Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Historic Handbook of the Northern Tour
Author: Parkman, Francis, 1823-1893
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historic Handbook of the Northern Tour" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



http://www.pgdpcanada.net (This file was produced from
images generously made available by The Internet
Archive/American Libraries.)



  HISTORIC HANDBOOK

  OF THE

  NORTHERN TOUR.



  [Illustration: WOLFE.

  Aged 32.]



  HISTORIC HANDBOOK

  OF THE

  NORTHERN TOUR.


  LAKES GEORGE AND CHAMPLAIN; NIAGARA; MONTREAL; QUEBEC.


  BY

  FRANCIS PARKMAN.



  BOSTON:
  LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.
  1899.



  _Copyright, 1885_,
  By Francis Parkman.



  University Press:
  John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.



This book is a group of narratives of the most striking events of our
colonial history connected with the principal points of interest to the
tourist visiting Canada and the northern borders of the United States.

The narratives are drawn, with the addition of explanatory passages,
from "The Conspiracy of Pontiac," "Pioneers of France in the New World,"
"The Jesuits in North America," "Count Frontenac," and "Montcalm and
Wolfe."


  Boston, 1 April, 1885.



  CONTENTS.


    LAKE GEORGE AND LAKE CHAMPLAIN.

                                            PAGE

  Discovery of Lake Champlain                  3

  Discovery of Lake George                     9

  Battle of Lake George                       16

  A Winter Raid                               40

  Siege and Massacre of Fort William Henry    45

  Battle of Ticonderoga                       65

  A Legend of Ticonderoga                     86


    NIAGARA.

  Siege of Fort Niagara                       93

  Massacre of the Devil's Hole                98


    MONTREAL.

  The Birth of Montreal                      105


    QUEBEC.

  Infancy of Quebec                          123

  A Military Mission                         128

  Massachusetts Attacks Quebec               134

  The Heights of Abraham                     154



  LAKE GEORGE AND LAKE CHAMPLAIN.



  DISCOVERY OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN.


This beautiful lake owes its name to Samuel de Champlain, the founder of
Quebec. In 1609, long before the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth, he
joined a band of Huron and Algonquin warriors on an expedition against
their enemies, the Iroquois, since known as the Five Nations of New
York. While gratifying his own love of adventure, he expected to make
important geographical discoveries.

After a grand war dance at the infant settlement of Quebec, the allies
set out together. Champlain was in a boat, carrying, besides himself,
eleven men, chief among whom were one Marais and a pilot named La
Routte, all armed with the arquebuse, a species of firearm shorter than
the musket, and therefore better fitted for the woods.

They ascended the St. Lawrence and entered the Richelieu, which forms
the outlet of Lake Champlain. Here, to Champlain's great disappointment,
he found his farther progress barred by the rapids at Chambly, though
the Indians had assured him that his boat could pass all the way
unobstructed. He told them that though they had deceived him, he would
not abandon them, sent Marais with the boat and most of the men back to
Quebec, and, with two who offered to follow him, prepared to go on in
the Indian canoes.

The warriors lifted their canoes from the water, and in long procession
through the forest, under the flickering sun and shade, bore them on
their shoulders around the rapids to the smooth stream above. Here the
chiefs made a muster of their forces, counting twenty-four canoes and
sixty warriors. All embarked again, and advanced once more, by marsh,
meadow, forest, and scattered islands, then full of game, for it was an
uninhabited land, the war-path and battle-ground of hostile tribes. The
warriors observed a certain system in their advance. Some were in front
as a vanguard; others formed the main body; while an equal number were
in the forests on the flanks and rear, hunting for the subsistence of
the whole; for, though they had a provision of parched maize pounded
into meal, they kept it for use when, from the vicinity of the enemy,
hunting should become impossible.

Still the canoes advanced, the river widening as they went. Great
islands appeared, leagues in extent: Isle à la Motte, Long Island,
Grande Isle. Channels where ships might float and broad reaches of
expanding water stretched between them, and Champlain entered the lake
which preserves his name to posterity. Cumberland Head was passed, and
from the opening of the great channel between Grande Isle and the main,
he could look forth on the wilderness sea. Edged with woods, the
tranquil flood spread southward beyond the sight. Far on the left, the
forest ridges of the Green Mountains were heaved against the sun,
patches of snow still glistening on their tops; and on the right rose
the Adirondacks, haunts in these later years of amateur sportsmen from
counting-rooms or college halls, nay, of adventurous beauty, with
sketch-book and pencil. Then the Iroquois made them their
hunting-ground; and beyond, in the valleys of the Mohawk, the Onondaga,
and the Genesee, stretched the long line of their five cantons and
palisaded towns.

The progress of the party was becoming dangerous. They changed their
mode of advance, and moved only in the night. All day, they lay close in
the depth of the forest, sleeping, lounging, smoking tobacco of their
own raising, and beguiling the hours, no doubt, with the shallow banter
and obscene jesting with which knots of Indians are wont to amuse their
leisure. At twilight they embarked again, paddling their cautious way
till the eastern sky began to redden. Their goal was the rocky
promontory where Fort Ticonderoga was long afterward built. Thence, they
would pass the outlet of Lake George, and launch their canoes again on
that Como of the wilderness, whose waters, limpid as a fountain-head,
stretched far southward between their flanking mountains. Landing at the
future site of Fort William Henry, they would carry their canoes through
the forest to the River Hudson, and descending it, attack, perhaps, some
outlying town of the Mohawks. In the next century this chain of lakes
and rivers became the grand highway of savage and civilized war, a
bloody debatable ground linked to memories of momentous conflicts.

The allies were spared so long a progress. On the morning of the
twenty-ninth of July, after paddling all night, they hid as usual in the
forest on the western shore, not far from Crown Point. The warriors
stretched themselves to their slumbers, and Champlain, after walking for
a time through the surrounding woods, returned to take his repose on a
pile of spruce-boughs. Sleeping, he dreamed a dream, wherein he beheld
the Iroquois drowning in the lake; and, essaying to rescue them, he was
told by his Algonquin friends that they were good for nothing and had
better be left to their fate. Now, he had been daily beset, on
awakening, by his superstitious allies, eager to learn about his dreams;
and, to this moment, his unbroken slumbers had failed to furnish the
desired prognostics. The announcement of this auspicious vision filled
the crowd with joy, and at nightfall they embarked, flushed with
anticipated victories.

It was ten o'clock in the evening, when they descried dark objects in
motion on the lake before them. These were a flotilla of Iroquois
canoes, heavier and slower than theirs, for they were made of oak or elm
bark. Each party saw the other, and the mingled war-cries pealed over
the darkened water. The Iroquois, who were near the shore, having no
stomach for an aquatic battle, landed, and, making night hideous with
their clamors, began to barricade themselves. Champlain could see them
in the woods, laboring like beavers, hacking down trees with iron axes
taken from the Canadian tribes in war, and with stone hatchets of their
own making. The allies remained on the lake, a bowshot from the hostile
barricade, their canoes made fast together by poles lashed across. All
night, they danced with as much vigor as the frailty of their vessels
would permit, their throats making amends for the enforced restraint of
their limbs. It was agreed on both sides that the fight should be
deferred till daybreak; but meanwhile a commerce of abuse, sarcasm,
menace, and boasting gave unceasing exercise to the lungs and fancy of
the combatants,--"much," says Champlain, "like the besiegers and
besieged in a beleaguered town."

As day approached, he and his two followers put on the light armor of
the time. Champlain wore the doublet and long hose then in vogue. Over
the doublet he buckled on a breastplate, and probably a back-piece,
while his thighs were protected by _cuisses_ of steel, and his head by a
plumed casque. Across his shoulder hung the strap of his bandoleer, or
ammunition-box; at his side was his sword, and in his hand his
arquebuse, which he had loaded with four balls. Such was the equipment
of this ancient Indian-fighter, whose exploits date eleven years before
the landing of the Puritans at Plymouth, and sixty-six years before King
Philip's War.

Each of the three Frenchmen was in a separate canoe, and, as it grew
light, they kept themselves hidden, either by lying at the bottom, or
covering themselves with an Indian robe. The canoes approached the
shore, and all landed without opposition at some distance from the
Iroquois, whom they presently could see filing out of their barricade,
tall, strong men, some two hundred in number, of the boldest and
fiercest warriors of North America. They advanced through the forest
with a steadiness which excited the admiration of Champlain. Among them
could be seen several chiefs, made conspicuous by their tall plumes.
Some bore shields of wood and hide, and some were covered with a kind of
armor made of tough twigs interlaced with a vegetable fibre supposed by
Champlain to be cotton.

[Illustration: CHAMPLAIN'S FIGHT WITH THE IROQUOIS.

(Drawn by himself)]

The allies, growing anxious, called with loud cries for their champion,
and opened their ranks that he might pass to the front. He did so, and,
advancing before his red companions-in-arms, stood revealed to the
astonished gaze of the Iroquois, who, beholding the warlike apparition
in their path, stared in mute amazement. But his arquebuse was levelled;
the report startled the woods, a chief fell dead, and another by his
side rolled among the bushes. Then there rose from the allies a yell,
which, says Champlain, would have drowned a thunder-clap, and the
forest was full of whizzing arrows. For a moment, the Iroquois stood
firm and sent back their arrows lustily; but when another and another
gunshot came from the thickets on their flank, they broke and fled in
uncontrollable terror. Swifter than hounds, the allies tore through the
bushes in pursuit. Some of the Iroquois were killed; more were taken.
Camp, canoes, provisions, all were abandoned, and many weapons flung
down in the panic flight. The arquebuse had done its work. The victory
was complete.

The victors made a prompt retreat from the scene of their triumph. Three
or four days brought them to the mouth of the Richelieu. Here they
separated; the Hurons and Algonquins made for the Ottawa, their homeward
route, each with a share of prisoners for future torments. At parting
they invited Champlain to visit their towns and aid them again in their
wars,--an invitation which this paladin of the woods failed not to
accept.

Thus did New France rush into collision with the redoubted warriors of
the Five Nations. Here was the beginning, in some measure doubtless the
cause, of a long suite of murderous conflicts, bearing havoc and flame
to generations yet unborn. Champlain had invaded the tiger's den; and
now, in smothered fury, the patient savage would lie biding his day of
blood.



  DISCOVERY OF LAKE GEORGE.


It was thirty-three years since Champlain had first attacked the
Iroquois. They had nursed their wrath for more than a generation, and at
length their hour was come. The Dutch traders at Fort Orange, now
Albany, had supplied them with firearms. The Mohawks, the most easterly
of the Iroquois nations, had, among their seven or eight hundred
warriors, no less than three hundred armed with the arquebuse. They were
masters of the thunderbolts which, in the hands of Champlain, had struck
terror into their hearts.

In the early morning of the second of August, 1642, twelve Huron canoes
were moving slowly along the northern shore of the expansion of the St.
Lawrence known as the Lake of St. Peter. There were on board about forty
persons, including four Frenchmen, one of them being the Jesuit, Isaac
Jogues. During the last autumn he, with Father Charles Raymbault, had
passed along the shore of Lake Huron northward, entered the strait
through which Lake Superior discharges itself, pushed on as far as the
Sault Sainte Marie, and preached the Faith to two thousand Ojibwas, and
other Algonquins there assembled. He was now on his return from a far
more perilous errand. The Huron mission was in a state of destitution.
There was need of clothing for the priests, of vessels for the altars,
of bread and wine for the eucharist, of writing materials,--in short, of
everything; and, early in the summer of the present year, Jogues had
descended to Three Rivers and Quebec with the Huron traders, to procure
the necessary supplies. He had accomplished his task, and was on his way
back to the mission. With him were a few Huron converts, and among them
a noted Christian chief, Eustache Ahatsistari. Others of the party were
in course of instruction for baptism; but the greater part were heathen,
whose canoes were deeply laden with the proceeds of their bargains with
the French fur-traders.

Jogues sat in one of the leading canoes. He was born at Orleans in 1607,
and was thirty-five years of age. His oval face and the delicate mould
of his features indicated a modest, thoughtful, and refined nature. He
was constitutionally timid, with a sensitive conscience and great
religious susceptibilities. He was a finished scholar, and might have
gained a literary reputation; but he had chosen another career, and one
for which he seemed but ill fitted. Physically, however, he was well
matched with his work; for, though his frame was slight, he was so
active, that none of the Indians could surpass him in running.

With him were two young men, René Goupil and Guillaume Couture, _donnés_
of the mission,--that is to say, laymen who, from a religious motive and
without pay, had attached themselves to the service of the Jesuits.
Goupil had formerly entered upon the Jesuit novitiate at Paris, but
failing health had obliged him to leave it. As soon as he was able, he
came to Canada, offered his services to the Superior of the mission, was
employed for a time in the humblest offices, and afterwards became an
attendant at the hospital. At length, to his delight, he received
permission to go up to the Hurons, where the surgical skill which he had
acquired was greatly needed; and he was now on his way thither. His
companion, Couture, was a man of intelligence and vigor, and of a
character equally disinterested. Both were, like Jogues, in the foremost
canoes; while the fourth Frenchman was with the unconverted Hurons, in
the rear.

The twelve canoes had reached the western end of the Lake of St. Peter,
where it is filled with innumerable islands. The forest was close on
their right, they kept near the shore to avoid the current, and the
shallow water before them was covered with a dense growth of tall
bulrushes. Suddenly the silence was frightfully broken. The war-whoop
rose from among the rushes, mingled with the reports of guns and the
whistling of bullets; and several Iroquois canoes, filled with warriors,
pushed out from their concealment, and bore down upon Jogues and his
companions. The Hurons in the rear were seized with a shameful panic.
They leaped ashore; left canoes, baggage, and weapons; and fled into the
woods. The French and the Christian Hurons made fight for a time; but
when they saw another fleet of canoes approaching from the opposite
shores or islands, they lost heart, and those escaped who could. Goupil
was seized amid triumphant yells, as were also several of the Huron
converts. Jogues sprang into the bulrushes, and might have escaped; but
when he saw Goupil and the neophytes in the clutches of the Iroquois, he
had no heart to abandon them, but came out from his hiding-place, and
gave himself up to the astonished victors. A few of them had remained to
guard the prisoners; the rest were chasing the fugitives. Jogues
mastered his agony, and began to baptize those of the captive converts
who needed baptism.

Couture had eluded pursuit; but when he thought of Jogues and of what
perhaps awaited him, he resolved to share his fate, and, turning,
retraced his steps. As he approached, five Iroquois ran forward to meet
him; and one of them snapped his gun at his breast, but it missed fire.
In his confusion and excitement, Couture fired his own piece, and laid
the savage dead. The remaining four sprang upon him, stripped off all
his clothing, tore away his finger-nails with their teeth, gnawed his
fingers with the fury of famished dogs, and thrust a sword through one
of his hands. Jogues broke from his guards, and, rushing to his friend,
threw his arms about his neck. The Iroquois dragged him away, beat him
with their fists and war-clubs till he was senseless, and, when he
revived, lacerated his fingers with their teeth, as they had done those
of Couture. Then they turned upon Goupil, and treated him with the same
ferocity. The Huron prisoners were left for the present unharmed. More
of them were brought in every moment, till at length the number of
captives amounted in all to twenty-two, while three Hurons had been
killed in the fight and pursuit. The Iroquois, about seventy in number,
now embarked with their prey; but not until they had knocked on the head
an old Huron, whom Jogues, with his mangled hands, had just baptized,
and who refused to leave the place. Then, under a burning sun, they
crossed to the spot on which the town of Sorel now stands, at the mouth
of the River Richelieu, where they encamped.

Their course was southward, up the River Richelieu and Lake Champlain;
thence, by way of Lake George, to the Mohawk towns. The pain and fever
of their wounds, and the clouds of mosquitoes, which they could not
drive off, left the prisoners no peace by day nor sleep by night. On the
eighth day, they learned that a large Iroquois war-party, on their way
to Canada, were near at hand; and they soon approached their camp, on a
small island near the southern end of Lake Champlain. The warriors, two
hundred in number, saluted their victorious countrymen with volleys from
their guns; then, armed with clubs and thorny sticks, ranged themselves
in two lines, between which the captives were compelled to pass up the
side of a rocky hill. On the way, they were beaten with such fury, that
Jogues, who was last in the line, fell powerless, drenched in blood and
half dead. As the chief man among the French captives, he fared the
worst. His hands were again mangled, and fire applied to his body; while
the Huron chief, Eustache, was subjected to tortures even more
atrocious. When, at night, the exhausted sufferers tried to rest, the
young warriors came to lacerate their wounds and pull out their hair and
beards.

In the morning they resumed their journey. And now the lake narrowed to
the semblance of a tranquil river. Before them was a woody mountain,
close on their right a rocky promontory, and between these flowed a
stream, the outlet of Lake George. On those rocks, more than a hundred
years after, rose the ramparts of Ticonderoga. They landed, shouldered
their canoes and baggage, took their way through the woods, passed the
spot where the fierce Highlanders and the dauntless regiments of England
breasted in vain the storm of lead and fire, and soon reached the shore
where Abercrombie landed and Lord Howe fell. First of white men, Jogues
and his companions gazed on the romantic lake that bears the name, not
of its gentle discoverer, but of the dull Hanoverian king. Like a fair
Naiad of the wilderness, it slumbered between the guardian mountains
that breathe from crag and forest the stern poetry of war. But all then
was solitude; and the clang of trumpets, the roar of cannon, and the
deadly crack of the rifle had never as yet awakened their angry
echoes.[1]

Again the canoes were launched, and the wild flotilla glided on its
way,--now in the shadow of the heights, now on the broad expanse, now
among the devious channels of the narrows, beset with woody islets,
where the hot air was redolent of the pine, the spruce, and the
cedar,--till they neared that tragic shore, where, in the following
century, New England rustics baffled the soldiers of Dieskau, where
Montcalm planted his batteries, where the red cross waved so long amid
the smoke, and where at length the summer morning was hideous with
carnage, and an honored name was stained with a memory of blood.

The Iroquois landed at or near the future site of Fort William Henry,
left their canoes, and, with their prisoners, began their march for the
nearest Mohawk town. Each bore his share of the plunder. Even Jogues,
though his lacerated hands were in a frightful condition and his body
covered with bruises, was forced to stagger on with the rest under a
heavy load. He with his fellow-prisoners, and indeed the whole party,
were half starved, subsisting chiefly on wild berries. They crossed the
upper Hudson, and, in thirteen days after leaving the St. Lawrence,
neared the wretched goal of their pilgrimage, a palisaded town, standing
on a hill by the banks of the River Mohawk.

Such was the first recorded visit of white men to Lake George. In the
Iroquois villages Jogues was subjected to the most frightful sufferings.
His friend Goupil was murdered at his side, and he himself was saved as
by miracle. At length, with the help of the Dutch of Albany, he made his
escape and sailed for France; whence, impelled by religious enthusiasm,
he returned to Canada and voluntarily set out again for the Iroquois
towns, bent on saving the souls of those who had been the authors of his
woes. Reaching the head of Lake George on Corpus Christi Day, 1646, he
gave it the name of Lac St. Sacrement, by which it was ever after known
to the French. Soon after his arrival the Iroquois killed him by the
blow of a hatchet.

[Footnote 1: Lake George, according to Jogues, was called by the Mohawks
"Andiatarocte," or _Place where the Lake closes_. "Andiataraque" is
found on a map of Sanson. Spofford, _Gazetteer of New York_, article
"Lake George," says that it was called "Canideri-oit," or _Tail of the
Lake_. Father Martin, in his notes on Bressani, prefixes to this name
that of "Horicon," but gives no original authority.

I have seen an old Latin map on which the name "Horiconi" is set down as
belonging to a neighboring tribe. This seems to be only a misprint for
"Horicoui," that is, "Irocoui," or "Iroquois." In an old English map,
prefixed to the rare tract, _A Treatise of New England_, the "Lake of
Hierocoyes" is laid down. The name "Horicon," as used by Cooper in his
_Last of the Mohicans_, has no sufficient historical foundation. In
1646, the lake, as we shall see, was named "Lac St. Sacrement."]



  BATTLE OF LAKE GEORGE.


For more than a century after the death of Jogues, Lakes George and
Champlain were the great route of war parties between Canada and the
British Colonies. Courcelles came this way in 1666 to lay waste the
Mohawk towns; and Mantet and Sainte-Hélène, in 1690, to destroy
Schenectady in the dead of winter; while, in the next year, Major
Schuyler took the same course as he advanced into Canada to retort the
blow. Whenever there was war between France and England, these two lakes
became the scene of partisan conflicts, in which the red men took part
with the white, some as allies of the English, and some as allies of the
French. When at length the final contest took place for the possession
of the continent, the rival nations fiercely disputed the mastery of
this great wilderness thoroughfare, and the borders of Lake George
became the scene of noteworthy conflicts. The first of these was in
1755, the year of Braddock's defeat, when Shirley, governor of
Massachusetts, set on foot an expedition for the capture of Crown Point,
a fort which the French had built on Lake Champlain more than twenty
years before.

[Illustration: THE REGION OF LAKE GEORGE from surveys made in 1762]

In January, Shirley 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. 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. It remained to name a commander for the Crown Point
enterprise. Nobody had power to do so, for Braddock, the
commander-in-chief, 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.

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,
a 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. 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
French.

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 letters of Braddock, found on the
battle-field of the Monongahela, 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. "Make all
haste," Vaudreuil wrote to him; "for when you return we shall send you
to Oswego to execute our first design."

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. 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.

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
Bennington.

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. They had no
bayonets, but carried hatchets in their belts as a sort of substitute.
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.

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." 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. "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 agoing to
war, I am Your Ever Dutiful Son."

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. 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.

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. 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.
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.

The Indian allies were commanded by Legardeur de Saint-Pierre. 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."

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. 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 about
six hundred Indians. 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.

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. 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." 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.

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." Some of the men grew uneasy; while
the chief officers, sword in hand, threatened instant death to any who
should stir from their posts. If Dieskau had made an assault at that
instant, there could be little doubt of the result.

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 centre 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, were 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."

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." 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. 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.

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; and that of the French, by their own account, two hundred and
twenty-eight,--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.

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, which he named Fort
William Henry, 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 intrenched
at Ticonderoga in force enough to defy him.

The Crown Point expedition was a failure disguised under an incidental
success.



  A WINTER RAID.


While Johnson was building Fort William Henry at one end of Lake George,
the French began Fort Ticonderoga at the other, though they did not
finish it till the next year. In the winter of 1757, hearing that the
English were making great preparations at Fort William Henry to attack
them, they resolved to anticipate the blow and seize that post by
surprise. To this end, Vaudreuil, Governor of Canada, sent a large
detachment from Montreal, while the small body of troops and provincials
who occupied the English fort remained wholly ignorant of the movement.

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 the 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, bearskins to sleep on, tarpaulins
to sleep under, spare moccasins, 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. 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.

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.



  SIEGE AND MASSACRE OF FORT WILLIAM HENRY.


Having failed to take Fort William Henry by surprise, the French
resolved to attack it with all the force they could bring against it,
and in the summer of 1757 the Marquis de Montcalm and the Chevalier de
Lévis advanced against it with about eight thousand regulars, Canadians,
and Indians. The whole assembled at Ticonderoga, where several weeks
were spent in preparation. Provisions, camp equipage, ammunition,
cannon, and bateaux were dragged by gangs of men up the road 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.

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.

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. At five in the afternoon they reached the place
where the Indians, who had gone on before the rest, 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.

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
together.

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 bateau 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.
The prisoners were brought before Montcalm, and gave him valuable
information of the strength and position of the English.[2]

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 thumping 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.

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.

[Illustration: SIEGE OF
FORT WILLIAM HENRY.
1757.]

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 intrenched 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. 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 intrenchment on the hill. The garrison
sallied from the fort to support their comrades, and for a time the
firing was hot.

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; and a
brave Scotch veteran, Lieutenant-Colonel Monro, of the thirty-fifth
regiment, was in command.

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. 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 Louisbourg, 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 hard-pressed 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." But Webb gave no sign.

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
intrenched 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
cannon.

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 bearskins. 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 day.

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."

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.

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 intrenched 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 sooner."

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.[3] 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.

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 intrenched 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; 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.

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 intrenched 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. "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 intrenched camp, where all the English
were now collected.

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." "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." 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.

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." The opportune butchery relieved them of
a troublesome burden.

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 intrenchment 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. 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, a mob of savages
rushed upon the New Hampshire men at the rear of the column, and killed
or dragged away eighty of them. 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 struggled 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.

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 intrenched 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.

[Footnote 2: The remains of Fort William Henry are now crowded between a
hotel and the wharf and station of a railway. A scheme has been set 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.]

[Footnote 3: Now the site of Fort William Henry Hotel, with its grounds.
The hollow is partly filled by the main road of Caldwell.]

[Illustration: MONTCALM.

Aged 29.]



  BATTLE OF TICONDEROGA.


In 1758, the English commanders, incensed at the loss of Fort William
Henry, resolved to retaliate by a strong effort to seize Ticonderoga. In
June, the combined British and provincial force destined for the
expedition was gathered at the head of Lake George under General
Abercromby, while the Marquis de Montcalm lay around the walls of the
French stronghold with an army not one fourth so numerous.

Montcalm hesitated whether he should not fall back to Crown Point. 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.

In the afternoon of the fifth of July the partisan Langy, who had 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 abatis 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 unsolved.

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. 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 note-book, in which he jotted down what passed each day.
The age of the aged gentleman was fifty-two.

Pitt meant that the actual command of the army should be in the hands of
Brigadier Lord Howe, 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. 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." 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. "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."

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 bearskins. 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 Albany, 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. 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."

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. There were nine hundred bateaux, a hundred
and thirty-five whaleboats, and a large number of heavy flat boats
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.

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
after.

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. 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 flat boats that carried the artillery, while a rear-guard of
provincials and regulars closed the long procession.

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 Burned 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.

[Illustration: Sketch of the country round Tyconderoga]

From this part of the shore[4] 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.

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
tree-tops.

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. 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.

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; 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.

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 abatis.
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. 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
zigzagged 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; 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.
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 abatis, which, as a Massachusetts officer says, looked
like a forest laid flat by a hurricane. 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.

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. 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.

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_." Leadership perished with Lord Howe, and nothing
was left but blind, headlong valor.

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 abatis 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. 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. 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 abatis 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.

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 crossfires 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 orders 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 Général!_ 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.

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." 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 revenge.

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." 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 abatis, climbed
the breastwork, leaped down among the French, and were bayoneted there.

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. 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.

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
Louisbourg?"

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 hic, Deus ipse triumphat."

  "Soldier and chief and rampart's strength are nought;
  Behold the conquering Cross! 'Tis God the triumph wrought."

[Footnote 4: Between the old and new steamboat-landings, and parts
adjacent.]



  A LEGEND OF TICONDEROGA.


Mention has been made of the death of Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe.
The following family tradition relating to it was told me in 1878 by the
late Dean Stanley, to whom I am also indebted for various papers on the
subject, including a letter from James Campbell, Esq., the present laird
of Inverawe, and great-nephew of the hero of the tale. The same story is
told, in an amplified form and with some variations, in the _Legendary
Tales of the Highlands_ of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. As related by Dean
Stanley and approved by Mr. Campbell, it is this:--

    The ancient castle of Inverawe stands by the banks of the Awe,
    in the midst of the wild and picturesque scenery of the western
    Highlands. Late one evening, before the middle of the last
    century, as the laird, Duncan Campbell, sat alone in the old
    hall, there was a loud knocking at the gate; and, opening it, he
    saw a stranger, with torn clothing and kilt besmeared with
    blood, who in a breathless voice begged for asylum. He went on
    to say that he had killed a man in a fray, and that the pursuers
    were at his heels. Campbell promised to shelter him. "Swear on
    your dirk!" said the stranger; and Campbell swore. He then led
    him to a secret recess in the depths of the castle. Scarcely was
    he hidden when again there was a loud knocking at the gate, and
    two armed men appeared. "Your cousin Donald has been murdered,
    and we are looking for the murderer!" Campbell, remembering his
    oath, professed to have no knowledge of the fugitive; and the
    men went on their way. The laird, in great agitation, lay down
    to rest in a large dark room, where at length he fell asleep.
    Waking suddenly in bewilderment and terror, he saw the ghost of
    the murdered Donald standing by his bedside, and heard a hollow
    voice pronounce the words: "_Inverawe! Inverawe! blood has been
    shed. Shield not the murderer!_" In the morning Campbell went to
    the hiding-place of the guilty man and told him that he could
    harbor him no longer. "You have sworn on your dirk!" he replied;
    and the laird of Inverawe, greatly perplexed and troubled, made
    a compromise between conflicting duties, promised not to betray
    his guest, led him to the neighboring mountain, and hid him in a
    cave.

    In the next night, as he lay tossing in feverish slumbers, the
    same stern voice awoke him, the ghost of his cousin Donald stood
    again at his bedside, and again he heard the same appalling
    words: "_Inverawe! Inverawe! blood has been shed. Shield not the
    murderer!_" At break of day he hastened, in strange agitation,
    to the cave; but it was empty, the stranger was gone. At night,
    as he strove in vain to sleep, the vision appeared once more,
    ghastly pale, but less stern of aspect than before. "_Farewell,
    Inverawe!_" it said; "_Farewell, till we meet at TICONDEROGA!_"

    The strange name dwelt in Campbell's memory. He had joined the
    Black Watch, or Forty-second Regiment, then employed in keeping
    order in the turbulent Highlands. In time he became its major;
    and, a year or two after the war broke out, he went with it to
    America. Here, to his horror, he learned that it was ordered to
    the attack of Ticonderoga. His story was well known among his
    brother officers. They combined among themselves to disarm his
    fears; and when they reached the fatal spot they told him on the
    eve of the battle, "This is not Ticonderoga; we are not there
    yet; this is Fort George." But in the morning he came to them
    with haggard looks. "I have seen him! You have deceived me! He
    came to my tent last night! This is Ticonderoga! I shall die
    to-day!" and his prediction was fulfilled.

Such is the tradition. The indisputable facts are that Major Duncan
Campbell of Inverawe, his arm shattered by a bullet, was carried to Fort
Edward, where, after amputation, he died and was buried. (_Abercromby to
Pitt, 19 August, 1758._) The stone that marks his grave may still be
seen, with this inscription: "_Here lyes the Body of Duncan Campbell of
Inverawe, Esquire., Major to the old Highland Regiment, aged 55 Years,
who died the 17th July, 1758, of the Wounds he received in the Attack
of the Retrenchment of Ticonderoga or Carrillon, on the 8th July,
1758._"

His son, Lieutenant Alexander Campbell, was severely wounded at the same
time, but reached Scotland alive, and died in Glasgow.

       *     *     *     *     *

Mr. Campbell, the present Inverawe, in the letter mentioned above, says
that forty-five years ago he knew an old man whose grandfather was
foster-brother to the slain major of the forty-second, and who told him
the following story while carrying a salmon for him to an inn near
Inverawe. The old man's grandfather was sleeping with his son, then a
lad, in the same room, but in another bed. This son, father of the
narrator, "was awakened," to borrow the words of Mr. Campbell, "by some
unaccustomed sound, and behold there was a bright light in the room, and
he saw a figure, in full Highland regimentals, cross over the room and
stoop down over his father's bed and give him a kiss. He was too
frightened to speak, but put his head under his coverlet and went to
sleep. Once more he was roused in like manner, and saw the same sight.
In the morning he spoke to his father about it, who told him that it was
Macdonnochie [_the Gaelic patronymic of the laird of Inverawe_] whom he
had seen, and who came to tell him that he had been killed in a great
battle in America. Sure enough, said my informant, it was on the very
day that the battle of Ticonderoga was fought and the laird was killed."

It is also said that two ladies of the family of Inverawe saw a battle
in the clouds, in which the shadowy forms of Highland warriors were
plainly to be descried; and that when the fatal news came from America,
it was found that the time of the vision answered exactly to that of the
battle in which the head of the family fell.



  NIAGARA.

[Illustration: HENNEPIN'S PICTURE OF NIAGARA.]



  SIEGE OF FORT NIAGARA.


The River Niagara was known to the Jesuits as early as 1640. The Falls
are indicated on Champlain's map of 1632, and in 1648 the Jesuit
Rugueneau speaks of them as a "cataract of frightful height."

In 1678, the Falls were visited by the friar Louis Hennepin, who gives
an exaggerated description of them, and illustrates it by a curious
picture. The name Niagara is of Iroquois origin, and in the Mohawk
dialect is pronounced Nyàgarah.

In the year of Hennepin's visit, the followers of Cavelier de la Salle
began a fortified storehouse where Lewiston now stands, and on Cayuga
Creek, a few miles above the Falls, La Salle built the "Griffin," the
first vessel that ever sailed on the Upper Lakes. At the same time he
began a fort at the mouth of the river. La Salle's fort fell to ruin,
and another was built in its place a few years after. This, too, was
abandoned to be again rebuilt, and the post remained in French hands
more than half a century. It was of the greatest importance, since it
commanded the chief route from Canada to the interior of the continent.
At length, in 1759, the year of Wolfe's famous victory at Quebec,
General Prideaux was sent to reduce it.

Prideaux safely reached Niagara, and laid siege to it. Fort Niagara was
a strong work, lately rebuilt in regular form by an excellent officer,
Captain Pouchot, of the battalion of Béarn, who commanded it. It stood
where the present fort stands, in the angle formed by the junction of
the River Niagara with Lake Ontario, and was held by about six hundred
men, well supplied with provisions and munitions of war. Higher up the
river, a mile and a half above the cataract, there was another fort,
called Little Niagara, built of wood, and commanded by the half-breed
officer, Joncaire-Chabert, who with his brother, Joncaire-Clauzonne, and
a numerous clan of Indian relatives, had long thwarted the efforts of
Sir William Johnson to engage the Five Nations in the English cause. But
recent English successes had had their effect. Joncaire's influence was
waning, and Johnson was now in Prideaux's camp with nine hundred Five
Nation warriors pledged to fight the French. Joncaire, finding his fort
untenable, burned it, and came with his garrison and his Indian friends
to reinforce Niagara.

Pouchot had another resource, on which he confidently relied. In
obedience to an order from Vaudreuil, the French population of the
Illinois, Detroit, and other distant posts, joined with troops of
Western Indians, had come down the Lakes to restore French ascendency on
the Ohio. These mixed bands of white men and red, bushrangers and
savages, were now gathered, partly at Le Boeuf and Venango, but chiefly
at Presquisle, under command of Aubry, Ligneris, Marin, and other
partisan chiefs, the best in Canada. No sooner did Pouchot learn that
the English were coming to attack him than he sent a messenger to summon
them all to his aid.

The siege was begun in form, though the English engineers were so
incompetent that the trenches, as first laid out, were scoured by the
fire of the place, and had to be made anew. At last the batteries opened
fire. A shell from a cochorn burst prematurely, just as it left the
mouth of the piece, and a fragment striking Prideaux on the head, killed
him instantly. Johnson took command in his place, and made up in energy
what he lacked in skill. In two or three weeks the fort was in
extremity. The rampart was breached, more than a hundred of the garrison
were killed or disabled, and the rest were exhausted with want of sleep.
Pouchot watched anxiously for the promised succors; and on the morning
of the twenty-fourth of July a distant firing told him that they were at
hand.

Aubry and Ligneris, with their motley following, had left Presquisle a
few days before, to the number, according to Vaudreuil, of eleven
hundred French and two hundred Indians. Among them was a body of colony
troops; but the Frenchmen of the party were chiefly traders and
bushrangers from the West, connecting links between civilization and
savagery; some of them indeed were mere white Indians, imbued with the
ideas and morals of the wigwam, wearing hunting-shirts of smoked
deer-skin embroidered with quills of the Canada porcupine, painting
their faces black and red, tying eagle feathers in their long hair, or
plastering it on their temples with a compound of vermilion and glue.
They were excellent woodsmen, skilful hunters, and perhaps the best
bushfighters in all Canada.

When Pouchot heard the firing, he went with a wounded artillery officer
to the bastion next the river; and as the forest had been cut away for a
great distance, they could see more than a mile and a half along the
shore. There, by glimpses among trees and bushes, they descried bodies
of men, now advancing, and now retreating; Indians in rapid movement,
and the smoke of guns, the sound of which reached their ears in heavy
volleys, or a sharp and angry rattle. Meanwhile the English cannon had
ceased their fire, and the silent trenches seemed deserted, as if their
occupants were gone to meet the advancing foe. There was a call in the
fort for volunteers to sally and destroy the works; but no sooner did
they show themselves along the covered way than the seemingly abandoned
trenches were thronged with men and bayonets, and the attempt was given
up. The distant firing lasted half an hour, then ceased, and Pouchot
remained in suspense; till, at two in the afternoon, a friendly
Onondaga, who had passed unnoticed through the English lines, came to
him with the announcement that the French and their allies had been
routed and cut to pieces. Pouchot would not believe him.

Nevertheless his tale was true. Johnson, besides his Indians, had with
him about twenty-three hundred men, whom he was forced to divide into
three separate bodies,--one to guard the bateaux, one to guard the
trenches, and one to fight Aubry and his band. This last body consisted
of the provincial light infantry and the pickets, two companies of
grenadiers, and a hundred and fifty men of the forty-sixth regiment, all
under command of Colonel Massey. They took post behind an abatis at a
place called La Belle Famille, and the Five Nation warriors placed
themselves on their flanks. These savages had shown signs of
disaffection; and when the enemy approached, they opened a parley with
the French Indians, which, however, soon ended, and both sides raised
the war-whoop. The fight was brisk for a while; but at last Aubry's men
broke away in a panic. The French officers seem to have made desperate
efforts to retrieve the day, for nearly all of them were killed or
captured; while their followers, after heavy loss, fled to their canoes
and boats above the cataract, hastened back to Lake Erie, burned
Presquisle, Le Boeuf, and Venango, and, joined by the garrisons of those
forts, retreated to Detroit, leaving the whole region of the upper Ohio
in undisputed possession of the English.

At four o'clock on the day of the battle, after a furious cannonade on
both sides, a trumpet sounded from the trenches, and an officer
approached the fort with a summons to surrender. He brought also a paper
containing the names of the captive French officers, though some of them
were spelled in a way that defied recognition. Pouchot, feigning
incredulity, sent an officer of his own to the English camp, who soon
saw unanswerable proof of the disaster; for here, under a shelter of
leaves and boughs near the tent of Johnson, sat Ligneris, severely
wounded, with Aubry, Villiers, Montigny, Marin, and their companions in
misfortune,--in all, sixteen officers, four cadets, and a surgeon.

Pouchot had now no choice but surrender. By the terms of the
capitulation, the garrison were to be sent prisoners to New York, though
honors of war were granted them in acknowledgment of their courageous
conduct. There was a special stipulation that they should be protected
from the Indians, of whom they stood in the greatest terror, lest the
massacre of Fort William Henry should be avenged upon them. Johnson
restrained his dangerous allies, and, though the fort was pillaged, no
blood was shed.

The capture of Niagara was an important stroke. Thenceforth Detroit,
Michillimackinac, the Illinois, and all the other French interior posts
were severed from Canada and left in helpless isolation. The conquest of
the whole interior became only a question of time.



  MASSACRE OF THE DEVIL'S HOLE.


After the conquest of Canada, there was a general uprising of the Indian
tribes, led by the famous Pontiac, against the British forts and
settlements. In the war that followed, a remarkable incident took place
a little way below Niagara Falls.

The carrying-place of Niagara formed an essential link in the chain of
communication between the province of New York and the interior country.
Men and military stores were conveyed in boats up the river, as far as
the present site of Lewiston. Thence a portage road, several miles in
length, passed along the banks of the stream, and terminated at Fort
Schlosser, above the cataract. This road traversed a region whose
sublime features have gained for it a world-wide renown. The River
Niagara, a short distance below the cataract, assumes an aspect scarcely
less remarkable than that stupendous scene itself. Its channel is formed
by a vast ravine, whose sides, now bare and weather-stained, now shaggy
with forest-trees, rise in cliffs of appalling height and steepness.
Along this chasm pour all the waters of the lakes, heaving their furious
surges with the power of an ocean and the rage of a mountain torrent.
About three miles below the cataract, the precipices which form the
eastern wall of the ravine are broken by an abyss of awful depth and
blackness, bearing at the present day the name of the Devil's Hole. In
its shallowest part, the precipice sinks sheer down to the depth of
eighty feet, where it meets a chaotic mass of rocks, descending with an
abrupt declivity to unseen depths below. Within the cold and damp
recesses of the gulf, a host of forest-trees have rooted themselves;
and, standing on the perilous brink, one may look down upon the mingled
foliage of ash, poplar, and maple, while, above them all, the spruce and
fir shoot their sharp and rigid spires upward into sunlight. The roar of
the convulsed river swells heavily on the ear, and, far below, its
headlong waters may be discerned careering in foam past the openings of
the matted foliage.

On the thirteenth of September, 1763, a numerous train of wagons and
pack horses proceeded from the lower landing to Fort Schlosser, and on
the following morning set out on their return, guarded by an escort of
twenty-four soldiers. They pursued their slow progress until they
reached a point where the road passed along the brink of the Devil's
Hole. The gulf yawned on their left, while on their right the road was
skirted by low and densely wooded hills. Suddenly they were greeted by
the blaze and clatter of a hundred rifles. Then followed the startled
cries of men, and the bounding of maddened horses. At the next instant,
a host of Indians broke screeching from the woods, and rifle-butt and
tomahawk finished the bloody work. All was over in a moment. Horses
leaped the precipice; men were driven shrieking into the abyss; teams
and wagons went over, crashing to atoms among the rocks below. Tradition
relates that the drummer boy of the detachment was caught, in his fall,
among the branches of a tree, where he hung suspended by his drum-strap.
Being but slightly injured, he disengaged himself, and, hiding in the
recesses of the gulf, finally escaped. One of the teamsters also, who
was wounded at the first fire, contrived to crawl into the woods, where
he lay concealed till the Indians had left the place. Besides these two,
the only survivor was Stedman, the conductor of the convoy, who, being
well mounted, and seeing the whole party forced helplessly towards the
precipice, wheeled his horse, and resolutely spurred through the crowd
of Indians. One of them, it is said, seized his bridle; but he freed
himself by a dexterous use of his knife, and plunged into the woods,
untouched by the bullets which whistled about his head. Flying at full
speed through the forest, he reached Fort Schlosser in safety.

The distant sound of the Indian rifles had been heard by a party of
soldiers, who occupied a small fortified camp near the lower landing.
Forming in haste, they advanced eagerly to the rescue. In anticipation
of this movement, the Indians, who were nearly five hundred in number,
had separated into two parties, one of which had stationed itself at the
Devil's Hole, to waylay the convoy, while the other formed an ambuscade
upon the road a mile nearer the landing-place. The soldiers, marching
precipitately, and huddled in a close body, were suddenly assailed by a
volley of rifles, which stretched half their number dead upon the road.
Then, rushing from the forest, the Indians cut down the survivors with
merciless ferocity. A small remnant only escaped the massacre, and fled
to Fort Niagara with the tidings. Major Wilkins, who commanded at this
post, lost no time in marching to the spot, with nearly the whole
strength of his garrison. Not an Indian was to be found. At the two
places of ambuscade, about seventy dead bodies were counted, naked,
scalpless, and so horribly mangled that many of them could not be
recognized. All the wagons had been broken to pieces, and such of the
horses as were not driven over the precipice had been carried off,
laden, doubtless, with the plunder. The ambuscade of the Devil's Hole
has gained a traditionary immortality, adding fearful interest to a
scene whose native horrors need no aid from the imagination.



  MONTREAL.



  THE BIRTH OF MONTREAL.


We come now to an enterprise as singular in its character as it proved
important in its results.

At La Flèche, in Anjou, dwelt one Jérôme le Royer de la Dauversière,
receiver of taxes. His portrait shows us a round, _bourgeois_ face,
somewhat heavy perhaps, decorated with a slight mustache, and redeemed
by bright and earnest eyes. On his head he wears a black skull-cap; and
over his ample shoulders spreads a stiff white collar, of wide expanse
and studious plainness. Though he belonged to the _noblesse_, his look
is that of a grave burgher, of good renown and sage deportment.
Dauversière was, however, an enthusiastic devotee, of mystical
tendencies, who whipped himself with a scourge of small chains till his
shoulders were one wound, wore a belt with more than twelve hundred
sharp points, and invented for himself other torments, which filled his
confessor with admiration. One day, while at his devotions, he heard an
inward voice commanding him to become the founder of a new Order of
hospital nuns; and he was further ordered to establish, on the island
called Montreal, in Canada, a hospital, or Hôtel-Dieu, to be conducted
by these nuns. But Montreal was a wilderness, and the hospital would
have no patients. Therefore, in order to supply them, the island must
first be colonized. Dauversière was greatly perplexed. On the one hand,
the voice of Heaven must be obeyed; on the other, he had a wife, six
children, and a very moderate fortune.

Again: there was at Paris a young priest, about twenty-eight years of
age,--Jean Jacques Olier, afterwards widely known as founder of the
Seminary of St. Sulpice. Judged by his engraved portrait, his
countenance, though marked both with energy and intellect, was anything
but prepossessing. Every lineament proclaims the priest. Yet the Abbé
Olier has high titles to esteem. He signalized his piety, it is true, by
the most disgusting exploits of self-mortification; but, at the same
time, he was strenuous in his efforts to reform the people and the
clergy. So zealous was he for good morals, that he drew upon himself the
imputation of a leaning to the heresy of the Jansenists,--a suspicion
strengthened by his opposition to certain priests, who, to secure the
faithful in their allegiance, justified them in lives of licentiousness.
Yet Olier's catholicity was past attaintment, and in his horror of
Jansenists he yielded to the Jesuits alone.

He was praying in the ancient church of St. Germain des Prés, when, like
Dauversière, he thought he heard a voice from Heaven, saying that he was
destined to be a light to the Gentiles. It is recorded as a mystic
coincidence attending this miracle, that the choir was at that very time
chanting the words, _Lumen ad revelationem Gentium_; and it seems to
have occurred neither to Olier nor to his biographer, that, falling on
the ear of the rapt worshipper, they might have unconsciously suggested
the supposed revelation. But there was a further miracle. An inward
voice told Olier that he was to form a society of priests, and establish
them on the island called Montreal, in Canada, for the propagation of
the True Faith; and writers old and recent assert, that, while both he
and Dauversière were totally ignorant of Canadian geography, they
suddenly found themselves in possession, they knew not how, of the most
exact details concerning Montreal, its size, shape, situation, soil,
climate, and productions.

The annual volumes of the Jesuit _Relations_, issuing from the renowned
press of Cramoisy, were at this time spread broadcast throughout France;
and, in the circles of _haute devotion_, Canada and its missions were
everywhere the themes of enthusiastic discussion; while Champlain, in
his published works, had long before pointed out Montreal as the proper
site for a settlement. But we are entering a region of miracle, and it
is superfluous to look far for explanations. The illusion, in these
cases, is a part of the history.

Dauversière pondered the revelation he had received; and the more he
pondered, the more was he convinced that it came from God. He therefore
set out for Paris, to find some means of accomplishing the task assigned
him. Here, as he prayed before an image of the Virgin in the church of
Notre-Dame, he fell into an ecstasy, and beheld a vision. "I should be
false to the integrity of history," writes his biographer, "if I did not
relate it here." And he adds, that the reality of this celestial favor
is past doubting, inasmuch as Dauversière himself told it to his
daughters. Christ, the Virgin, and St. Joseph appeared before him. He
saw them distinctly. Then he heard Christ ask three times of his Virgin
Mother, _Where can I find a faithful servant?_ On which, the Virgin,
taking him (Dauversière) by the hand, replied, _See, Lord, here is that
faithful servant!_--and Christ, with a benignant smile, received him
into his service, promising to bestow on him wisdom and strength to do
his work. From Paris he went to the neighboring château of Meudon, which
overlooks the valley of the Seine, not far from St. Cloud. Entering the
gallery of the old castle, he saw a priest approaching him. It was
Olier. Now we are told that neither of these men had ever seen or heard
of the other; and yet, says the pious historian, "impelled by a kind of
inspiration, they knew each other at once, even to the depths of their
hearts; saluted each other by name, as we read of St. Paul, the Hermit,
and St. Anthony, and of St. Dominic and St. Francis; and ran to embrace
each other, like two friends who had met after a long separation."

"Monsieur," exclaimed Olier, "I know your design, and I go to commend it
to God at the holy altar."

And he went at once to say mass in the chapel. Dauversière received the
communion at his hands; and then they walked for three hours in the
park, discussing their plans. They were of one mind, in respect both to
objects and means; and when they parted, Olier gave Dauversière a
hundred louis, saying, "This is to begin the work of God."

They proposed to found at Montreal three religious communities,--_three_
being the mystic number,--one of secular priests to direct the colonists
and convert the Indians, one of nuns to nurse the sick, and one of nuns
to teach the Faith to the children, white and red. To borrow their own
phrases, they would plant the banner of Christ in an abode of desolation
and a haunt of demons; and to this end a band of priests and women were
to invade the wilderness, and take post between the fangs of the
Iroquois. But first they must make a colony, and to do so must raise
money. Olier had pious and wealthy penitents; Dauversière had a friend,
the Baron de Fancamp, devout as himself and far richer. Anxious for his
soul, and satisfied that the enterprise was an inspiration of God, he
was eager to bear part in it. Olier soon found three others: and the
six together formed the germ of the Society of Notre-Dame de Montreal.
Among them they raised the sum of seventy-five thousand livres,
equivalent to about as many dollars at the present day.

Now to look for a moment at their plan. Their eulogists say, and with
perfect truth, that, from a worldly point of view, it was mere folly.
The partners mutually bound themselves to seek no return for the money
expended. Their profit was to be reaped in the skies: and, indeed, there
was none to be reaped on earth. The feeble settlement at Quebec was at
this time in danger of utter ruin; for the Iroquois, enraged at the
attacks made on them by Champlain, had begun a fearful course of
retaliation, and the very existence of the colony trembled in the
balance. But if Quebec was exposed to their ferocious inroads, Montreal
was incomparably more so. A settlement here would be a perilous
outpost,--a hand thrust into the jaws of the tiger. It would provoke
attack, and lie almost in the path of the war-parties. The Associates
could gain nothing by the fur-trade; for they would not be allowed to
share in it. On the other hand, danger apart, the place was an excellent
one for a mission; for here met two great rivers: the St. Lawrence, with
its countless tributaries, flowed in from the west, while the Ottawa
descended from the north; and Montreal, embraced by their uniting
waters, was the key to a vast inland navigation. Thither the Indians
would naturally resort; and thence the missionaries could make their way
into the heart of a boundless heathendom. None of the ordinary motives
of colonization had part in this design. It owed its conception and its
birth to religious zeal alone.

The island of Montreal belonged to Lauson, former president of the great
company of the Hundred Associates; and his son had a monopoly of fishing
in the St. Lawrence. Dauversière and Fancamp, after much diplomacy,
succeeded in persuading the elder Lauson to transfer his title to them;
and, as there was a defect in it, they also obtained a grant of the
island from the Hundred Associates, its original owners, who, however,
reserved to themselves its western extremity as a site for a fort and
storehouses. At the same time, the younger Lauson granted them a right
of fishery within two leagues of the shores of the island, for which
they were to make a yearly acknowledgment of ten pounds of fish. A
confirmation of these grants was obtained from the King. Dauversière and
his companions were now _seigneurs_ of Montreal. They were empowered to
appoint a governor, and to establish courts, from which there was to be
an appeal to the Supreme Court of Quebec, supposing such to exist. They
were excluded from the fur-trade, and forbidden to build castles or
forts other than such as were necessary for defence against the Indians.

Their title assured, they matured their plan. First they would send out
forty men to take possession of Montreal, intrench themselves, and raise
crops. Then they would build a house for the priests, and two convents
for the nuns. Meanwhile, Olier was toiling at Vaugirard, on the
outskirts of Paris, to inaugurate the seminary of priests, and
Dauversière at La Flèche, to form the community of hospital nuns. How
the school nuns were provided for we shall see hereafter. The colony, it
will be observed, was for the convents, not the convents for the colony.

The Associates needed a soldier-governor to take charge of their forty
men; and, directed as they supposed by Providence, they found one
wholly to their mind. This was Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, a
devout and valiant gentleman, who in long service among the heretics of
Holland had kept his faith intact, and had held himself resolutely aloof
from the license that surrounded him. He loved his profession of arms,
and wished to consecrate his sword to the Church. Past all comparison,
he is the manliest figure that appears in this group of zealots. The
piety of the design, the miracles that inspired it, the adventure and
the peril, all combined to charm him; and he eagerly embraced the
enterprise. His father opposed his purpose; but he met him with a text
of St. Mark, "There is no man that hath left house or brethren or
sisters or father for my sake, but he shall receive an hundred-fold." On
this the elder Maisonneuve, deceived by his own worldliness, imagined
that the plan covered some hidden speculation, from which enormous
profits were expected, and therefore withdrew his opposition.

Their scheme was ripening fast, when both Olier and Dauversière were
assailed by one of those revulsions of spirit, to which saints of the
ecstatic school are naturally liable. Dauversière, in particular, was a
prey to the extremity of dejection, uncertainty, and misgiving. What had
he, a family man, to do with ventures beyond sea? Was it not his first
duty to support his wife and children? Could he not fulfil all his
obligations as a Christian by reclaiming the wicked and relieving the
poor at La Flèche? Plainly, he had doubts that his vocation was genuine.
If we could raise the curtain of his domestic life, perhaps we should
find him beset by wife and daughters, tearful and wrathful, inveighing
against his folly, and imploring him to provide a support for them
before squandering his money to plant a convent of nuns in a
wilderness. How long his fit of dejection lasted does not appear; but at
length he set himself again to his appointed work. Olier, too, emerging
from the clouds and darkness, found faith once more, and again placed
himself at the head of the great enterprise.

There was imperative need of more money; and Dauversière, under
judicious guidance, was active in obtaining it. This miserable victim of
illusions had a squat, uncourtly figure, and was no proficient in the
graces either of manners or of speech: hence his success in commending
his objects to persons of rank and wealth is set down as one of the many
miracles which attended the birth of Montreal. But zeal and earnestness
are in themselves a power; and the ground had been well marked out and
ploughed for him in advance. That attractive, though intricate, subject
of study, the female mind, has always engaged the attention of priests,
more especially in countries where as in France, women exert a strong
social and political influence. The art of kindling the flames of zeal,
and the more difficult art of directing and controlling them, have been
themes of reflection the most diligent and profound. Accordingly we find
that a large proportion of the money raised for this enterprise was
contributed by devout ladies. Many of them became members of the
Association of Montreal, which was eventually increased to about
forty-five persons, chosen for their devotion and their wealth.

Olier and his associates had resolved, though not from any collapse of
zeal, to postpone the establishment of the seminary and the college
until after a settlement should be formed. The hospital, however, might,
they thought, be begun at once; for blood and blows would be the assured
portion of the first settlers. At least, a discreet woman ought to
embark with the first colonists as their nurse and housekeeper. Scarcely
was the need recognized when it was supplied.

Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance was born of an honorable family of
Nogent-le-Roi, and in 1640 was thirty-four years of age. These Canadian
heroines began their religious experiences early. Of Marie de
l'Incarnation we read, that at the age of seven Christ appeared to her
in a vision; and the biographer of Mademoiselle Mance assures us, with
admiring gravity, that, at the same tender age, she bound herself to God
by a vow of perpetual chastity. This singular infant in due time became
a woman, of a delicate constitution, and manners graceful, yet
dignified. Though an earnest devotee, she felt no vocation for the
cloister; yet, while still "in the world," she led the life of a nun.
The Jesuit _Relations_, and the example of Madame de la Peltrie, of whom
she had heard, inoculated her with the Canadian enthusiasm, then so
prevalent; and, under the pretence of visiting relatives, she made a
journey to Paris, to take counsel of certain priests. Of one thing she
was assured: the Divine will called her to Canada, but to what end she
neither knew nor asked to know; for she abandoned herself as an atom to
be borne to unknown destinies on the breath of God. At Paris, Father St.
Jure, a Jesuit, assured her that her vocation to Canada was, past doubt,
a call from Heaven; while Father Rapin, a Récollet, spread abroad the
fame of her virtues, and introduced her to many ladies of rank, wealth,
and zeal. Then, well supplied with money for any pious work to which she
might be summoned, she journeyed to Rochelle, whence ships were to sail
for New France. Thus far she had been kept in ignorance of the plan with
regard to Montreal; but now Father La Place, a Jesuit, revealed it to
her. On the day after her arrival at Rochelle, as she entered the Church
of the Jesuits, she met Dauversière coming out. "Then," says her
biographer, "these two persons, who had never seen nor heard of each
other, were enlightened supernaturally, whereby their most hidden
thoughts were mutually made known, as had happened already with M. Olier
and this same M. de la Dauversière." A long conversation ensued between
them; and the delights of this interview were never effaced from the
mind of Mademoiselle Mance. "She used to speak of it like a seraph,"
writes one of her nuns, "and far better than many a learned doctor could
have done."

She had found her destiny. The ocean, the wilderness, the solitude, the
Iroquois,--nothing daunted her. She would go to Montreal with
Maisonneuve and his forty men. Yet, when the vessel was about to sail, a
new and sharp misgiving seized her. How could she, a woman, not yet
bereft of youth or charms, live alone in the forest, among a troop of
soldiers? Her scruples were relieved by two of the men, who, at the last
moment, refused to embark without their wives,--and by a young woman,
who, impelled by enthusiasm, escaped from her friends, and took passage,
in spite of them, in one of the vessels.

All was ready; the ships set sail; but Olier, Dauversière, and Fancamp
remained at home, as did also the other Associates, with the exception
of Maisonneuve and Mademoiselle Mance. In the following February, an
impressive scene took place in the Church of Notre-Dame, at Paris. The
Associates, at this time numbering about forty-five, with Olier at their
head, assembled before the altar of the Virgin, and, by a solemn
ceremonial, consecrated Montreal to the Holy Family. Henceforth it was
to be called _Villemarie de Montreal_,--a sacred town, reared to the
honor and under the patronage of Christ, St. Joseph, and the Virgin, to
be typified by three persons on earth, founders respectively of the
three destined communities,--Olier, Dauversière, and a maiden of Troyes,
Marguerite Bourgeoys: the seminary to be consecrated to Christ, the
Hôtel-Dieu to St. Joseph, and the college to the Virgin.

But we are anticipating a little; for it was several years as yet before
Marguerite Bourgeoys took an active part in the work of Montreal. She
was the daughter of a respectable tradesman, and was now twenty-two
years of age. Her portrait has come down to us; and her face is a mirror
of loyalty and womanly tenderness. Her qualities were those of good
sense, conscientiousness, and a warm heart. She had known no miracles,
ecstasies, or trances; and though afterwards, when her religious
susceptibilities had reached a fuller development, a few such are
recorded of her, yet even the Abbé Faillon, with the best intentions,
can credit her with but a meagre allowance of these celestial favors.
Though in the midst of visionaries, she distrusted the supernatural, and
avowed her belief that, in His government of the world, God does not
often set aside its ordinary laws. Her religion was of the affections,
and was manifested in an absorbing devotion to duty. She had felt no
vocation to the cloister, but had taken the vow of chastity, and was
attached, as an _externe_, to the Sisters of the Congregation of Troyes,
who were fevered with eagerness to go to Canada. Marguerite, however,
was content to wait until there was a prospect that she could do good by
going; and it was not till the year 1653, that, renouncing an
inheritance, and giving all she had to the poor, she embarked for the
savage scene of her labors. To this day, in crowded school-rooms of
Montreal and Quebec, fit monuments of her unobtrusive virtue, her
successors instruct the children of the poor, and embalm the pleasant
memory of Marguerite Bourgeoys. In the martial figure of Maisonneuve,
and the fair form of this gentle nun, we find the true heroes of
Montreal.

Maisonneuve, with his forty men and four women, reached Quebec too late
to ascend to Montreal that season. They encountered distrust, jealousy,
and opposition. The agents of the Company of the Hundred Associates
looked on them askance; and the Governor of Quebec, Montmagny, saw a
rival governor in Maisonneuve. Every means was used to persuade the
adventurers to abandon their project, and settle at Quebec. Montmagny
called a council of the principal persons of his colony, who gave it as
their opinion that the newcomers had better exchange Montreal for the
Island of Orleans, where they would be in a position to give and receive
succor; while, by persisting in their first design, they would expose
themselves to destruction, and be of use to nobody. Maisonneuve, who was
present, expressed his surprise that they should assume to direct his
affairs. "I have not come here," he said, "to deliberate, but to act. It
is my duty and my honor to found a colony at Montreal; and I would go,
if every tree were an Iroquois!"

At Quebec there was little ability and no inclination to shelter the new
colonists for the winter; and they would have fared ill, but for the
generosity of M. Puiseaux, who lived not far distant, at a place called
St. Michel. This devout and most hospitable person made room for them
all in his rough, but capacious dwelling. Their neighbors were the
hospital nuns, then living at the mission of Sillery, in a substantial,
but comfortless house of stone; where, amidst destitution, sickness,
and irrepressible disgust at the filth of the savages whom they had in
charge, they were laboring day and night with devoted assiduity. Among
the minor ills which beset them were the eccentricities of one of their
lay sisters, crazed with religious enthusiasm, who had the care of their
poultry and domestic animals, of which she was accustomed to inquire,
one by one, if they loved God; when, not receiving an immediate answer
in the affirmative, she would instantly put them to death, telling them
that their impiety deserved no better fate.

Early in May, Maisonneuve and his followers embarked. They had gained an
unexpected recruit during the winter, in the person of Madame de la
Peltrie, foundress of the Ursulines of Quebec. The piety, the novelty,
and the romance of their enterprise, all had their charms for the fair
enthusiast; and an irresistible impulse--imputed by a slandering
historian to the levity of her sex--urged her to share their fortunes.
Her zeal was more admired by the Montrealists whom she joined than by
the Ursulines whom she abandoned. She carried off all the furniture she
had lent them, and left them in the utmost destitution. Nor did she
remain quiet after reaching Montreal, but was presently seized with a
longing to visit the Hurons, and preach the Faith in person to those
benighted heathen. It needed all the eloquence of a Jesuit, lately
returned from that most arduous mission, to convince her that the
attempt would be as useless as rash.

It was the eighth of May when Maisonneuve and his followers embarked at
St. Michel; and as the boats, deep-laden with men, arms, and stores,
moved slowly on their way, the forest, with leaves just opening in the
warmth of spring, lay on their right hand and on their left, in a
flattering semblance of tranquillity and peace. But behind woody islets,
in tangled thickets and damp ravines, and in the shade and stillness of
the columned woods, lurked everywhere a danger and a terror.

On the seventeenth of May, 1642, Maisonneuve's little flotilla--a
pinnace, a flat-bottomed craft moved by sails, and two
row-boats--approached Montreal; and all on board raised in unison a hymn
of praise. Montmagny was with them, to deliver the island, in behalf of
the Company of the Hundred Associates, to Maisonneuve, representative of
the Associates of Montreal. And here, too, was Father Vimont, Superior
of the missions; for the Jesuits had been prudently invited to accept
the spiritual charge of the young colony. On the following day, they
glided along the green and solitary shores now thronged with the life of
a busy city, and landed on the spot which Champlain, thirty-one years
before, had chosen as the fit site of a settlement. It was a tongue or
triangle of land, formed by the junction of a rivulet with the St.
Lawrence, and known afterwards as Point Callière. The rivulet was
bordered by a meadow, and beyond rose the forest with its vanguard of
scattered trees. Early spring flowers were blooming in the young grass,
and birds of varied plumage flitted among the boughs.

Maisonneuve sprang ashore, and fell on his knees. His followers imitated
his example; and all joined their voices in enthusiastic songs of
thanksgiving. Tents, baggage, arms, and stores were landed. An altar was
raised on a pleasant spot near at hand; and Mademoiselle Mance, with
Madame de la Peltrie, aided by her servant, Charlotte Barré, decorated
it with a taste which was the admiration of the beholders. Now all the
company gathered before the shrine. Here stood Vimont, in the rich
vestments of his office. Here were the two ladies, with their servant;
Montmagny, no very willing spectator; and Maisonneuve, a warlike figure,
erect and tall, his men clustering around him,--soldiers, sailors,
artisans, and laborers,--all alike soldiers at need. They kneeled in
reverent silence as the Host was raised aloft; and when the rite was
over, the priest turned and addressed them:--

"You are a grain of mustard-seed, that shall rise and grow till its
branches overshadow the earth. You are few, but your work is the work of
God. His smile is on you, and your children shall fill the land."

The afternoon waned; the sun sank behind the western forest, and
twilight came on. Fireflies were twinkling over the darkened meadow.
They caught them, tied them with threads into shining festoons, and hung
them before the altar, where the Host remained exposed. Then they
pitched their tents, lighted their bivouac fires, stationed their
guards, and lay down to rest. Such was the birth-night of Montreal.

Is this true history, or a romance of Christian chivalry? It is both.

A few years later there was another emigration to Montreal, of a
character much like the first. The pious little colony led a struggling
and precarious existence. Many of its inhabitants were killed by the
Iroquois, and its escape from destruction was imputed to the
intervention of the Holy Virgin. The place changed as years went on, and
became a great centre of the fur trade, though still bearing strong
marks of its pristine character. The institutions of religion and
charity planted by its founders remain to this day, and the Seminary of
St. Sulpice holds vast possessions in and around the city. During the
war of 1755-1760, Montreal was a base of military operations. In the
latter year three English armies advanced upon it from three different
points, united before its walls, and forced Governor Vaudreuil to
surrender all Canada to the British Crown.



  QUEBEC.



  INFANCY OF QUEBEC.


Champlain was the founder of this old capital of French Canada, whose
existence began in 1608. In that year he built a cluster of fortified
dwellings and storehouses, which he called "The Habitation of Quebec,"
and which stood on or near the site of the marketplace of the Lower
Town.

The settlement made little progress for many years. A company of
merchants held the monopoly of its fur-trade, by which alone it lived.
It was half trading-factory, half mission. Its permanent inmates did not
exceed fifty or sixty persons,--fur-traders, friars, and two or three
wretched families, who had no inducement and little wish to labor. The
fort is facetiously represented as having two old women for garrison,
and a brace of hens for sentinels. All was discord and disorder.
Champlain was the nominal commander; but the actual authority was with
the merchants, who held, excepting the friars, nearly every one in their
pay. Each was jealous of the other, but all were united in a common
jealousy of Champlain. From a short-sighted view of self-interest, they
sought to check the colonization which they were pledged to promote. The
few families whom they brought over were forbidden to trade with the
Indians, and compelled to sell the fruits of their labor to the agents
of the company at a low, fixed price, receiving goods in return at an
inordinate valuation. Some of the merchants were of Rouen, some of St.
Malo; some were Catholics, some were Huguenots. Hence unceasing
bickerings. All exercise of the Reformed Religion, on land or water, was
prohibited within the limits of New France; but the Huguenots set the
prohibition at nought, roaring their heretical psalmody with such vigor
from their ships in the river, that the unhallowed strains polluted the
ears of the Indians on shore. The merchants of Rochelle, who had refused
to join the company, carried on a bold, illicit traffic along the
borders of the St. Lawrence, eluding pursuit, or, if hard pressed,
showing fight; and this was a source of perpetual irritation to the
incensed monopolists.

Champlain, in his singularly trying position, displayed a mingled zeal
and fortitude. He went every year to France, laboring for the interests
of the colony. To throw open the trade to all competitors was a measure
beyond the wisdom of the times; and he aimed only so to bind and
regulate the monopoly as to make it subserve the generous purpose to
which he had given himself. He had succeeded in binding the company of
merchants with new and more stringent engagements; and, in the vain
belief that these might not be wholly broken, he began to conceive fresh
hopes for the colony. In this faith he embarked with his wife for Quebec
in the spring of 1620; and, as the boat drew near the landing, the
cannon welcomed her to the rock of her banishment. The buildings were
falling to ruin; rain entered on all sides; the court-yard, says
Champlain, was as squalid and dilapidated as a grange pillaged by
soldiers. Madame de Champlain was still very young. If the Ursuline
tradition is to be trusted, the Indians, amazed at her beauty and
touched by her gentleness, would have worshipped her as a divinity. Her
husband had married her at the age of twelve; when, to his horror, he
presently discovered that she was infected with the heresies of her
father, a disguised Huguenot. He addressed himself at once to her
conversion, and his pious efforts were something more than successful.
During the four years which she passed in Canada, her zeal, it is true,
was chiefly exercised in admonishing Indian squaws and catechising their
children; but, on her return to France, nothing would content her but to
become a nun. Champlain refused; but, as she was childless, he at length
consented to a virtual, though not formal, separation. After his death
she gained her wish, became an Ursuline nun, founded a convent of that
order at Meaux, and died with a reputation almost saintly.

A stranger visiting the fort of Quebec would have been astonished at its
air of conventual decorum. Black Jesuits and scarfed officers mingled at
Champlain's table. There was little conversation, but, in its place,
histories and the lives of saints were read aloud, as in a monastic
refectory. Prayers, masses, and confessions followed each other with an
edifying regularity, and the bell of the adjacent chapel, built by
Champlain, rang morning, noon, and night. Godless soldiers caught the
infection, and whipped themselves in penance for their sins. Debauched
artisans outdid each other in the fury of their contrition. Quebec was
become a Mission. Indians gathered thither as of old, not from the
baneful lure of brandy, for the traffic in it was no longer tolerated,
but from the less pernicious attractions of gifts, kind words, and
politic blandishments. To the vital principle of propagandism the
commercial and the military character were subordinated; or, to speak
more justly, trade, policy, and military power leaned on the missions as
their main support, the grand instrument of their extension. The
missions were to explore the interior; the missions were to win over
the savage hordes at once to Heaven and to France.

Years passed. The mission of the Hurons was established, and here the
indomitable Brébeuf, with a band worthy of him, toiled amid miseries and
perils as fearful as ever shook the constancy of man; while Champlain at
Quebec, in a life uneventful, yet harassing and laborious, was busied in
the round of cares which his post involved.

Christmas day, 1635, was a dark day in the annals of New France. In a
chamber of the fort, breathless and cold, lay the hardy frame which war,
the wilderness, and the sea had buffeted so long in vain. After two
months and a half of illness, Champlain, at the age of sixty-eight, was
dead. His last cares were for his colony and the succor of its suffering
families. Jesuits, officers, soldiers, traders, and the few settlers of
Quebec followed his remains to the church; Le Jeune pronounced his
eulogy, and the feeble community built a tomb to his honor.

The colony could ill spare him. For twenty-seven years he had labored
hard and ceaselessly for its welfare, sacrificing fortune, repose, and
domestic peace to a cause embraced with enthusiasm and pursued with
intrepid persistency. His character belonged partly to the past, partly
to the present. The _preux chevalier_, the crusader, the romance-loving
explorer, the curious, knowledge-seeking traveller, the practical
navigator, all claimed their share in him. His views, though far beyond
those of the mean spirits around him, belonged to his age and his creed.
He was less statesman than soldier. He leaned to the most direct and
boldest policy, and one of his last acts was to petition Richelieu for
men and munitions for repressing that standing menace to the colony,
the Iroquois. His dauntless courage was matched by an unwearied
patience, a patience proved by life-long vexations, and not wholly
subdued even by the saintly follies of his wife. He is charged with
credulity, from which few of his age were free, and which in all ages
has been the foible of earnest and generous natures, too ardent to
criticise, and too honorable to doubt the honor of others. Perhaps in
his later years the heretic might like him more had the Jesuit liked him
less. The adventurous explorer of Lake Huron, the bold invader of the
Iroquois, befits but indifferently the monastic sobrieties of the fort
of Quebec and his sombre environment of priests. Yet Champlain was no
formalist, nor was his an empty zeal. A soldier from his youth, in an
age of unbridled license, his life had answered to his maxims; and when
a generation had passed after his visit to the Hurons, their elders
remembered with astonishment the continence of the great French
war-chief.

His books mark the man,--all for his theme and his purpose, nothing for
himself. Crude in style, full of the superficial errors of carelessness
and haste, rarely diffuse, often brief to a fault, they bear on every
page the palpable impress of truth.



  A MILITARY MISSION.


Quebec was without a governor. Who should succeed Champlain? and would
his successor be found equally zealous for the Faith, and friendly to
the mission? These doubts, as he himself tells us, agitated the mind of
the Father Superior, Le Jeune; but they were happily set at rest, when,
on a morning in June, he saw a ship anchoring in the basin below, and,
hastening with his brethren to the landing-place, was there met by
Charles Huault de Montmagny, a Knight of Malta, followed by a train of
officers and gentlemen. As they all climbed the rock together, Montmagny
saw a crucifix planted by the path. He instantly fell on his knees
before it; and nobles, soldiers, sailors, and priests imitated his
example. The Jesuits sang Te Deum at the church, and the cannon roared
from the adjacent fort. Here the new governor was scarcely installed,
when a Jesuit came in to ask if he would be godfather to an Indian about
to be baptized. "Most gladly," replied the pious Montmagny. He repaired
on the instant to the convert's hut, with a company of gayly apparelled
gentlemen; and while the inmates stared in amazement at the scarlet and
embroidery, he bestowed on the dying savage the name of Joseph, in honor
of the spouse of the Virgin and the patron of New France. Three days
after, he was told that a dead proselyte was to be buried, on which,
leaving the lines of the new fortification he was tracing, he took in
hand a torch, De Lisle, his lieutenant, took another, Repentigny and
St. Jean, gentlemen of his suite, with a band of soldiers, followed, two
priests bore the corpse, and thus all moved together in procession to
the place of burial. The Jesuits were comforted. Champlain himself had
not displayed a zeal so edifying.

A considerable reinforcement came out with Montmagny, and among the rest
several men of birth and substance, with their families and dependants.
"It was a sight to thank God for," exclaims Father Le Jeune, "to behold
these delicate young ladies and these tender infants issuing from their
wooden prison, like day from the shades of night." The Father, it will
be remembered, had for some years past seen nothing but squaws, with
pappooses swathed like mummies and strapped to a board.

Both Montmagny and De Lisle were half churchmen, for both were Knights
of Malta. More and more the powers spiritual engrossed the colony. As
nearly as might be, the sword itself was in priestly hands. The Jesuits
were all in all. Authority, absolute and without appeal, was vested in a
council composed of the governor, Le Jeune, and the syndic, an official
supposed to represent the interests of the inhabitants. There was no
tribunal of justice, and the governor pronounced summarily on all
complaints. The church adjoined the fort; and before it was planted a
stake bearing a placard with a prohibition against blasphemy,
drunkenness, or neglect of mass and other religious rites. To the stake
was also attached a chain and iron collar; and hard by was a wooden
horse, whereon a culprit was now and then mounted by way of example and
warning. In a community so absolutely priest-governed, overt offences
were, however, rare; and, except on the annual arrival of the ships
from France, when the rock swarmed with godless sailors, Quebec was a
model of decorum, and wore, as its chroniclers tell us, an aspect
unspeakably edifying.

In the year 1640, various new establishments of religion and charity
might have been seen at Quebec. There was the beginning of a college and
a seminary for Huron children, an embryo Ursuline convent, an incipient
hospital, and a new Algonquin mission at a place called Sillery, four
miles distant. Champlain's fort had been enlarged and partly rebuilt in
stone by Montmagny, who had also laid out streets on the site of the
future city, though as yet the streets had no houses. Behind the fort,
and very near it, stood the church and a house for the Jesuits. Both
were of pine wood; and this year, 1640, both were burned to the ground,
to be afterwards rebuilt in stone.

Aside from the fur trade of the Company, the whole life of the colony
was in missions, convents, religious schools, and hospitals. Here on the
rock of Quebec were the appendages, useful and otherwise, of an
old-established civilization. While as yet there were no inhabitants,
and no immediate hope of any, there were institutions for the care of
children, the sick, and the decrepit. All these were supported by a
charity in most cases precarious. The Jesuits relied chiefly on the
Company, who, by the terms of their patent, were obliged to maintain
religious worship.

Quebec wore an aspect half military, half monastic. At sunrise and
sunset, a squad of soldiers in the pay of the Company paraded in the
fort; and, as in Champlain's time, the bells of the church rang morning,
noon, and night. Confessions, masses, and penances were punctiliously
observed; and, from the governor to the meanest laborer, the Jesuit
watched and guided all. The social atmosphere of New England itself was
not more suffocating. By day and by night, at home, at church, or at his
daily work, the colonist lived under the eyes of busy and over-zealous
priests. At times, the denizens of Quebec grew restless. In 1639,
deputies were covertly sent to beg relief in France, and "to represent
the hell in which the consciences of the colony were kept by the union
of the temporal and spiritual authority in the same hands."

The very amusements of this pious community were acts of religion. Thus,
on the fête-day of St. Joseph, the patron of New France, there was a
show of fireworks to do him honor. In the forty volumes of the Jesuit
_Relations_ there is but one pictorial illustration; and this represents
the pyrotechnic contrivance in question, together with a figure of the
Governor in the act of touching it off. But, what is more curious, a
Catholic writer of the present day, the Abbé Faillon, in an elaborate
and learned work, dilates at length on the details of the display; and
this, too, with a gravity which evinces his conviction that squibs,
rockets, blue-lights, and serpents are important instruments for the
saving of souls. On May-Day of the same year, 1637, Montmagny planted
before the church a May-pole surmounted by a triple crown, beneath which
were three symbolical circles decorated with wreaths, and bearing
severally the names, _Iesus_, _Maria_, _Ioseph;_ the soldiers drew up
before it, and saluted it with a volley of musketry.

On the anniversary of the Dauphin's birth there was a dramatic
performance, in which an unbeliever, speaking Algonquin for the profit
of the Indians present, was hunted into Hell by fiends. Religious
processions were frequent. In one of them, the Governor in a court
dress and a baptized Indian in beaver-skins were joint supporters of the
canopy which covered the Host. In another, six Indians led the van,
arrayed each in a velvet coat of scarlet and gold sent them by the King.
Then came other Indian converts, two and two; then the foundress of the
Ursuline convent, with Indian children in French gowns; then all the
Indian girls and women, dressed after their own way; then the priests;
then the Governor; and finally the whole French population, male and
female, except the artillery-men at the fort, who saluted with their
cannon the cross and banner borne at the head of the procession. When
all was over, the Governor and the Jesuits rewarded the Indians with a
feast.

Now let the stranger enter the church of Notre-Dame de la Recouvrance,
after vespers. It is full, to the very porch: officers in slouched hats
and plumes, musketeers, pikemen, mechanics, and laborers. Here is
Montmagny himself; Repentigny and Poterie, gentlemen of good birth;
damsels of nurture ill fitted to the Canadian woods; and, mingled with
these, the motionless Indians, wrapped to the throat in embroidered
moose-hides. Le Jeune, not in priestly vestments, but in the common
black dress of his Order, is before the altar; and on either side is a
row of small red-skinned children listening with exemplary decorum,
while, with a cheerful, smiling face, he teaches them to kneel, clasp
their hands, and sign the cross. All the principal members of this
zealous community are present, at once amused and edified at the grave
deportment, and the prompt, shrill replies of the infant catechumens;
while their parents in the crowd grin delight at the gifts of beads and
trinkets with which Le Jeune rewards his most proficient pupils.

The methods of conversion were simple. The principal appeal was to fear.
"You do good to your friends," said Le Jeune to an Algonquin chief, "and
you burn your enemies. God does the same." And he painted Hell to the
startled neophyte as a place where, when he was hungry, he would get
nothing to eat but frogs and snakes, and, when thirsty, nothing to drink
but flames. Pictures were found invaluable. "These holy
representations," pursues the Father Superior, "are half the instruction
that can be given to the Indians. I wanted some pictures of Hell and
souls in perdition, and a few were sent us on paper; but they are too
confused. The devils and the men are so mixed up, that one can make out
nothing without particular attention. If three, four, or five devils
were painted tormenting a soul with different punishments,--one applying
fire, another serpents, another tearing him with pincers, and another
holding him fast with a chain,--this would have a good effect,
especially if everything were made distinct, and misery, rage, and
desperation appeared plainly in his face."

The preparation of the convert for baptism was often very slight. A
dying Algonquin, who, though meagre as a skeleton, had thrown himself,
with a last effort of expiring ferocity, on an Iroquois prisoner, and
torn off his ear with his teeth, was baptized almost immediately. In the
case of converts in health there was far more preparation; yet these
often apostatized. The various objects of instruction may all be
included in one comprehensive word, submission,--an abdication of will
and judgment in favor of the spiritual director, who was the interpreter
and vicegerent of God.



  MASSACHUSETTS ATTACKS QUEBEC.


Like Montreal, Quebec transformed itself in time lost much of its
character of a mission, and became the seat of the colonial government.
In short, it became secularized, though not completely so; for the
priesthood still held an immense influence and disputed the mastery with
the civil and military powers.

In the beginning of William and Mary's War, Count Frontenac, governor of
Canada, sent repeated war-parties to harass the New England borders;
and, in 1690, the General Court of Massachusetts resolved to retort by a
decisive blow. Sir William Phips was chosen to command the intended
expedition. Phips is said to have been one of twenty-six children, all
of the same mother, and was born in 1650 at a rude border settlement,
since called Woolwich, on the Kennebec. His parents were ignorant and
poor; and till eighteen years of age he was employed in keeping sheep.
Such a life ill suited his active and ambitious nature. To better his
condition, he learned the trade of ship-carpenter, and, in the exercise
of it, came to Boston, where he married a widow with some property,
beyond him in years, and much above him in station. About this time, he
learned to read and write, though not too well, for his signature is
like that of a peasant. Still aspiring to greater things, he promised
his wife that he would one day command a king's ship and own a "fair
brick house in the Green Lane of North Boston," a quarter then occupied
by citizens of the better class. He kept his word at both points.
Fortune was inauspicious to him for several years; till at length, under
the pressure of reverses, he conceived the idea of conquering fame and
wealth at one stroke, by fishing up the treasure said to be stored in a
Spanish galleon wrecked fifty years before somewhere in the West Indian
seas. Full of this project, he went to England, where, through
influences which do not plainly appear, he gained a hearing from persons
in high places, and induced the Admiralty to adopt his scheme. A frigate
was given him, and he sailed for the West Indies; whence, after a long
search, he returned unsuccessful, though not without adventures which
proved his mettle. It was the epoch of the buccaneers; and his crew,
tired of a vain and toilsome search, came to the quarter-deck, armed
with cutlasses, and demanded of their captain that he should turn pirate
with them. Phips, a tall and powerful man, instantly fell upon them with
his fists, knocked down the ringleaders, and awed them all into
submission. Not long after, there was a more formidable mutiny; but,
with great courage and address, he quelled it for a time, and held his
crew to their duty till he had brought the ship into Jamaica, and
exchanged them for better men.

Though the leaky condition of the frigate compelled him to abandon the
search, it was not till he had gained information which he thought would
lead to success; and, on his return, he inspired such confidence that
the Duke of Albemarle, with other noblemen and gentlemen, gave him a
fresh outfit, and despatched him again on his Quixotic errand. This time
he succeeded, found the wreck, and took from it gold, silver, and jewels
to the value of three hundred thousand pounds sterling. The crew now
leagued together to seize the ship and divide the prize; and Phips,
pushed to extremity, was compelled to promise that every man of them
should have a share in the treasure, even if he paid it himself. On
reaching England, he kept his pledge so well that, after redeeming it,
only sixteen thousand pounds was left as his portion, which, however,
was an ample fortune in the New England of that day. He gained, too,
what he valued almost as much, the honor of knighthood. Tempting offers
were made him of employment in the royal service; but he had an ardent
love for his own country, and thither he presently returned.

Phips was a rude sailor, bluff, prompt, and choleric. He never gave
proof of intellectual capacity; and such of his success in life as he
did not owe to good luck was due probably to an energetic and
adventurous spirit, aided by a blunt frankness of address that pleased
the great, and commended him to their favor. Two years after the
expedition against Quebec, the king, under the new charter, made him
governor of Massachusetts, a post for which, though totally unfit, he
had been recommended by the elder Mather, who, like his son Cotton,
expected to make use of him. He carried his old habits into his new
office, cudgelled Brinton, the collector of the port, and belabored
Captain Short of the royal navy with his cane. Far from trying to hide
the obscurity of his origin, he leaned to the opposite foible, and was
apt to boast of it, delighting to exhibit himself as a self-made man.
New England writers describe him as honest in private dealings; but, in
accordance with his coarse nature, he seems to have thought that
anything is fair in war. On the other hand, he was warmly patriotic, and
was almost as ready to serve New England as to serve himself.

Returning from an expedition to Acadia, he found Boston alive with
martial preparation. Massachusetts of her own motion had resolved to
attempt the conquest of Quebec. She and her sister colonies had not yet
recovered from the exhaustion of Philip's War, and still less from the
disorders that attended the expulsion of the royal governor and his
adherents. The public treasury was empty, and the recent expeditions
against the eastern Indians had been supported by private subscription.
Worse yet, New England had no competent military commander. The Puritan
gentlemen of the original emigration, some of whom were as well fitted
for military as for civil leadership, had passed from the stage; and, by
a tendency which circumstances made inevitable, they had left none
behind them equally qualified. The great Indian conflict of fifteen
years before had, it is true, formed good partisan chiefs, and proved
that the New England yeoman, defending his family and his hearth, was
not to be surpassed in stubborn fighting; but, since Andros and his
soldiers had been driven out, there was scarcely a single man in the
colony of the slightest training or experience in regular war. Up to
this moment, New England had never asked help of the mother country.
When thousands of savages burst on her defenceless settlements, she had
conquered safety and peace with her own blood and her own slender
resources; but now, as the proposed capture of Quebec would inure to the
profit of the British crown, Governor Bradstreet and his council thought
it not unfitting to ask for a supply of arms and ammunition, of which
they were in great need. The request was refused, and no aid of any kind
came from the English government, whose resources were engrossed by the
Irish war.

While waiting for the reply, the colonial authorities urged on their
preparations, in the hope that the plunder of Quebec would pay the
expenses of its conquest. Humility was not among the New England
virtues, and it was thought a sin to doubt that God would give his
chosen people the victory over papists and idolaters; yet no pains were
spared to insure the divine favor. A proclamation was issued, calling
the people to repentance; a day of fasting was ordained; and, as Mather
expresses it, "the wheel of prayer was kept in continual motion." The
chief difficulty was to provide funds. An attempt was made to collect a
part of the money by private subscription; but, as this plan failed, the
provisional government, already in debt, strained its credit yet
farther, and borrowed the needful sums. Thirty-two trading and fishing
vessels, great and small, were impressed for the service. The largest
was a ship called the "Six Friends," engaged in the dangerous West India
trade, and carrying forty-four guns. A call was made for volunteers, and
many enrolled themselves; but, as more were wanted, a press was ordered
to complete the number. So rigorously was it applied that, what with
voluntary and enforced enlistment, one town, that of Gloucester, was
deprived of two thirds of its fencible men. There was not a moment of
doubt as to the choice of a commander, for Phips was imagined to be the
very man for the work. One John Walley, a respectable citizen of
Barnstable, was made second in command, with the modest rank of major;
and a sufficient number of ship-masters, merchants, master mechanics,
and substantial farmers, were commissioned as subordinate officers.
About the middle of July, the committee charged with the preparations
reported that all was ready. Still there was a long delay. The vessel
sent early in spring to ask aid from England had not returned. Phips
waited for her as long as he dared, and the best of the season was over
when he resolved to put to sea. The rustic warriors, duly formed into
companies, were sent on board; and the fleet sailed from Nantasket on
the ninth of August. Including sailors, it carried twenty-two hundred
men, with provisions for four months, but insufficient ammunition and no
pilot for the St. Lawrence.

The delay at Boston, waiting aid from England that never came, was not
propitious to Phips; nor were the wind and the waves. The voyage to the
St. Lawrence was a long one; and when he began, without a pilot, to
grope his way up the unknown river, the weather seemed in league with
his enemies. He appears, moreover, to have wasted time. What was most
vital to his success was rapidity of movement; yet, whether by his fault
or his misfortune, he remained three weeks within three days' sail of
Quebec. While anchored off Tadoussac, with the wind ahead, he passed the
idle hours in holding councils of war and framing rules for the
government of his men; and, when at length the wind veered to the east,
it is doubtful if he made the best use of his opportunity.

When, after his protracted voyage, Phips sailed into the Basin of
Quebec, one of the grandest scenes on the western continent opened upon
his sight: the wide expanse of waters, the lofty promontory beyond, and
the opposing heights of Levi; the cataract of Montmorenci, the distant
range of the Laurentian Mountains, the warlike rock with its diadem of
walls and towers, the roofs of the Lower Town clustering on the strand
beneath, the Château St. Louis perched at the brink of the cliff, and
over it the white banner, spangled with _fleurs-de-lis_, flaunting
defiance in the clear autumnal air. Perhaps, as he gazed, a suspicion
seized him that the task he had undertaken was less easy than he had
thought; but he had conquered once by a simple summons to surrender, and
he resolved to try its virtue again.

The fleet anchored a little below Quebec; and towards ten o'clock the
French saw a boat put out from the admiral's ship, bearing a flag of
truce. Four canoes went from the Lower Town, and met it midway. It
brought a subaltern officer, who announced himself as the bearer of a
letter from Sir William Phips to the French commander. He was taken into
one of the canoes and paddled to the quay, after being completely
blindfolded by a bandage which covered half his face. An officer named
Prévost, sent by Count Frontenac, received him as he landed, and ordered
two sergeants to take him by the arms and lead him to the governor. His
progress was neither rapid nor direct. They drew him hither and thither,
delighting to make him clamber in the dark over every possible
obstruction; while a noisy crowd hustled him, and laughing women called
him Colin Maillard, the name of the chief player in blindman's buff.
Amid a prodigious hubbub, intended to bewilder him and impress him with
a sense of immense warlike preparation, they dragged him over the three
barricades of Mountain Street, and brought him at last into a large room
of the château. Here they took the bandage from his eyes. He stood for a
moment with an air of astonishment and some confusion. The governor
stood before him, haughty and stern, surrounded by French and Canadian
officers, Maricourt, Sainte-Hélène, Longueuil, Villebon, Valrenne,
Bienville, and many more, bedecked with gold lace and silver lace,
perukes and powder, plumes and ribbons, and all the martial foppery in
which they took delight, and regarding the envoy with keen, defiant
eyes. After a moment, he recovered his breath and his composure,
saluted Frontenac, and, expressing a wish that the duty assigned him had
been of a more agreeable nature, handed him the letter of Phips.
Frontenac gave it to an interpreter, who read it aloud in French that
all might hear. It ran thus:--

    _"Sir William Phips, Knight, General and Commander-in-chief in
    and over their Majesties' Forces of New England, by Sea and
    Land, to Count Frontenac, Lieutenant-General and Governour for
    the French King at Canada; or, in his absence, to his Deputy, or
    him or them in chief command at Quebeck:_

    "The war between the crowns of England and France doth not only
    sufficiently warrant, but the destruction made by the French and
    Indians, under your command and encouragement, upon the persons
    and estates of their Majesties' subjects of New England, without
    provocation on their part, hath put them under the necessity of
    this expedition for their own security and satisfaction. And
    although the cruelties and barbarities used against them by the
    French and Indians might, upon the present opportunity, prompt
    unto a severe revenge, yet, being desirous to avoid all inhumane
    and unchristian-like actions, and to prevent shedding of blood
    as much as may be,

    "I, the aforesaid William Phips, Knight, do hereby, in the name
    and in the behalf of their most excellent Majesties, William and
    Mary, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland,
    Defenders of the Faith, and by order of their said Majesties'
    government of the Massachuset-colony in New England, demand a
    present surrender of your forts and castles, undemolished, and
    the King's and other stores, unimbezzled, with a seasonable
    delivery of all captives; together with a surrender of all your
    persons and estates to my dispose: upon the doing whereof, you
    may expect mercy from me, as a Christian, according to what
    shall be found for their Majesties' service and the subjects'
    security. Which, if you refuse forthwith to do, I am come
    provided, and am resolved, by the help of God, in whom I trust,
    by force of arms to revenge all wrongs and injuries offered, and
    bring you under subjection to the Crown of England, and, when
    too late, make you wish you had accepted of the favour tendered.

    "Your answer positive in an hour, returned by your own trumpet,
    with the return of mine, is required upon the peril that will
    ensue."

When the reading was finished, the Englishman pulled his watch from his
pocket, and handed it to the governor. Frontenac could not, or pretended
that he could not, see the hour. The messenger thereupon told him that
it was ten o'clock, and that he must have his answer before eleven. A
general cry of indignation arose; and Valrenne called out that Phips was
nothing but a pirate, and that his man ought to be hanged. Frontenac
contained himself for a moment, and then said to the envoy:--

"I will not keep you waiting so long. Tell your general that I do not
recognize King William; and that the Prince of Orange, who so styles
himself, is a usurper, who has violated the most sacred laws of blood in
attempting to dethrone his father-in-law. I know no king of England but
King James. Your general ought not to be surprised at the hostilities
which he says that the French have carried on in the colony of
Massachusetts; for, as the king my master has taken the king of England
under his protection, and is about to replace him on his throne by force
of arms, he might have expected that his Majesty would order me to make
war on a people who have rebelled against their lawful prince." Then,
turning with a smile to the officers about him: "Even if your general
offered me conditions a little more gracious, and if I had a mind to
accept them, does he suppose that these brave gentlemen would give
their consent, and advise me to trust a man who broke his agreement
with the governor of Port Royal, or a rebel who has failed in his duty
to his king, and forgotten all the favors he had received from him, to
follow a prince who pretends to be the liberator of England and the
defender of the faith, and yet destroys the laws and privileges of the
kingdom and overthrows its religion? The divine justice which your
general invokes in his letter will not fail to punish such acts
severely."

The messenger seemed astonished and startled; but he presently asked if
the governor would give him his answer in writing.

"No," returned Frontenac, "I will answer your general only by the mouths
of my cannon, that he may learn that a man like me is not to be summoned
after this fashion. Let him do his best, and I will do mine;" and he
dismissed the Englishman abruptly. He was again blindfolded, led over
the barricades, and sent back to the fleet by the boat that brought him.

Phips had often given proof of personal courage, but for the past three
weeks his conduct seems that of a man conscious that he is charged with
a work too large for his capacity. He had spent a good part of his time
in holding councils of war; and now, when he heard the answer of
Frontenac, he called another to consider what should be done. A plan of
attack was at length arranged. The militia were to be landed on the
shore of Beauport, which was just below Quebec, though separated from it
by the St. Charles. They were then to cross this river by a ford
practicable at low water, climb the heights of St. Geneviève, and gain
the rear of the town. The small vessels of the fleet were to aid the
movement by ascending the St. Charles as far as the ford, holding the
enemy in check by their fire, and carrying provisions, ammunition, and
intrenching tools, for the use of the land troops. When these had
crossed and were ready to attack Quebec in the rear, Phips was to
cannonade it in front, and land two hundred men under cover of his guns
to effect a diversion by storming the barricades. Some of the French
prisoners, from whom their captors appear to have received a great deal
of correct information, told the admiral that there was a place a mile
or two above the town where the heights might be scaled and the rear of
the fortifications reached from a direction opposite to that proposed.
This was precisely the movement by which Wolfe afterwards gained his
memorable victory; but Phips chose to abide by the original plan.

While the plan was debated, the opportunity for accomplishing it ebbed
away. It was still early when the messenger returned from Quebec; but,
before Phips was ready to act, the day was on the wane and the tide was
against him. He lay quietly at his moorings when, in the evening, a
great shouting, mingled with the roll of drums and the sound of fifes,
was heard from the Upper Town. The English officers asked their
prisoner, Granville, what it meant. "Ma foi, Messieurs," he replied,
"you have lost the game. It is the Governor of Montreal with the people
from the country above. There is nothing for you now but to pack and go
home." In fact, Callières had arrived with seven or eight hundred men,
many of them regulars. With these were bands of _coureurs de bois_ and
other young Canadians, all full of fight, singing and whooping with
martial glee as they passed the western gate and trooped down St. Louis
Street.

The next day was gusty and blustering; and still Phips lay quiet,
waiting on the winds and the waves. A small vessel, with sixty men on
board, under Captain Ephraim Savage, ran in towards the shore of
Beauport to examine the landing, and stuck fast in the mud. The
Canadians plied her with bullets, and brought a cannon to bear on her.
They might have waded out and boarded her, but Savage and his men kept
up so hot a fire that they forbore the attempt; and, when the tide rose,
she floated again.

There was another night of tranquillity; but at about eleven on
Wednesday morning the French heard the English fifes and drums in full
action, while repeated shouts of "God save King William!" rose from all
the vessels. This lasted an hour or more; after which a great number of
boats, loaded with men, put out from the fleet and rowed rapidly towards
the shore of Beauport. The tide was low, and the boats grounded before
reaching the landing-place. The French on the rock could see the troops
through telescopes, looking in the distance like a swarm of black ants,
as they waded through mud and water, and formed in companies along the
strand. They were some thirteen hundred in number, and were commanded by
Major Walley. Frontenac had sent three hundred sharpshooters, under
Sainte-Hélène, to meet them and hold them in check. A battalion of
troops followed; but, long before they could reach the spot,
Sainte-Hélène's men, with a few militia from the neighboring parishes,
and a band of Huron warriors from Lorette, threw themselves into the
thickets along the front of the English, and opened a distant but
galling fire upon the compact bodies of the enemy. Walley ordered a
charge. The New England men rushed, in a disorderly manner, but with
great impetuosity, up the rising ground; received two volleys, which
failed to check them; and drove back the assailants in some confusion.
They turned, however, and fought in Indian fashion with courage and
address, leaping and dodging among trees, rocks, and bushes, firing as
they retreated, and inflicting more harm than they received. Towards
evening they disappeared; and Walley, whose men had been much scattered
in the desultory fight, drew them together as well as he could, and
advanced towards the St. Charles, in order to meet the vessels which
were to aid him in passing the ford. Here he posted sentinels, and
encamped for the night. He had lost four killed and about sixty wounded,
and imagined that he had killed twenty or thirty of the enemy. In fact,
however, their loss was much less, though among the killed was a
valuable officer, the Chevalier de Clermont, and among the wounded the
veteran captain of Beauport, Juchereau de Saint-Denis, more than
sixty-four years of age. In the evening, a deserter came to the English
camp, and brought the unwelcome intelligence that there were three
thousand armed men in Quebec.

Meanwhile, Phips, whose fault hitherto had not been an excess of
promptitude, grew impatient, and made a premature movement inconsistent
with the preconcerted plan. He left his moorings, anchored his largest
ships before the town, and prepared to cannonade it; but the fiery
veteran who watched him from the Château St. Louis anticipated him, and
gave him the first shot. Phips replied furiously, opening fire with
every gun that he could bring to bear; while the rock paid him back in
kind, and belched flame and smoke from all its batteries. So fierce and
rapid was the firing, that La Hontan compares it to volleys of musketry;
and old officers, who had seen many sieges, declared that they had never
known the like. The din was prodigious, reverberated from the
surrounding heights, and rolled back from the distant mountains in one
continuous roar. On the part of the English, however, surprisingly
little was accomplished beside noise and smoke. The practice of their
gunners was so bad that many of their shot struck harmlessly against the
face of the cliff. Their guns, too, were very light, and appear to have
been charged with a view to the most rigid economy of gunpowder; for the
balls failed to pierce the stone walls of the buildings, and did so
little damage that, as the French boasted, twenty crowns would have
repaired it all. Night came at length, and the turmoil ceased.

Phips lay quiet till daybreak, when Frontenac sent a shot to waken him,
and the cannonade began again. Sainte-Hélène had returned from Beauport;
and he, with his brother Maricourt, took charge of the two batteries of
the Lower Town, aiming the guns in person, and throwing balls of
eighteen and twenty-four pounds with excellent precision against the
four largest ships of the fleet. One of their shots cut the flagstaff of
the admiral, and the cross of St. George fell into the river. It drifted
with the tide towards the north shore; whereupon several Canadians
paddled out in a birch canoe, secured it, and brought it back in
triumph. On the spire of the cathedral in the Upper Town had been hung a
picture of the Holy Family, as an invocation of divine aid. The Puritan
gunners wasted their ammunition in vain attempts to knock it down. That
it escaped their malice was ascribed to miracle, but the miracle would
have been greater if they had hit it.

At length, one of the ships, which had suffered most, hauled off and
abandoned the fight. That of the admiral had fared little better, and
now her condition grew desperate. With her rigging torn, her mainmast
half cut through, her mizzen-mast splintered, her cabin pierced, and
her hull riddled with shot, another volley seemed likely to sink her,
when Phips ordered her to be cut loose from her moorings, and she
drifted out of fire, leaving cable and anchor behind. The remaining
ships soon gave over the conflict, and withdrew to stations where they
could neither do harm nor suffer it.

Phips had thrown away nearly all his ammunition in this futile and
disastrous attack, which should have been deferred till the moment when
Walley, with his land force, had gained the rear of the town. Walley lay
in his camp, his men wet, shivering with cold, famished, and sickening
with the small-pox. Food, and all other supplies, were to have been
brought him by the small vessels, which should have entered the mouth of
the St. Charles and aided him to cross it. But he waited for them in
vain. Every vessel that carried a gun had busied itself in cannonading,
and the rest did not move. There appears to have been insubordination
among the masters of these small craft, some of whom, being owners or
part-owners of the vessels they commanded, were probably unwilling to
run them into danger. Walley was no soldier; but he saw that to attempt
the passage of the river without aid, under the batteries of the town
and in the face of forces twice as numerous as his own, was not an easy
task. Frontenac, on his part, says that he wished him to do so, knowing
that the attempt would ruin him. The New England men were eager to push
on; but the night of Thursday, the day of Phips's repulse, was so cold
that ice formed more than an inch in thickness, and the half-starved
militia suffered intensely. Six field-pieces, with their ammunition, had
been sent ashore; but they were nearly useless, as there were no means
of moving them. Half a barrel of musket powder, and one biscuit for
each man, were also landed; and with this meagre aid Walley was left to
capture Quebec. He might, had he dared, have made a dash across the ford
on the morning of Thursday, and assaulted the town in the rear while
Phips was cannonading it in front; but his courage was not equal to so
desperate a venture. The firing ceased, and the possible opportunity was
lost. The citizen soldier despaired of success; and, on the morning of
Friday, he went on board the admiral's ship to explain his situation.
While he was gone, his men put themselves in motion, and advanced along
the borders of the St. Charles towards the ford. Frontenac, with three
battalions of regular troops, went to receive them at the crossing;
while Sainte-Hélène, with his brother Longueuil, passed the ford with a
body of Canadians, and opened fire on them from the neighboring
thickets. Their advance parties were driven in, and there was a hot
skirmish, the chief loss falling on the New England men, who were fully
exposed. On the side of the French, Sainte-Hélène was mortally wounded,
and his brother was hurt by a spent ball. Towards evening, the Canadians
withdrew, and the English encamped for the night. Their commander
presently rejoined them. The admiral had given him leave to withdraw
them to the fleet, and boats were accordingly sent to bring them off;
but, as these did not arrive till about daybreak, it was necessary to
defer the embarkation till the next night.

At dawn, Quebec was all astir with the beating of drums and the ringing
of bells. The New England drums replied; and Walley drew up his men
under arms, expecting an attack, for the town was so near that the
hubbub of voices from within could plainly be heard. The noise gradually
died away; and, except a few shots from the ramparts, the invaders were
left undisturbed. Walley sent two or three companies to beat up the
neighboring thickets, where he suspected that the enemy was lurking. On
the way, they had the good luck to find and kill a number of cattle,
which they cooked and ate on the spot; whereupon, being greatly
refreshed and invigorated, they dashed forward in complete disorder, and
were soon met by the fire of the ambushed Canadians. Several more
companies were sent to their support, and the skirmishing became lively.
Three detachments from Quebec had crossed the river; and the militia of
Beauport and Beaupré had hastened to join them. They fought like
Indians, hiding behind trees or throwing themselves flat among the
bushes, and laying repeated ambuscades as they slowly fell back. At
length, they all made a stand on a hill behind the buildings and fences
of a farm; and here they held their ground till night, while the New
England men taunted them as cowards who would never fight except under
cover.

Walley, who with his main body had stood in arms all day, now called in
the skirmishers, and fell back to the landing-place, where, as soon as
it grew dark, the boats arrived from the fleet. The sick men, of whom
there were many, were sent on board, and then, amid floods of rain, the
whole force embarked in noisy confusion, leaving behind them in the mud
five of their cannon. Hasty as was their parting, their conduct on the
whole had been creditable; and La Hontan, who was in Quebec at the time,
says of them, "They fought vigorously, though as ill-disciplined as men
gathered together at random could be; for they did not lack courage,
and, if they failed, it was by reason of their entire ignorance of
discipline, and because they were exhausted by the fatigues of the
voyage." Of Phips he speaks with contempt, and says that he could not
have served the French better if they had bribed him to stand all the
while with his arms folded. Some allowance should, nevertheless, be made
him for the unmanageable character of the force under his command, the
constitution of which was fatal to military subordination.

On Sunday, the morning after the re-embarkation, Phips called a council
of officers, and it was resolved that the men should rest for a day or
two, that there should be a meeting for prayer, and that, if ammunition
enough could be found, another landing should be attempted; but the
rough weather prevented the prayer-meeting, and the plan of a new attack
was fortunately abandoned.

Quebec remained in agitation and alarm till Tuesday, when Phips weighed
anchor and disappeared, with all his fleet, behind the Island of
Orleans. He did not go far, as indeed he could not, but stopped four
leagues below to mend rigging, fortify wounded masts, and stop
shot-holes. Subercase had gone with a detachment to watch the retiring
enemy; and Phips was repeatedly seen among his men, on a scaffold at the
side of his ship, exercising his old trade of carpenter. This delay was
turned to good use by an exchange of prisoners. Chief among those in the
hands of the French was Captain Davis, late commander at Casco Bay; and
there were also two young daughters of Lieutenant Clark, who had been
killed at the same place. Frontenac himself had humanely ransomed these
children from the Indians; and Madame de Champigny, wife of the
intendant, had, with equal kindness, bought from them a little girl
named Sarah Gerrish, and placed her in charge of the nuns at the
Hôtel-Dieu, who had become greatly attached to her, while she, on her
part, left them with reluctance. The French had the better in these
exchanges, receiving able-bodied men, and returning, with the exception
of Davis, only women and children.

The heretics were gone, and Quebec breathed freely again. Her escape had
been a narrow one; not that three thousand men, in part regular troops,
defending one of the strongest positions on the continent, and commanded
by Frontenac, could not defy the attacks of two thousand raw fishermen
and farmers, led by an ignorant civilian, but the numbers which were a
source of strength were at the same time a source of weakness. Nearly
all the adult males of Canada were gathered at Quebec, and there was
imminent danger of starvation. Cattle from the neighboring parishes had
been hastily driven into the town; but there was little other provision,
and before Phips retreated the pinch of famine had begun. Had he come a
week earlier or stayed a week later, the French themselves believed that
Quebec would have fallen, in the one case for want of men, and in the
other for want of food.

Phips returned crestfallen to Boston late in November; and one by one
the rest of the fleet came straggling after him, battered and
weather-beaten. Some did not appear till February, and three or four
never came at all. The autumn and early winter were unusually stormy.
Captain Rainsford, with sixty men, was wrecked on the Island of
Anticosti, where more than half their number died of cold and misery. In
the other vessels, some were drowned, some frost-bitten, and above two
hundred killed by small-pox and fever.

At Boston, all was dismay and gloom. The Puritan bowed before "this
awful frown of God," and searched his conscience for the sin that had
brought upon him so stern a chastisement. Massachusetts, already
impoverished, found herself in extremity. The war, instead of paying
for itself, had burdened her with an additional debt of fifty thousand
pounds. The sailors and soldiers were clamorous for their pay; and, to
satisfy them, the colony was forced for the first time in its history to
issue a paper currency. It was made receivable at a premium for all
public debts, and was also fortified by a provision for its early
redemption by taxation; a provision which was carried into effect in
spite of poverty and distress.

Massachusetts had made her usual mistake. She had confidently believed
that ignorance and inexperience could match the skill of a tried
veteran, and that the rude courage of her fishermen and farmers could
triumph without discipline or leadership. The conditions of her material
prosperity were adverse to efficiency in war. A trading republic,
without trained officers, may win victories; but it wins them either by
accident or by an extravagant outlay in money and life.



  THE HEIGHTS OF ABRAHAM.


The early part of the Seven Years' War was disastrous to England. The
tide turned with the accession to power of the great war minister,
William Pitt. In 1759, he sent General James Wolfe with a combined
military and naval force to capture Quebec. The British troops numbered
somewhat less than nine thousand, while Montcalm and Vaudreuil were
posted to receive them, on positions almost impregnable, with an army of
regulars, Canadians, and Indians, amounting in all to about sixteen
thousand. The great height of the shores made the British ships of
little or no use for purposes of attack.

Wolfe took possession of Point Levi, from which he bombarded Quebec. He
also seized the high grounds just below the Montmorenci, and vainly
tried to cross that stream above the cataract and gain the rear of
Montcalm's army, which lay encamped along the shore from the Montmorenci
to the city. Failing in this and every other attempt to force the enemy
to a battle, he rashly resolved to attack them in front, up the steep
declivities at the top of which they were intrenched. The grenadiers
dashed forward prematurely and without orders, struggling desperately to
scale the heights under a deadly fire. The result was a complete
repulse, with heavy loss.

[Illustration: SIEGE OF QUEBEC,
1759.]

The capture of Quebec now seemed hopeless. Wolfe was almost in despair.
His body was as frail as his spirit was ardent and daring. Since the
siege began he had passed with ceaseless energy from camp to camp,
animating the troops, observing everything, and directing everything;
but now the pale face and tall lean form were seen no more, and the
rumor spread that the General was dangerously ill. He had in fact been
seized by an access of the disease that had tortured him for some time
past; and fever had followed. His quarters were at a French farmhouse in
the camp at Montmorenci; and here, as he lay in an upper chamber,
helpless in bed, his singular and most unmilitary features haggard with
disease and drawn with pain, no man could less have looked the hero. But
as the needle, though quivering, points always to the pole, so, through
torment and languor and the heats of fever, the mind of Wolfe dwelt on
the capture of Quebec. His illness, which began before the twentieth of
August, had so far subsided on the twenty-fifth that Captain Knox wrote
in his Diary of that day: "His Excellency General Wolfe is on the
recovery, to the inconceivable joy of the whole army." On the
twenty-ninth he was able to write or dictate a letter to the three
brigadiers, Monckton, Townshend, and Murray: "That the public service
may not suffer by the General's indisposition, he begs the brigadiers
will meet and consult together for the public utility and advantage, and
consider of the best method to attack the enemy." The letter then
proposes three plans, all bold to audacity. The first was to send a part
of the army to ford the Montmorenci eight or nine miles above its mouth,
march through the forest, and fall on the rear of the French at
Beauport, while the rest landed and attacked them in front. The second
was to cross the ford at the mouth of the Montmorenci and march along
the strand, under the French intrenchments, till a place could be found
where the troops might climb the heights. The third was to make a
general attack from boats at the Beauport flats. Wolfe had before
entertained two other plans, one of which was to scale the heights at
St. Michel, about a league above Quebec; but this he had abandoned on
learning that the French were there in force to receive him. The other
was to storm the Lower Town; but this also he had abandoned, because the
Upper Town, which commanded it, would still remain inaccessible.

The brigadiers met in consultation, rejected the three plans proposed in
the letter, and advised that an attempt should be made to gain a footing
on the north shore above the town, place the army between Montcalm and
his base of supply, and so force him to fight or surrender. The scheme
was similar to that of the heights of St. Michel. It seemed desperate,
but so did all the rest; and if by chance it should succeed, the gain
was far greater than could follow any success below the town. Wolfe
embraced it at once.

Not that he saw much hope in it. He knew that every chance was against
him. Disappointment in the past and gloom in the future, the pain and
exhaustion of disease, toils, and anxieties "too great," in the words of
Burke, "to be supported by a delicate constitution, and a body unequal
to the vigorous and enterprising soul that it lodged," threw him at
times into deep dejection. By those intimate with him he was heard to
say that he would not go back defeated, "to be exposed to the censure
and reproach of an ignorant populace." In other moods he felt that he
ought not to sacrifice what was left of his diminished army in vain
conflict with hopeless obstacles. But his final resolve once taken, he
would not swerve from it. His fear was that he might not be able to lead
his troops in person. "I know perfectly well you cannot cure me," he
said to his physician; "but pray make me up so that I may be without
pain for a few days, and able to do my duty: that is all I want."

In the last of August, he was able for the first time to leave the
house. It was on this same day that he wrote his last letter to his
mother: "My writing to you will convince you that no personal evils
worse than defeats and disappointments have fallen upon me. The enemy
puts nothing to risk, and I can't in conscience put the whole army to
risk. My antagonist has wisely shut himself up in inaccessible
intrenchments, so that I can't get at him without spilling a torrent of
blood, and that perhaps to little purpose. The Marquis de Montcalm is at
the head of a great number of bad soldiers, and I am at the head of a
small number of good ones, that wish for nothing so much as to fight
him; but the wary old fellow avoids an action, doubtful of the behavior
of his army. People must be of the profession to understand the
disadvantages and difficulties we labor under, arising from the uncommon
natural strength of the country."

On the second of September a vessel was sent to England with his last
despatch to Pitt. It begins thus: "The obstacles we have met with in the
operations of the campaign are much greater than we had reason to expect
or could foresee; not so much from the number of the enemy (though
superior to us) as from the natural strength of the country, which the
Marquis of Montcalm seems wisely to depend upon. When I learned that
succors of all kinds had been thrown into Quebec; that five battalions
of regular troops, completed from the best inhabitants of the country,
some of the troops of the colony, and every Canadian that was able to
bear arms, besides several nations of savages, had taken the field in a
very advantageous situation,--I could not flatter myself that I should
be able to reduce the place. I sought, however, an occasion to attack
their army, knowing well that with these troops I was able to fight, and
hoping that a victory might disperse them." Then, after recounting the
events of the campaign with admirable clearness, he continues: "I found
myself so ill, and am still so weak, that I begged the general officers
to consult together for the general utility. They are all of opinion
that, as more ships and provisions are now got above the town, they
should try, by conveying up a corps of four or five thousand men (which
is nearly the whole strength of the army after the Points of Levi and
Orleans are left in a proper state of defence), to draw the enemy from
their present situation and bring them to an action. I have acquiesced
in the proposal, and we are preparing to put it into execution." The
letter ends thus: "By the list of disabled officers, many of whom are of
rank, you may perceive that the army is much weakened. By the nature of
the river, the most formidable part of this armament is deprived of the
power of acting; yet we have almost the whole force of Canada to oppose.
In this situation there is such a choice of difficulties that I own
myself at a loss how to determine. The affairs of Great Britain, I know,
require the most vigorous measures; but the courage of a handful of
brave troops should be exerted only when there is some hope of a
favorable event; however, you may be assured that the small part of the
campaign which remains shall be employed, as far as I am able, for the
honor of His Majesty and the interest of the nation, in which I am sure
of being well seconded by the Admiral and by the generals; happy if our
efforts here can contribute to the success of His Majesty's arms in any
other parts of America."

Perhaps he was as near despair as his undaunted nature was capable of
being. In his present state of body and mind he was a hero without the
light and cheer of heroism. He flattered himself with no illusions, but
saw the worst and faced it all. He seems to have been entirely without
excitement. The languor of disease, the desperation of the chances, and
the greatness of the stake may have wrought to tranquillize him. His
energy was doubly tasked: to bear up his own sinking frame, and to
achieve an almost hopeless feat of arms.

Audacious as it was, his plan cannot be called rash if we may accept the
statement of two well-informed writers on the French side. They say that
on the tenth of September the English naval commanders held a council on
board the flagship, in which it was resolved that the lateness of the
season required the fleet to leave Quebec without delay. They say
further that Wolfe then went to the Admiral, told him that he had found
a place where the heights could be scaled, that he would send up a
hundred and fifty picked men to feel the way, and that if they gained a
lodgment at the top, the other troops should follow; if, on the other
hand, the French were there in force to oppose them, he would not
sacrifice the army in a hopeless attempt, but embark them for home,
consoled by the thought that all had been done that man could do. On
this, concludes the story, the Admiral and his officers consented to
wait the result.

As Wolfe had informed Pitt, his army was greatly weakened. Since the end
of June his loss in killed and wounded was more than eight hundred and
fifty, including two colonels, two majors, nineteen captains, and
thirty-four subalterns; and to these were to be added a greater number
disabled by disease.

The squadron of Admiral Holmes above Quebec had now increased to
twenty-two vessels, great and small. One of the last that went up was a
diminutive schooner, armed with a few swivels, and jocosely named the
"Terror of France." She sailed by the town in broad daylight, the
French, incensed at her impudence, blazing at her from all their
batteries; but she passed unharmed, anchored by the Admiral's ship, and
saluted him triumphantly with her swivels.

Wolfe's first move towards executing his plan was the critical one of
evacuating the camp at Montmorenci. This was accomplished on the third
of September. Montcalm sent a strong force to fall on the rear of the
retiring English. Monckton saw the movement from Point Levi, embarked
two battalions in the boats of the fleet, and made a feint of landing at
Beauport. Montcalm recalled his troops to repulse the threatened attack;
and the English withdrew from Montmorenci unmolested, some to the Point
of Orleans, others to Point Levi. On the night of the fourth a fleet of
flat boats passed above the town with the baggage and stores. On the
fifth, Murray, with four battalions, marched up to the River Etechemin,
and forded it under a hot fire from the French batteries at Sillery.
Monckton and Townshend followed with three more battalions, and the
united force, of about thirty-six hundred men, was embarked on board the
ships of Holmes, where Wolfe joined them on the same evening.

These movements of the English filled the French commanders with mingled
perplexity, anxiety, and hope. A deserter told them that Admiral
Saunders was impatient to be gone. Vaudreuil grew confident. "The
breaking up of the camp at Montmorenci," he says, "and the abandonment
of the intrenchments there, the re-embarkation on board the vessels
above Quebec of the troops who had encamped on the south bank, the
movements of these vessels, the removal of the heaviest pieces of
artillery from the batteries of Point Levi,--these and the lateness of
the season all combined to announce the speedy departure of the fleet,
several vessels of which had even sailed down the river already. The
prisoners and the deserters who daily came in told us that this was the
common report in their army." He wrote to Bourlamaque on the first of
September: "Everything proves that the grand design of the English has
failed."

Yet he was ceaselessly watchful. So was Montcalm; and he, too, on the
night of the second, snatched a moment to write to Bourlamaque from his
headquarters in the stone house, by the river of Beauport: "The night is
dark; it rains; our troops are in their tents, with clothes on, ready
for an alarm; I in my boots; my horses saddled. In fact, this is my
usual way. I wish you were here; for I cannot be everywhere, though I
multiply myself, and have not taken off my clothes since the
twenty-third of June." On the eleventh of September he wrote his last
letter to Bourlamaque, and probably the last that his pen ever traced.
"I am overwhelmed with work, and should often lose temper, like you, if
I did not remember that I am paid by Europe for not losing it. Nothing
new since my last. I give the enemy another month, or something less, to
stay here." The more sanguine Vaudreuil would hardly give them a week.

Meanwhile, no precaution was spared. The force under Bougainville above
Quebec was raised to three thousand men. He was ordered to watch the
shore as far as Jacques-Cartier, and follow with his main body every
movement of Holmes's squadron. There was little fear for the heights
near the town; they were thought inaccessible. Even Montcalm believed
them safe, and had expressed himself to that effect some time before.
"We need not suppose," he wrote to Vaudreuil, "that the enemy have
wings;" and again, speaking of the very place where Wolfe afterwards
landed, "I swear to you that a hundred men posted there would stop their
whole army." He was right. A hundred watchful and determined men could
have held the position long enough for reinforcements to come up.

The hundred men were there. Captain de Vergor, of the colony troops,
commanded them, and reinforcements were within his call; for the
battalion of Guienne had been ordered to encamp close at hand on the
Plains of Abraham. Vergor's post, called Anse du Foulon, was a mile and
a half from Quebec. A little beyond it, by the brink of the cliffs, was
another post, called Samos, held by seventy men with four cannon; and,
beyond this again, the heights of Sillery were guarded by a hundred and
thirty men, also with cannon. These were outposts of Bougainville, whose
headquarters were at Cap-Rouge, six miles above Sillery, and whose
troops were in continual movement along the intervening shore. Thus all
was vigilance; for while the French were strong in the hope of speedy
delivery, they felt that there was no safety till the tents of the
invader had vanished from their shores and his ships from their river.
"What we knew," says one of them, "of the character of M. Wolfe, that
impetuous, bold, and intrepid warrior, prepared us for a last attack
before he left us."

Wolfe had been very ill on the evening of the fourth. The troops knew
it, and their spirits sank; but, after a night of torment, he grew
better, and was soon among them again, rekindling their ardor, and
imparting a cheer that he could not share. For himself he had no pity;
but when he heard of the illness of two officers in one of the ships, he
sent them a message of warm sympathy, advised them to return to Point
Levi, and offered them his own barge and an escort. They thanked him,
but replied that, come what might, they would see the enterprise to an
end. Another officer remarked in his hearing that one of the invalids
had a very delicate constitution. "Don't tell me of constitution," said
Wolfe; "he has good spirit, and good spirit will carry a man through
everything." An immense moral force bore up his own frail body and
forced it to its work.

Major Robert Stobo, who, five years before, had been given as a hostage
to the French at the capture of Fort Necessity, arrived about this time
in a vessel from Halifax. He had long been a prisoner at Quebec, not
always in close custody, and had used his opportunities to acquaint
himself with the neighborhood. In the spring of this year he and an
officer of rangers named Stevens had made their escape with
extraordinary skill and daring; and he now returned to give his
countrymen the benefit of his local knowledge. His biographer says that
it was he who directed Wolfe in the choice of a landing-place. Be this
as it may, Wolfe in person examined the river and the shores as far as
Pointe-aux-Trembles; till at length, landing on the south side a little
above Quebec, and looking across the water with a telescope, he descried
a path that ran with a long slope up the face of the woody precipice,
and saw at the top a cluster of tents. They were those of Vergor's
guard at the Anse du Foulon, now called Wolfe's Cove. As he could see
but ten or twelve of them, he thought that the guard could not be
numerous, and might be overpowered. His hope would have been stronger if
he had known that Vergor had once been tried for misconduct and
cowardice in the surrender of Beauséjour, and saved from merited
disgrace by the friendship of the intendant Bigot and the protection of
Vaudreuil.

The morning of the seventh was fair and warm, and the vessels of Holmes,
their crowded decks gay with scarlet uniforms, sailed up the river to
Cap-Rouge. A lively scene awaited them; for here were the headquarters
of Bougainville, and here lay his principal force, while the rest
watched the banks above and below. The cove into which the little river
runs was guarded by floating batteries; the surrounding shore was
defended by breastworks; and a large body of regulars, militia, and
mounted Canadians in blue uniforms moved to and fro, with restless
activity, on the hills behind. When the vessels came to anchor, the
horsemen dismounted and formed in line with the infantry; then, with
loud shouts, the whole rushed down the heights to man their works at the
shore. That true Briton, Captain Knox, looked on with a critical eye
from the gangway of his ship, and wrote that night in his Diary that
they had made a ridiculous noise. "How different!" he exclaims, "how
nobly awful and expressive of true valor is the customary silence of the
British troops!"

In the afternoon the ships opened fire, while the troops entered the
boats and rowed up and down as if looking for a landing-place. It was
but a feint of Wolfe to deceive Bougainville as to his real design. A
heavy easterly rain set in on the next morning, and lasted two days
without respite. All operations were suspended, and the men suffered
greatly in the crowded transports. Half of them were therefore landed on
the south shore, where they made their quarters in the village of St.
Nicolas, refreshed themselves, and dried their wet clothing, knapsacks,
and blankets.

For several successive days the squadron of Holmes was allowed to drift
up the river with the flood tide and down with the ebb, thus passing and
repassing incessantly between the neighborhood of Quebec on one hand,
and a point high above Cap-Rouge on the other; while Bougainville,
perplexed, and always expecting an attack, followed the ships to and fro
along the shore, by day and by night, till his men were exhausted with
ceaseless forced marches.

At last the time for action came. On Wednesday, the twelfth, the troops
at St. Nicolas were embarked again, and all were told to hold themselves
in readiness. Wolfe, from the flagship "Sutherland," issued his last
general orders. "The enemy's force is now divided, great scarcity of
provisions in their camp, and universal discontent among the Canadians.
Our troops below are in readiness to join us; all the light artillery
and tools are embarked at the Point of Levi; and the troops will land
where the French seem least to expect it. The first body that gets on
shore is to march directly to the enemy and drive them from any little
post they may occupy; the officers must be careful that the succeeding
bodies do not by any mistake fire on those who go before them. The
battalions must form on the upper ground with expedition, and be ready
to charge whatever presents itself. When the artillery and troops are
landed, a corps will be left to secure the landing-place, while the
rest march on and endeavor to bring the Canadians and French to a
battle. The officers and men will remember what their country expects
from them, and what a determined body of soldiers inured to war is
capable of doing against five weak French battalions mingled with a
disorderly peasantry."

The spirit of the army answered to that of its chief. The troops loved
and admired their general, trusted their officers, and were ready for
any attempt. "Nay, how could it be otherwise," quaintly asks honest
Sergeant John Johnson, of the fifty-eighth regiment, "being at the heels
of gentlemen whose whole thirst, equal with their general, was for
glory? We had seen them tried, and always found them sterling. We knew
that they would stand by us to the last extremity."

Wolfe had thirty-six hundred men and officers with him on board the
vessels of Holmes; and he now sent orders to Colonel Burton at Point
Levi to bring to his aid all who could be spared from that place and the
Point of Orleans. They were to march along the south bank, after
nightfall, and wait further orders at a designated spot convenient for
embarkation. Their number was about twelve hundred, so that the entire
force destined for the enterprise was at the utmost forty-eight hundred.
With these, Wolfe meant to climb the heights of Abraham in the teeth of
an enemy who, though much reduced, were still twice as numerous as their
assailants.

Admiral Saunders lay with the main fleet in the Basin of Quebec. This
excellent officer, whatever may have been his views as to the necessity
of a speedy departure, aided Wolfe to the last with unfailing energy and
zeal. It was agreed between them that while the General made the real
attack, the Admiral should engage Montcalm's attention by a pretended
one. As night approached, the fleet ranged itself along the Beauport
shore; the boats were lowered and filled with sailors, marines, and the
few troops that had been left behind; while ship signalled to ship,
cannon flashed and thundered, and shot ploughed the beach, as if to
clear a way for assailants to land. In the gloom of the evening the
effect was imposing. Montcalm, who thought that the movements of the
English above the town were only a feint, that their main force was
still below it, and that their real attack would be made there, was
completely deceived, and massed his troops in front of Beauport to repel
the expected landing. But while in the fleet of Saunders all was uproar
and ostentatious menace, the danger was ten miles away, where the
squadron of Holmes lay tranquil and silent at its anchorage off
Cap-Rouge.

It was less tranquil than it seemed. All on board knew that a blow would
be struck that night, though only a few high officers knew where.
Colonel Howe, of the light infantry, called for volunteers to lead the
unknown and desperate venture, promising, in the words of one of them,
"that if any of us survived we might depend on being recommended to the
General." As many as were wanted--twenty-four in all--soon came forward.
Thirty large bateaux and some boats belonging to the squadron lay moored
alongside the vessels; and late in the evening the troops were ordered
into them, the twenty-four volunteers taking their place in the
foremost. They held in all about seventeen hundred men. The rest
remained on board.

Bougainville could discern the movement, and misjudged it, thinking that
he himself was to be attacked. The tide was still flowing; and, the
better to deceive him, the vessels and boats were allowed to drift
upward with it for a little distance, as if to land above Cap-Rouge.

The day had been fortunate for Wolfe. Two deserters came from the camp
of Bougainville with intelligence that, at ebb tide on the next night,
he was to send down a convoy of provisions to Montcalm. The necessities
of the camp at Beauport, and the difficulties of transportation by land,
had before compelled the French to resort to this perilous means of
conveying supplies; and their boats, drifting in darkness under the
shadows of the northern shore, had commonly passed in safety. Wolfe saw
at once that, if his own boats went down in advance of the convoy, he
could turn the intelligence of the deserters to good account.

He was still on board the "Sutherland." Every preparation was made, and
every order given; it only remained to wait the turning of the tide.
Seated with him in the cabin was the commander of the sloop-of-war
"Porcupine," his former school-fellow John Jervis, afterwards Earl St.
Vincent. Wolfe told him that he expected to die in the battle of the
next day; and taking from his bosom a miniature of Miss Lowther, his
betrothed, he gave it to him with a request that he would return it to
her if the presentiment should prove true.

Towards two o'clock the tide began to ebb, and a fresh wind blew down
the river. Two lanterns were raised into the maintop shrouds of the
"Sutherland." It was the appointed signal; the boats cast off and fell
down with the current, those of the light infantry leading the way. The
vessels with the rest of the troops had orders to follow a little later.


To look for a moment at the chances on which this bold adventure hung.
First, the deserters told Wolfe that provision-boats were ordered to go
down to Quebec that night; secondly, Bougainville countermanded them;
thirdly, the sentries posted along the heights were told of the order,
but not of the countermand; fourthly, Vergor at the Anse du Foulon had
permitted most of his men, chiefly Canadians from Lorette, to go home
for a time and work at their harvesting, on condition, it is said, that
they should afterwards work in a neighboring field of his own; fifthly,
he kept careless watch, and went quietly to bed; sixthly, the battalion
of Guienne, ordered to take post on the Plains of Abraham, had, for
reasons unexplained, remained encamped by the St. Charles; and lastly,
when Bougainville saw Holmes's vessels drift down the stream, he did not
tax his weary troops to follow them, thinking that they would return as
usual with the flood tide. But for these conspiring circumstances New
France might have lived a little longer, and the fruitless heroism of
Wolfe would have passed, with countless other heroisms, into oblivion.

For full two hours the procession of boats, borne on the current,
steered silently down the St. Lawrence. The stars were visible, but the
night was moonless and sufficiently dark. The General was in one of the
foremost boats, and near him was a young midshipman, John Robison,
afterwards professor of natural philosophy in the University of
Edinburgh. He used to tell in his later life how Wolfe, with a low
voice, repeated Gray's _Elegy in a Country Churchyard_ to the officers
about him. Probably it was to relieve the intense strain of his
thoughts. Among the rest was the verse which his own fate was soon to
illustrate,--

  "The paths of glory lead but to the grave."


"Gentlemen," he said, as his recital ended, "I would rather have written
those lines than take Quebec." None were there to tell him that the hero
is greater than the poet.

As they neared their destination, the tide bore them in towards the
shore, and the mighty wall of rock and forest towered in darkness on
their left. The dead stillness was suddenly broken by the sharp _Qui
vive!_ of a French sentry, invisible in the thick gloom. _France!_
answered a Highland officer of Fraser's regiment from one of the boats
of the light infantry. He had served in Holland, and spoke French
fluently.

_À quel régiment?_

_De la Reine_, replied the Highlander. He knew that a part of that corps
was with Bougainville. The sentry, expecting the convoy of provisions,
was satisfied, and did not ask for the password.

Soon after, the foremost boats were passing the heights of Samos, when
another sentry challenged them, and they could see him through the
darkness running down to the edge of the water, within range of a
pistol-shot. In answer to his questions, the same officer replied, in
French: "Provision-boats. Don't make a noise; the English will hear us."
In fact, the sloop-of-war "Hunter" was anchored in the stream not far
off. This time, again, the sentry let them pass. In a few moments they
rounded the headland above the Anse du Foulon. There was no sentry
there. The strong current swept the boats of the light infantry a little
below the intended landing-place. They disembarked on a narrow strand at
the foot of heights as steep as a hill covered with trees can be. The
twenty-four volunteers led the way, climbing with what silence they
might, closely followed by a much larger body. When they reached the top
they saw in the dim light a cluster of tents at a short distance, and
immediately made a dash at them. Vergor leaped from bed and tried to run
off, but was shot in the heel and captured. His men, taken by surprise,
made little resistance. One or two were caught, and the rest fled.

The main body of troops waited in their boats by the edge of the strand.
The heights near by were cleft by a great ravine choked with forest
trees; and in its depths ran a little brook called Ruisseau St.-Denis,
which, swollen by the late rains, fell plashing in the stillness over a
rock. Other than this no sound could reach the strained ear of Wolfe but
the gurgle of the tide and the cautious climbing of his advance-parties
as they mounted the steeps at some little distance from where he sat
listening. At length from the top came a sound of musket-shots, followed
by loud huzzas, and he knew that his men were masters of the position.
The word was given; the troops leaped from the boats and scaled the
heights, some here, some there, clutching at trees and bushes, their
muskets slung at their backs. Tradition still points out the place, near
the mouth of the ravine, where the foremost reached the top. Wolfe said
to an officer near him: "You can try it, but I don't think you'll get
up." He himself, however, found strength to drag himself up with the
rest. The narrow slanting path on the face of the heights had been made
impassable by trenches and abatis; but all obstructions were soon
cleared away, and then the ascent was easy. In the gray of the morning
the long file of red-coated soldiers moved quickly upward, and formed in
order on the plateau above.

Before many of them had reached the top, cannon were heard close on the
left. It was the battery at Samos firing on the boats in the rear and
the vessels descending from Cap-Rouge. A party was sent to silence it;
this was soon effected, and the more distant battery at Sillery was next
attacked and taken. As fast as the boats were emptied they returned for
the troops left on board the vessels and for those waiting on the
southern shore under Colonel Burton.

The day broke in clouds and threatening rain. Wolfe's battalions were
drawn up along the crest of the heights. No enemy was in sight, though a
body of Canadians had sallied from the town and moved along the strand
towards the landing-place, whence they were quickly driven back. He had
achieved the most critical part of his enterprise; yet the success that
he coveted placed him in imminent danger. On one side was the garrison
of Quebec and the army of Beauport, and Bougainville was on the other.
Wolfe's alternative was victory or ruin; for if he should be overwhelmed
by a combined attack, retreat would be hopeless. His feelings no man can
know; but it would be safe to say that hesitation or doubt had no part
in them.

He went to reconnoitre the ground, and soon came to the Plains of
Abraham, so called from Abraham Martin, a pilot known as Maître Abraham,
who had owned a piece of land here in the early times of the colony. The
Plains were a tract of grass, tolerably level in most parts, patched
here and there with cornfields, studded with clumps of bushes, and
forming a part of the high plateau at the eastern end of which Quebec
stood. On the south it was bounded by the declivities along the St.
Lawrence; on the north, by those along the St. Charles, or rather along
the meadows through which that lazy stream crawled like a writhing
snake. At the place that Wolfe chose for his battle-field the plateau
was less than a mile wide.

Thither the troops advanced, marched by files till they reached the
ground, and then wheeled to form their line of battle, which stretched
across the plateau and faced the city. It consisted of six battalions
and the detached grenadiers from Louisbourg, all drawn up in ranks three
deep. Its right wing was near the brink of the heights along the St.
Lawrence; but the left could not reach those along the St. Charles. On
this side a wide space was perforce left open, and there was danger of
being outflanked. To prevent this, Brigadier Townshend was stationed
here with two battalions, drawn up at right angles with the rest, and
fronting the St. Charles. The battalion of Webb's regiment, under
Colonel Burton, formed the reserve; the third battalion of Royal
Americans was left to guard the landing; and Howe's light infantry
occupied a wood far in the rear. Wolfe, with Monckton and Murray,
commanded the front line, on which the heavy fighting was to fall, and
which, when all the troops had arrived, numbered less than thirty-five
hundred men.

Quebec was not a mile distant, but they could not see it; for a ridge of
broken ground intervened, called Buttes-à-Neveu, about six hundred paces
off. The first division of troops had scarcely come up when, about six
o'clock, this ridge was suddenly thronged with white uniforms. It was
the battalion of Guienne, arrived at the eleventh hour from its camp by
the St. Charles. Some time after there was hot firing in the rear. It
came from a detachment of Bougainville's command attacking a house where
some of the light infantry were posted. The assailants were repulsed,
and the firing ceased. Light showers fell at intervals, besprinkling
the troops as they stood patiently waiting the event.

Montcalm had passed a troubled night. Through all the evening the cannon
bellowed from the ships of Saunders, and the boats of the fleet hovered
in the dusk off the Beauport shore, threatening every moment to land.
Troops lined the intrenchments till day, while the General walked the
field that adjoined his headquarters till one in the morning,
accompanied by the Chevalier Johnstone and Colonel Poulariez. Johnstone
says that he was in great agitation, and took no rest all night. At
daybreak he heard the sound of cannon above the town. It was the battery
at Samos firing on the English ships. He had sent an officer to the
quarters of Vaudreuil, which were much nearer Quebec, with orders to
bring him word at once should anything unusual happen. But no word came,
and about six o'clock he mounted and rode thither with Johnstone. As
they advanced, the country behind the town opened more and more upon
their sight; till at length, when opposite Vaudreuil's house, they saw
across the St. Charles, some two miles away, the red ranks of British
soldiers on the heights beyond.

"This is a serious business," Montcalm said; and sent off Johnstone at
full gallop to bring up the troops from the centre and left of the camp.
Those of the right were in motion already, doubtless by the Governor's
order. Vaudreuil came out of the house. Montcalm stopped for a few words
with him; then set spurs to his horse, and rode over the bridge of the
St. Charles to the scene of danger. He rode with a fixed look, uttering
not a word.

The army followed in such order as it might, crossed the bridge in hot
haste, passed under the northern rampart of Quebec, entered at the
Palace Gate, and pressed on in headlong march along the quaint narrow
streets of the warlike town: troops of Indians in scalplocks and
war-paint, a savage glitter in their deep-set eyes; bands of Canadians
whose all was at stake,--faith, country, and home; the colony regulars;
the battalions of Old France, a torrent of white uniforms and gleaming
bayonets, La Sarre, Languedoc, Roussillon, Béarn,--victors of Oswego,
William Henry, and Ticonderoga. So they swept on poured out upon the
plain, some by the gate of St. Louis, and some by that of St. John, and
hurried, breathless, to where the banners of Guienne still fluttered on
the ridge.

Montcalm was amazed at what he saw. He had expected a detachment, and he
found an army. Full in sight before him stretched the lines of Wolfe:
the close ranks of the English infantry, a silent wall of red, and the
wild array of the Highlanders, with their waving tartans, and bagpipes
screaming defiance. Vaudreuil had not come; but not the less was felt
the evil of a divided authority and the jealousy of the rival chiefs.
Montcalm waited long for the forces he had ordered to join him from the
left wing of the army. He waited in vain. It is said that the Governor
had detained them, lest the English should attack the Beauport shore.
Even if they did so, and succeeded, the French might defy them, could
they but put Wolfe to rout on the Plains of Abraham. Neither did the
garrison of Quebec come to the aid of Montcalm. He sent to Ramesay, its
commander, for twenty-five field-pieces which were on the Palace
battery. Ramesay would give him only three, saying that he wanted them
for his own defence. There were orders and counter-orders;
misunderstanding, haste, delay, perplexity.

Montcalm and his chief officers held a council of war. It is said that
he and they alike were for immediate attack. His enemies declare that he
was afraid lest Vaudreuil should arrive and take command; but the
Governor was not a man to assume responsibility at such a crisis. Others
say that his impetuosity overcame his better judgment; and of this
charge it is hard to acquit him. Bougainville was but a few miles
distant, and some of his troops were much nearer; a messenger sent by
way of Old Lorette could have reached him in an hour and a half at most,
and a combined attack in front and rear might have been concerted with
him. If, moreover, Montcalm could have come to an understanding with
Vaudreuil, his own force might have been strengthened by two or three
thousand additional men from the town and the camp of Beauport; but he
felt that there was no time to lose, for he imagined that Wolfe would
soon be reinforced, which was impossible, and he believed that the
English were fortifying themselves, which was no less an error. He has
been blamed not only for fighting too soon, but for fighting at all. In
this he could not choose. Fight he must, for Wolfe was now in a position
to cut off all his supplies. His men were full of ardor, and he resolved
to attack before their ardor cooled. He spoke a few words to them in his
keen, vehement way. "I remember very well how he looked," one of the
Canadians, then a boy of eighteen, used to say in his old age; "he rode
a black or dark bay horse along the front of our lines, brandishing his
sword, as if to excite us to do our duty. He wore a coat with wide
sleeves, which fell back as he raised his arm, and showed the white
linen of the wristband."

The English waited the result with a composure which, if not quite real,
was at least well feigned. The three field-pieces sent by Ramesay plied
them with canister-shot, and fifteen hundred Canadians and Indians
fusilladed them in front and flank. Over all the plain, from behind
bushes and knolls and the edge of cornfields, puffs of smoke sprang
incessantly from the guns of these hidden marksmen. Skirmishers were
thrown out before the lines to hold them in check, and the soldiers were
ordered to lie on the grass to avoid the shot. The firing was liveliest
on the English left, where bands of sharpshooters got under the edge of
the declivity, among thickets, and behind scattered houses, whence they
killed and wounded a considerable number of Townshend's men. The light
infantry were called up from the rear. The houses were taken and
retaken, and one or more of them was burned.

Wolfe was everywhere. How cool he was, and why his followers loved him,
is shown by an incident that happened in the course of the morning. One
of his captains was shot through the lungs; and on recovering
consciousness he saw the General standing at his side. Wolfe pressed his
hand, told him not to despair, praised his services, promised him early
promotion, and sent an aide-de-camp to Monckton to beg that officer to
keep the promise if he himself should fall.

It was towards ten o'clock when, from the high ground on the right of
the line, Wolfe saw that the crisis was near. The French on the ridge
had formed themselves into three bodies, regulars in the centre,
regulars and Canadians on right and left. Two field-pieces, which had
been dragged up the heights at Anse du Foulon, fired on them with
grape-shot, and the troops, rising from the ground, prepared to receive
them. In a few moments more they were in motion. They came on rapidly,
uttering loud shouts, and firing as soon as they were within range.
Their ranks, ill ordered at the best, were further confused by a number
of Canadians who had been mixed among the regulars, and who, after
hastily firing, threw themselves on the ground to reload. The British
advanced a few rods; then baited and stood still. When the French were
within forty paces the word of command rang out, and a crash of musketry
answered all along the line. The volley was delivered with remarkable
precision. In the battalions of the centre, which had suffered least
from the enemy's bullets, the simultaneous explosion was afterwards said
by French officers to have sounded like a cannon-shot. Another volley
followed, and then a furious clattering fire that lasted but a minute or
two. When the smoke rose, a miserable sight was revealed: the ground
cumbered with dead and wounded, the advancing masses stopped short and
turned into a frantic mob, shouting, cursing, gesticulating. The order
was given to charge. Then over the field rose the British cheer, mixed
with the fierce yell of the Highland slogan. Some of the corps pushed
forward with the bayonet; some advanced firing. The clansmen drew their
broadswords and dashed on, keen and swift as bloodhounds. At the English
right, though the attacking column was broken to pieces, a fire was
still kept up, chiefly, it seems, by sharpshooters from the bushes and
cornfields, where they had lain for an hour or more. Here Wolfe himself
led the charge, at the head of the Louisbourg grenadiers. A shot
shattered his wrist. He wrapped his handkerchief about it and kept on.
Another shot struck him, and he still advanced, when a third lodged in
his breast. He staggered, and sat on the ground. Lieutenant Brown, of
the grenadiers, one Henderson, a volunteer in the same company, and a
private soldier, aided by an officer of artillery who ran to join them,
carried him in their arms to the rear. He begged them to lay him down.
They did so, and asked if he would have a surgeon. "There's no need," he
answered; "it's all over with me." A moment after, one of them cried
out: "They run; see how they run!" "Who run?" Wolfe demanded, like a man
roused from sleep. "The enemy, sir. Egad, they give way everywhere!"
"Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton," returned the dying man; "tell him
to march Webb's regiment down to Charles River, to cut off their retreat
from the bridge." Then, turning on his side, he murmured, "Now, God be
praised, I will die in peace!" and in a few moments his gallant soul had
fled.

Montcalm, still on horseback, was borne with the tide of fugitives
towards the town. As he approached the walls a shot passed through his
body. He kept his seat; two soldiers supported him, one on each side,
and led his horse through the St. Louis Gate. On the open space within,
among the excited crowd, were several women, drawn, no doubt, by
eagerness to know the result of the fight. One of them recognized him,
saw the streaming blood, and shrieked, "_O mon Dieu! mon Dieu! le
Marquis est tué!_" "It's nothing, it's nothing," replied the
death-stricken man; "don't be troubled for me, my good friends." ("_Ce
n'est rien, ce n'est rien; ne vous affligez pas pour moi, mes bonnes
amies._")

       *     *     *     *     *

Some of the fugitives took refuge in the city and others escaped across
the St. Charles. In the next night the French army abandoned Quebec to
its fate and fled up the St. Lawrence. The city soon surrendered to
Wolfe's successor, Brigadier Townshend, and the English held it during
the winter. In April, the French under the Chevalier de Lévis made a
bold but unsuccessful attempt to retake it. In the following summer,
General Amherst advanced on Montreal, till in September all Canada was
forced to surrender, and the power of France was extinguished on the
North American continent.



  University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge


  =Transcriber's Notes:=
  original hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in
    the original
  Page 15, "Day, 1646. he gave" changed to "Day, 1646, he gave"
  Page 22, "want of pay: ordnance" changed to "want of pay; ordnance"
  Page 41, "moccasons" changed to "moccasins"
  Page 99, "rifle-but" changed to "rifle-butt"
  Page 114, "seized her How" changed to "seized her. How"





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historic Handbook of the Northern Tour" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home