He was anxious for Oswego, as the two
prisoners declared that the French meant to attack it, instead of
waiting to be attacked from it. Nor was the news from that quarter
reassuring. The engineer, Mackellar, wrote that the works were incapable
of defence; and Colonel Mercer, the commandant, reported general
discontent in the garrison.[409] Captain John Vicars, an invalid officer
of Shirley's regiment, arrived at Albany with yet more deplorable
accounts. He had passed the winter at Oswego, where he declared the
dearth of food to have been such that several councils of war had been
held on the question of abandoning the place from sheer starvation. More
than half his regiment died of hunger or disease; and, in his own words,
"had the poor fellows lived they must have eaten one another." Some of
the men were lodged in barracks, though without beds, while many lay all
winter in huts on the bare ground. Scurvy and dysentery made frightful
havoc. "In January," says Vicars, "we were informed by the Indians that
we were to be attacked. The garrison was then so weak that the strongest
guard we proposed to mount was a subaltern and twenty men; but we were
seldom able to mount more than sixteen or eighteen, and half of those
were obliged to have sticks in their hands to support them. The men were
so weak that the sentries often fell down on their posts, and lay there
till the relief came and lifted them up." His own company of fifty was
reduced to ten. The other regiment of the garrison, Pepperell's, or the
fifty-first, was quartered at Fort Ontario, on the other side of the
river; and being better sheltered, suffered less.

[Footnote 409: _Mackellar to Shirley, June, 1756. Mercer to Shirley, 2
July, 1756._]

The account given by Vicars of the state of the defences was scarcely
more flattering. He reported that the principal fort had no cannon on
the side most exposed to attack. Two pieces had been mounted on the
trading-house in the centre; but as the concussion shook down the stones
from the wall whenever they were fired, they had since been removed. The
second work, called Fort Ontario, he had not seen since it was finished,
having been too ill to cross the river. Of the third, called New Oswego,
or "Fort Rascal," he testifies thus: "It never was finished, and there
were no loopholes in the stockades; so that they could not fire out of
the fort but by opening the gate and firing out of that."[410]

[Footnote 410: _Information of Captain John Vicars, of the Fiftieth
(Shirley's) Regiment,_ enclosed with a despatch of Lord Loudon. Vicars
was a veteran British officer who left Oswego with Bradstreet on the
third of July. _Shirley to Loudon, 5 Sept. 1756._]

Through the spring and early summer Shirley was gathering recruits,
often of the meanest quality, and sending them to Oswego to fill out the
two emaciated regiments. The place must be defended at any cost. Its
fall would ruin not only the enterprise against Niagara and Frontenac,
but also that against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; since, having nothing
more to fear on Lake Ontario, the French could unite their whole force
on Lake Champlain, whether for defence or attack.

Towards the end of June Abercromby and Webb arrived at Albany, bringing
a reinforcement of nine hundred regulars, consisting of Otway's
regiment, or a part of it, and a body of Highlanders. Shirley resigned
his command, and Abercromby requested him to go to New York, wait there
till Lord Loudon arrived, and lay before him the state of affairs.[411]
Shirley waited till the twenty-third of July, when the Earl at length
appeared. He was a rough Scotch lord, hot and irascible; and the
communications of his predecessor, made, no doubt, in a manner somewhat
pompous and self-satisfied, did not please him. "I got from
Major-General Shirley," he says, "a few papers of very little use; only
he insinuated to me that I would find everything prepared, and have
nothing to do but to pull laurels; which I understand was his constant
conversation before my arrival."[412]

[Footnote 411: _Shirley to Fox, 4 July, 1756._]

[Footnote 412: _Loudon (to Fox?), 19 Aug. 1756._]

Loudon sailed up the Hudson in no placid mood. On reaching Albany he
abandoned the attempt against Niagara and Frontenac; and had resolved to
turn his whole force against Ticonderoga, when he was met by an obstacle
that both perplexed and angered him. By a royal order lately issued,
all general and field officers with provincial commissions were to take
rank only as eldest captains when serving in conjunction with regular
troops.[413] Hence the whole provincial army, as Winslow observes, might
be put under the command of any British major.[414] The announcement of
this regulation naturally caused great discontent. The New England
officers held a meeting, and voted with one voice that in their belief
its enforcement would break up the provincial army and prevent the
raising of another. Loudon, hearing of this, desired Winslow to meet him
at Albany for a conference on the subject. Thither Winslow went with
some of his chief officers. The Earl asked them to dinner, and there was
much talk, with no satisfactory result; whereupon, somewhat chafed, he
required Winslow to answer in writing, yes or no, whether the provincial
officers would obey the commander-in-chief and act in conjunction with
the regulars. Thus forced to choose between acquiescence and flat
mutiny, they declared their submission to his orders, at the same time
asking as a favor that they might be allowed to act independently; to
which Loudon gave for the present an unwilling assent. Shirley, who, in
spite of his removal from command, had the good of the service deeply at
heart, was much troubled at this affair, and wrote strong letters to
Winslow in the interest of harmony.[415]

[Footnote 413: _Order concerning the Rank of Provincial General and
Field Officers in North America. Given at our Court at Kensington, 12
May, 1756._]

[Footnote 414: _Winslow to Shirley, 21 Aug. 1756._]

[Footnote 415: _Correspondence of Loudon, Abercromby, and Shirley, July,
Aug. 1756. Record of Meeting of Provincial Officers, July, 1756. Letter
and Order Books of Winslow._]

Loudon next proceeded to examine the state of the provincial forces, and
sent Lieutenant-Colonel Burton, of the regulars, to observe and report
upon it. Winslow by this time had made a forward movement, and was now
at Lake George with nearly half his command, while the rest were at Fort
Edward under Lyman, or in detachments at Saratoga and the other small
posts below. Burton found Winslow's men encamped with their right on
what are now the grounds of Fort William Henry Hotel, and their left
extending southward between the mountain in their front and the marsh in
their rear. "There are here," he reports, "about twenty-five hundred
men, five hundred of them sick, the greatest part of them what they
call poorly; they bury from five to eight daily, and officers in
proportion; extremely indolent, and dirty to a degree." Then, in
vernacular English, he describes the infectious condition of the fort,
which was full of the sick. "Their camp," he proceeds, "is nastier than
anything I could conceive; their----, kitchens, graves, and places for
slaughtering cattle all mixed through their encampment; a great waste of
provisions, the men having just what they please; no great command kept
up. Colonel Gridley governs the general; not in the least alert; only
one advanced guard of a subaltern and twenty-four men. The cannon and
stores in great confusion." Of the camp at Fort Edward he gives a better
account. "It is much cleaner than at Fort William Henry, but not
sufficiently so to keep the men healthy; a much better command kept up
here. General Lyman very ready to order out to work and to assist the
engineers with any number of men they require, and keeps a succession of
scouting-parties out towards Wood Creek and South Bay."[416]

[Footnote 416: _Burton to Loudon, 27 Aug. 1756_.]

The prejudice of the regular officer may have colored the picture, but
it is certain that the sanitary condition of the provincial camps was
extremely bad. "A grievous sickness among the troops," writes a
Massachusetts surgeon at Fort Edward; "we bury five or six a day. Not
more than two thirds of our army fit for duty. Long encampments are the
bane of New England men."[417] Like all raw recruits, they did not know
how to take care of themselves; and their officers had not the
experience, knowledge, or habit of command to enforce sanitary rules.
The same evils were found among the Canadians when kept long in one
place. Those in the camp of Villiers are reported at this time as nearly
all sick.[418]

[Footnote 417: _Dr. Thomas Williams to Colonel Israel Williams, 28 Aug.

[Footnote 418: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

Another penman, very different from the military critic, was also on the
spot, noting down every day what he saw and felt. This was John Graham,
minister of Suffield, in Connecticut, and now chaplain of Lyman's
regiment. His spirit, by nature far from buoyant, was depressed by
bodily ailments, and still more by the extremely secular character of
his present surroundings. It appears by his Diary that he left home
"under great exercise of mind," and was detained at Albany for a time,
being, as he says, taken with an ague-fit and a quinsy; but at length he
reached the camp at Fort Edward, where deep despondency fell upon him.
"Labor under great discouragements," says the Diary, under date of July
twenty-eighth; "for find my business but mean in the esteem of many, and
think there's not much for a chaplain to do." Again, Tuesday, August
seventeenth: "Breakfasted this morning with the General. But a graceless
meal; never a blessing asked, nor thanks given. At the evening sacrifice
a more open scene of wickedness. The General and head officers, with
some of the regular officers, in General Lyman's tent, within four rods
of the place of public prayers. None came to prayers; but they fixed a
table without the door of the tent, where a head colonel was posted to
make punch in the sight of all, they within drinking, talking, and
laughing during the whole of the service, to the disturbance and
disaffection of most present. This was not only a bare neglect, but an
open contempt, of the worship of God by the heads of this army. 'Twas
but last Sabbath that General Lyman spent the time of divine service in
the afternoon in his tent, drinking in company with Mr. Gordon, a
regular officer. I have oft heard cursing and swearing in his presence
by some provincial field-officers, but never heard a reproof nor so much
as a check to them come from his mouth, though he never uses such
language himself. Lord, what is man! Truly, the May-game of Fortune!
Lord, make me know my duty, and what I ought to do!"

That night his sleep was broken and his soul troubled by angry voices
under his window, where one Colonel Glasier was berating, in unhallowed
language, the captain of the guard; and here the chaplain's Journal
abruptly ends.[419]

[Footnote 419: I owe to my friend George S. Hale, Esq., the opportunity
of examining the autograph Journal; it has since been printed in the
_Magazine of American History_ for March, 1882.]

A brother minister, bearing no likeness to the worthy Graham, appeared
on the same spot some time after. This was Chaplain William Crawford, of
Worcester, who, having neglected to bring money to the war, suffered
much annoyance, aggravated by what he thought a want of due
consideration for his person and office. His indignation finds vent in a
letter to his townsman, Timothy Paine, member of the General Court: "No
man can reasonably expect that I can with any propriety discharge the
duty of a chaplain when I have nothing either to eat or drink, nor any
conveniency to write a line other than to sit down upon a stump and put
a piece of paper upon my knee. As for Mr. Weld [_another chaplain_], he
is easy and silent whatever treatment he meets with, and I suppose they
thought to find me the same easy and ductile person; but may the wide
yawning earth devour me first! The state of the camp is just such as one
at home would guess it to be,--nothing but a hurry and confusion of vice
and wickedness, with a stygian atmosphere to breathe in."[420] The vice
and wickedness of which he complains appear to have consisted in a
frequent infraction of the standing order against "Curseing and
Swareing," as well as of that which required attendance on daily
prayers, and enjoined "the people to appear in a decent manner, clean
and shaved," at the two Sunday sermons.[421]

[Footnote 420: The autograph letter is in Massachusetts Archives, LVI.
no. 142. The same volume contains a letter from Colonel Frye, of
Massachusetts, in which he speaks of the forlorn condition in which
Chaplain Weld reached the camp. Of Chaplain Crawford, he says that he
came decently clothed, but without bed or blanket, till he, Frye, lent
them to him, and got Captain Learned to take him into his tent.
Chaplains usually had a separate tent, or shared that of the colonel.]

[Footnote 421: _Letter and Order Books of Winslow_.]

At the beginning of August Winslow wrote to the committees of the
several provinces: "It looks as if it won't be long before we are fit
for a remove,"--that is, for an advance on Ticonderoga. On the twelfth
Loudon sent Webb with the forty-fourth regiment and some of Bradstreet's
boatmen to reinforce Oswego.[422] They had been ready for a month; but
confusion and misunderstanding arising from the change of command had
prevented their departure.[423] Yet the utmost anxiety had prevailed for
the safety of that important post, and on the twenty-eighth Surgeon
Thomas Williams wrote: "Whether Oswego is yet ours is uncertain. Would
hope it is, as the reverse would be such a terrible shock as the country
never felt, and may be a sad omen of what is coming upon poor sinful New
England. Indeed we can't expect anything but to be severely chastened
till we are humbled for our pride and haughtiness."[424]

[Footnote 422: _Loudon (to Fox?), 19 Aug. 1756_.]

[Footnote 423: _Conduct of Major-General Shirley briefly stated. Shirley
to Loudon, 4 Sept. 1756. Shirley to Fox, 16 Sept. 1756_.]

[Footnote 424: _Thomas Williams to Colonel Israel Williams, 28 Aug.

His foreboding proved true. Webb had scarcely reached the Great Carrying
Place, when tidings of disaster fell upon him like a thunderbolt. The
French had descended in force upon Oswego, taken it with all its
garrison; and, as report ran, were advancing into the province, six
thousand strong. Wood Creek had just been cleared, with great labor, of
the trees that choked it. Webb ordered others to be felled and thrown
into the stream to stop the progress of the enemy; then, with shameful
precipitation, he burned the forts of the Carrying Place, and retreated
down the Mohawk to German Flats. Loudon ordered Winslow to think no more
of Ticonderoga, but to stay where he was and hold the French in check.
All was astonishment and dismay at the sudden blow. "Oswego has changed
masters, and I think we may justly fear that the whole of our country
will soon follow, unless a merciful God prevent, and awake a sinful
people to repentance and reformation." Thus wrote Dr. Thomas Williams to
his wife from the camp at Fort Edward. "Such a shocking affair has never
found a place in English annals," wrote the surgeon's young relative,
Colonel William Williams. "The loss is beyond account; but the dishonor
done His Majesty's arms is infinitely greater."[425] It remains to see
how the catastrophe befell.

[Footnote 425: _Colonel William Williams to Colonel Israel Williams, 30
Aug. 1756_.]

Since Vaudreuil became chief of the colony he had nursed the plan of
seizing Oswego, yet hesitated to attempt it. Montcalm declares that he
confirmed the Governor's wavering purpose; but Montcalm himself had
hesitated. In July, however, there came exaggerated reports that the
English were moving upon Ticonderoga in greatly increased numbers; and
both Vaudreuil and the General conceived that a feint against Oswego
would draw off the strength of the assailants, and, if promptly and
secretly executed, might even be turned successfully into a real attack.
Vaudreuil thereupon recalled Montcalm from Ticonderoga.[426] Leaving the
post in the keeping of Lévis and three thousand men, he embarked on Lake
Champlain, rowed day and night, and reached Montreal on the nineteenth.
Troops were arriving from Quebec, and Indians from the far west. A band
of Menomonies from beyond Lake Michigan, naked, painted, plumed,
greased, stamping, uttering sharp yelps, shaking feathered lances,
brandishing tomahawks, danced the war-dance before the Governor, to the
thumping of the Indian drum. Bougainville looked on astonished, and
thought of the Pyrrhic dance of the Greeks.

[Footnote 426: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 12 Août, 1756. Montcalm à sa
Femme, 20 Juillet, 1756_.]

Montcalm and he left Montreal on the twenty-first, and reached Fort
Frontenac in eight days. Rigaud, brother of the Governor, had gone
thither some time before, and crossed with seven hundred Canadians to
the south side of the lake, where Villiers was encamped at Niaouré Bay,
now Sackett's Harbor, with such of his detachment as war and disease had
spared. Rigaud relieved him, and took command of the united bands. With
their aid the engineer, Descombles, reconnoitred the English forts, and
came back with the report that success was certain.[427] It was but a
confirmation of what had already been learned from deserters and
prisoners, who declared that the main fort was but a loopholed wall held
by six or seven hundred men, ill fed, discontented, and mutinous.[428]
Others said that they had been driven to desert by the want of good
food, and that within a year twelve hundred men had died of disease at

[Footnote 427: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 4 Août, 1756. Vaudreuil à
Bourlamaque, Juin, 1756_.]

[Footnote 428: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 429: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 10 Juillet, 1756. Résumé des
Nouvelles du Canada, Sept. 1756_.]

The battalions of La Sarre, Guienne, and Béarn, with the colony
regulars, a body of Canadians, and about two hundred and fifty Indians,
were destined for the enterprise. The whole force was a little above
three thousand, abundantly supplied with artillery. La Sarre and Guienne
were already at Fort Frontenac. Béarn was at Niagara, whence it arrived
in a few days, much buffeted by the storms of Lake Ontario. On the
fourth of August all was ready. Montcalm embarked at night with the
first division, crossed in darkness to Wolf Island, lay there hidden all
day, and embarking again in the evening, joined Rigaud at Niaouré Bay at
seven o'clock in the morning of the sixth. The second division followed,
with provisions, hospital train, and eighty artillery boats; and on the
eighth all were united at the bay. On the ninth Rigaud, covered by the
universal forest, marched in advance to protect the landing of the
troops. Montcalm followed with the first division; and, coasting the
shore in bateaux, landed at midnight of the tenth within half a league
of the first English fort. Four cannon were planted in battery upon the
strand, and the men bivouacked by their boats. So skilful were the
assailants and so careless the assailed that the English knew nothing of
their danger, till in the morning, a reconnoitring canoe discovered the
invaders. Two armed vessels soon came to cannonade them; but their light
guns were no match for the heavy artillery of the French, and they were
forced to keep the offing.

Descombles, the engineer, went before dawn to reconnoitre the fort, with
several other officers and a party of Indians. While he was thus
employed, one of these savages, hungry for scalps, took him in the gloom
for an Englishman, and shot him dead. Captain Pouchot, of the battalion
of Béarn, replaced him; and the attack was pushed vigorously. The
Canadians and Indians, swarming through the forest, fired all day on the
fort under cover of the trees. The second division came up with
twenty-two more cannon; and at night the first parallel was marked out
at a hundred and eighty yards from the rampart. Stumps were grubbed up,
fallen trunks shoved aside, and a trench dug, sheltered by fascines,
gabions, and a strong abattis.

Fort Ontario, counted as the best of the three forts at Oswego, stood on
a high plateau at the east or right side of the river where it entered
the lake. It was in the shape of a star, and was formed of trunks of
trees set upright in the ground, hewn flat on two sides, and closely
fitted together,--an excellent defence against musketry or swivels, but
worthless against cannon. The garrison, three hundred and seventy in
all, were the remnant of Pepperell's regiment, joined to raw recruits
lately sent up to fill the places of the sick and dead. They had eight
small cannon and a mortar, with which on the next day, Friday, the
thirteenth, they kept up a brisk fire till towards night; when, after
growing more rapid for a time, it ceased, and the fort showed no sign of
life. Not a cannon had yet opened on them from the trenches; but it was
certain that with the French artillery once in action, their wooden
rampart would be shivered to splinters. Hence it was that Colonel
Mercer, commandant at Oswego, thinking it better to lose the fort than
to lose both fort and garrison, signalled to them from across the river
to abandon their position and join him on the other side. Boats were
sent to bring them off; and they passed over unmolested, after spiking
their cannon and firing off their ammunition or throwing it into the

The fate of Oswego was now sealed. The principal work, called Old
Oswego, or Fort Pepperell, stood at the mouth of the river on the west
side, nearly opposite Fort Ontario, and less than five hundred yards
distant from it. The trading-house, which formed the centre of the
place, was built of rough stone laid in clay, and the wall which
enclosed it was of the same materials; both would crumble in an instant
at the touch of a twelve-pound shot. Towards the west and south they had
been protected by an outer line of earthworks, mounted with cannon, and
forming an entrenched camp; while the side towards Fort Ontario was left
wholly exposed, in the rash confidence that this work, standing on the
opposite heights, would guard against attack from that quarter. On a
hill, a fourth of a mile beyond Old Oswego, stood the unfinished
stockade called New Oswego, Fort George, or, by reason of its
worthlessness, Fort Rascal. It had served as a cattle pen before the
French appeared, but was now occupied by a hundred and fifty Jersey
provincials. Old Oswego with its outwork was held by Shirley's regiment,
chiefly invalids and raw recruits, to whom were now joined the garrison
of Fort Ontario and a number of sailors, boatmen, and laborers.

Montcalm lost no time. As soon as darkness set in he began a battery at
the brink of the height on which stood the captured fort. His whole
force toiled all night, digging, setting gabions, and dragging up
cannon, some of which had been taken from Braddock. Before daybreak
twenty heavy pieces had been brought to the spot, and nine were already
in position. The work had been so rapid that the English imagined their
enemies to number six thousand at least. The battery soon opened fire.
Grape and round shot swept the intrenchment and crashed through the
rotten masonry. The English, says a French officer, "were exposed to
their shoe-buckles." Their artillery was pointed the wrong way, in
expectation of an attack, not from the east, but from the west. They now
made a shelter of pork-barrels, three high and three deep, planted
cannon behind them, and returned the French fire with some effect.

Early in the morning Montcalm had ordered Rigaud to cross the river with
the Canadians and Indians. There was a ford three quarters of a league
above the forts;[430] and here they passed over unopposed, the English
not having discovered the movement.[431] The only danger was from the
river. Some of the men were forced to swim, others waded to the waist,
others to the neck; but they all crossed safely, and presently showed
themselves at the edge of the woods, yelling and firing their guns, too
far for much execution, but not too far to discourage the garrison.

[Footnote 430: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 431: Pouchot, I. 76.]

The garrison were already disheartened. Colonel Mercer, the soul of the
defence, had just been cut in two by a cannon-shot while directing the
gunners. Up to this time the defenders had behaved with spirit; but
despair now seized them, increased by the screams and entreaties of the
women, of whom there were more than a hundred in the place. There was a
council of officers, and then the white flag was raised. Bougainville
went to propose terms of capitulation. "The cries, threats, and hideous
howling of our Canadians and Indians," says Vaudreuil, "made them
quickly decide." "This," observes the Reverend Father Claude Godefroy
Cocquard, "reminds me of the fall of Jericho before the shouts of the
Israelites." The English surrendered prisoners of war, to the number,
according to the Governor, of sixteen hundred,[432] which included the
sailors, laborers, and women. The Canadians and Indians broke through
all restraint, and fell to plundering. There was an opening of
rum-barrels and a scene of drunkenness, in which some of the prisoners
had their share; while others tried to escape in the confusion, and were
tomahawked by the excited savages. Many more would have been butchered,
but for the efforts of Montcalm, who by unstinted promises succeeded in
appeasing his ferocious allies, whom he dared not offend. "It will cost
the King," he says, "eight or ten thousand livres in presents."[433]

[Footnote 432: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 20 Août, 1756_. He elsewhere
makes the number somewhat greater. That the garrison, exclusive of
civilians, did not exceed at the utmost fourteen hundred, is shown by
_Shirley to Loudon, 5 Sept. 1756_. Loudon had charged Shirley with
leaving Oswego weakly garrisoned; and Shirley replies by alleging that
the troops there were in the number as above. It was of course his
interest to make them appear as numerous as possible. In the printed
_Conduct of Major-General Shirley briefly stated_, they are put at only
ten hundred and fifty.]

[Footnote 433: Several English writers say, however, that fifteen or
twenty young men were given up to the Indians to be adopted in place of
warriors lately killed.]

The loss on both sides is variously given. By the most trustworthy
accounts, that of the English did not reach fifty killed, and that of
the French was still less. In the forts and vessels were found above a
hundred pieces of artillery, most of them swivels and other light guns,
with a large quantity of powder, shot, and shell. The victors burned the
forts and the vessels on the stocks, destroyed such provisions and
stores as they could not carry away, and made the place a desert. The
priest Piquet, who had joined the expedition, planted amid the ruin a
tall cross, graven with the words, _In hoc signo vincunt_; and near it
was set a pole bearing the arms of France, with the inscription,
_Manibus date lilia plenis_. Then the army decamped, loaded with
prisoners and spoil, descended to Montreal, hung the captured flags in
the churches, and sang Te Deum in honor of their triumph.

It was the greatest that the French arms had yet achieved in America.
The defeat of Braddock was an Indian victory; this last exploit was the
result of bold enterprise and skilful tactics. With its laurels came its
fruits. Hated Oswego had been laid in ashes, and the would-be assailants
forced to a vain and hopeless defence. France had conquered the
undisputed command of Lake Ontario, and her communications with the West
were safe. A small garrison at Niagara and another at Frontenac would
now hold those posts against any effort that the English could make this
year; and the whole French force could concentrate at Ticonderoga, repel
the threatened attack, and perhaps retort it by seizing Albany. If the
English, on the other side, had lost a great material advantage, they
had lost no less in honor. The news of the surrender was received with
indignation in England and in the colonies. Yet the behaviour of the
garrison was not so discreditable as it seemed. The position was
indefensible, and they could have held out at best but a few days more.
They yielded too soon; but unless Webb had come to their aid, which was
not to be expected, they must have yielded at last.

The French had scarcely gone, when two English scouts, Thomas Harris and
James Conner, came with a party of Indians to the scene of desolation.
The ground was strewn with broken casks and bread sodden with rain. The
remains of burnt bateaux and whaleboats were scattered along the shore.
The great stone trading-house in the old fort was a smoking ruin; Fort
Rascal was still burning on the neighboring hill; Fort Ontario was a
mass of ashes and charred logs, and by it stood two poles on which were
written words which the visitors did not understand. They went back to
Fort Johnson with their story; and Oswego reverted for a time to the
bears, foxes, and wolves.[434]

[Footnote 434: On the capture of Oswego, the authorities examined have
been very numerous, and only the best need be named. _Livre d'Ordres,
Campagne de 1756_, contains all orders from headquarters. _Mémoires pour
servir d'Instruction à M. le Marquis de Montcalm, 21 Juillet; 1756,
signé Vaudreuil_. Bougainville, _Journal. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 15
Juin, 1756_ (designs against Oswego). _Ibid., 13 Août, 1755. Ibid., 30
Août_. Pouchot, I. 67-81. _Relation de la Prise des Forts de Chouaguen.
Bigot au Ministre, 3 Sept. 1756 Journal du Siége de Chouaguen. Précis
des Événements, 1756. Montcalm au Ministre, 20 Juillet, 1756. Ibid., 28
Août, 1756. Desandrouins à----, même date. Montcalm à sa Femme, 30
Août_. Translations of several of the above papers, along with others
less important, will be found in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X., and _Doc. Hist.
N.Y._, I.

_State of Facts relating to the Loss of Oswego_, in _London Magazine_
for 1757, p. 14. _Correspondence of Shirley. Correspondence of Loudon.
Littlehales to Loudon, 30 Aug. 1756. Hardy to Lords of Trade, 5 Sept.
1756. Conduct of Major-General Shirley briefly stated. Declaration of
some Soldiers of Shirley's Regiment_, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, VII. 126.
Letter from an officer present, in _Boston Evening Post_ of _16 May,
1757_. The published plans and drawings of Oswego at this time are very

Chapter 13

1756, 1757

Partisan War

Shirley's grand scheme for cutting New France in twain had come to
wreck. There was an element of boyishness in him. He made bold plans
without weighing too closely his means of executing them. The year's
campaign would in all likelihood have succeeded if he could have acted
promptly; if he had had ready to his hand a well-trained and
well-officered force, furnished with material of war and means of
transportation, and prepared to move as soon as the streams and lakes of
New York were open, while those of Canada were still sealed with ice.
But timely action was out of his power. The army that should have moved
in April was not ready to move till August. Of the nine discordant
semi-republics whom he asked to join in the work, three or four refused,
some of the others were lukewarm, and all were slow. Even Massachusetts,
usually the foremost, failed to get all her men into the field till the
season was nearly ended. Having no military establishment, the colonies
were forced to improvise a new army for every campaign. Each of them
watched its neighbors, or, jealous lest it should do more than its just
share, waited for them to begin. Each popular assembly acted under the
eye of a frugal constituency, who, having little money, were as chary of
it as their descendants are lavish; and most of them were shaken by
internal conflicts, more absorbing than the great question on which hung
the fate of the continent. Only the four New England colonies were fully
earnest for the war, and one, even of these, was ready to use the crisis
as a means of extorting concessions from its Governor in return for
grants of money and men. When the lagging contingents came together at
last, under a commander whom none of them trusted, they were met by
strategical difficulties which would have perplexed older soldiers and
an abler general; for they were forced to act on the circumference of a
vast semicircle, in a labyrinth of forests, without roads, and choked
with every kind of obstruction.

Opposed to them was a trained army, well organized and commanded,
focused at Montreal, and moving for attack or defence on two radiating
lines,--one towards Lake Ontario, and the other towards Lake
Champlain,--supported by a martial peasantry, supplied from France with
money and material, dependent on no popular vote, having no will but
that of its chief, and ready on the instant to strike to right or left
as the need required. It was a compact military absolutism confronting a
heterogeneous group of industrial democracies, where the force of
numbers was neutralized by diffusion and incoherence. A long and dismal
apprenticeship waited them before they could hope for success; nor could
they ever put forth their full strength without a radical change of
political conditions and an awakened consciousness of common interests
and a common cause. It was the sense of powerlessness arising from the
want of union that, after the fall of Oswego, spread alarm through the
northern and middle colonies, and drew these desponding words from
William Livingston, of New Jersey: "The colonies are nearly exhausted,
and their funds already anticipated by expensive unexecuted projects.
Jealous are they of each other; some ill-constituted, others shaken with
intestine divisions, and, if I may be allowed the expression,
parsimonious even to prodigality. Our assemblies are diffident of their
governors, governors despise their assemblies; and both mutually
misrepresent each other to the Court of Great Britain." Military
measures, he proceeds, demand secrecy and despatch; but when so many
divided provinces must agree to join in them, secrecy and despatch are
impossible. In conclusion he exclaims: "Canada must be demolished,
--_Delenda est Carthago_,--or we are undone."[435] But Loudon
was not Scipio, and cis-Atlantic Carthage was to stand for some time

[Footnote 435: _Review of Military Operations_, 187, 189 (Dublin,

The Earl, in search of a scapegoat for the loss of Oswego, naturally
chose Shirley, attacked him savagely, told him that he was of no use in
America, and ordered him to go home to England without delay.[436]
Shirley, who was then in Boston, answered this indecency with dignity
and effect.[437] The chief fault was with Loudon himself, whose late
arrival in America had caused a change of command and of plans in the
crisis of the campaign. Shirley well knew the weakness of Oswego; and in
early spring had sent two engineers to make it defensible, with
particular instructions to strengthen Fort Ontario.[438] But they,
thinking that the chief danger lay on the west and south, turned all
their attention thither, and neglected Ontario till it was too late.
Shirley was about to reinforce Oswego with a strong body of troops when
the arrival of Abercromby took the control out of his hands and caused
ruinous delay. He cannot, however, be acquitted of mismanagement in
failing to supply the place with wholesome provisions in the preceding
autumn, before the streams were stopped with ice. Hence came the ravages
of disease and famine which, before spring, reduced the garrison to a
hundred and forty effective men. Yet there can be no doubt that the
change of command was a blunder. This is the view of Franklin, who knew
Shirley well, and thus speaks of him: "He would in my opinion, if
continued in place, have made a much better campaign than that of
Loudon, which was frivolous, expensive, and disgraceful to our nation
beyond conception. For though Shirley was not bred a soldier, he was
sensible and sagacious in himself, and attentive to good advice from
others, capable of forming judicious plans, and quick and active in
carrying them into execution."[439] He sailed for England in the autumn,
disappointed and poor; the bull-headed Duke of Cumberland had been
deeply prejudiced against him, and it was only after long waiting that
this strenuous champion of British interests was rewarded in his old age
with the petty government of the Bahamas.

[Footnote 436: _Loudon to Shirley, 6 Sept. 1756_.]

[Footnote 437: The correspondence on both sides is before me, copied
from the originals in the Public Record Office.]

[Footnote 438: "The principal thing for which I sent Mr. Mackellar to
Oswego was to strengthen Fort Ontario as much as he possibly could."
_Shirley to Loudon, 4 Sept. 1756._]

[Footnote 439: _Works of Franklin_, I. 220.]

Loudon had now about ten thousand men at his command, though not all fit
for duty. They were posted from Albany to Lake George. The Earl himself
was at Fort Edward, while about three thousand of the provincials still
lay, under Winslow, at the lake. Montcalm faced them at Ticonderoga,
with five thousand three hundred regulars and Canadians, in a position
where they could defy three times their number.[440] "The sons of Belial
are too strong for me," jocosely wrote Winslow;[441] and he set himself
to intrenching his camp; then had the forest cut down for the space of a
mile from the lake to the mountains, so that the trees, lying in what he
calls a "promiscuous manner," formed an almost impenetrable abatis. An
escaped prisoner told him that the French were coming to visit him with
fourteen thousand men;[442] but Montcalm thought no more of stirring
than Loudon himself; and each stood watching the other, with the lake
between them, till the season closed.

[Footnote 440: "Nous sommes tant à Carillon qu'aux postes avancés 5,300
hommes." Bougainville, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 441: _Winslow to Loudon, 29 Sept. 1756_.]

[Footnote 442: _Examination of Sergeant James Archibald_.]

Meanwhile the western borders were still ravaged by the tomahawk. New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia all writhed under
the infliction. Each had made a chain of blockhouses and wooden forts to
cover its frontier, and manned them with disorderly bands, lawless, and
almost beyond control.[443] The case was at the worst in Pennsylvania,
where the tedious quarrelling of Governor and Assembly, joined to the
doggedly pacific attitude of the Quakers, made vigorous defence
impossible. Rewards were offered for prisoners and scalps, so bountiful
that the hunting of men would have been a profitable vocation, but for
the extreme wariness and agility of the game.[444] Some of the forts
were well built stockades; others were almost worthless; but the enemy
rarely molested even the feeblest of them, preferring to ravage the
lonely and unprotected farms. There were two or three exceptions. A
Virginian fort was attacked by a war-party under an officer named
Douville, who was killed, and his followers were put to flight.[445] The
assailants were more fortunate at a small stockade called Fort
Granville, on the Juniata. A large body of French and Indians attacked
it in August while most of the garrison were absent protecting the
farmers at their harvest; they set it on fire, and, in spite of a most
gallant resistance by the young lieutenant left in command, took it, and
killed all but one of the defenders.[446]

[Footnote 443: In the public Record Office, _America and West Indies_,
LXXXII., is a manuscript map showing the positions of such of these
posts as were north of Virginia. They are thirty-five in number, from
the head of James River to a point west of Esopus, on the Hudson.]

[Footnote 444: _Colonial Records of Pa._, VII. 76.]

[Footnote 445: _Washington to Morris,--April, 1756_.]

[Footnote 446: _Colonial Records of Pa._, VII. 232, 242; _Pennsylvania
Archives_, II. 744.]

What sort of resistance the Pennsylvanian borderers would have made
under political circumstances less adverse may be inferred from an
exploit of Colonel John Armstrong, a settler of Cumberland. After the
loss of Fort Granville the Governor of the province sent him with three
hundred men to attack the Delaware town of Kittanning, a populous nest
of savages on the Alleghany, between the two French posts of Duquesne
and Venango. Here most of the war-parties were fitted out, and the place
was full of stores and munitions furnished by the French. Here, too,
lived the redoubted chief called Captain Jacobs, the terror of the
English border. Armstrong set out from Fort Shirley, the farthest
outpost, on the last of August, and, a week after, was within six miles
of the Indian town. By rapid marching and rare good luck, his party had
escaped discovery. It was ten o'clock at night, with a bright moon. The
guides were perplexed, and knew neither the exact position of the place
nor the paths that led to it. The adventurers threaded the forest in
single file, over hills and through hollows, bewildered and anxious,
stopping to watch and listen. At length they heard in the distance the
beating of an Indian drum and the whooping of warriors in the war-dance.
Guided by the sounds, they cautiously moved forward, till those in the
front, scrambling down a rocky hill, found themselves on the banks of
the Alleghany, about a hundred rods below Kittanning. The moon was near
setting; but they could dimly see the town beyond a great intervening
field of corn. "At that moment," says Armstrong, "an Indian whistled in
a very singular manner, about thirty perches from our front, in the foot
of the cornfield." He thought they were discovered; but one Baker, a
soldier well versed in Indian ways, told him that it was only some
village gallant calling to a young squaw. The party then crouched in the
bushes, and kept silent. The moon sank behind the woods, and fires soon
glimmered through the field, kindled to drive off mosquitoes by some of
the Indians who, as the night was warm, had come out to sleep in the
open air. The eastern sky began to redden with the approach of day. Many
of the party, spent with a rough march of thirty miles, had fallen
asleep. They were now cautiously roused; and Armstrong ordered nearly
half of them to make their way along the ridge of a bushy hill that
overlooked the town, till they came opposite to it, in order to place it
between two fires. Twenty minutes were allowed them for the movement;
but they lost their way in the dusk, and reached their station too late.
When the time had expired, Armstrong gave the signal to those left with
him, who dashed into the cornfield, shooting down the astonished savages
or driving them into the village, where they turned and made desperate

It was a cluster of thirty log-cabins, the principal being that of the
chief, Jacobs, which was loopholed for musketry, and became the centre
of resistance. The fight was hot and stubborn. Armstrong ordered the
town to be set on fire, which was done, though not without loss; for the
Delawares at this time were commonly armed with rifles, and used them
well. Armstrong himself was hit in the shoulder. As the flames rose and
the smoke grew thick, a warrior in one of the houses sang his
death-song, and a squaw in the same house was heard to cry and scream.
Rough voices silenced her, and then the inmates burst out, but were
instantly killed. The fire caught the house of Jacobs, who, trying to
escape through an opening in the roof, was shot dead. Bands of Indians
were gathering beyond the river, firing from the other bank, and even
crossing to help their comrades; but the assailants held to their work
till the whole place was destroyed. "During the burning of the houses,"
says Armstrong, "we were agreeably entertained by the quick succession
of charged guns, gradually firing off as reached by the fire; but much
more so with the vast explosion of sundry bags and large kegs of
gunpowder, wherewith almost every house abounded; the prisoners
afterwards informing us that the Indians had frequently said they had a
sufficient stock of ammunition for ten years' war with the English."

These prisoners were eleven men, women, and children, captured in the
border settlements, and now delivered by their countrymen. The day was
far spent when the party withdrew, carrying their wounded on Indian
horses, and moving perforce with extreme slowness, though expecting an
attack every moment. None took place; and they reached the settlements
at last, having bought their success with the loss of seventeen killed
and thirteen wounded.[447] A medal was given to each officer, not by the
Quaker-ridden Assembly, but by the city council of Philadelphia.

[Footnote 447: _Report of Armstrong to Governor Denny, 14 Sept. 1756_,
in _Colonial Records of Pa._, VII. 257,--a modest yet very minute
account. _A list of the Names of the Persons killed, wounded, and
missing in the late Expedition against the Kittanning_. Hazard,
_Pennsylvania Register_, I. 366.]

The report of this affair made by Dumas, commandant at Fort Duquesne, is
worth noting. He says that Attiqué, the French name of Kittanning, was
attacked by "le Général Wachinton," with three or four hundred men on
horseback; that the Indians gave way; but that five or six Frenchmen who
were in the town held the English in check till the fugitives rallied;
that Washington and his men then took to flight, and would have been
pursued but for the loss of some barrels of gunpowder which chanced to
explode during the action. Dumas adds that several large parties are now
on the track of the enemy, and he hopes will cut them to pieces. He then
asks for a supply of provisions and merchandise to replace those which
the Indians of Attiqué had lost by a fire.[448] Like other officers of
the day, he would admit nothing but successes in the department under
his command.

[Footnote 448: _Dumas à Vaudreuil, 9 Sept. 1756_, cited in _Bigot au
Ministre, 6 Oct. 1756_, and in Bougainville, _Journal_.]

Vaudreuil wrote singular despatches at this time to the minister at
Versailles. He takes credit to himself for the number of war-parties
that his officers kept always at work, and fills page after page with
details of the _coups_ they had struck; how one brought in two English
scalps, another three, another one, and another seven. He owns that they
committed frightful cruelties, mutilating and sometimes burning their
prisoners; but he expresses no regret, and probably felt none, since he
declares that the object of this murderous warfare was to punish the
English till they longed for peace.[449]

[Footnote 449: _Dépêches de Vaudreuil, 1756._]

The waters and mountains of Lake George, and not the western borders,
were the chief centre of partisan war. Ticonderoga was a hornet's nest,
pouring out swarms of savages to infest the highways and byways of the
wilderness. The English at Fort William Henry, having few Indians, could
not retort in kind; but they kept their scouts and rangers in active
movement. What they most coveted was prisoners, as sources of
information. One Kennedy, a lieutenant of provincials, with five
followers, white and red, made a march of rare audacity, passed all the
French posts, took a scalp and two prisoners on the Richelieu, and
burned a magazine of provisions between Montreal and St. John. The party
were near famishing on the way back; and Kennedy was brought into Fort
William Henry in a state of temporary insanity from starvation.[450]
Other provincial officers, Peabody, Hazen, Waterbury, and Miller, won a
certain distinction in this adventurous service, though few were so
conspicuous as the blunt and sturdy Israel Putnam. Winslow writes in
October that he has just returned from the best "scout" yet made, and
that, being a man of strict truth, he may be entirely trusted.[451]
Putnam had gone with six followers down Lake George in a whale-boat to a
point on the east side, opposite the present village of Hague, hid the
boat, crossed northeasterly to Lake Champlain, three miles from the
French fort, climbed the mountain that overlooks it, and made a complete
reconnoissance; then approached it, chased three Frenchmen, who escaped
within the lines, climbed the mountain again, and moving westward along
the ridge, made a minute survey of every outpost between the fort and
Lake George.[452] These adventures were not always fortunate. On the
nineteenth of September Captain Hodges and fifty men were ambushed a few
miles from Fort William Henry by thrice their number of Canadians and
Indians, and only six escaped. Thus the record stands in the _Letter
Book_ of Winslow.[453] By visiting the encampments of Ticonderoga, one
may learn how the blow was struck.

[Footnote 450: _Minute of Lieutenant Kennedy's Scout. Winslow to Loudon,
20 Sept. 1756._]

[Footnote 451: _Winslow to Loudon, 16 Oct. 1756._]

[Footnote 452: _Report of a Scout to Ticonderoga, Oct. 1756_, signed
Israel Putnam.]

[Footnote 453: Compare Massachusetts Archives, LXXVI. 81.]

After much persuasion, much feasting, and much consumption of tobacco
and brandy, four hundred Indians, Christians from the Missions and
heathen from the far west, were persuaded to go on a grand war-party
with the Canadians. Of these last there were a hundred,--a wild crew,
bedecked and bedaubed like their Indian companions. Perière, an officer
of colony regulars, had nominal command of the whole; and among the
leaders of the Canadians was the famous bushfighter, Marin. Bougainville
was also of the party. In the evening of the sixteenth they all embarked
in canoes at the French advance-post commanded by Contrecoeur, near the
present steamboat-landing, passed in the gloom under the bare steeps of
Rogers Rock, paddled a few hours, landed on the west shore, and sent
scouts to reconnoitre. These came back with their reports on the next
day, and an Indian crier called the chiefs to council. Bougainville
describes them as they stalked gravely to the place of meeting, wrapped
in colored blankets, with lances in their hands. The accomplished young
aide-de-camp studied his strange companions with an interest not unmixed
with disgust. "Of all caprice," he says, "Indian caprice is the most
capricious." They were insolent to the French, made rules for them which
they did not observe themselves, and compelled the whole party to move
when and whither they pleased. Hiding the canoes, and lying close in the
forest by day, they all held their nocturnal course southward, by the
lofty heights of Black Mountain, and among the islets of the Narrows,
till the eighteenth. That night the Indian scouts reported that they had
seen the fires of an encampment on the west shore; on which the whole
party advanced to the attack, an hour before dawn, filing silently under
the dark arches of the forest, the Indians nearly naked, and streaked
with their war-paint of vermilion and soot. When they reached the spot
they found only the smouldering fires of a deserted bivouac. Then there
was a consultation; ending, after much dispute, with the choice by the
Indians of a hundred and ten of their most active warriors to attempt
some stroke in the neighborhood of the English fort. Marin joined them
with thirty Canadians, and they set out on their errand; while the rest
encamped to await the result. At night the adventurers returned, raising
the death-cry and firing their guns; somewhat depressed by losses they
had suffered, but boasting that they had surprised fifty-three English,
and killed or taken all but one. It was a modest and perhaps an
involuntary exaggeration. "The very recital of the cruelties they
committed on the battle-field is horrible," writes Bougainville. "The
ferocity and insolence of these black-souled barbarians makes one
shudder. It is an abominable kind of war. The air one breathes is
contagious of insensibility and hardness."[454] This was but one of the
many such parties sent out from Ticonderoga this year.

[Footnote 454: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

Early in September a band of New England rangers came to Winslow's camp,
with three prisoners taken within the lines of Ticonderoga. Their
captain was Robert Rogers, of New Hampshire,--a strong, well-knit
figure, in dress and appearance more woodsman than soldier, with a
clear, bold eye, and features that would have been good but for the
ungainly proportions of the nose.[455] He had passed his boyhood in the
rough surroundings of a frontier village. Growing to manhood, he engaged
in some occupation which, he says, led him to frequent journeyings in
the wilderness between the French and English settlements, and gave him
a good knowledge of both.[456] It taught him also to speak a little
French. He does not disclose the nature of this mysterious employment;
but there can be little doubt that it was a smuggling trade with Canada.
His character leaves much to be desired. He had been charged with
forgery, or complicity in it, seems to have had no scruple in matters of
business, and after the war was accused of treasonable dealings with the
French and Spaniards in the west.[457] He was ambitious and violent, yet
able in more ways than one, by no means uneducated, and so skilled in
woodcraft, so energetic and resolute, that his services were invaluable.
In recounting his own adventures, his style is direct, simple, without
boasting, and to all appearance without exaggeration. During the past
summer he had raised a band of men, chiefly New Hampshire borderers, and
made a series of daring excursions which gave him a prominent place in
this hardy by-play of war. In the spring of the present year he raised
another company, and was commissioned as its captain, with his brother
Richard as his first lieutenant, and the intrepid John Stark as his
second. In July still another company was formed, and Richard Rogers was
promoted to command it. Before the following spring there were seven
such; and more were afterwards added, forming a battalion dispersed on
various service, but all under the orders of Robert Rogers, with the
rank of major.[458] These rangers wore a sort of woodland uniform, which
varied in the different companies, and were armed with smooth-bore guns,
loaded with buckshot, bullets, or sometimes both.

[Footnote 455: A large engraved portrait of him, nearly at full length,
is before me, printed at London in 1776.]

[Footnote 456: Rogers, _Journals, Introduction_ (1765).]

[Footnote 457: _Provincial Papers of New Hampshire_, VI. 364.
_Correspondence of Gage, 1766. N.Y. Col. Docs._, VII. 990. Caleb Stark,
_Memoir and Correspondence of John Stark_, 386.]

[Footnote 458: Rogers, _Journals. Report of the Adjutant-General of New
Hampshire_ (1866), II. 158, 159.]

The best of them were commonly employed on Lake George; and nothing can
surpass the adventurous hardihood of their lives. Summer and winter, day
and night, were alike to them. Embarked in whaleboats or birch-canoes,
they glided under the silent moon or in the languid glare of a
breathless August day, when islands floated in dreamy haze, and the hot
air was thick with odors of the pine; or in the bright October, when the
jay screamed from the woods, squirrels gathered their winter hoard, and
congregated blackbirds chattered farewell to their summer haunts; when
gay mountains basked in light, maples dropped leaves of rustling gold,
sumachs glowed like rubies under the dark green of the unchanging
spruce, and mossed rocks with all their painted plumage lay double in
the watery mirror: that festal evening of the year, when jocund Nature
disrobes herself, to wake again refreshed in the joy of her undying
spring. Or, in the tomb-like silence of the winter forest, with breath
frozen on his beard, the ranger strode on snow-shoes over the spotless
drifts; and, like Dürer's knight, a ghastly death stalked ever at his
side. There were those among them for whom this stern life had a
fascination that made all other existence tame.

Rogers and his men had been in active movement since midwinter. In
January they skated down Lake George, passed Ticonderoga, hid themselves
by the forest-road between that post and Crown Point, intercepted two
sledges loaded with provisions, and carried the drivers to Fort William
Henry. In February they climbed a hill near Crown Point and made a plan
of the works; then lay in ambush by the road from the fort to the
neighboring village, captured a prisoner, burned houses and barns,
killed fifty cattle, and returned without loss. At the end of the month
they went again to Crown Point, burned more houses and barns, and
reconnoitred Ticonderoga on the way back. Such excursions were repeated
throughout the spring and summer. The reconnoissance of Ticonderoga and
the catching of prisoners there for the sake of information were always
capital objects. The valley, four miles in extent, that lay between the
foot of Lake George and the French fort, was at this time guarded by
four distinct outposts or fortified camps. Watched as it was at all
points, and ranged incessantly by Indians in the employ of France,
Rogers and his men knew every yard of the ground. On a morning in May he
lay in ambush with eleven followers on a path between the fort and the
nearest camp. A large body of soldiers passed; the rangers counted a
hundred and eighteen, and lay close in their hiding-place. Soon after
came a party of twenty-two. They fired on them, killed six, captured
one, and escaped with him to Fort William Henry. In October Rogers was
passing with twenty men in two whaleboats through the seeming solitude
of the Narrows when a voice called to them out of the woods. It was that
of Captain Shepherd, of the New Hampshire regiment, who had been
captured two months before, and had lately made his escape. He told them
that the French had the fullest information of the numbers and movements
of the English; that letters often reached them from within the English
lines; and that Lydius, a Dutch trader at Albany, was their principal
correspondent.[459] Arriving at Ticonderoga, Rogers cautiously
approached the fort, till, about noon, he saw a sentinel on the road
leading thence to the woods. Followed by five of his men, he walked
directly towards him. The man challenged, and Rogers answered in French.
Perplexed for a moment, the soldier suffered him to approach; till,
seeing his mistake, he called out in amazement, "_Qui êtes vous_?"
"Rogers," was the answer; and the sentinel was seized, led in hot haste
to the boats, and carried to the English fort, where he gave important

[Footnote 459: _Letter and Order Books of Winslow_. "One Lydiass ...
whom we suspect for a French spy; he lives better than anybody, without
any visible means, and his daughters have had often presents from Mr.
Vaudreuil." _Loudon_ (_to Fox?_), _19 Aug. 1756_.]

An exploit of Rogers towards midsummer greatly perplexed the French. He
embarked at the end of June with fifty men in five whaleboats, made
light and strong, expressly for this service, rowed about ten miles down
Lake George, landed on the east side, carried the boats six miles over a
gorge of the mountains, launched them again in South Bay, and rowed down
the narrow prolongation of Lake Champlain under cover of darkness. At
dawn they were within six miles of Ticonderoga. They landed, hid their
boats, and lay close all day. Embarking again in the evening, they rowed
with muffled oars under the shadow of the eastern shore, and passed so
close to the French fort that they heard the voices of the sentinels
calling the watchword. In the morning they had left it five miles
behind. Again they hid in the woods; and from their lurking-place saw
bateaux passing, some northward, and some southward, along the narrow

Crown Point was ten or twelve miles farther on. They tried to pass it
after nightfall, but the sky was too clear and the stars too bright; and
as they lay hidden the next day, nearly a hundred boats passed before
them on the way to Ticonderoga. Some other boats which appeared about
noon landed near them, and they watched the soldiers at dinner, within a
musket-shot of their lurking-place. The next night was more favorable.
They embarked at nine in the evening, passed Crown Point unseen, and hid
themselves as before, ten miles below. It was the seventh of July.
Thirty boats and a schooner passed them, returning towards Canada. On
the next night they rowed fifteen miles farther, and then sent men to
reconnoitre, who reported a schooner at anchor about a mile off. They
were preparing to board her, when two sloops appeared, coming up the
lake at but a short distance from the land. They gave them a volley, and
called on them to surrender; but the crews put off in boats and made
for the opposite shore. They followed and seized them. Out of twelve men
their fire had killed three and wounded two, one of whom, says Rogers in
his report, "could not march, therefore we put an end to him, to prevent
discovery."[460] They sank the vessels, which were laden with wine,
brandy, and flour, hid their boats on the west shore, and returned on
foot with their prisoners.[461]

[Footnote 460: _Report of Rogers to Sir William Johnson, July, 1756._
This incident is suppressed in the printed _Journals_, which merely say
that the man "soon died."]

[Footnote 461: _Rogers, Journals, 20. Shirley to Fox, 26 July, 1756._
"This afternoon Capt. Rogers came down with 4 scalps and 8 prisoners
which he took on Lake Champlain, between 20 and 30 miles beyond Crown
Point." _Surgeon Williams to his Wife, 16 July_, 1756.]

Some weeks after, Rogers returned to the place where he had left the
boats, embarked in them, reconnoitred the lake nearly to St. John, hid
them again eight miles north of Crown Point, took three prisoners near
that post, and carried them to Fort William Henry. In the next month the
French found several English boats in a small cove north of Crown Point.
Bougainville propounds five different hypotheses to account for their
being there; and exploring parties were sent out in the vain attempt to
find some water passage by which they could have reached the spot
without passing under the guns of two French forts.[462]

[Footnote 462: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

The French, on their side, still kept their war-parties in motion, and
Vaudreuil faithfully chronicled in his despatches every English scalp
they brought in. He believed in Indians, and sent them to Ticonderoga in
numbers that were sometimes embarrassing. Even Pottawattamies from Lake
Michigan were prowling about Winslow's camp and silently killing his
sentinels with arrows, while their "medicine men" remained at
Ticonderoga practising sorcery and divination to aid the warriors or
learn how it fared with them. Bougainville writes in his Journal on the
fifteenth of October: "Yesterday the old Pottawattamies who have stayed
here 'made medicine' to get news of their brethren. The lodge trembled,
the sorcerer sweated drops of blood, and the devil came at last and told
him that the warriors would come back with scalps and prisoners. A
sorcerer in the medicine lodge is exactly like the Pythoness on the
tripod or the witch Canidia invoking the shades." The diviner was not
wholly at fault. Three days after, the warriors came back with a

[Footnote 463: This kind of divination was practised by Algonkin tribes
from the earliest times.]

Till November, the hostile forces continued to watch each other from the
opposite ends of Lake George. Loudon repeated his orders to Winslow to
keep the defensive, and wrote sarcastically to the Colonial Minister: "I
think I shall be able to prevent the provincials doing anything very
rash, without their having it in their power to talk in the language of
this country that they could have taken all Canada if they had not been
prevented by the King's servants." Winslow tried to console himself for
the failure of the campaign, and wrote in his odd English to Shirley:
"Am sorry that this years' performance has not succeeded as was
intended; have only to say I pushed things to the utmost of my power to
have been sooner in motion, which was the only thing that should have
carried us to Crown Point; and though I am sensible that we are doing
our duty in acting on the defensive, yet it makes no _eclate_ [_sic_],
and answers to little purpose in the eyes of my constituents."

On the first of the month the French began to move off towards Canada,
and before many days Ticonderoga was left in the keeping of five or six
companies.[464] Winslow's men followed their example. Major Eyre, with
four hundred regulars, took possession of Fort William Henry, and the
provincials marched for home, their ranks thinned by camp diseases and
small-pox.[465] In Canada the regulars were quartered on the
inhabitants, who took the infliction as a matter of course. In the
English provinces the question was not so simple. Most of the British
troops were assigned to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston; and Loudon
demanded free quarters for them, according to usage then prevailing in
England during war. Nor was the demand in itself unreasonable, seeing
that the troops were sent over to fight the battles of the colonies. In
Philadelphia lodgings were given them in the public-houses, which,
however, could not hold them all. A long dispute followed between the
Governor, who seconded Loudon's demand, and the Assembly, during which
about half the soldiers lay on straw in outhouses and sheds till near
midwinter, many sickening, and some dying from exposure. Loudon grew
furious, and threatened, if shelter were not provided, to send Webb with
another regiment and billet the whole on the inhabitants; on which the
Assembly yielded, and quarters were found.[466]

[Footnote 464: Bougainville, _Journal_. Malartic, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 465: _Letter and Order Books of Winslow. Winslow to Halifax,
30 Dec. 1756._]

[Footnote 466: _Loudon to Denny, 28 Oct. 1756. Colonial Records of Pa_.,
VII. 358-380. _Loudon to Pitt, 10 March, 1757. Notice of Colonel
Bouquet_, in _Pennsylvania Magazine_, III. 124. _The Conduct of a Noble
Commander in America impartially reviewed_ (1758).]

In New York the privates were quartered in barracks, but the officers
were left to find lodging for themselves. Loudon demanded that provision
should be made for them also. The city council hesitated, afraid of
incensing the people if they complied. Cruger, the mayor, came to
remonstrate. "God damn my blood!" replied the Earl; "if you do not
billet my officers upon free quarters this day, I'll order here all the
troops in North America, and billet them myself upon this city." Being
no respecter of persons, at least in the provinces, he began with Oliver
Delancey, brother of the late acting Governor, and sent six soldiers to
lodge under his roof. Delancey swore at the unwelcome guests, on which
Loudon sent him six more. A subscription was then raised among the
citizens, and the required quarters were provided.[467] In Boston there
was for the present less trouble. The troops were lodged in the barracks
of Castle William, and furnished with blankets, cooking utensils, and
other necessaries.[468]

[Footnote 467: Smith, _Hist. of N.Y._, Part II. 242. _William Carry to
Johnson, 15 Jan. 1757_, in Stone, _Life of Sir William Johnson_, II. 24,
_note. Loudon to Hardy, 21 Nov. 1756._]

[Footnote 468: Massachusetts Archives, LXXVI. 153.]

Major Eyre and his soldiers, in their wilderness exile by the borders of
Lake George, whiled the winter away with few other excitements than the
evening howl of wolves from the frozen mountains, or some nocturnal
savage shooting at a sentinel from behind a stump on the moonlit fields
of snow. A livelier incident at last broke the monotony of their lives.
In the middle of January Rogers came with his rangers from Fort Edward,
bound on a scouting party towards Crown Point. They spent two days at
Fort William Henry in making snow-shoes and other preparation, and set
out on the seventeenth. Captain Spikeman was second in command, with
Lieutenants Stark and Kennedy, several other subalterns, and two
gentlemen volunteers enamoured of adventure. They marched down the
frozen lake and encamped at the Narrows. Some of them, unaccustomed to
snow-shoes, had become unfit for travel, and were sent back, thus
reducing the number to seventy-four. In the morning they marched again,
by icicled rocks and ice-bound waterfalls, mountains gray with naked
woods and fir-trees bowed down with snow. On the nineteenth they reached
the west shore, about four miles south of Rogers Rock, marched west of
north eight miles, and bivouacked among the mountains. On the next
morning they changed their course, marched east of north all day, passed
Ticonderoga undiscovered, and stopped at night some five miles beyond
it. The weather was changing, and rain was coming on. They scraped away
the snow with their snow-shoes, piled in it a bank around them, made
beds of spruce-boughs, built fires, and lay down to sleep, while the
sentinels kept watch in the outer gloom. In the morning there was a
drizzling rain, and the softened snow stuck to their snow-shoes. They
marched eastward three miles through the dripping forest, til they
reached the banks of Lake Champlain, near what is now called Five Mile
Point, and presently saw a sledge, drawn by horses, moving on the ice
from Ticonderoga towards Crown Point. Rogers sent Stark along the shore
to the left to head it off, while he with another party, covered by the
woods, moved in the opposite direction to stop its retreat. He soon saw
eight or ten more sledges following the first, and sent a messenger to
prevent Stark from showing himself too soon; but Stark was already on
the ice.

All the sledges turned back in hot haste. The rangers ran in pursuit and
captured three of them, with seven men and six horses, while the rest
escaped to Ticonderoga. The prisoners, being separately examined, told
an ominous tale. There were three hundred and fifty regulars at
Ticonderoga; two hundred Canadians and forty-five Indians had lately
arrived there, and more Indians were expected that evening,--all
destined to waylay the communications between the English forts, and all
prepared to march at a moment's notice. The rangers were now in great
peril. The fugitives would give warning of their presence, and the
French and Indians, in overwhelming force, would no doubt cut off their

Rogers at once ordered his men to return to their last night's
encampment, rekindle the fires, and dry their guns, which were wet by
the rain of the morning. Then they marched southward in single file
through the snow-encumbered forest, Rogers and Kennedy in the front,
Spikeman in the centre, and Stark in the rear. In this order they moved
on over broken and difficult ground till two in the afternoon, when they
came upon a valley, or hollow, scarcely a musket-shot wide, which ran
across their line of march, and, like all the rest of the country, was
buried in thick woods. The front of the line had descended the first
hill, and was mounting that on the farther side, when the foremost men
heard a low clicking sound, like the cocking of a great number of guns;
and in an instant a furious volley blazed out of the bushes on the ridge
above them. Kennedy was killed outright, as also was Gardner, one of the
volunteers. Rogers was grazed in the head by a bullet, and others were
disabled or hurt. The rest returned the fire, while a swarm of French
and Indians rushed upon them from the ridge and the slopes on either
hand, killing several more, Spikeman among the rest, and capturing
others. The rangers fell back across the hollow and regained the hill
they had just descended. Stark with the rear, who were at the top when
the fray began, now kept the assailants in check by a brisk fire till
their comrades joined them. Then the whole party, spreading themselves
among the trees that covered the declivity, stubbornly held their ground
and beat back the French in repeated attempts to dislodge them. As the
assailants were more than two to one, what Rogers had most to dread was
a movement to outflank him and get into his rear. This they tried twice,
and were twice repulsed by a party held in reserve for the purpose. The
fight lasted several hours, during which there was much talk between the
combatants. The French called out that it was a pity so many brave men
should be lost, that large reinforcements were expected every moment,
and that the rangers would then be cut to pieces without mercy; whereas
if they surrendered at once they should be treated with the utmost
kindness. They called to Rogers by name, and expressed great esteem for
him. Neither threats nor promises had any effect, and the firing went on
till darkness stopped it. Towards evening Rogers was shot through the
wrist; and one of the men, John Shute, used to tell in his old age how
he saw another ranger trying to bind the captain's wound with the ribbon
of his own queue.

As Ticonderoga was but three miles off, it was destruction to stay where
they were; and they withdrew under cover of night, reduced to
forty-eight effective and six wounded men. Fourteen had been killed, and
six captured. Those that were left reached Lake George in the morning,
and Stark, with two followers, pushed on in advance to bring a sledge
for the wounded. The rest made their way to the Narrows, where they
encamped, and presently descried a small dark object on the ice far
behind them. It proved to be one of their own number, Sergeant Joshua
Martin, who had received a severe wound in the fight, and was left for
dead; but by desperate efforts had followed on their tracks, and was now
brought to camp in a state of exhaustion. He recovered, and lived to an
advanced age. The sledge sent by Stark came in the morning, and the
whole party soon reached the fort. Abercromby, on hearing of the affair,
sent them a letter of thanks for gallant conduct.

Rogers reckons the number of his assailants at about two hundred and
fifty in all. Vaudreuil says that they consisted of eighty-nine regulars
and ninety Canadians and Indians. With his usual boastful exaggeration,
he declares that forty English were left dead on the field, and that
only three reached Fort William Henry alive. He says that the fight was
extremely hot and obstinate, and admits that the French lost
thirty-seven killed and wounded. Rogers makes the number much greater.
That it was considerable is certain, as Lusignan, commandant at
Ticonderoga, wrote immediately for reinforcements.[469]

[Footnote 469: Rogers, _Journals_, 38-44. Caleb Stark, _Memoir and
Correspondence of John Stark_, 18, 412. _Return of Killed, Wounded, and
Missing in the Action near Ticonderoga, Jan. 1757_; all the names are
here given. James Abercromby, aide-de-camp to his uncle, General
Abercromby, wrote to Rogers from Albany: "You cannot imagine how all
ranks of people here are pleased with your conduct and your men's

The accounts of the French writers differ from each other, but agree in
placing the English force at from seventy to eighty, and their own much
higher. The principal report is that of _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 19
Avril, 1757_ (his second letter of this date). Bougainville, Montcalm,
Malartic, and Montreuil all speak of the affair, placing the English
loss much higher than is shown by the returns. The story, repeated in
most of the French narratives, that only three of the rangers reached
Fort William Henry, seems to have arisen from the fact that Stark with
two men went thither in advance of the rest. As regards the antecedents
of the combat, the French and English accounts agree.]

The effects of his wound and an attack of small-pox kept Rogers quiet
for a time. Meanwhile the winter dragged slowly away, and the ice of
Lake George, cracking with change of temperature, uttered its strange
cry of agony, heralding that dismal season when winter begins to relax
its grip, but spring still holds aloof; when the sap stirs in the
sugar-maples, but the buds refuse to swell, and even the catkins of the
willows will not burst their brown integuments; when the forest is
patched with snow, though on its sunny slopes one hears in the stillness
the whisper of trickling waters that ooze from the half-thawed soil and
saturated beds of fallen leaves; when clouds hang low on the darkened
mountains, and cold mists entangle themselves in the tops of the pines;
now a dull rain, now a sharp morning frost, and now a storm of snow
powdering the waste, and wrapping it again in the pall of winter.

In this cheerless season, on St. Patrick's Day, the seventeenth of
March, the Irish soldiers who formed a part of the garrison of Fort
William Henry were paying homage to their patron saint in libations of
heretic rum, the product of New England stills; and it is said that John
Stark's rangers forgot theological differences in their zeal to share
the festivity. The story adds that they were restrained by their
commander, and that their enforced sobriety proved the saving of the
fort. This may be doubted; for without counting the English soldiers of
the garrison who had no special call to be drunk that day, the fort was
in no danger till twenty-four hours after, when the revellers had had
time to rally from their pious carouse. Whether rangers or British
soldiers, it is certain that watchmen were on the alert during the night
between the eighteenth and nineteenth, and that towards one in the
morning they heard a sound of axes far down the lake, followed by the
faint glow of a distant fire. The inference was plain, that an enemy was
there, and that the necessity of warming himself had overcome his
caution. Then all was still for some two hours, when, listening in the
pitchy darkness, the watchers heard the footsteps of a great body of men
approaching on the ice, which at the time was bare of snow. The garrison
were at their posts, and all the cannon on the side towards the lake
vomited grape and round-shot in the direction of the sound, which
thereafter was heard no more.

Those who made it were a detachment, called by Vaudreuil an army, sent
by him to seize the English fort. Shirley had planned a similar stroke
against Ticonderoga a year before; but the provincial levies had come in
so slowly, and the ice had broken up so soon, that the scheme was
abandoned. Vaudreuil was more fortunate. The whole force, regulars,
Canadians, and Indians, was ready to his hand. No pains were spared in
equipping them. Overcoats, blankets, bear-skins to sleep on, tarpaulins
to sleep under, spare moccasons, spare mittens, kettles, axes, needles,
awls, flint and steel, and many miscellaneous articles were provided, to
be dragged by the men on light Indian sledges, along with provisions for
twelve days. The cost of the expedition is set at a million francs,
answering to more than as many dollars of the present time. To the
disgust of the officers from France, the Governor named his brother
Rigaud for the chief command; and before the end of February the whole
party was on its march along the ice of Lake Champlain. They rested
nearly a week at Ticonderoga, where no less than three hundred short
scaling-ladders, so constructed that two or more could be joined in one,
had been made for them; and here, too, they received a reinforcement,
which raised their number to sixteen hundred. Then, marching three days
along Lake George, they neared the fort on the evening of the
eighteenth, and prepared for a general assault before daybreak.

The garrison, including rangers, consisted of three hundred and
forty-six effective men.[470] The fort was not strong, and a resolute
assault by numbers so superior must, it seems, have overpowered the
defenders; but the Canadians and Indians who composed most of the
attacking force were not suited for such work; and, disappointed in his
hope of a surprise, Rigaud withdrew them at daybreak, after trying in
vain to burn the buildings outside. A few hours after, the whole body
reappeared, filing off to surround the fort, on which they kept up a
brisk but harmless fire of musketry. In the night they were heard again
on the ice, approaching as if for an assault; and the cannon, firing
towards the sound, again drove them back. There was silence for a while,
till tongues of flame lighted up the gloom, and two sloops, ice-bound in
the lake, and a large number of bateaux on the shore were seen to be on
fire. A party sallied to save them; but it was too late. In the morning
they were all consumed, and the enemy had vanished.

[Footnote 470: _Strength of the Garrison of Fort William Henry when the
Enemy came before it_, enclosed in the letter of _Major Eyre to Loudon,
26 March, 1757_. There were also one hundred and twenty-eight invalids.]

It was Sunday, the twentieth. Everything was quiet till noon, when the
French filed out of the woods and marched across the ice in procession,
ostentatiously carrying their scaling-ladders, and showing themselves to
the best effect. They stopped at a safe distance, fronting towards the
fort, and several of them advanced, waving a red flag. An officer with a
few men went to meet them, and returned bringing Le Mercier, chief of
the Canadian artillery, who, being led blindfold into the fort,
announced himself as bearer of a message from Rigaud. He was conducted
to the room of Major Eyre, where all the British officers were
assembled; and, after mutual compliments, he invited them to give up the
place peaceably, promising the most favorable terms, and threatening a
general assault and massacre in case of refusal. Eyre said that he
should defend himself to the last; and the envoy, again blindfolded, was
led back to whence he came.

The whole French force now advanced as if to storm the works, and the
garrison prepared to receive them. Nothing came of it but a fusillade,
to which the British made no reply. At night the French were heard
advancing again, and each man nerved himself for the crisis. The real
attack, however, was not against the fort, but against the buildings
outside, which consisted of several storehouses, a hospital, a saw-mill,
and the huts of the rangers, besides a sloop on the stocks and piles of
planks and cord-wood. Covered by the night, the assailants crept up with
fagots of resinous sticks, placed them against the farther side of the
buildings, kindled them, and escaped before the flame rose; while the
garrison, straining their ears in the thick darkness, fired wherever
they heard a sound. Before morning all around them was in a blaze, and
they had much ado to save the fort barracks from the shower of burning
cinders. At ten o'clock the fires had subsided, and a thick fall of snow
began, filling the air with a restless chaos of large moist flakes. This
lasted all day and all the next night, till the ground and the ice were
covered to a depth of three feet and more. The French lay close in their
camps till a little before dawn on Tuesday morning, when twenty
volunteers from the regulars made a bold attempt to burn the sloop on
the stocks, with several storehouses and other structures, and several
hundred scows and whaleboats which had thus far escaped. They were only
in part successful; but they fired the sloop and some buildings near it,
and stood far out on the ice watching the flaming vessel, a superb
bonfire amid the wilderness of snow. The spectacle cost the volunteers a
fourth of their number killed and wounded.

On Wednesday morning the sun rose bright on a scene of wintry splendor,
and the frozen lake was dotted with Rigaud's retreating followers
toiling towards Canada on snow-shoes. Before they reached it many of
them were blinded for a while by the insufferable glare, and their
comrades led them homewards by the hand.[471]

[Footnote 471: _Eyre to Loudon, 24 March, 1757. Ibid., 25 March_,
enclosed in Loudon's despatch of 25 April, 1757. _Message of Rigaud to
Major Eyre, 20 March, 1757. Letter from Fort William Henry, 26 March,
1757_, in _Boston Gazette_, No. 106, and _Boston Evening Post_, No.
1,128. _Abstract of Letters from Albany_, in _Boston News Letter_, No.
2,860. Caleb Stark, _Memoir and Correspondence of John Stark_, 22, a
curious mixture of truth and error. _Relation de la Campagne sur le Lac
St. Sacrement pendant l'Hiver, 1757._ Bougainville, _Journal_. Malartic,
_Journal. Montcalm au Ministre, 24 Avril, 1757. Montreuil au Ministre,
23 Avril, 1757. Montcalm à sa Mère, 1 Avril, 1757. Mémoires sur le
Canada, 1749-1760._

The French loss in killed and wounded is set by Montcalm at eleven. That
of the English was seven, slightly wounded, chiefly in sorties. They
took three prisoners. Stark was touched by a bullet, for the only time
in his adventurous life.]

Chapter 14


Montcalm and Vaudreuil

Spring came at last, and the Dutch burghers of Albany heard, faint from
the far height, the clamor of the wild-fowl, streaming in long files
northward to their summer home. As the aerial travellers winged their
way, the seat of war lay spread beneath them like a map. First the blue
Hudson, slumbering among its forests, with the forts along its banks,
Half-Moon, Stillwater, Saratoga, and the geometric lines and earthen
mounds of Fort Edward. Then a broad belt of dingy evergreen; and beyond,
released from wintry fetters, the glistening breast of Lake George, with
Fort William Henry at its side, amid charred ruins and a desolation of
prostrate forests. Hence the lake stretched northward, like some broad
river, trenched between mountain ranges still leafless and gray. Then
they looked down on Ticonderoga, with the flag of the Bourbons, like a
flickering white speck, waving on its ramparts; and next on Crown Point
with its tower of stone. Lake Champlain now spread before them, widening
as they flew: on the left, the mountain wilderness of the Adirondacks,
like a stormy sea congealed; on the right, the long procession of the
Green Mountains; and, far beyond, on the dim verge of the eastern sky,
the White Mountains throned in savage solitude. They passed over the
bastioned square of Fort St. John, Fort Chambly guarding the rapids of
the Richelieu, and the broad belt of the St. Lawrence, with Montreal
seated on its bank. Here we leave them, to build their nests and hatch
their brood among the fens of the lonely North.

Montreal, the military heart of Canada, was in the past winter its
social centre also, where were gathered conspicuous representatives both
of Old France and of New; not men only, but women. It was a sparkling
fragment of the reign of Louis XV. dropped into the American wilderness.
Montcalm was here with his staff and his chief officers, now pondering
schemes of war, and now turning in thought to his beloved Château of
Candiac, his mother, children, and wife, to whom he sent letters with
every opportunity. To his wife he writes: "Think of me affectionately;
give love to my girls. I hope next year I may be with you all. I love
you tenderly, dearest." He says that he has sent her a packet of
marten-skins for a muff, "and another time I shall send some to our
daughter; but I should like better to bring them myself." Of this eldest
daughter he writes in reply to a letter of domestic news from Madame de
Montcalm: "The new gown with blonde trimmings must be becoming, for she
is pretty." Again, "There is not an hour in the day when I do not think
of you, my mother and my children." He had the tastes of a country
gentleman, and was eager to know all that was passing on his estate.
Before leaving home he had set up a mill to grind olives for oil, and
was well pleased to hear of its prosperity. "It seems to be a good
thing, which pleases me very much. Bougainville and I talk a great deal
about the oil-mill." Some time after, when the King sent him the coveted
decoration of the _cordon rouge_, he informed Madame de Montcalm of the
honor done him, and added: "But I think I am better pleased with what
you tell me of the success of my oil-mill."

To his mother he writes of his absorbing occupations, and says: "You can
tell my dearest that I have no time to occupy myself with the ladies,
even if I wished to." Nevertheless he now and then found leisure for
some little solace in his banishment; for he writes to Bourlamaque,
whom he had left at Quebec, after a visit which he had himself made
there early in the winter: "I am glad you sometimes speak of me to the
three ladies in the Rue du Parloir; and I am flattered by their
remembrance, especially by that of one of them, in whom I find at
certain moments too much wit and too many charms for my tranquillity."
These ladies of the Rue du Parloir are several times mentioned in his
familiar correspondence with Bourlamaque.

His station obliged him to maintain a high standard of living, to his
great financial detriment, for Canadian prices were inordinate. "I must
live creditably, and so I do; sixteen persons at table every day. Once a
fortnight I dine with the Governor-General and with the Chevalier de
Lévis, who lives well too. He has given three grand balls. As for me, up
to Lent I gave, besides dinners, great suppers, with ladies, three times
a week. They lasted till two in the morning; and then there was dancing,
to which company came uninvited, but sure of a welcome from those who
had been at supper. It is very expensive, not very amusing, and often
tedious. At Quebec, where we spent a month, I gave receptions or
parties, often at the Intendant's house. I like my gallant Chevalier de
Lévis very much. Bourlamaque was a good choice; he is steady and cool,
with good parts. Bougainville has talent, a warm head, and warm heart;
he will ripen in time. Write to Madame Cornier that I like her husband;
he is perfectly well, and as impatient for peace as I am. Love to my
daughters, and all affection and respect to my mother. I live only in
the hope of joining you all again. Nevertheless, Montreal is as good a
place as Alais even in time of peace, and better now, because the
Government is here; for the Marquis de Vaudreuil, like me, spent only a
month at Quebec. As for Quebec, it is as good as the best cities of
France, except ten or so. Clear sky, bright sun; neither spring nor
autumn, only summer and winter. July, August, and September, hot as in
Languedoc: winter insupportable; one must keep always indoors. The
ladies _spirituelles, galantes, dévotes_. Gambling at Quebec, dancing
and conversation at Montreal. My friends the Indians, who are often
unbearable, and whom I treat with perfect tranquillity and patience, are
fond of me. If I were not a sort of general, though very subordinate to
the Governor, I could gossip about the plans of the campaign, which it
is likely will begin on the tenth or fifteenth of May. I worked at the
plan of the last affair [_Rigaud's expedition to Fort William Henry_],
which might have turned out better, though good as it was. I wanted
only eight hundred men. If I had had my way, Monsieur de Lévis or
Monsieur de Bougainville would have had charge of it. However, the thing
was all right, and in good hands. The Governor, who is extremely civil
to me, gave it to his brother; he thought him more used to winter
marches. Adieu, my heart; I adore and love you!"

To meet his manifold social needs, he sends to his wife orders for
prunes, olives, anchovies, muscat wine, capers, sausages, confectionery,
cloth for liveries, and many other such items; also for scent-bags of
two kinds, and perfumed pomatum for presents; closing in postscript with
an injunction not to forget a dozen pint-bottles of English lavender.
Some months after, he writes to Madame de Saint-Véran: "I have got
everything that was sent me from Montpellier except the sausages. I have
lost a third of what was sent from Bordeaux. The English captured it on
board the ship called 'La Superbe;' and I have reason to fear that
everything sent from Paris is lost on board 'La Liberté.' I am running
into debt here. Pshaw! I must live. I do not worry myself. Best love to
you, my mother."

When Rigaud was about to march with his detachment against Fort William
Henry, Montcalm went over to La Prairie to see them. "I reviewed them,"
he writes to Bourlamaque, "and gave the officers a dinner, which, if
anybody else had given it, I should have said was a grand affair. There
were two tables, for thirty-six persons in all. On Wednesday there was
an Assembly at Madame Varin's; on Friday the Chevalier de Lévis gave a
ball. He invited sixty-five ladies, and got only thirty, with a great
crowd of men. Rooms well lighted, excellent order, excellent service,
plenty of refreshments of every sort all through the night; and the
company stayed till seven in the morning. As for me, I went to bed
early. I had had that day eight ladies at a supper given to Madame
Varin. To-morrow I shall have half-a-dozen at another supper, given to I
don't know whom, but incline to think it will be La Roche Beaucour. The
gallant Chevalier is to give us still another ball."

Lent put a check on these festivities. "To-morrow," he tells
Bourlamaque, "I shall throw myself into devotion with might and main (_à
corps perdu_). It will be easier for me to detach myself from the world
and turn heavenward here at Montreal than it would be at Quebec." And,
some time after, "Bougainville spent Monday delightfully at Isle Ste.
Hélène, and Tuesday devoutly with the Sulpitian Fathers at the Mountain.
I was there myself at four o'clock, and did them the civility to sup in
their refectory at a quarter before six."

In May there was a complete revival of social pleasures, and Montcalm
wrote to Bourlamaque: "Madame de Beaubassin's supper was very gay. There
were toasts to the Rue du Parloir and to the General. To-day I must give
a dinner to Madame de Saint-Ours, which will be a little more serious.
Péan is gone to establish himself at La Chine, and will come back with
La Barolon, who goes thither with a husband of hers, bound to the Ohio
with Villejoin and Louvigny. The Chevalier de Lévis amuses himself very
much here. He and his friends spend all their time with Madame de

Under these gayeties and gallantries there were bitter heart-burnings.
Montcalm hints at some of them in a letter to Bourlamaque, written at
the time of the expedition to Fort William Henry, which, in the words of
Montcalm, who would have preferred another commander, the Governor had
ordered to march "under the banners of brother Rigaud." "After he got my
letter on Sunday evening," says the disappointed General, "Monsieur de
Vaudreuil sent me his secretary with the instructions he had given his
brother," which he had hitherto withheld. "This gave rise after dinner
to a long conversation with him; and I hope for the good of the service
that his future conduct will prove the truth of his words. I spoke to
him with frankness and firmness of the necessity I was under of
communicating to him my reflections; but I did not name any of the
persons who, to gain his good graces, busy themselves with destroying
his confidence in me. I told him that he would always find me disposed
to aid in measures tending to our success, even should his views, which
always ought to prevail, be different from mine; but that I dared
flatter myself that he would henceforward communicate his plans to me
sooner; for, though his knowledge of the country gave greater weight to
his opinions, he might rest satisfied that I should second him in
methods and details. This explanation passed off becomingly enough, and
ended with a proposal to dine on a moose's nose [_an estimed morsel_]
the day after to-morrow. I burn your letters, Monsieur, and I beg you to
do the same with mine, after making a note of anything you may want to
keep." But Bourlamaque kept all the letters, and bound them in a volume,
which still exists.[472]

[Footnote 472: The preceding extracts are from _Lettres de Montcalm à
Madame de Saint-Véran, sa Mère, et à Madame de Montcalm, sa Femme_,
1756, 1757 (_Papiers de Famille_); and _Lettres de Montcalm à
Bourlamaque_, 1757. See Appendix E.]

Montcalm was not at this time fully aware of the feeling of Vaudreuil
towards him. The touchy egotism of the Governor and his jealous
attachment to the colony led him to claim for himself and the Canadians
the merit of every achievement and to deny it to the French troops and
their general. Before the capture of Oswego was known, he wrote to the
naval minister that Montcalm would never have dared attack that place if
he had not encouraged him and answered his timid objections.[473] "I am
confident that I shall reduce it," he adds; "my expedition is sure to
succeed if Monsieur de Montcalm follows the directions I have given
him." When the good news came he immediately wrote again, declaring that
the victory was due to his brother Rigaud and the Canadians, who, he
says, had been ill-used by the General, and not allowed either to enter
the fort or share the plunder, any more than the Indians, who were so
angry at the treatment they had met that he had great difficulty in
appeasing them. He hints that the success was generally ascribed to him.
"There has been a great deal of talk here; but I will not do myself the
honor of repeating it to you, especially as it relates to myself. I know
how to do violence to my self-love. The measures I took assured our
victory, in spite of opposition. If I had been less vigilant and firm,
Oswego would still be in the hands of the English. I cannot sufficiently
congratulate myself on the zeal which my brother and the Canadians and
Indians showed on this occasion; for without them my orders would have
been given in vain. The hopes of His Britannic Majesty have vanished,
and will hardly revive again; for I shall take care to crush them in the

[Footnote 473: _Vaudreuil au Ministre de la Marine_, 13 _Août_, 1756.]

[Footnote 474: _Vaudreuil au Ministre de la Marine_, 1 _Sept._ 1756.]

The pronouns "I" and "my" recur with monotonous frequency in his
correspondence. "I have laid waste all the British provinces." "By
promptly uniting my forces at Carillon, I have kept General Loudon in
check, though he had at his disposal an army of about twenty thousand
men;"[475] and so without end, in all varieties of repetition. It is no
less characteristic that he here assigns to his enemies double their
actual force.

[Footnote 475: _Ibid._, 6 _Nov._ 1756.]

He has the faintest of praise for the troops from France. "They are
generally good, but thus far they have not absolutely distinguished
themselves. I do justice to the firmness they showed at Oswego; but it
was only the colony troops, Canadians, and Indians who attacked the
forts. Our artillery was directed by the Chevalier Le Mercier and M.
Frémont [_colony officers_], and was served by our colony troops and our
militia. The officers from France are more inclined to defence than
attack. Far from spending the least thing here, they lay by their pay.
They saved the money allowed them for refreshments, and had it in pocket
at the end of the campaign. They get a profit, too, out of their
provisions, by having certificates made under borrowed names, so that
they can draw cash for them on their return. It is the same with the
soldiers, who also sell their provisions to the King and get paid for
them. In conjunction with M. Bigot, I labor to remedy all these abuses;
and the rules we have established have saved the King a considerable
expense. M. de Montcalm has complained very much of these rules." The
Intendant Bigot, who here appears as a reformer, was the centre of a
monstrous system of public fraud and robbery; while the charges against
the French officers are unsupported. Vaudreuil, who never loses an
opportunity of disparaging them, proceeds thus:--

"The troops from France are not on very good terms with our Canadians.
What can the soldiers think of them when they see their officers
threaten them with sticks or swords? The Canadians are obliged to carry
these gentry on their shoulders, through the cold water, over rocks that
cut their feet; and if they make a false step they are abused. Can
anything be harder? Finally, Monsieur de Montcalm is so quick-tempered
that he goes to the length of striking the Canadians. How can he
restrain his officers when he cannot restrain himself? Could any example
be more contagious? This is the way our Canadians are treated. They
deserve something better." He then enlarges on their zeal, hardihood,
and bravery, and adds that nothing but their blind submission to his
commands prevents many of them from showing resentment at the usage they
had to endure. The Indians, he goes on to say, are not so gentle and
yielding; and but for his brother Rigaud and himself, might have gone
off in a rage. "After the campaign of Oswego they did not hesitate to
tell me that they would go wherever I sent them, provided I did not put
them under the orders of M. de Montcalm. They told me positively that
they could not bear his quick temper. I shall always maintain the most
perfect union and understanding with M. le Marquis de Montcalm, but I
shall be forced to take measures which will assure to our Canadians and
Indians treatment such as their zeal and services merit."[476]

[Footnote 476: _Vaudreuil au Ministre de la Marine, 23 Oct. 1756_. The
above extracts are somewhat condensed in the translation. See the letter
in Dussieux, 279.]

To the subject of his complaints Vaudreuil used a different language;
for Montcalm says, after mentioning that he had had occasion to punish
some of the Canadians at Oswego: "I must do Monsieur de Vaudreuil the
justice to say that he approved my proceedings." He treated the General
with the blandest politeness. "He is a good-natured man," continues
Montcalm, "mild, with no character of his own, surrounded by people who
try to destroy all his confidence in the general of the troops from
France. I am praised excessively, in order to make him jealous, excite
his Canadian prejudices, and prevent him from dealing with me frankly,
or adopting my views when he can help it."[477] He elsewhere complains
that Vaudreuil gave to both him and Lévis orders couched in such
equivocal terms that he could throw the blame on them in case of
reverse.[478] Montcalm liked the militia no better than the Governor
liked the regulars. "I have used them with good effect, though not in
places exposed to the enemy's fire. They know neither discipline nor
subordination, and think themselves in all respects the first nation on
earth." He is sure, however, that they like him: "I have gained the
utmost confidence of the Canadians and Indians; and in the eyes of the
former, when I travel or visit their camps, I have the air of a tribune
of the people."[479] "The affection of the Indians for me is so strong
that there are moments when it astonishes the Governor."[480] "The
Indians are delighted with me," he says in another letter; "the
Canadians are pleased with me; their officers esteem and fear me, and
would be glad if the French troops and their general could be dispensed
with; and so should I."[481] And he writes to his mother: "The part I
have to play is unique: I am a general-in-chief subordinated; sometimes
with everything to do, and sometimes nothing; I am esteemed, respected,
beloved, envied, hated; I pass for proud, supple, stiff, yielding,
polite, devout, gallant, etc.; and I long for peace."[482]

[Footnote 477: _Montcalm au Ministre de la Guerre, 11 Juillet, 1757._]

[Footnote 478: _Montcalm au Ministre de la Guerre, 1 Nov. 1756._]

[Footnote 479: _Ibid., 18 Sept. 1757._]

[Footnote 480: _Ibid., 4 Nov. 1757._]

[Footnote 481: _Ibid., 28 Août, 1756._]

[Footnote 482: _Montcalm à Madame de Saint-Véran, 23 Sept. 1757._]

The letters of the Governor and those of the General, it will be seen,
contradict each other flatly at several points. Montcalm is sustained by
his friend Bougainville, who says that the Indians had a great liking
for him, and that he "knew how to manage them as well as if he had been
born in their wigwams."[483] And while Vaudreuil complains that the
Canadians are ill-used by Montcalm, Bougainville declares that the
regulars are ill-used by Vaudreuil. "One must be blind not to see that
we are treated as the Spartans treated the Helots." Then he comments on
the jealous reticence of the Governor. "The Marquis de Montcalm has not
the honor of being consulted; and it is generally through public rumor
that he first hears of Monsieur de Vaudreuil's military plans." He calls
the Governor "a timid man, who can neither make a resolution nor keep
one;" and he gives another trait of him, illustrating it, after his
usual way, by a parallel from the classics: "When V. produces an idea he
falls in love with it, as Pygmalion did with his statue. I can forgive
Pygmalion, for what he produced was a masterpiece."[484]

[Footnote 483: _Bougainville à Saint-Laurens, 19 Août, 1757._]

[Footnote 484: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

The exceeding touchiness of the Governor was sorely tried by certain
indiscretions on the part of the General, who in his rapid and vehement
utterances sometimes forgot the rules of prudence. His anger, though not
deep, was extremely impetuous; and it is said that his irritation
against Vaudreuil sometimes found escape in the presence of servants and
soldiers.[485] There was no lack of reporters, and the Governor was told
everything. The breach widened apace, and Canada divided itself into two
camps: that of Vaudreuil with the colony officers, civil and military,
and that of Montcalm with the officers from France. The principal
exception was the Chevalier de Lévis. This brave and able commander had
an easy and adaptable nature, which made him a sort of connecting link
between the two parties. "One should be on good terms with everybody,"
was a maxim which he sometimes expressed, and on which he shaped his
conduct with notable success. The Intendant Bigot also, an adroit and
accomplished person, had the skill to avoid breaking with either side.

[Footnote 485: _Événements de la Guerre en Canada, 1759, 1760._]

But now the season of action was near, and domestic strife must give
place to efforts against the common foe. "God or devil!" Montcalm wrote
to Bourlamaque, "we must do something and risk a fight. If we succeed,
we can, all three of us [_you, Lévis, and I_], ask for promotion. Burn
this letter." The prospects, on the whole, were hopeful. The victory at
Oswego had wrought marvels among the Indians, inspired the faithful,
confirmed the wavering, and daunted the ill-disposed. The whole West was
astir, ready to pour itself again in blood and fire against the English
border; and even the Cherokees and Choctaws, old friends of the British
colonies, seemed on the point of turning against them.[486] The Five
Nations were half won for France. In November a large deputation of them
came to renew the chain of friendship at Montreal. "I have laid Oswego
in ashes," said Vaudreuil; "the English quail before me. Why do you
nourish serpents in your bosom? They mean only to enslave you." The
deputies trampled under foot the medals the English had given them, and
promised the "Devourer of Villages," for so they styled the Governor,
that they would never more lift the hatchet against his children. The
chief difficulty was to get rid of them; for, being clothed and fed at
the expense of the King, they were in no haste to take leave; and
learning that New Year's Day was a time of visits, gifts, and
health-drinking, they declared that they would stay to share its
pleasures; which they did, to their own satisfaction and the annoyance
of those who were forced to entertain them and their squaws.[487] An
active siding with France was to be expected only from the western bands
of the Confederacy. Neutrality alone could be hoped for from the others,
who were too near the English safely to declare against them; while from
one of the tribes, the Mohawks, even neutrality was doubtful.

[Footnote 486: _Vaudreuil au Ministre de la Marine, 19 Avril, 1757_.]

[Footnote 487: _Montcalm au Ministre de la Guerre, 24 Avril, 1757;
Relation de l'Ambassade des Cinq Nations à Montreal, jointe á la lettre
précédente. Procès-verbal de différentes Entrevues entre M. de Vaudreuil
et les Deputés des Nations sauvages du 13 au 30 Déc. 1756. Malartic,
Journal. Montcalm á Madame de Saint-Véran, 1 Avril, 1757_.]

Vaudreuil, while disliking the French regulars, felt that he could not
dispense with them, and had asked for a reinforcement. His request was
granted; and the Colonial Minister informed him that twenty-four hundred
men had been ordered to Canada to strengthen the colony regulars and the
battalions of Montcalm.[488] This, according to the estimate of the
Minister, would raise the regular force in Canada to sixty-six hundred
rank and file.[489] The announcement was followed by another, less
agreeable. It was to the effect that a formidable squadron was fitting
out in British ports. Was Quebec to be attacked, or Louisbourg?
Louisbourg was beyond reach of succor from Canada; it must rely on its
own strength and on help from France. But so long as Quebec was
threatened, all the troops in the colony must be held ready to defend
it, and the hope of attacking England in her own domains must be
abandoned. Till these doubts were solved, nothing could be done; and
hence great activity in catching prisoners for the sake of news. A few
were brought in, but they knew no more of the matter than the French
themselves; and Vaudreuil and Montcalm rested for a while in suspense.

[Footnote 488: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres, Mars, 1757._]

[Footnote 489: _Ministerial Minute on the Military Force in Canada,
1757,_ in _N.Y. Col. Docs_., X. 523.]

The truth, had they known it, would have gladdened their hearts. The
English preparations were aimed at Louisbourg. In the autumn before,
Loudon, prejudiced against all plans of his predecessor, Shirley,
proposed to the Ministry a scheme of his own, involving a possible
attack on Quebec, but with the reduction of Louisbourg as its immediate
object,--an important object, no doubt, but one that had no direct
bearing on the main question of controlling the interior of the
continent. Pitt, then for a brief space at the head of the Government,
accepted the suggestion, and set himself to executing it; but he was
hampered by opposition, and early in April was forced to resign. Then,
followed a contest of rival claimants to office; and the war against
France was made subordinate to disputes of personal politics. Meanwhile
one Florence Hensey, a spy at London, had informed the French Court that
a great armament was fitting out for America, though he could not tell
its precise destination. Without loss of time three French squadrons
were sent across the Atlantic, with orders to rendezvous at Louisbourg,
the conjectured point of attack.

The English were as tardy as their enemies were prompt. Everything
depended on speed; yet their fleet, under Admiral Holbourne, consisting
of fifteen ships of the line and three frigates, with about five
thousand troops on board, did not get to sea till the fifth of May, when
it made sail for Halifax, where Loudon was to meet it with additional

Loudon had drawn off the best part of the troops from the northern
frontier, and they were now at New York waiting for embarkation. That
the design might be kept secret, he laid an embargo on colonial
shipping,--a measure which exasperated the colonists without answering
its purpose. Now ensued a long delay, during which the troops, the
provincial levies, the transports destined to carry them, and the ships
of war which were to serve as escort, all lay idle. In the interval
Loudon showed great activity in writing despatches and other avocations
more or less proper to a commander, being always busy, without,
according to Franklin, accomplishing anything. One Innis, who had come
with a message from the Governor of Pennsylvania, and had waited above a
fortnight for the General's reply, remarked of him that he was like St.
George on a tavern sign, always on horseback, and never riding on.[490]
Yet nobody longed more than he to reach the rendezvous at Halifax. He
was waiting for news of Holbourne, and he waited in vain. He knew only
that a French fleet had been seen off the coast strong enough to
overpower his escort and sink all his transports.[491] But the season
was growing late; he must act quickly if he was to act at all. He and
Sir Charles Hardy agreed between them that the risk must be run; and on
the twentieth of June the whole force put to sea. They met no enemy, and
entered Halifax harbor on the thirtieth. Holbourne and his fleet had not
yet appeared; but his ships soon came straggling in, and before the
tenth of July all were at anchor before the town. Then there was more
delay. The troops, nearly twelve thousand in all, were landed, and weeks
were spent in drilling them and planting vegetables for their
refreshment. Sir Charles Hay was put under arrest for saying that the
nation's money was spent in sham battles and raising cabbages. Some
attempts were made to learn the state of Louisbourg; and Captain Gorham,
of the rangers, who reconnoitred it from a fishing vessel, brought back
an imperfect report, upon which, after some hesitation, it was resolved
to proceed to the attack. The troops were embarked again, and all was
ready, when, on the fourth of August, a sloop came from Newfoundland,
bringing letters found on board a French vessel lately captured. From
these it appeared that all three of the French squadrons were united in
the harbor of Louisbourg, to the number of twenty-two ships of the line,
besides several frigates, and that the garrison had been increased to a
total force of seven thousand men, ensconced in the strongest fortress
of the continent. So far as concerned the naval force, the account was
true. La Motte, the French admiral, had with him a fleet carrying an
aggregate of thirteen hundred and sixty cannon, anchored in a sheltered
harbor under the guns of the town. Success was now hopeless, and the
costly enterprise was at once abandoned. Loudon with his troops sailed
back for New York, and Admiral Holbourne, who had been joined by four
additional ships, steered for Louisbourg, in hopes that the French fleet
would come out and fight him. He cruised off the port; but La Motte did
not accept the challenge.

[Footnote 490: _Works of Franklin_, I. 219. Franklin intimates that
while Loudon was constantly writing, he rarely sent off despatches. This
is a mistake; there is abundance of them, often tediously long, in the
Public Record Office.]

[Footnote 491: _Loudon to Pitt_, 30 _May_, 1757. He had not learned
Pitt's resignation.]

The elements declared for France. A September gale, of fury rare even on
that tempestuous coast, burst upon the British fleet. "It blew a perfect
hurricane," says the unfortunate Admiral, "and drove us right on shore."
One ship was dashed on the rocks, two leagues from Louisbourg. A
shifting of the wind in the nick of time saved the rest from total
wreck. Nine were dismasted; others threw their cannon into the sea. Not
one was left fit for immediate action; and had La Motte sailed out of
Louisbourg, he would have had them all at his mercy.

Delay, the source of most of the disasters that befell England and her
colonies at this dismal epoch, was the ruin of the Louisbourg
expedition. The greater part of La Motte's fleet reached its destination
a full month before that of Holbourne. Had the reverse taken place, the
fortress must have fallen. As it was, the ill-starred attempt, drawing
off the British forces from the frontier, where they were needed most,
did for France more than she could have done for herself, and gave
Montcalm and Vaudreuil the opportunity to execute a scheme which they
had nursed since the fall of Oswego.[492]

[Footnote 492: _Despatches of Loudon, Feb. to Aug_. 1757. Knox,
_Campaigns in North America, I_. 6-28. Knox was in the expedition.
_Review of Mr. Pitt's Administration_ (London, 1763). _The Conduct of a
Noble Commander in America impartially reviewed_ (London, 1758).
Beatson, _Naval and Military Memoirs_, II. 49-59. _Answer to the Letter
to two Great Men_ (London, 1760). Entick, II. 168, 169. _Holbourne to
Loudon_, 4 _Aug_. 1757. _Holbourne to Pitt, 29 Sept._ 1757. _Ibid_., 30
_Sept_. 1757. _Holbourne to Pownall, 2 Nov._ 1757. Mante, 86, 97.
_Relation du Désastre arrivé à la Flotte Anglaise commandée par l'Amiral
Holbourne_. Chevalier Johnstone, _Campaign of Louisbourg. London
Magazine_, 1757, 514. _Gentleman's Magazine_, 1757, 463, 476. _Ibid_.,
1758, 168-173.

It has been said that Loudon was scared from his task by false reports
of the strength of the French at Louisbourg. This was not the case. The
_Gazette de France_, 621, says that La Motte had twenty-four ships of
war. Bougainville says that as early as the ninth of June there were
twenty-one ships of war, including five frigates, at Louisbourg. To this
the list given by Knox closely answers.]

Chapter 15


Fort William Henry

"I am going on the ninth to sing the war-song at the Lake of Two
Mountains, and on the next day at Saut St. Louis,--a long, tiresome,
ceremony. On the twelfth I am off; and I count on having news to tell
you by the end of this month or the beginning of next." Thus Montcalm
wrote to his wife from Montreal early in July. All doubts had been
solved. Prisoners taken on the Hudson and despatches from Versailles had
made it certain that Loudon was bound to Louisbourg, carrying with him
the best of the troops that had guarded the New York frontier. The time
was come, not only to strike the English on Lake George, but perhaps to
seize Fort Edward and carry terror to Albany itself. Only one difficulty
remained, the want of provisions. Agents were sent to collect corn and
bacon among the inhabitants; the curés and militia captains were ordered
to aid in the work; and enough was presently found to feed twelve
thousand men for a month.[493]

[Footnote 493: Vaudreuil, _Lettres circulates aux Curés et aux
Capitaines de Milice des Paroisses du Gouvernement de Montreal, 16 Juin,

The emissaries of the Governor had been busy all winter among the tribes
of the West and North; and more than a thousand savages, lured by
prospect of gifts, scalps, and plunder, were now encamped at Montreal.
Many of them had never visited a French settlement before. All were
eager to see Montcalm, whose exploit in taking Oswego had inflamed their
imagination; and one day, on a visit of ceremony, an orator from
Michillimackinac addressed the General thus: "We wanted to see this
famous man who tramples the English under his feet. We thought we should
find him so tall that his head would be lost in the clouds. But you are
a little man, my Father. It is when we look into your eyes that we see
the greatness of the pine-tree and the fire of the eagle."[494]

[Footnote 494: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

It remained to muster the Mission Indians settled in or near the limits
of the colony; and it was to this end that Montcalm went to sing the
war-song with the converts of the Two Mountains. Rigaud, Bougainville,
young Longueuil, and others were of the party; and when they landed, the
Indians came down to the shore, their priests at their head, and greeted
the General with a volley of musketry; then received him after dark in
their grand council-lodge, where the circle of wild and savage visages,
half seen in the dim light of a few candles, suggested to Bougainville a
midnight conclave of wizards. He acted vicariously the chief part in the
ceremony. "I sang the war-song in the name of M. de Montcalm, and was
much applauded. It was nothing but these words: 'Let us trample the
English under our feet,' chanted over and over again, in cadence with
the movements of the savages." Then came the war-feast, against which
occasion Montcalm had caused three oxen to be roasted.[495] On the next
day the party went to Caughnawaga, or Saut St. Louis, where the ceremony
was repeated; and Bougainville, who again sang the war-song in the name
of his commander, was requited by adoption into the clan of the Turtle.
Three more oxen were solemnly devoured, and with one voice the warriors
took up the hatchet.

[Footnote 495: Bougainville describes a ceremony in the Mission Church
of the Two Mountains in which warriors and squaws sang in the choir.
Ninety-nine years after, in 1856, I was present at a similar ceremony on
the same spot, and heard the descendants of the same warriors and squaws
sing like their ancestors. Great changes have since taken place at this
old mission.]

Meanwhile troops, Canadians and Indians, were moving by detachments up
Lake Champlain. Fleets of bateaux and canoes followed each other day by
day along the capricious lake, in calm or storm, sunshine or rain, till,
towards the end of July, the whole force was gathered at Ticonderoga,
the base of the intended movement. Bourlamaque had been there since May
with the battalions of Béarn and Royal Roussillon, finishing the fort,
sending out war-parties, and trying to discover the force and designs of
the English at Fort William Henry.

Ticonderoga is a high rocky promontory between Lake Champlain on the
north and the mouth of the outlet of Lake George on the south. Near its
extremity and close to the fort were still encamped the two battalions
under Bourlamaque, while bateaux and canoes were passing incessantly up
the river of the outlet. There were scarcely two miles of navigable
water, at the end of which the stream fell foaming over a high ledge of
rock that barred the way. Here the French were building a saw-mill; and
a wide space had been cleared to form an encampment defended on all
sides by an abattis, within which stood the tents of the battalions of
La Reine, La Sarre, Languedoc, and Guienne, all commanded by Lévis.
Above the cascade the stream circled through the forest in a series of
beautiful rapids, and from the camp of Lévis a road a mile and a half
long had been cut to the navigable water above. At the end of this road
there was another fortified camp, formed of colony regulars, Canadians,
and Indians, under Rigaud. It was scarcely a mile farther to Lake
George, where on the western side there was an outpost, chiefly of
Canadians and Indians; while advanced parties were stationed at Bald
Mountain, now called Rogers Rock, and elsewhere on the lake, to watch
the movements of the English. The various encampments just mentioned
were ranged along a valley extending four miles from Lake Champlain to
Lake George, and bordered by mountains wooded to the top.

Here was gathered a martial population of eight thousand men, including
the brightest civilization and the darkest barbarism: from the
scholar-soldier Montcalm and his no less accomplished aide-de-camp; from
Lévis, conspicuous for graces of person; from a throng of courtly young
officers, who would have seemed out of place in that wilderness had they
not done their work so well in it; from these to the foulest man eating
savage of the uttermost northwest.

Of Indian allies there were nearly two thousand. One of their tribes,
the Iowas, spoke a language which no interpreter understood; and they
all bivouacked where they saw fit: for no man could control them. "I see
no difference," says Bougainville, "in the dress, ornaments, dances, and
songs of the various western nations. They go naked, excepting a strip
of cloth passed through a belt, and paint themselves black, red, blue,
and other colors. Their heads are shaved and adorned with bunches of
feathers, and they wear rings of brass wire in their ears. They wear
beaver-skin blankets, and carry lances, bows and arrows, and quivers
made of the skins of beasts. For the rest they are straight, well made,
and generally very tall. Their religion is brute paganism. I will say it
once for all, one must be the slave of these savages, listen to them day
and night, in council and in private, whenever the fancy takes them, or
whenever a dream, a fit of the vapors, or their perpetual craving for
brandy, gets possession of them; besides which they are always wanting
something for their equipment, arms, or toilet, and the general of the
army must give written orders for the smallest trifle,--an eternal,
wearisome detail, of which one has no idea in Europe."

It was not easy to keep them fed. Rations would be served to them for a
week; they would consume them in three days, and come for more. On one
occasion they took the matter into their own hands, and butchered and
devoured eighteen head of cattle intended for the troops; nor did any
officer dare oppose this "St. Bartholomew of the oxen," as Bougainville
calls it. "Their paradise is to be drunk," says the young officer. Their
paradise was rather a hell; for sometimes, when mad with brandy, they
grappled and tore each other with their teeth like wolves. They were
continually "making medicine," that is, consulting the Manitou, to whom
they hung up offerings, sometimes a dead dog, and sometimes the
belt-cloth which formed their only garment.

The Mission Indians were better allies than these heathen of the west;
and their priests, who followed them to the war, had great influence
over them. They were armed with guns, which they well knew how to use.
Their dress, though savage, was generally decent, and they were not
cannibals; though in other respects they retained all their traditional
ferocity and most of their traditional habits. They held frequent
war-feasts, one of which is described by Roubaud, Jesuit missionary of
the Abenakis of St. Francis, whose flock formed a part of the company

"Imagine," says the father, "a great assembly of savages adorned with
every ornament most suited to disfigure them in European eyes, painted
with vermilion, white, green, yellow, and black made of soot and the
scrapings of pots. A single savage face combines all these different
colors, methodically laid on with the help of a little tallow, which
serves for pomatum. The head is shaved except at the top, where there is
a small tuft, to which are fastened feathers, a few beads of wampum, or
some such trinket. Every part of the head has its ornament. Pendants
hang from the nose and also from the ears, which are split in infancy
and drawn down by weights till they flap at last against the shoulders.
The rest of the equipment answers to this fantastic decoration: a shirt
bedaubed with vermilion, wampum collars, silver bracelets, a large knife
hanging on the breast, moose-skin moccasons, and a belt of various
colors always absurdly combined. The sachems and war-chiefs are
distinguished from the rest: the latter by a gorget, and the former by a
medal, with the King's portrait on one side, and on the other Mars and
Bellona joining hands, with the device, _Virtues et Honor_."

Thus attired, the company sat in two lines facing each other, with
kettles in the middle filled with meat chopped for distribution. To a
dignified silence succeeded songs, sung by several chiefs in succession,
and compared by the narrator to the howling of wolves. Then followed a
speech from the chief orator, highly commended by Roubaud, who could not
help admiring this effort of savage eloquence. "After the harangue," he
continues, "they proceeded to nominate the chiefs who were to take
command. As soon as one was named he rose and took the head of some
animal that had been butchered for the feast. He raised it aloft so that
all the company could see it, and cried: 'Behold the head of the enemy!'
Applause and cries of joy rose from all parts of the assembly. The
chief, with the head in his hand, passed down between the lines, singing
his war-song, bragging of his exploits, taunting and defying the enemy,
and glorifying himself beyond all measure. To hear his self-laudation in
these moments of martial transport one would think him a conquering hero
ready to sweep everything before him. As he passed in front of the other
savages, they would respond by dull broken cries jerked up from the
depths of their stomachs, and accompanied by movements of their bodies
so odd that one must be well used to them to keep countenance. In the
course of his song the chief would utter from time to time some
grotesque witticism; then he would stop, as if pleased with himself, or
rather to listen to the thousand confused cries of applause that greeted
his ears. He kept up his martial promenade as long as he liked the
sport; and when he had had enough, ended by flinging down the head of
the animal with an air of contempt, to show that his warlike appetite
craved meat of another sort."[496] Others followed with similar songs
and pantomime, and the festival was closed at last by ladling out the
meat from the kettles, and devouring it.

[Footnote 496: _Lettre du Père_ ...(Roubaud), _Missionnaire chez les
Abnakis, 21 Oct_. 1757, in _Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses_, VI. 189

Roubaud was one day near the fort, when he saw the shore lined with a
thousand Indians, watching four or five English prisoners, who, with the
war-party that had captured them, were approaching in a boat from the
farther side of the water. Suddenly the whole savage crew broke away
together and ran into the neighboring woods, whence they soon emerged,
yelling diabolically, each armed with a club. The wretched prisoners
were to be forced to "run the gauntlet" which would probably have killed
them. They were saved by the chief who commanded the war-party, and who,
on the persuasion of a French officer, claimed them as his own and
forbade the game; upon which, according to rule in such cases, the rest
abandoned it. On this same day the missionary met troops of Indians
conducting several bands of English prisoners along the road that led
through the forest from the camp of Lévis. Each of the captives was held
by a cord made fast about the neck; and the sweat was starting from
their brows in the extremity of their horror and distress. Roubaud's
tent was at this time in the camp of the Ottawas. He presently saw a
large number of them squatted about a fire, before which meat was
roasting on sticks stuck in the ground; and, approaching, he saw that it
was the flesh of an Englishman, other parts of which were boiling in a
kettle, while near by sat eight or ten of the prisoners, forced to see
their comrade devoured. The horror-stricken priest began to remonstrate;
on which a young savage fiercely replied in broken French: "You have
French taste; I have Indian. This is good meat for me;" and the feasters
pressed him to share it.

Bougainville says that this abomination could not be prevented; which
only means that if force had been used to stop it, the Ottawas would
have gone home in a rage. They were therefore left to finish their meal
undisturbed. Having eaten one of their prisoners, they began to treat
the rest with the utmost kindness, bringing them white bread, and
attending to all their wants--a seeming change of heart due to the fact
that they were a valuable commodity, for which the owners hoped to get a
good price at Montreal. Montcalm wished to send them thither at once, to
which after long debate the Indians consented, demanding, however, a
receipt in full, and bargaining that the captives should be supplied
with shoes and blankets.[497]

[Footnote 497: _Journal de l'Expédition contre le Fort George_ [William
Henry] _du 12 Juillet au 16 Août_, 1757. Bougainville, _Journal. Lettre
du P. Roubaud_.]

These unfortunates belonged to a detachment of three hundred
provincials, chiefly New Jersey men, sent from Fort William Henry under
command of Colonel Parker to reconnoitre the French outposts. Montcalm's
scouts discovered them; on which a band of Indians, considerably more
numerous, went to meet them under a French partisan named Corbière, and
ambushed themselves not far from Sabbath Day Point. Parker had rashly
divided his force; and at daybreak of the twenty-sixth of July three of
his boats fell into the snare, and were captured without a shot. Three
others followed, in ignorance of what had happened, and shared the fate
of the first. When the rest drew near, they were greeted by a deadly
volley from the thickets, and a swarm of canoes darted out upon them.
The men were seized with such a panic that some of them jumped into the
water to escape, while the Indians leaped after them and speared them
with their lances like fish. "Terrified," says Bougainville, "by the
sight of these monsters, their agility, their firing, and their yells,
they surrendered almost without resistance." About a hundred, however,
made their escape. The rest were killed or captured, and three of the
bodies were eaten on the spot. The journalist adds that the victory so
elated the Indians that they became insupportable; "but here in the
forests of America we can no more do without them than without cavalry
on the plain."[498]

[Footnote 498: Bougainville, _Journal_. Malartic, _Journal. Montcalm à
Vaudreuil, 27 Juillet, 1757. Webb to Loudon, 1 Aug. 1757. Webb to
Delancey, 30 July, 1757. Journal de l'Expédition contre le Fort George.
London Magazine_, 1757, 457. Miles, _French and Indian Wars. Boston
Gazette, 15 Aug. 1757._]

Another success at about the same time did not tend to improve their
manners. A hundred and fifty of them, along with a few Canadians under
Marin, made a dash at Fort Edward, killed or drove in the pickets, and
returned with thirty-two scalps and a prisoner. It was found, however,
that the scalps were far from representing an equal number of heads, the
Indians having learned the art of making two or three out of one by
judicious division.[499]

[Footnote 499: This affair was much exaggerated at the time. I follow
Bougainville, who had the facts from Marin. According to him, the
thirty-two scalps represented eleven killed; which exactly answers to
the English loss as stated by Colonel Frye in a letter from Fort

Preparations were urged on with the utmost energy. Provisions, camp
equipage, ammunition, cannon, and bateaux were dragged by gangs of men
up the road from the camp of Lévis to the head of the rapids. The work
went on through heat and rain, by day and night, till, at the end of
July, all was done. Now, on the eve of departure, Montcalm, anxious for
harmony among his red allies, called them to a grand council near the
camp of Rigaud. Forty-one tribes and sub-tribes, Christian and heathen,
from the east and from the west, were represented in it. Here were the
mission savages,--Iroquois of Caughnawaga, Two Mountains, and La
Présentation; Hurons of Lorette and Detroit; Nipissings of Lake
Nipissing; Abenakis of St. Francis, Becancour, Missisqui, and the
Penobscot; Algonkins of Three Rivers and Two Mountains; Micmacs and
Malecites from Acadia: in all eight hundred chiefs and warriors. With
these came the heathen of the west,--Ottawas of seven distinct bands;
Ojibwas from Lake Superior, and Mississagas from the region of Lakes
Erie and Huron; Pottawattamies and Menomonies from Lake Michigan; Sacs,
Foxes, and Winnebagoes from Wisconsin; Miamis from the prairies of
Illinois, and Iowas from the banks of the Des Moines: nine hundred and
seventy-nine chiefs and warriors, men of the forests and men of the
plains, hunters of the moose and hunters of the buffalo, bearers of
steel hatchets and stone war-clubs, of French guns and of flint-headed
arrows. All sat in silence, decked with ceremonial paint, scalp-locks,
eagle plumes, or horns of buffalo; and the dark and wild assemblage was
edged with white uniforms of officers from France, who came in numbers
to the spectacle. Other officers were also here, all belonging to the
colony. They had been appointed to the command of the Indian allies,
over whom, however, they had little or no real authority. First among
them was the bold and hardy Saint-Luc de la Corne, who was called
general of the Indians; and under him were others, each assigned to some
tribe or group of tribes,--the intrepid Marin; Charles Langlade, who had
left his squaw wife at Michillimackinac to join the war; Niverville,
Langis, La Plante, Hertel, Longueuil, Herbin, Lorimier, Sabrevois, and
Fleurimont; men familiar from childhood with forests and savages. Each
tribe had its interpreter, often as lawless as those with whom he had
spent his life; and for the converted tribes there were three
missionaries,--Piquet for the Iroquois, Mathevet for the Nipissings, who
were half heathen, and Roubaud for the Abenakis.[500]

[Footnote 500: The above is chiefly from _Tableau des Sauvages qui se
trouvent à l'Armée du Marquis de Montcalm, le 28 Juillet, 1757_.
Forty-one tribes and sub-tribes are here named, some, however,
represented by only three or four warriors. Besides those set down under
the head of Christians, it is stated that a few of the Ottawas of
Detroit and Michillimackinac still retained the faith.]

There was some complaint among the Indians because they were crowded
upon by the officers who came as spectators. This difficulty being
removed, the council opened, Montcalm having already explained his plans
to the chiefs and told them the part he expected them to play.

Pennahouel, chief of the Ottawas, and senior of all the Assembly, rose
and said: "My father, I, who have counted more moons than any here,
thank you for the good words you have spoken. I approve them. Nobody
ever spoke better. It is the Manitou of War who inspires you."

Kikensick, chief of the Nipissings, rose in behalf of the Christian
Indians, and addressed the heathen of the west. "Brothers, we thank you
for coming to help us defend our lands against the English. Our cause is
good. The Master of Life is on our side. Can you doubt it, brothers,
after the great blow you have just struck? It covers you with glory. The
lake, red with the blood of Corlaer [_the English_] bears witness
forever to your achievement. We too share your glory, and are proud of
what you have done." Then, turning to Montcalm: "We are even more glad
than you, my father, who have crossed the great water, not for your own
sake, but to obey the great King and defend his children. He has bound
us all together by the most solemn of ties. Let us take care that
nothing shall separate us."

The various interpreters, each in turn, having explained this speech to
the Assembly, it was received with ejaculations of applause; and when
they had ceased, Montcalm spoke as follows: "Children, I am delighted to
see you all joined in this good work. So long as you remain one, the
English cannot resist you. The great King has sent me to protect and
defend you; but above all he has charged me to make you happy and
unconquerable, by establishing among you the union which ought to
prevail among brothers, children of one father, the great Onontio." Then
he held out a prodigious wampum belt of six thousand beads: "Take this
sacred pledge of his word. The union of the beads of which it is made is
the sign of your united strength. By it I bind you all together, so that
none of you can separate from the rest till the English are defeated and
their fort destroyed."

Pennahouel took up the belt and said: "Behold, brothers, a circle drawn
around us by the great Onontio. Let none of us go out from it; for so
long as we keep in it, the Master of Life will help all our
undertakings." Other chiefs spoke to the same effect, and the council
closed in perfect harmony.[501] Its various members bivouacked together
at the camp by the lake, and by their carelessness soon set it on fire;
whence the place became known as the Burned Camp. Those from the
missions confessed their sins all day; while their heathen brothers hung
an old coat and a pair of leggings on a pole as tribute to the Manitou.
This greatly embarrassed the three priests, who were about to say Mass,
but doubted whether they ought to say it in presence of a sacrifice to
the devil. Hereupon they took counsel of Montcalm. "Better say it so
than not at all," replied the military casuist. Brandy being prudently
denied them, the allies grew restless; and the greater part paddled up
the lake to a spot near the place where Parker had been defeated. Here
they encamped to wait the arrival of the army, and amused themselves
meantime with killing rattlesnakes, there being a populous "den" of
those reptiles among the neighboring rocks.

[Footnote 501: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

Montcalm sent a circular letter to the regular officers, urging them to
dispense for a while with luxuries, and even comforts. "We have but few
bateaux, and these are so filled with stores that a large division of
the army must go by land;" and he directed that everything not
absolutely necessary should be left behind, and that a canvas shelter to
every two officers should serve them for a tent, and a bearskin for a
bed. "Yet I do not forbid a mattress," he adds. "Age and infirmities may
make it necessary to some; but I shall not have one myself, and make no
doubt that all who can will willingly imitate me."[502]

[Footnote 502: _Circulaire du Marquis de Montcalm, 25 Juillet, 1757._]

The bateaux lay ready by the shore, but could not carry the whole force;
and Lévis received orders to march by the side of the lake with
twenty-five hundred men, Canadians, regulars, and Iroquois. He set out
at daybreak of the thirtieth of July, his men carrying nothing but their
knapsacks, blankets, and weapons. Guided by the unerring Indians, they
climbed the steep gorge at the side of Rogers Rock, gained the valley
beyond, and marched southward along a Mohawk trail which threaded the
forest in a course parallel to the lake. The way was of the roughest;
many straggled from the line, and two officers completely broke down.
The first destination of the party was the mouth of Ganouskie Bay, now
called Northwest Bay, where they were to wait for Montcalm, and kindle
three fires as a signal that they had reached the rendezvous.[503]

[Footnote 503: _Guerre du Canada, par le Chevalier de Lévis_. This
manuscript of Lévis is largely in the nature of a journal.]

Montcalm left a detachment to hold Ticonderoga; and then, on the first
of August, at two in the afternoon, he embarked at the Burned Camp with
all his remaining force. Including those with Lévis, the expedition
counted about seven thousand six hundred men, of whom more than sixteen
hundred were Indians.[504] At five in the afternoon they reached the
place where the Indians, having finished their rattlesnake hunt, were
smoking their pipes and waiting for the army. The red warriors embarked,
and joined the French flotilla; and now, as evening drew near, was seen
one of those wild pageantries of war which Lake George has often
witnessed. A restless multitude of birch canoes, filled with painted
savages, glided by shores and islands, like troops of swimming
water-fowl. Two hundred and fifty bateaux came next, moved by sail and
oar, some bearing the Canadian militia, and some the battalions of Old
France in trim and gay attire: first, La Reine and Languedoc; then the
colony regulars; then La Sarre and Guienne; then the Canadian brigade of
Courtemanche; then the cannon and mortars, each on a platform sustained
by two bateaux lashed side by side, and rowed by the militia of
Saint-Ours; then the battalions of Béarn and Royal Roussillon; then the
Canadians of Gaspé, with the provision-bateaux and the field-hospital;
and, lastly, a rear guard of regulars closed the line. So, under the
flush of sunset, they held their course along the romantic lake, to play
their part in the historic drama that lends a stern enchantment to its
fascinating scenery. They passed the Narrows in mist and darkness; and
when, a little before dawn, they rounded the high promontory of Tongue
Mountain, they saw, far on the right, three fiery sparks shining through
the gloom. These were the signal-fires of Lévis, to tell them that he
had reached the appointed spot.[505]

[Footnote 504: _État de l'Armée Française devant le Fort George,
autrement Guillaume-Henri, le 3 Août, 1757. Tableau des Sauvages qui se
trouvent à l'Armée du Marquis de Montcalm, le 28 Juillet, 1757_. This
gives a total of 1,799 Indians, of whom some afterwards left the army.
_État de l'Armée du Roi en Canada, sur le Lac St. Sacrement et dans les
Camps de Carillon, le 29 Juillet, 1757_. This gives a total of 8,019
men, of whom about four hundred were left in garrison at Ticonderoga.]

[Footnote 505: The site of the present village of Bolton.]

Lévis had arrived the evening before, after his hard march through the
sultry midsummer forest. His men had now rested for a night, and at ten
in the morning he marched again. Montcalm followed at noon, and coasted
the western shore, till, towards evening, he found Lévis waiting for him
by the margin of a small bay not far from the English fort, though
hidden from it by a projecting point of land. Canoes and bateaux were
drawn up on the beach, and the united forces made their bivouac

The earthen mounds of Fort William Henry still stand by the brink of
Lake George; and seated at the sunset of an August day under the pines
that cover them, one gazes on a scene of soft and soothing beauty, where
dreamy waters reflect the glories of the mountains and the sky. As it
is to-day, so it was then; all breathed repose and peace. The splash of
some leaping trout, or the dipping wing of a passing swallow, alone
disturbed the summer calm of that unruffled mirror.

About ten o'clock at night two boats set out from the fort to
reconnoitre. They were passing a point of land on their left, two miles
or more down the lake, when the men on board descried through the gloom
a strange object against the bank; and they rowed towards it to learn
what it might be. It was an awning over the bateaux that carried Roubaud
and his brother missionaries. As the rash oarsmen drew near, the
bleating of a sheep in one of the French provision-boats warned them of
danger; and turning, they pulled for their lives towards the eastern
shore. Instantly more than a thousand Indians threw themselves into
their canoes and dashed in hot pursuit, making the lake and the
mountains ring with the din of their war-whoops. The fugitives had
nearly reached land when their pursuers opened fire. They replied; shot
one Indian dead, and wounded another; then snatched their oars again,
and gained the beach. But the whole savage crew was upon them. Several
were killed, three were taken, and the rest escaped in the dark
woods.[506] The prisoners were brought before Montcalm, and gave him
valuable information of the strength and position of the English.[507]

[Footnote 506: _Lettre du Père Roubaud, 21 Oct. 1757_. Roubaud, who saw
the whole, says that twelve hundred Indians joined the chase, and that
their yells were terrific.]

[Footnote 507: The remains of Fort William Henry are now--1882--crowded
between a hotel and the wharf and station of a railway. While I write, a
scheme is on foot to level the whole for other railway structures. When
I first knew the place the ground was in much the same state as in the
time of Montcalm.]

The Indian who was killed was a noted chief of the Nipissings; and his
tribesmen howled in grief for their bereavement. They painted his face
with vermilion, tied feathers in his hair, hung pendants in his ears and
nose, clad him in a resplendent war-dress, put silver bracelets on his
arms, hung a gorget on his breast with a flame colored ribbon, and
seated him in state on the top of a hillock, with his lance in his hand,
his gun in the hollow of his arm, his tomahawk in his belt, and his
kettle by his side. Then they all crouched about him in lugubrious
silence. A funeral harangue followed; and next a song and solemn dance
to the booming of the Indian drum. In the gray of the morning they
buried him as he sat, and placed food in the grave for his journey to
the land of souls.[508]

[Footnote 508: _Lettre du Père Roubaud_.]

As the sun rose above the eastern mountains the French camp was all
astir. The column of Lévis, with Indians to lead the way, moved through
the forest towards the fort, and Montcalm followed with the main body;
then the artillery boats rounded the point that had hid them from the
sight of the English, saluting them as they did so with musketry and
cannon; while a host of savages put out upon the lake, ranged their
canoes abreast in a line from shore to shore, and advanced slowly, with
measured paddle-strokes and yells of defiance.

The position of the enemy was full in sight before them. At the head of
the lake, towards the right, stood the fort, close to the edge of the
water. On its left was a marsh; then the rough piece of ground where
Johnson had encamped two years before; then a low, flat, rocky hill,
crowned with an entrenched camp; and, lastly, on the extreme left,
another marsh. Far around the fort and up the slopes of the western
mountain the forest had been cut down and burned, and the ground was
cumbered with blackened stumps and charred carcasses and limbs of fallen
trees, strewn in savage disorder one upon another.[509] This was the
work of Winslow in the autumn before. Distant shouts and war-cries, the
clatter of musketry, white puffs of smoke in the dismal clearing and
along the scorched edge of the bordering forest, told that Lévis'
Indians were skirmishing with parties of the English, who had gone out
to save the cattle roaming in the neighborhood, and burn some
out-buildings that would have favored the besiegers. Others were taking
down the tents that stood on a plateau near the foot of the mountain on
the right, and moving them to the entrenchment on the hill. The garrison
sallied from the fort to support their comrades, and for a time the
firing was hot.

[Footnote 509: _Précis des Événements de la Campagne de 1757 en la
Nouvelle France._]

Fort William Henry was an irregular bastioned square, formed by
embankments of gravel surmounted by a rampart of heavy logs, laid in
tiers crossed one upon another, the interstices filled with earth. The
lake protected it on the north, the marsh on the east, and ditches with
_chevaux-de-frise_ on the south and west. Seventeen cannon, great and
small, besides several mortars and swivels, were mounted upon it;[510]
and a brave Scotch veteran, Lieutenant-Colonel Monro, of the
thirty-fifth regiment, was in command.

[Footnote 510: _État des Effets et Munitions de Guerre qui se sont
trouvés au Fort Guillaume-Henri._ There were six more guns in the
entrenched camp.]

General Webb lay fourteen miles distant at Fort Edward, with twenty-six
hundred men, chiefly provincials. On the twenty-fifth of July he had
made a visit to Fort William Henry, examined the place, given some
orders, and returned on the twenty-ninth. He then wrote to the Governor
of New York, telling him that the French were certainly coming, begging
him to send up the militia, and saying: "I am determined to march to
Fort William Henry with the whole army under my command as soon as I
shall hear of the farther approach of the enemy." Instead of doing so he
waited three days, and then sent up a detachment of two hundred regulars
under Lieutenant-Colonel Young, and eight hundred Massachusetts men
under Colonel Frye. This raised the force at the lake to two thousand
and two hundred, including sailors and mechanics, and reduced that of
Webb to sixteen hundred, besides half as many more distributed at Albany
and the intervening forts.[511] If, according to his spirited intention,
he should go to the rescue of Monro, he must leave some of his troops
behind him to protect the lower posts from a possible French inroad by
way of South Bay. Thus his power of aiding Monro was slight, so rashly
had Loudon, intent on Louisburg, left this frontier open to attack. The
defect, however, was as much in Webb himself as in his resources. His
conduct in the past year had raised doubts of his personal courage; and
this was the moment for answering them. Great as was the disparity of
numbers, the emergency would have justified an attempt to save Monro at
any risk. That officer sent him a hasty note, written at nine o'clock on
the morning of the third, telling him that the French were in sight on
the lake; and, in the next night, three rangers came to Fort Edward,
bringing another short note, dated at six in the evening, announcing
that the firing had begun, and closing with the words: "I believe you
will think it proper to send a reinforcement as soon as possible." Now,
if ever, was the time to move, before the fort was invested and access
cut off. But Webb lay quiet, sending expresses to New England for help
which could not possibly arrive in time. On the next night another note
came from Monro to say that the French were upon him in great numbers,
well supplied with artillery, but that the garrison were all in good
spirits. "I make no doubt," wrote the hardpressed officer, "that you
will soon send us a reinforcement;" and again on the same day: "We are
very certain that a part of the enemy have got between you and us upon
the high road, and would therefore be glad (if it meets with your
approbation) the whole army was marched."[512] But Webb gave no

[Footnote 511: Frye, _Journal of the Attack of Fort William Henry. Webb
to Loudon, 1 Aug. 1757. Ibid., 5 Aug. 1757._]

[Footnote 512: _Copy of four Letters from Lieutenant-Colonel Monro to
Major-General Webb, enclosed in the General's Letter of the fifth of
August to the Earl of Loudon_.]

[Footnote 513: "The number of troops remaining under my Command at this
place [_Fort Edward_], excluding the Posts on Hudson's River, amounts to
but sixteen hundred men fit for duty, with which Army, so much inferior
to that of the enemy, I did not think it prudent to pursue my first
intentions of Marching to their Assistance." _Webb to Loudon, 5 Aug.

When the skirmishing around the fort was over, La Corne, with a body of
Indians, occupied the road that led to Fort Edward, and Lévis encamped
hard by to support him, while Montcalm proceeded to examine the ground
and settle his plan of attack. He made his way to the rear of the
entrenched camp and reconnoitred it, hoping to carry it by assault; but
it had a breastwork of stones and logs, and he thought the attempt too
hazardous. The ground where he stood was that where Dieskau had been
defeated; and as the fate of his predecessor was not of flattering
augury, he resolved to besiege the fort in form.

He chose for the site of his operations the ground now covered by the
village of Caldwell. A little to the north of it was a ravine, beyond
which he formed his main camp, while Lévis occupied a tract of dry
ground beside the marsh, whence he could easily move to intercept
succors from Fort Edward on the one hand, or repel a sortie from Fort
William Henry on the other. A brook ran down the ravine and entered the
lake at a small cove protected from the fire of the fort by a point of
land; and at this place, still called Artillery Cove, Montcalm prepared
to debark his cannon and mortars.

Having made his preparations, he sent Fontbrune, one of his
aides-de-camp, with a letter to Monro. "I owe it to humanity," he wrote,
"to summon you to surrender. At present I can restrain the savages, and
make them observe the terms of a capitulation, as I might not have power
to do under other circumstances; and an obstinate defence on your part
could only retard the capture of the place a few days, and endanger an
unfortunate garrison which cannot be relieved, in consequence of the
dispositions I have made. I demand a decisive answer within an hour."
Monro replied that he and his soldiers would defend themselves to the
last. While the flags of truce were flying, the Indians swarmed over the
fields before the fort; and when they learned the result, an Abenaki
chief shouted in broken French: "You won't surrender, eh! Fire away
then, and fight your best; for if I catch you, you shall get no
quarter." Monro emphasized his refusal by a general discharge of his

The trenches were opened on the night of the fourth,--a task of extreme
difficulty, as the ground was covered by a profusion of half-burned
stumps, roots, branches, and fallen trunks. Eight hundred men toiled
till daylight with pick, spade, and axe, while the cannon from the fort
flashed through the darkness, and grape and round-shot whistled and
screamed over their heads. Some of the English balls reached the camp
beyond the ravine, and disturbed the slumbers of the officers off duty,
as they lay wrapped in their blankets and bear-skins. Before daybreak
the first parallel was made; a battery was nearly finished on the left,
and another was begun on the right. The men now worked under cover, safe
in their burrows; one gang relieved another, and the work went on all

The Indians were far from doing what was expected of them. Instead of
scouting in the direction of Fort Edward to learn the movements of the
enemy and prevent surprise, they loitered about the camp and in the
trenches, or amused themselves by firing at the fort from behind stumps
and logs. Some, in imitation of the French, dug little trenches for
themselves, in which they wormed their way towards the rampart, and now
and then picked off an artillery-man, not without loss on their own
side. On the afternoon of the fifth, Montcalm invited them to a council,
gave them belts of wampum, and mildly remonstrated with them. "Why
expose yourselves without necessity? I grieve bitterly over the losses
that you have met, for the least among you is precious to me. No doubt
it is a good thing to annoy the English; but that is not the main point.
You ought to inform me of everything the enemy is doing, and always
keep parties on the road between the two forts." And he gently hinted
that their place was not in his camp, but in that of Lévis, where
missionaries were provided for such of them as were Christians, and food
and ammunition for them all. They promised, with excellent docility, to
do everything he wished, but added that there was something on their
hearts. Being encouraged to relieve themselves of the burden, they
complained that they had not been consulted as to the management of the
siege, but were expected to obey orders like slaves. "We know more about
fighting in the woods than you," said their orator; "ask our advice, and
you will be the better for it."[514]

[Footnote 514: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

Montcalm assured them that if they had been neglected, it was only
through the hurry and confusion of the time; expressed high appreciation
of their talents for bush-fighting, promised them ample satisfaction,
and ended by telling them that in the morning they should hear the big
guns. This greatly pleased them, for they were extremely impatient for
the artillery to begin. About sunrise the battery of the left opened
with eight heavy cannon and a mortar, joined, on the next morning, by
the battery of the right, with eleven pieces more. The fort replied with
spirit. The cannon thundered all day, and from a hundred peaks and crags
the astonished wilderness roared back the sound. The Indians were
delighted. They wanted to point the guns; and to humor them, they were
now and then allowed to do so. Others lay behind logs and fallen trees,
and yelled their satisfaction when they saw the splinters fly from the
wooden rampart.

Day after day the weary roar of the distant cannonade fell on the ears
of Webb in his camp at Fort Edward. "I have not yet received the least
reinforcement," he writes to Loudon; "this is the disagreeable situation
we are at present in. The fort, by the heavy firing we hear from the
lake, is still in our possession; but I fear it cannot long hold out
against so warm a cannonading if I am not reinforced by a sufficient
number of militia to march to their relief." The militia were coming;
but it was impossible that many could reach him in less than a week.
Those from New York alone were within call, and two thousand of them
arrived soon after he sent Loudon the above letter. Then, by stripping
all the forts below, he could bring together forty-five hundred men;
while several French deserters assured him that Montcalm had nearly
twelve thousand. To advance to the relief of Monro with a force so
inferior, through a defile of rocks, forests, and mountains, made by
nature for ambuscades,--and this too with troops who had neither the
steadiness of regulars nor the bush-fighting skill of Indians,--was an
enterprise for firmer nerve than his.

He had already warned Monro to expect no help from him. At midnight of
the fourth, Captain Bartman, his aide-de-camp, wrote: "The General has
ordered me to acquaint you he does not think it prudent to attempt a
junction or to assist you till reinforced by the militia of the
colonies, for the immediate march of which repeated expresses have been
sent." The letter then declared that the French were in complete
possession of the road between the two forts, that a prisoner just
brought in reported their force in men and cannon to be very great, and
that, unless the militia came soon, Monro had better make what terms he
could with the enemy.[515]

[Footnote 515: Frye, in his _Journal_, gives the letter in full. A
spurious translation of it is appended to a piece called _Jugement
impartial sur les Opérations militaires en Canada_.]

The chance was small that this letter would reach its destination; and
in fact the bearer was killed by La Corne's Indians, who, in stripping
the body, found the hidden paper, and carried it to the General.
Montcalm kept it several days, till the English rampart was half
battered down; and then, after saluting his enemy with a volley from all
his cannon, he sent it with a graceful compliment to Monro. It was
Bougainville who carried it, preceded by a drummer and a flag. He was
met at the foot of the glacis, blindfolded, and led through the fort and
along the edge of the lake to the entrenched camp, where Monro was at
the time. "He returned many thanks," writes the emissary in his Diary,
"for the courtesy of our nation, and protested his joy at having to do
with so generous an enemy. This was his answer to the Marquis de
Montcalm. Then they led me back, always with eyes blinded; and our
batteries began to fire again as soon as we thought that the English
grenadiers who escorted me had had time to re-enter the fort. I hope
General Webb's letter may induce the English to surrender the

[Footnote 516: Bougainville, _Journal. Bougainville au Ministre, 19
Août, 1757._]

By this time the sappers had worked their way to the angle of the lake,
where they were stopped by a marshy hollow, beyond which was a tract of
high ground, reaching to the fort and serving as the garden of the
garrison.[517] Logs and fascines in large quantities were thrown into
the hollow, and hurdles were laid over them to form a causeway for the
cannon. Then the sap was continued up the acclivity beyond, a trench was
opened in the garden, and a battery begun, not two hundred and fifty
yards from the fort. The Indians, in great number, crawled forward among
the beans, maize, and cabbages, and lay there ensconced. On the night of
the seventh, two men came out of the fort, apparently to reconnoitre,
with a view to a sortie, when they were greeted by a general volley and
a burst of yells which echoed among the mountains; followed by
responsive whoops pealing through the darkness from the various camps
and lurking-places of the savage warriors far and near.

[Footnote 517: Now (1882) the site of Fort William Henry Hotel, with its
grounds. The hollow is partly filled by the main road of Caldwell.]

The position of the besieged was now deplorable. More than three hundred
of them had been killed and wounded; small-pox was raging in the fort;
the place was a focus of infection, and the casemates were crowded with
the sick. A sortie from the entrenched camp and another from the fort
had been repulsed with loss. All their large cannon and mortars had been
burst, or disabled by shot; only seven small pieces were left fit for
service;[518] and the whole of Montcalm's thirty-one cannon and fifteen
mortars and howitzers would soon open fire, while the walls were already
breached, and an assault was imminent. Through the night of the eighth
they fired briskly from all their remaining pieces. In the morning the
officers held a council, and all agreed to surrender if honorable terms
could be had. A white flag was raised, a drum was beat, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Young, mounted on horseback, for a shot in the foot
had disabled him from walking, went, followed by a few soldiers, to the
tent of Montcalm.

[Footnote 518: Frye, _Journal_.]

It was agreed that the English troops should march out with the honors
of war, and be escorted to Fort Edward by a detachment of French troops;
that they should not serve for eighteen months; and that all French
prisoners captured in America since the war began should be given up
within three months. The stores, munitions, and artillery were to be the
prize of the victors, except one field-piece, which the garrison were to
retain in recognition of their brave defence.

Before signing the capitulation Montcalm called the Indian chiefs to
council, and asked them to consent to the conditions, and promise to
restrain their young warriors from any disorder. They approved
everything and promised everything. The garrison then evacuated the
fort, and marched to join their comrades in the entrenched camp, which
was included in the surrender. No sooner were they gone than a crowd of
Indians clambered through the embrasures in search of rum and plunder.
All the sick men unable to leave their beds were instantly
butchered.[519] "I was witness of this spectacle," says the missionary
Roubaud; "I saw one of these barbarians come out of the casemates with a
human head in his hand, from which the blood ran in streams, and which
he paraded as if he had got the finest prize in the world." There was
little left to plunder; and the Indians, joined by the more lawless of
the Canadians, turned their attention to the entrenched camp, where all
the English were now collected.

[Footnote 519: _Attestation of William Arbuthnot, Captain in Frye's

The French guard stationed there could not or would not keep out the
rabble. By the advice of Montcalm the English stove their rum-barrels;
but the Indians were drunk already with homicidal rage, and the glitter
of their vicious eyes told of the devil within. They roamed among the
tents, intrusive, insolent, their visages besmirched with war-paint;
grinning like fiends as they handled, in anticipation of the knife, the
long hair of cowering women, of whom, as well as of children, there were
many in the camp, all crazed with fright. Since the last war the New
England border population had regarded Indians with a mixture of
detestation and horror. Their mysterious warfare of ambush and surprise,
their midnight onslaughts, their butcheries, their burnings, and all
their nameless atrocities, had been for years the theme of fireside
story; and the dread they excited was deepened by the distrust and
dejection of the time. The confusion in the camp lasted through the
afternoon. "The Indians," says Bougainville, "wanted to plunder the
chests of the English; the latter resisted; and there was fear that
serious disorder would ensue. The Marquis de Montcalm ran thither
immediately, and used every means to restore tranquillity: prayers,
threats, caresses, interposition of the officers and interpreters who
have some influence over these savages."[520] "We shall be but too happy
if we can prevent a massacre. Detestable position! of which nobody who
has not been in it can have any idea, and which makes victory itself a
sorrow to the victors. The Marquis spared no efforts to prevent the
rapacity of the savages and, I must say it, of certain persons
associated with them, from resulting in something worse than plunder.
At last, at nine o'clock in the evening, order seemed restored. The
Marquis even induced the Indians to promise that, besides the escort
agreed upon in the capitulation, two chiefs for each tribe should
accompany the English on their way to Fort Edward."[521] He also ordered
La Corne and the other Canadian officers attached to the Indians to see
that no violence took place. He might well have done more. In view of
the disorders of the afternoon, it would not have been too much if he
had ordered the whole body of regular troops, whom alone he could trust
for the purpose, to hold themselves ready to move to the spot in case of
outbreak, and shelter their defeated foes behind a hedge of bayonets.

[Footnote 520: _Bougainville au Ministre, 19 Août, 1757._]

[Footnote 521: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

Bougainville was not to see what ensued; for Montcalm now sent him to
Montreal, as a special messenger to carry news of the victory. He
embarked at ten o'clock. Returning daylight found him far down the lake;
and as he looked on its still bosom flecked with mists, and its quiet
mountains sleeping under the flush of dawn, there was nothing in the
wild tranquillity of the scene to suggest the tragedy which even then
was beginning on the shore he had left behind.

The English in their camp had passed a troubled night, agitated by
strange rumors. In the morning something like a panic seized them; for
they distrusted not the Indians only, but the Canadians. In their haste
to be gone they got together at daybreak, before the escort of three
hundred regulars had arrived. They had their muskets, but no ammunition;
and few or none of the provincials had bayonets. Early as it was, the
Indians were on the alert; and, indeed, since midnight great numbers of
them had been prowling about the skirts of the camp, showing, says
Colonel Frye, "more than usual malice in their looks." Seventeen wounded
men of his regiment lay in huts, unable to join the march. In the
preceding afternoon Miles Whitworth, the regimental surgeon, had passed
them over to the care of a French surgeon, according to an agreement
made at the time of the surrender; but, the Frenchman being absent, the
other remained with them attending to their wants. The French surgeon
had caused special sentinels to be posted for their protection. These
were now removed, at the moment when they were needed most; upon which,
about five o'clock in the morning, the Indians entered the huts,
dragged out the inmates, and tomahawked and scalped them all, before the
eyes of Whitworth, and in presence of La Corne and other Canadian
officers, as well as of a French guard stationed within forty feet of
the spot; and, declares the surgeon under oath, "none, either officer or
soldier, protected the said wounded men."[522] The opportune butchery
relieved them of a troublesome burden.

[Footnote 522: _Affidavit of Miles Whitworth_. See Appendix F.]

A scene of plundering now began. The escort had by this time arrived,
and Monro complained to the officers that the capitulation was broken;
but got no other answer than advice to give up the baggage to the
Indians in order to appease them. To this the English at length agreed;
but it only increased the excitement of the mob. They demanded rum; and
some of the soldiers, afraid to refuse, gave it to them from their
canteens, thus adding fuel to the flame. When, after much difficulty,
the column at last got out of the camp and began to move along the road
that crossed the rough plain between the entrenchment and the forest,
the Indians crowded upon them, impeded their march, snatched caps,
coats, and weapons from men and officers, tomahawked those that
resisted, and, seizing upon shrieking women and children, dragged them
off or murdered them on the spot. It is said that some of the
interpreters secretly fomented the disorder.[523] Suddenly there rose
the screech of the war-whoop. At this signal of butchery, which was
given by Abenaki Christians from the mission of the Penobscot,[524] a
mob of savages rushed upon the New Hampshire men at the rear of the
column, and killed or dragged away eighty of them.[525] A frightful
tumult ensued, when Montcalm, Lévis, Bourlamaque, and many other French
officers, who had hastened from their camp on the first news of
disturbance, threw themselves among the Indians, and by promises and
threats tried to allay their frenzy. "Kill me, but spare the English who
are under my protection," exclaimed Montcalm. He took from one of them a
young officer whom the savage had seized; upon which several other
Indians immediately tomahawked their prisoners, lest they too should be
taken from them. One writer says that a French grenadier was killed and
two wounded in attempting to restore order; but the statement is
doubtful. The English seemed paralyzed, and fortunately did not attempt
a resistance, which, without ammunition as they were, would have ended
in a general massacre. Their broken column straggled forward in wild
disorder, amid the din of whoops and shrieks, till they reached the
French advance-guard, which consisted of Canadians; and here they
demanded protection from the officers, who refused to give it, telling
them that they must take to the woods and shift for themselves. Frye was
seized by a number of Indians, who, brandishing spears and tomahawks,
threatened him with death and tore off his clothing, leaving nothing but
breeches, shoes, and shirt. Repelled by the officers of the guard, he
made for the woods. A Connecticut soldier who was present says of him
that he leaped upon an Indian who stood in his way, disarmed and killed
him, and then escaped; but Frye himself does not mention the incident.
Captain Burke, also of the Massachusetts regiment, was stripped, after a
violent struggle, of all his clothes; then broke loose, gained the
woods, spent the night shivering in the thick grass of a marsh, and on
the next day reached Fort Edward. Jonathan Carver, a provincial
volunteer, declares that, when the tumult was at its height, he saw
officers of the French army walking about at a little distance and
talking with seeming unconcern. Three or four Indians seized him,
brandished their tomahawks over his head, and tore off most of his
clothes, while he vainly claimed protection from a sentinel, who called
him an English dog, and violently pushed him back among his tormentors.
Two of them were dragging him towards the neighboring swamp, when an
English officer, stripped of everything but his scarlet breeches, ran
by. One of Carver's captors sprang upon him, but was thrown to the
ground; whereupon the other went to the aid of his comrade and drove his
tomahawk into the back of the Englishman. As Carver turned to run, an
English boy, about twelve years old, clung to him and begged for help.
They ran on together for a moment, when the boy was seized, dragged from
his protector, and, as Carver judged by his shrieks, was murdered. He
himself escaped to the forest, and after three days of famine reached
Fort Edward.

[Footnote 523: This is stated by Pouchot and Bougainville; the latter of
whom confirms the testimony of the English witnesses, that Canadian
officers present did nothing to check the Indians.]

[Footnote 524: See note, end of chapter.]

[Footnote 525: Belknap, _History of New Hampshire_, says that eighty
were killed. Governor Wentworth, writing immediately after the event,
says "killed or captivated."]

The bonds of discipline seem for the time to have been completely
broken; for while Montcalm and his chief officers used every effort to
restore order, even at the risk of their lives, many other officers,
chiefly of the militia, failed atrociously to do their duty. How many
English were killed it is impossible to tell with exactness. Roubaud
says that he saw forty or fifty corpses scattered about the field. Lévis
says fifty; which does not include the sick and wounded before murdered
in the camp and fort. It is certain that six or seven hundred persons
were carried off, stripped, and otherwise maltreated. Montcalm succeeded
in recovering more than four hundred of them in the course of the day;
and many of the French officers did what they could to relieve their
wants by buying back from their captors the clothing that had been torn
from them. Many of the fugitives had taken refuge in the fort, whither
Monro himself had gone to demand protection for his followers; and here
Roubaud presently found a crowd of half-frenzied women, crying in
anguish for husbands and children. All the refugees and redeemed
prisoners were afterwards conducted to the entrenched camp, where food
and shelter were provided for them and a strong guard set for their
protection until the fifteenth, when they were sent under an escort to
Fort Edward. Here cannon had been fired at intervals to guide those who
had fled to the woods, whence they came dropping in from day to day,
half dead with famine.

On the morning after the massacre the Indians decamped in a body and set
out for Montreal, carrying with them their plunder and some two hundred
prisoners, who, it is said, could not be got out of their hands. The
soldiers were set to the work of demolishing the English fort; and the
task occupied several days. The barracks were torn down, and the huge
pine-logs of the rampart thrown into a heap. The dead bodies that filled
the casemates were added to the mass, and fire was set to the whole. The
mighty funeral pyre blazed all night. Then, on the sixteenth, the army
reimbarked. The din of ten thousand combatants, the rage, the terror,
the agony, were gone; and no living thing was left but the wolves that
gathered from the mountains to feast upon the dead.[526]

[Footnote 526: The foregoing chapter rests largely on evidence never
before brought to light, including the minute _Journal_ of
Bougainville,--document which can hardly be commended too much,--the
correspondence of Webb, a letter of Colonel Frye, written just after the
massacre, and a journal of the siege, sent by him to Governor Pownall as
his official report. Extracts from these, as well as from the affidavit
of Dr. Whitworth, which is also new evidence, are given in Appendix F.

The Diary of Malartic and the correspondence of Montcalm, Lévis,
Vaudreuil, and Bigot, also throw light on the campaign, as well as
numerous reports of the siege, official and semi-official. The long
letter of the Jesuit Roubaud, printed anonymously in the _Lettres
Édifiantes et Curieuses_, gives a remarkably vivid account of what he
saw. He was an intelligent person, who may be trusted where he has no
motive for lying. Curious particulars about him will be found in a paper
called, _The deplorable Case of Mr. Roubaud_, printed in the _Historical
Magazine, Second Series_, VIII. 282. Compare Verreau, _Report on
Canadian Archives_, 1874.

Impressions of the massacre at Fort William Henry have hitherto been
derived chiefly from the narrative of Captain Jonathan Carver, in his
_Travels_. He has discredited himself by his exaggeration of the number
killed; but his account of what he himself saw tallies with that of the
other witnesses. He is outdone in exaggeration by an anonymous French
writer of the time, who seems rather pleased at the occurrence, and
affirms that all the English were killed except seven hundred, these
last being captured, so that none escaped (_Nouvelles du Canada envoyées
de Montréal, Août_, 1757). Carver puts killed and captured together at
fifteen hundred. Vaudreuil, who always makes light of Indian
barbarities, goes to the other extreme, and avers that no more than five
or six were killed. Lévis and Roubaud, who saw everything, and were
certain not to exaggerate the number, give the most trustworthy evidence
on this point. The capitulation, having been broken by the allies of
France, was declared void by the British Government.

_The Signal of Butchery_. Montcalm, Bougainville, and several others say
that the massacre was begun by the Abenakis of Panaouski. Father Martin,
in quoting the letter in which Montcalm makes this statement, inserts
the word _idolâtres_, which is not in the original. Dussieux and
O'Callaghan give the passage correctly. This Abenaki band, ancestors of
the present Penobscots, were no idolaters, but had been converted more
than half a century. In the official list of the Indian allies they are
set down among the Christians. Roubaud, who had charge of them during
the expedition, speaks of these and other converts with singular candor:
"Vous avez dû vous apercevoir ... que nos sauvages, pour être Chrétiens,
n'en sont pas plus irrépréhensibles dans leur conduite."]

Chapter 16

1757, 1758

A Winter of Discontent

Loudon, on his way back from Halifax, was at sea off the coast of Nova
Scotia when a despatch-boat from Governor Pownall of Massachusetts
startled him with news that Fort William Henry was attacked; and a few
days after he learned by another boat that the fort was taken and the
capitulation "inhumanly and villanously broken." On this he sent Webb
orders to hold the enemy in check without risking a battle till he
should himself arrive. "I am on the way," these were his words, "with a
force sufficient to turn the scale, with God's assistance; and then I
hope we shall teach the French to comply with the laws of nature and
humanity. For although I abhor barbarity, the knowledge I have of Mr.
Vaudreuil's behavior when in Louisiana, from his own letters in my
possession, and the murders committed at Oswego and now at Fort William
Henry, will oblige me to make those gentlemen sick of such inhuman
villany whenever it is in my power." He reached New York on the last day
of August, and heard that the French had withdrawn. He nevertheless sent
his troops up the Hudson, thinking, he says, that he might still attack
Ticonderoga; a wild scheme, which he soon abandoned, if he ever
seriously entertained it.[527]

[Footnote 527: _Loudon to Webb, 20 Aug. 1757. London to Holdernesse,
Oct. 1757. Loudon to Pownall, 16_ [_18?_] _Aug. 1757_. A passage in this
last letter, in which Loudon says that he shall, if prevented by
head-winds from getting into New York, disembark the troops on Long
Island, is perverted by that ardent partisan, William Smith, the
historian of New York, into the absurd declaration "that he should
encamp on Long Island for the defence of the continent."]

Webb had remained at Fort Edward in mortal dread of attack. Johnson had
joined him with a band of Mohawks; and on the day when Fort William
Henry surrendered there had been some talk of attempting to throw
succors into it by night. Then came the news of its capture; and now,
when it was too late, tumultuous mobs of militia came pouring in from
the neighboring provinces. In a few days thousands of them were
bivouacked on the fields about Fort Edward, doing nothing, disgusted
and mutinous, declaring that they were ready to fight, but not to lie
still without tents, blankets, or kettles. Webb writes on the fourteenth
that most of those from New York had deserted, threatening to kill their
officers if they tried to stop them. Delancey ordered them to be fired
upon. A sergeant was shot, others were put in arrest, and all was
disorder till the seventeenth; when Webb, learning that the French were
gone, sent them back to their homes.[528]

[Footnote 528: _Delancey to_ [_Holdernesse?_], _24 Aug. 1757._]

Close on the fall of Fort William Henry came crazy rumors of disaster,
running like wildfire through the colonies. The number and ferocity of
the enemy were grossly exaggerated; there was a cry that they would
seize Albany and New York itself;[529] while it was reported that Webb,
as much frightened as the rest, was for retreating to the Highlands of
the Hudson.[530] This was the day after the capitulation, when a part
only of the militia had yet appeared. If Montcalm had seized the moment,
and marched that afternoon to Fort Edward, it is not impossible that in
the confusion he might have carried it by a _coup-de-main._

[Footnote 529: _Captain Christie to Governor Wentworth, 11 Aug. 1757.
Ibid., to Governor Pownall, same date._]

[Footnote 530: Smith, _Hist. N.Y._, Part II. 254.]

Here was an opportunity for Vaudreuil, and he did not fail to use it.
Jealous of his rival's exploit, he spared no pains to tarnish it;
complaining that Montcalm had stopped half way on the road to success,
and, instead of following his instructions, had contented himself with
one victory when he should have gained two. But the Governor had
enjoined upon him as a matter of the last necessity that the Canadians
should be at their homes before September to gather the crops, and he
would have been the first to complain had the injunction been
disregarded. To besiege Fort Edward was impossible, as Montcalm had no
means of transporting cannon thither; and to attack Webb without them
was a risk which he had not the rashness to incur.

It was Bougainville who first brought Vaudreuil the news of the success
on Lake George. A day or two after his arrival, the Indians, who had
left the army after the massacre, appeared at Montreal, bringing about
two hundred English prisoners. The Governor rebuked them for breaking
the capitulation, on which the heathen savages of the West declared that
it was not their fault, but that of the converted Indians, who, in
fact, had first raised the war-whoop. Some of the prisoners were
presently bought from them at the price of two kegs of brandy each; and
the inevitable consequences followed.

"I thought," writes Bougainville, "that the Governor would have told
them they should have neither provisions nor presents till all the
English were given up; that he himself would have gone to their huts and
taken the prisoners from them; and that the inhabitants would be
forbidden, under the severest penalties, from selling or giving them
brandy. I saw the contrary; and my soul shuddered at the sights my eyes
beheld. On the fifteenth, at two o'clock, in the presence of the whole
town, they killed one of the prisoners, put him into the kettle, and
forced his wretched countrymen to eat of him." The Intendant Bigot, the
friend of the Governor, confirms this story; and another French writer
says that they "compelled mothers to eat the flesh of their
children."[531] Bigot declares that guns, canoes, and other presents
were given to the Western tribes before they left Montreal; and he adds,
"they must be sent home satisfied at any cost." Such were the pains
taken to preserve allies who were useful chiefly through the terror
inspired by their diabolical cruelties. This time their ferocity cost
them dear. They had dug up and scalped the corpses in the graveyard of
Fort William Henry, many of which were remains of victims of the
small-pox; and the savages caught the disease, which is said to have
made great havoc among them.[532]

[Footnote 531: "En chemin faisant et même en entrant à Montréal ils les
ont mangés et fait manger aux autres prisonniers." _Bigot au Ministre,
24 Août, 1757._

"Des sauvages out fait manger aux mères la chair de leurs enfants."
_Jugement impartial sur les Opérations militaires en Canada_. A French
diary kept in Canada at this time, and captured at sea, is cited by
Hutchinson as containing similar statements.]

[Footnote 532: One of these corpses was that of Richard Rogers, brother
of the noted partisan Robert Rogers. He had died of small-pox some time
before. Rogers, _Journals_, 55, _note_.]

Vaudreuil, in reporting what he calls "my capture of Fort William
Henry," takes great credit to himself for his "generous procedures"
towards the English prisoners; alluding, it seems, to his having bought
some of them from the Indians with the brandy which was sure to cause
the murder of others.[533] His obsequiousness to his red allies did not
cease with permitting them to kill and devour before his eyes those whom
he was bound in honor and duty to protect. "He let them do what they
pleased," says a French contemporary; "they were seen roaming about
Montreal, knife in hand, threatening everybody, and often insulting
those they met. When complaint was made, he said nothing. Far from it;
instead of reproaching them, he loaded them with gifts, in the belief
that their cruelty would then relent."[534]

[Footnote 533: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 15 Sept. 1757._]

[Footnote 534: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760._]

Nevertheless, in about a fortnight all, or nearly all, the surviving
prisoners were bought out of their clutches; and then, after a final
distribution of presents and a grand debauch at La Chine, the whole
savage rout paddled for their villages.

The campaign closed in November with a partisan exploit on the Mohawk.
Here, at a place called German Flats, on the farthest frontier, there
was a thriving settlement of German peasants from the Palatinate, who
were so ill-disposed towards the English that Vaudreuil had had good
hope of stirring them to revolt, while at the same time persuading their
neighbors, the Oneida Indians, to take part with France.[535] As his
measures to this end failed, he resolved to attack them. Therefore, at
three o'clock in the morning of the twelfth of November, three hundred
colony troops, Canadians and Indians, under an officer named Belêtre,
wakened the unhappy peasants by a burst of yells, and attacked the small
picket forts which they had built as places of refuge. These were taken
one by one and set on fire. The sixty dwellings of the settlement, with
their barns and outhouses, were all burned, forty or fifty of the
inhabitants were killed, and about three times that number, chiefly
women and children, were made prisoners, including Johan Jost Petrie,
the magistrate of the place. Fort Herkimer was not far off, with a
garrison of two hundred men under Captain Townshend, who at the first
alarm sent out a detachment too weak to arrest the havoc; while Belêtre,
unable to carry off his booty, set on his followers to the work of
destruction, killed a great number of hogs, sheep, cattle, and horses,
and then made a hasty retreat. Lord Howe, pushing up the river from
Schenectady with troops and militia, found nothing but an abandoned
slaughter-field. Vaudreuil reported the affair to the Court, and summed
up the results with pompous egotism: "I have ruined the plans of the
English; I have disposed the Five Nations to attack them; I have carried
consternation and terror into all those parts."[536]

[Footnote 535: _Dépêches de Vaudreuil, 1757._]

[Footnote 536: _Loudon to Pitt, 14 Feb. 1758. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 12
Fév. 1758. Ibid., 28 Nov. 1758._ Bougainville, _Journal. Summary of M.
de Belêtre's Campaign_, in _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 672. Extravagant
reports of the havoc made were sent to France. It was pretended that
three thousand cattle, three thousand sheep (Vaudreuil says four
thousand), and from five hundred to fifteen hundred horses were
destroyed, with other personal property to the amount of 1,500,000
livres. These official falsehoods are contradicted in a letter from
Quebec, _Daine au Maréchal de Belleisle, 19 Mai, 1758_. Levis says that
the whole population of the settlement, men, women, and children, was
not above three hundred.]

Montcalm, his summer work over, went to Montreal; and thence in
September to Quebec, a place more to his liking. "Come as soon as you
can," he wrote to Bourlamaque, "and I will tell a certain fair lady how
eager you are." Even Quebec was no paradise for him; and he writes again
to the same friend: "My heart and my stomach are both ill at ease, the
latter being the worse." To his wife he says: "The price of everything
is rising. I am ruining myself; I owe the treasurer twelve thousand
francs. I long for peace and for you. In spite of the public distress,
we have balls and furious gambling." In February he returned to Montreal
in a sleigh on the ice of the St. Lawrence,--a mode of travelling which
he describes as cold but delicious. Montreal pleased him less than ever,
especially as he was not in favor at what he calls the Court, meaning
the circle of the Governor-General. "I find this place so amusing," he
writes ironically to Bourlamaque, "that I wish Holy Week could be
lengthened, to give me a pretext for neither making nor receiving
visits, staying at home, and dining there almost alone. Burn all my
letters, as I do yours." And in the next week: "Lent and devotion have
upset my stomach and given me a cold; which does not prevent me from
having the Governor-General at dinner to-day to end his lenten fast,
according to custom here." Two days after he announces: "To-day a grand
dinner at Martel's; twenty-three persons, all big-wigs (_les grosses
perruques_); no ladies. We still have got to undergo those of Péan,
Deschambault, and the Chevalier de Lévis. I spend almost every evening
in my chamber, the place I like best, and where I am least bored."

With the opening spring there were changes in the modes of amusement.
Picnics began, Vaudreuil and his wife being often of the party, as too
was Lévis. The Governor also made visits of compliment at the houses of
the seigniorial proprietors along the river; "very much," says Montcalm,
as "Henri IV. did to the bourgeois notables of Paris. I live as usual,
fencing in the morning, dining, and passing the evening at home or at
the Governor's. Péan has gone up to La Chine to spend six days with the
reigning sultana [_Péan's wife, mistress of Bigot_]. As for me, my
_ennui_ increases. I don't know what to do, or say, or read, or where to
go; and I think that at the end of the next campaign I shall ask
bluntly, blindly, for my recall, only because I am bored."[537]

[Footnote 537: _Montcalm à Bourlamaque_, 22 _Mai_, 1758.]

His relations with Vaudreuil were a constant annoyance to him,
notwithstanding the mask of mutual civility. "I never," he tells his
mother, "ask for a place in the colony troops for anybody. You need not
be an Oedipus to guess this riddle. Here are four lines from

   "'Mon crime véritable est d'avoir aujourd'hui
    Plus de nom que ... [_Vaudreuil_], plus de vertus que lui,
    Et c'est de là que part cette secrète haine
    Que le temps ne rendra que plus forte et plus pleine.'

Nevertheless I live here on good terms with everybody, and do my best to
serve the King. If they could but do without me; if they could but
spring some trap on me, or if I should happen to meet with some check!"

Vaudreuil meanwhile had written to the Court in high praise of Lévis,
hinting that he, and not Montcalm, ought to have the chief command.[538]

[Footnote 538: _Vaudreuil au Ministre de la Marine, 16 Sept. 1757.
Ibid., au Ministre de la Guerre, même date_.]

Under the hollow gayeties of the ruling class lay a great public
distress, which broke at last into riot. Towards midwinter no flour was
to be had in Montreal; and both soldiers and people were required to
accept a reduced ration, partly of horse-flesh. A mob gathered before
the Governor's house, and a deputation of women beset him, crying out
that the horse was the friend of man, and that religion forbade him to
be eaten. In reply he threatened them with imprisonment and hanging; but
with little effect, and the crowd dispersed, only to stir up the
soldiers quartered in the houses of the town. The colony regulars,
ill-disciplined at the best, broke into mutiny, and excited the
battalion of Béarn to join them. Vaudreuil was helpless; Montcalm was in
Quebec; and the task of dealing with the mutineers fell upon Lévis, who
proved equal to the crisis, took a high tone, threatened death to the
first soldier who should refuse horse-flesh, assured them at the same
time that he ate it every day himself, and by a characteristic mingling
of authority and tact, quelled the storm.[539]

[Footnote 539: Bougainville, _Journal. Montcalm à Mirepoix, 20 Avril,
1758_. Lévis, _Journal de la Guerre du Canada_.]

The prospects of the next campaign began to open. Captain Pouchot had
written from Niagara that three thousand savages were waiting to be let
loose against the English borders. "What a scourge!" exclaims
Bougainville. "Humanity groans at being forced to use such monsters.
What can be done against an invisible enemy, who strikes and vanishes,
swift as the lightning? It is the destroying angel." Captain Hebecourt
kept watch and ward at Ticonderoga, begirt with snow and ice, and much
plagued by English rangers, who sometimes got into the ditch
itself.[540] This was to reconnoitre the place in preparation for a
winter attack which Loudon had planned, but which, like the rest of his
schemes, fell to the ground.[541] Towards midwinter a band of these
intruders captured two soldiers and butchered some fifteen cattle close
to the fort, leaving tied to the horns of one of them a note addressed
to the commandant in these terms: "I am obliged to you, sir, for the
rest you have allowed me to take and the fresh meat you have sent me. I
shall take good care of my prisoners. My compliments to the Marquis of
Montcalm." Signed, Rogers.[542]

[Footnote 540: _Montcalm à Bourlamaque, 28 Mars, 1758_.]

[Footnote 541: _Loudon to Pitt, 14 Feb. 1758_.]

[Footnote 542: _Journal de ce qui s'est passé en Canada, 1757, 1758_.
Compare Rogers, _Journals_, 72-75.]

A few weeks later Hebecourt had his revenge. About the middle of March a
report came to Montreal that a large party of rangers had been cut to
pieces a few miles from Ticonderoga, and that Rogers himself was among
the slain. This last announcement proved false; but the rangers had
suffered a crushing defeat. Colonel Haviland, commanding at Fort Edward,
sent a hundred and eighty of them, men and officers, on a scouting party
towards Ticonderoga; and Captain Pringle and Lieutenant Roche, of the
twenty-seventh regiment, joined them as volunteers, no doubt through a
love of hardy adventure, which was destined to be fully satisfied.
Rogers commanded the whole. They passed down Lake George on the ice
under cover of night, and then, as they neared the French outposts,
pursued their way by land behind Rogers Rock and the other mountains of
the western shore. On the preceding day, the twelfth of March, Hebecourt
had received a reinforcement of two hundred Mission Indians and a body
of Canadians. The Indians had no sooner arrived than, though nominally
Christians, they consulted the spirits, by whom they were told that the
English were coming. On this they sent out scouts, who came back
breathless, declaring that they had found a great number of snow-shoe
tracks. The superhuman warning being thus confirmed, the whole body of
Indians, joined by a band of Canadians and a number of volunteers from
the regulars, set out to meet the approaching enemy, and took their way
up the valley of Trout Brook, a mountain gorge that opens from the west
upon the valley of Ticonderoga.

Towards three o'clock on the afternoon of that day Rogers had reached a
point nearly west of the mountain that bears his name. The rough and
rocky ground was buried four feet in snow, and all around stood the gray
trunks of the forest, bearing aloft their skeleton arms and tangled
intricacy of leafless twigs. Close on the right was a steep hill, and at
a little distance on the left was the brook, lost under ice and snow. A
scout from the front told Rogers that a party of Indians was approaching
along the bed of the frozen stream, on which he ordered his men to halt,
face to that side, and advance cautiously. The Indians soon appeared,
and received a fire that killed some of them and drove back the rest in

Not suspecting that they were but an advance-guard, about half the
rangers dashed in pursuit, and were soon met by the whole body of the
enemy. The woods rang with yells and musketry. In a few minutes some
fifty of the pursuers were shot down, and the rest driven back in
disorder upon their comrades. Rogers formed them all on the slope of the
hill; and here they fought till sunset with stubborn desperation, twice
repulsing the overwhelming numbers of the assailants, and thwarting all
their efforts to gain the heights in the rear. The combatants were often
not twenty yards apart, and sometimes they were mixed together. At
length a large body of Indians succeeded in turning the right flank of
the rangers. Lieutenant Phillips and a few men were sent by Rogers to
oppose the movement; but they quickly found themselves surrounded, and
after a brave defence surrendered on a pledge of good treatment. Rogers
now advised the volunteers, Pringle and Roche, to escape while there was
time, and offered them a sergeant as guide; but they gallantly resolved
to stand by him. Eight officers and more than a hundred rangers lay dead
and wounded in the snow. Evening was near and the forest was darkening
fast, when the few survivors broke and fled. Rogers with about twenty
followers escaped up the mountain; and gathering others about him, made
a running fight against the Indian pursuers, reached Lake George, not
without fresh losses, and after two days of misery regained Fort Edward
with the remnant of his band. The enemy on their part suffered heavily,
the chief loss falling on the Indians; who, to revenge themselves,
murdered all the wounded and nearly all the prisoners, and tying
Lieutenant Phillips and his men to trees, hacked them to pieces.

Captain Pringle and Lieutenant Roche had become separated from the other
fugitives; and, ignorant of woodcraft, they wandered by moonlight amid
the desolation of rocks and snow, till early in the night they met a man
whom they knew as a servant of Rogers, and who said that he could guide
them to Fort Edward. One of them had lost his snow-shoes in the fight;
and, crouching over a miserable fire of broken sticks, they worked till
morning to make a kind of substitute with forked branches, twigs, and a
few leather strings. They had no hatchet to cut firewood, no blankets,
no overcoats, and no food except part of a Bologna sausage and a little
ginger which Pringle had brought with him. There was no game; not even a
squirrel was astir; and their chief sustenance was juniper-berries and
the inner bark of trees. But their worst calamity was the helplessness
of their guide. His brain wandered; and while always insisting that he
knew the country well, he led them during four days hither and thither
among a labyrinth of nameless mountains, clambering over rocks, wading
through snowdrifts, struggling among fallen trees, till on the fifth day
they saw with despair that they had circled back to their own
starting-point. On the next morning, when they were on the ice of Lake
George, not far from Rogers Rock, a blinding storm of sleet and snow
drove in their faces. Spent as they were, it was death to stop; and
bending their heads against the blast, they fought their way forward,
now on the ice, and now in the adjacent forest, till in the afternoon
the storm ceased, and they found themselves on the bank of an unknown
stream. It was the outlet of the lake; for they had wandered into the
valley of Ticonderoga, and were not three miles from the French fort.
In crossing the torrent Pringle lost his gun, and was near losing his
life. All three of the party were drenched to the skin; and, becoming
now for the first time aware of where they were, they resolved on
yielding themselves prisoners to save their lives. Night, however, again
found them in the forest. Their guide became delirious, saw visions of
Indians all around, and, murmuring incoherently, straggled off a little
way, seated himself in the snow, and was soon dead. The two officers,
themselves but half alive, walked all night round a tree to keep the
blood in motion. In the morning, again toiling on, they presently saw
the fort across the intervening snowfields, and approached it, waving a
white handkerchief. Several French officers dashed towards them at full
speed, and reached them in time to save them from the clutches of the
Indians, whose camps were near at hand. They were kindly treated,
recovered from the effects of their frightful ordeal, and were
afterwards exchanged. Pringle lived to old age, and died in 1800, senior
major-general of the British army.[543]

[Footnote 543: Rogers, two days after reaching Fort Edward, made a
detailed report of the fight, which was printed in the _New Hampshire
Gazette_ and other provincial papers. It is substantially incorporated
in his published _Journals_, which also contain a long letter from
Pringle to Colonel Haviland, dated at Carillon (Ticonderoga), 28 March,
and giving an excellent account of his and Roche's adventures. It was
sent by a flag of truce, which soon after arrived from Fort Edward with
a letter for Vaudreuil. The French accounts of the fight are _Hebecourt
à [Vaudreuil?], 15 Mars, 1758. Montcalm au Ministre de la Guerre, 10
Avril, 1758_. Bougainville, _Journal. Relation de l'Affaire de Roger, 19
Mars_, 1758. _Autre Relation, même date_. Lévis, _Journal_. According to
Lévis, the French force consisted of 250 Indians and Canadians, and a
number of officers, cadets, and soldiers. Roger puts it at 700. Most of
the French writers put the force of the rangers, correctly, at about
180. Rogers reports his loss at 125. None of the wounded seem to have
escaped, being either murdered after the fight, or killed by exposure in
the woods. The Indians brought in 144 scalps, having no doubt divided
some of them, after their ingenious custom. Rogers threw off his
overcoat during the fight, and it was found on the field, with his
commission in the pocket; whence the report of his death. There is an
unsupported tradition that he escaped by sliding on his snow-shoes down
a precipice of Rogers Rock.]

Chapter 17



At this stormy epoch of Canadian history the sinister figure of the
Intendant Bigot moves conspicuous on the scene. Not that he was
answerable for all the manifold corruption that infected the colony, for
much of it was rife before his time, and had a vitality of its own; but
his office and character made him the centre of it, and, more than any
other man, he marshalled and organized the forces of knavery.

In the dual government of Canada the Governor represented the King and
commanded the troops; while the Intendant was charged with trade,
finance, justice, and all other departments of civil administration. In
former times the two functionaries usually quarrelled; but between
Vaudreuil and Bigot there was perfect harmony.

François Bigot, in the words of his biographer, was "born in the bosom
of the magistracy," both his father and his grandfather having held
honorable positions in the parliament of Bordeaux.[544] In appearance he
was not prepossessing, though his ugly, pimpled face was joined with
easy and agreeable manners. In spite of indifferent health, he was
untiring both in pleasure and in work, a skilful man of business, of
great official experience, energetic, good-natured, free-handed, ready
to oblige his friends and aid them in their needs at the expense of the
King, his master; fond of social enjoyments, lavish in hospitality.

[Footnote 544: _Procès de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mémoire pour Messire
François Bigot, accusé, contre Monsieur le Procureur-Général du Roi,

A year or two before the war began, the engineer Franquet was sent from
France to strengthen Louisbourg and inspect the defences of Canada. He
kept a copious journal, full of curious observation, and affording
bright glimpses not only of the social life of the Intendant, but of
Canadian society in the upper or official class. Thus, among various
matters of the kind, he gives us the following. Bigot, who was in
Quebec, had occasion to go to Montreal to meet the Governor; and this
official journey was turned into a pleasure excursion, of which the King
paid all the costs. Those favored with invitations, a privilege highly
prized, were Franquet, with seven or eight military officers and a
corresponding number of ladies, including the wife of Major Pean, of
whom Bigot was enamoured. A chief steward, cooks, servants, and other
attendants, followed the party. The guests had been requested to send
their portmanteaus to the Intendant's Palace six days before, that they
might be sent forward on sledges along with bedding, table, service,
cooking utensils, and numberless articles of comfort and luxury. Orders
were given to the inhabitants along the way, on pain of imprisonment, to
level the snowdrifts and beat the road smooth with ox-teams, as also to
provide relays of horses. It is true that they were well paid for this
last service; so well that the hire of a horse to Montreal and back
again would cost the King the entire value of the animal. On the eighth
of February the party met at the palace; and after a grand dinner set
out upon their journey in twenty or more sleighs, some with two guests
and a driver, and the rest with servants and attendants. The procession
passed at full trot along St. Vallier street amid the shouts of an
admiring crowd, stopped towards night at Pointe-aux-Trembles, where each
looked for lodging; and then they all met and supped with the Intendant.
The militia captain of the place was ordered to have fresh horses ready
at seven in the morning, when Bigot regaled his friends with tea,
coffee, and chocolate, after which they set out again, drove to
Cap-Santé, and stopped two hours at the house of the militia captain to
breakfast and warm themselves. In the afternoon they reached Ste.
Anne-de-la-Pérade, when Bigot gave them a supper at the house in which
he lodged, and they spent the evening at cards.

The next morning brought them to Three Rivers, where Madame Marin,
Franquet's travelling companion, wanted to stop to see her sister, the
wife of Rigaud, who was then governor of the place. Madame de Rigaud,
being ill, received her visitors in bed, and ordered an ample dinner to
be provided for them; after which they returned to her chamber for
coffee and conversation. Then they all set out again, saluted by the
cannon of the fort.

Their next stopping-place was Isle-au-Castor, where, being seated at
cards before supper, they were agreeably surprised by the appearance of
the Governor, who had come down from Montreal to meet them with four
officers, Duchesnaye, Marin, Le Mercier, and Péan. Many were the
embraces and compliments; and in the morning they all journeyed on
together, stopping towards night at the largest house they could find,
where their servants took away the partitions to make room, and they sat
down to a supper, followed by the inevitable game of cards. On the next
night they reached Montreal and were lodged at the intendency, the
official residence of the hospitable Bigot. The succeeding day was spent
in visiting persons of eminence and consideration, among whom are to be
noted the names, soon to become notorious, of Varin, naval commissary,
Martel, King's storekeeper, Antoine Penisseault, and François Maurin. A
succession of festivities followed, including the benediction of three
flags for a band of militia on their way to the Ohio. All persons of
quality in Montreal were invited on this occasion, and the Governor gave
them a dinner and a supper. Bigot, however, outdid him in the plenitude
of his hospitality, since, in the week before Lent, forty guests supped
every evening at his table, and dances, masquerades, and cards consumed
the night.[545]

[Footnote 545: Franquet, _Journal_.]

His chief abode was at Quebec, in the capacious but somewhat ugly
building known as the Intendant's Palace. Here it was his custom during
the war to entertain twenty persons at dinner every day; and there was
also a hall for dancing, with a gallery to which the citizens were
admitted as spectators.[546] The bounteous Intendant provided a separate
dancing-hall for the populace; and, though at the same time he plundered
and ruined them, his gracious demeanor long kept him a place in their
hearts. Gambling was the chief feature of his entertainments, and the
stakes grew deeper as the war went on. He played desperately himself,
and early in 1758 lost two hundred and four thousand francs,--a loss
which he will knew how to repair. Besides his official residence on the
banks of the St. Charles, he had a country house about five miles
distant, a massive old stone building in the woods at the foot of the
mountain of Charlebourg; its ruins are now known as Chateau Bigot. In
its day it was called the Hermitage; though the uses to which it was
applied savored nothing of asceticism. Tradition connects it and its
owner with a romantic, but more than doubtful, story of love, jealousy,
and murder.

[Footnote 546: De Gaspé, _Mémoires_, 119.]

The chief Canadian families were so social in their habits and so
connected by intermarriage that, along with the French civil and
military officers of the colonial establishment, they formed a society
whose members all knew each other, like the corresponding class in
Virginia. There was among them a social facility and ease rare in
democratic communities; and in the ladies of Quebec and Montreal were
often seen graces which visitors from France were astonished to find at
the edge of a wilderness. Yet this small though lively society had
anomalies which grew more obtrusive towards the close of the war.
Knavery makes strange companions; and at the tables of high civil
officials and colony officers of rank sat guests as boorish in manners
as they were worthless in character.

Foremost among these was Joseph Cadet, son of a butcher at Quebec, who
at thirteen went to sea as a pilot's boy, then kept the cows of an
inhabitant of Charlebourg, and at last took up his father's trade and
prospered in it.[547] In 1756 Bigot got him appointed commissary-general,
and made a contract with him which flung wide open the doors of peculation.
In the next two years Cadet and his associates,Péan, Maurin, Corpron, and
Penisseault, sold to the King, for about twenty-three million francs,
provisions which cost them eleven millions, leaving a net profit of about
twelve millions. It was not legally proved that the Intendant shared
Cadet's gains; but there is no reasonable doubt that he did so.
Bigot's chief profits rose, however, from other sources. It was his
business to see that the King's storehouses for the supply of troops,
militia, and Indians were kept well stocked. To this end he and Bréard,
naval comptroller at Quebec, made a partnership with the commercial house
of Gradis and Son at Bordeaux. He next told the Colonial Minister that
there were stores enough already in Canada to last three years, and that it
would be more to the advantage of the King to buy them in the colony than
to take the risk of sending them from France.[548] Gradis and Son then
shipped them to Canada in large quantities, while Bréard or his agent
declared at the custom-house that they belonged to the King, and so
escaped the payment of duties. Theywere then, as occasion rose, sold to
the King at a huge profit, always under fictitious names. Often they were
sold to some favored merchant or speculator, who sold them in turn to
Bigot's confederate, the King's storekeeper; and sometimes they passed
through several successive hands, till the price rose to double or triple
the first cost, the Intendant and his partners sharing the gains with
friends and allies. They would let nobody else sell to the King; and
thus a grinding monopoly was established, to the great profit of those
who held it.[549]

[Footnote 547: _Procès de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mémoire pour Messire
François Bigot_. Compare _Mémoires sur le Canada_, 1749-1760.]

[Footnote 548: _Bigot au Ministre, 8 Oct. 1749._]

[Footnote 549: _Procés de Bigot, Cadet, et autres. Mémoire sur les
Fraudes commises dans la Colonie._ Compare _Mémoires sur le Canada,

Under the name of a trader named Claverie, Bigot, some time before the
war, set up a warehouse on land belonging to the King and not far from
his own palace. Here the goods shipped from Bordeaux were collected, to
be sold in retail to the citizens, and in wholesale to favored merchants
and the King. This establishment was popularly known as La Friponne, at
Montreal, which was leagued with that of Quebec, and received goods from

Bigot and his accomplices invented many other profitable frauds. Thus he
was charged with the disposal of the large quantity of furs belonging to
his master, which it was his duty to sell at public auction, after due
notice, to the highest bidder. Instead of this, he sold them privately
at a low price to his own confederates. It was also his duty to provide
transportation for troops, artillery, provisions, and stores, in which
he made good profit by letting to the King, at high prices, boats or
vessels which he had himself bought or hired for the purpose.[550]

[Footnote 550: _Jugement rendu souverainement dans l'Affaire du

Yet these and other illicit gains still left him but the second place as
public plunderer. Cadet, the commissary-general, reaped an ampler
harvest, and became the richest man in the colony. One of the operations
of this scoundrel, accomplished with the help of Bigot, consisted in
buying for six hundred thousand francs a quantity of stores belonging to
the King, and then selling them back to him for one million four hundred
thousand.[551] It was further shown on his trial that in 1759 he
received 1,614,354 francs for stores furnished at the post of
Miramichi, while the value of those actually furnished was but 889,544
francs; thus giving him a fraudulent profit of more than seven hundred
and twenty-four thousand.[552] Cadet's chief resource was the
falsification of accounts. The service of the King in Canada was fenced
about by rigid formalities. When supplies were wanted at any of the
military posts, the commandant made a requisition specifying their
nature and quantity, while, before pay could be drawn for them, the
King's storekeeper, the local commissary, and the inspector must set
their names as vouchers to the list, and finally Bigot must sign
it.[553] But precautions were useless where all were leagued to rob the
King. It appeared on Cadet's trial that by gifts of wine, brandy, or
money he had bribed the officers, both civil and military, at all the
principal forts to attest the truth of accounts in which the supplies
furnished by him were set at more than twice their true amount. Of the
many frauds charged against him there was one peculiarly odious. Large
numbers of refugee Acadians were to be supplied with rations to keep
them alive. Instead of wholesome food, mouldered and unsalable salt cod
was sent them, and paid for by the King at inordinate prices.[554] It
was but one of many heartless outrages practised by Canadian officials
on this unhappy people.

[Footnote 551: _Procès de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Requête du
Procureur-Général, 19 Dec_. 1761.]

[Footnote 552: _Procès de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mémoire pour Messire
François Bigot_.]

[Footnote 553: _Mémoire sur le Canada_ (Archives Nationales).]

[Footnote 554: _Mémoires sur le Canada_, 1749-1760.]

Cadet told the Intendant that the inhabitants were hoarding their grain,
and got an order from him requiring them to sell it at a low fixed
price, on pain of having it seized. Thus nearly the whole fell into his
hands. Famine ensued; and he then sold it at a great profit, partly to
the King, and partly to its first owners. Another of his devices was to
sell provisions to the King which, being sent to the outlying forts,
were falsely reported as consumed; on which he sold them to the King a
second time. Not without reason does a writer of the time exclaim: "This
is the land of abuses, ignorance, prejudice, and all that is monstrous
in government. Peculation, monopoly, and plunder have become a
bottomless abyss."[555]

[Footnote 555: _Considérations sur l'État présent du Canada_.]

The command of a fort brought such opportunities of making money that,
according to Bougainville, the mere prospect of appointment to it for
the usual term of three years was thought enough for a young man to
marry upon. It was a favor in the gift of the Governor, who was accused
of sharing the profits. These came partly from the fur-trade, and still
more from frauds of various kinds. For example, a requisition was made
for supplies as gifts to the Indians in order to keep them friendly or
send them on the war-path; and their number was put many times above the
truth in order to get more goods, which the commandant and his
confederates then bartered for furs on their own account, instead of
giving them as presents. "And," says a contemporary, addressing the
Colonial Minister, "those who treat the savages so basely are officers
of the King, depositaries of his authority, ministers of that Great
Onontio whom they call their father."[556] At the post of Green Bay, the
partisan officer Marin, and Rigaud, the Governor's brother, made in a
short time a profit of three hundred and twelve thousand francs.[557]
"Why is it," asks Bougainville, "that of all which the King sends to the
Indians two thirds are stolen, and the rest sold to them instead of
being given?"[558]

[Footnote 556: _Considérations sur l'État présent du Canada_.]

[Footnote 557: _Mémoire sur les Fraudes commises dans la Colonie_.
Bougainville, _Mémoire sur l'État de la Nouvelle France_.]

[Footnote 558: Bougainville, _Journal_.]

The transportation of military stores gave another opportunity of
plunder. The contractor would procure from the Governor or the local
commandant an order requiring the inhabitants to serve him as boatmen,
drivers, or porters, under a promise of exemption that year from duty as
soldiers. This saved him his chief item of expense, and the profits of
his contract rose in proportion.

A contagion of knavery ran through the official life of the colony; and
to resist it demanded no common share of moral robustness. The officers
of the troops of the line were not much within its influence; but those
of the militia and colony regulars, whether of French or Canadian birth,
shared the corruption of the civil service. Seventeen of them, including
six chevaliers of St. Louis and eight commandants of forts, were
afterwards arraigned for fraud and malversation, though some of the
number were acquitted. Bougainville gives the names of four other
Canadian officers as honorable exceptions to the general
demoralization,--Benoît, Repentigny, Lainé, and Le Borgne; "not enough,"
he observes, "to save Sodom."

Conspicuous among these military thieves was Major Péan, whose qualities
as a soldier have been questioned, but who nevertheless had shown almost
as much vigor in serving the King during the Ohio campaign of 1753 as
he afterwards displayed effrontery in cheating him. "Le petit Péan" had
married a young wife, Mademoiselle Desméloizes, Canadian like himself,
well born, and famed for beauty, vivacity, and wit. Bigot, who was near
sixty, became her accepted lover; and the fortune of Péan was made. His
first success seems to have taken him by surprise. He had bought as a
speculation a large quantity of grain, with money of the King lent him
by the Intendant. Bigot, officially omnipotent, then issued an order
raising the commodity to a price far above that paid by Péan, who thus
made a profit of fifty thousand crowns.[559] A few years later his
wealth was estimated at from two to four million francs. Madame Péan
became a power in Canada, the dispenser of favors and offices; and all
who sought opportunity to rob the King hastened to pay her their court.
Péan, jilted by his own wife, made prosperous love to the wife of his
partner, Penisseault; who, though the daughter of a Montreal tradesman,
had the air of a woman of rank, and presided with dignity and grace at a
hospitable board where were gathered the clerks of Cadet and other
lesser lights of the administrative hierarchy. It was often honored by
the presence of the Chevalier de Lévis, who, captivated by the charms of
the hostess, condescended to a society which his friends condemned as
unworthy of his station. He succeeded Péan in the graces of Madame
Penisseault, and after the war took her with him to France; while the
aggrieved husband found consolation in the wives of the small
functionaries under his orders.[560]

[Footnote 559: _Mémoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760. Mémoire sur les
Fraudes_, etc. Compare Pouchot, I. 8.]

[Footnote 560: _Mémoires sur le Canada_, 1749-1760.]

Another prominent name on the roll of knavery was that of Varin,
commissary of marine, and Bigot's deputy at Montreal, a Frenchman of low
degree, small in stature, sharp witted, indefatigable, conceited,
arrogant, headstrong, capricious, and dissolute. Worthless as he was, he
found a place in the Court circle of the Governor, and aspired to
supplant Bigot in the intendancy. To this end, as well as to save
himself from justice, he had the fatuity to turn informer and lay bare
the sins of his confederates, though forced at the same time to betray
his own. Among his comrades and allies may be mentioned Deschenaux, son
of a shoemaker at Quebec, and secretary to the Intendant; Martel, King's
storekeeper at Montreal; the humpback Maurin, who is not to be
confounded with the partisan officer Marin; and Corpron, a clerk whom
several tradesmen had dismissed for rascality, but who was now in the
confidence of Cadet, to whom he made himself useful, and in whose
service he grew rich.

Canada was the prey of official jackals,--true lion's providers, since
they helped to prepare a way for the imperial beast, who, roused at last
from his lethargy, was gathering his strength to seize her for his own.
Honesty could not be expected from a body of men clothed with arbitrary
and ill-defined powers, ruling with absolute sway an unfortunate people
who had no voice in their own destinies, and answerable only to an
apathetic master three thousand miles away. Nor did the Canadian Church,
though supreme, check the corruptions that sprang up and flourished
under its eye. The Governor himself was charged with sharing the
plunder; and though he was acquitted on his trial, it is certain that
Bigot had him well in hand, that he was intimate with the chief robbers,
and that they found help in his weak compliances and wilful blindness.
He put his stepson, Le Verrier, in command at Michillimackinac, where,
by fraud and the connivance of his stepfather, the young man made a
fortune.[561] When the Colonial Minister berated the Intendant for
maladministration, Vaudreuil became his advocate, and wrote thus in his
defence: "I cannot conceal from you, Monseigneur, how deeply M. Bigot
feels the suspicions expressed in your letters to him. He does not
deserve them, I am sure. He is full of zeal for the service of the King;
but as he is rich, or passes as such, and as he has merit, the
ill-disposed are jealous, and insinuate that he has prospered at the
expense of His Majesty. I am certain that it is not true, and that
nobody is a better citizen than he, or has the King's interest more at
heart."[562] For Cadet, the butcher's son, the Governor asked a patent
of nobility as a reward for his services.[563] When Péan went to France
in 1758, Vaudreuil wrote to the Colonial Minister: "I have great
confidence in him. He knows the colony and its needs. You can trust all
he says. He will explain everything in the best manner. I shall be
extremely sensible to any kindness you may show him, and hope that when
you know him you will like him as much as I do."[564]

[Footnote 561: _Mémoires sur le Canada_, 1749-1760.]

[Footnote 562: _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 15 Oct. 1759._]

[Footnote 563: _Ibid., 7 Nov. 1759._]

[Footnote 564: _Ibid., 6 Août, 1758._]

Administrative corruption was not the only bane of Canada. Her financial
condition was desperate. The ordinary circulating medium consisted of
what was known as card money, and amounted to only a million of francs.
This being insufficient, Bigot, like his predecessor Hocquart, issued
promissory notes on his own authority, and made them legal tender. They
were for sums from one franc to a hundred, and were called
_ordonnances_. Their issue was blamed at Versailles as an encroachment
on the royal prerogative, though they were recognized by the Ministry in
view of the necessity of the case. Every autumn those who held them to
any considerable amount might bring them to the colonial treasurer, who
gave in return bills of exchange on the royal treasury in France. At
first these bills were promptly paid; then delays took place, and the
notes depreciated; till in 1759 the Ministry, aghast at the amount,
refused payment, and the utmost dismay and confusion followed.[565]

[Footnote 565: _Réflections sommaires sur le Commerce qui s'est fait en
Canada. État présent du Canada_. Compare Stevenson, _Card Money of
Canada_, in _Transactions of the Historical Society of Quebec_,

The vast jarring, discordant mechanism of corruption grew
incontrollable; it seized upon Bigot, and dragged him, despite himself,
into perils which his prudence would have shunned. He was becoming a
victim to the rapacity of his own confederates, whom he dared not offend
by refusing his connivance and his signature of frauds which became more
and more recklessly audacious. He asked leave to retire from office, in
the hope that his successor would bear the brunt of the ministerial
displeasure. Péan had withdrawn already, and with the fruits of his
plunder bought land in France, where he thought himself safe. But though
the Intendant had long been an object of distrust, and had often been
warned to mend his ways,[566] yet such was his energy, his executive
power, and his fertility of resource, that in the crisis of the war it
was hard to dispense with him. Neither his abilities, however, nor his
strong connections in France, nor an ally whom he had secured in the
bureau of the Colonial Minister himself, could avail him much longer;
and the letters from Versailles became appalling in rebuke and menace.

[Footnote 566: _Ordres du Roy et Dépêches des Ministres, 1751-1758._]

"The ship 'Britannia,'" wrote the Minister, Berryer, "laden with goods
such as are wanted in the colony, was captured by a privateer from St.
Malo, and brought into Quebec. You sold the whole cargo for eight
hundred thousand francs. The purchasers made a profit of two millions.
You bought back a part for the King at one million, or two hundred
thousand more than the price which you sold the whole. With conduct like
this it is no wonder that the expenses of the colony become
insupportable. The amount of your drafts on the treasury is frightful.
The fortunes of your subordinates throw suspicion on your
administration." And in another letter on the same day: "How could it
happen that the small-pox among the Indians cost the King a million
francs? What does this expense mean? Who is answerable for it? Is it the
officers who command the posts, or is it the storekeepers? You give me
no particulars. What has become of the immense quantity of provisions
sent to Canada last year? I am forced to conclude that the King's stores
are set down as consumed from the moment they arrive, and then sold to
His Majesty at exorbitant prices. Thus the King buys stores in France,
and then buys them again in Canada. I no longer wonder at the immense
fortunes made in the colony."[567] Some months later the Minister
writes: "You pay bills without examination, and then find an error in
your accounts of three million six hundred thousand francs. In the
letters from Canada I see nothing but incessant speculation in
provisions and goods, which are sold to the King for ten times more than
they cost in France. For the last time, I exhort you to give these
things your serious attention, for they will not escape from mine."[568]

[Footnote 567: _Le Ministre à Bigot, 19 Jan. 1759._]

[Footnote 568: _Ibid., 29 Août, 1759._]

"I write, Monsieur, to answer your last two letters, in which you tell
me that instead of sixteen millions, your drafts on the treasury for
1758 will reach twenty-four millions, and that this year they will rise
to from thirty-one to thirty-three millions. It seems, then, that there
are no bounds to the expenses of Canada. They double almost every year,
while you seem to give yourself no concern except to get them paid. Do
you suppose that I can advise the King to approve such an
administration? or do you think that you can take the immense sum of
thirty-three millions out of the royal treasury by merely assuring me
that you have signed drafts for it? This, too, for expenses incurred
irregularly, often needlessly, always wastefully; which make the fortune
of everybody who has the least hand in them, and about which you know
so little that after reporting them at sixteen millions, you find two
months after that they will reach twenty-four. You are accused of having
given the furnishing of provisions to one man, who under the name of
commissary-general, has set what prices he pleased; of buying for the
King at second or third hand what you might have got from the producer
at half the price; of having in this and other ways made the fortunes of
persons connected with you; and of living in splendor in the midst of a
public misery, which all the letters from the colony agree in ascribing
to bad administration, and in charging M. de Vaudreuil with weakness in
not preventing."[569]

[Footnote 569: _Le Ministre à Bigotû, 29 Août, 1759_ (second letter of
this date).]

These drastic utterances seem to have been partly due to a letter
written by Montcalm in cipher to the Maréchal de Belleisle, then
minister of war. It painted the deplorable condition of Canada, and
exposed without reserve the peculations and robberies of those intrusted
with its interests. "It seems," said the General, "as if they were all
hastening to make their fortunes before the loss of the colony; which
many of them perhaps desire as a veil to their conduct." He gives among
other cases that of Le Mercier, chief of Canadian artillery, who had
come to Canada as a private soldier twenty years before, and had so
prospered on fraudulent contracts that he would soon be worth nearly a
million. "I have often," continues Montcalm, "spoken of these
expenditures to M. de Vaudreuil and M. Bigot; and each throws the blame
on the other."[570] And yet at the same time Vaudreuil was assuring the
Minister that Bigot was without blame.

[Footnote 570: _Montcalm au Ministre de la Guerre, Lettre
confidentielle, 12 Avril,_ 1759.]

Some two months before Montcalm wrote this letter, the Minister,
Berryer, sent a despatch to the Governor and Intendant which filled them
with ire and mortification. It ordered them to do nothing without
consulting the general of the French regulars, not only in matters of
war, but in all matters of administration touching the defence and
preservation of the colony. A plainer proof of confidence on one hand
and distrust on the other could not have been given.[571]

[Footnote 571: _Le Ministre à Vaudreuil et Bigot, 20 Fév. 1759._]

One Querdisien-Tremais was sent from Bordeaux as an agent of Government
to make investigation. He played the part of detective, wormed himself
into the secrets of the confederates, and after six months of patient
inquisition traced out four distinct combinations for public plunder.
Explicit orders were now given to Bigot, who, seeing no other escape,
broke with Cadet, and made him disgorge two millions of stolen money.
The Commissary-General and his partners became so terrified that they
afterwards gave up nearly seven millions more.[572] Stormy events
followed, and the culprits found shelter for a time amid the tumults of
war. Peculation did not cease, but a day of reckoning was at hand.

[Footnote 572: _Procès de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mémoirs pour François
Bigot, 3'me partie_.]

NOTE: The printed documents of the trial of Bigot and the other
peculators include the defence of Bigot, of which the first part
occupies 303 quarto pages, and the second part 764. Among the other
papers are the arguments for Péan, Varin, Saint-Blin, Boishébert,
Martel, Joncaire-Chabert and several more, along with the elaborate
_Jugement rendue_, the _Requêtes du Procureur-Général,_ the _Réponse aux
Mémoires de M. Bigot et du Sieur Péan,_ etc., forming together five
quarto volumes, all of which I have carefully examined. These are in the
Library of Harvard University. There is another set, also of five
volumes, in the Library of the Historical Society of Quebec, containing
most of the papers just mentioned, and, bound with them, various others
in manuscript, among which are documents in defence of Vaudreuil
(printed in part); Estèbe, Corpron, Penisseault, Maurin, and Bréard. I
have examined this collection also. The manuscript _Ordres du Roy et
Dépêches des Ministres_, 1757-1760, as well as the letters of Vaudreuil,
Bougainville, Daine, Doreil, and Montcalm throw much light on the
maladministration of the time; as do many contemporary documents,
notably those entitled _Mémoire sur les Fraudes commises dans la
Colonie, État présent du Canada,_ and _Mémoire sur le Canada_ (Archives
Nationales). The remarkable anonymous work printed by the Historical
Society of Quebec under the title _Mémoires sur le Canada depuis 1749
jusqu'àé 1760, is full of curious matter concerning Bigot and his
associates which squares well with other evidence. This is the source
from which Smith, in his _History of Canada_ (Quebec, 1815), drew most
of his information on the subject. A manuscript which seems to be the
original draft of this valuable document was preserved at the Bastile,
and, with other papers, was thrown into the street when that castle was
destroyed. They were gathered up, and afterwards bought by a Russian
named Dubrowski, who carried them to St. Petersburg. Lord Dufferin, when
minister there, procured a copy of the manuscript in question, which is
now in the keeping of Abbé H. Verreau at Montreal, to whose kindness I
owe the opportunity of examining it. In substance it differs little from
the printed work, though the language and the arrangement often vary
from it. The author, whoever he may have been, was deeply versed in
Canadian affairs of the time, and though often caustic, is generally

Chapter 18

1757, 1758


The war kindled in the American forest was now raging in full
conflagration among the kingdoms of Europe; and in the midst stood
Frederic of Prussia, a veritable fire-king. He had learned through
secret agents that he was to be attacked, and that the wrath of Maria
Theresa with her two allies, Pompadour and the Empress of Russia, was
soon to wreak itself upon him. With his usual prompt audacity he
anticipated his enemies, marched into Saxony, and began the Continental
war. His position seemed desperate. England, sundered from Austria, her
old ally, had made common cause with him; but he had no other friend
worth the counting. France, Russia, Austria, Sweden, Saxony, the
collective Germanic Empire, and most of the smaller German States had
joined hands for his ruin, eager to crush him and divide the spoil,
parcelling out his dominions among themselves in advance by solemn
mutual compact. Against the five millions of Prussia were arrayed
populations of more than a hundred million. The little kingdom was open
on all sides to attack, and her enemies were spurred on by the bitterest
animosity. It was thought that one campaign would end the war. The war
lasted seven years, and Prussia came out of it triumphant. Such a
warrior as her indomitable king Europe has rarely seen. If the Seven
Years War made the maritime and colonial greatness of England, it also
raised Prussia to the rank of a first-class Power.

Frederic began with a victory, routing the Austrians in one of the
fiercest of recorded conflicts, the battle of Prague. Then in his turn
he was beaten at Kolin. All seemed lost. The hosts of the coalition were
rolling in upon him like a deluge. Surrounded by enemies, in the jaws of
destruction, hoping for little but to die in battle, this strange hero
solaced himself with an exhaustless effusion of bad verses, sometimes
mournful, sometimes cynical, sometimes indignant, and sometimes
breathing a dauntless resolution; till, when his hour came, he threw
down his pen to achieve those feats of arms which stamp him one of the
foremost soldiers of the world.

The French and Imperialists, in overwhelming force, thought to crush him
at Rosbach. He put them to shameful rout; and then, instead of bonfires
and Te Deums, mocked at them in doggerel rhymes of amazing indecency.
While he was beating the French, the Austrians took Silesia from him. He
marched to recover it, found them strongly posted at Leuthen, eighty
thousand men against thirty thousand, and without hesitation resolved to
attack them. Never was he more heroic than on the eve of this, his
crowning triumph. "The hour is at hand," he said to his generals. "I
mean, in spite of the rules of military art, to attack Prince Karl's
army, which is nearly thrice our own. This risk I must run, or all is
lost. We must beat him or die, all of us, before his batteries." He
burst unawares upon the Austrian left, and rolled their whole host
together, corps upon corps, in a tumult of irretrievable ruin.

While her great ally was reaping a full harvest of laurels, England,
dragged into the Continental war because that apple of discord, Hanover,
belonged to her King, found little but humiliation. Minorca was wrested
from her, and the Ministry had an innocent man shot to avert from
themselves the popular indignation; while the same Ministry, scared by a
phantom of invasion, brought over German troops to defend British soil.
But now an event took place pregnant with glorious consequence. The
reins of power fell into the hands of William Pitt. He had already held
them for a brief space, forced into office at the end of 1756 by popular
clamor, in spite of the Whig leaders and against the wishes of the King.
But the place was untenable. Newcastle's Parliament would not support
him; the Duke of Cumberland opposed him; the King hated him; and in
April 1757, he was dismissed. Then ensued eleven weeks of bickering and
dispute, during which, in the midst of a great war, England was left
without a government. It became clear that none was possible without
Pitt; and none with him could be permanent and strong unless joined with
those influences which had thus far controlled the majorities of
Parliament. Therefore an extraordinary union was brought about; Lord
Chesterfield acting as go-between to reconcile the ill-assorted pair.
One of them brought to the alliance the confidence and support of the
people; the other, Court management, borough interest, and parliamentary
connections. Newcastle was made First Lord of the Treasury, and Pitt,
the old enemy who had repeatedly browbeat and ridiculed him, became
Secretary of State, with the lead of the House of Commons and full
control of the war and foreign affairs. It was a partnership of magpie
and eagle. The dirty work of government, intrigue, bribery, and all the
patronage that did not affect the war, fell to the share of the old
politician. If Pitt could appoint generals, admirals, and ambassadors,
Newcastle was welcome to the rest. "I will borrow the Duke's majorities
to carry on the government," said the new secretary; and with the
audacious self-confidence that was one of his traits, he told the Duke
of Devonshire, "I am sure that I can save this country, and that nobody
else can." England hailed with one acclaim the undaunted leader who
asked for no reward but the honor of serving her. The hour had found the
man. For the next four years this imposing figure towers supreme in
British history.

He had glaring faults, some of them of a sort not to have been expected
in him. Vanity, the common weakness of small minds, was the most
disfiguring foible of this great one. He had not the simplicity which
becomes greatness so well. He could give himself theatrical airs, strike
attitudes, and dart stage lightnings from his eyes; yet he was
formidable even in his affectations. Behind his great intellectual
powers lay a burning enthusiasm, a force of passion and fierce intensity
of will, that gave redoubled impetus to the fiery shafts of his
eloquence; and the haughty and masterful nature of the man had its share
in the ascendency which he long held over Parliament. He would blast the
labored argument of an adversary by a look of scorn or a contemptuous
wave of the hand.

The Great Commoner was not a man of the people in the popular sense of
that hackneyed phrase. Though himself poor, being a younger son, he came
of a rich and influential family; he was patrician at heart; both his
faults and his virtues, his proud incorruptibility and passionate,
domineering patriotism, bore the patrician stamp. Yet he loved liberty
and he loved the people, because they were the English people. The
effusive humanitarianism of to-day had no part in him, and the democracy
of to-day would detest him. Yet to the middle-class England of his own
time, that unenfranchised England which had little representation in
Parliament, he was a voice, an inspiration, and a tower of strength. He
would not flatter the people; but, turning with contempt from the tricks
and devices of official politics, he threw himself with a confidence
that never wavered on their patriotism and public spirit. They answered
him with a boundless trust, asked but to follow his lead, gave him
without stint their money and their blood, loved him for his domestic
virtues and his disinterestedness, believed him even in his
self-contradiction, and idolized him even in his bursts of arrogant
passion. It was he who waked England from her lethargy, shook off the
spell that Newcastle and his fellow-enchanters had cast over her, and
taught her to know herself again. A heart that beat in unison with all
that was British found responsive throbs in every corner of the vast
empire that through him was to become more vast. With the instinct of
his fervid patriotism he would join all its far-extended members into
one, not by vain assertions of parliamentary supremacy, but by bonds of
sympathy and ties of a common freedom and a common cause.

The passion for power and glory subdued in him all the sordid parts of
humanity, and he made the power and glory of England one with his own.
He could change front through resentment or through policy; but in
whatever path he moved, his objects were the same: not to curb the power
of France in America, but to annihilate it; crush her navy, cripple her
foreign trade, ruin her in India, in Africa, and wherever else, east or
west, she had found foothold; gain for England the mastery of the seas,
open to her the great highways of the globe, make her supreme in
commerce and colonization; and while limiting the activities of her
rival to the European continent, give to her the whole world for a

To this British Roman was opposed the pampered Sardanapalus of
Versailles, with the silken favorite who by calculated adultery had
bought the power to ruin France. The Marquise de Pompadour, who began
life as Jeanne Poisson,--Jane Fish,--daughter of the head clerk of a
banking house, who then became wife of a rich financier, and then, as
mistress of the King, rose to a pinnacle of gilded ignominy, chose this
time to turn out of office the two ministers who had shown most ability
and force,--Argenson, head of the department of war, and Machault, head
of the marine and colonies; the one because he was not subservient to
her will, and the other because he had unwittingly touched the self-love
of her royal paramour. She aspired to a share in the conduct of the war,
and not only made and unmade ministers and generals, but discussed
campaigns and battles with them, while they listened to her prating with
a show of obsequious respect, since to lose her favor was to risk losing
all. A few months later, when blows fell heavy and fast, she turned a
deaf ear to representations of financial straits and military disasters,
played the heroine, affected a greatness of soul superior to misfortune,
and in her perfumed boudoir varied her tiresome graces by posing as a
Roman matron. In fact she never wavered in her spite against Frederic,
and her fortitude was perfect in bearing the sufferings of others and
defying dangers that could not touch her.

When Pitt took office it was not over France, but over England that the
clouds hung dense and black. Her prospects were of the gloomiest.
"Whoever is in or whoever is out," wrote Chesterfield, "I am sure we are
undone both at home and abroad: at home by our increasing debt and
expenses; abroad by our ill-luck and incapacity. We are no longer a
nation." And his despondency was shared by many at the beginning of the
most triumphant Administration in British history. The shuffling
weakness of his predecessors had left Pitt a heritage of tribulation.
From America came news of Loudon's manifold failures; from Germany that
of the miscarriage of the Duke of Cumberland, who, at the head of an
army of Germans in British pay, had been forced to sign the convention
of Kloster-Zeven, by which he promised to disband them. To these
disasters was added a third, of which the new Government alone had to
bear the burden. At the end of summer Pitt sent a great expedition to
attack Rochefort; the military and naval commanders disagreed, and the
consequence was failure. There was no light except from far-off India,
where Clive won the great victory of Plassey, avenged the Black Hole of
Calcutta, and prepared the ruin of the French power and the undisputed
ascendency of England.

If the English had small cause as yet to rejoice in their own successes,
they found comfort in those of their Prussian allies. The rout of the
French at Rossbach and of the Austrians at Leuthen spread joy through
their island. More than this, they felt that they had found at last a
leader after their own heart; and the consciousness regenerated them.
For the paltering imbecility of the old Ministry they had the
unconquerable courage, the iron purpose, the unwavering faith, the
inextinguishable hope, of the new one. "England has long been in labor,"
said Frederic of Prussia, "and at last she has brought forth a man." It
was not only that instead of weak commanders Pitt gave her strong ones;
the same men who had served her feebly under the blight of the Newcastle
Administration served her manfully and well under his robust impulsion.
"Nobody ever entered his closet," said Colonel Barre, "who did not come
out of it a braver man." That inspiration was felt wherever the British
flag waved. Zeal awakened with the assurance that conspicuous merit was
sure of its reward, and that no officer who did his duty would now be
made a sacrifice, like Admiral Byng, to appease public indignation at
ministerial failures. As Nature, languishing in chill vapors and dull
smothering fogs, revives at the touch of the sun, so did England spring
into fresh life under the kindling influence of one great man.

With the opening of the year 1758 her course of Continental victories
began. The Duke of Cumberland, the King's son, was recalled in disgrace,
and a general of another stamp, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, was
placed in command of the Germans in British pay, with the contingent of
English troops now added to them. The French, too, changed commanders.
The Duke of Richelieu, a dissolute old beau, returned to Paris to spend
in heartless gallantries the wealth he had gained by plunder; and a
young soldier-churchman, the Comte de Clermont, took his place. Prince
Ferdinand pushed him hard with an inferior force, drove him out of
Hanover, and captured eleven thousand of his soldiers. Clermont was
recalled, and was succeeded by Contades, another incapable. One of his
subordinates won for him the battle; of Lutterberg; but the generalship
of Ferdinand made it a barren victory, and the campaign remained a
success for the English. They made descents on the French coasts,
captured; St.-Servan, a suburb of St.-Malo, and burned three ships of
the line, twenty-four privateers, and sixty merchantmen; then entered
Cherbourg, destroyed the forts, carried off or spiked the cannon, and
burned twenty-seven vessels,--a success partially offset by a failure on
the coast of Brittany, where they were repulsed with some loss. In
Africa they drove the French from the Guinea coast, and seized their
establishment at Senegal.

It was towards America that Pitt turned his heartiest efforts. His first
aim was to take Louisbourg, as a step towards taking Quebec; then
Ticonderoga, that thorn in the side of the northern colonies; and lastly
Fort Duquesne, the Key of the Great West. He recalled Loudon, for whom
he had a fierce contempt; but there were influences which he could not
disregard, and Major-General Abercromby, who was next in order of rank,
an indifferent soldier, though a veteran in years, was allowed to
succeed him, and lead in person the attack on Ticonderoga.[573] Pitt
hoped that Brigadier Lord Howe, an admirable officer, who was joined
with Abercromby, would be the real commander, and make amends for all
short-comings of his chief. To command the Louisbourg expedition,
Colonel Jeffrey Amherst was recalled from the German war, and made at
one leap a major-general.[574] He was energetic and resolute, somewhat
cautious and slow, but with a bulldog tenacity of grip. Under him were
three brigadiers, Whitmore, Lawrence, and Wolfe, of whom the youngest is
the most noteworthy. In the luckless Rochefort expedition, Colonel James
Wolfe was conspicuous by a dashing gallantry that did not escape the eye
of Pitt, always on the watch for men to do his work. The young officer
was ardent, headlong, void of fear, often rash, almost fanatical in his
devotion to military duty, and reckless of life when the glory of
England or his own was at stake. The third expedition, that against Fort
Duquesne, was given to Brigadier John Forbes, whose qualities well
fitted him for the task.

[Footnote 573: _Order, War Office, 19 Dec. 1757._]

[Footnote 574: _Pitt to Abercromby, 27 Jan. 1758. Instructions for our
Trusty and Well-beloved Jeffrey Amherst, Esq., Major-General of our
Forces in North America, 3 March, 1758._]

During his first short term of office, Pitt had given a new species of
troops to the British army. These were the Scotch Highlanders, who had
risen against the House of Hanover in 1745, and would raise against it
again should France accomplish her favorite scheme of throwing a force
into Scotland to excite another insurrection for the Stuarts. But they
would be useful to fight the French abroad, though dangerous as their
possible allies at home; and two regiments of them were now ordered to

Delay had been the ruin of the last year's attempt against Louisbourg.
This time preparation was urged on apace; and before the end of winter
two fleets had put to sea: one, under Admiral Boscawen, was destined for
Louisbourg; while the other, under Admiral Osborn, sailed for the
Mediterranean to intercept the French fleet of Admiral La Clue, who was
about to sail from Toulon for America. Osborn, cruising between the
coasts of Spain and Africa, barred the way to the Straits of Gibraltar,
and kept his enemy imprisoned. La Clue made no attempt to force a
passage; but several combats of detached ships took place, one of which
is too remarkable to pass unnoticed. Captain Gardiner of the "Monmouth,"
a ship of four hundred and seventy men and sixty-four guns, engaged the
French ship "Foudroyant," carrying a thousand men and eighty-four guns
of heavier metal than those of the Englishman. Gardiner had lately been
reproved by Anson, First Lord of the Admiralty, for some alleged
misconduct or shortcoming, and he thought of nothing but retrieving his
honor. "We must take her," he said to his crew as the "Foudroyant" hove
in sight. "She looks more than a match for us, but I will not quit her
while this ship can swim or I have a soul left alive;" and the sailors
answered with cheers. The fight was long and furious. Gardiner was
killed by a musket shot, begging his first lieutenant with his dying
breath not to haul down his flag. The lieutenant nailed it to the mast.
At length the "Foudroyant" ceased from thundering, struck her colors,
and was carried a prize to England.[575]

[Footnote 575: Entick, III. 56-60.]

The typical British naval officer of that time was a rugged sea-dog, a
tough and stubborn fighter, though no more so than the politer
generations that followed, at home on the quarter-deck, but no ornament
to the drawing-room, by reason of what his contemporary, Entick, the
strenuous chronicler of the war, calls, not unapprovingly, "the ferocity
of his manners." While Osborn held La Clue imprisoned at Toulon, Sir
Edward Hawke, worthy leader of such men, sailed with seven ships of the
line and three frigates to intercept a French squadron from Rochefort
convoying a fleet of transports with troops for America. The French
ships cut their cables and ran for the shore, where most of them
stranded in the mud, and some threw cannon and munitions overboard to
float themselves. The expedition was broken up. Of the many ships fitted
out this year for the succor of Canada and Louisbourg, comparatively few
reached their destination, and these for the most part singly or by twos
and threes.

Meanwhile Admiral Boscawen with his fleet bore away for Halifax, the
place of rendezvous, and Amherst, in the ship "Dublin," followed in his

Chapter 19



The stormy coast of Cape Breton is indented by a small land-locked bay,
between which and the ocean lies a tongue of land dotted with a few
grazing sheep, and intersected by rows of stone that mark more or less
distinctly the lines of what once were streets. Green mounds and
embankments of earth enclose the whole space, and beneath the highest of
them yawn arches and caverns of ancient masonry. This grassy solitude
was once the "Dunkirk of America;" the vaulted caverns where the sheep
find shelter from the ram were casemates where terrified women sought
refuge from storms of shot and shell, and the shapeless green mounds
were citadel, bastion, rampart, and glacis. Here stood Louisbourg; and
not all the efforts of its conquerors, nor all the havoc of succeeding
times, have availed to efface it. Men in hundreds toiled for months with
lever, spade, and gunpowder in the work of destruction, and for more
than a century it has served as a stone quarry; but the remains of its
vast defences still tell their tale of human valor and human woe.

Stand on the mounds that were once the King's Bastion. The glistening
sea spreads eastward three thousand miles, and its waves meet their
first rebuff against this iron coast. Lighthouse Point is white with
foam; jets of spray spout from the rocks of Goat Island; mist curls in
clouds from the seething surf that lashes the crags of Black Point, and
the sea boils like a caldron among the reefs by the harbor's mouth; but
on the calm water within, the small fishing vessels rest tranquil at
their moorings. Beyond lies a hamlet of fishermen by the edge of the
water, and a few scattered dwellings dot the rough hills, bristled with
stunted firs, that gird the quiet basin; while close at hand, within the
precinct of the vanished fortress, stand two small farmhouses. All else
is a solitude of ocean, rock, marsh, and forest.[576]

[Footnote 576: Louisbourg is described as I saw it ten days before
writing the above, after an easterly gale.]

At the beginning of June, 1758, the place wore another aspect. Since the
peace of Aix-la-Chapelle vast sums had been spent in repairing and
strengthening it; and Louisbourg was the strongest fortress in French or
British America. Nevertheless it had its weaknesses. The original plan
of the works had not been fully carried out; and owing, it is said, to
the bad quality of the mortar, the masonry of the ramparts was in so
poor a condition that it had been replaced in some parts with fascines.
The circuit of the fortifications was more than a mile and a half, and
the town contained about four thousand inhabitants. The best buildings
in it were the convent, the hospital, the King's storehouses, and the
chapel and governor's quarters, which were under the same roof. Of the
private houses, only seven or eight were of stone, the rest being humble
wooden structures, suited to a population of fishermen. The garrison
consisted of the battalions of Artois, Bourgogne, Cambis, and
Volontaires Étrangers, with two companies of artillery and twenty-four
of colony troops from Canada,--in all three thousand and eighty regular
troops, besides officers;[577] and to these were added a body of armed
inhabitants and a band of Indians. In the harbor were five ships of the
line and seven frigates, carrying in all five hundred and forty-four
guns and about three thousand men.[578] Two hundred and nineteen cannon
and seventeen mortars were mounted on the walls and outworks.[579] Of
these last the most important were the Grand Battery on the shore of the
harbor opposite its mouth, and the Island Battery on the rocky islet at
its entrance.

[Footnote 577: _Journal du Siége de Louisbourg_. Twenty-nine hundred
regulars were able to bear arms when the siege began. _Houllière,
Commandant des Troupes, au Ministre, 6 Août_, 1758.]

[Footnote 578: Le Prudent, 74 guns; Entreprenant, 74; Capricieux, 64;
Célèbre, 64; Bienfaisant, 64; Apollon, 50; Chèvre, 22; Biche, 18;
Fidèle, 22; Écho, 26; Aréthuse, 36; Comète, 30. The Bizarre, 64, sailed
for France on the eighth of June, and was followed by the Comète.]

[Footnote 579: _État d'Artillerie_, appended to the Journal of Drucour.
There were also forty-four cannon in reserve.]

The strongest front of the works was on the land side, along the base of
the peninsular triangle on which the town stood. This front, about
twelve hundred yards in extent, reached from the sea on the left to the
harbor on the right, and consisted of four bastions with then-connecting
curtains, the Princess's, the Queen's, the King's, and the Dauphin's.
The King's Bastion formed part of the citadel. The glacis before it
sloped down to an extensive marsh, which, with an adjacent pond,
completely protected this part of the line. On the right, however,
towards the harbor, the ground was high enough to offer advantages to an
enemy, as was also the case, to a less degree, on the left, towards the
sea. The best defence of Louisbourg was the craggy shore, that, for
leagues on either hand, was accessible only at a few points, and even
there with difficulty. All these points were vigilantly watched.

There had been signs of the enemy from the first opening of spring. In
the intervals of fog, rain, and snow-squalls, sails were seen hovering
on the distant sea; and during the latter part of May a squadron of nine
ships cruised off the mouth of the harbor, appearing and disappearing,
sometimes driven away by gales, sometimes lost in fogs, and sometimes
approaching to within cannon-shot of the batteries. Their object was to
blockade the port,--in which they failed; for French ships had come in
at intervals, till, as we have seen, twelve of them lay safe anchored
in the harbor, with more than a year's supply of provisions for the

At length, on the first of June, the southeastern horizon was white with
a cloud of canvas. The long-expected crisis was come. Drucour, the
governor, sent two thousand regulars, with about a thousand militia and
Indians, to guard the various landing-places; and the rest, aided by the
sailors, remained to hold the town.[580]

[Footnote 580: _Rapport de Grucour. Journal du Siége_.]

At the end of May Admiral Boscawen was at Halifax with twenty-three
ships of the line, eighteen frigates and fireships, and a fleet of
transports, on board of which were eleven thousand and six hundred
soldiers, all regulars, except five hundred provincial rangers.[581]
Amherst had not yet arrived, and on the twenty-eighth, Boscawen, in
pursuance of his orders and to prevent loss of time, put to sea without
him; but scarcely had the fleet sailed out of Halifax, when they met the
ship that bore the expected general. Amherst took command of the troops;
and the expedition held its way till the second of June, when they saw
the rocky shore-line of Cape Breton, and descried the masts of the
French squadron in the harbor of Louisbourg.

[Footnote 581: Of this force, according to Mante, only 9,900 were fit
for duty. The table printed by Knox (I. 127) shows a total of 11,112,
besides officers, artillery, and rangers. The _Authentic Account of the
Reduction of Louisbourg, by a Spectator_, puts the force at 11,326 men,
besides officers. Entick makes the whole 11,936.]

Boscawen sailed into Gabarus Bay. The sea was rough; but in the
afternoon Amherst, Lawrence, and Wolfe, with a number of naval officers,
reconnoitred the shore in boats, coasting it for miles, and approaching
it as near as the French batteries would permit. The rocks were white
with surf, and every accessible point was strongly guarded. Boscawen saw
little chance of success. He sent for his captains, and consulted them
separately. They thought, like him, that it would be rash to attempt a
landing, and proposed a council of war. One of them alone, an old sea
officer named Ferguson advised his commander to take the responsibility
himself, hold no council, and make the attempt at every risk. Boscawen
took his advice, and declared that he would not leave Gabarus Bay till
he had fulfilled his instructions and set the troops on shore.[582]

[Footnote 582: Entick, III. 224.]

West of Louisbourg there were three accessible places, Freshwater Cove,
four miles from the town, and Flat Point, and White Point, which were
nearer, the last being within a mile of the fortifications. East of the
town there was an inlet called Lorambec, also available for landing. In
order to distract the attention of the enemy, it was resolved to
threaten all these places, and to form the troops into three divisions,
two of which, under Lawrence and Whitmore, were to advance towards Flat
Point and White Point, while a detached regiment was to make a feint at
Lorambec. Wolfe, with the third division, was to make the real attack
and try to force a landing at Freshwater Cove, which, as it proved, was
the most strongly defended of all. When on shore Wolfe was an habitual
invalid, and when at sea every heave of the ship made him wretched; but
his ardor was unquenchable. Before leaving England he wrote to a friend:
"Being of the profession of arms, I would seek all occasions to serve;
and therefore have thrown myself in the way of the American war, though
I know that the very passage threatens my life, and that my constitution
must be utterly ruined and undone."

On the next day, the third, the surf was so high that nothing could be
attempted. On the fourth there was a thick fog and a gale. The frigate
"Trent" struck on a rock, and some of the transports were near being
stranded. On the fifth there was another fog and a raging surf. On the
sixth there was fog, with rain in the morning and better weather towards
noon, whereupon the signal was made and the troops entered the boats;
but the sea rose again, and they were ordered back to the ships. On the
seventh more fog and more surf till night, when the sea grew calmer, and
orders were given for another attempt. At two in the morning of the
eighth the troops were in the boats again. At daybreak the frigates of
the squadron, anchoring before each point of real or pretended attack,
opened a fierce cannonade on the French intrenchments; and, a quarter of
an hour after, the three divisions rowed towards the shore. That of the
left, under Wolfe, consisted of four companies of grenadiers, with the
light infantry and New England rangers, followed and supported by
Fraser's Highlanders and eight more companies of grenadiers. They pulled
for Freshwater Cove. Here there was a crescent-shaped beach, a quarter
of a mile long, with rocks at each end. On the shore above, about a
thousand Frenchmen, under Lieutenant-Colonel de Saint-Julien, lay behind
entrenchments covered in front by spruce and fir trees, felled and laid
on the ground with the tops outward.[583] Eight cannon and swivels were
planted to sweep every part of the beach and its approaches, and these
pieces were masked by young evergreens stuck in the ground before them.

[Footnote 583: Drucour reports 985 soldiers as stationed here under
Saint-Julien there were also some Indians. Freshwater Cove, otherwise
Kennington Cove, was called La Cormorandière by the French.]

The English were allowed to come within close range unmolested. Then the
batteries opened, and a deadly storm of grape and musketry was poured
upon the boats. It was clear in an instant that to advance farther would
be destruction; and Wolfe waved his hand as a signal to sheer off. At
some distance on the right, and little exposed to the fire, were three
boats of light infantry under Lieutenants Hopkins and Brown and Ensign
Grant; who, mistaking the signal or wilfully misinterpreting it, made
directly for the shore before them. It was a few roads east of the
beach; a craggy coast and a strand strewn with rocks and lashed with
breakers, but sheltered from the cannon by a small projecting point. The
three officers leaped ashore, followed by their men. Wolfe saw the
movement, and hastened to support it. The boat of Major Scott, who
commanded the light infantry and rangers, next came up, and was stove in
an instant; but Scott gained the shore, climbed the crags, and found
himself with ten men in front of some seventy French and Indians. Half
his followers were killed and wounded, and three bullets were shot
through his clothes; but with admirable gallantry he held his ground
till others came to his aid.[584] The remaining boats now reached the
landing. Many were stove among the rocks, and others were overset; some
of the men were dragged back by the surf and drowned; some lost their
muskets, and were drenched to the skin: but the greater part got safe
ashore. Among the foremost was seen the tall, attenuated form of
Brigadier Wolfe, armed with nothing but a cane, as he leaped into the
surf and climbed the crags with his soldiers. As they reached the top
they formed in compact order, and attacked and carried with the bayonet
the nearest French battery, a few rods distant. The division of
Lawrence soon came up; and as the attention of the enemy was now
distracted, they made their landing with little opposition at the
farther end of the beach whither they were followed by Amherst himself.
The French, attacked on right and left, and fearing, with good reason,
that they would be cut off from the town, abandoned all their cannon and
fled into the woods. About seventy of them were captured and fifty
killed. The rest, circling among the hills and around the marshes, made
their way to Louisbourg, and those at the intermediate posts joined
their flight. The English followed through a matted growth of firs till
they reached the cleared ground; when the cannon, opening on them from
the ramparts, stopped the pursuit. The first move of the great game was
played and won.[585]

[Footnote 584: Pichon, _Mémoires du Cap-Breton_, 284.]

[Footnote 585: _Journal of Amherst_, in Mante, 117. _Amherst to Pitt, 11
June, 1758_. _Authentic Account of the Reduction of Louisbourg, by a
Spectator_, 11. _General Orders of Amherst, 3-7 June, 1759. Letter from
an Officer_, in Knox, I. 191; Entick, III. 225. The French accounts
generally agree in essentials with the English. The English lost one
hundred and nine, killed, wounded, and drowned.]

Amherst made his camp just beyond range of the French cannon, and Flat
Point Cove was chosen as the landing-place of guns and stores. Clearing
the ground, making roads, and pitching tents filled the rest of the day.
At night there was a glare of flames from the direction of the town. The
French had abandoned the Grand Battery after setting fire to the
buildings in it and to the houses and fish-stages along the shore of the
harbor. During the following days stores were landed as fast as the surf
would permit: but the task was so difficult that from first to last more
than a hundred boats were stove in accomplishing it; and such was the
violence of the waves that none of the siege-guns could be got ashore
till the eighteenth. The camp extended two miles along a stream that
flowed down to the Cove among the low, woody hills that curved around
the town and harbor. Redoubts were made to protect its front, and
blockhouses to guard its left and rear from the bands of Acadians known
to be hovering in the woods.

Wolfe, with twelve hundred men, made his way six or seven miles round
the harbor, took possession of the battery at Lighthouse Point which the
French had abandoned, planted guns and mortars, and opened fire on the
Island Battery that guarded the entrance. Other guns were placed at
different points along the shore, and soon opened on the French ships.
The ships and batteries replied. The artillery fight raged night and
day; till on the twenty-fifth the island guns were dismounted and
silenced. Wolfe then strengthened his posts, secured his communications,
and returned to the main army in front of the town.

Amherst had reconnoitred the ground and chosen a hillock at the edge of
the marsh, less than half a mile from the ramparts, as the point for
opening his trenches. A road with an epaulement to protect it must first
be made to the spot; and as the way was over a tract of deep mud
covered with water-weeds and moss, the labor was prodigious. A thousand
men worked at it day and night under the fire of the town and ships.

When the French looked landward from their ramparts they could see
scarcely a sign of the impending storm. Behind them Wolfe's cannon were
playing busily from Lighthouse Point and the heights around the harbor;
but, before them, the broad flat marsh and the low hills seemed almost a
solitude. Two miles distant, they could descry some of the English
tents; but the greater part were hidden by the inequalities of the
ground. On the right, a prolongation of the harbor reached nearly half a
mile beyond the town, ending in a small lagoon formed by a projecting
sandbar, and known as the Barachois. Near this bar lay moored the little
frigate "Aréthuse," under a gallant officer named Vauquelin. Her
position was a perilous one; but so long as she could maintain it she
could sweep with her fire the ground before the works, and seriously
impede the operations of the enemy. The other naval captains were less
venturous; and when the English landed, they wanted to leave the harbor
and save their ships. Drucour insisted that they should stay to aid the
defence, and they complied; but soon left their moorings and anchored as
close as possible under the guns of the town, in order to escape the
fire of Wolfe's batteries. Hence there was great murmuring among the
military officers, who would have had them engage the hostile guns at
short range. The frigate "Écho," under cover of a fog, had been sent to
Quebec for aid; but she was chased and captured; and, a day or two
after, the French saw her pass the mouth of the harbor with an English
flag at her mast-head.

When Wolfe had silenced the Island Battery, a new and imminent danger
threatened Louisbourg. Boscawen might enter the harbor, overpower the
French naval force, and cannonade the town on its weakest side.
Therefore Drucour resolved to sink four large ships at the entrance; and
on a dark and foggy night this was successfully accomplished. Two more
vessels were afterwards sunk, and the harbor was then thought safe.

The English had at last finished their preparations, and were urging on
the siege with determined vigor. The landward view was a solitude no
longer. They could be seen in multitudes piling earth and fascines
beyond the hillock at the edge of the marsh. On the twenty-fifth they
occupied the hillock itself, and fortified themselves there under a
shower of bombs. Then they threw up earth on the right, and pushed
their approaches towards the Barachois, in spite of a hot fire from the
frigate "Aréthuse." Next they appeared on the left towards the sea about
a third of a mile from the Princess's Bastion. It was Wolfe, with a
strong detachment, throwing up a redoubt and opening an entrenchment.
Late on the night of the ninth of July six hundred French troops sallied
to interrupt the work. The English grenadiers in the trenches fought
stubbornly with bayonet and sword, but were forced back to the second
line, where a desperate conflict in the dark took place; and after
severe loss on both sides the French were driven back. Some days before,
there had been another sortie on the opposite side, near the Barachois,
resulting in a repulse of the French and the seizure by Wolfe of a more
advanced position.

Various courtesies were exchanged between the two commanders. Drucour,
on occasion of a flag of truce, wrote to Amherst that there was a
surgeon of uncommon skill in Louisbourg, whose services were at the
command of any English officer who might need them. Amherst on his part
sent to his enemy letters and messages from wounded Frenchmen in his
hands, adding his compliments to Madame Drucour, with an expression of
regret for the disquiet to which she was exposed, begging her at the
same time to accept a gift of pineapples from the West Indies. She
returned his courtesy by sending him a basket of wine; after which
amenities the cannon roared again. Madame Drucour was a woman of heroic
spirit. Every day she was on the ramparts, where her presence roused the
soldiers to enthusiasm; and every day with her own hand she fired three
cannon to encourage them.

The English lines grew closer and closer, and their fire more and more
destructive. Desgouttes, the naval commander, withdrew the "Aréthuse"
from her exposed position, where her fire had greatly annoyed the
besiegers. The shot-holes in her sides were plugged up, and in the dark
night of the fourteenth of July she was towed through the obstructions
in the mouth of the harbor, and sent to France to report the situation
of Louisbourg. More fortunate than her predecessor, she escaped the
English in a fog. Only five vessels now remained afloat in the harbor,
and these were feebly manned, as the greater part of their officers and
crews had come ashore, to the number of two thousand, lodging under
tents in the town, amid the scarcely suppressed murmurs of the army

On the eighth of July news came that the partisan Boishébert was
approaching with four hundred Acadians, Canadians, and Micmacs to
attack the English outposts and detachments. He did little or nothing,
however, besides capturing a few stragglers. On the sixteenth, early in
the evening, a party of English, led by Wolfe, dashed forward, drove off
a band of French volunteers, seized a rising ground called
Hauteur-de-la-Potence, or Gallows Hill, and began to entrench themselves
scarcely three hundred yards from the Dauphin's Bastion. The town opened
on them furiously with grapeshot; but in the intervals of the firing the
sound of their picks and spades could plainly be heard. In the morning
they were seen throwing up earth like moles as they burrowed their way
forward; and on the twenty-first they opened another parallel, within
two hundred yards of the rampart. Still their sappers pushed on. Every
day they had more guns in position, and on right and left their fire
grew hotter. Their pickets made a lodgment along the foot of the glacis,
and fired up the slope at the French in the covered way.

The twenty-first was a memorable day. In the afternoon a bomb fell on
the ship "Célèbre" and set her on fire. An explosion followed. The few
men on board could not save her, and she drifted from her moorings. The
wind blew the flames into the rigging of the "Entreprenant," and then
into that of the "Capricieux." At night all three were in full blaze;
for when the fire broke out the English batteries turned on them a
tempest of shot and shell to prevent it from being extinguished. The
glare of the triple conflagration lighted up the town, the trenches, the
harbor, and the surrounding hills, while the burning ships shot off
their guns at random as they slowly drifted westward, and grounded at
last near the Barachois. In the morning they were consumed to the
water's edge; and of all the squadron the "Prudent" and the
"Bienfaisant" alone were left.

In the citadel, of which the King's Bastion formed the front, there was
a large oblong stone building containing the chapel, lodgings for men
and officers, and at the southern end the quarters of the Governor. On
the morning after the burning of the ships a shell fell through the roof
among a party of soldiers in the chamber below, burst, and set the place
on fire. In half an hour the chapel and all the northern part of the
building were in flames; and no sooner did the smoke rise above the
bastion than the English threw into it a steady shower of missiles. Yet
soldiers, sailors, and inhabitants hastened to the spot, and labored
desperately to check the fire. They saved the end occupied by Drucour
and his wife, but all the rest was destroyed. Under the adjacent
rampart were the casemates, one of which was crowded with wounded
officers, and the rest with women and children seeking shelter in these
subterranean dens. Before the entrances there was a long barrier of
timber to protect them from exploding shells; and as the wind blew the
flames towards it, there was danger that it would take fire and
suffocate those within. They rushed out, crazed with fright, and ran
hither and thither with outcries and shrieks amid the storm of iron.

In the neighboring Queen's Bastion was a large range of barracks built
of wood by the New England troops after their capture of the fortress in
1745. So flimsy and combustible was it that the French writers call it a
"house of cards" and "a paper of matches." Here were lodged the greater
part of the garrison: but such was the danger of fire, that they were
now ordered to leave it; and they accordingly lay in the streets or
along the foot of the ramparts, under shelters of timber which gave some
little protection against bombs. The order was well timed; for on the
night after the fire in the King's Bastion, a shell filled with
combustibles set this building also in flames. A fearful scene ensued.
All the English batteries opened upon it. The roar of mortars and
cannon, the rushing and screaming of round-shot and grape, the hissing
of fuses and the explosion of grenades and bombs mingled with a storm of
musketry from the covered way and trenches; while, by the glare of the
conflagration, the English regiments were seen drawn up in battle array,
before the ramparts, as if preparing for an assault.

Two days after, at one o'clock in the morning, a burst of loud cheers
was heard in the distance, followed by confused cries and the noise of
musketry, which lasted but a moment. Six hundred English sailors had
silently rowed into the harbor and seized the two remaining ships, the
"Prudent" and the "Bienfaisant." After the first hubbub all was silent
for half an hour. Then a light glowed through the thick fog that covered
the water. The "Prudent" was burning. Being aground with the low tide,
her captors had set her on fire, allowing the men on board to escape to
the town in her boats. The flames soon wrapped her from stem to stern;
and as the broad glare pierced the illumined mists, the English sailors,
reckless of shot and shell, towed her companion-ship, with all on board,
to a safe anchorage under Wolfe's batteries.

The position of the besieged was deplorable. Nearly a fourth of their
number were in the hospitals; while the rest, exhausted with incessant
toil, could find no place to snatch an hour of sleep; "and yet," says an
officer, "they still show ardor." "To-day," he again says, on the
twenty-fourth, "the fire of the place is so weak that it is more like
funeral guns than a defence." On the front of the town only four cannon
could fire at all. The rest were either dismounted or silenced by the
musketry from the trenches. The masonry of the ramparts had been shaken
by the concussion of their own guns; and now, in the Dauphin's and
King's bastions, the English shot brought it down in masses. The
trenches had been pushed so close on the rising grounds at the right
that a great part of the covered way was enfiladed, while a battery on a
hill across the harbor swept the whole front with a flank fire. Amherst
had ordered the gunners to spare the houses of the town; but, according
to French accounts, the order had little effect, for shot and shell fell
everywhere. "There is not a house in the place," says the Diary just
quoted, "that has not felt the effects of this formidable artillery.
From yesterday morning till seven o'clock this evening we reckon that a
thousand or twelve hundred bombs, great and small, have been thrown into
the town, accompanied all the time by the fire of forty pieces of
cannon, served with an activity not often seen. The hospital and the
houses around it, which also serve as hospitals, are attacked with
cannon and mortar. The surgeon trembles as he amputates a limb amid
cries of _Gare la bombe!_ and leaves his patient in the midst of the
operation, lest he should share his fate. The sick and wounded,
stretched on mattresses, utter cries of pain, which do not cease till a
shot or the bursting of a shell ends them."[586] On the twenty-sixth the
last cannon was silenced in front of the town, and the English batteries
had made a breach which seemed practicable for assault.

[Footnote 586: Early in the siege Drucour wrote to Amherst asking that
the hospitals should be exempt from fire. Amherst answered that shot and
shell might fall on any part of so small a town, but promised to insure
the sick and wounded from molestation if Drucour would send them either
to the island at the mouth of the harbor, or to any of the ships, if
anchored apart from the rest. The offer was declined, for reasons not
stated. Drucour gives the correspondence in his Diary.]

On the day before, Drucour, with his chief officers and the engineer,
Franquet, had made the tour of the covered way, and examined the state
of the defences. All but Franquet were for offering to capitulate. Early
on the next morning a council of war was held, at which were present
Drucour, Franquet, Desgouttes, naval commander, Houllière, commander of
the regulars, and the several chiefs of battalions. Franquet presented a
memorial setting forth the state of the fortifications. As it was he who
had reconstructed and repaired them, he was anxious to show the quality
of his work in the best light possible; and therefore, in the view of
his auditors, he understated the effects of the English fire. Hence an
altercation arose, ending in a unanimous decision to ask for terms.
Accordingly, at ten o'clock, a white flag was displayed over the breach
in the Dauphin's Bastion, and an officer named Loppinot was sent out
with offers to capitulate. The answer was prompt and stern: the garrison
must surrender as prisoners of war; a definite reply must be given
within an hour; in case of refusal the place will be attacked by land
and sea.[587]

[Footnote 587: Mante and other English writers give the text of this

Great was the emotion in the council; and one of its members,
D'Anthonay, lieutenant-colonel of the battalion of Volontaires
Étrangers, was sent to propose less rigorous terms. Amherst would not
speak with him; and jointly with Boscawen despatched this note to the

     Sir,--We have just received the reply which it has pleased your
     Excellency to make as to the conditions of the capitulation offered
     you. We shall not change in the least our views regarding them. It
     depends on your Excellency to accept them or not; and you will have
     the goodness to give your answer, yes or no, within half an hour.
     We have the honor to be, etc.,


     J. AMHERST.[588]

     Drucour answered as follows:--

     Gentlemen,--To reply to your Excellencies in as few words as
     possible, I have the honor to repeat that my position also remains
     the same, and that I persist in my first resolution.

     I have the honor to be, etc.,

     The Chevalier de Drucour

[Footnote 588: Translated from the Journal of Drucour.]

In other words, he refused the English terms, and declared his purpose
to abide the assault. Loppinot was sent back to the English camp with
this note of defiance. He was no sooner gone than Prévost, the
intendant, an officer of functions purely civil, brought the Governor a
memorial which, with or without the knowledge of the military
authorities, he had drawn up in anticipation of the emergency. "The
violent resolution which the council continues to hold," said this
document, "obliges me, for the good of the state, the preservation of
the King's subjects, and the averting of horrors shocking to humanity,
to lay before your eyes the consequences that may ensue. What will
become of the four thousand souls who compose the families of this town,
of the thousand or twelve hundred sick in the hospitals, and the
officers and crews of our unfortunate ships? They will be delivered over
to carnage and the rage of an unbridled soldiery, eager for plunder, and
impelled to deeds of horror by pretended resentment at what has formerly
happened in Canada. Thus they will all be destroyed, and the memory of
their fate will live forever in our colonies.... It remains, Monsieur,"
continues the paper, "to remind you that the councils you have held thus
far have been composed of none but military officers. I am not surprised
at their views. The glory of the King's arm and the honor of their
several corps have inspired them. You and I alone are charged with the
administration of the colony and the care of the King's subjects who
compose it. These gentlemen, therefore, have had no regard for them.
They think only of themselves and their soldiers, whose business it is
to encounter the utmost extremity of peril. It is at the prayer of an
intimidated people that I lay before you the considerations specified in
this memorial."

"In view of these considerations," writes Drucour, "joined to the
impossibility of resisting an assault, M. le Chevalier de Courserac
undertook in my behalf to run after the bearer of my answer to the
English commander and bring it back." It is evident that the bearer of
the note had been in no hurry to deliver it, for he had scarcely got
beyond the fortifications when Courserac overtook and stopped him.
D'Anthonay, with Duvivier, major of the battalion of Artois, and
Loppinot, the first messenger, was then sent to the English camp,
empowered to accept the terms imposed. An English spectator thus
describes their arrival: "A lieutenant-colonel came running out of the
garrison, making signs at a distance, and bawling out as loud as he
could, '_We accept! We accept!_' He was followed by two others; and they
were all conducted to General Amherst's headquarters."[589] At eleven
o'clock at night they returned with the articles of capitulation and the
following letter:--

     Sir,--We have the honor to send your Excellency the articles of
     capitulation signed.

     Lieutenant-Colonel D'Anthonay has not failed to speak in behalf of
     the inhabitants of the town; and it is nowise our intention to
     distress them, but to give them all the aid in our power.

     Your Excellency will have the goodness to sign a duplicate of the
     articles and send it to us.

     It only remains to assure your Excellency that we shall with great
     pleasure seize every opportunity to convince your Excellency that
     we are with the most perfect consideration,

     Sir, your Excellency's most obedient servants,


[Footnote 589: _Authentic Account of the Siege of Louisbourg, by a

The articles stipulated that the garrison should be sent to England,
prisoners of war, in British ships; that all artillery, arms, munitions,
and stores, both in Louisbourg and elsewhere on the Island of Cape
Breton, as well as on Isle St.-Jean, now Prince Edward's Island, should
be given up intact; that the gate of the Dauphin's Bastion should be
delivered to the British troops at eight o'clock in the morning; and
that the garrison should lay down their arms at noon. The victors, on
their part, promised to give the French sick and wounded the same care
as their own, and to protect private property from pillage.

Drucour signed the paper at midnight, and in the morning a body of
grenadiers took possession of the Dauphin's Gate. The rude soldiery
poured in, swarthy with wind and sun, and begrimed with smoke and dust;
the garrison, drawn up on the esplanade, flung down their muskets and
marched from the ground with tears of rage; the cross of St. George
floated over the shattered rampart; and Louisbourg, with the two great
islands that depended on it, passed to the British Crown. Guards were
posted, a stern discipline was enforced, and perfect order maintained.
The conquerors and the conquered exchanged greetings, and the English
general was lavish of courtesies to the brave lady who had aided the
defence so well. "Every favor she asked was granted," says a Frenchman

Drucour and his garrison had made a gallant defence. It had been his aim
to prolong the siege till it should be too late for Amherst to
co-operate with Abercromby in an attack on Canada; and in this, at
least, he succeeded.

Five thousand six hundred and thirty-seven officers, soldiers, and
sailors were prisoners in the hands of the victors. Eighteen mortars and
two hundred and twenty-one cannon were found in the town, along with a
great quantity of arms, munitions, and stores.[590] At the middle of
August such of the prisoners as were not disabled by wounds or sickness
were embarked for England, and the merchants and inhabitants were sent
to France. Brigadier Whitmore, as governor of Louisbourg, remained with
four regiments to hold guard over the desolation they had made.

[Footnote 590: _Account of the Guns, Mortars, Shot, Shell, etc., found
in the Town of Louisbourg upon its Surrender this day_, signed _Jeffrey
Amherst, 27 July, 1758._]

The fall of the French stronghold was hailed in England with noisy
rapture. Addresses of congratulation to the King poured in from all the
cities of the kingdom, and the captured flags were hung in St. Paul's
amid the roar of cannon and the shouts of the populace. The provinces
shared these rejoicings. Sermons of thanksgiving resounded from
countless New England pulpits. At Newport there were fireworks and
illuminations; and, adds the pious reporter, "We have reason to believe
that Christians will make wise and religious improvement of so signal a
favor of Divine Providence." At Philadelphia a like display was seen,
with music and universal ringing of bells. At Boston "a stately bonfire
like a pyramid was kindled on the top of Fort Hill, which made a lofty
and prodigious blaze;" though here certain jealous patriots protested
against celebrating a victory won by British regulars, and not by New
England men. At New York there was a grand official dinner at the
Province Arms in Broadway, where every loyal toast was echoed by the
cannon of Fort George; and illuminations and fireworks closed the
day.[591] In the camp of Abercromby at Lake George, Chaplain Cleaveland,
of Bagley's Massachusetts regiment, wrote: 'The General put out orders
that the breastwork should be lined with troops, and to fire three
rounds for joy, and give thanks to God in a religious way."[592] But
nowhere did the tidings find a warmer welcome than in the small detached
forts scattered through the solitudes of Nova Scotia, where the military
exiles, restless from inaction, listened with greedy ears for every word
from the great world whence they were banished. So slow were their
communications with it that the fall of Louisbourg was known in England
before it had reached them, all. Captain John Knox, then in garrison at
Annapolis, tells how it was greeted there more than five weeks after the
event. It was the sixth of September. A sloop from Boston was seen
coming up the bay. Soldiers and officers ran down to the wharf to ask
for news. "Every soul," says Knox, "was impatient, yet shy of asking; at
length, the vessel being come near enough to be spoken to, I called out,
'What news from Louisbourg?' To which the master simply replied, and
with some gravity, 'Nothing strange.' This answer, which was so coldly
delivered, threw us all into great consternation, and we looked at each
other without being able to speak; some of us even turned away with an
intent to return to the fort. At length one of our soldiers, not yet
satisfied, called out with some warmth: 'Damn you, Pumpkin, isn't
Louisbourg taken yet?' The poor New England man then answered: 'Taken,
yes, above a month ago, and I have been there since; but if you have
never heard it before, I have got a good parcel of letters for you now.'
If our apprehensions were great at first, words are insufficient to
express our transports at this speech, the latter part of which we
hardly waited for; but instantly all hats flew off, and we made the
neighboring woods resound with our cheers and huzzas for almost half an
hour. The master of the sloop was amazed beyond expression, and declared
he thought we had heard of the success of our arms eastward before, and
had sought to banter him."[593] At night there was a grand bonfire and
universal festivity in the fort and village.

[Footnote 591: These particulars are from the provincial newspapers.]

[Footnote 592: Cleaveland, _Journal_.]

[Footnote 593: Knox, _Historical Journal_, I. 158.]

Amherst proceeded to complete his conquest by the subjection of all the
adjacent possessions of France. Major Dalling was sent to occupy Port
Espagnol, now Sydney. Colonel Monckton was despatched to the Bay of
Fundy and the River St. John with an order "to destroy the vermin who
are settled there."[594] Lord Rollo, with the thirty-fifth regiment and
two battalions of the sixtieth, received the submission of Isle
St.-Jean, and tried to remove the inhabitants,--with small success; for
out of more than four thousand he could catch but seven hundred.[595]

[Footnote 594: _Orders of Amherst to Wolfe, 15 Aug. 1758; Ibid, to
Monckton, 24 Aug. 1758; Report of Monckton, 12 Nov. 1758._]

[Footnote 595: _Villejouin, commandant à l'Isle St.-Jean, au Ministre, 8
Sept. 1758._]

The ardent and indomitable Wolfe had been the life of the siege.
Wherever there was need of a quick eye, a prompt decision, and a bold
dash, there his lank figure was always in the front. Yet he was only
half pleased with what had been done. The capture of Louisbourg, he
thought, should be but the prelude of greater conquests; and he had
hoped that the fleet and army would sail up the St. Lawrence and attack
Quebec. Impetuous and impatient by nature, and irritable with disease,
he chafed at the delay that followed the capitulation, and wrote to his
father a few days after it: "We are gathering strawberries and other
wild fruits of the country, with a seeming indifference about what is
doing in other parts of the world. Our army, however, on the continent
wants our help." Growing more anxious, he sent Amherst a note to ask his
intentions; and the General replied, "What I most wish to do is to go
to Quebec. I have proposed it to the Admiral, and yesterday he seemed to
think it impracticable." On which Wolfe wrote again: "If the Admiral
will not carry us to Quebec, reinforcements should certainly be sent to
the continent without losing a moment. This damned French garrison take
up our time and attention, which might be better bestowed. The
transports are ready, and a small convoy would carry a brigade to Boston
or New York. With the rest of the troops we might make an offensive and
destructive war in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I beg
pardon for this freedom, but I cannot look coolly upon the bloody
inroads of those hell-hounds, the Canadians; and if nothing further is
to be done, I must desire leave to quit the army."

Amherst answered that though he had meant at first to go to Quebec with
the whole army, late events on the continent made it impossible; and
that he now thought it best to go with five or six regiments to the aid
of Abercromby. He asked Wolfe to continue to communicate his views to
him, and would not hear for a moment of his leaving the army; adding, "I
know nothing that can tend more to His Majesty's service than your
assisting in it." Wolfe again wrote to his commander, with whom he was
on terms of friendship: "An offensive, daring kind of war will awe the
Indians and ruin the French. Blockhouses and a trembling defensive
encourage the meanest scoundrels to attack us. If you will attempt to
cut up New France by the roots, I will come with pleasure to assist."

Amherst, with such speed as his deliberate nature would permit, sailed
with six regiments for Boston to reinforce Abercromby at Lake George,
while Wolfe set out on an errand but little to his liking. He had orders
to proceed to Gaspé, Miramichi, and other settlements on the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, destroy them, and disperse their inhabitants; a measure of
needless and unpardonable rigor, which, while detesting it, he executed
with characteristic thoroughness. "Sir Charles Hardy and I," he wrote to
his father, "are preparing to rob the fishermen of their nets and burn
their huts. When that great exploit is at an end, I return to
Louisbourg, and thence to England." Having finished the work, he wrote
to Amherst: "Your orders were carried into execution. We have done a
great deal of mischief, and spread the terror of His Majesty's arms
through the Gulf, but have added nothing to the reputation of them." The
destruction of property was great; yet, as Knox writes, "he would not
suffer the least barbarity to be committed upon the persons of the
wretched inhabitants."[596]

[Footnote 596: "Les Anglais ont très-bien traités les prisonniers qu'ils
ont faits dans cette partie" [_Gaspé_, etc]. _Vaudreuil au Ministre, 4
Nov. 1758._]

He returned to Louisbourg, and sailed for England to recruit his
shattered health for greater conflicts.

NOTE. Four long and minute French diaries of the siege of Louisbourg are
before me. The first, that of Drucour, covers a hundred and six folio
pages, and contains his correspondence with Amherst, Boscawen, and
Desgouttes. The second is that of the naval captain Tourville, commander
of the ship "Capricieux," and covers fifty pages. The third is by an
officer of the garrison whose name does not appear. The fourth, of about
a hundred pages, is by another officer of the garrison, and is also
anonymous. It is an excellent record of what passed each day, and of the
changing conditions, moral and physical, of the besieged. These four
Journals, though clearly independent of each other, agree in nearly all
essential particulars. I have also numerous letters from the principal
officers, military, naval, and civil, engaged in the defence,--Drucour,
Desgouttes, Houllière, Beaussier, Marolles, Tourville, Courserac,
Franquet, Villejouin, Prévost, and Querdisien. These, with various other
documents relating to the siege, were copied from the originals in the
Archives de la Marine. Among printed authorities on the French side may
be mentioned Pichon, _Lettres et Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire du
Cap-Breton,_ and the _Campaign of Louisbourg_, by the Chevalier
Johnstone, a Scotch Jacobite serving under Drucour.

The chief authorities on the English side are the official Journal of
Amherst, printed in the _London Magazine_ and in other contemporary
periodicals, and also in Mante, _History of the Late War;_ five letters
from Amherst to Pitt, written during the siege (Public Record Office);
an excellent private Journal called _An Authentic Account of the
Reduction of Louisbourg, by a Spectator_, parts of which have been
copied verbatim by Entick without acknowledgement; the admirable Journal
of Captain John Knox, which contains numerous letters and orders
relating to the siege; and the correspondence of Wolfe contained in his
Life by Wright. Before me is the Diary of a captain or subaltern in the
army of Amherst at Louisbourg, found in the garret of an old house at
Windsor, Nova Scotia, on an estate belonging in 1760 to Chief Justice
Deschamps. I owe the use of it to the kindness of George Wiggins, Esq.,
of Windsor, N.S. Mante gives an excellent plan of the siege operations,
and another will be found in Jefferys, _Natural and Civil History of
French Dominions in North America_.

Chapter 20



In the last year London called on the colonists for four thousand men.
This year Pitt asked them for twenty thousand, and promised that the
King would supply arms, ammunition, tents, and provisions, leaving to
the provinces only the raising, clothing, and pay of their soldiers; and
he added the assurance that Parliament would be asked to make some
compensation even for these.[597] Thus encouraged, cheered by the
removal of Loudon, and animated by the unwonted vigor of British
military preparation, the several provincial assemblies voted men in
abundance, though the usual vexatious delays took place in raising,
equipping, and sending them to the field. In this connection, an able
English writer has brought against the colonies, and especially against
Massachusetts, charges which deserve attention. Viscount Bury says: "Of
all the colonies, Massachusetts was the first which discovered the
designs of the French and remonstrated against their aggressions; of all
the colonies she most zealously promoted measures of union for the
common defence, and made the greatest exertions in furtherance of her
views." But he adds that there is a reverse to the picture, and that
"this colony, so high-spirited, so warlike, and apparently so loyal,
would never move hand or foot in her own defence till certain of
repayment by the mother country."[598] The groundlessness of this charge
is shown by abundant proofs, one of which will be enough. The Englishman
Pownall, who had succeeded Shirley as royal governor of the province,
made this year a report of its condition to Pitt. Massachusetts, he
says, "has been the frontier and advanced guard of all the colonies
against the enemy in Canada," and has always taken the lead in military
affairs. In the three past years she has spent on the expeditions of
Johnson, Winslow, and Loudon £242,356, besides about £45,000 a year to
support the provincial government, at the same time maintaining a number
of forts and garrisons, keeping up scouting-parties, and building,
equipping, and manning a ship of twenty guns for the service of the
King. In the first two months of the present year, 1758, she made a
further military outlay of £172,239. Of all these sums she has received
from Parliament a reimbursement of only £70,117, and hence she is deep
in debt; yet, in addition, she has this year raised, paid, maintained,
and clothed seven thousand soldiers placed under the command of General
Abercromby, besides above twenty-five hundred more serving the King by
land or sea; amounting in all to about one in four of her able-bodied

[Footnote 597: _Pitt to the Colonial Governors, 30 Dec. 1757._]

[Footnote 598: Bury, _Exodus of the Western Nations_, II, 250, 251.]

Massachusetts was extremely poor by the standards of the present day,
living by fishing, farming, and a trade sorely hampered by the British
navigation laws. Her contributions of money and men were not ordained by
an absolute king, but made by the voluntary act of a free people.
Pownall goes on to say that her present war-debt, due within three
years, is 366,698 pounds sterling, and that to meet it she has imposed
on her self taxes amounting, in the town of Boston, to thirteen
shillings and twopence to every pound of income from real and personal
estate; that her people are in distress, that she is anxious to continue
her efforts in the public cause, but that without some further
reimbursement she is exhausted and helpless.[599] Yet in the next year
she incurred a new and heavy debt. In 1760 Parliament repaid her
£59,575.[600] Far from being fully reimbursed, the end of the war found
her on the brink of bankruptcy. Connecticut made equal sacrifices in the
common cause,--highly to her honor, for she was little exposed to
danger, being covered by the neighboring provinces; while impoverished
New Hampshire put one in three of her able-bodied men into the

[Footnote 599: _Pownall to Pitt, 30 Sept. 1758_ (Public Record Office,
_America and West Indies_, LXXI.) "The province of Massachusetts Bay has
exerted itself with great zeal and at vast expense for the public
service." _Registers of Privy Council, 26 July, 1757._]

[Footnote 600: _Bollan, Agent of Massachusetts, to Speaker of Assembly,
20 March, 1760._ It was her share of £200,000 granted to all the
colonies in the proportion of their respective efforts.]

[Footnote 601: _Address to His Majesty from the Governor, Council, and
Assembly of New Hampshire, Jan. 1759._]

In June the combined British and provincial force which Abercromby was
to lead against Ticonderoga was gathered at the head of Lake George;
while Montcalm lay at its outlet around the walls of the French
stronghold, with an army not one fourth so numerous. Vaudreuil had
devised a plan for saving Ticonderoga by a diversion into the valley of
the Mohawk under Lévis, Rigaud, and Longueuil, with sixteen hundred
men, who were to be joined by as many Indians. The English forts of that
region were to be attacked, Schenectady threatened, and the Five Nations
compelled to declare for France.[602] Thus, as the Governor gave out,
the English would be forced to cease from aggression, leave Montcalm in
peace, and think only of defending themselves.[603] "This," writes
Bougainville on the fifteenth of June, "is what M. de Vaudreuil thinks
will happen, because he never doubts anything. Ticonderoga, which is the
point really threatened, is abandoned without support to the troops of
the line and their general. It would even be wished that they might meet
a reverse, if the consequences to the colony would not be too

[Footnote 602: _Lévis au Ministre, 17 Juin, 1758. Doreil au Ministre, 16
Juin, 1758. Montcalm à sa Femme, 18 Avril, 1758._]

[Footnote 603: _Correspondance de Vaudreuil, 1758. Livre d'Ordres, Juin,

The proposed movement promised, no doubt, great advantages; but it was
not destined to take effect. Some rangers taken on Lake George by a
partisan officer named Langy declared with pardonable exaggeration that
twenty-five or thirty thousand men would attack Ticonderoga in less than
a fortnight. Vaudreuil saw himself forced to abandon his Mohawk
expedition, and to order Lévis and his followers, who had not yet left
Montreal, to reinforce Montcalm.[604] Why they did not go at once is not
clear. The Governor declares that there were not boats enough. From
whatever cause, there was a long delay, and Montcalm was left to defend
himself as he could.

[Footnote 604: _Bigot au Ministre, 21 Juillet, 1758._]

He hesitated whether he should not fall back to Crown Point. The
engineer, Lotbinière, opposed the plan, as did also Le Mercier.[605] It
was but a choice of difficulties, and he stayed at Ticonderoga. His
troops were disposed as they had been in the summer before; one
battalion, that of Berry, being left near the fort, while the main body,
under Montcalm himself, was encamped by the saw-mill at the Falls, and
the rest, under Bourlamaque, occupied the head of the portage, with a
small advanced force at the landing-place on Lake George. It remained to
determine at which of these points he should concentrate them and make
his stand against the English. Ruin threatened him in any case; each
position had its fatal weakness or its peculiar danger, and his best
hope was in the ignorance or blundering of his enemy. He seems to have
been several days in a state of indecision.

[Footnote 605: _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X 893. Lotbinière's relative,
Vaudreuil, confirms the statement. Montcalm had not, as has been said,
begun already to fall back.]

In the afternoon of the fifth of July the partisan Langy, who had again
gone out to reconnoitre towards the head of Lake George, came back in
haste with the report that the English were embarked in great force.
Montcalm sent a canoe down Lake Champlain to hasten Lévis to his aid,
and ordered the battalion of Berry to begin a breastwork and abattis on
the high ground in front of the fort. That they were not begun before
shows that he was in doubt as to his plan of defence; and that his whole
army was not now set to work at them shows that his doubt was still

It was nearly a month since Abercromby had begun his camp at the head of
Lake George. Here, on the ground where Johnson had beaten Dieskau, where
Montcalm had planted his batteries, and Monro vainly defended the wooden
ramparts of Fort William Henry, were now assembled more than fifteen
thousand men; and the shores, the foot of the mountains, and the broken
plains between them were studded thick with tents. Of regulars there
were six thousand three hundred and sixty-seven, officers and soldiers,
and of provincials nine thousand and thirty-four.[606] To the New
England levies, or at least to their chaplains, the expedition seemed a
crusade against the abomination of Babylon; and they discoursed in their
sermons of Moses sending forth Joshua against Amalek. Abercromby, raised
to his place by political influence, was little but the nominal
commander. "A heavy man," said Wolfe in a letter to his father; "an aged
gentleman, infirm in body and mind," wrote William Parkman, a boy of
seventeen, who carried a musket in a Massachusetts regiment, and kept in
his knapsack a dingy little notebook, in which he jotted down what
passed each day.[607] The age of the aged gentleman was fifty-two.

[Footnote 606: _Abercromby to Pitt, 12 July, 1758._]

[Footnote 607: Great-uncle of the writer, and son of the Rev. Ebenezer
Parkman, a graduate of Harvard, and minister of Westborough, Mass.]

Pitt meant that the actual command of the army should be in the hands of
Brigadier Lord Howe,[608] and he was in fact its real chief; "the
noblest Englishman that has appeared in my time, and the best soldier in
the British army," says Wolfe.[609] And he elsewhere speaks of him as
"that great man." Abercromby testifies to the universal respect and love
with which officers and men regarded him, and Pitt calls him "a
character of ancient times; a complete model of military virtue."[610]
High as this praise is, it seems to have been deserved. The young
nobleman, who was then in his thirty-fourth year, had the qualities of a
leader of men. The army felt him, from general to drummer-boy. He was
its soul; and while breathing into it his own energy and ardor, and
bracing it by stringent discipline, he broke through the traditions of
the service and gave it new shapes to suit the time and place. During
the past year he had studied the art of forest warfare, and joined
Rogers and his rangers in their scouting-parties, sharing all their
hardships and making himself one of them. Perhaps the reforms that he
introduced were fruits of this rough self-imposed schooling. He made
officers and men throw off all useless incumbrances, cut their hair
close, wear leggings to protect them from briers, brown the barrels of
their muskets, and carry in their knapsacks thirty pounds of meal, which
they cooked for themselves; so that, according to an admiring Frenchman,
they could live a month without their supply-trains.[611] "You would
laugh to see the droll figure we all make," writes an officer. "Regulars
as well as provincials have cut their coats so as scarcely to reach
their waists. No officer or private is allowed to carry more than one
blanket and a bearskin. A small portmanteau is allowed each officer. No
women follow the camp to wash our linen. Lord Howe has already shown an
example by going to the brook and washing his own."[612]

[Footnote 608: Chesterfield, _Letters_, IV. 260 (ed. Mahon).]

[Footnote 609: _Wolfe to his Father, 7 Aug. 1758_, in Wright, 450.]

[Footnote 610: _Pitt to Grenville, 22 Aug. 1758_, in _Grenville Papers_,
I. 262.]

[Footnote 611: Pouchot, _Dernière Guerre de l'Amérique_, I. 140.]

[Footnote 612: _Letter from Camp, 12 June, 1758_, in _Boston Evening
Post._ Another, in _Boston News Letter_, contains similar statements.]

Here, as in all things, he shared the lot of the soldier, and required
his officers to share it. A story is told of him that before the army
embarked he invited some of them to dinner in his tent, where they found
no seats but logs, and no carpet but bear-skins. A servant presently
placed on the ground a large dish of pork and peas, on which his
lordship took from his pocket a sheath containing a knife and fork and
began to cut the meat. The guests looked on in some embarrassment; upon
which he said: "Is it possible, gentlemen, that you have come on this
campaign without providing yourselves with what is necessary?" And he
gave each of them a sheath, with a knife and fork, like his own.

Yet this Lycurgus of the camp, as a contemporary calls him, is described
as a man of social accomplishments rare even in his rank. He made
himself greatly beloved by the provincial officers, with many of whom he
was on terms of intimacy, and he did what he could to break down the
barriers between the colonial soldiers and the British regulars. When he
was at Alban, sharing with other high officers the kindly hospitalities
of Mrs. Schuyler, he so won the heart of that excellent matron that she
loved him like a son; and, though not given to such effusion, embraced
him with tears on the morning when he left her to lead his division to
the lake.[613] In Westminster Abbey may be seen the tablet on which
Massachusetts pays grateful tribute to his virtues, and commemorates
"the affection her officers and soldiers bore to his command."

[Footnote 613: Mrs. Grant, _Memoirs of an American Lady_, 226 (ed.

On the evening of the fourth of July, baggage, stores, and ammunition
were all on board the boats, and the whole army embarked on the morning
of the fifth. The arrangements were perfect. Each corps marched without
confusion to its appointed station on the beach, and the sun was
scarcely above the ridge of French Mountain when all were afloat. A
spectator watching them from the shore says that when the fleet was
three miles on its way, the surface of the lake at that distance was
completely hidden from sight.[614] There were nine hundred bateaux, a
hundred and thirty-five whaleboats, and a large number of heavy
flatboats carrying the artillery. The whole advanced in three divisions,
the regulars in the centre, and the provincials on the flanks. Each
corps had its flags and its music. The day was fair and men and officers
were in the highest spirits.

[Footnote 614: _Letter from Lake George_, in _Boston News Letter_.]

Before ten o'clock they began to enter the Narrows; and the boats of the
three divisions extended themselves into long files as the mountains
closed on either hand upon the contracted lake. From front to rear the
line was six miles long. The spectacle was superb: the brightness of the
summer day; the romantic beauty of the scenery; the sheen and sparkle of
those crystal waters; the countless islets, tufted with pine, birch, and
fir; the bordering mountains, with their green summits and sunny crags;
the flash of oars and glitter of weapons; the banners, the varied
uniforms, and the notes of bugle, trumpet, bagpipe, and drum, answered
and prolonged by a hundred woodland echoes. "I never beheld so
delightful a prospect," wrote a wounded officer at Albany a fortnight

Rogers with the rangers, and Gage with the light infantry, led the way
in whaleboats, followed by Bradstreet with his corps of boatmen, armed
and drilled as soldiers. Then came the main body. The central column of
regulars was commanded by Lord Howe, his own regiment, the fifty-fifth,
in the van, followed by the Royal Americans, the twenty-seventh,
forty-fourth, forty-sixth, and eightieth infantry, and the Highlanders
of the forty-second, with their major, Duncan Campbell of Inverawe,
silent and gloomy amid the general cheer, for his soul was dark with
foreshadowings of death.[615] With this central column came what are
described as two floating castles, which were no doubt batteries to
cover the landing of the troops. On the right hand and the left were the
provincials, uniformed in blue, regiment after regiment, from
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Behind them all came the bateaux, loaded with stores and baggage, and
the heavy flatboats that carried the artillery, while a rear-guard of
provincials and regulars closed the long procession.[616]

[Footnote 615: See Appendix G.]

[Footnote 616: _Letter from Lake George_, in _Boston News Letter_. Even
Rogers, the ranger, speaks of the beauty of the scene.]

At five in the afternoon they reached Sabbath-Day Point, twenty-five
miles down the lake, where they stopped till late in the evening,
waiting for the baggage and artillery, which had lagged behind; and here
Lord Howe, lying on a bearskin by the side of the ranger, John Stark,
questioned him as to the position of Ticonderoga and its best points of
approach. At about eleven o'clock they set out again, and at daybreak
entered what was then called the Second Narrows; that is to say, the
contraction of the lake where it approaches its outlet. Close on their
left, ruddy in the warm sunrise, rose the vast bare face of Rogers Rock,
whence a French advanced party, under Langy and an officer named
Trepezec, was watching their movements. Lord Howe, with Rogers and
Bradstreet, went in whaleboats to reconnoitre the landing. At the place
which the French called the Burnt Camp, where Montcalm had embarked the
summer before, they saw a detachment of the enemy too weak to oppose
them. Their men landed and drove them off. At noon the whole army was on
shore. Rogers, with a party of rangers, was ordered forward to
reconnoitre, and the troops were formed for the march.

From this part of the shore[617] a plain covered with forest stretched
northwestward half a mile or more to the mountains behind which lay the
valley of Trout Brook. On this plain the army began its march in four
columns, with the intention of passing round the western bank of the
river of the outlet, since the bridge over it had been destroyed.
Rogers, with the provincial regiments of Fitch and Lyman, led the way,
at some distance before the rest. The forest was extremely dense and
heavy, and so obstructed with undergrowth that it was impossible to see
more than a few yards in any direction, while the ground was encumbered
with fallen trees in every stage of decay. The ranks were broken, and
the men struggled on as they could in dampness and shade, under a canopy
of boughs that the sun could scarcely pierce. The difficulty increased
when, after advancing about a mile, they came upon undulating and broken
ground. They were now not far from the upper rapids of the outlet. The
guides became bewildered in the maze of trunks and boughs; the marching
columns were confused, and fell in one upon the other. They were in the
strange situation of an army lost in the woods.

[Footnote 617: Between the old and new steamboat-landings, and parts

The advanced party of French under Langy and Trepezec, about three
hundred and fifty in all, regulars and Canadians, had tried to retreat;
but before they could do so, the whole English army had passed them,
landed, and placed itself between them and their countrymen. They had no
resource but to take to the woods. They seem to have climbed the steep
gorge at the side of Rogers Rock and followed the Indian path that led
to the valley of Trout Brook, thinking to descend it, and, by circling
along the outskirts of the valley of Ticonderoga, reach Montcalm's camp
at the saw-mill. Langy was used to bushranging; but he too became
perplexed in the blind intricacies of the forest. Towards the close of
the day he and his men had come out from the valley of Trout Brook, and
were near the junction of that stream with the river of the outlet, in a
state of some anxiety, for they could see nothing but brown trunks and
green boughs. Could any of them have climbed one of the great pines that
here and there reared their shaggy spires high above the surrounding
forest, they would have discovered where they were, but would have
gained not the faintest knowledge of the enemy. Out of the woods on the
right they would have seen a smoke rising from the burning huts of the
French camp at the head of the portage, which Bourlamaque had set on
fire and abandoned. At a mile or more in front, the saw-mill at the
Falls might perhaps have been descried, and, by glimpses between the
trees, the tents of the neighboring camp where Montcalm still lay with
his main force. All the rest seemed lonely as the grave; mountain and
valley lay wrapped in primeval woods, and none could have dreamed that,
not far distant, an army was groping its way, buried in foliage; no
rumbling of wagons and artillery trains, for none were there; all silent
but the cawing of some crow flapping his black wings over the sea of

Lord Howe, with Major Israel Putnam and two hundred rangers, was at the
head of the principal column, which was a little in advance of the three
others. Suddenly the challenge, _Qui vive!_ rang sharply from the
thickets in front. _Français!_ was the reply. Langy's men were not
deceived; they fired out of the bushes. The shots were returned; a hot
skirmish followed; and Lord Howe dropped dead, shot through the breast.
All was confusion. The dull, vicious reports of musketry in thick woods,
at first few and scattering, then in fierce and rapid volleys, reached
the troops behind. They could hear, but see nothing. Already harassed
and perplexed, they became perturbed. For all they knew, Montcalm's
whole army was upon them. Nothing prevented a panic but the steadiness
of the rangers, who maintained the fight alone till the rest came back
to their senses. Rogers, with his reconnoitring party, and the regiments
of Fitch and Lyman, were at no great distance in front. They all turned
on hearing the musketry, and thus the French were caught between two
fires. They fought with desperation. About fifty of them at length
escaped; a hundred and forty-eight were captured, and the rest killed or
drowned in trying to cross the rapids. The loss of the English was small
in numbers, but immeasurable in the death of Howe. "The fall of this
noble and brave officer," says Rogers, "seemed to produce an almost
general languor and consternation through the whole army." "In Lord
Howe," writes another contemporary, Major Thomas Mante, "the soul of
General Abercromby's army seemed to expire. From the unhappy moment the
General was deprived of his advice, neither order nor discipline was
observed, and a strange kind of infatuation usurped the place of
resolution." The death of one man was the ruin of fifteen thousand.

The evil news was despatched to Albany, and in two or three days the
messenger who bore it passed the house of Mrs. Schuyler on the meadows
above the town. "In the afternoon," says her biographer, "a man was seen
coming from the north galloping violently without his hat. Pedrom, as he
was familiarly called, Colonel Schuyler's only surviving brother, was
with her, and ran instantly to inquire, well knowing that he rode
express. The man galloped on, crying out that Lord Howe was killed. The
mind of our good aunt had been so engrossed by her anxiety and fears for
the event impending, and so impressed with the merit and magnanimity of
her favorite hero, that her wonted firmness sank under the stroke, and
she broke out into bitter lamentations. This had such an effect on her
friends and domestics that shrieks and sobs of anguish echoed through
every part of the house."

The effect of the loss was seen at once. The army was needlessly kept
under arms all night in the forest, and in the morning was ordered back
to the landing whence it came.[618] Towards noon, however, Bradstreet
was sent with a detachment of regulars and provincials to take
possession of the saw-mill at the Falls, which Montcalm had abandoned
the evening before. Bradstreet rebuilt the bridges destroyed by the
retiring enemy, and sent word to his commander that the way was open; on
which Abercromby again put his army in motion, reached the Falls late in
the afternoon, and occupied the deserted encampment of the French.

[Footnote 618: _Abercromby to Pitt, 12 July, 1758._]

Montcalm with his main force had held this position at the Falls through
most of the preceding day, doubtful, it seems, to the last whether he
should not make his final stand there. Bourlamaque was for doing so; but
two old officers, Bernès and Montguy, pointed out the danger that the
English would occupy the neighboring heights;[619] whereupon Montcalm at
length resolved to fall back. The camp was broken up at five o'clock.
Some of the troops embarked in bateaux, while others marched a mile and
a half along the forest road, passed the place where the battalion of
Berry was still at work on the breastwork begun in the morning, and made
their bivouac a little farther on, upon the cleared ground that
surrounded the fort.

[Footnote 619: Pouchot, I. 145.]

The peninsula of Ticonderoga consists of a rocky plateau, with low
grounds on each side, bordering Lake Champlain on the one hand, and the
outlet of Lake George on the other. The fort stood near the end of the
peninsula, which points towards the southeast. Thence, as one goes
westward, the ground declines a little, and then slowly rises, till,
about half a mile from the fort, it reaches its greatest elevation, and
begins still more gradually to decline again. Thus a ridge is formed
across the plateau between the steep declivities that sink to the low
grounds on right and left. Some weeks before, a French officer named
Hugues had suggested the defence of this ridge by means of an
abattis.[620] Montcalm approved his plan; and now, at the eleventh hour,
he resolved to make his stand here. The two engineers, Pontleroy and
Desandrouin, had already traced the outline of the works, and the
soldiers of the battalion of Berry had made some progress in
constructing them. At dawn of the seventh, while Abercromby, fortunately
for his enemy, was drawing his troops back to the landing-place, the
whole French army fell to their task.

[Footnote 620: _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 708.]

The regimental colors were planted along the line, and the officers,
stripped to the shirt, took axe in hand and labored with their men. The
trees that covered the ground were hewn down by thousands, the tops
lopped off, and the trunks piled one upon another to form a massive
breastwork. The line followed the top of the ridge, along which it
zig-zagged in such a manner that the whole front could be swept by
flank-fires of musketry and grape. Abercromby describes the wall of logs
as between eight and nine feet high;[621] in which case there must have
been a rude _banquette_, or platform to fire from, on the inner side. It
was certainly so high that nothing could be seen over it but the crowns
of the soldiers' hats. The upper tier was formed of single logs, in
which notches were cut to serve as loopholes; and in some places sods
and bags of sand were piled along the top, with narrow spaces to fire
through.[622] From the central part of the line the ground sloped away
like a natural glacis; while at the sides, and especially on the left,
it was undulating and broken. Over this whole space, to the distance of
a musket-shot from the works, the forest was cut down, and the trees
left lying where they fell among the stumps, with tops turned outwards,
forming one vast abattis, which, as a Massachusetts officer says, looked
like a forest laid flat by a hurricane.[623] But the most formidable
obstruction was immediately along the front of the breastwork, where the
ground was covered with heavy boughs, overlapping and interlaced, with
sharpened points bristling into the face of the assailant like the
quills of a porcupine. As these works were all of wood, no vestige of
them remains. The earthworks now shown to tourists as the lines of
Montcalm are of later construction; and though on the same ground, are
not on the same plan.[624]

[Footnote 621: _Abercromby to Harrington, 12 July, 1758._ "At least
eight feet high." Rogers, _Journals_, 116.]

[Footnote 622: A Swiss officer of the Royal Americans, writing on the
14th, says that there were two, and in some parts three, rows of
loopholes. See the letter in _Pennsylvania Archives_, III. 472.]

[Footnote 623: _Colonel Oliver Partridge to his Wife, 12 July, 1758._]

[Footnote 624: A new line of works was begun four days after the battle,
to replace the log breastwork. Malartic, _Journal. Travaux faits à
Carillon, 1758_.]

Here, then, was a position which, if attacked in front with musketry
alone, might be called impregnable. But would Abercromby so attack it?
He had several alternatives. He might attempt the flank and rear of his
enemy by way of the low grounds on the right and left of the plateau, a
movement which the precautions of Montcalm had made difficult, but not
impossible. Or, instead of leaving his artillery idle on the strand of
Lake George, he might bring it to the front and batter the breastwork,
which, though impervious to musketry, was worthless against heavy
cannon. Or he might do what Burgoyne did with success a score of years
later, and plant a battery on the heights of Rattlesnake Hill, now
called Mount Defiance, which commanded the position of the French, and
whence the inside of their breastwork could be scoured with round-shot
from end to end. Or, while threatening the French front with a part of
his army, he could march the rest a short distance through the woods on
his left to the road which led from Ticonderoga to Crown Point, and
which would soon have brought him to the place called Five-Mile Point,
where Lake Champlain narrows to the width of an easy rifle-shot, and
where a battery of field-pieces would have cut off all Montcalm's
supplies and closed his only way of retreat. As the French were
provisioned for but eight days, their position would thus have been
desperate. They plainly saw the danger; and Doreil declares that had the
movement been made, their whole army must have surrendered.[625]
Montcalm had done what he could; but the danger of his position was
inevitable and extreme. His hope lay in Abercromby; and it was a hope
well founded. The action of the English general answered the utmost
wishes of his enemy.

[Footnote 625: _Doreil au Ministre, 28 Juillet, 1758._ The Chevalier
Johnstone thought that Montcalm was saved by Abercromby's ignorance of
the ground. A _Dialogue in Hades_ (Quebec Historical Society).]

Abercromby had been told by his prisoners that Montcalm had six thousand
men, and that three thousand more were expected every hour. Therefore he
was in haste to attack before these succors could arrive. As was the
general, so was the army. "I believe," writes an officer, "we were one
and all infatuated by a notion of carrying every obstacle by a mere
_coup de mousqueterie_."[626] Leadership perished with Lord Howe, and
nothing was left but blind, headlong valor.

[Footnote 626: See the letter in Knox, I. 148.]

Clerk, chief engineer, was sent to reconnoitre the French works from
Mount Defiance; and came back with the report that, to judge from what
he could see, they might be carried by assault. Then, without waiting to
bring up his cannon, Abercromby prepared to storm the lines.

The French finished their breastwork and abattis on the evening of the
seventh, encamped behind them, slung their kettles, and rested after
their heavy toil. Lévis had not yet appeared; but at twilight one of his
officers, Captain Pouchot, arrived with three hundred regulars, and
announced that his commander would come before morning with a hundred
more. The reinforcement, though small, was welcome, and Lévis was a host
in himself. Pouchot was told that the army was half a mile off. Thither
he repaired, made his report to Montcalm, and looked with amazement at
the prodigious amount of work accomplished in one day.[627] Lévis
himself arrived in the course of the night, and approved the arrangement
of the troops. They lay behind their lines till daybreak; then the drums
beat, and they formed in order of battle.[628] The battalions of La
Sarre and Languedoc were posted on the left, under Bourlamaque, the
first battalion of Berry with that of Royal Roussillon in the centre,
under Montcalm, and those of La Reine, Béarn, and Guienne on the right,
under Lévis. A detachment of volunteers occupied the low grounds between
the breastwork and the outlet of Lake George; while, at the foot of the
declivity on the side towards Lake Champlain, were stationed four
hundred and fifty colony regulars and Canadians, behind an abattis which
they had made for themselves; and as they were covered by the cannon of
the fort, there was some hope that they would check any flank movement
which the English might attempt on that side. Their posts being thus
assigned, the men fell to work again to strengthen their defences.
Including those who came with Lévis, the total force of effective
soldiers was now thirty-six hundred.[629]

[Footnote 627: Pouchot, I. 137.]

[Footnote 628: _Livre d'Ordres, Disposition de Défense des
Retranchements, 8 Juillet, 1758_.]

[Footnote 629: Montcalm, _Relation de la Victoire remportée à Carillon,
8 Juillet, 1758_. Vaudreuil puts the number at 4,760, besides officers,
which includes the garrison and laborers at the fort. _Vaudreuil au
Ministre, 28 Juillet, 1758_.]

Soon after nine o'clock a distant and harmless fire of small-arms began
on the slopes of Mount Defiance. It came from a party of Indians who had
just arrived with Sir William Johnson, and who, after amusing themselves
in this manner for a time, remained for the rest of the day safe
spectators of the fight. The soldiers worked undisturbed till noon, when
volleys of musketry were heard from the forest in front. It was the
English light troops driving in the French pickets. A cannon was fired
as a signal to drop tools and form for battle. The white uniforms lined
the breastwork in a triple row, with the grenadiers behind them as a
reserve, and the second battalion of Berry watching the flanks and rear.

Meanwhile the English army had moved forward from its camp by the
saw-mill. First came the rangers, the light infantry, and Bradstreet's
armed boatmen, who, emerging into the open space, began a spattering
fire. Some of the provincial troops followed, extending from left to
right, and opening fire in turn; then the regulars, who had formed in
columns of attack under cover of the forest, advanced their solid red
masses into the sunlight, and passing through the intervals between the
provincial regiments, pushed forward to the assault. Across the rough
ground, with its maze of fallen trees whose leaves hung withering in the
July sun, they could see the top of the breastwork, but not the men
behind it; when, in an instant, all the line was obscured by a gush of
smoke, a crash of exploding firearms tore the air, and grapeshot and
musket-balls swept the whole space like a tempest; "a damnable fire,"
says an officer who heard them screaming about his ears. The English had
been ordered to carry the works with the bayonet; but their ranks were
broken by the obstructions through which they struggled in vain to force
their way, and they soon began to fire in turn. The storm raged in full
fury for an hour. The assailants pushed close to the breastwork; but
there they were stopped by the bristling mass of sharpened branches,
which they could not pass under the murderous cross-fires that swept
them from front and flank. At length they fell back, exclaiming that the
works were impregnable. Abercromby, who was at the saw-mill, a mile and
a half in the rear, sent order to attack again, and again they came on
as before.

The scene was frightful: masses of infuriated men who could not go
forward and would not go back; straining for an enemy they could not
reach, and firing on an enemy they could not see; caught in the
entanglement of fallen trees; tripped by briers, stumbling over logs,
tearing through boughs; shouting, yelling, cursing, and pelted all the
while with bullets that killed them by scores, stretched them on the
ground, or hung them on jagged branches in strange attitudes of death.
The provincials supported the regulars with spirit, and some of them
forced their way to the foot of the wooden wall.

The French fought with the intrepid gayety of their nation, and shouts
of _Vive le Roi!_ and _Vive notre General!_ mingled with the din of
musketry. Montcalm, with his coat off, for the day was hot, directed the
defence of the centre, and repaired to any part of the line where the
danger for the time seemed greatest. He is warm in praise of his enemy,
and declares that between one and seven o'clock they attacked him six
successive times. Early in the action Abercromby tried to turn the
French left by sending twenty bateaux, filled with troops, down the
outlet of Lake George. They were met by the fire of the volunteers
stationed to defend the low grounds on that side, and, still advancing,
came within range of the cannon of the fort, which sank two of them and
drove back the rest.

A curious incident happened during one of the attacks. De Bassignac, a
captain in the battalion of Royal Roussillon, tied his handkerchief to
the end of a musket and waved it over the breastwork in defiance. The
English mistook it for a sign of surrender, and came forward with all
possible speed, holding their muskets crossed over their heads in both
hands, and crying _Quarter_. The French made the same mistake; and
thinking that their enemies were giving themselves up as prisoners,
ceased firing, and mounted on the top of the breastwork to receive them.
Captain Pouchot, astonished, as he says, to see them perched there,
looked out to learn the cause, and saw that the enemy meant anything but
surrender. Whereupon he shouted with all his might: "_Tirez! Tirez! Ne
voyez-vous pas que ces gens-là vont vous enlever?_" The soldiers, still
standing on the breastwork, instantly gave the English a volley, which
killed some of them, and sent back the rest discomfited.[630]

[Footnote 630: Pouchot, I. 153. Both Niles and Entick mention the

This was set to the account of Gallic treachery. "Another deceit the
enemy put upon us," says a military letter-writer: "they raised their
hats above the breastwork, which our people fired at; they, having
loopholes to fire through, and being covered by the sods, we did them
little damage, except shooting their hats to pieces."[631] In one of the
last assaults a soldier of the Rhode Island regiment, William Smith,
managed to get through all obstructions and ensconce himself close under
the breastwork, where in the confusion he remained for a time unnoticed,
improving his advantages meanwhile by shooting several Frenchmen. Being
at length observed, a soldier fired vertically down upon him and wounded
him severely, but not enough to prevent his springing up, striking at
one of his enemies over the top of the wall, and braining him with his
hatchet. A British officer who saw the feat, and was struck by the
reckless daring of the man, ordered two regulars to bring him off;
which, covered by a brisk fire of musketry, they succeeded in doing. A
letter from the camp two or three weeks later reports him as in a fair
way to recover, being, says the writer, much braced and invigorated by
his anger against the French, on whom he was swearing to have his

[Footnote 631: _Letter from Saratoga, 12 July, 1758_, in _New Hampshire
Gazette_. Compare _Pennsylvania Archives_, III. 474.]

[Footnote 632: _Letter from Lake George, 26 July, 1758_, in _Boston
Gazette_. The story is given, without much variation, in several other

Toward five o'clock two English columns joined in a most determined
assault on the extreme right of the French, defended by the battalions
of Guienne and Béarn. The danger for a time was imminent. Montcalm
hastened to the spot with the reserves. The assailants hewed their way
to the foot of the breastwork; and though again and again repulsed, they
again and again renewed the attack. The Highlanders fought with stubborn
and unconquerable fury. "Even those who were mortally wounded," writes
one of their lieutenants, "cried to their companions not to lose a
thought upon them, but to follow their officers and mind the honor of
their country. Their ardor was such that it was difficult to bring them
off."[633] Their major, Campbell of Inverawe, found his foreboding true.
He received a mortal shot, and his clansmen bore him from the field.
Twenty-five of their officers were killed or wounded, and half the men
fell under the deadly fire that poured from the loopholes. Captain John
Campbell and a few followers tore their way through the abattis, climbed
the breastwork, leaped down among the French, and were bayoneted

[Footnote 633: _Letter of Lieutenant William Grant_, in _Maclachlan's
Highlands_, II. 340 (ed. 1875).]

[Footnote 634: _Ibid._, II. 339.]

As the colony troops and Canadians on the low ground were left
undisturbed, Lévis sent them an order to make a sortie and attack the
left flank of the charging columns. They accordingly posted themselves
among the trees along the declivity, and fired upwards at the enemy, who
presently shifted their position to the right, out of the line of shot.
The assault still continued, but in vain; and at six there was another
effort, equally fruitless. From this time till half-past seven a
lingering fight was kept up by the rangers and other provincials, firing
from the edge of the woods and from behind the stumps, bushes, and
fallen trees in front of the lines. Its only objects were to cover their
comrades, who were collecting and bringing off the wounded, and to
protect the retreat of the regulars, who fell back in disorder to the
Falls. As twilight came on, the last combatant withdrew, and none were
left but the dead. Abercromby had lost in killed, wounded, and missing,
nineteen hundred and forty-four officers and men.[635] The loss of the
French, not counting that of Langy's detachment, was three hundred and
seventy-seven. Bourlamaque was dangerously wounded; Bougainville
slightly; and the hat of Lévis was twice shot through.[636]

[Footnote 635: See Appendix G.]

[Footnote 636: _Lévis au Ministre, 13 Juillet, 1758_.]

Montcalm, with a mighty load lifted from his soul, passed along the
lines, and gave the tired soldiers the thanks they nobly deserved. Beer,
wine, and food were served out to them, and they bivouacked for the
night on the level ground between the breastwork and the fort. The enemy
had met a terrible rebuff; yet the danger was not over. Abercromby still
had more than thirteen thousand men, and he might renew the attack with
cannon. But, on the morning of the ninth, a band of volunteers who had
gone out to watch him brought back the report that he was in full
retreat. The saw-mill at the Falls was on fire, and the last English
soldier was gone. On the morning of the tenth, Lévis, with a strong
detachment, followed the road to the landing-place, and found signs that
a panic had overtaken the defeated troops. They had left behind several
hundred barrels of provisions and a large quantity of baggage; while in
a marshy place that they had crossed was found a considerable number of
their shoes, which had stuck in the mud, and which they had not stopped
to recover. They had embarked on the morning after the battle, and
retreated to the head of the lake in a disorder and dejection wofully
contrasted with the pomp of their advance. A gallant army was sacrificed
by the blunders of its chief.

Montcalm announced his victory to his wife in a strain of exaggeration
that marks the exaltation of his mind. "Without Indians, almost without
Canadians or colony troops,--I had only four hundred,--alone with Lévis
and Bourlamaque and the troops of the line, thirty-one hundred fighting
men, I have beaten an army of twenty-five thousand. They repassed the
lake precipitately, with a loss of at least five thousand. This glorious
day does infinite honor to the valor of our battalions. I have no time
to write more. I am well, my dearest, and I embrace you." And he wrote
to his friend Doreil: "The army, the too-small army of the King, has
beaten the enemy. What a day for France! If I had had two hundred
Indians to send out at the head of a thousand picked men under the
Chevalier de Lévis, not many would have escaped. Ah, my dear Doreil,
what soldiers are ours! I never saw the like. Why were they not at

On the morrow of his victory he caused a great cross to be planted on
the battle-field, inscribed with these lines, composed by the
soldier-scholar himself,--

   "Quid dux? quid miles? quid strata ingentia ligna?
   En Signum! en victor! Deus hîc, Deus ipse triumphat."

   "Soldier and chief and rampart's strength are nought;
   Behold the conquering Cross! 'T is God the triumph wrought."[637]

[Footnote 637: Along with the above paraphrase I may give that of
Montcalm himself, which was also inscribed on the cross:--

   "Chrétien! ce ne fut point Montcalm et la prudence,
     Ces arbres renversés, ces héros, leurs exploits,
   Qui des Anglais confus ont brisé l'espérance;
     C'est le bras de ton Dieu, vainqueur sur cette croix."

In the same letter in which Montcalm sent these lines to his mother he
says: "Je vous envoie, pour vous amuser, deux chansons sur le combat du
8 Juillet, dont l'une est en style des poissardes de Paris." One of
these songs, which were written by soldiers after the battle, begins,--

   "Je chante des François
   La valeur et la gloire,
   Qui toujours sur l'Anglois
   Remportent la victoire.
   Ce sont des héros,
   Tous nos généraux,
   Et Montcalm et Lévis,
   Et Bourlamaque aussi."

   "Mars, qui les engendra
   Pour l'honneur de la France,
   D'abord les anima
   De sa haute vaillance,
   Et les transporta
   Dans le Canada,
   Où l'on voit les François
   Culbuter les Anglois."

The other effusion of the military muse is in a different strain, "en
style des poissardes de Paris." The following a specimen, given

   "L'aumônier fit l'exhortation,
   Puis il donnit l'absolution;
   Aisément cela se peut croire.
   Enfants, dit-il, animez-vous!
   L'bon Dieu, sa mère, tout est pour vous.
   _S--é! j'sommes catholiques. Les Anglois sont des hérétiques._

"Ce sont des chiens; à coups d'pieds, a coups d'poings faut leur casser
la gueule et la mâchoire."

   "Soldats, officiers, généraux,
   Chacun en ce jour fut héros.
   Aisément cela se peut croire.
   Montcalm, comme défunt Annibal,
   S'montroit soldat et général.
   _S--é! sil y avoit quelqu'un qui ne l'aimit point!_"

"Je veux être un chien; à coups d'pieds, a coups d'poings, j'lui
cass'rai la gueule et la mâchoire."

This is an allusion to Vaudreuil. On the battle of Ticonderoga, see
Appendix G]

Chapter 21


Fort Frontenac

The rashness of Abercromby before the fight was matched by his
poltroonery after it. Such was his terror that on the evening of his
defeat he sent an order to Colonel Cummings, commanding at Fort William
Henry, to send all the sick and wounded and all the heavy artillery to
New York without delay.[638] He himself followed so closely upon this
disgraceful missive that Cummings had no time to obey it.

[Footnote 638: _Cunningham, aide-de-camp of Abercromby, to Cummings, 8
July, 1758_.]

The defeated and humbled troops proceeded to reoccupy the ground they
had left a few days before in the flush of confidence and pride; and
young Colonel Williams, of Massachusetts, lost no time in sending the
miserable story to his uncle Israel. His letter, which is dated "Lake
George (sorrowful situation), July ye 11th," ends thus: "I have told
facts; you may put the epithets upon them. In one word, what with
fatigue, want of sleep, exercise of mind, and leaving the place we went
to capture, the best part of the army is unhinged. I have told enough to
make you sick, if the relation acts on you as the facts have on me."

In the routed army was the sturdy John Cleaveland, minister of Ipswich,
and now chaplain of Bagley's Massachusetts regiment, who regarded the
retreat with a disgust that was shared by many others. "This day," he
writes in his Diary, at the head of Lake George, two days after the
battle, "wherever I went I found people, officers and soldiers,
astonished that we left the French ground, and commenting on the strange
conduct in coming off." From this time forth the provincials called
their commander Mrs. Nabbycromby.[639] He thought of nothing but
fortifying himself. "Towards evening," continues the chaplain, "the
General, with his Rehoboam counsellors, came over to line out a fort on
the rocky hill where our breastwork was last year. Now we begin to think
strongly that the grand expedition against Canada is laid aside, and a
foundation made totally to impoverish our country." The whole army was
soon intrenched. The chaplain of Bagley's, with his brother Ebenezer,
chaplain of another regiment, one day walked round the camp and
carefully inspected it. The tour proved satisfactory to the militant
divines, and John Cleaveland reported to his wife: "We have built an
extraordinary good breastwork, sufficient to defend ourselves against
twenty thousand of the enemy, though at present we have not above a
third part of that number fit for duty." Many of the troops had been
sent to the Mohawk, and others to the Hudson.

[Footnote 639: Trumbull, _Hist. Connecticut_, II. 392. "Nabby" (Abigail)
was then a common female name in New England.]

In the regiment of which Cleaveland was chaplain there was a young
surgeon from Danvers, Dr. Caleb Rea, who also kept a copious diary, and,
being of a serious turn, listened with edification to the prayers and
exhortations to which the yeoman soldiery were daily summoned. In his
zeal, he made an inquest among them for singers, and chose the most
melodious to form a regimental choir, "the better to carry on the daily
service of singing psalms;" insomuch that the New England camp was vocal
with rustic harmony, sincere, if somewhat nasal. These seemly
observances were not inconsistent with a certain amount of disorder
among the more turbulent spirits, who, removed from the repressive
influence of tight-laced village communities, sometimes indulged in
conduct which grieved the conscientious surgeon. The rural New England
of that time, with its narrowness, its prejudices, its oddities, its
combative energy, and rugged, unconquerable strength, is among the
things of the past, or lingers in remote corners where the whistle of
the locomotive is never heard. It has spread itself in swarming millions
over half a continent, changing with changing conditions; and even the
part of it that clings to the ancestral hive has transformed and
continues to transform itself.

The provincials were happy in their chaplains, among whom there reigned
a marvellous harmony, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and
Congregationalists meeting twice a week to hold prayer-meetings
together. "A rare instance indeed," says Dr. Rea, "and perhaps scarce
ever was an army blessed with such a set of chaplains before." On one
occasion, just before the fatal expedition, nine of them, after prayers
and breakfast, went together to call upon the General. "He treated us
very kindly," says the chaplain of Bagley's, "and told us that he hoped
we would teach the people to do their duty and be courageous; and told
us a story of a chaplain in Germany, where he was, who just before the
action told the soldiers he had not time to say much, and therefore
should only say: 'Be courageous; for no cowards go to heaven.' The
General treated us to a bowl of punch and a bottle of wine, and then we
took our leave of him."[640]

[Footnote 640: For the use of the Diary of Chaplain Cleaveland, as well
as of his letters to his wife, I am indebted to the kindness of Miss
Abby E. Cleaveland, his descendant.]

When Cleaveland and the more gifted among his brethren preached of a
Sunday, officers and men of the regulars, no less than the provincials,
came to listen; yet that pious Sabbatarian, Dr. Rea, saw much to afflict
his conscience. "Sad, sad it is to see how the Sabbath is profaned in
the camp," above all by "the horrid custom of swearing, more especially
among the regulars; and I can't but charge our defeat on this sin."

It would have been well had the harmony that prevailed among the
chaplains found its counterpart among the men of the sword; but between
the British regular officers and those of the provinces there was
anything but an equal brotherhood. It is true that Pitt, in the spirit
of conciliation which he always showed towards the colonies, had
procured a change in the regulations concerning the relative rank of
British and provincial officers, thus putting them in a position much
nearer equality; but this, while appeasing the provincials, seems to
have annoyed the others. Till the campaign was nearly over, not a single
provincial colonel had been asked to join in a council of war; and,
complains Cleaveland, "they know no more of what is to be done than a
sergeant, till the orders come out." Of the British officers, the
greater part had seen but little active service. Most of them were men
of family, exceedingly prejudiced and insular, whose knowledge of the
world was limited to certain classes of their own countrymen, and who
looked down on all others, whether domestic or foreign. Towards the
provincials their attitude was one of tranquil superiority, though its
tranquillity was occasionally disturbed by what they regarded as absurd
pretension on the part of the colony officers. One of them gave vent to
his feelings in an article in the _London Chronicle_, in which he
advanced the very reasonable proposition that "a farmer is not to be
taken from the plough and made an officer in a day;" and he was answered
wrathfully, at great length, in the _Boston Evening Post_, by a writer
signing himself "A New England Man." The provincial officers, on the
other hand, and especially those of New England, being no less narrow
and prejudiced, filled with a sensitive pride and a jealous local
patriotism, and bred up in a lofty appreciation of the merits and
importance of their country, regarded British superciliousness with a
resentment which their strong love for England could not overcome. This
feeling was far from being confined to the officers. A provincial
regiment stationed at Half-Moon, on the Hudson, thought itself affronted
by Captain Cruikshank, a regular officer; and the men were so incensed
that nearly half of them went off in a body. The deportment of British
officers in the Seven Years War no doubt had some part in hastening on
the Revolution.

What with levelling Montcalm's siege works, planting palisades, and
grubbing up stumps in their bungling and laborious way, the regulars
found abundant occupation. Discipline was stiff and peremptory. The
wooden horse and the whipping-post were conspicuous objects in the camp,
and often in use. Caleb Rea, being tender-hearted, never went to see the
lash laid on; for, as he quaintly observes, "the cries were satisfactory
to me, without the sight of the strokes." He and the rest of the doctors
found active exercise for such skill as they had, since fever and
dysentery were making scarcely less havoc than the bullets at
Ticonderoga. This came from the bad state of the camps and unwholesome
food. The provincial surgeons seem to have been very little impressed
with the importance of sanitary regulations, and to have thought it
their business not to prevent disease, but only to cure it. The one
grand essential in their eyes was a well-stocked medicine-chest, rich in
exhaustless stores of rhubarb, ipecacuanha, and calomel. Even this
sometimes failed. Colonel Williams reports "the sick destitute of
everything proper for them; medicine-chest empty; nothing but their
dirty blankets for beds; Dr. Ashley dead, Dr. Wright gone home, low
enough; Bille worn off his legs,--such is our case. I have near a
hundred sick. Lost a sergeant and a private last night."[641] Chaplain
Cleaveland himself, though strong of frame, did not escape; but he found
solace in his trouble from the congenial society of a brother chaplain,
Mr. Emerson, of New Hampshire, "a right-down hearty Christian minister,
of savory conversation," who came to see him in his tent, breakfasted
with him, and joined him in prayer. Being somewhat better, he one day
thought to recreate himself with the apostolic occupation of fishing.
The sport was poor; the fish bit slowly; and as he lay in his boat,
still languid with his malady, he had leisure to reflect on the
contrasted works of Providence and man,--the bright lake basking amid
its mountains, a dream of wilderness beauty, and the swarms of harsh
humanity on the shore beside him, with their passions, discords, and
miseries. But it was with the strong meat of Calvinistic theology, and
not with reveries like these, that he was accustomed to nourish his
military flock.

[Footnote 641: _Colonel William Williams to Colonel Israel Williams, 4
Sept. 1758_.]

While at one end of the lake the force of Abercromby was diminished by
detachments and disease, that of Montcalm at the other was so increased
by reinforcements that a forward movement on his part seemed possible.
He contented himself, however, with strengthening the fort,
reconstructing the lines that he had defended so well, and sending out
frequent war-parties by way of Wood Creek and South Bay, to harass
Abercromby's communications with Fort Edward. These parties, some of
which consisted of several hundred men, were generally more or less
successful; and one of them, under La Corne, surprised and destroyed a
large wagon train escorted by forty soldiers. When Abercromby heard of
it, he ordered Rogers, with a strong detachment of provincials, light
infantry, and rangers, to go down the lake in boats, cross the mountains
to the narrow waters of Lake Champlain, and cut off the enemy. But
though Rogers set out at two in the morning, the French retreated so
fast that he arrived too late. As he was on his way back, he was met by
a messenger from the General with orders to intercept other French
parties reported to be hovering about Fort Edward. On this he retraced
his steps, marched through the forest to where Whitehall now stands, and
thence made his way up Wood Creek to old Fort Anne, a relic of former
wars, abandoned and falling to decay. Here, on the neglected "clearing"
that surrounded the ruin, his followers encamped. They counted seven
hundred in all, and consisted of about eighty rangers, a body of
Connecticut men under Major Putnam, and a small regular force, chiefly
light infantry, under Captain Dalzell, the brave officer who was
afterwards killed by Pontiac's warriors at Detroit.

Up to this time Rogers had observed his usual caution, commanding
silence on the march, and forbidding fires at night; but, seeing no
signs of an enemy, he forgot himself; and on the following morning, the
eighth of August, he and Lieutenant Irwin, of the light infantry, amused
themselves by firing at a mark on a wager. The shots reached the ears of
four hundred and fifty French and Indians under the famous partisan
Marin, who at once took steps to reconnoitre and ambuscade his rash
enemy. For nearly a mile from the old fort the forest had formerly been
cut down and burned; and Nature had now begun to reassert herself,
covering the open tract with a dense growth of bushes and saplings
almost impervious to anything but a wild-cat, had it not been traversed
by a narrow Indian path. Along this path the men were forced to march in
single file. At about seven o'clock, when the two marksmen had decided
their bet, and before the heavy dew of the night was dried upon the
bushes, the party slung their packs and set out. Putnam was in the front
with his Connecticut men; Dalzell followed with the regulars; and
Rogers, with his rangers, brought up the rear of the long and slender
line. Putnam himself led the way, shouldering through the bushes, gun in
hand; and just as the bluff yeoman emerged from them to enter the
forest-growth beyond, the air was rent with yells, the thickets before
him were filled with Indians, and one of them, a Caughnawaga chief,
sprang upon him, hatchet in hand. He had time to cock his gun and snap
it at the breast of his assailant; but it missed fire, and he was
instantly seized and dragged back into the forest, as were also a
lieutenant named Tracy and three private men. Then the firing began. The
French and Indians, lying across the path in a semicircle, had the
advantage of position and surprise. The Connecticut men fell back among
the bushes in disorder; but soon rallied, and held the enemy in check
while Dalzell and Rogers--the latter of whom was nearly a mile
behind--were struggling through briers and thickets to their aid. So
close was the brushwood that it was full half an hour before they could
get their followers ranged in some kind of order in front of the enemy;
and even then each man was forced to fight for himself as best he could.
Humphreys, the biographer of Putnam, blames Rogers severely for not
coming at once to the aid of the Connecticut men; but two of their
captains declare that he came with all possible speed; while a regular
officer present highly praised him to Abercromby for cool and
officer-like conduct.[642] As a man his deserts were small; as a
bushfighter he was beyond reproach.

[Footnote 642: _Letter from the Camp at Lake George, 5 Sept. 1758_,
signed by Captains Maynard and Giddings, and printed in the _Boston
Weekly Advertiser_. "Rogers deserves much to be commended." _Abercromby
to Pitt, 19 Aug. 1758_.]

Another officer recounts from hearsay the remarkable conduct of an
Indian, who sprang into the midst of the English and killed two of them
with his hatchet; then mounted on a log and defied them all. One of the
regulars tried to knock him down with the butt of his musket; but though
the blow made him bleed, he did not fall, and would have killed his
assailant if Rogers had not shot him dead.[643] The firing lasted about
two hours. At length some of the Canadians gave way, and the rest of the
French and Indians followed.[644] They broke into small parties to elude
pursuit, and reuniting towards evening, made their bivouac on a spot
surrounded by impervious swamps.

[Footnote 643: _Thomas Barnsley to Bouquet, 7 Sept. 1758_.]

[Footnote 644: _Doreil au Ministre, 31 Août, 1757_.]

Rogers remained on the field and buried all his own dead, forty-nine in
number. Then he resumed his march to Fort Edward, carrying the wounded
on litters of branches till the next day, when he met a detachment
coming with wagons to his relief. A party sent out soon after for the
purpose reported that they had found and buried more than a hundred
French and Indians. From this time forward the war-parties from
Ticonderoga greatly relented in their activity.

The adventures of the captured Putnam were sufficiently remarkable. The
Indians, after dragging him to the rear, lashed him fast to a tree so
that he could not move a limb, and a young savage amused himself by
throwing a hatchet at his head, striking it into the wood as close as
possible to the mark without hitting it. A French petty officer then
thrust the muzzle of his gun violently against the prisoner's body,
pretended to fire it at him, and at last struck him in the face with the
butt; after which dastardly proceeding he left him. The French and
Indians being forced after a time to fall back, Putnam found himself
between the combatants and exposed to bullets from both sides; but the
enemy, partially recovering the ground they had lost, unbound him, and
led him to a safe distance from the fight. When the retreat began, the
Indians hurried him along with them, stripped of coat, waistcoat, shoes,
and stockings, his back burdened with as many packs of the wounded as
could be piled upon it, and his wrists bound so tightly together that
the pain became intense. In his torment he begged them to kill him; on
which a French officer who was near persuaded them to untie his hands
and take off some of the packs, and the chief who had captured him gave
him a pair of moccasons to protect his lacerated feet. When they
encamped at night, they prepared to burn him alive, stripped him naked,
tied him to a tree, and gathered dry wood to pile about him. A sudden
shower of rain interrupted their pastime; but when it was over they
began again, and surrounded him with a circle of brushwood which they
set on fire. As they were yelling and dancing their delight at the
contortions with which he tried to avoid the rising flames, Marin,
hearing what was going on forward, broke through the crowd, and with a
courageous humanity not too common among Canadian officers, dashed aside
the burning brush, untied the prisoner, and angrily upbraided his
tormentors. He then restored him to the chief who had captured him, and
whose right of property in his prize the others had failed to respect.
The Caughnawaga treated him at first with kindness; but, with the help
of his tribesmen, took effectual means to prevent his escape, by laying
him on his back, stretching his arms and legs in the form of a St.
Andrew's cross, and binding the wrists and ankles fast to the stems of
young trees. This was a mode of securing prisoners in vogue among
Indians from immemorial time; but, not satisfied with it, they placed
brushwood upon his body, and then laid across it the long slender stems
of saplings, on the ends of which several warriors lay down to sleep, so
that the slightest movement on his part would rouse them. Thus he passed
a night of misery, which did not prevent him from thinking of the
ludicrous figure he made in the hands of the tawny Philistines.

On the next night, after a painful march, he reached Ticonderoga, where
he was questioned by Montcalm, and afterwards sent to Montreal in charge
of a French officer, who showed him the utmost kindness. On arriving,
wofully tattered, bruised, scorched, and torn, he found a friend in
Colonel Schuyler, himself a prisoner on parole, who helped him in his
need, and through whose good offices the future major-general of the
Continental Army was included in the next exchange of prisoners.[645]

[Footnote 645: On Putnam's adventures, Humphreys, 57 (1818). He had the
story from Putnam himself, and seems to give it with substantial
correctness, though his account of the battle is at several points
erroneous. The "Molang" of his account is Marin. On the battle, besides
authorities already cited, _Recollections of Thomson Maxwell_, a soldier
present (_Essex Institute_, VII. 97). Rogers, _Journals_, 117. Letter
from camp in _Boston Gazette_, no. 117. Another in _New Hampshire
Gazette_, no. 104. _Gentleman's Magazine, 1758_, p. 498. Malartic,
_Journal du Régiment de Béarn_. Lévis, _Journal de la Guerre en Canada_.
The French notices of the affair are few and brief. They admit a
defeat, but exaggerate the force and the losses of the English, and
underrate their own. Malartic, however, says that Marin set out with
four hundred men, and was soon after joined by an additional number of
Indians; which nearly answers to the best English accounts.]

The petty victory over Marin was followed by a more substantial success.
Early in September Abercromby's melancholy camp was cheered with the
tidings that the important French post of Fort Frontenac, which
controlled Lake Ontario, which had baffled Shirley in his attempt
against Niagara, and given Montcalm the means of conquering Oswego, had
fallen into British hands. "This is a glorious piece of news, and may
God have all the glory of the same!" writes Chaplain Cleaveland in his
Diary. Lieutenant-Colonel Bradstreet had planned the stroke long before,
and proposed it first to Loudon, and then to Abercromby. Loudon accepted
it; but his successor received it coldly, though Lord Howe was warm in
its favor. At length, under the pressure of a council of war, Abercromby
consented that the attempt should be made, and gave Bradstreet three
thousand men, nearly all provincials. With these he made his way, up the
Mohawk and down the Onondaga, to the lonely and dismal spot where Oswego
had once stood. By dint of much persuasion a few Oneidas joined him;
though, like most of the Five Nations, they had been nearly lost to the
English through the effects of the defeat at Ticonderoga. On the
twenty-second of August his fleet of whaleboats and bateaux pushed out
on Lake Ontario; and, three days after, landed near the French fort. On
the night of the twenty-sixth Bradstreet made a lodgment within less
than two hundred yards of it; and early in the morning De Noyan, the
commandant, surrendered himself and his followers, numbering a hundred
and ten soldiers and laborers, prisoners of war. With them were taken
nine armed vessels, carrying from eight to eighteen guns, and forming
the whole French naval force on Lake Ontario. The crews escaped. An
enormous quantity of provisions, naval stores, munitions, and Indian
goods intended for the supply of the western posts fell into the hands
of the English, who kept what they could carry off, and burned the rest.
In the fort were found sixty cannon and sixteen mortars, which the
victors used to batter down the walls; and then, reserving a few of the
best, knocked off the trunnions of the others. The Oneidas were bent on
scalping some of the prisoners. Bradstreet forbade it. They begged that
he would do as the French did,--turn his back and shut his eyes; but he
forced them to abstain from all violence, and consoled them by a lion's
share of the plunder. In accordance with the orders of Abercromby, the
fort was dismantled, and all the buildings in or around it burned, as
were also the vessels, except the two largest, which were reserved to
carry off some of the captured goods. Then, with boats deeply laden, the
detachment returned to Oswego; where, after unloading and burning the
two vessels, they proceeded towards Albany, leaving a thousand of their
number at the new fort which Brigadier Stanwix was building at the Great
Carrying Place of the Mohawk.

Next to Louisbourg, this was the heaviest blow that the French had yet
received. Their command of Lake Ontario was gone. New France was cut in
two; and unless the severed parts could speedily reunite, all the posts
of the interior would be in imminent jeopardy. If Bradstreet had been
followed by another body of men to reoccupy and rebuild Oswego, thus
recovering a harbor on Lake Ontario, all the captured French vessels
could have been brought thither, and the command of this inland sea
assured at once. Even as it was, the advantages were immense. A host of
savage warriors, thus far inclined to France or wavering between the two
belligerents, stood henceforth neutral, or gave themselves to England;
while Fort Duquesne, deprived of the supplies on which it depended,
could make but faint resistance to its advancing enemy.

Amherst, with five regiments from Louisbourg, came, early in October, to
join Abercromby at Lake George, and the two commanders discussed the
question of again attacking Ticonderoga. Both thought the season too
late. A fortnight after, a deserter brought news that Montcalm was
breaking up his camp. Abercromby followed his example. The opposing
armies filed off each to its winter quarters, and only a few scouting
parties kept alive the embers of war on the waters and mountains of Lake

Meanwhile Brigadier Forbes was climbing the Alleghanies, hewing his way
through the forests of western Pennsylvania, and toiling inch by inch
towards his goal of Fort Duquesne.[646]

[Footnote 646: On the capture of Fort Frontenac, _Bradstreet to
Abercromby_, _31 Aug. 1758_. _Impartial Account of Lieutenant-Colonel
Bradstreet's Expedition, by a Volunteer in the Expedition_ (London,
1759). Letter from a New York officer to his colonel, in _Boston
Gazette_, no. 182. Several letters from persons in the expedition, in
_Boston Evening Post_, no. 1,203, _New Hampshire Gazette_, no. 104, and
_Boston News Letter_, no. 2,932. _Abercromby to Pitt_, _25 Nov. 1758_.
_Lieutenant Macauley to Horatio Gates_, _30 Aug. 1758._ _Vaudreuil au
Ministre_, _30 Oct. 1758_. Pouchot, I. 162. _Mémoires sur le Canada_,

Chapter 22


Fort Duquesne

During the last year Loudon, filled with vain schemes against
Louisbourg, had left the French scalping-parties to their work of havoc
on the western borders. In Virginia Washington still toiled at his
hopeless task of defending with a single regiment a forest frontier of
more than three hundred miles, and in Pennsylvania the Assembly thought
more of quarrelling with their governor than of protecting the tormented
settlers. Fort Duquesne, the source of all the evil, was left
undisturbed. In vain Washington urged the futility of defensive war, and
the necessity of attacking the enemy in his stronghold. His position,
trying at the best, was made more so by the behavior of Dinwiddie. That
crusty Scotchman had conceived a dislike to him, and sometimes treated
him in a manner that must have been unspeakably galling to the proud and
passionate young man, who nevertheless, unconquerable in his sense of
public duty, curbed himself to patience, or the semblance of it.

Dinwiddie was now gone, and a new governor had taken his place. The
conduct of the war, too, had changed, and in the plans of Pitt the
capture of Fort Duquesne held an important place. Brigadier John Forbes
was charged with it. He was a Scotch veteran, forty-eight years of age,
who had begun life as a student of medicine, and who ended it as an able
and faithful soldier. Though a well-bred man of the world, his tastes
were simple; he detested ceremony, and dealt frankly and plainly with
the colonists, who both respected and liked him. In April he was in
Philadelphia waiting for his army, which as yet had no existence; for
the provincials were not enlisted, and an expected battalion of
Highlanders had not arrived. It was the end of June before they were all
on the march; and meanwhile the General was attacked with a painful and
dangerous malady, which would have totally disabled a less resolute man.

His force consisted of provincials from Pennsylvania, Virginia,
Maryland, and North Carolina, with twelve hundred Highlanders of
Montgomery's regiment and a detachment of Royal Americans, amounting in
all, with wagoners and camp followers, to between six and seven thousand
men. The Royal American regiment was a new corps raised, in the
colonies, largely from among the Germans of Pennsylvania. Its officers
were from Europe; and conspicuous among them was Lieutenant-Colonel
Henry Bouquet, a brave and accomplished Swiss, who commanded one of the
four battalions of which the regiment was composed. Early in July he was
encamped with the advance-guard at the hamlet of Raystown, now the town
of Bedford, among the eastern heights of the Alleghanies. Here his tents
were pitched in an opening of the forest by the banks of a small stream;
and Virginians in hunting-shirts, Highlanders in kilt and plaid, and
Royal Americans in regulation scarlet, labored at throwing up
intrenchments and palisades, while around stood the silent mountains in
their mantles of green.

Now rose the question whether the army should proceed in a direct course
to Fort Duquesne, hewing a new road through the forest, or march
thirty-four miles to Fort Cumberland, and thence follow the road made by
Braddock. It was the interest of Pennsylvania that Forbes should choose
the former route, and of Virginia that he should choose the latter. The
Old Dominion did not wish to see a highway cut for her rival to those
rich lands of the Ohio which she called her own. Washington, who was
then at Fort Cumberland with a part of his regiment, was earnest for the
old road; and in an interview with Bouquet midway between that place and
Raystown, he spared no effort to bring him to the same opinion. But the
quartermaster-general, Sir John Sinclair, who was supposed to know the
country, had advised the Pennsylvania route; and both Bouquet and Forbes
were resolved to take it. It was shorter, and when once made would
furnish readier and more abundant supplies of food and forage; but to
make it would consume a vast amount of time and labor. Washington
foretold the ruin of the expedition unless it took Braddock's road.
Ardent Virginian as he was, there is no cause to believe that his
decision was based on any but military reasons; but Forbes thought
otherwise, and found great fault with him. Bouquet did him more justice.
"Colonel Washington," he writes to the General, "is filled with a
sincere zeal to aid the expedition, and is ready to march with equal
activity by whatever way you choose."

The fate of Braddock had impressed itself on all the army, and inspired
a caution that was but too much needed; since, except Washington's men
and a few others among the provincials, the whole, from general to
drummer-boy, were total strangers to that insidious warfare of the
forest in which their enemies, red and white, had no rival. Instead of
marching, like Braddock, at one stretch for Fort Duquesne, burdened with
a long and cumbrous baggage-train, it was the plan of Forbes to push on
by slow stages, establishing fortified magazines as he went, and at
last, when within easy distance of the fort, to advance upon it with all
his force, as little impeded as possible with wagons and packhorses. He
bore no likeness to his predecessor, except in determined resolution,
and he did not hesitate to embrace military heresies which would have
driven Braddock to fury. To Bouquet, in whom he placed a well-merited
trust, he wrote, "I have been long in your opinion of equipping numbers
of our men like the savages, and I fancy Colonel Burd, of Virginia, has
most of his best people equipped in that manner. In this country we must
learn the art of war from enemy Indians, or anybody else who has seen it
carried on here."

His provincials displeased him, not without reason; for the greater part
were but the crudest material for an army, unruly, and recalcitrant to
discipline. Some of them came to the rendezvous at Carlisle with old
province muskets, the locks tied on with a string; others brought
fowling-pieces of their own, and others carried nothing but
walking-sticks; while many had never fired a gun in their lives.[647]
Forbes reported to Pitt that their officers, except a few in the higher
ranks, were "an extremely bad collection of broken inn-keepers,
horse-jockeys, and Indian traders;" nor is he more flattering towards
the men, though as to some of them he afterwards changed his mind.[648]

[Footnote 647: _Correspondence of Forbes and Bouquet, July, August,

[Footnote 648: _Forbes to Pitt, 6 Sept. 1758_.]

While Bouquet was with the advance at Raystown, Forbes was still in
Philadelphia, trying to bring the army into shape, and collecting
provisions, horses, and wagons; much vexed meantime by the Assembly,
whose tedious disputes about taxing the proprietaries greatly obstructed
the service. "No sergeant or quartermaster of a regiment," he says, "is
obliged to look into more details than I am; and if I did not see to
everything myself, we should never get out of this town." July had begun
before he could reach the frontier village of Carlisle, where he found
everything in confusion. After restoring some order, he wrote to
Bouquet: "I have been and still am but poorly, with a cursed flux, but
shall move day after to-morrow." He was doomed to disappointment; and it
was not till the ninth of August that he sent another letter from the
same place to the same military friend. "I am now able to write after
three weeks of a most violent and tormenting distemper, which, thank
God, seems now much abated as to pain, but has left me as weak as a
new-born infant. However, I hope to have strength enough to set out from
this place on Friday next." The disease was an inflammation of the
stomach and other vital organs; and when he should have been in bed,
with complete repose of body and mind, he was racked continually with
the toils and worries of a most arduous campaign.

He left Carlisle on the eleventh, carried on a kind of litter made of a
hurdle slung between two horses; and two days later he wrote from
Shippensburg: "My journey here from Carlisle raised my disorder and
pains to so intolerable a degree that I was obliged to stop, and may not
get away for a day or two." Again, on the eighteenth: "I am better, and
partly free from the excruciating pain I suffered; but still so weak
that I can scarce bear motion." He lay helpless at Shippensburg till
September was well advanced. On the second he says: "I really cannot
describe how I have suffered both in body and mind of late, and the
relapses have been worse as the disappointment was greater;" and on the
fourth, still writing to Bouquet, who in the camp at Raystown was
struggling with many tribulations: "I am sorry you have met with so many
cross accidents to vex you, and have such a parcel of scoundrels as the
provincials to work with; _mais le vin est tiré_, and you must drop a
little of the gentleman and treat them as they deserve. Seal and send
off the enclosed despatch to Sir John by some sure hand. He is a very
odd man, and I am sorry it has been my fate to have any concern with
him. I am afraid our army will not admit of division, lest one half meet
with a check; therefore I would consult Colonel Washington, though
perhaps not follow his advice, as his behavior about the roads was
noways like a soldier. I thank my good cousin for his letter, and have
only to say that I have all my life been subject to err; but I now
reform, as I go to bed at eight at night, if able to sit up so late."

Nobody can read the letters of Washington at this time without feeling
that the imputations of Forbes were unjust, and that here, as elsewhere,
his ruling motive was the public good.[649] Forbes himself, seeing the
rugged and difficult nature of the country, began to doubt whether after
all he had not better have chosen the old road of Braddock. He soon had
an interview with its chief advocates, the two Virginia colonels,
Washington and Burd, and reported the result to Bouquet, adding: "I told
them that, whatever they thought, I had acted on the best information to
be had, and could safely say for myself, and believed I might answer for
you, that the good of the service was all we had at heart, not valuing
provincial interest, jealousies, or suspicions on single twopence." It
must be owned that, considering the slow and sure mode of advance which
he had wisely adopted, the old soldier was probably right in his choice;
since before the army could reach Fort Duquesne, the autumnal floods
would have made the Youghiogany and the Monongahela impassable.

[Footnote 649: Besides the printed letters, there is an autograph
collection of his correspondence with Bouquet in 1758 (forming vol.
21,641, _Additional Manuscripts_, British Museum). Copies of the whole
are before me.]

The Sir John mentioned by Forbes was the quartermaster-general, Sir John
Sinclair, who had gone forward with Virginians and other troops from the
camp of Bouquet to make the road over the main range of the Alleghanies,
whence he sent back the following memorandum of his requirements:
"Pickaxes, crows, and shovels; likewise more whiskey. Send me the
newspapers, and tell my black to send me a candlestick and half a loaf
of sugar." He was extremely inefficient; and Forbes, out of all patience
with him, wrote confidentially to Bouquet that his only talent was for