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´╗┐Title: The Conquest of New France; A Chronicle of the Colonial Wars
Author: Wrong, George McKinnon, 1860-1948
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By George M. Wrong





CHAPTER I. The Conflict Opens: Frontenac And Phips

Many centuries of European history had been marked by war almost
ceaseless between France and England when these two states first
confronted each other in America. The conflict for the New World was but
the continuation of an age-long antagonism in the Old, intensified now
by the savagery of the wilderness and by new dreams of empire. There
was another potent cause of strife which had not existed in the
earlier days. When, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the
antagonists had fought through the interminable Hundred Years' War, they
had been of the same religious faith. Since then, however, England had
become Protestant, while France had remained Catholic. When the rivals
first met on the shores of the New World, colonial America was still
very young. It was in 1607 that the English occupied Virginia. At
the same time the French were securing a foothold in Acadia, now Nova
Scotia. Six years had barely passed when the English Captain Argall
sailed to the north from Virginia and destroyed the rising French
settlements. Sixteen years after this another English force attacked
and captured Quebec. Presently these conquests were restored. France
remained in possession of the St. Lawrence and in virtual possession of
Acadia. The English colonies, holding a great stretch of the Atlantic
seaboard, increased in number and power. New France also grew stronger.
The steady hostility of the rivals never wavered. There was, indeed,
little open warfare as long as the two Crowns remained at peace. From
1660 to 1688, the Stuart rulers of England remained subservient to
their cousin the Bourbon King of France and at one with him in religious
faith. But after the fall of the Stuarts France bitterly denounced
the new King, William of Orange, as both a heretic and a usurper, and
attacked the English in America with a savage fury unknown in Europe.
From 1690 to 1760 the combatants fought with little more than pauses for
renewed preparation; and the conflict ended only when France yielded to
England the mastery of her empire in America. It is the story of this
struggle, covering a period of seventy years, which is told in the
following pages.

The career of Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, who was Governor
of Canada from 1672 to 1682 and again from 1689 to his death in 1698,
reveals both the merits and the defects of the colonizing genius of
France. Frontenac was a man of noble birth whose life had been spent
in court and camp. The story of his family, so far as it is known, is
a story of attendance upon the royal house of France. His father and
uncles had been playmates of the young Dauphin, afterwards Louis XIII.
The thoughts familiar to Frontenac in his youth remained with him
through life; and, when he went to rule at Quebec, the very spirit that
dominated the court at Versailles crossed the sea with him.

A man is known by the things he loves. The things which Frontenac most
highly cherished were marks of royal favor, the ceremony due to his own
rank, the right to command. He was an egoist, supremely interested in
himself. He was poor, but at his country seat in France, near Blois, he
kept open house in the style of a great noble. Always he bore himself
as one to whom much was due. His guests were expected to admire his
indifferent horses as the finest to be seen, his gardens as the most
beautiful, his clothes as of the most effective cut and finish, the
plate on his table as of the best workmanship, and the food as having
superior flavor. He scolded his equals as if they were naughty children.

Yet there was genius in this showy court figure. In 1669, when the
Venetian Republic had asked France to lend her an efficient soldier
to lead against the rampant Turk, the great Marshal Turenne had chosen
Frontenac for the task. Crete, which Frontenac was to rescue, the Turk
indeed had taken; but, it is said, at the fearful cost of a hundred
and eighty thousand men. Three years later, Frontenac had been sent
to Canada to war with the savage Iroquois and to hold in check the
aggressive designs of the English. He had been recalled in 1682, after
ten years of service, chiefly on account of his arbitrary temper. He
had quarreled with the Bishop. He had bullied the Intendant until at
one time that harried official had barricaded his house and armed his
servants. He had told the Jesuit missionaries that they thought more of
selling beaver-skins than of saving souls. He had insulted those
about him, sulked, threatened, foamed at the mouth in rage, revealed a
childish vanity in regard to his dignity, and a hunger insatiable for
marks of honor from the King--"more grateful," he once said, "than
anything else to a heart shaped after the right pattern."

France, however, now required at Quebec a man who could do the needed
man's tasks. The real worth of Frontenac had been tested; and so, in
1689, when England had driven from her shores her Catholic king and,
when France's colony across the sea seemed to be in grave danger from
the Iroquois allies of the English, Frontenac was sent again to Quebec
to subdue these savages and, if he could, to destroy in America the
power of the age long enemy of his country.

Perched high above the St. Lawrence, on a noble site where now is a
public terrace and a great hotel, stood the Chateau St. Louis, the scene
of Frontenac's rule as head of the colony. No other spot in the world
commanded such a highway linking the inland waters with the sea. The
French had always an eye for points of strategic value; and in holding
Quebec they hoped to possess the pivot on which the destinies of North
America should turn. For a long time it seemed, indeed, as if this
glowing vision might become a reality. The imperial ideas which were
working at Quebec were based upon the substantial realities of
trade. The instinct for business was hardly less strong in these keen
adventurers than the instinct for empire. In promise of trade the
interior of North America was rich. Today its vast agriculture and its
wealth in minerals have brought rewards beyond the dreams of two hundred
years ago. The wealth, however, sought by the leaders of that time came
from furs. In those wastes of river, lake, and forest were the richest
preserves in the world for fur-bearing animals.

This vast wilderness was not an unoccupied land. In those wild regions
dwelt many savage tribes. Some of the natives were by no means without
political capacity. On the contrary, they were long clever enough to pit
English against French to their own advantage as the real sovereigns
in North America. One of them, whose fluent oratory had won for him the
name of Big Mouth, told the Governor of Canada, in 1688, that his people
held their lands from the Great Spirit, that they yielded no lordship to
either the English or the French, that they well understood the weakness
of the French and were quite able to destroy them, but that they wished
to be friends with both French and English who brought to them the
advantages of trade. In sagacity of council and dignity of carriage
some of these Indians so bore themselves that to trained observers they
seemed not unequal to the diplomats of Europe. They were, however,
weak before the superior knowledge of the white men. In all their long
centuries in America they had learned nothing of the use of iron. Their
sharpest tool had been made of chipped obsidian or of hammered copper.
Their most potent weapons had been the stone hatchet or age and the
bow and arrow. It thus happened that, when steel and gunpowder reached
America, the natives soon came to despise their primitive implements.
More and more they craved the supplies from Europe which multiplied in a
hundred ways their strength in the conflict with nature and with man. To
the Indian tribes trade with the French or English soon became a vital
necessity. From the far northwest for a thousand miles to the bleak
shores of Hudson Bay, from the banks of the Mississippi to the banks
of the St. Lawrence and the Hudson, they came each year on laborious
journeys, paddling their canoes and carrying them over portages, to
barter furs for the things which they must have and which the white man
alone could supply.

The Iroquois, the ablest and most resolute of the native tribes, held
the lands bordering on Lake Ontario which commanded the approaches from
both the Hudson and the St. Lawrence by the Great Lakes to the spacious
regions of the West. The five tribes known as the Iroquois had shown
marked political talent by forming themselves into a confederacy. From
the time of Champlain, the founder of Quebec, there had been trouble
between the French and the Iroquois. In spite of this bad beginning,
the French had later done their best to make friends with the powerful
confederacy. They had sent to them devoted missionaries, many of whom
met the martyr's reward of torture and massacre. But the opposing
influence of the English, with whom the Iroquois chiefly traded, proved
too strong.

With the Iroquois hostile, it was too dangerous for the French to travel
inland by way of Lake Ontario. They had, it is true, a shorter and,
indeed, a better route farther north, by way of the Ottawa River and
Lake Nipissing to Lake Huron. In time, however, the Iroquois made even
this route unsafe. Their power was far-reaching and their ambition
limitless. They aimed to be masters of North America. Like all virile
but backward peoples, they believed themselves superior to every other
race. Their orators declared that the fate of the world was to turn on
their policy.

On Frontenac's return to Canada he had a stormy inheritance in
confronting the Iroquois. They had real grievances against France.
Devonvine, Frontenac's predecessor, had met their treachery by treachery
of his own. Louis XIV had found that these lusty savages made excellent
galley slaves and had ordered Denonville to secure a supply in Canada.
In consequence the Frenchman seized even friendly Iroquois and sent
them over seas to France. The savages in retaliation exacted a fearful
vengeance in the butchery of French colonists. The bloodiest story in
the annals of Canada is the massacre at Lachine, a village a few
miles above Montreal. On the night of August 4, 1689, fourteen hundred
Iroquois burst in on the village and a wild orgy of massacre followed.
All Canada was in a panic. Some weeks later Frontenac arrived at Quebec
and took command. To the old soldier, now in his seventieth year, his
hard task was not uncongenial. He had fought the savage Iroquois before
and the no less savage Turk. He belonged to that school of military
action which knows no scruple in its methods, and he was prepared to
make war with all the frightfulness practised by the savages themselves.
His resolute, blustering demeanor was well fitted to impress the red men
of the forest, for an imperious eye will sometimes cow an Indian as well
as a lion, and Frontenac's mien was imperious. In his life in court and
camp he had learned how to command.

The English in New York had professed to be brothers to the Iroquois and
had called them by that name. This title of equality, however, Frontenac
would not yield. Kings speak of "my people"; Frontenac spoke to the
Indians not as his brothers but as his children and as children of the
great King whom he served. He was their father, their protector, the
disposer and controller of mighty reserves of power, who loved and cared
for those putting their trust in him. He could unbend to play with their
children and give presents to their squaws. At times he seemed patient,
gentle, and forgiving. At times, too, he swaggered and boasted in terms
which the event did not always justify.

La Potherie, a cultivated Frenchman in Canada during Frontenac's regime,
describes an amazing scene at Montreal, which seems to show that,
whether Frontenac recognized the title or not, he had qualities which
made him the real brother of the savages. In 1690 Huron and other Indian
allies of the French had come from the far interior to trade and also to
consider the eternal question of checking the Iroquois. At the council,
which began with grave decorum, a Huron orator begged the French to make
no terms with the Iroquois. Frontenac answered in the high tone which he
could so well assume. He would fight them until they should humbly crave
peace; he would make with them no treaty except in concert with his
Indian allies, whom he would never fail in fatherly care. To impress the
council by the reality of his oneness with the Indians, Frontenac now
seized a tomahawk and brandished it in the air shouting at the same time
the Indian war-song. The whole assembly, French and Indians, joined in
a wild orgy of war passion, and the old man of seventy, fresh from the
court of Louis XIV, led in the war-dance, yelled with the Indians their
savage war-whoops, danced round the circle of the council, and showed
himself in spirit a brother of the wildest of them. This was good
diplomacy. The savages swore to make war to the end under his lead. Many
a frontier outrage, many a village attacked in the dead of night and
burned, amidst bloody massacre of its few toil-worn settlers, was to be
the result of that strange mingling of Europe with wild America.

Frontenac's task was to make war on the English and their Iroquois
allies. He had before him the King's instructions as to the means for
effecting this. The King aimed at nothing less than the conquest of the
English colonies in America. In 1664 the English, by a sudden blow in
time of peace, had captured New Netherland, the Dutch colony on the
Hudson, which then became New York. Now, a quarter of a century later,
France thought to strike a similar blow against the English, and Louis
XIV was resolved that the conquest should be thoroughgoing. The Dutch
power had fallen before a meager naval force. The English now would have
to face one much more formidable. Two French ships were to cross the sea
and to lie in wait near New York. Meanwhile from Canada, sixteen hundred
armed men, a thousand of them French regular troops, were to advance by
land into the heart of the colony, seize Albany and all the boats there
available, and descend by the Hudson to New York. The warships, hovering
off the coast, would then enter New York harbor at the same time that
the land forces made their attack. The village, for it was hardly more
than this, contained, as the French believed, only some two hundred
houses and four hundred fighting men and it was thought that a month
would suffice to complete this whole work of conquest. Once victors,
the French were to show no pity. All private property, but that of
Catholics, was to be confiscated. Catholics, whether English or Dutch,
were to be left undisturbed if not too numerous and if they would take
the oath of allegiance to Louis XIV and show some promise of keeping it.
Rich Protestants were to be held for ransom. All the other inhabitants,
except those whom the French might find useful for their own purposes,
were to be driven out of the colony, homeless wanderers, to be scattered
far so that they could not combine to recover what they had lost. With
New York taken, New England would be so weakened that in time it too
would fall. Such was the plan of conquest which came from the brilliant
chambers at Versailles.

New York did not fall. The expedition so carefully planned came to
nothing. Frontenac had never shown much faith in the enterprise. At
Quebec, on his arrival in the autumn of 1689, he was planning something
less ideally perfect, but certain to produce results. The scarred old
courtier intended so to terrorize the English that they should make
no aggressive advance, to encourage the French to believe themselves
superior to their rivals, and, above all, to prove to the Indian
tribes that prudence dictated alliance with the French and not with the

Frontenac wrote a tale of blood. There were three war parties; one set
out from Montreal against New York, and one from Three Rivers and one
from Quebec against the frontier settlements of New Hampshire and Maine.
To describe one is to describe all. A band of one hundred and sixty
Frenchmen, with nearly as many Indians, gathers at Montreal in
mid-winter. The ground is deep with snow and they troop on snowshoes
across the white wastes. Dragging on sleds the needed supplies, they
march up the Richelieu River and over the frozen surface of Lake
Champlain. As they advance with caution into the colony of New York they
suffer terribly, now from bitter cold, now from thaws which make the
soft trail almost impassable. On a February night their scouts tell them
that they are near Schenectady, on the English frontier. There are young
members of the Canadian noblesse in the party. In the dead of night they
creep up to the paling which surrounds the village. The signal is given
and the village is awakened by the terrible war-whoop. Doors are smashed
by axes and hatchets, and women and children are killed as they lie in
bed, or kneel, shrieking for mercy. Houses are set on fire and living
human beings are thrown into the flames. By midday the assailants have
finished their dread work and are retreating along the forest paths
dragging with them a few miserable captives. In this winter of 1689-90
raiding parties also came back from the borders of New Hampshire and of
Maine with news of similar exploits, and Quebec and Montreal glowed with
the joy of victory.

Far away an answering attack was soon on foot. Sir William Phips of
Massachusetts, the son of a poor settler on the Kennebec River, had made
his first advance in life by taking up the trade of carpenter in Boston.
Only when grown up had he learned to read and write. He married a rich
wife, and ease of circumstances freed his mind for great designs. Some
fifty years before he was thus relieved of material cares, a Spanish
galleon carrying vast wealth had been wrecked in the West Indies. Phips
now planned to raise the ship and get the money. For this enterprise he
obtained support in England and set out on his exacting adventure. On
the voyage his crew mutinied. Armed with cutlasses, they told Phips that
he must turn pirate or perish; but he attacked the leader with his fists
and triumphed by sheer strength of body and will. A second mutiny he
also quelled, and then took his ship to Jamaica where he got rid of its
worthless crew. His enterprise had apparently failed; but the second
Duke of Albemarle and other powerful men believed in him and helped him
to make another trial. This time he succeeded in finding the wreck on
the coast of Hispaniola, and took possession of its cargo of precious
metals and jewels--treasure to the value of three hundred thousand
pounds sterling. Of the spoil Phips himself received sixteen thousand
pounds, a great fortune for a New Englander in those days. He was also
knighted for his services and, in the end, was named by William and Mary
the first royal Governor of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts, whose people had been thoroughly aroused by the French
incursions, resolved to retaliate by striking at the heart of Canada by
sea and to take Quebec. Sir William Phips, though not yet made Governor,
would lead the expedition. The first blow fell in Acadia. Phips sailed
up the Bay of Fundy and on May 11, 1690, landed a force before Port
Royal. The French Governor surrendered on terms. The conquest was
intended to be final, and the people were offered their lives and
property on the condition of taking, the oath to be loyal subjects of
William and Mary. This many of them did and were left unmolested. It was
a bloodless victory. But Phips, the Puritan crusader, was something of a
pirate. He plundered private property and was himself accused of taking
not merely the silver forks and spoons of the captive Governor but even
his wigs, shirts, garters, and night caps. The Boston Puritans joyfully
pillaged the church at Port Royal, and overturned the high altar and
the images. The booty was considerable and by the end of May Phips, a
prosperous hero, was back in Boston.

Boston was aflame with zeal to go on and conquer Canada. By the middle
of August Phips had set out on the long sea voyage to Quebec, with
twenty-two hundred men, a great force for a colonial enterprise of that
time, and in all some forty ships. The voyage occupied more than two
months. Apparently the hardy carpenter-sailor, able enough to carry
through a difficult undertaking with a single ship, lacked the
organizing skill to manage a great expedition. He performed, however,
the feat of navigating safely with his fleet the treacherous waters of
the lower St. Lawrence. On the morning of October 16, 1690, watchers
at Quebec saw the fleet, concerning which they had already been warned,
rounding the head of the Island of Orleans and sailing into the broad
basin. Breathless spectators counted the ships. There were thirty-four
in sight, a few large vessels, some mere fishing craft. It was a
spectacle well calculated to excite and alarm the good people of Quebec.
They might, however, take comfort in the knowledge that their great
Frontenac was present to defend them. A few days earlier he had been in
Montreal, but, when there had come the startling news of the approach of
the enemy's ships, he had hurried down the river and had been received
with shouts of joy by the anxious populace.

The situation was one well suited to Frontenac's genius for the
dramatic. When a boat under a flag of truce put out from the English
ships, Frontenac hurried four canoes to meet it. The English envoy was
placed blindfold in one of these canoes and was paddled to the shore.
Here two soldiers took him by the arms and led him over many obstacles
up the steep ascent to the Chateau St. Louis. He could see nothing but
could hear the beating of drums, the blowing of trumpets, the jeers
and shouting of a great multitude in a town which seemed to be full of
soldiers and to have its streets heavily barricaded. When the bandage
was taken from his eyes he found himself in a great room of the Chateau.
Before him stood Frontenac, in brilliant uniform, surrounded by the most
glittering array of officers which Quebec could muster. The astonished
envoy presented a letter from Phips. It was a curt demand in the name
of King William of England for the unconditional surrender of all "forts
and castles" in Canada, of Frontenac himself, and all his forces and
supplies. On such conditions Phips would show mercy, as a Christian
should. Frontenac must answer within an hour. When the letter had been
read the envoy took a watch from his pocket and pointed out the time to
Frontenac. It was ten o'clock. The reply must be given by eleven. Loud
mutterings greeted the insulting message. One officer cried out that
Phips was a pirate and that his messenger should be hanged. Frontenac
knew well how to deal with such a situation. He threw the letter in
the envoy's face and turned his back upon him. The unhappy man, who
understood French, heard the Governor give orders that a gibbet should
be erected on which he was to be hanged. When the Bishop and the
Intendant pleaded for mercy, Frontenac seemed to yield. He would not
take, he said, an hour to reply, but would answer at once. He knew no
such person as King William. James, though in exile, was the true King
of England and the good friend of the King of France. There would be no
surrender to a pirate. After this outburst, the envoy asked if he might
have the answer in writing. "No!" thundered Frontenac. "I will answer
only from the mouths of my cannon and with my musketry!"

Phips could not take Quebec. In carrying out his plans, he was slow and
dilatory. Nature aided his foe. The weather was bad, the waters before
Quebec were difficult, and boats grounded unexpectedly in a falling
tide. Phips landed a force on the north side of the basin at Beauport
but was held in check by French and Indian skirmishing parties. He
sailed his ships up close to Quebec and bombarded the stronghold, but
then, as now, ships were impotent against well-served land defenses.
Soon Phips was short of ammunition. A second time he made a landing in
order to attack Quebec from the valley of the St. Charles but French
regulars fought with militia and Indians to drive off his forces. Phips
held a meeting with his officers for prayer. Heaven, however, denied
success to his arms. If he could not take Quebec, it was time to be
gone, for in the late autumn the dangers of the St. Lawrence are great.
He lay before Quebec for just a week and on the 23d of October sailed
away. It was late in November when his battered fleet began to straggle
into Boston. The ways of God had not proved as simple as they had seemed
to the Puritan faith, for the stronghold of Satan had not fallen before
the attacks of the Lord's people. There were searchings of heart,
recriminations, and financial distress in Boston.

For seven years more the war endured. Frontenac's victory over Phips at
Quebec was not victory over the Iroquois or victory over the colony of
New York. In 1691 this colony sent Peter Schuyler with a force against
Canada by way of Lake Champlain. Schuyler penetrated almost to Montreal,
gained some indecisive success, and caused much suffering to the unhappy
Canadian settlers. Frontenac made his last great stroke in duly, 1696,
when he led more than two thousand men through the primeval forest
to destroy the villages of the Onondaga and the Oneida tribes of the
Iroquois. On the journey from the south shore of Lake Ontario, the old
man of seventy-five was unable to walk over the rough portages and
fifty Indians shouting songs of joy carried his great canoe on their
shoulders. When the soldiers left the canoes and marched forward to
the fight, they bore Frontenac in an easy chair. He did not destroy his
enemy, for many of the Indians fled, but he burned their chief village
and taught them a new respect for the power of the French. It was
the last great effort of the old warrior. In the next year, 1697,
was concluded the Peace of Ryswick; and in 1698 Frontenac died in his
seventy-ninth year, a hoary champion of France's imperial designs.

The Peace of Ryswick was an indecisive ending of an indecisive war.
It was indeed one of those bad treaties which invite renewed war. The
struggle had achieved little but to deepen the conviction of each side
that it must make itself stronger for the next fight. Each gave back
most of what it had gained. The peace, however, did not leave matters
quite as they had been. The position of William was stronger than
before, for France had treated with him and now recognized him as King
of England. Moreover France, hitherto always victorious, with generals
who had not known defeat, was really defeated when she could not longer

CHAPTER II. Quebec And Boston

At the end of the seventeenth century it must have seemed a far cry
from Versailles to Quebec. The ocean was crossed only by small sailing
vessels haunted by both tempest and pestilence, the one likely to
prolong the voyage by many weeks, the other to involve the sacrifice of
scores of lives through scurvy and other maladies. Yet, remote as
the colony seemed, Quebec was the child of Versailles, protected and
nourished by Louis XIV and directed by him in its minutest affairs. The
King spent laborious hours over papers relating to the cherished colony
across the sea. He sent wise counsel to his officials in Canada and
with tactful patience rebuked their faults. He did everything for the
colonists--gave them not merely land, but muskets, farm implements, even
chickens, pigs, and sometimes wives. The defect of his government
was that it tended to be too paternal. The vital needs of a colony
struggling with the problems of barbarism could hardly be read correctly
and provided for at Versailles. Colonies, like men, are strong only when
they learn to take care of themselves.

The English colonies present a vivid contrast. London did not direct
and control Boston. In London the will, indeed, was not wanting, for the
Stuart kings, Charles II and James H, were not less despotic in spirit
than Louis XIV. But while in France there was a vast organism which
moved only as the King willed, in England power was more widely
distributed. It may be claimed with truth that English national
liberties are a growth from the local freedom which has existed from
time immemorial. When British colonists left the motherland to found
a new society, their first instinct was to create institutions which
involved local control. The solemn covenant by which in 1620 the worn
company of the Mayflower, after a long and painful voyage, pledged
themselves to create a self-governing society, was the inevitable
expression of the English political spirit. Do what it would, London
could never control Boston as Versailles controlled Quebec.

The English colonist kept his eyes fixed on his own fortunes. From
the state he expected little; from himself, everything. He had no great
sense of unity with neighboring colonists under the same crown. Only
when he realized some peril to his interests, some menace which would
master him if he did not fight, was he stirred to warlike energy. French
leaders, on the other hand, were thinking of world politics. The voyage
of Verrazano, the Italian sailor who had been sent out by Francis I of
France in 1524, and who had sailed along a great stretch of the Atlantic
coast, was deemed by Frenchmen a sufficient title to the whole of North
America. They flouted England's claim based upon the voyages of the
Cabots nearly thirty years earlier. Spain, indeed, might claim Florida,
but the English had no real right to any footing in the New World. As
late as in 1720, when the fortunes of France were already on the wane
in the New World, Father Bobe, a priest of the Congregation of
Missions, presented to the French court a document which sets forth in
uncompromising terms the rights of France to all the land between the
thirtieth and the fiftieth parallels of latitude. True, he says, others
occupy much of this territory, but France must drive out intruders and
in particular the English. Boston rightly belongs to France and so also
do New York and Philadelphia. The only regions to which England has any
just claim are Acadia, Newfoundland, and Hudson Bay, ceded by France
under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. This weak cession all true
Frenchmen regret and England must hand the territories back. She owes
France compensation for her long occupation of lands not really hers. If
she makes immediate restitution, the King of France, generous and kind,
will forego some of his rights and allow England to retain a strip some
fifty miles wide extending from Maine to Florida. France has the right
to the whole of the interior. In the mind of the reverend memorialist,
no doubt, there was the conviction that England would soon lose the
meager strip, fifty miles wide, which France might yield.

These dreams of power had a certain substance. It seems to us now that,
from the first, the French were dreaming of the impossible. We know
what has happened, and after the event it is an easy task to measure
political forces. The ambitions of France were not, however, empty
fancies. More than once she has seemed on the point of mastering
the nations of the West. Just before the year 1690 she had a great
opportunity. In England, in 1660, the fall of the system created by
Oliver Cromwell brought back to the English throne the House of Stuart,
for centuries the ally and usually the pupil of France. Stuart kings
of Scotland, allied with France, had fought the Tudor kings of England.
Stuarts in misfortune had been the pensioners of France. Charles II, a
Stuart, alien in religion to the convictions of his people, looked to
Catholic France to give him security on his throne. Before the first
half of the reign of Louis XIV had ended, it was the boast of the French
that the King of England was vassal to their King, that the states of
continental Europe had become mere pawns in the game of their Grand
Monarch, and that France could be master of as much of the world as
was really worth mastering. In 1679 the Canadian Intendant, Duchesneau,
writing from Quebec to complain of the despotic conduct of the Governor,
Frontenac, paid a tribute to "the King our master, of whom the whole
world stands in awe, who has just given law to all Europe."

To men thus obsessed by the greatness of their own ruler it seemed no
impossible task to overthrow a few English colonies in America of whose
King their own was the patron and the paymaster. The world of high
politics has never been conspicuous for its knowledge of human nature. A
strong blow from a strong arm would, it was believed both at Versailles
and Quebec, shatter forever a weak rival and give France the prize of
North America. Officers in Canada talked loftily of the ease with which
France might master all the English colonies. The Canadians, it was
said, were a brave and warlike people, trained to endure hardship, while
the English colonists were undisciplined, ignorant of war, and cowardly.
The link between them and the motherland, said these observers, could
be easily broken, for the colonies were longing to be free. There is no
doubt that France could put into the field armies vastly greater than
those of England. Had the French been able to cross the Channel,
march on London and destroy English power at its root, the story of
civilization in a great part of North America might well have been
different, and we should perhaps find now on the banks of the Hudson
what we find on the banks of the St. Lawrence--villages dominated
by great churches and convents, with inhabitants Catholic to a man,
speaking the language and preserving the traditions of France. The strip
of inviolate sea between Calais and Dover made impossible, however, an
assault on London. Sea power kept secure not only England but English
effort in America and in the end defeated France.

England had defenses other than her great strength on the sea. In spite
of the docility towards France shown by the English King, Charles II,
himself half French in blood and at heart devoted to the triumph of the
Catholic faith, the English people would tolerate no policies likely
to make England subservient to France. This was forbidden by age-long
tradition. The struggle had become one of religion as well as of race.
A fight for a century and a half with the Roman Catholic Church had
made England sternly, fanatically Protestant. In their suspicion of
the system which France accepted, Englishmen had sent a king to the
scaffold, had overthrown the monarchy, and had created a military
republic. This republic, indeed, had fallen, but the distrust of the
aims of the Roman Catholic Church remained intense and burst into
passionate fury the moment an understanding of the aims of France gained

There are indeed few passages in English history less creditable than
the panic fear of Roman Catholic plots which swept the country in
the days when Frontenac at Quebec was working to destroy English and
Protestant influence in America. In 1678, Titus Oates, a clergyman of
the Church of England who had turned Roman Catholic, declared that,
while in the secrets of his new church, he had found on foot a plot to
restore Roman Catholic dominance in England by means of the murder of
Charles II and of any other crimes necessary for that purpose. Oates
said that he had left the Church and returned to his former faith
because of the terrible character of the conspiracy which he had
discovered. His story was not even plausible; he was known to be a man
of vicious life; moreover, Catholic plotters would hardly murder a king
who was at heart devoted to Catholic policy. England, however, was in
a nervous state of mind; Charles II was known to be intriguing with
France; and a cruel fury surged through the nation. For a share in the
supposed plots, a score of people, among them one of the great nobles of
England, the venerable and innocent Earl of Stafford, were condemned to
death and executed. Whatever Charles II himself might have thought,
he was obliged for his own safety to acquiesce in the policy of

Catholic France was not less malignant than Protestant England. Though
cruel severity had long been shown to Protestants, they seemed to
be secure under the law of France in certain limited rights and in a
restricted toleration. In 1685, however, Louis XIV revoked the Edict
of Nantes by which Henry IV a century earlier had guaranteed this
toleration. All over France there had already burst out terrible
persecution, and the act of Louis XIV brought a fiery climax. Unhappy
heretics who would not accept Roman Catholic doctrine found life
intolerable. Tens of thousands escaped from France in spite of a
law which, though it exiled the Protestant ministers, forbade other
Protestants to leave the country. Stories of plots were made the excuse
to seize the property of Protestants. Regiments of soldiers, charged
with the task, could boast of many enforced "conversions." Quartered on
Protestant households, they made the life of the inmates a burden until
they abandoned their religion. Among the means used were torture before
a slow fire, the tearing off of the finger nails, the driving of the
whole families naked into the streets and the forbidding of any one
to give them shelter, the violation of women, and the crowding of the
heretics in loathsome prisons. By such means it took a regiment of
soldiers in Rouen only a few days to "convert" to the old faith some six
hundred families. Protestant ministers caught in France were sent to the
galleys for life. The persecutions which followed the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes outdid even Titus Oates.

Charles II died in 1685 and the scene at his deathbed encouraged in
England suspicions of Catholic policy and in France hope that this
policy was near its climax of success. Though indolent and dissolute,
Charles yet possessed striking mental capacity and insight. He knew well
that to preserve his throne he must remain outwardly a Protestant and
must also respect the liberties of the English nation. He cherished,
however, the Roman Catholic faith and the despotic ideals of his
Bourbon mother. On his deathbed he avowed his real belief. With great
precautions for secrecy, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church
and comforted with the consolations which it offers to the dying. While
this secret was suspected by the English people, one further fact was
perfectly clear. Their new King, James II, was a zealous Roman Catholic,
who would use all his influence to bring England back to the Roman
communion. Suspicion of the King's designs soon became certainty and,
after four years of bitter conflict with James, the inevitable happened.
The Roman Catholic Stuart King was driven from his throne and his
daughter Mary and her Protestant husband, William of Orange, became the
sovereigns of England by choice of the English Parliament. Again had
the struggle between Roman Catholic and Protestant brought revolution in
England, and the politics of Europe dominated America. The revolution in
London was followed by revolution in Boston and New York. The authority
of James II was repudiated. His chief agent in New England, Sir Edmund
Andros, was seized and imprisoned, and William and Mary reigned over the
English colonies in America as they reigned over the motherland.

To the loyal Catholics of France the English, who had driven out a
Catholic king and dethroned an ancient line, were guilty of the double
sin of heresy and of treason. To the Jesuit enthusiast in Canada not
only were they infidel devils in human shape upon whose plans must rest
the curse of God; they were also rebels, republican successors of the
accursed Cromwell, who had sent an anointed king to the block. It would
be a holy thing to destroy this lawless power which ruled from London.
The Puritans of Boston were, in turn, not less convinced that theirs was
the cause of God, and that Satan, enthroned in the French dominance
at Quebec, must soon fall. The smaller the pit the fiercer the rats.
Passions raged in the petty colonial capitals more bitterly than even in
London and Paris. This intensity of religious differences embittered the
struggle for the mastery of the new continent.

The English colonies had twenty white men to one in Canada. Yet Canada
was long able to wage war on something like equal terms. She had the
supreme advantage of a single control. There was no trouble at Quebec
about getting a reluctant legislature to vote money for war purposes. No
semblance of an elected legislature existed and the money for war came
not from the Canadians, but from the capacious, if now usually depleted,
coffers of the French court at Versailles. In the English colonies the
legislatures preferred, of all political struggles, one about money
with the Governor, the representative of the King. At least one of the
English colonies, Pennsylvania, believing that evil is best conquered by
non-resistance, was resolutely against war for any reason, good or bad.
Other colonies often raised the more sordid objection that they were
too poor to help in war. The colonial legislatures, indeed, with their
eternal demand for the privileges and rights which the British House
of Commons had won in the long centuries of its history, constitute the
most striking of all the contrasts with Canada. In them were always the
sparks of an independent temper. The English diarist, Evelyn, wrote, in
1671, that New England was in "a peevish and touchy humour." Colonists
who go out to found a new state will always demand rights like those
which they have enjoyed at home. It was unthinkable that men of Boston,
who, themselves, or whose party in England, had fought against a
despotic king, had sent him to the block and driven his son from the
throne, would be content with anything short of controlling the taxes
which they paid, making the laws which they obeyed, and carrying on
their affairs in their own way. When obliged to accept a governor from
England, they were resolved as far as possible to remain his paymaster.
In a majority of the colonies they insisted that the salary of the
Governor should be voted each year by their representatives, in order
that they might be able always to use against him the cogent logic of
financial need. On questions of this kind Quebec had nothing to say. To
the King in France and to him alone went all demands for pay and honors.
If, in such things, the people of Canada had no remote voice, they were
still as well off as Frenchmen in France. New England was a copy of
Old England and New France a copy of Old France. There was, as yet, no
"peevish and touchy humour" at either Quebec or Versailles in respect to
political rights.

Canada, in spite of its scanty population, was better equipped for war
than was any of the English colonies. The French were largely explorers
and hunters, familiar with hardship and danger and led by men with a
love of adventure. The English, on the other hand, were chiefly traders
and farmers who disliked and dreaded the horrors of war. There was not
to be found in all the English colonies a family of the type of the
Canadian family of Le Moyne. Charles Le Moyne, of Montreal, a member of
the Canadian noblesse, had ten sons, every one of whom showed the spirit
and capacity of the adventurous soldier. They all served in the time of
Frontenac. The most famous of them, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, shines
in varied roles. He was a frontier leader who made his name a terror
in the English settlements; a sailor who seized and ravaged the English
settlements in Newfoundland, who led a French squadron to the remote and
chill waters of Hudson Bay, and captured there the English strongholds
of the fur trade; and a leader in the more peaceful task of founding,
at the mouth of the Mississippi, the colony of Louisiana. Canada had the
advantage over the English colonies in bold pioneers of this type.

Canada was never doubtful of the English peril or divided in the desire
to destroy it. Nearly always, a soldier or a naval officer ruled in the
Chateau St. Louis, at Quebec, with eyes alert to see and arms ready to
avert military danger. England sometimes sent to her colonies in America
governors who were disreputable and inefficient, needy hangers-on,
too well-known at home to make it wise there to give them office, but
thought good enough for the colonies. It would not have been easy to
find a governor less fitted to maintain the dignity and culture of high
office than Sir William Phips, Governor of Massachusetts in the time
of Frontenac. Phips, however, though a rough brawler, was reasonably
efficient, but Lord Cornbury, who became Earl of Clarendon, owed his
appointment as Governor of New Jersey and New York in 1701, only to his
necessities and to the desire of his powerful connections to provide for
him. Queen Anne was his cousin. He was a profligate, feeble in mind
but arrogant in spirit, with no burden of honesty and a great burden
of debt, and he made no change in his scandalous mode of life when he
represented his sovereign at New York. There were other governors only
slightly better. Canada had none as bad. Her viceroys as a rule kept
up the dignity of their office and respected the decencies of life. In
English colonies, governors eked out their incomes by charging heavy
fees for official acts and any one who refused to pay such fees was not
likely to secure attention to his business. In Canada the population
was too scanty and the opportunity too limited to furnish happy
hunting-grounds of this kind. The governors, however, badly paid as
they were, must live, and, in the case of a man like Frontenac, repair
fortunes shattered at court. To do so they were likely to have some
concealed interest in the fur trade. This was forbidden by the court but
was almost a universal practice. Some of the governors carried trading
to great lengths and aroused the bitter hostility of rival trading
interests. The fur trade was easily controlled as a government monopoly
and it was unfair that a needy governor should share its profits. But,
after all, such a quarrel was only between rival monopolists. Better
a trading governor than one who plundered the people or who by drunken
profligacy discredited his office.

While all Canada was devoted to the Roman Catholic Church, the diversity
of religious beliefs in the English colonies was a marked feature of
social life. In Virginia, by law of the colony, the Church of England
was the established Church. In Massachusetts, founded by stern Puritans,
the public services of the Church of England were long prohibited. In
Pennsylvania there was dominant the sect derisively called "Quakers,"
who would have no ecclesiastical organization and believed that religion
was purely a matter for the individual soul. Boston jeered at the
superstitions of Quebec, such as the belief of the missionaries that a
drop of water, with the murmured words of baptism, transformed a dying
Indian child from an outcast savage into an angel of light. Quebec
might, however, deride Boston with equal justice. Sir William Phips
believed that malignant and invisible devils had made a special invasion
of Massachusetts, dragging people from their houses, pushing them into
fire and water, and carrying them through the air for miles over trees
and hills. These devils, it was thought, took visible form, of which
the favorite was that of a black cat. Witches were thought to be able to
pass through keyholes and to exercise charms which would destroy their
victims. While Phips and Frontenac were struggling for the mastery of
Canada, a fever of excitement ran through New England about these perils
of witchcraft. When, in 1692, Phips became Governor of Massachusetts,
he named a special court to try accused persons. The court considered
hundreds of cases and condemned and hanged nineteen persons for wholly
imaginary crimes. Whatever the faults of the rule of the priests at
Quebec, they never equaled this in brutality or surpassed it in blind
superstition. In New England we find bitter religious persecution. In
Canada there was none: the door was completely closed to Protestants and
the family within were all of one mind. There was no one to persecute.

The old contrast between French and English ideals still endures. At
Quebec there was an early zeal for education. In 1638, the year in which
Harvard College was organized, a college and a school for training the
French youth and the natives were founded at Quebec. In the next year
the Ursuline nuns established at Quebec the convent which through all
the intervening years has continued its important work of educating
girls. In zeal for education Quebec was therefore not behind Boston. But
the spirit was different. Quebec believed that safety lay in control by
the Church, and this control it still maintains. Massachusetts came in
time to believe that safety lay in freeing education from any spiritual
authority. Today Laval University at Quebec and Harvard University at
Cambridge represent the outcome of these differing modes of thought.
Other forces were working to produce essentially different types. The
printing-press Quebec did not know; and, down to the final overthrow
of the French power in 1763, no newspaper or book was issued in Canada.
Massachusetts, on the other hand, had a printing-press as early as in
1638 and soon books were being printed in the colony. Of course, in the
spirit of the time, there was a strict censorship. But, by 1722, this
had come to an end, and after that the newspaper, unknown in Canada, was
busy and free in its task of helping to mold the thought of the English
colonies in America.

CHAPTER III. France Loses Acadia

The Peace of Ryswick in 1697 had settled nothing finally. France was
still strong enough to aim at the mastery of Europe and America. England
was torn by internal faction and would not prepare to face her menacing
enemy. Always the English have disliked a great standing army. Now,
despite the entreaties of a king who knew the real danger, they reduced
the army to the pitiable number of seven thousand men. Louis XIV grew
ever more confident. In 1700 he was able to put his own grandson on the
throne of Spain and to dominate Europe from the Straits of Gibraltar
to the Netherlands. Another event showing his resolve soon startled the
world. In 1701 died James II, the dethroned King of England, and Louis
went out of his way to insult the English people. William III was King
by the will of Parliament. Louis had recognized him as such. Yet, on the
death of James, Louis declared that James's son was now the true King of
England. This impudent defiance meant, and Louis intended that it should
mean, renewed war. England had invited it by making her forces weak.
William III died in 1702 and the war went on under his successor, Queen

Thus it happened that once more war-parties began to prowl on the
Canadian frontier, and women and children in remote clearings in the
forest shivered at the prospect of the savage scourge. The English
colonies suffered terribly. Everywhere France was aggressive. The
warlike Iroquois were now so alarmed by the French menace that, to
secure protection, they ceded their territory to Queen Anne and became
British subjects, a humiliating step indeed for a people who had once
thought themselves the most important in all the world. By 1703 the
butchery on the frontier was in full operation. The Jesuit historian
Charlevoix, with complacent exaggeration, says that in that year alone
three hundred men were killed on the New England frontier by the Abenaki
Indians incited by the French. The numbers slain were in fact fewer and
the slain were not always men but sometimes old women and young babies.
The policy of France was to make the war so ruthless that a gulf of
hatred should keep their Indian allies from ever making friends and
resuming trade with the English, whose hatchets, blankets, and other
supplies were, as the French well knew, better and cheaper than their
own. The French hoped to seize Boston, to destroy its industries and
sink its ships, then to advance beyond Boston and deal out to other
places the same fate. The rivalry of New England was to be ended by
making that region a desert.

The first fury of the war raged on the frontier of Maine, which was an
outpost of Massachusetts. On an August day in 1703 the people of the
rugged little settlement of Wells were at their usual tasks when they
heard gunshots and war-whoops. Indians had crept up to attack the place.
They set the village on fire and killed or carried off some twoscore
prisoners, chiefly women and children. The village of Deerfield, on
the northwestern frontier of Massachusetts, consisted of a wooden
meeting-house and a number of rough cabins which lodged the two or three
hundred inhabitants. On a February night in 1704 savages led by a young
member of the Canadian noblesse, Hertel de Rouville, approached the
village silently on snowshoes, waited on the outskirts during the dead
of night, and then just before dawn burst in upon the sleeping people.
The work was done quickly. Within an hour after dawn the place had been
plundered and set on fire, forty or fifty dead bodies of men and women
and children lay in the village, and a hundred and eleven miserable
prisoners were following their captors on snowshoes through the forest,
each prisoner well knowing that to fall by the way meant to have his
head split by a tomahawk and the scalp torn off. When on the first
night one of them slipped away, Rouville told the others that, should
a further escape occur, he would burn alive all those remaining in
his hands. The minister of the church at Deerfield, the Reverend John
Williams, was a captive, together with his wife and five children. The
wife, falling by the way, was killed by a stroke of a tomahawk and the
body was left lying on the snow. The children were taken from their
father and scattered among different bands. After a tramp of two hundred
miles through the wilderness to the outlying Canadian settlements, the
minister in the end reached Quebec. Every effort was made, even by his
Indian guard, to make him accept the Roman Catholic faith, but the stern
Puritan was obdurate. His daughter, Eunice, on the other hand, caught
young, became a Catholic so devoted that later she would not return to
New England lest the contact with Protestants should injure her faith.
She married a Caughnawaga Indian and became to all outward appearance a
squaw. Williams himself lived to resume his career in New England and to
write the story of the raid at Deerfield.

It may be that there were men in New England and New York capable of
similar barbarities. It is true that the savage allies of the English,
when at their worst, knew no restraint. There is nothing in the French
raids on a scale as great as that of the murderous raid by the Iroquois
on the French village of Lachine. But the Puritans of New England, while
they were ready to hew down savages, did not like and rarely took part
in the massacre of Europeans.

As the outrages went on year after year the temper of New England
towards the savages grew more ruthless. The General Court, the
Legislature of Massachusetts, offered forty pounds for every Indian
scalp brought in. Indians, like wolves, were vermin to be destroyed. The
anger of New England was further kindled by what was happening on
the sea. Privateers from Port Royal, in Acadia, attacked New England
commerce and New England fishermen and made unsafe the approaches to
Boston. This was to touch a commercial community on its most tender
spot; and a deep resolve was formed that Canada should be conquered and
the menace ended once for all.

It was only an occasional spirit in Massachusetts who made comprehensive
political plans. One of these was Samuel Vetch, a man somewhat different
from the usual type of New England leader, for he was not of English
but of Scottish origin, of the Covenanter strain. Vetch, himself an
adventurous trader, had taken a leading part in the ill-fated Scottish
attempt to found on the Isthmus of Panama a colony, which, in easy
touch with both the Pacific and the Atlantic, should carry on a gigantic
commerce between the East and the West. The colony failed, chiefly,
perhaps, because Spain would not have this intrusion into territory
which she claimed. Tropical disease and the disunion and incompetence of
the colonists themselves were Spain's allies in the destruction. After
this, Vetch had found his way to Boston, where he soon became prominent.
In 1707 Scotland and England were united under one Parliament, and the
active mind of Vetch was occupied with something greater than a Scottish
colony at Panama. Queen Anne, Vetch was resolved, should be "Sole
Empress of the vast North American Continent." Massachusetts was ready
for just such a cry. The General Court took up eagerly the plan of
Vetch. The scheme required help from England and the other colonies. To
England Vetch went in 1708. Marlborough had just won the great victory
of Oudenarde. It was good, the English ministry thought, to hit France
wherever she raised her head. In the spring of 1709 Vetch returned to
Boston with promises of powerful help at once for an attack on Canada,
and with the further promise that, the victory won, he himself should
be the first British Governor of Canada. New York was to help with nine
hundred men. Other remoter colonies were to aid on a smaller scale.
These contingents were to attack Canada by way of Lake Champlain. Twelve
hundred men from New England were to join the regulars from England and
go against Quebec by way of the sea and master Canada once for all.

The plan was similar to the one which Amherst and Wolfe carried to
success exactly fifty years later, and with a Wolfe in command it might
now have succeeded. The troops from England were to be at Boston before
the end of May, 1709. The colonial forces gathered. New Jersey and
Pennsylvania refused, indeed, to send any soldiers; but New York and
the other colonies concerned did their full share. By the early summer
Colonel Francis Nicholson, with some fifteen hundred men, lay fully
equipped in camp on Wood Creek near Lake Champlain, ready to descend
on Montreal as soon as news came of the arrival of the British fleet
at Boston for the attack on Quebec. On the shores of Boston harbor lay
another colonial army, large for the time--the levies from New England
which were to sail to Quebec. Officers had come out from England to
drill these hardy men, and as soldiers they were giving a good account
of themselves. They watched, fasted, and prayed, and watched again for
the fleet from England. Summer came and then autumn and still the fleet
did not arrive. Far away, in the crowded camp on Wood Creek, pestilence
broke out and as time wore on this army slowly melted away either by
death or withdrawal. At last, on October 11, 1709, word came from the
British ministry, dated the 27th of July, two months after the promised
fleet was to arrive at Boston, that it had been sent instead to

In spite of this disappointment the resolution endured to conquer
Canada. New York joined New England in sending deputations to London to
ask again for help. Four Mohawk chiefs went with Peter Schuyler from New
York and were the wonder of the day in London. It is something to have
a plan talked about. Malplaquet, the last of Marlborough's great
victories, had been won in the autumn of 1709 and the thought of a new
enterprise was popular. Nicholson, who had been sent from Boston, urged
that the first step should be to take Port Royal. What the colonies
required for this expedition was the aid of four frigates and five
hundred soldiers who should reach Boston by March.

The help arrived, though not in March but in July, 1710. Boston was
filled with enthusiasm for the enterprise. The legislature made military
service compulsory, quartered soldiers in private houses without consent
of the owners, impressed sailors, and altogether was quite arbitrary
and high-handed. The people, however, would bear almost anything if only
they could crush Port Royal, the den of privateers who seized many New
England vessels. On the 18th of September, to the great joy of Boston,
the frigates and the transports sailed away, with Nicholson in command
of the troops and Vetch as adjutant-general.

What we know today as Digby Basin on the east side of the Bay of Fundy,
is a great harbor, landlocked but for a narrow entrance about a
mile wide. Through this "gut," as it is called, the tide rushes in a
torrential and dangerous stream, but soon loses its violence in the
spacious and quiet harbor. Here the French had made their first
enduring colony in America. On the shores of the beautiful basin the
fleurs-de-lis had been raised over a French fort as early as 1605. A
lovely valley opens from the head of the basin to the interior. It
is now known as the Annapolis Valley, a fertile region dotted by the
homesteads of a happy and contented people. These people, however, are
not French in race nor do they live under a French Government. When on
the 24th of September, 1710, the fleet from Boston entered the basin,
and in doing so lost a ship and more than a score of men through the
destructive current, the decisive moment had come for all that region.
Fate had decreed that the land should not remain French but should
become English.

Port Royal was at that time a typical French community of the New World.
The village consisted of some poor houses made of logs or planks, a
wooden church, and, lying apart, a fort defended by earthworks. The
Governor, Subercase, was a brave French officer. He ruled the little
community with a despotism tempered only by indignant protests to
the King from those whom he ruled when his views and theirs did not
coincide. The peasants in the village counted for nothing. Connected
with the small garrison there were ladies and gentlemen who had no
light opinion of their own importance and were so peppery that Subercase
wished he had a madhouse in which to confine some of them. He thought
well of the country. It produced, he said, everything that France
produced except olives. The fertile land promised abundance of grain and
there was an inexhaustible supply of timber. There were many excellent
harbors. Had he a million livres, he would, he said, invest it gladly
in the country and be certain of a good return. His enthusiasm had
produced, however, no answering enthusiasm at Versailles, for there the
interests of Port Royal were miserably neglected. Yet it was a thorn
in the flesh of the English. In 1708 privateers from Port Royal had
destroyed no less than thirty-five English vessels, chiefly from Boston,
and had carried to the fort four hundred and seventy prisoners. Even
in winter months French ships would flit out of Port Royal and bring in
richly laden prizes. Can we wonder at Boston's deep resolve that now at
last the pest should end!

It was an imposing force which sailed into the basin. The four frigates
and thirty transports carried an army far greater than Subercase
had thought possible. The English landed some fourteen hundred men.
Subercase had less than three hundred. Within a few days, when the
English began to throw shells into the town, he asked for terms. On the
16th of October the little garrison, neglected by France and left ragged
and half-starved, marched out with drums beating and colors flying. The
English, drawn up before the gate, showed the usual honors to a brave
foe. The French flag was hauled down and in its place floated that
of Britain. Port Royal was renamed Annapolis and Vetch was made its
Governor. Three times before had the English come to Port Royal as
conquerors and then gone away, but now they were to remain. Ever since
that October day, when autumn was coloring the abundant foliage of the
lovely harbor, the British flag has waved over Annapolis. Because
the flag waved there it was destined to wave over all Acadia, or Nova
Scotia, and with Acadia in time went Canada.

A partial victory, however, such as the taking of Port Royal, was not
enough for the aroused spirit of the English. They and their allies
had beaten Louis XIV on the battlefields of Europe and had so worn out
France that clouds and darkness were about the last days of the Grand
Monarch now nearing his end. In America his agents were still drawing up
papers outlining grandiose designs for mastering the continent and for
proving that England's empire was near its fall, but Europe knew that
France in the long war had been beaten. The right way to smite France
in America was to rely upon England's naval power, to master the great
highway of the St. Lawrence, to isolate Canada, and to strangle one by
one the French settlements, beginning with Quebec.

There was malignant intrigue at the court of Queen Anne. One favorite,
the Duchess of Marlborough, had just been disgraced, and another, Mrs.
Masham, had been taken on by the weak and stupid Queen. The conquest of
Canada, if it could be achieved without the aid of Marlborough, would
help in his much desired overthrow. Petty motives were unhappily at the
root of the great scheme. Who better to lead such an expedition than the
brother of the new favorite whose success might discredit the husband
of the old one? Accordingly General "Jack" Hill, brother of Mrs. Masham,
was appointed to the chief military command and an admiral hitherto
little known but of good habits and quick wit, Sir Hovenden Walker, was
to lead the fleet.

The expedition against Quebec was on a scale adequate for the time.
Britain dispatched seven regiments of regulars, numbering in all five
thousand five hundred men, and there were besides in the fleet some
thousands of sailors and marines. Never before had the English sent to
North America a force so great. On June 24, 1711, Admiral Walker arrived
at Boston with his great array. Boston was impressed, but Boston was
also a little hurt, for the British leaders were very lofty and superior
in their tone towards colonials and gave orders as if Boston were a
provincial city of England which must learn respect and obedience to His
Majesty's officers "vested with the Queen's Royal Power and Authority."

More than seventy ships, led by nine men-of-war, sailed from Boston for
the attack on Canada. On board were nearly twelve thousand men. Compared
with this imposing fleet, that of Phips, twenty-one years earlier, seems
feeble. Phips had set out too late. This fleet was in good time, for it
sailed on the 30th of July. Vetch, always competent, was in command
of the colonial military forces, but never had any chance to show his
mettle, for during the voyage the seamen were in control. The Admiral
had left England with secret instructions. He had not been informed of
the task before him and for it he was hardly prepared. There were no
competent pilots to correct his ignorance. Now that he knew where he was
going he was anxious about the dangers of the northern waters. The St.
Lawrence River, he believed, froze solidly to the bottom in winter and
he feared that the ice would crush the sides of his ships. As he had
provisions for only eight or nine weeks, his men might starve. His mind
was filled, as he himself says, with melancholy and dismal horror at the
prospect of seamen and soldiers, worn to skeletons by hunger, drawing
lots to decide who should die first amidst the "adamantine frosts" and
"mountains of snow" of bleak and barren Canada.

The Gulf and River St. Lawrence spell death to an incompetent sailor.
The fogs, the numerous shoals and islands, make skillful seamanship
necessary. It is a long journey from Boston to Quebec by water. For
three weeks, however, all went well. On the 22d of August, Walker was
out of sight of land in the Gulf where it is about seventy miles wide
above the Island of Anticosti. A strong east wind with thick fog is
dreaded in those waters even now, and on the evening of that day a storm
of this kind blew up. In the fog Walker lost his bearings. When in fact
he was near the north shore he thought he was not far from the south
shore. At half-past ten at night Paddon, the captain of the Edgar,
Walker's flagship, came to tell him that land was in sight. Walker
assumed that it was the south shore and gave a fatal order for the fleet
to turn and head northward, a change which turned them straight towards
cliffs and breakers. He then went to bed. Soon one of the military
officers rushed to his cabin and begged him to come on deck as the ships
were among breakers. Walker, who was an irascible man, resented the
intrusion and remained in bed. A second time the officer appeared and
said the fleet would be lost if the Admiral did not act. Why it was left
for a military rather than a naval officer to rouse the Admiral in such
a crisis we do not know. Perhaps the sailors were afraid of the great
man. Walker appeared on deck in dressing gown and slippers. The fog
had lifted, and in the moonlight there could be seen breaking surf to
leeward. A French pilot, captured in the Gulf, had taken pains to give
what he could of alarming information. He now declared that the ships
were off the north shore. Walker turned his own ship sharply and
succeeded in beating out into deep water and safety. For the fleet the
night was terrible. Some ships dropped anchor which held, for happily
the storm abated. Fog guns and lights as signals of distress availed
little to the ships in difficulty. Eight British transports laden with
troops and two ships carrying supplies were dashed to pieces on the
rocks. The shrieks of drowning men could be heard in the darkness. The
scene was the rocky Isle aux Oeufs and adjacent reefs off the north
shore. About seven hundred soldiers, including twenty-nine officers, and
in addition perhaps two hundred sailors, were lost on that awful night.

The disaster was not overwhelming and Walker might have gone on and
captured Quebec. He had not lost a single war-ship and he had still some
eleven thousand men. General Hill might have stiffened the back of the
forlorn Admiral, but Hill himself was no better. Vetch spoke for going
on. He knew the St. Lawrence waters for he had been at Quebec and had
actually charted a part of the river and was more familiar with it, he
believed, than were the Canadians themselves. What pilots there were
declared, however, that to go on was impossible and the helpless
captains of the ships were of opinion that, with the warning of such a
disaster, they could not disregard this counsel. Though the character
of the English is such that usually a reverse serves to stiffen their
backs, in this case it was not so. A council of war yielded to the panic
of the hour and the great fleet turned homeward. Soon it was gathered
in what is now Sydney harbor in Cape Breton. From here the New England
ships went home and Walker sailed for England. At Spithead the Edgar,
the flag-ship, blew up and all on board perished. Walker was on shore
at the time. So far was he from being disgraced that he was given a
new command. Later, when the Whigs came in, he was dismissed from the
service, less, it seems, in blame for the disaster than for his Tory
opinions. It is not an unusual irony of life that Vetch, the one wholly
efficient leader in the expedition, ended his days in a debtor's prison.

Quebec had shivered before a menace, the greatest in its history.
Through the long months of the summer of 1711 there had been prayer and
fasting to avert the danger. Apparently trading ships had deserted the
lower St. Lawrence in alarm, for no word had arrived at Quebec of the
approach of Walker's fleet. Nor had the great disaster been witnessed by
any onlookers. The island where it occurred was then and still remains
desert. Up to the middle of October, nearly two months after the
disaster, the watchers at Quebec feared that they might see any day a
British fleet rounding the head of the Island of Orleans. On the 19th of
October the first news of the disaster arrived and then it was easy
for Quebec to believe that God had struck the English wretches with a
terrible vengeance. Three thousand men, it was said, had reached land
and then perished miserably. Many bodies had been found naked and
in attitudes of despair. Other thousands had perished in the water.
Vessel-loads of spoil had been gathered, rich plate, beautiful swords,
magnificent clothing, gold, silver, jewels. The truth seems to be
that some weeks after the disaster the evidences of the wrecks were
discovered. Even to this day ships are battered to pieces in those
rock-strewn waters and no one survives to tell the story. Some fishermen
landing on the island had found human bodies, dead horses and
other animals, and the hulls of seven ships. They had gathered some
wreckage--and that was the whole story. Quebec sang Te Deum. From
attacks by sea there had now been two escapes which showed God's
love for Canada. In the little church of Notre Dame des Victoires,
consecrated at that time to the memory of the deliverance from Phips and
Walker, daily prayers are still poured out for the well-being of Canada.
God had been a present help on land as well as on the sea. Nicholson,
with more than two thousand men, had been waiting at his camp near Lake
Champlain to descend on Montreal as soon as Walker reached Quebec. When
he received the news of the disaster he broke up his force and retired.
For the moment Canada was safe from the threatened invasion.

In spite of this apparent deliverance, the long war, now near its end,
brought a destructive blow to French power in America. Though France
still possessed vigor and resources which her enemies were apt to
underrate, the war had gone against her in Europe. Her finest armies had
been destroyed by Marlborough, her taxation was crushing, her credit was
ruined, her people were suffering for lack of food. The allies had begun
to think that there was no humiliation which they might not put upon
France. Louis XIV, they said, must give up Alsace, which, with Lorraine,
he had taken some years earlier, and he must help to drive his own
grandson from the Spanish throne. This exorbitant demand stirred the
pride not only of Louis but of the French nation, and the allies found
that they could not trample France under their feet. The Treaty of
Utrecht, concluded in 1718, shows that each side was too strong as yet
to be crushed. In dismissing Marlborough, Great Britain had lost one of
her chief assets. His name had become a terror to France. To this day,
both in France and in French Canada, is sung the popular ditty "Monsieur
Malbrouck est mort," a song of delight at a report that Marlborough was
dead. When in place of Marlborough leaders of the type of General Hill
were appointed to high command, France could not be finally beaten. The
Treaty of Utrecht was the outcome of war-weariness. It marks, however,
a double check to Louis XIV. He could not master Europe and he could
not master America. France now ceded to Britain her claim to Acadia,
Newfoundland, and Hudson Bay. She regarded this, however, as only a
temporary setback and was soon planning and plotting great designs far
surpassing the narrower vision of the English colonies.

It was with a wry face, however, that France yielded Acadia. To retain
it she offered to give up all rights in the Newfoundland fisheries, the
nursery of her marine. Britain would not yield Acadia, dreading chiefly
perhaps the wrath of New England which had conquered Port Royal.
Britain, however, compromised on the question of boundaries in a way so
dangerous that the long war settled finally no great issues in America.
She took Acadia "according to its ancient limits,"--but no one knew
these limits. They were to be defined by a joint commission of the two
nations which, after forty years, reached no agreement. The Island of
Cape Breton and the adjoining Ile St. Jean, now Prince Edward
Island, remained to France. Though Britain secured sovereignty over
Newfoundland, France retained extensive rights in the Newfoundland
fisheries. The treaty left unsettled the boundary between Canada and
the English colonies. While it yielded Hudson Bay to Britain, it settled
nothing as to frontiers in the wilderness which stretched beyond the
Great Lakes into the Far West and which had vast wealth in furs.

CHAPTER IV. Louisbourg And Boston

For thirty years England and France now remained at peace, and England
had many reasons for desiring peace to continue. Anne, the last of the
Stuart rulers, died in 1714. The new King, George I, Elector of Hanover,
was a German and a German unchangeable, for he was already fifty four,
with little knowledge of England and none of the English, and with
an undying love for the dear despotic ways easily followed in a small
German principality. He and his successor George II were thinking
eternally of German rather than of English problems, and with German
interests chiefly regarded it was well that England should make a friend
of France. It was well, too, that under a new dynasty, with its title
disputed, England should not encourage France to continue the friendly
policy of Louis XIV towards James, the deposed Stuart Pretender. England
had just made a new, determined, and arrogant enemy by forcing upon
Spain the deep humiliation of ceding Gibraltar, which had been taken
in 1704 by Admiral Rooke with allied forces. The proudest monarchy in
Europe was compelled to see a spot of its own sacred territory held
permanently by a rival nation. Gibraltar Spain was determined to
recover. Its loss drove her into the arms of the enemies of England and
remains to this day a grievance which on occasion Spanish politicians
know well how to make useful.

Great Britain was now under the direction of a leader whose policy was
peace. A nation is happy when a born statesman with a truly liberal mind
and a genuine love of his country comes to the front in its affairs.
Such a man was Sir Robert Walpole. He was a Whig squire, a plain country
gentleman, with enough of culture to love good pictures and the ancient
classics, but delighting chiefly in sports and agriculture, hard
drinking and politics. When only twenty-seven he was already a leader
among the Whigs; at thirty-two he was Secretary for War; and before he
was forty he had become Prime Minister, a post which he really created
and was the first Englishman to hold. Friendship with France marked a
new phase of British policy. Walpole's baffled enemies said that he was
bribed by France. His shrewd insight kept France lukewarm in its support
of the Stuart rising in 1715, which he punished with great severity. But
it was as a master of finance that he was strongest. While continental
nations were wasting men and money Walpole gloried in saving English
lives and English gold. He found new and fruitful modes of taxation, but
when urged to tax the colonies he preferred, as he said, to leave that
to a bolder man. It is a pity that anyone was ever found bold enough to
do it.

Walpole's policy endured for a quarter of a century. He abandoned it
only after a bitter struggle in which he was attacked as sacrificing the
national honor for the sake of peace. Spain was an easy mark for those
who wished to arouse the warlike spirit. She still persecuted and burned
heretics, a great cause of offense, in Protestant Britain, and she was
rigorous in excluding foreigners from trading with her colonies. To be
the one exception in this policy of exclusion was the privilege enjoyed
by Britain. When the fortunes of Spain were low in 1713, she had been
forced not merely to cede Gibraltar but also to give to the British the
monopoly of supplying the Spanish colonies with negro slaves and the
right to send one ship a year to trade at Porto Bello in South America.
It seems a sufficiently ignoble bargain for a great nation to exact: the
monopoly of carrying and selling cargoes of black men and the right to
send a single ship yearly to a Spanish colony. We can hardly imagine
grave diplomats of our day haggling over such terms. But the eighteenth
century was not the twentieth. From the treaty the British expected
amazing results. The South Sea Company was formed to carry on a vast
trade with South America. One ship a year could, of course, carry
little, but the ships laden with negroes could smuggle into the
colonies merchandise and the one trading ship could be and was reloaded
fraudulently from lighters so that its cargo was multiplied manyfold.
Out of the belief in huge profits from this trade with its exaggerated
visions of profit grew in 1720 the famous South Sea Bubble which
inaugurated a period of frantic speculation in England. Worthless shares
in companies formed for trade in the South Seas sold at a thousand per
cent of their face value. It is a form of madness to which human greed
is ever liable. Walpole's financial insight condemned from the first the
wild outburst, and his common sense during the crisis helped to stem the
tide of disaster. The South Sea Bubble burst partly because Spain stood
sternly on her own rights and punished British smugglers. During
many years the tension between the two nations grew. No doubt
Spanish officials were harsh. Tales were repeated in England of their
brutalities to British sailors who fell into their hands. In 1739 the
story of a certain Captain Jenkins that his ear had been cut off by
Spanish captors and thrown in his face with an insulting message to his
government brought matters to a climax. Events in other parts of Europe
soon made the war general. When, in 1740, the young King of Prussia,
Frederick II, came to the throne, his first act was to march an army
into Silesia. To this province he had, he said, in the male line,
a better claim than that of the woman, Maria Theresa, who had just
inherited the Austrian crown. Frederick conquered Silesia and held
it. In 1744 he was allied with Spain and France, while Britain allied
herself with Austria, and thus Britain and France were again at war.

In America both sides had long seen that the war was inevitable. Never
had French opinion been more arrogant in asserting France's right to
North America than after the Treaty of Utrecht. At the dinner-table of
the Governor in Quebec there was incessant talk of Britain's incapacity,
of the sheer luck by which she had blundered into the occupation of
great areas, while in truth she was weak through lack of union and
organization. A natural antipathy, it was said, existed between
her colonies and herself; she was a monarchy while they were really
independent republics. France, on the other hand, had grown stronger
since the last war. In 1713 she had retained the island of Cape Breton
and now she had made it a new menace to British power. Boston, which
had breathed more freely after the fall of Port Royal in 1710, soon had
renewed cause for alarm in regard to its shipping. On the southern
coast of Cape Breton, there was a spacious harbor with a narrow entrance
easily fortified, and here France began to build the fortress of
Louisbourg. It was planned on the most approved military principles of
the time. Through its strength, the boastful talk went, France should
master North America. The King sent out cannon, undertook to build a
hospital, to furnish chaplains for the service of the Church, to help
education, and so on. Above all, he sent to Louisbourg soldiers.

Reports of these wonderful things reached the English colonies and
caused fears and misgivings. New England believed that Louisbourg
reflected the pomp and wealth of Versailles. The fortress was, in
truth, slow in building and never more than a rather desolate outpost
of France. It contained in all about four thousand people. During the
thirty years of the long truce it became so strong that it was without
a rival on the Atlantic coast. The excellent harbor was a haven for the
fishermen of adjacent waters and a base for French privateers, who were
a terror to all the near trade routes of the Atlantic. On the military
side Louisbourg seemed a success. But the French failed in their effort
to colonize the island of Cape Breton on which the fortress stood. Today
this island has great iron and other industries. There are coal-mines
near Louisbourg; and its harbor, long deserted after the fall of the
power of France, has now an extensive commerce. The island was indeed
fabulously rich in coals and minerals. To use these things, however, was
to be the task of a new age of industry. The colonist of the eighteenth
century--a merchant, a farmer, or a fur trader--thought that Cape Breton
was bleak and infertile and refused to settle there. Louisbourg remained
a compact fortress with a good harbor, free from ice during most of the
year, but too much haunted by fog. It looked out on a much-traveled sea.
But it remained set in the wilderness.

Even if Louisbourg made up for the loss of Port Royal, this did not,
however, console France for the cession of Acadia. The fixed idea
of those who shaped the policy of Canada was to recover Acadia and
meanwhile to keep its French settlers loyal to France. The Acadians were
not a promising people with whom to work. In Acadia, or Nova Scotia, as
the English called it, these backward people had slowly gathered during
a hundred years and had remained remote and neglected. They had cleared
farms, built primitive houses, planted orchards, and reared cattle. In
1713 their number did not exceed two or three thousand, but already they
were showing the amazing fertility of the French race in America. They
were prosperous but ignorant. Almost none of them could read. After the
cession of their land to Britain in 1713 they had been guaranteed by
treaty the free exercise of their religion and they were Catholics to a
man. It seems as if history need hardly mention a people so feeble
and obscure. Circumstances, however, made the role of the Acadians
important. Their position was unique. The Treaty of Utrecht gave them
the right to leave Acadia within a year, taking with them their personal
effects. To this Queen Anne added the just privilege of selling their
lands and houses. Neither the Acadians themselves, however, nor their
new British masters were desirous that they should leave. The Acadians
were content in their old homes; and the British did not wish them to
help in building up the neighboring French stronghold on Cape Breton. It
thus happened that the French officials could induce few of the Acadians
to migrate and the English troubled them little. Having been resolute in
acquiring Nova Scotia, Britain proceeded straightway to neglect it. She
brought in few settlers. She kept there less than two hundred soldiers
and even to these she paid so little attention that sometimes they had
no uniforms. The Acadians prospered, multiplied, and quarreled as to the
boundaries of their lands. They rendered no military service, paid no
taxes, and had the country to themselves as completely as if there had
been no British conquest. They rarely saw a British official. If they
asked the British Governor at Annapolis to settle for them some vexed
question of rights or ownership he did so and they did not even pay a

This is not, however, the whole story. England's neglect of the colony
was France's opportunity. Perhaps the French court did not follow
closely what was going on in Acadia. The successive French Governors of
Canada at Quebec were, however, alert; and their policy was to incite
the Abenaki Indians on the New England frontier to harass the English
settlements, and to keep the Acadians an active factor in the support of
French plans. The nature of French intrigue is best seen in the career
of Sebastien Rale. He was a highly educated Jesuit priest. It was long
a tradition among the Jesuits to send some of their best men as
missionaries among the Indians. Rale spent nearly the whole of his life
with the Abenakis at the mission station of Norridgewock on the Kennebec
River. He knew the language and the customs of the Indians, attended
their councils, and dominated them by his influence. He was a model
missionary, earnest and scholarly. But the Jesuit of that age was prone
to be half spiritual zealot, half political intriguer. There is no doubt
that the Indians had a genuine fear that the English, with danger from
France apparently removed by the Treaty of Utrecht, would press claims
to lands about the Kennebec River in what is now the State of Maine, and
that they would ignore the claims of the Indians and drive them out.
The Governor at Quebec helped to arouse the savages against the arrogant
intruders. English border ruffians stirred the Indians by their drunken
outrages and gave them real cause for anger. The savages knew only
one way of expressing political unrest. They began murdering women and
children in raids on lonely log cabins on the frontier. The inevitable
result was that in 1721 Massachusetts began a war on them which dragged
on for years. Rale, inspired from Quebec, was believed to control the
Indians and, indeed, boasted that he did so. At last the English struck
at the heart of the trouble. In 1724 some two hundred determined men
made a silent advance through the forest to the mission village of
Norridgewock where Rale lived, and Rale died fighting the assailants. In
Europe a French Jesuit such as he would have worked among diplomats and
at the luxurious courts of kings. In America he worked among savages
under the hard conditions of frontier life. The methods and the aims in
both cases were the same--by subtle and secret influence so to mold the
actions of men that France should be exalted in power. In their high
politics the French sometimes overreached themselves. To seize points of
vantage, to intrigue for influence, are not in themselves creative. They
must be supported by such practical efforts as will assure an economic
reserve adequate in the hour of testing. France failed partly because
she did not know how to lay sound industrial foundations which should
give substance to the brilliant planning of her leaders.

To French influence of this kind the English opposed forces that were
the outcome of their national character and institutions. They were
keener traders than the French and had cheaper and better goods, with
the exception perhaps of French gunpowder and of French brandy, which
the Indians preferred to English rum. Though the English were less alert
and less brilliant than the French, the work that they did was more
enduring. Their settlements encroached ever more and more upon the
forest. They found and tilled the good lands, traded and saved and
gradually built up populous communities. The British colonies had twenty
times the population of Canada. The tide of their power crept in slowly
but it moved with the relentless force that has subsequently made nearly
the whole of North America English in speech and modes of thought.

When, in 1744, open war between the two nations came at last in Europe,
each prepared to spring at the other in America--and France sprang
first. In Nova Scotia, on the narrow strait which separates the mainland
from the island of Cape Breton, the British had a weak little fishing
settlement called Canseau. Suddenly in May, 1744, when the British at
Canseau had heard nothing of war, two armed vessels from Louisbourg
with six or seven hundred soldiers and sailors appeared before the poor
little place and demanded its surrender. To this the eighty British
defenders agreed on the condition that they should be sent to Boston
which, as yet, had not heard of the war. Meanwhile they were taken to
Louisbourg where they kept their eyes open. But the French continued in
their offensive. The one vital place held by the British in Nova Scotia
was Annapolis, at that time so neglected that the sandy ramparts had
crumbled into the ditch supposed to protect them, and cows from the
neighboring fields walked up the slope and looked down into the fort.
It was Duvivier, the captor of Canseau, who attacked Annapolis. He had
hoped much for help from the Indians and the Acadians, but, though both
seemed eager, both failed him in action. Paul Mascarene, who defended
Annapolis, was of Huguenot blood, which stimulated him to fight the
better against the Catholic French. Boston sent him help, for that
little capital was deeply moved, and so Annapolis did not fall, though
it was harassed during the whole summer of 1744; and New England; in
a fever at the new perils of war, prepared a mighty stroke against the

This expedition was to undertake nothing less than the capture of
Louisbourg itself. The colonial troops had been so often reminded
of their inferiority to regular troops as fighting forces that, with
provincial docility, they had almost come to accept the estimate. It was
well enough for them to fight irregular French and Indian bands, but to
attack a fortress defended by a French garrison was something that only
a few bold spirits among them could imagine. Such a spirit, however, was
William Vaughan, a Maine trader, deeply involved in the fishing industry
and confronted with ruin from hostile Louisbourg. Shirley, the Governor
of Massachusetts, a man of eager ambition, took up the proposal and
worked out an elaborate plan. The prisoners who had been captured at
Canseau by the French and interned at Louisbourg now arrived at Boston
and told of bad conditions in the fortress. In January, 1745, Shirley
called a session of the General Court, the little parliament of
Massachusetts, and, having taken the unusual step of pledging the
members to secrecy, he unfolded his plan. But it proved too bold for the
prudent legislators, and they voted it down. Meanwhile New England trade
was suffering from ships which used Louisbourg as a base. At length
public opinion was aroused and, when Shirley again called the General
Court, a bare majority endorsed his plan. Soon thereafter New England
was aflame. Appeals for help were sent to England and, it is said,
even to Jamaica. Shirley counted on aid from a British squadron, under
Commodore Peter Warren, in American waters, but at first Warren had no
instructions to help such a plan. This disappointment did not keep New
England from going on alone. In the end Warren received instructions to
give the necessary substantial aid, and he established a strict blockade
which played a vital part in the siege of the French fortress.

In this hour of deadly peril Louisbourg was in not quite happy case.
Some of the French officers, who, would otherwise have starved on their
low pay, were taking part in illicit trade and were neglecting their
duties. Just after Christmas in 1744, there had been a mutiny over a
petty question of butter and bacon. Here, as in all French colonies,
there were cliques, with the suspicions and bitterness which they
involve. The Governor Duchambon, though brave enough, was a man of poor
judgment in a position that required both tact and talent. The English
did not make the mistake of delaying their preparations. They were
indeed so prompt that they arrived at Canseau early in April and had to
wait for the ice to break up in Gabarus Bay, near Louisbourg, where they
intended to land. Here, on April 30, the great fleet appeared. A watcher
in Louisbourg counted ninety-six ships standing off shore. With little
opposition from the French the amazing army landed at Freshwater Cove.

Then began an astonishing siege. The commander of the New England
forces, William Pepperrell, was a Maine trader, who dealt in a little
of everything, fish, groceries, lumber, ships, land. Though innocent of
military science, he was firm and tactful. A British officer with strict
military ideas could not, perhaps, have led that strange army with
success. Pepperrell knew that he had good fighting material; he knew,
too, how to handle it. In his army of some four thousand men there was
probably not one officer with a regular training. Few of his force had
proper equipment, but nearly all his men were handy on a ship as well as
on land. In Louisbourg were about two thousand defenders, of whom only
five or six hundred were French regulars. These professional soldiers
watched with contempt not untouched with apprehension the breaches of
military precedent in the operations of the besiegers. Men harnessed
like horses dragged guns through morasses into position, exposed
themselves recklessly, and showed the skill, initiative, and resolution
which we have now come to consider the dominant qualities of the Yankee.
In time Warren arrived with a British squadron and then the French were
puzzled anew. They could not understand the relations between the fleet
and the army, which seemed to them to belong to different nations. The
New Englanders appeared to be under a Governor who was something like
an independent monarch. He had drawn up elaborate plans for his army,
comical in their apparent disregard of the realities of war, naming
the hour when the force should land "unobserved" before Louisbourg,
instructing Pepperrell to surprise that place while every one was
asleep, and so on. Kindly Providence was expected even to give
continuous good weather. "The English appear to have enlisted Heaven in
their interests," said a despairing resident of the town; "so long as
the expedition lasted they had the most beautiful weather in the world."
There were no storms; the winds were favorable; fog, so common on that
coast, did not creep in; and the sky was clear.

Among the French the opinion prevailed that the English colonists were
ferocious pirates plotting eternally to destroy the power of France.
Their liberty, however, it was well understood, had made them strong;
and now they quickly became formidable soldiers. Their shooting, bad at
first, was, in the end, superb. Sometimes in their excess of zeal they
overcharged their cannon so that the guns burst. But they managed to hit
practically every house in Louisbourg, and since most of the houses were
of wood there was constant danger of fire. Some of the French fought
well. Even children of ten and twelve helped to carry ammunition.

The Governor Duchambon tried to keep up the spirits of the garrison by
absurd exaggeration of British losses. He was relying much on help
from France, but only a single ship reached port. On May 19, 1745, the
besieged saw approaching Louisbourg a great French ship of war, the
Vigilant, long looked for, carrying 64 guns and 560 men. A northwest
wind was blowing which would have brought her quickly into the harbor.
The British fleet was two and a half leagues away to leeward. The great
ship, thinking herself secure, did not even stop to communicate with
Louisbourg but wantonly gave chase to a small British privateer which
she encountered near the shore. By skillful maneuvering the smaller ship
led the French frigate out to sea again, and then the British squadron
came up. From five o'clock to ten in the evening anxious men in
Louisbourg watched the fight and saw at last the Vigilant surrender
after losing eighty men. This disaster broke the spirit of the
defenders, who were already short of ammunition. When they knew that the
British were preparing for a combined assault by land and sea, they made
terms and surrendered on the 17th of June, after the siege had lasted
for seven weeks. The garrison marched out with the honors of war, to be
transported to France, together with such of the civilian population as
wished to go.

The British squadron then sailed into the harbor. Pepperrell's strange
army, ragged and war-worn after the long siege, entered the town by the
south gate. They had fought as crusaders, for to many of them Catholic
Louisbourg was a stronghold of Satan. Whitfield, the great English
evangelist, then in New England, had given them a motto--Nil desperandum
Christo duce. There is a story that one of the English chaplains, old
Parson Moody, a man of about seventy, had brought with him from Boston
an axe and was soon found using it to hew down the altar and images in
the church at Louisbourg. If the story is true, it does something to
explain the belief of the French in the savagery of their opponents who
would so treat things which their enemies held to be most sacred. The
French had met this fanaticism with a savagery equally intense and
directed not against things but against the flesh of men. An inhabitant
of Louisbourg during the siege describes the dauntless bravery of the
Indian allies of the French during the siege: "Full of hatred for the
English whose ferocity they abhor, they destroy all upon whom they can
lay hands." He does not have even a word of censure for the savages who
tortured and killed in cold blood a party of some twenty English who had
been induced to surrender on promise of life. The French declared that
not they but the savages were responsible for such barbarities, and the
English retorted that the French must control their allies. Feeling on
such things was naturally bitter on both sides and did much to decide
that the war between the two nations should be to the death.

The fall of Louisbourg brought great exultation to the English colonies.
It was a unique event, the first prolonged and successful siege that
had as yet taken place north of Mexico. An odd chance of war had decreed
that untrained soldiers should win a success so prodigious. New England,
it is true, had incurred a heavy expenditure, and her men, having done
so much, naturally imagined that they had done everything, and talked
as if the siege was wholly their triumph. They were, of course, greatly
aided by the fleet under Warren, and the achievement was a joint
triumph of army and navy. New England alone, however, had the credit of
conceiving and of arousing others to carry out a brilliant exploit.

Victory inspires to further victory. The British, exultant after
Louisbourg, were resolved to make an end of French power in America.
"Delenda est Canada!" cried Governor Shirley to the General Court of
Massachusetts, and the response of the members was the voting of men and
money on a scale that involved the bankruptcy of the Commonwealth.
Other colonies, too, were eager for a cause which had won a success so
dazzling, and some eight thousand men were promised for an attack on
Canada, proud and valiant Massachusetts contributing nearly one-half of
the total number. The old plan was to be followed. New York was to lead
in an attack by way of Lake Champlain. New England was to collect its
forces at Louisbourg. Here a British fleet should come, carrying eight
battalions of British regulars, and, with Warren in command, the whole
armada should proceed to Quebec. Nothing came of this elaborate scheme.
Neither the promised troops nor the fleet arrived from England. British
ministers broke faith with the colonists in the adventure with quite too
light a heart.

Stories went abroad of disorder and dissension in Louisbourg under the
English and of the weakness of the place. Disease broke out. Hundreds
of New England soldiers died and their bones now lie in graves, unmarked
and forgotten, on the seashore by the deserted fortress; at almost any
time still their bones, washed down by the waves, may be picked up on
the beach. There were sullen mutterings of discontent at Louisbourg.
Soldiers grumbled over grievances which were sometimes fantastic.
Rumor had been persistent in creating a legend that vast wealth, the
accumulated plunder brought in by French privateers, was stored in
the town. From this source a rich reward in booty was expected by the
soldiers. In fact, when Louisbourg was taken, all looting was forbidden
and the soldiers were put on guard over houses which they had hoped to
rob. For the soldiers there were no prizes. Louisbourg was poor. The
sailors, on the other hand, were fortunate. As a decoy Warren kept the
French flag flying over the harbor, and French ships sailed in, one of
them with a vast treasure of gold and silver coin and ingots from Peru
valued at 600,000 pounds. One other prize was valued at 200,000 pounds
and a third at 140,000 pounds. Warren's own share of prize money
amounted to 60,000 pounds, while Pepperrell, the unrewarded leader of
the sister service, piled up a personal debt of 10,000 pounds. Quarrels
occurred between soldiers and sailors, and in these the New Englanders
soon proved by no means the cowards which complacent superiority in
England considered them; rather, as an enlightened Briton said, "If they
had pickaxe and spade they would dig a way to Hell itself and storm that

Behind all difficulties was the question whether, having taken
Louisbourg, the British could continue to hold it. France answered with
a resolute "No." To retake it she fitted out a great fleet. Nearly half
her navy gathered under the Duc d'Anville and put to sea on June 20,
1746. If in the previous summer God had helped the English with good
weather, by a similar proof His face now appeared turned a second time
against the French. In the great array there were more than sixty ships,
which were to gather at Chebucto, now Halifax, harbor, and to be joined
there by four great ships of war from the West Indies. Everything went
wrong. On the voyage across the Atlantic there was a prolonged calm,
followed by a heavy squall. Several ships were struck by lightning. A
magazine on the Mars blew up, killing ten and wounding twenty-one men.
Pestilence broke out. As a crowning misfortune, the fleet was scattered
by a terrific storm. After great delay d'Anville's ship reached
Chebucto, then a wild and lonely spot. The expected fleet from the West
Indies had indeed come, but had gone, since the ships from France,
long overdue, had not arrived. D'Anville died suddenly--some said of
apoplexy, others of poison self-administered. More ships arrived full of
sick men and short of provisions. D'Estournel, who succeeded d'Anville
in chief command, in despair at the outlook killed himself with his
own sword after the experience of only a day or two in his post. La
Jonquiere, a competent officer, afterwards Governor of Canada, then
led the expedition. The pestilence still raged, and from two to three
thousand men died. One day a Boston sloop boldly entered Chebucto harbor
to find out what was going on. It is a wonder that the British did
not descend upon the stricken French and destroy them. In October, La
Jonquiere, having pulled his force together, planned to win the small
success of taking Annapolis, but again storms scattered his ships. At
the end of October he finally decided to return to France. But there
were more heavy storms; and one French crew was so near starvation that
only a chance meeting with a Portuguese ship kept them from killing
and eating five English prisoners. Only a battered remnant of the fleet
eventually reached home ports.

The disaster did not crush France. In May of the next spring, 1747,
a new fleet under La Jonquiere set out to retake Louisbourg. Near the
coast of Europe, however, Admirals Anson and Warren met and completely
destroyed it, taking prisoner La Jonquiere himself. This disaster
effected what was really the most important result of the war: it made
the British fleet definitely superior to the French. During the struggle
England had produced a new Drake, who attacked Spain in the spirit of
the sea-dogs of Elizabeth. Anson had gone in 1740 into the Pacific,
where he seized and plundered Spanish ships as Drake had done nearly two
centuries earlier; and in 1744, when he had been given up for lost, he
completed the great exploit of sailing round the world and bringing home
rich booty. Such feats went far to give Britain that command of the sea
on which her colonial Empire was to depend.

The issue of the war hung more on events that occurred in Europe than in
America, and France had made gains as well as suffered losses. It was
on the sea that she had sustained her chief defeats. In India she had
gained by taking the English factory at Madras; and in the Low Countries
she was still aggressive. Indeed, during the war England had been more
hostile to Spain than to France. She had not taken very seriously her
support of the colonies in their attack on Louisbourg and she had failed
them utterly in their designs on Canada. It is true that in Europe
England had grave problems to solve. Austria, with which she was allied,
desired her to fight until Frederick of Prussia should give up the
province of Silesia seized by him in 1740. In this quarrel England had
no vital interest. France had occupied the Austrian Netherlands and had
refused to hand back to Austria this territory unless she received Cape
Breton in return. Britain might have kept Cape Breton if she would have
allowed France to keep Belgium. This, in loyalty to Austria, she would
not do. Accordingly peace was made at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 on the
agreement that each side should restore to the other its conquests, not
merely in Europe but also in America and Asia. Thus it happened that the
British flag went up again at Madras while it came down at Louisbourg.

Boston was of course angry at the terms of the treaty. What sacrifices
had Massachusetts not made! The least of them was the great burden of
debt which she had piled up. Her sons had borne what Pepperrell called
"almost incredible hardships." They had landed cannon on a lee shore
when the great waves pounded to pieces their boats and when men wading
breast high were crushed by the weight of iron. Harnessed two and three
hundred to a gun, they had dragged the pieces one after the other over
rocks and through bog and slime, and had then served them in the open
under the fire of the enemy. New Englanders had died like "rotten sheep"
in Louisbourg. The graves of nearly a thousand of them lay on the bleak
point outside the wall. What they had gained by this sacrifice must now
be abandoned. A spirit of discontent with the mother country went abroad
and, after this sacrifice of colonial interests, never wholly died out.
It is not without interest to note in passing that Gridley, the engineer
who drew the plan of the defenses of Louisbourg, thirty years later
drew those of Bunker Hill to protect men of the English race who fought
against England.

Every one knew that the peace of 1748 was only a truce and Britain began
promptly new defenses. Into the spacious harbor of Chebucto, which three
years earlier had been the scene of the sorrows of d'Anville's fleet,
there sailed in June, 1749, a considerable British squadron bent on
a momentous errand. It carried some thousands of settlers, Edward
Cornwallis, a governor clothed with adequate authority, and a force
sufficient for the defense of the new foundation. Cornwallis was
delighted with the prospect. "All the officers agree the harbour is
the finest they have ever seen"--this, of Halifax harbor with the great
Bedford Basin, opening beyond it, spacious enough to contain the fleets
of the world. "The Country is one continuous Wood, no clear spot to be
seen or heard of. D'Anville's fleet...cleared no ground; they encamped
their men on the beach." The garrison was withdrawn from Louisbourg
and soon arrived at Halifax, with a vast quantity of stores. A town was
marked out; lots were drawn for sites; and every one knew where he might
build his house. There were prodigious digging, chopping, hammering. "I
shall be able to get them all Houses before winter," wrote Cornwallis
cheerily. Firm military discipline, indeed, did wonders. Before winter
came, a town had been created, and with the town a fortress which from
that time has remained the chief naval and military stronghold of Great
Britain in North America. At Louisbourg some two hundred miles farther
east on the coast, France could reestablish her military strength, but
now Louisbourg had a rival and each was resolved to yield nothing to the
other. The founding of Halifax was in truth the symbol of the renewal of
the struggle for a continent.

CHAPTER V. The Great West

In days before the railway had made possible a bulky commerce by
overland routes, rivers furnished the chief means of access to inland
regions. The fame of the Ganges, the Euphrates, the Nile, and the Danube
shows the part which great rivers have played in history. Of North
America's four greatest river systems, the two in the far north have
become known in times so recent that their place in history is not
yet determined. One of them, the Mackenzie, a mighty stream some two
thousand miles long, flows into the Arctic Ocean through what remains
chiefly a wilderness. The waters of the other, the Saskatchewan,
discharge into Hudson Bay more than a thousand miles from their source,
flowing through rich prairie land which is still but scantily peopled.
On the Saskatchewan, as on the remaining two systems, the St. Lawrence
and the Mississippi, the French were the pioneers. Though today the
regions drained by these four rivers are dominated by the rival race,
the story which we now follow is one of romantic enterprise in which the
honors are with France.

More perhaps by accident than by design had the French been the first
to settle on the St. Lawrence. Fishing vessels had hovered round the
entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence for years before, in 1535, the
French sailor, Jacques Cartier, advanced up the river as far as the foot
of the torrential rapids where now stands the city of Montreal.
Cartier was seeking a route to the Far East. He half believed that this
impressive waterway drained the plains of China and that around the next
bend he might find the busy life of an oriental city. The time came
when it was known that a great sea lay between America and Asia and the
mystery of the pathway to this sea long fascinated the pioneers of
the St. Lawrence. Canada was a colony, a trading-post, a mission,
the favorite field of Jesuit activity, but it was also the land which
offered by way of the St. Lawrence a route leading illimitably westward
to the Far East.

One other route rivaled the St. Lawrence in promise, and that was
the Mississippi. The two rivers are essentially different in their
approaches and in type. The mouth of the St. Lawrence opens directly
towards Europe and of all American rivers lies nearest to the seafaring
peoples of Europe. Since it flows chiefly in a rocky bed, its course
changes little; its waters are clear, and they become icy cold as they
approach the sea and mingle with the tide which flows into the great
Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Arctic regions. The Mississippi, on the
other hand, is a turbid, warm stream, flowing through soft lands. Its
shifting channel is divided at its mouth by deltas created from the
vast quantity of soil which the river carries in its current. On the
low-lying, forest-clad, northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico it was not
easy to find the mouth of the Mississippi by approaching it from the
sea. The voyage there from France was long and difficult; and, moreover,
Spain claimed the lands bordering on the Gulf of Mexico and declared
herself ready to drive out all intruders.

Nature, it is clear, dictated that, if France was to build up her power
in the interior of the New World, it was the valley of the St. Lawrence
which she should first occupy. Time has shown the riches of the lands
drained by the St. Lawrence. On no other river system in the world is
there now such a multitude of great cities. The modern traveler who
advances by this route to the sources of the river beyond the Great
Lakes surveys wonders ever more impressive. Before his view appear
in succession Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit,
Chicago, Duluth, and many other cities and towns, with millions
in population and an aggregate of wealth so vast as to stagger the
imagination. Step by step had the French advanced from Quebec to the
interior. Champlain was on Lake Huron in 1615, and there the Jesuits
soon had a flourishing mission to the Huron Indians. They had only to
follow the shore of Lake Huron to come to the St. Mary's River bearing
towards the sea the chilly waters of Lake Superior. On this river, a
much frequented fishing ground of the natives, they founded the mission
of Sainte Marie du Saut. Farther to the south, on the narrow opening
connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, grew up the post known as
Michilimackinac. It was then inevitable that explorers and missionaries
should press on into both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. By the time
that Frontenac came first to Canada in 1672 the French had a post called
St. Esprit on the south shore of Lake Superior near its western end and
they had also passed westward from Lake Michigan and founded posts
on both the Illinois and the Wisconsin Rivers which flow into the

France had placed on record her claim to the whole of the Great West. On
a June morning in 1671 there had been a striking scene at Sainte Marie
du Saut. The French had summoned a great throng of Indians to the spot.
There, with impressive ceremony, Saint-Lusson, an officer from Canada,
had set up a cedar post on which was a plate engraved with the royal
arms, and proclaimed Louis XIV lord of all the Indian tribes and of all
the lands, rivers, and lakes, discovered and to be discovered in the
region stretching from the Atlantic to that other mysterious sea beyond
the spreading lands of the West. Henceforth at their peril would the
natives disobey the French King, or other states encroach upon these his
lands. A Jesuit priest followed Saint-Lusson with a description to the
savages of their new lord, the King of France. He was master of all the
other rulers of the world. At his word the earth trembled. He could set
earth and sea on fire by the blaze of his cannon. The priest knew the
temper of his savage audience and told of the King's warriors covered
with the blood of his enemies, of the rivers of blood which flowed from
their wounds, of the King's countless prisoners, of his riches and
his power, so great that all the world obeyed him. The savages gave
delighted shouts at the strange ceremony, but of its real meaning they
knew nothing. What they understood was that the French seemed to be good
friends who brought them muskets, hatchets, cloth, and especially the
loved but destructive firewater which the savage palate ever craved.

The mystery of the Great Lakes once solved, there still remained that
of the Western Sea. The St. Lawrence flowed eastward. Another river must
therefore be found flowing westward. The French were eager listeners
when the savages talked of a mighty river in the west flowing to the
sea. They meant, as we now suppose, the Mississippi. There are vague
stories of Frenchmen on the Mississippi at an earlier date; but, however
this may be, it is certain that in the summer of 1673 Louis Joliet, the
son of a wagon-maker of Quebec, and Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest,
reached and descended the great river from the mouth of the Wisconsin to
a point far past the mouth of the Ohio.

France thus planted herself on the Mississippi, though there her
occupation was less complete and thorough than it was on the St.
Lawrence. Distance was an obstacle; it was a far cry from Quebec by
land, and from France the voyage by sea through the Gulf of Mexico
was hardly less difficult. The explorer La Salle tried both routes. In
1681-1682 he set out from Montreal, reached the Mississippi overland,
and descended to its mouth. Two years later he sailed from France
with four ships bound for the mouth of the river, there to establish a
colony; but before achieving his aim he was murdered in a treacherous
attack led by his own countrymen.

It was Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, who first made good France's
claim to the Mississippi. He reached the river by sea in 1699 and
ascended to a point some eighty miles beyond the present city of New
Orleans. Farther east, on Biloxi Bay, he built Fort Maurepas and planted
his first colony. Spain disliked this intrusion; but Spain soon to be
herself ruled, as France then was, by a Bourbon king--did not prove
irreconcilable and slowly France built up a colony in the south. It
was in 1718 that Iberville's brother, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de
Bienville, founded New Orleans, destined to become in time one of the
great cities of North America. Its beginnings were not propitious.
The historian Charlevoix describes it as being in 1721 a low-lying,
malarious place, infested by snakes and alligators, and consisting of a
hundred wretched hovels.

In spite of this dreary outlook, it was still true that France, planted
at the mouth of the Mississippi, controlled the greatest waterway in the
world. Soon she had scattered settlements stretching northward to the
Ohio and the Missouri, the one river reaching eastward almost to the
waters of the St. Lawrence system, the other flowing out of the western
plains from its source in the Rocky Mountains. The old mystery, however,
remained, for the Mississippi flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, into
Atlantic waters already well known. The route to the Western Sea was
still to be found.

It was easy enough for France to record a sweeping claim to the West,
but to make good this claim she needed a chain of posts, which should
also be forts, linking the Mississippi with the St. Lawrence and strong
enough to impress the Indians whose country she had invaded. At first
she had reached the interior by way of the Ottawa River and Lake Huron,
and in that northern country her position was secure enough through her
posts on the upper lakes. The route farther south by Lake Ontario and
Lake Erie was more difficult. The Iroquois menaced Niagara and long
refused to let France have a footing there to protect her pathway
to Lake Erie and the Ohio Valley. It was not until 1720, a period
comparatively late, that the French managed to have a fort at the mouth
of the Niagara. On the Detroit River, the next strategic point on the
way westward, they were established earlier. Just after Frontenac died
in 1698, La Mothe Cadillac urged that there should be built on this
river a fort and town which might be made the center of all the trading
interests west of Lake Erie. End the folly, he urged, of going still
farther afield among the Indians and teaching them the French language
and French modes of thought. Leave the Indians to live their own type
of life, to hunt and to fish. They need European trade and they have
valuable furs to exchange. Encourage them to come to the French at
Detroit and see that they go nowhere else by not allowing any other
posts in the western country. Cadillac was himself a keen if secret
participant in the profits of the fur trade and hoped to be placed
in command at Detroit and there to become independent of control from
Quebec. Detroit was founded in 1701; and though for a long time it did
not thrive, the fact that on the site has grown up one of the great
industrial cities of modern times shows that Cadillac had read aright
the meaning of the geography of North America.

When France was secure at Niagara and at Detroit, two problems still
remained unsolved. One was that of occupying the valley of the Ohio, the
waters of which flow westward almost from the south shore of Lake Erie
until they empty into the vaster flood of the Mississippi. Here there
was a lion in the path, for the English claimed this region as naturally
the hinterland of the colonies of Virginia and Pennsylvania. What
happened on the Ohio we shall see in a later chapter. The other great
problem, to be followed here, was to explore the regions which lay
beyond the Mississippi. These spread into a remote unknown, unexplored
by the white man, and might ultimately lead to the Western Sea. We might
have supposed that France's farther adventure into the West would have
been from the Mississippi up its great tributary the Missouri, which
flows eastward from the eternal snows of the Rocky Mountains. Always,
however, the uncertain temper of the many Indian tribes in this region
made the advance difficult. The tribes inhabiting the west bank of
the Mississippi were especially restless and savage. The Sioux, in
particular, made life perilous for the French at their posts near the
mouth of the Missouri.

It thus happened that the white man first reached the remoter West by
way of regions farther north. It became easy enough to coast along the
north and the south shore of Lake Superior, easy enough to find rivers
which fed the great system of the St. Lawrence or of the Mississippi.
These, however, would not solve the mystery. A river flowing westward
was still to be sought. Thus, both in pursuit of the fur trade and
in quest of the Western Sea, the French advanced westward from Lake
Superior. Where now stands the city of Fort William there flows into
Lake Superior the little stream called still by its Indian name of
Kaministiquia. There the French had long maintained a trading-post from
which they made adventurous journeys northward and westward.

The rugged regions still farther north had already been explored, at
least in outline. There lay the great inland sea known as Hudson Bay.
French and English had long disputed for its mastery. By 1670 the
English had found trade to Hudson Bay so promising that they then
created the Hudson's Bay Company, which remains one of the great trading
corporations of the world. With the English on Hudson Bay, New France
was between English on the north and English on the south and did not
like it. On Hudson Bay the English showed the same characteristics which
they had shown in New England. They were not stirred by vivid imaginings
of what might be found westward beyond the low-lying coast of the great
inland sea. They came for trade, planted themselves at the mouths of the
chief rivers, unpacked their goods, and waited for the natives to come
to barter with them. For many years the natives came, since they
must have the knives, hatchets, and firearms of Europe. To share this
profitable trade the French, now going overland to the north from
Quebec, now sailing into Hudson Bay by the Straits, attacked the
English; and on those dreary waters, long before the Great West was
known, there had been many a naval battle, many a hand-to-hand fight for
forts and their rich prize of furs.

The chief French hero in this struggle was that son of Charles Le Moyne
of Montreal, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, who ended his days in the
task of founding the French colony of Louisiana. He was perhaps the most
notable of all the adventurous leaders whom New France produced. He was
first on Hudson Bay in the late summer of 1686, in a party of about a
hundred men, led by the Chevalier de Troyes, who had marched overland
from Quebec through the wilderness. The English on the Bay, with a
charter from King Charles II, the friend of the French, and in a time of
profound peace under his successor, thought themselves secure. They now
had, however, a rude awakening. In the dead of night the Frenchmen fell
upon Fort Hayes, captured its dazed garrison, and looted the place.
The same fate befell all the other English posts on the Bay. Iberville
gained a rich store of furs as his share of the plunder and returned
with it to Quebec in 1687, just at the time when La Salle, that other
pioneer of France, was struck down in the distant south by a murderer's

Iberville was, above all else, a sailor. The easiest route to Hudson Bay
was by way of the sea. More than once after his first experience he led
to the Bay a naval expedition. His exploits are still remembered with
pride in French naval annals. In 1697 he sailed the Pelican through
the ice-floes of Hudson Straits. He was attacked by three English
merchantmen, with one hundred and twenty guns against his forty-four.
One of the English ships escaped, one Iberville sank with all on board,
one he captured. That autumn the hardy corsair was in France with a
great booty from the furs which the English had laboriously gathered.

The triumph of the French on Hudson Bay was short-lived. Their exploits,
though brilliant and daring, were more of the nature of raids than
attempts to settle and explore. They did no more than the English to
ascend the Nelson or other rivers to find what lay beyond; and in 1718,
by the Treaty of Utrecht, as we have already seen, they gave up all
claim to Hudson Bay and yielded that region to the English.

Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, was a member of
the Canadian noblesse, a son of the Governor of Three Rivers on the St.
Lawrence. He was born in 1685 and had taken part in the border warfare
of the days of Queen Anne. He was a member of the raiding party led
against New England by Hertel de Rouville in 1704 and may have been one
of those who burst in on the little town of Deerfield, Massachusetts,
and either butchered or carried off as prisoners most of the
inhabitants. Shortly afterwards we find him a participant in warfare of
a less ignoble type. In 1706 he went to France and became an ensign in
a regiment of grenadiers. Those were the days when Marlborough was
hammering and destroying the armies of Louis XIV. La Verendrye, took
part in the last of the series of great battles, the bloody conflict
at Malplaquet in 1709. He received a bullet wound through the body, was
left for dead on the field, fell into the hands of the enemy, and for
fifteen months was a captive. On his release he was too poor to maintain
himself as an officer in France and soon returned to Canada, where he
served as an officer in a colonial regiment until the peace of 1713.
Then the ambitious young man, recently married, with a growing family
and slight resources, had to work out a career suited to his genius.

His genius was that of an explorer; his task, which fully occupied
his alert mind, was that of finding the long dreamed of passage to
the Western Sea. The venture certainly offered fascinations. Noyon, a
fellow-townsman of La Verendrye at Three Rivers, had brought back from
the distant Lake of the Woods, in 1716, a glowing account, told to
him by the natives, of walled cities, of ships and cannon, and of
white-bearded men who lived farther west. In 1720 the Jesuit Charlevoix,
already familiar with Canada, came out from France, went to the
Mississippi country, and reported that an attempt to find the path to
the Western Sea might be made either by way of the Missouri or farther
north through the country of the Sioux west of Lake Superior. Both
routes involved going among warlike native tribes engaged in incessant
and bloody struggles with each other and not unlikely to turn on
the white intruder. Memorial after memorial to the French court for
assistance resulted at last in serious effort, but effort handicapped
because the court thought that a monopoly of the fur trade was the only
inducement required to promote the work of discovery.

La Verendrye was more eager to reach the Western Sea than he was to
trade. To outward seeming, however, he became just a fur trader and a
successful one. We find him, in 1726, at the trading-post of Nipigon,
not far from the lake of that name, near the north shore of Lake
Superior. From this point it was not very difficult to reach the shore
of one great sea, Hudson Bay, but that was not the Western Sea which
fired his imagination. Incessantly he questioned the savages with whom
he traded about what lay in the unknown West. His zeal was kindled anew
by the talk of an Indian named Ochagach. This man said that he himself
had been on a great lake lying west of Lake Superior, that out of it
flowed a river westward, that he had paddled down this river until he
came to water which, as La Verendrye understood, rose and fell like
the tide. Farther, to the actual mouth of the river, the savage had not
gone, for fear of enemies, but he had been told that it emptied into a
great body of salt water upon the shores of which lived many people.
We may be sure that La Verendrye read into the words of the savage the
meaning which he himself desired and that in reality the Indian was
describing only the waters which flow into Lake Winnipeg.

La Verendrye was all eagerness. Soon we find him back at Quebec stirring
by his own enthusiasm the zeal of the Marquis de Beauharnois, the
Governor of Canada, and begging for help to pay and equip a hundred men
for the great enterprise in the West. The Governor did what he could but
was unable to move the French court to give money. The sole help offered
was a monopoly of the fur trade in the region to be explored, a doubtful
gift, since it angered all the traders excluded from the monopoly. La
Verendrye, however, was able, by promising to hand over most of the
profits, to persuade merchants in Montreal to equip him with the
necessary men and merchandise.

There followed a period of high hopes and of heartbreaking failure.
In 1731 La Verendrye set out for the West with three sons, a nephew, a
Jesuit priest, the Indian Ochagach as guide--a party numbering in all
about fifty. He intended to build trading-posts as he went westward and
to make the last post always a base from which to advance still farther.
His difficulties read like those of Columbus. His men not only disliked
the hard work which was inevitable but were haunted by superstitious
fears of malignant fiends in the unknown land who were ready to punish
the invaders of their secrets. The route lay across the rough country
beyond Lake Superior. There were many long portages over which his men
must carry the provisions and heavy stores for trade. At length
the party reached Rainy Lake, and out of Rainy Lake the waters flow
westward. The country seemed delightful. Fish and game were abundant,
and it was not hard to secure a rich store of furs. On the shore of the
lake, in a charming meadow surrounded by oak trees, La Verendrye built a
trading-post on waters flowing to the west, naming it Fort St. Pierre.

The voyageurs could now travel westward with the current. It is certain
that other Frenchmen had preceded them in that region, but this is the
first voyage of discovery of which we have any details. Escorted by an
imposing array of fifty canoes of Indians, La Verendrye floated down
Rainy River to the Lake of the Woods, and here, on a beautiful peninsula
jutting out into the lake, he built another post, Fort St. Charles.
It must have seemed imposing to the natives. On walls one hundred feet
square were four bastions and a watchtower; evidence of the perennial
need of alertness and strength in the Indian country. There were a
chapel, houses for the commandant and the priest, a powder-magazine,
a storehouse, and other buildings. La Verendrye cleared some land and
planted wheat, and was thus the pioneer in the mighty wheat production
of the West. Fish and game were abundant and the outlook was smiling. By
this time the second winter of La Verendrye's adventurous journeying
was near, but even the cold of that hard region could not chill his
eagerness. He himself waited at Fort St. Charles but his eldest son,
Jean Baptiste, set out to explore still farther.

We may follow with interest the little group of Frenchmen and Indian
guides as they file on snowshoes along the surface of the frozen river
or over the deep snow of the silent forest on, ever on, to the West.
They are the first white men of whom we have certain knowledge to
press beyond the Lake of the Woods into that great Northwest so full of
meaning for the future. The going was laborious and the distances seemed
long, for on their return they reported that they had gone a hundred and
fifty leagues, though in truth the distance was only a hundred and fifty
miles. Then at last they stood on the shores of a vast body of water,
ice-bound and forbidding as it lay in the grip of winter. It opened out
illimitably westward. But it was not the Western Sea, for its waters
were fresh. The shallow waters of Lake Winnipeg empty not into the
Western Sea but into the Atlantic by way of Hudson Bay. Its shores then
were deserted and desolate, and even to this day they are but scantily
peopled. In that wild land there was no hint of the populous East of
which La Verendrye had dreamed.

At the mouth of the Winnipeg River, where it enters Lake Winnipeg, La
Verendrye built Fort Maurepas, named after the French minister who was
in charge of the colonies and who was influential at court. The name no
doubt expresses some clinging hope which La Verendrye still cherished of
obtaining help from the King. Already he was hard pressed for resources.
Where were the means to come from for this costly work of building
forts? From time to time he sent eastward canoes laden with furs which,
after a long and difficult journey, reached Montreal. The traders to
whom the furs were consigned sold them and kept the money as their own
on account of their outlay. La Verendrye in the far interior could not
pay his men and would soon be without goods to trade with the Indians.
After having repeatedly begged for help but in vain, he made a rapid
journey to Montreal and implored the Governor to aid an enterprise which
might change the outlook of the whole world. The Governor was willing
but without the consent of France could not give help. By promising the
traders, who were now partners in his monopoly, profits of one hundred
per cent on their outlay, La Verendrye at last secured what he needed.
His canoes were laden with goods, and soon brawny arms were driving
once again the graceful craft westward. He had offered a new hostage
to fortune by arranging that his fourth son, a lad of eighteen, should
follow him in the next year.

La Verendrye pressed on eagerly in advance of the heavy-laden canoes.
Grim news met him soon after he reached Fort St. Charles on the Lake of
the Woods. His nephew La Jemeraye, a born leader of men, who was at the
most advanced station, Fort Maurepas on Lake Winnipeg, had broken down
from exposure, anxiety, and overwork, and had been laid in a lonely
grave in the wilderness. Nearly all pioneer work is a record of tragedy
and its gloom lies heavy on the career of La Verendrye. A little later
came another sorrow-laden disaster. La Verendrye sent his eldest son
Jean back to Rainy Lake to hurry the canoes from Montreal which were
bringing needed food. The party landed on a peninsula at the discharge
of Rainy Lake into Rainy River, fell into an ambush of Sioux Indians,
and were butchered to a man. This incident reveals the chief cause of
the slow progress in discovery in the Great West: the temper of the
savages was always uncertain.

There is no sign that La Verendrye wavered in his great hope even when
he realized that the Winnipeg River was not the river flowing westward
which he sought. We know now that the northern regions of the American
continent east of the Rocky Mountains are tilted towards the east and
the north and that in all its vast spaces there is no great river which
flows to the west. La Verendrye, however, ignorant of this dictate of
nature, longed to paddle with the stream towards the west. The Red River
flows from the south into Lake Winnipeg at a point near the mouth of
the Winnipeg River. Up the Red River went La Verendrye and found a
tributary, the Assiniboine, flowing into it from the west. At the point
of junction, where has grown up the city of Winnipeg, he built a tiny
fort, called Fort Rouge, a name still preserved in a suburb of the
modern Winnipeg. The explorers went southward on the Red River, and
then went westward on the Assiniboine River only to find the waters
persistently flowing against them and no definite news of other waters
leading to the Western Sea. On the Assiniboine, near the site of the
present town of Portage la Prairie in Manitoba, La Verendrye built Fort
La Reine. Its name is evidence still perhaps of hopes for aid through
the Queen if not through the King of France.

In 1737 La Verendrye made once more the long journey to Montreal. His
fourteen canoes laden with furs were an earnest of the riches of the
wonderful West and so pleased his Montreal partners that again they
fitted him out with adequate supplies. In the summer of 1738 we find him
at Fort La Reine, rich for the moment in goods with which to trade, keen
and competent as a trader, and having great influence with the natives.
All through the West he found Indians who went to trade with the English
on Hudson Bay, and he constantly urged them not to take the long journey
but to depend upon the French who came into their own country. It was a
policy well fitted to cause searching of heart among the English traders
who seemed so secure in their snug quarters on the seashore waiting for
the Indians to come to them.

La Verendrye had now a fresh plan for penetrating farther on his
alluring quest. He had heard of a river to the south to be reached by a
journey overland. It was a new thing for him to abandon canoes and march
on foot but this he now did and with winter approaching. On October 16,
1738, when the autumn winds were already chill, there was a striking
little parade at Fort La Reine. The drummer beat the garrison to arms.
What with soldiers brought from Canada, the voyageurs who had paddled
the great canoes, and the Indians who dogged always the steps of the
French traders, there was a muster at the fort of some scores of men.
La Verendrye reviewed the whole company and from them chose for his
expedition twenty soldiers and voyageurs and about twenty Assiniboine
Indians. As companions for himself he took Francois and Pierre, two of
his three surviving sons, and two traders who were at the fort.

We can picture the little company setting out on the 18th of October
on foot, with some semblance of military order, by a well-beaten trail
leading across the high land which separates the Red River country from
the regions to the southwest. La Verendrye had heard much of a people,
the Mandans, dwelling in well-ordered villages on the banks of a great
river and cultivating the soil instead of living the wandering life
of hunters. Such wonders of Mandan culture had been reported to
La Verendrye that he half expected to find them white men with a
civilization equal to that of Europe. The river was in reality not an
unknown stream, as La Verendrye hoped, but the Missouri, a river already
frequented by the French in its lower stretches where its waters join
those of the Mississippi.

It was a long march over the prairie. La Verendrye found that he could
not hurry his Indian guides. They insisted on delays during days of
glorious autumn weather when it would have been wise to press on and
avoid the winter cold on the wind-swept prairie. They went out of their
way to visit a village of their own Assiniboine tribe; and, when they
resumed their journey, this whole village followed them. The prairie
Indians had a more developed sense of order and discipline than the
tribes of the forest. La Verendrye admired the military regularity of
the savages on the march. They divided the company of more than six
hundred into three columns: in front, scouts to look out for an enemy
and also for herds of buffalo; in the center, well protected, the old
and the lame, all those incapable of fighting; and, for a rear-guard,
strong fighting men. When buffalo were seen, the most active of the
fighters rushed to the front to aid in hemming in the game. Women and
dogs carried the baggage, the men condescending to bear only their

Not until cold December had come did the party reach the chief Mandan
village. It was in some sense imposing, for the Indian lodges were
arranged neatly in streets and squares and the surrounding palisade was
strong and well built. Around the fort was a ditch fifteen feet deep and
of equal width, which made the village impregnable in Indian warfare.
After saluting the village with three volleys of musket fire, La
Verendrye marched in with great ceremony, under the French flag, only to
discover that the Mandans were not greatly unlike the Assiniboines and
other Indians of the West whom he already knew. The men went about naked
and the women nearly so. They were skilled in dressing leather. They
were also cunning traders, for they duped La Verendrye's friends,
the Assiniboines, and cheated them out of their muskets, ammunition,
kettles, and knives. Great eaters were the Mandans. They cultivated
abundant crops and stored them in cave cellars. Every day they brought
their visitors more than twenty dishes cooked in earthen pottery of
their own handicraft. There was incredible feasting, which La Verendrye
avoided but which his sons enjoyed. The Mandan language he could not
understand and close questioning as to the route to the Western Sea was
thus impossible. He learned enough to discredit the vague tales of white
men in armor and peopled towns with which his lying guides had regaled
him. In the end he decided for the time being to return to Fort La Reine
and to leave two of his followers to learn the Mandan language so that
in the future they might act as interpreters. When he left the Mandan
village on the 13th of December, he was already ill and it is a wonder
that he did not perish from the cold on the winter journey across hill
and prairie. "In all my life I have never," he says, "endured such
misery from illness and fatigue, as on that journey." On the 11th of
February he was back at Fort La Reine, worn out and broken in health but
still undaunted and resolved never to abandon his search.

Abandon it he never did. We find him in Montreal in 1740 involved in
what he had always held in horror--a lawsuit brought against him by
some impatient creditor. The report had gone abroad that he was amassing
great wealth, when, as he said, all that he had accumulated was a debt
of forty thousand livres. In the autumn of 1741 he was back at Fort La
Reine, where he welcomed his son Pierre from a fruitless journey to the

The most famous of all the efforts of the family was now on foot. On
April 29, 1742, a new expedition started from Fort La Reine, led by La
Verendrye's two sons, Pierre and Francois. They knew the nature of the
task before them, its perils as well as its hopes. They took with them
no imposing company as their father had done, but only two men. The
party of four, too feeble to fight their way, had to trust to the
peaceful disposition of the natives. When they started, the prairie was
turning from brown to green and the rivers were still swollen from the
spring thaw. In three weeks they reached a Mandan village on the upper
Missouri and were well received. It was after midsummer when they set
out again and pressed on westward with a trend to the south. The country
was bare and desolate. For twenty days they saw no human being. They had
Mandan guides who promised to take them to the next tribe, the Handsome
Men--Beaux Hommes--as the brothers called them, a tribe much feared
by the Mandans. The travelers were now mounted; for the horse, brought
first to America by the Spaniards, had run wild on the western plains
where the European himself had not yet penetrated, and had become an
indispensable aid to certain of the native tribes. Deer and buffalo were
in abundance and they had no lack of food.

When they reached the tribe of Beaux Hommes, the Mandan guides fled
homeward. Summer passed into bleak autumn with chill winds and long
nights. By the end of October they were among the Horse Indians who,
they had been told, could guide them to the sea. These, however, now
said that only the Bow Indians, farther on, could do this. Winter was
near when they were among these Indians, probably a tribe of the Sioux,
whom they found excitedly preparing for a raid on their neighbors
farther west, the Snakes. They were going, they said, towards the
mountains and there the Frenchmen could look out on the great sea. So
the story goes on. The brothers advanced ever westward and the land
became more rugged, for they were now climbing upward from the prairie
country. At last, on January 1, 1743, they saw what both cheered and
discouraged them. In the distance were mountains. About them was the
prairie, with game in abundance. It was a great host with which the
brothers traveled for there were two thousand warriors with their
families who made night vocal with songs and yells. On the 12th of
January, nearly two weeks later, with an advance party of warriors,
the La Verendryes reached the foot of the mountains, "well wooded with
timber of every kind and very high."

Was it the Rocky Mountains which they saw? Had they reached that last
mighty barrier of snow-capped peaks, rugged valleys, and torrential
streams, beyond which lay the sea? That they had done so was long
assumed and many conjectures have been offered as to the point in the
Rockies near which they made their last camp. Their further progress was
checked by an unexpected crisis. One day they came upon an encampment of
the dreaded Snake Indians which had been abandoned in great haste. This,
the Bow Indians thought, could only mean that the Snakes had hurriedly
left their camp in order to slip in behind the advance guard of the Bows
and massacre the women and children left in the rear. Panic seized the
Bows and they turned homeward in wild confusion. Their chief could
not restrain them. "I was very much disappointed," writes one of the
brothers, "that I could not climb the mountains"--those mountains from
which he had been told that he might view the Western Sea.

There was nothing for it but to turn back through snowdrifts over the
bleak prairie. The progress was slow for the snow was sometimes two feet
deep. On the 1st of March the brothers parted with their Bow friends at
their village and then headed for home. By the 20th they were encamped
with a friendly tribe on the banks of the Missouri. Here, to assert
that Louis XV was lord of all that country, they built on an eminence
a pyramid of stones and in it they buried a tablet of lead with an
inscription which recorded the name of Louis XV, their King, and of the
Marquis de Beauharnois, Governor of Canada, and the date of the visit.

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. One hundred and seventy years
later, on February 16, 1913, a schoolgirl strolling with some companions
on a Sunday afternoon near the High School in the town of Pierre, South
Dakota, stumbled upon a projecting corner of this tablet, which was
in an excellent state of preservation. Thus we know exactly where the
brothers La Verendrye were on April 2, 1743, when they bade farewell to
their Indian friends and set out on horseback for Fort La Reine.

Spring had turned to summer before the brothers reached their
destination. On July 2, 1743, they relieved the anxiety of their waiting
father after an absence of fifteen months. Moving slowly as they did,
could they have traveled from the distant Rockies from the time in
January when they turned back? It seems doubtful; and in spite of the
long-cherished belief that the brothers reached the foothills of the
Rocky Mountains, it may be that they had not penetrated beyond the
barrier which we know as the Black Hills. The chance discovery of a
forgotten plate by school children may in truth prove that, as late as
in 1750, the Rocky Mountains had not yet been seen by white men and that
the first vision of that mighty range was obtained much farther north in

After 1743 the French seem to have made no further efforts to reach the
Western Sea by way of the Missouri. If in reality the brothers had not
gone beyond the Black Hills in South Dakota, then their most important
work appears to have been done within what is now Canada, as discoverers
of the Saskatchewan, the mighty river which carries to far-distant
Hudson Bay the waters melted on the eastern slopes of the Rocky
Mountains. It was by this route up the Saskatchewan that fifty years
later was solved the tough and haunting problem of going over
the mountains to the Pacific Ocean. La Verendrye now ascended the
Saskatchewan for some three hundred miles to the forks where it divides
into two great branches. He was going deeper into debt but he hoped
always for help from the King. It is pathetic to see today, on the map
of that part of western Canada which he and his sons explored, a town, a
lake, and a county called Dauphin, in honor of the heir to the throne
of France. No doubt La Verendrye had the thought that some day he might
plead with the Dauphin when he had become King for help in his great

Before the year 1749 had ended La Verendrye, who had returned to
Montreal, was in his grave. His sons, partners in his work, expected to
be charged with the task--to which the King, in 1749, had anew appointed
their father--of continuing the work of discovery in the West. Francois,
for a time ill, wrote in 1750 from Montreal to La Jonquiere, the
Governor at Quebec, that he hoped to take up the plans of his father.
The Governor's reply was that he had appointed another officer,
Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, to lead in the search for the Western Sea.
Francois hurried to Quebec. The Governor met him with a bland face and
seemed friendly. Francois, urged that he and his brothers claimed
no preeminence and that they were ready to serve under the orders of
Saint-Pierre. The Governor was hesitant; but at last told Francois,
frankly that the new leader desired no help either from him or from
his brothers. Francois, was dismayed. He and his brothers were in debt.
Already he had sent on stores and men to the West and the men were
likely to starve if not followed by provisions. His chief property was
in the West in the form of goods which would be plundered without his
guardianship. To tide over the immediate future he sold the one small
piece of land in Montreal which he had inherited from his father and
threw this slight sop to his urgent creditors.

Saint-Pierre, strong in his right of monopoly, insisted that the
brothers should not even return to the West. Francois, urged that to go
was a matter of life and death. In some way he secured leave to set out
with one laden canoe. When Saint-Pierre found that Francois had gone, he
claimed damages for the intrusion on his monopoly and secured an order
to pursue Francois and bring him back. He caught him at Michilimackinac.
The meeting between the two men at that place involved explanations.
Face to face with an injured man, Saint-Pierre admitted that he had been
in the wrong, paid to Francois many compliments, and regretted that he
had not joined hands with the brothers.

The mischief done was, however, irreparable. Francois, crippled by
opposition, could not carry on his trade with success and in the end he
returned to Montreal a ruined man overwhelmed with debt. He wrote to the
French court a noble appeal for relief:

"I remain without friends and without patrimony...a simple ensign of
the second grade; my elder brother has only the same rank as myself; my
younger brother is only a junior cadet. This is the result of all that
my father, my brothers and myself have done.... There are in the hands
of your Lordship resources of compensation and of consolation. I venture
to appeal to you for relief. To find ourselves excluded from the
West would mean to be cruelly robbed of our heritage, to realize for
ourselves all that is bitter and to see others secure all that is

The appeal fell on deaf ears. The brothers sank into obscurity. During
Montcalm's campaigns from 1756 to 1759 Pierre and Francois seem to have
been engaged in military service. Francois was killed in the siege of
Quebec in 1759. After the final surrender of Canada the Auguste, a ship
laden for the most part with refugees returning to France, was wrecked
on the St. Lawrence. Among those on board who perished was Pierre de
la Verendrye. He died amid the howling of the tempest and the cries of
drowning men. Tragedy, unrelenting, had pursued him to the end.

Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, the choice of the Marquis de la Jonquiere
to take up the search for the Western Sea in succession to the elder
La Verendrye, himself went only as far as Fort La Reine. It was a
subordinate, the Chevalier de Niverville, whom he sent farther west to
find the great mountains and if possible the sea. The winter of 1750-51
had set in before Niverville was ready. He started apparently from Fort
Maurepas, on snowshoes, his party dragging their supplies on toboggans.
Before they reached Paskoya on the Saskatchewan (the modern Le Pas) they
had nearly perished of hunger and were able to save their lives only by
catching a few fish through the ice. Niverville was ill. He sent forward
ten men by canoe up the Saskatchewan. They traveled with such rapidity
that on May 29, 1751, they had reached the Rockies. They built a
good fort, which they named Fort La Jonquiere, and stored it with a
considerable quantity of provisions. If, as seems likely, the brothers
La Verendrye saw only the Black Hills, these ten unknown men were the
discoverers of the Rocky Mountains.

Saint-Pierre braced himself to set out for the distant goal but he was
easily discouraged. Niverville, he said, was ill; the Indians were at
war among themselves; some of them were plotting what Saint-Pierre calls
"treason" to the French and their "perfidy" surpassed anything in his
lifelong experience. The hostile influence of the English he thought
all-pervasive. Obviously these are excuses. He did not like the task
and he turned back. As it was, he tells a dramatic story of how Indians
crowded into Fort La Reine in a threatening manner and how he saved the
fort and himself only by rushing to the magazine with a lighted torch,
knocking open a barrel of powder, and threatening to blow up everything
and everybody if the savages did not withdraw at once. He was eager to
leave the country. In 1752 he handed over the command to St. Luc de la
Come and, in August of that year, having experienced "much wretchedness"
on his journeys, he was safely back in Montreal. The founding of Fort
La Jonquiere was, no doubt, a great feat. Where the fort stood we do not
know. It may have been on the North Saskatchewan, near Edmonton, or
on the south branch of the river near Calgary. In any case it was a
far-flung outpost of France.

The English had always been more prosaic than the French. The traders on
Hudson Bay worked, indeed, under a monopoly not less rigorous than that
which Canada imposed. Without doubt, many an Englishman on the Bay
was haunted by the hope and desire to reach the Western Sea. But the
servants of the Company knew that to buy and sell at a profit was their
chief aim. They had been on the whole content to wait for trade to come
to them. By 1740 the Indians, who made the long journey to the Bay
by the intricate waters which carried to the sea the flood of the
Saskatchewan and Lake Winnipeg, were showing to the English articles
supplied by the French at points far inland. It thus became evident that
the French were tapping the traffic in furs near its source and cutting
off the stream which had long flowed to Hudson Bay.

In June, 1754, Anthony Hendry, a young man in the service of the
Company, left York factory on Hudson Bay to find out what the French
were doing. We have a slight but carefully written diary of Hendry's
journey. He does not fail to note that in the summer weather life
was made almost intolerable by the "musketoos." Traveling by canoe he
reached the Saskatchewan River and tells how, on the 22d of July, he
came to "a French house." It was Fort Paskoya. When Hendry paddled up
to the river bank two Frenchmen met him and "in a very genteel manner"
invited him into their house. With all courtesy they asked him, he says,
if he had any letter from his master and where and on what design he was
going inland. His answer was that he had been sent "to view the
Country" and that he intended to return to Hudson Bay in the spring.
The Frenchmen were sorry that their own master, who was apparently
the well-known Canadian leader, St. Luc de la Corne, the successor of
Saint-Pierre, had gone to Montreal with furs, and added their regrets
that they must detain Hendry until this leader's return. At this
Hendry's Indians grunted and said that the French dared not do so. Next
day Hendry took breakfast and dinner at the fort, gave "two feet of
tobacco" (at that time it was sold in long coils) to his hosts, and in
return received some moose flesh. The confidence of his Indian guides
that the French would not dare to detain him was justified. Next day
Hendry paddled on up the river and advanced more than twenty miles,
camping at night by "the largest Birch trees I have yet seen."

Hendry wished to see the country thoroughly and to come into touch with
the natives. The best way to do this and to obtain food was to leave the
river and go boldly overland. He accordingly left his canoes behind and
advanced on foot. The party was starving. On a Sunday in July he walked
twenty-six miles and says "neither Bird nor Beast to be seen,--so that
we have nothing to eat." The next day he traveled twenty-four miles
on an empty stomach and then, to his delight, found a supply of ripe
strawberries, "the size of black currants and the finest I ever eat."
The next day his Indians killed two moose. He then met natives who,
when he asked them to go to Hudson Bay to trade, replied that they could
obtain all they needed from the French posts. The tact and skill of the
French were such that, as Hendry admits, reluctantly enough, the Indians
were already strongly attached to them. Day after day Hendry journeyed
on over the rolling prairie in the warm summer days. He came to the
south branch of the Saskatchewan near the point where now stands the
city of Saskatoon and crossed the river on the 21st of August. Then on
to the West, eager to take part in the hunting of the buffalo.

Hendry is almost certainly the first Englishman to see this region. In
the end he reached the mountains. He makes no mention of having seen or
heard anything of Fort La Jonquiere, built three years earlier. He had
aims different from those of La Verendrye and other French explorers.
Not the Western Sea but openings for trade was he seeking. His great
aim was to reach the tribe called later the Blackfeet Indians, who were
mighty hunters of the buffalo. Hendry was alive to the impressions of
nature. The intense heat of August was followed in September by glorious
weather, with the nights cool and the mosquitoes no longer troublesome.
The climate was bracing. He complains only, from time to time, of
swollen feet, and we need not wonder since his daily march occasionally
went beyond twenty-five miles. Sometimes for days he saw no living
creature. At other times wild life was prolific: there were moose in
great abundance, bears, including the dreaded grizzly--one of which
killed an Indian of his company and badly mutilated another--beaver,
wild horses, and, above all, the buffalo. "Saw many herds of Buffalo
grazing like English cattle," he says, on the 13th of September, and the
next day he goes buffalo hunting. Guns and ammunition were costly. His
Indians, who used only bows and arrows, on this day killed seven--"fine
sport," says Hendry. Often the Indians took only the tongue, leaving
the carcass for the wolves, who naturally abounded in such advantageous
conditions. It is not easy now to imagine the part played by the buffalo
in the life of the prairie. As Hendry advanced the herds were so dense
as sometimes to retard his progress. Other writers tell of the vast
numbers of these creatures. Alexander Henry, the younger, writing on
April 1, 1801, says that in a river swollen by spring floods, drowned
buffalo floated past his camp in one continuous line for two days
and two nights. In prairie fires thousands were blinded and would go
tumbling down banks into streams or lie down to die. One morning the
bellowing of buffaloes awakened Henry and he looked out to see the
prairie black. "The ground was covered at every point of the compass, as
far as the eye could reach, and every animal was in motion."

Daily as Hendry advanced he saw smoke in the distance and his Indians
told him that it came from the camp of the Blackfeet. He reached them
on Monday the 14th of October. When four miles away he was stopped by
mounted scouts who asked whether he came as a friend or as an enemy. He
was taken to the camp of two hundred tents pitched in two rows, and was
led through the long passage between the tents to the big tent of the
chief of whom he had heard much. Not a word was spoken. The chief sat
on a white buffalo skin. Pipes were passed round and each person was
presented with boiled buffalo flesh. When talk began, Hendry told the
chief that his great leader had sent him to invite them to come to trade
at Hudson Bay where his people would get powder, shot, guns, cloth,
beads, and other things. The chief said it was faraway, and his people
knew nothing of paddling. Such strangers to great waters were they that
they would not even eat fish. They despised Hendry's tobacco. What they
smoked was dried horse dung. In the end Hendry was dismissed and ordered
to make his camp a quarter of a mile away from that of the Blackfeet.

It was close by the present site of Calgary and apparently in full view,
on clear days, of the white peaks of the Rocky Mountains that Hendry
visited the Blackfeet. He lingered in the far western country through
the greater part of the winter. On a portion of his return journey he
used a horse. When the spring thaw came, once more he took to the water
in canoes. He complains of the idleness of his Indian companions who
would remain in their huts all day and never stir to lay up a store
of food even when game was abundant. Conjuring, dancing to the hideous
pounding of drums, feasting and smoking, were their amusements. On
his way back Hendry revisited the French post on the Saskatchewan. The
leader, no doubt St. Luc de la Corne, had returned from Montreal and now
had with him nine men. "The master," says Hendry, "invited me in to
sup with him, and was very kind. He is dressed very Genteel." He showed
Hendry his stock of furs; "a brave parcel," the admiring rival thought.
Hendry admits the superiority of the French as traders. They "talk
Several Languages to perfection; they have the advantage of us in
every shape." In the West, as in the East, France was recognized as a
formidable rival of England for the mastery of North America.

When Hendry was making his peaceful visit to the French fort in 1755,
the crisis of the struggle had just been reached. In that year the
battle line from Acadia to the Ohio and the Mississippi was already
forming, and the fate of France's eager efforts to hold the West was
soon to be decided in the East. If Britain should conquer on the
St. Lawrence, she would conquer also on the Saskatchewan and on the

Conquer she did, and thus it happened that it was Britain's sons who
took up the later burdens of the discoverer. In the summer of 1789, just
at the time when the great Revolution was beginning in France, Alexander
Mackenzie, a Scotch trader from Montreal, starting from Lake Athabasca,
north of the farthest point reached by Hendry, was pressing still onward
into an unknown region to find a river which might lead to the sea. This
river he found; we know it now as the Mackenzie. For two weeks he and
his Indians and voyageurs paddled with the current down this mighty
stream, and on July 14, 1789, the day of the fall of the Bastille, he
saw whales sporting in Arctic waters.

The real goal which Mackenzie sought was that of La Verendrye, a
western and not a northern ocean. Three years later, after months of
preparation, he attempted the great feat of crossing the Rocky Mountains
to the sea. After nine months of rugged travel, across mountain streams
and gorges, in peril daily from hostile savages, on July 22, 1793, he
reached the shore of the Pacific Ocean, the first white man to go by
land over the width of the continent from sea to sea. It was thus a
Scotchman who achieved that of which La Verendrye had so long dreamed;
and with no aid from the state but with only the resources of a trading

Ten years later, when France sold to the United States her last
remaining territory of Louisiana, the American Government equipped an
expedition under Lewis and Clark to cross the Rocky Mountains by way of
the Missouri, the route from which the La Verendrye brothers had been
obliged to turn back. The party began the ascent of the Missouri on May
14, 1804, and arrived in the Mandan country in the late autumn. Here
they spent the winter of 1804-05. Not until November 15, 1805, had they
completed the hard journey across the Rocky Mountains and reached
the mouth of the Columbia River on the Pacific Ocean. Little did
La Verendrye, in his eager search for the Western Sea, imagine the
difficulties to be encountered and the hardships to be endured by those
who were destined, in later days, to realize his dream.

CHAPTER VI. The Valley Of The Ohio

Almost at the moment in 1749 when British ships were lying at anchor in
Halifax harbor and sending to shore hundreds of boatloads of dazed and
expectant settlers for the new colony, there had set out from Montreal,
in the interests of France, an expedition with designs so far-reaching
that we wonder still at the stupendous issues involved in efforts which
seem so petty. The purpose of France was now to make good her claim
to the whole vast West. It was a picturesque company which pushed its
canoes from the shore at Lachine on the 15th of June, six days before
the British squadron reached Halifax. There was a procession of
twenty-three great birchbark canoes well filled, for in them were more
than two hundred men, at least ten in each canoe, together with the
necessary impedimenta for a long journey. There were twenty soldiers
in uniform, a hundred and eighty Canadians skilled in paddling and in
carrying canoes and freight over the portages, a band of Indians, and
fourteen officers with Celoron de Blainville at their head.

The acting Governor of Canada at this time was a dwarf in physique, but
a giant in intellect, the brilliant naval officer, the Marquis de
la Galissoniere, destined later to inflict upon the English in the
Mediterranean the naval defeat which caused the execution of Admiral
Byng as a coward. This remarkable man--planning, like his predecessor
Frontenac, on a scale suited to world politics--saw that the peace of
1748 settled nothing, that in the balance now was the whole future of
North America, and that victory would be to the alert and the strong.
He chose Celoron, the most capable of the hardy young Canadian noblesse
whom he had at hand, a man accustomed to the life of the forest, and
sent with him this large party to assert against the English the right
of France to the valley of the Ohio. The English were now to be shut out
definitely from advancing westward and to be confined to the strip of
territory lying between the Atlantic coast and the Alleghany Mountains,
a little more than that strip fifty miles wide talked about in Quebec as
the maximum concession of France, but still not very much according to
the ideas of the English, and even this not secure if France should ever
grow strong enough to crowd them out.

At no time do we find more vivid the contrast in type between the two
nations. Before a concrete fact the British take action. When they gave
up Louisbourg they built Halifax. Their traders had pressed into the
Ohio country, not directed under any grandiose idea of empire, but
simply as individuals, to trade and reap for themselves what profit they
could. When they were checked and menaced by the French, they saw that
something must be done. How they did it we shall see presently. It was
the weakness of the English colonies that they could not unite to
work out a great plan. If Virginia took steps to advance westward,
Pennsylvania was jealous lest lands which she desired should go to a
rival colony. France, on the other hand, had complete unity of design.
Celoron spoke in the name of the King of France and he spoke in terms
uncompromising enough. "The Ohio," said the King of France through his
agent, "belongs to me." It is a French river. The lands bordering upon
it are "my lands." The English intruders are foreign robbers and not
one of them is to be left in the western country: "I wilt not endure
the English on my land." The Indians, dwelling in that region, are "my

Scattered over the vast region about the Great Lakes were a good many
French. At the lower end of Lake Ontario stood Fort Frontenac, a menace
to the colony of New York, as the dwellers in the British post of Oswego
on the opposite shore of the lake well knew. We have already seen that
the French held a fort at Niagara guarding the route leading farther
west to Lake Erie and to regions beyond Lake Erie, by way of the Ohio or
the upper lakes, to the Mississippi. Near the mouth of the Mississippi,
New Orleans was now becoming a considerable town with a governor
independent of the governor at Quebec. Along the Mississippi at
strategic points stretching northward beyond the mouth of the Missouri
were a few French settlements, ragged enough and with a shiftless
population of fur traders and farmers, but adequate to assert France's
possession of that mighty highway. The weak point in France's position
was in her connection of the Mississippi with the St. Lawrence by way
of the Ohio. This was the place of danger, for here English rivalry was
strongest, and it was to cure this weakness that Celoron was now sent

Celoron moved toilsomely over the portage which led past the great
cataract of Niagara and launched his canoes on Lake Erie. From its
south shore, during seven days of heart-breaking labor, the party
dragged the canoes and supplies through dense forest and over steep
hills until they reached Chautauqua Lake, the waters of which flow into
the Allegheny River and by it to the Ohio. For many weary days they
went with the current, stopping at Indian villages, treating with the
savages, who were sometimes awed and sometimes menacing. They warned
the Indians to have no dealings with the scheming English who would
"infallibly prove to be robbers," and asserted as boldly as Celoron
dared the lordship of the King of France and his love for his forest
children. Celoron realized that he was on an historic mission. At
several points on the Ohio, with great ceremony, he buried leaden
plates, as La Verendrye had done a few years earlier in the far West,
bearing an inscription declaring that, in the name of the King of
France, he took possession of the country. On trees over these memorials
of lead he nailed the arms of France, stamped on sheets of tin. Since
that day at least three of the plates have been found.

Celoron's expedition went well enough. He advanced as far west on the
Ohio as the mouth of the Great Miami River, then up that river, and by
difficult portages back to Lake Erie. It was a remarkable journey; but
in the late autumn he was back again in Montreal, not sure that he had
achieved much. The natives of the country were, he thought, hostile to
France and devoted to the English who had long traded with them. This
opinion was in truth erroneous, for, when the time of testing came,
the Indians of the West fought on the side of France. Montcalm had many
hundreds of them under his banner. The expedition meant the definite and
final throwing down of the gauntlet by France. With all due ceremony
she had declared that the Ohio country was hers and that there she would
allow no English to dwell.

Legardeur de Saint-Pierre could hardly have known, when he left the hard
region of the Saskatchewan in 1752, that a year later he would be sent
to protect another set of outposts of France in the West. In 1753 we
find him in command of the French forces in the Ohio country. Celoron
had been sent to Detroit. If Saint-Pierre had played his part feebly on
the Saskatchewan, he was now made for a brief period one of the central
figures in the opening act of a world drama. It is with a touch of
emotion that we see on the stage, as the opponent of this not great
Frenchman, the momentous figure of George Washington.

The fight for North America was now rapidly approaching its final phase
in the struggle which we know as the Seven Years' War. During forty
years, commissioners of the two nations had been trying to reach some
agreement as to boundaries. Each side, however, made impossible demands.
France claimed all the lands drained by the St. Lawrence and the Great
Lakes and by the Mississippi and its tributaries a claim which, if made
good, would have carried her into the very heart of the colony of New
York and would have given her also the mastery of the Ohio and the
regions beyond. Britain claimed all the lands ever occupied by the
Iroquois Indians, who had been recognized as British subjects by the
Treaty of Utrecht. As those Indians had overrun regions north of the
St. Lawrence, the British thus would become masters of a good part of
Canada. Neither side was prepared for reasonable compromise. The sword
was to be the final arbiter.

Events moved rapidly towards war. In 1753 Duquesne, the new Governor of
Canada, sent more than a thousand men to build Fort Le Boeuf, on upper
waters flowing to the Ohio and within easy reach of support by way of
Lake Erie. In the nest year the French were swarming in the Ohio Valley,
stirring up the Indians against the English and confident of success.
They jeered at the divisions among the English and believed their own
unity so strong that they could master the colonies one by one. The two
colonies most affected were Pennsylvania and Virginia, either of them
quite ready to see its own citizens advance into the Ohio country and
possess the land, but neither of them willing to unite with the other in
effective military action to protect the frontier.

It is at this crisis that there appears for the first time in history
George Washington of Virginia. In December, 1753, in the dead of winter,
he made a long, toilsome journey from Virginia to the north through
snow and rain, by difficult forest trails, over two ranges of mountains,
across streams sometimes frozen, sometimes dangerous from treacherous
thaws. On the way he heard gossip from the Indians about the designs of
the French. They boasted that they would come in numbers like the sands
of the seashore; that the natives would be no more an obstacle to them
than the flies and mosquitoes, which indeed they resembled; and that not
the breadth of a finger-nail of land belonged to the Indians. Washington
was told by one of the French that "it was their absolute design to take
possession of the Ohio and, by--, they would do it!" It was no matter
that the French were outnumbered two to one by the English, for the
English were dilatory and ineffective.

In the end, Washington arrived at Fort Le Boeuf and presented a letter
from Dinwiddie, the Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, pointing out that
the British could not permit an armed force from Canada to invade their
territory of the Ohio and requiring that the French should leave the
country at once. Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, to whom this firm demand was
delivered, "an elderly gentleman," says Washington, with "much the air
of a soldier" gave, of course, a polite answer in the manner of his
nation, but he intended, he said, to remain where he was as long as
he had instructions so to do. Washington kept his eyes open and made
careful observations of the plan of the fort, the number of men, and
also of the canoes, of which he noted that there were more than two
hundred ready and many others building. The French tried to entice away
his Indians and he says, "I cannot say that ever in my life I suffered
so much anxiety." On the journey back he nearly perished when he fell
into an ice-cold stream and was obliged to spend the night on a tiny
island in frozen clothing. He brought comfort as cold to the waiting

The French meanwhile were always a little ahead of the English in their
planning. Early in April, 1754, a French force of five or six hundred
men from Canada, which had set out while Quebec was still in the icy
grip of winter, reached the upper waters of the Ohio. They attacked
and destroyed a fort which the English had begun at the forks where now
stands Pittsburgh, and, in its place, began a formidable one, called
Fort Duquesne after the Governor of Canada. In vain was Washington sent
with a few hundred men to take possession of this fort and to assert
the claim of the English to the land. He fell in with a French scouting
party under young Coulon de Jumonville, killed its leader and nine
others, and took more than a score of prisoners--warfare bloody enough
in a time of supposed peace. But the French were now on the Ohio in
greater numbers than the English. At a spot known as the Great Meadows,
where Washington had hastily thrown up defenses, which he called Fort
Necessity, he was forced to surrender, but was allowed to lead his
force back to Virginia, defeated in the first military adventure of his
career. The French took the view that his killing of the young officer
Jumonville was assassination, since no state of war existed, and raised
a fierce clamor that Washington was a murderer--a strange contrast to
his relations with France in the years to come.

What astonishes us in regard to these events is that Britain and France
long remained nominally at peace while they were carrying on active
hostilities in America and sending from Europe armies to fight. There
were various reasons for this hesitation about plunging formally into
war. Each side wished to delay until sure of its alliances in Europe.
During the war ending in 1748 France had fought with Frederick of
Prussia against Austria, and Britain had been Austria's ally. The war
had been chiefly a land war, but France had been beaten on the sea. Now
Britain and Prussia were drawing together and, if France fought them,
it must be with Austria as an ally. Such an alliance offered France
but slight advantage. Austria, an inland power, could not help France
against an adversary whose strength was on the sea; she could not aid
the designs of France in America or in India, where the capable French
leader Dupleix was in a fair way to build up a mighty oriental empire.
Nor had France anything to gain in Europe from an Austrian alliance.
The shoe was on the other foot. The supreme passion of Maria Theresa
who ruled Austria was to recover the province of Silesia which had been
seized in 1740 by Prussia and held--held to this day. Austria could
do little for France but France could do much for Austria. So Austria
worked for this alliance. It is a story of intrigue. Usually in France
the King carried on negotiations with foreign countries only through
his ministers, who knew the real interests of France. Now the astute
Austrian statesman, Kaunitz, went past the ministers of Louis XV to
Louis himself. This was the heyday of Madame de Pompadour, the King's
mistress. Maria Theresa condescended to intrigue with this woman whom in
her heart she despised. There is still much mystery in the affair. The
King was flattered into thinking that personally he was swaying the
affairs of Europe and took delight in deceiving his ministers and
working behind their backs. While events in America were making war
between France and Britain inevitable, France was being tied to an ally
who could give her little aid. She must spend herself to fight Austria's
battles on the land, while her real interests required that she should
build up her fleet to fight on the sea the great adversary across the
English Channel.

The destiny of North America might, indeed; well have been other than
it is. A France strong on the sea, able to bring across to America great
forces, might have held, at any rate, her place on the St. Lawrence
and occupied the valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi. We can hardly
doubt that the English colonies, united by a common deadly peril, could
have held against France most of the Atlantic coast. But she might well
have divided with them North America; and today the lands north of the
Ohio and westward beyond the Ohio to the Pacific Ocean might have been
French. The two nations on the brink of war in 1754 were playing for
mighty stakes; and victory was to the power which had control of the
sea. France had a great army, Britain a great fleet. In this contrast
lay wrapped the secret of the future of North America.

As the crisis drew near the vital thought about the future of America
was found, not in America, but in Europe. The English colonies were so
accustomed to distrust each other that, when Virginia grew excited about
French designs on the Ohio, Pennsylvania or North Carolina was as likely
as not to say that it was the French who were in the right and a stupid,
or excitable, or conceited, colonial governor who was in the wrong.
In Paris and London, on the other hand, there were no illusions about
affairs in America. In both capitals it was realized that a grim fight
was on. During the winter of 1754-55 extensive preparations were being
made on both sides. France equipped an army under Baron Dieskau to go to
Canada; Britain equipped one under General Braddock to go to Virginia.
Each nation asked the other why it was sending troops to America and
each gave the assurance of benevolent designs. But in the spring of 1755
a British fleet under Admiral Boscawen put to sea with instructions to
capture any French vessels bound for North America. At the same time the
two armies were on the way across the Atlantic. Dieskau went to Canada,
Braddock to Virginia, each instructed to attack the other side, while
in the meantime ambassadors at the two courts gave bland assurances that
their only thought was to preserve peace.

The English colonists showed a political blindness that amounted to
imbecility. Albany was the central point from which the dangers on all
sides might best be surveyed. Here came together in the summer of 1754
delegates from seven of the colonies to consider the common peril. The
French were busy in winning, as they did, the support of the many Indian
tribes of the West; and the old allies of the English, the Iroquois,
were nervous for their own safety. The delegates to Albany, tied and
bound by instructions from their Assemblies, had to listen to plain
words from the savages. The one Englishman who, in dealing with the
Indians, had tact and skill equal to that of Frontenac of old, was
an Irishman, Sir William Johnson. To him the Iroquois made indignant
protests that the English were as ready as the French to rob them of
their lands. If we find a bear in a tree, they said, some one will
spring up to claim that the tree belongs to him and keep us from
shooting the bear. The French, they added, are at least men who are
prepared to fight; you weak and un-prepared English are like women
and any day the French may turn you out. Benjamin Franklin told the
delegates that they must unite to meet a common enemy. Unite, however,
they would not. No one of them would surrender to a central body
any authority through which the power of the King over them might be
increased. The Congress--the word is full of omen for the future--failed
to bring about the much-needed union.

In February, 1755, Braddock arrived in Virginia with his army, and early
in May he was on his march across the mountains with regulars, militia,
and Indians, to the number of nearly fifteen hundred men, to attack Fort
Duquesne and to rid the Ohio Valley of the French. He knew little of
forest warfare with its use of Indian scouts, its ambushes, its fighting
from the cover of trees. On the 9th of July, on the Monongahela River,
near Fort Duquesne, in a struggle in the forest against French and
Indians he was defeated and killed. George Washington was in the fight
and had to report to Dinwiddie the dismal record of what had happened.
The frontier was aflame; and nearly all the Indians of the West, seeing
the rising star, went over to the French. The power of France was, for
the time, supreme in the heart of the continent. At that moment even
far away in the lone land about the Saskatchewan, the English trader,
Hendry, had to admit that the French knew better than the English how to
attract the support of the savage tribes.

Meanwhile Dieskau had arrived at Quebec. In the colony of New York
Sir William Johnson, the rough and cheery Irishman, much loved of the
Iroquois, was gathering forces to attack Canada. Early in July, 1755,
Johnson had more than three thousand provincial troops at Albany,
a motley horde of embattled farmers, most of them with no uniforms,
dressed in their own homespun, carrying their own muskets, electing
their own officers, and altogether, from the strict soldier's point of
view, a rabble rather than an army. To meet this force and destroy it
if he could, Dieskau took to the French fort at Crown Point, on Lake
Champlain, and southward from there to Ticonderoga at the head of
this lake, some three thousand five hundred men, including his French
regulars, some Canadians and Indians. Johnson's force lay at Fort
George, later Fort William Henry, the most southerly point on Lake
George. The names, given by Johnson himself, show how the dull
Hanoverian kings and their offspring were held in honor by the Irish
diplomat who was looking for favors at court. The two armies met on the
shores of Lake George early in September and there was an all-day fight.
Each side lost some two hundred men. Among those who perished on the
French side was Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, who had escaped all the
perils of the western wilderness to meet his fate in this border
struggle. The honors of the day seem to have been with Johnson, for the
French were driven off and Dieskau himself, badly wounded, was taken
prisoner. That Johnson had great difficulty in keeping his savages from
burning alive and then boiling and eating Dieskau and smoking his flesh
in their pipes, in revenge for some of their chiefs killed in the fight,
shows what an alliance with Indians meant.

There was small gain to the English from Johnson's success. He was too
cautious to advance towards Canada; and, as winter came on, he broke up
his camp and sent his men to their homes. The colonies had no permanent
military equipment. Each autumn their forces were dissolved to be
reorganized again in the following spring, a lame method of waging war.

For three years longer in the valley of the Ohio, as elsewhere, the
star of France remained in the ascendant. It began to decline only when,
farther east, on the Atlantic, superior forces sent out from England
were able to check the French. During the summer of 1758, while Wolfe
and Boscawen were pounding the walls of Louisbourg, seven thousand
troops led by General Forbes, Colonel George Washington, and Colonel
Henry Bouquet, pushed their way through the wilds beyond the Alleghanies
and took possession of the Ohio. The French destroyed Fort Duquesne and
fled. On the 25th of November the English occupied the place and named
it "Pitts-Bourgh" in honor of their great war minister.

CHAPTER VII. The Expulsion Of The Acadians

We have now to turn back over a number of years to see what has been
happening in Acadia, that oldest and most easterly part of New France
which in 1710 fell into British hands. Since the Treaty of Utrecht
in 1713 the Acadians had been nominally British subjects. But the
Frenchman, hardly less than the Jew, is difficult of absorption by other
racial types. We have already noted the natural aim of France to recover
what she had lost and her use of the priests to hold the Acadians to
her interests. The Acadians were secure in the free exercise of their
religion. They had no secular leaders and few, if any, clergy of their
own. They were led chiefly by priests, subjects of France, who, though
working in British territory, owned no allegiance to Great Britain, and
were directed by the Bishop of Quebec.

For forty years the question of the Acadians remained unsettled.
Under the Treaty of 1713 the Acadians might leave the country. If they
remained a year they must become British subjects. When, however, in
1715, two years after the conclusion of the treaty, they were required
to take the oath of allegiance to the new King, George I, they declared
that they could not do so, since they were about to move to Cape Breton.
When George II came to the throne in 1727, the oath was again demanded.
Still, however, the Acadians were between two fires. Their Indian
neighbors, influenced by the French, threatened them with massacre if
they took the oath, while the British declared that they would forfeit
their farms if they refused. The truth is that the British did not
wish to press the alternative. To drive out the Acadians would be to
strengthen the neighboring French colony of Cape Breton. To force on
them the oath might even cause a rising which would overwhelm the few
English in Nova Scotia. So the tradition, never formally accepted by the
British, grew up that, while the Acadians owed obedience to George II,
they would be neutral in case of war with France. A common name for them
used by the British themselves was that of the Neutral French. In time
of peace the Acadians could be left to themselves. When, however, war
broke out between Britain and France the question of loyalty became
acute. Such war there was in 1744. Without doubt, some Acadians then
helped the French--but it was, as they protested, only under compulsion
and, as far as they could, they seem to have refused to aid either side.
The British muttered threats that subjects of their King who would not
fight for him had no right to protection under British law. Even then
feeling was so high that there was talk of driving the Acadians from
their farms and setting them adrift; and these poor people trembled for
their own fate when the British victors at Louisbourg in 1745 removed
the French population to France. Assurances came from the British
government, however, that there was no thought of molesting the

With the order "As you were" the dominant thought of the Treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, the highly organized and efficient champions
of French policy took every step to ensure that in the next struggle the
interests of France should prevail. Peace had no sooner been signed
than Versailles was working in Nova Scotia on the old policy. The French
priests taught that eternal perdition awaited the Catholic Acadians who
should accept the demands of the heretic English. The Indians continued
their savage threats. Blood is thicker than water and no doubt the
natural sympathies of the Acadians were with the French. But the British
were now formidable. For them the founding of Halifax in 1749 had made
all the difference. They, too, had a menacing fortress at the door of
the Acadians, and their tone grew sterner. As a result the Acadians were
told that if, by October 15, 1749, they had not taken an unconditional
oath of allegiance to George II, they should forfeit their rights and
their property, the treasured farms on which they and their ancestors
had toiled. The Acadians were in acute distress. If they yielded to the
English, not only would their bodies be destroyed by the savage Micmac
Indians, but their immortal souls, they feared, would be in danger.

The Abbe Le Loutre was the parish priest of the Acadian village of
Beaubassin on Chignecto Bay and also missionary to the Micmac Indians,
whose chief village lay in British territory not many miles from
Halifax. British officials of the time denounced him as a determined
fanatic who did not stop short of murder. As in most men, there was in
Le Loutre a mingling of qualities. He was arrogant, domineering, and
intent on his own plans. He hated the English and their heresy, and he
preached to his people against them with frantic invective. He incited
his Indians to bloodshed. But he also knew pity. The custom of the
Indians was to consider prisoners taken by them as their property,
and on one occasion Le Loutre himself paid ransom to the Indians for
thirty-seven English captives and returned them to Halifax. It is
certain that the French government counted upon the influence of French
priests to aid its political designs. "My masters, God and the King" was
a phrase of the Sulpician father Piquet working at this time on the
St. Lawrence. Le Loutre could have echoed the words. He was an ardent
politician and France supplied him with both money and arms to induce
the Indians to attack the English. The savages haunted the outskirts of
Halifax, waylaid and scalped unhappy settlers, and, in due course,
were paid from Louisbourg according to the number of scalps which they
produced. The deliberate intention was to make new English settlements
impossible in Nova Scotia and so to discourage the English that they
should abandon Halifax. All this intrigue occurred in 1749 and the
years following the treaty of peace. If the English suffered, so did the
Acadians. Le Loutre told them that if once they became British subjects
they would lose their priests and find their religion suppressed.
Acadians who took the oath would, he said, be denied the sacraments
of the Church. He would also turn loose on the offenders the murderous
savages whom he controlled. If pressed by the English, the Acadians,
rather than yield, must abandon their lands and remove into French

At this point arises the question as to what were the limits of this
French territory. In yielding Acadia in 1713, France had not defined
its boundaries. The English claimed that it included the whole region
stretching northeastward to the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the frontier
of New England. The French, however, said that Acadia meant only the
peninsula of Nova Scotia ending at the isthmus between Baie Verte and
the Bay of Chignecto; and for years a Canadian force stood there on
guard, daring the British to put a foot on the north side of the little
river Missaguash, which the French said was the international boundary.

There was much excitement among the Acadians in 1750, when an English
force landed on the isthmus and proceeded to throw up defenses on the
south side of the river. This outpost, which in due time became Fort
Lawrence, was placed on what even the French admitted to be British
territory. Forthwith on a hill two or three miles away, on the other
side of the supposed boundary, the French built Fort Beausejour. Le
Loutre was on the spot, blustering and menacing. He told his Acadian
parishioners of the little village of Beaubassin, near Fort Lawrence and
within the British area, that rather than accept English rule they must
now abandon their lands and seek the protection of the French at Fort
Beausejour. With his own hands he set fire to the village church. The
houses of the Acadians were also burned. A whole district was laid waste
by fire. Women and children suffered fearful privations--but what did
such things matter in view of the high politics of the priest and of

During four or five years the hostile forts confronted each other. In
time of peace there was war. The French made Beausejour a solid fort,
for it still stands, little altered, though it has been abandoned for
a century and a half. It was chiefly the Acadians, nominal British
subjects, who built these thick walls.

The arrogant Micmacs demanded that the British should hand over to
them the best half of Nova Scotia, and they emphasized their demand
by treachery and massacre. One day a man, in the uniform of a French
officer, followed by a small party, approached Fort Lawrence, waving
a white flag. Captain Howe with a small force went out to meet him. As
this party advanced, Indians concealed behind a dike fired and killed
Howe and eight or ten others. Such ruses were well fitted to cause among
the English a resolve to enforce severe measures. The fire burned slowly
but in the end it flamed up in a cruel and relentless temper. French
policy, too, showed no pity. The Governor of Canada and the colonial
minister in France were alike insistent that the English should be given
no peace and cared nothing for the sufferings of the unhappy Acadians
between the upper and the nether millstone.

At last, in 1755, the English accomplished something decisive. They sent
an army to Fort Lawrence, attacked Fort Beausejour, forced its timid
commander Vergor to surrender, mastered the whole surrounding country,
and obliged Le Loutre himself to fly to Quebec. There he embarked for
France. The English captured him on the sea, however, and the relentless
and cruel priest spent many years in an English prison. His later years,
when he reached France, do him some credit. By that time the Acadians
had been driven from their homes. There were nearly a thousand exiles in
England. Le Loutre tried to befriend these helpless people and obtained
homes for some of them in the parish of Belle-Isle-en-Mer in France.

In the meantime the price of Le Loutre's intrigues and of the outrages
of the French and their Indian allies was now to be paid by the unhappy
Acadians. During the spring and summer of 1755, the British decided
that the question of allegiance should be settled at once, and that the
Acadians must take the oath. There was need of urgency. The army at Fort
Lawrence which had captured Fort Beausejour was largely composed of men
from New England, and these would wish to return to their homes for
the winter. If the Acadians remained and were hostile, the country thus
occupied at laborious cost might quickly revert to the French. Already
many Acadians had fought on the side of the French and some of them,
disguised as Indians, had joined in savage outrage. A French fleet and
a French army were reported as likely to arrive before the winter.
In fact, France's naval power with its base at Louisbourg was still
stronger than that of Britain with its base at Halifax. When the
Acadians were told in plain terms that they must take the oath of
allegiance, they firmly declined to do so without certain limitations
involving guarantees that they should not be arrayed against France.
The Governor at Halifax, Major Charles Lawrence, was a stern, relentless
man, without pity, and his mind was made up. Shirley, Governor of
Massachusetts, was in touch with Lawrence. The Acadians should be
deported if they would not take the oath. This step, however, the
government at London never ordered. On the contrary, as late as on
August 13, 1755, Lawrence was counseled to act with caution, prudence,
and tact in dealing with the "Neutrals," as the Acadians are called even
in this official letter. Meanwhile, without direct warrant from London,
Lawrence and his council at Halifax had taken action. His reasoning was
that of a direct soldier. The Acadians would not take the full oath
of British citizenship. Very well. Quite obviously they could not be
trusted. Already they had acted in a traitorous way. Prolonged war with
France was imminent. Since Acadians who might be allied with the savages
could attack British posts, they must be removed. To replace them,
British settlers could in time be brought into the country.

The thing was done in the summer and autumn of 1755. Colonel Robert
Monckton, a regular officer, son of an Irish peer, who always showed
an ineffable superiority to provincial officers serving under him, was
placed in charge of the work. He ordered the male inhabitants of the
neighborhood of Beausejour to meet him there on the 10th of August. Only
about one-third of them came--some four hundred. He told them that the
government at Halifax now declared them rebels. Their lands and all
other goods were forfeited; they themselves were to be kept in prison.
Not yet, however, was made known to them the decision that they were to
be treated as traitors of whom the province must be rid. No attempt was
made anywhere to distinguish loyal from disloyal Acadians. Lawrence gave
orders to the military officers to clear the country of all Acadians,
to get them by any necessary means on board the transports which would
carry them away, and to burn their houses and crops so that those not
caught might perish or be forced to surrender during the coming winter.
At the moment, the harvest had just been reaped or was ripening.

When the stern work was done at Grand Pre, at Pisiquid, now Windsor, at
Annapolis, there were harrowing scenes. In command of the work at Grand
Pre was Colonel Winslow, an officer from Massachusetts--some of whose
relatives twenty-five years later were to be driven, because of their
loyalty to the British King, from their own homes in Boston to this
very land of Acadia. Winslow issued a summons in French to all the male
inhabitants, down to lads of ten, to come to the church at Grand Pre on
Friday, the 5th of September, to learn the orders he had to communicate.
Those who did not appear were to forfeit their goods. No doubt many
Acadians did not understand the summons. Few of them could read and it
hardly mattered to them that on one occasion a notice on the church door
was posted upside down. Some four hundred anxious peasants appeared.
Winslow read to them a proclamation to the effect that their houses and
lands were forfeited and that they themselves and their families were
to be deported. Five vessels from Boston lay at Grand Pre. In time more
ships arrived, but chill October had come before Winslow was finally

By this time the Acadians realized what was to happen. The men were
joined by their families. As far as possible the people of the same
village were kept together. They were forced to march to the transports,
a sorrow-laden company, women carrying babes in their arms, old and
decrepit people borne in carts, young and strong men dragging what
belongings they could gather. Winslow's task, as he says, lay heavy on
his heart and hands: "It hurts me to hear their weeping and wailing
and gnashing of teeth." By the 1st of November he had embarked fifteen
hundred unhappy people. His last ship-load he sent off on the 13th of
December. The suffering from cold must have been terrible.

In all, from Grand Pre and other places, more than six thousand Acadians
were deported. They were scattered in the English colonies from Maine to
Georgia and in both France and England. Many died; many, helpless in new
surroundings, sank into decrepit pauperism. Some reached people of their
own blood in the French colony of Louisiana and in Canada. A good many
returned from their exile in the colonies to their former home after the
Seven Years' War had ended. Today their descendants form an appreciable
part of the population of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward
Island. The cruel act did one thing effectively: it made Nova Scotia
safe for the British cause in the attack that was about to be directed
against Canada.

CHAPTER VIII. The Victories Of Montcalm

In France's last, most determined, and most tragic struggle for North
America, the noblest aspect is typified in the figure of Montcalm.

The circle of the King and his mistress at Versailles does not tell the
whole story of France at this time. No doubt Madame de Pompadour
made and unmade ministers, but behind the ministers was the great
administrative system of France, with servants alert and efficient, and
now chiefly occupied with military plans to defeat the great Frederick
of Prussia. At the same time the intellect of France was busy with
problems of science and was soon to express itself in the massive
volumes of Diderot's Encyclopaedia. The soldiers of France were
preparing to fight on many battlefields. The best of them took little
part in the debilitating pleasures of Versailles.

Louis Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm, was a member of the ancient nobility
of Languedoc, in the south of France. He was a scholar, a soldier, and
a landowner. He could write a Latin inscription, fight a battle, and
manage a farm--all with excellence. His was a fruitful race. His wife
had borne him ten children, of whom six had survived. He was sincerely
religious, a family man, enjoying quiet evenings at home. In his career,
as no doubt in that of many other French leaders of the time, we find no
lurid lights, no gay scenes at court--nothing but simple and laborious
devotion to duty. Though a grand seigneur, Montcalm was poor. His
letters show that his mind was always much occupied with family affairs,
the need of economy, the careers of his sons, his mill, his plantations.
He showed the minute care in management which the French practise better
than the English. In 1756 he was forty-four years of age, a soldier who
had campaigned in Germany, Bohemia, and Italy, had known victory and
defeat, had been a prisoner in the hands of the Austrians, and had made
a reputation as a man fit to lead. He lived far from court and went to
Paris only rarely. It was this quiet man who, on January 31, 1756, was
summoned to Paris to head the military force about to be sent to Canada.
Dieskau was a captive in English hands, and Montcalm was to replace

Thus began that connection of Montcalm with Canada which was destined
three or four years later to bring to him first victory and then defeat,
death, and undying fame. On receiving his appointment he went to Paris,
thanked the King in person for the honor done him, and was delighted
that his son, a mere boy, was given the rank and pay of a colonel, one
of the few abuses of court favor which we find in his career. On March
26, 1756, Montcalm embarked at Brest with his staff. War had not yet
been declared, but already Britain had captured some three hundred
French merchant ships, had taken prisoner nearly ten thousand French
sailors, and was sweeping from the sea the fleets of France.

Owing to the fear of British cruisers, the voyage of Montcalm had its
excitements. As usual, however, France was earlier in the field than
Britain, who had in April no force ready for America which could
intercept Montcalm. The storms were heavy, and on Easter Day, when Mass
was celebrated, a sailor firm on his feet had to hold the chalice for
the officiating priest. On board there were daily prayers, and always
the service ended with cries of "God save the King!" Some of the
officers on board were destined to survive to a new era in France when
there should be no more a king.

Montcalm had with him a capable staff and a goodly number of young
officers, gay, debonair, thinking not of great political designs about
America but chiefly of their own future careers in France, and facing
death lightheartedly enough. Next to Montcalm in command was the
Chevalier de Uvis, a member of a great French family and himself
destined to attain the high rank of Marshal of France, and a capable
though not a brilliant soldier, whose chief gift was tact and the art
of managing men. Third in command was the Chevalier de Bourlamaque, a
quiet, reserved man, with no striking social gifts and in consequence
not likely at first to make a good impression, though Montcalm, who was
at the beginning a little doubtful of his quality, came in the end to
rely upon him fully. The most brilliant man in that company was the
young Colonel de Bougainville, Montcalm's chief aide-de-camp. Though
only twenty-seven years old he was already famous in the world of
science and was destined to be still more famous as a great navigator,
to live through the whole period of the French Revolution, and to die
only on the eve of the fall of Napoleon. In 1756 he was too young and
clever to be always prudent in speech. It is from his quick eye and
eager pen that we learn much of the inner story of these last days of
New France. Montcalm discusses frankly in his letters these and other
officers, with whom he was on the whole well pleased. In his heart
he could echo the words of Bougainville as he watched the brilliant
spectacle of the embarkation at Brest: "What a nation is ours! Happy is
he who leads and is worthy of it."

It was in this spirit of confidence that Montcalm faced the struggle
in America. For him sad days were to come and his sunny, vivacious,
southern temperament caused him to suffer keenly. At first, however, all
was full of brilliant promise. So eager was he that, when his ships lay
becalmed in the St. Lawrence some thirty miles below Quebec, he landed
and drove to the city. It is the most beautiful country in the world,
he writes, highly cultivated, with many houses, the peasants living
more like the lesser gentry of France than like peasants, and speaking
excellent French. He found the hospitality in Quebec such that a
Parisian would be surprised at the profusion of good things of every
kind. The city was, he thought, like the best type of the cities of
France. The Canadian climate was health-giving, the sky clear, the
summer not unlike that of Languedoc, but the winter trying, since the
severe weather caused the inhabitants to remain too much indoors. He
described the Canadian ladies as witty, lively, devout, those of
Quebec amusing themselves at play, sometimes for high stakes; those of
Montreal, with conversation and dancing. He confessed that one of
them proved a little too fascinating for his own peace of mind. The
intolerable thing was the need to meet and pay court to the Indians whom
the Governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, regarded as valuable allies.
These savages, brutal, changeable, exacting, Montcalm from the first
despised. It filled him with disgust to see them swarming in the streets
of Montreal, sometimes carrying bows and arrows, their coarse features
worse disfigured by war-paint and a gaudy headdress of feathers, their
heads shaven, with the exception of one long scalp-lock, their gleaming
bodies nearly naked or draped with dirty buffalo or beaver skins. What
allies for a refined grand seigneur of France! It was a costly burden
to feed them. Sometimes they made howling demands for brandy and for
bouillon, by which they meant human blood. Many of them were cannibals.
Once Montcalm had to give some of them, at his own cost, a feast of
three oxen roasted whole. To his disgust, they gorged themselves and
danced round the room shouting their savage war-cries.

The Governor of Canada, Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, belonged
to one of the most ancient families of France, related to that of Levis.
He had been born in Canada where his father was Governor for the long
period of twenty-two years, from 1703 to 1725, and in his outlook and
prejudices he was wholly of New France, with a passionate devotion to
its people, and a deep resentment at any airs of superiority assumed by
those who came from old France. A certain admiration is due to Vaudreuil
for his championship of the Canadians and even of the savages of the
land of his birth against officers of his own rank and caste who came
from France. There was in Canada the eternal cleavage in outlook and
manners between the Old World and the New, which is found in equal
strength in New England, and which was one of the chief factors in
causing the American Revolution. Vaudreuil, born at Quebec in 1698, had
climbed the official ladder step by step until, in 1742, he had been
made Governor of Louisiana, a post he held for three years. He succeeded
the Marquis Duquesne as Governor of Canada in the year before Montcalm
arrived. He meant well but he was a vain man, always a leading figure in
the small society about him, and obsessed by a fussy self-importance. He
was not clever enough to see through flattery. The Intendant Bigot, next
to the Governor the most important man in Canada, an able and corrupt
rascal, knew how to manage the Governor and to impose his own will upon
the weaker man. Vaudreuil and his wife between them had a swarm of needy
relatives in Canada, and these and other Canadians who sought favors
from the Governor helped to sharpen his antagonism to the officers from
France. Vaudreuil believed himself a military genius. It was he and not
Montcalm who had the supreme military command, and he regarded as an
unnecessary intruder this general officer sent out from France.

Now that Montcalm was come, Vaudreuil showed a malignant alertness, born
of jealousy, to snub and check him. Outward courtesies were, of course,
maintained. Vaudreuil could be bland and Montcalm restrained, in spite
of his southern temperament, but their dispatches show the bitterness in
their relations. The court of France encouraged not merely the leaders
but even officers in subordinate posts to communicate to it their views.
A voluble correspondence about affairs in Canada has been preserved.
Vaudreuil himself must have tried the patience of the French ministers
for he wrote at prodigious length, exalting his own achievements to the
point of being ludicrous. At the same time he belittled everything done
by Montcalm, complained that he was ruining the French cause in America,
hinted that he was in league with corrupt elements in Canada, and in
the end even went so far as to request his recall in order that the more
pliant Levis might be put in his place. The letters of Montcalm are more
reserved. Unlike Vaudreuil, he never stooped to falsehood. He knew that
he was under the orders of the Governor and he accepted the situation.
When operations were on hand, Vaudreuil would give Montcalm instructions
so ambiguous that if he failed he would be sure to get the discredit,
while, if he succeeded, to Vaudreuil would belong the glory.

War is, at best, a cruel business. In Europe its predatory barbarity was
passing away and there the lives of prisoners and of women and children
were now being respected. Montcalm had been reared under this more
civilized code, and he and his officers were shocked by what Vaudreuil
regarded as normal and proper warfare. In 1756 the French had a horde of
about two thousand savages, who had flocked to Montreal from points as
far distant as the great plains of the West. They numbered more than
thirty separate tribes or nations, as in their pride they called
themselves, and each nation had to be humored and treated as an equal,
for they were not in the service of France but were her allies. They
expected to be consulted before plans of campaign were completed. The
defeat of Braddock in 1755 had made them turn to the prosperous cause of
France. Vaudreuil gave them what they hardly required--encouragement to
wage war in their own way. The more brutal and ruthless the war on the
English, he said, the more quickly would their enemies desire the
kind of peace that France must have. The result was that the western
frontiers of the English colonies became a hell of ruthless massacre.
The savages attacked English settlements whenever they found them
undefended. A pioneer might go forth in the morning to his labor and
return in the evening to find his house in ashes and his wife and
children lying dead with the scalps torn from their heads as trophies of
savage prowess.

For years, until the English gained the upper hand over the French,
this awful massacre went on. Hundreds of women and children perished.
Vaudreuil reported with pride to the French court the number of scalps
taken, and in his annals such incidents were written down as victories,
He warned Montcalm that he must not be too strict with the savages or
some day they would take themselves off and possibly go over to the
English and leave the French without indispensable allies. He complained
of the lofty tone of the French regular officers towards both Indians
and Canadians, and assured the French court that it was only his own
tact which prevented an open breach.

Canada lay exposed to attack by three routes by Lake Ontario, by Lake
Champlain, and by the St. Lawrence and the sea. It was vital to control
the route to the West by Lake Ontario, vital to keep the English
from invading Canada by way of Lake Champlain, vital to guard the
St. Lawrence and keep open communications with France. Montcalm first
directed his attention to Lake Ontario. Oswego, lying on the south
shore, was a fort much prized by the English as a base from which they
could attack the French Fort Frontenac on the north side of the lake and
cut off Canada from the West. If the English could do this, they would
redeem the failure of Braddock and possibly turn the Indians from a
French to an English alliance.

The French, in turn, were resolved to capture and destroy Oswego. In the
summer of 1756, they were busy drawing up papers and instructions for
the attack. Montcalm wrote to his wife that he had never before worked
so hard. He kept every one busy, his aide-de-camp, his staff, and his
secretaries. No detail was too minute for his observation. He regulated
the changes of clothes which the officers might carry with them. He
inspected hospitals, stores, and food, and he even ordered an alteration
in the method of making bread. He reorganized the Canadian battalions
and in every quarter stirred up new activity. He was strict about
granting leave of absence. Sometimes his working day endured for twenty
hours--to bed at midnight and up again at four o'clock in the morning.
He went with Levis to Lake Champlain to see with his own eyes what was
going on there. Then he turned back to Montreal. The discipline among
the Canadian troops was poor and he stiffened it, thereby naturally
causing great offense to those who liked slack ways and hated to take
trouble about sanitation and equipment. He held interminable conferences
with his Indian allies. They were astonished to find that the great
soldier of whom they had heard so much was so small in stature, but
they noted the fire in his eye. He despised their methods of warfare and
notes with a touch of irony that, while every other barbarity continues,
the burning of prisoners at the stake has rather gone out of fashion,
though the savages recently burned an English woman and her son merely
to keep in practice.

Montcalm made his plans secretly and struck suddenly. In the middle
of August, 1756, he surprised and captured Oswego and took more than
sixteen hundred prisoners. Of these, in spite of all that he could do,
his Indians murdered some. The blow was deadly. The English lost vast
stores; and now the French controlled the whole region of the Great
Lakes. The Indians were on the side of the rising power more heartily
than ever, and the unhappy frontier of the English colonies was so
harried that murderous savages ventured almost to the outskirts of
Philadelphia. Montcalm caused a Te Deum to be sung on the scene of his
victory at Oswego. In August he was back in Montreal where again was
sung another joyous Te Deum. He wrote letters in high praise of some
of his officers, especially of Bourlamaque, Malartic, and La Pause,
the last "un homme divin." Some of the Canadian officers, praised by
Vaudreuil, he had tried and found wanting. "Don't forget," he wrote
to Levis, "that Mercier is a feeble ignoramus, Saint Luc a prattling
boaster, Montigny excellent but a drunkard. The others are not worth
speaking of, including my first lieutenant-general Rigaud." This Rigaud
was the brother of Vaudreuil. When the Governor wrote to the minister,
he, for his part, said that the success of the expedition was wholly due
to his own vigilance and firmness, aided chiefly by this brother,
"mon frere," and Le Mercier, both of whom Montcalm describes as inept.
Vaudreuil adds that only his own tact kept the Indian allies from going
home because Montcalm would not let them have the plunder which they

Montcalm struck his next blow at the English on Lake Champlain. In July,
1757, he had eight thousand men at Ticonderoga, at the northern end of
Lake George. Two thousand of these were savages drawn from more than
forty different tribes--a lawless horde whom the French could not
control. A Jesuit priest saw a party of them squatting round a fire in
the French camp roasting meat on the end of sticks and found that
the meat was the flesh of an Englishman. English prisoners, sick with
horror, were forced to watch this feast. The priest's protest was
dismissed with anger: the savages would follow their own customs; let
the French follow theirs. The truth is that the French had been only
too successful in drawing the savages to them as allies. They formed
now one-quarter of the whole French army. They were of little use as
fighters and probably, in the long run, the French would have been
better off without them. If, however, Montcalm had caused them to go,
Vaudreuil would have made frantic protests, so that Montcalm accepted
the necessity of such allies.

Each success, however, brought some new horrors at the hands of the
Indians. Montcalm captured Fort William Henry, at the southern end of
Lake George, in August, a year after the taking of Oswego. Fort William
Henry was the most advanced English post in the direction of Canada. The
place had been left weak, for the Earl of Loudoun, Commander-in-Chief of
the British forces in America, was using his resources for an expedition
against Louisbourg, which wholly failed. Colonel Monro, the brave
officer in command at Fort William Henry, made a strong defense, but was
forced to surrender. The terms were that he should march out with his
soldiers and the civilians of the place, and should be escorted in
safety to Fort Edward, about eighteen miles to the south. This time
the savages surpassed themselves in treachery and savagery. They had
formally approved of the terms of surrender, but they attacked the long
line of defeated English as they set out on the march, butchered some of
their wounded, and seized hundreds of others as prisoners. Montcalm did
what he could and even risked his life to check the savages. But some
fifty English lay dead and the whole savage horde decamped for Montreal
carrying with them two hundred prisoners.

Montcalm burned Fort William Henry and withdrew to Ticonderoga at the
north end of the lake. Why, asked Vaudreuil, had he not advanced further
south into English territory, taken Fort Edward--weak, because the
English were in a panic--menaced Albany itself, and advanced even to New
York? Montcalm's answer was that Fort Edward was still strong, that he
had no transport except the backs of his men to take cannon eighteen
miles by land in order to batter its walls, and that his Indians had
left him. Moreover, he had been instructed to hasten his operations and
allow his Canadians to go home to gather the ripening harvest so that
Canada might not starve during the coming winter. Vaudreuil pressed at
the French court his charges against Montcalm and without doubt produced
some effect. French tact was never exhibited with more grace than in
the letters which Montcalm received from his superiors in France, urging
upon him with suave courtesy the need of considering the sensitive pride
of the colonial forces and of guiding with a light rein the barbaric
might of the Indian allies. It is hard to imagine an English Secretary
of State administering a rebuke so gently and yet so unmistakably.
Montcalm well understood what was meant. He knew that some intrigue had
been working at court but he did not suspect that the Governor himself,
all blandness and compliments to his face, was writing to Paris
voluminous attacks on his character and conduct.

In the next summer (1758) Montcalm won another great success. He lay
with his forces at Ticonderoga. The English were determined to press
into the heart of Canada by way of Lake Champlain. All through the
winter, after the fall of Fort William Henry, they had been making
preparations on a great scale at Albany. By this time Amherst and Wolfe
were on the scene in America, and they spent this summer in an attack
on Louisbourg which resulted in the fall of the fortress. On the old
fighting ground of Lake Champlain and Lake George, the English were this
year making military efforts such as the Canadian frontier had never
before seen. William Pitt, who now directed the war from London, had
demanded that the colonies should raise twenty thousand men, a
number well fitted to dismay the timid legislators of New York and
Pennsylvania. At Albany fifteen thousand men came marching in by
detachments--a few of them regulars, but most of them colonial militia
who, as soon as winter came on, would scatter to their homes. The leader
was General Abercromby--a leader, needless to say, with good connections
in England, but with no other qualification for high command.

On July 5, 1758, there was a sight on Lake George likely to cause a
flutter of anxiety in the heart of Montcalm at Ticonderoga. In a line
of boats, six miles long, the great English host came down the lake and,
early on the morning of the sixth, landed before the fort which Montcalm
was to defend. The soul of the army had been a brilliant young officer,
Lord Howe, who shared the hardships of the men, washed his own linen at
the brook, and was the real leader trusted by the inept Abercromby. It
was a tragic disaster for the British that at the outset of the fight
Howe was killed in a chance skirmish. Montcalm's chief defense of
Ticonderoga consisted in a felled forest. He had cut down hundreds
of trees and, on high ground in front of the fort, made a formidable
abbatis across which the English must advance. Abercromby had four men
to one of Montcalm. Artillery would have knocked a passage through the
trunks of the trees which formed the abbatis. Abercromby, however, did
not wait to bring up artillery. He was confident that his huge force
could beat down opposition by a rapid attack, and he made the attack
with all courage and persistence. But the troops could not work through
the thicket of fallen trunks and, as night came on, they had to withdraw
baffled. Next day Lake George saw another strange spectacle--a British
army of thirteen thousand men, the finest ever seen hitherto in America,
retreating in a panic, with no enemy in pursuit. Nearly two thousand
English had fallen, while Montcalm's loss was less than four hundred. He
planted a great cross on the scene of the fight with an inscription
in Latin that it was God who had wrought the victory. All Canada had a
brief period of rejoicing before the gloom of final defeat settled down
upon the country.

CHAPTER IX. Montcalm At Quebec

The rejoicing in Canada was brief. Before the end of the year the
British were victorious at both the eastern and western ends of the long
battle-line. Louisbourg had fallen in July; Fort Duquesne, in November.
Fort Frontenac--giving command of Lake Ontario and, with it, the
West--had surrendered to Bradstreet in August just after Montcalm's
victory at Ticonderoga. The Ohio was gone. The great fortress guarding
the gateway to the Gulf was gone. The next English attack would fall
on Quebec. Montcalm had told Vaudreuil in the autumn, with vigorous
precision, that the period of petty warfare, for taking scalps and
burning houses, was past. It was time now to defend the main trunk
of the tree and not the outer branches. The best Canadians should be
incorporated into and trained in the battalions of regulars. The
militia regiments themselves should be clothed and drilled like regular
soldiers. Interior posts, such as Detroit, should be held by the
smallest possible number of men. This counsel enraged Vaudreuil.
Montcalm, he wrote, was trying to upset everything. Vaudreuil was
certain that the English would not attack Quebec.

There is a melancholy greatness in the last days of Montcalm. He was
fighting against fearful odds. With only about three thousand trained
regulars and perhaps four times as many untrained Canadians and savages,
he was confronting Britain's might on sea and land which was now thrown
against New France. From France itself Montcalm knew that he had nothing
to hope. In the autumn of 1758 he sent Bougainville to Versailles. That
brilliant and loyal helper managed to elude the vigilance of the British
fleet, reached Versailles, and there spent some months in varied and
resourceful attempts to secure aid for Canada. He saw ministers.
He procured the aid of powerful connections of his own and of his
fellow-officers in Canada. He went to what was at this time the
fountainhead of authority at the French court, and it was not the
King. "The King is nothing," wrote Bougainville, "the Marchioness is
all-powerful--prime minister." Bougainville saw the Marchioness, Madame
de Pompadour, and read to her some of Montcalm's letters. She showed no
surprise and said nothing--her habit, as Bougainville said. By this time
the name of Montcalm was one to charm with in France. Bougainville wrote
to him "I should have to include all France if I should attempt to give
a list of those who love you and wish to see you Marshal of France.
Even the little children know your name." There had been a time when the
court thought the recall of Montcalm would be wise in the interests of
New France. Now it was Montcalm's day and the desire to help him was
real. France, however, could do little. Ministers were courteous and
sympathetic; but as Berryer, Minister of Marine, said to Bougainville,
with the house on fire in France, they could not take much thought of
the stable in Canada.

This Berryer was an inept person. He was blindly ignorant of naval
affairs, coarse, obstinate, a placeman who owed his position to
intrigue and favoritism. His only merit was that he tried to cut down
expenditure, but in regard to the navy this policy was likely to be
fatal. It is useless, said this guardian of France's marine, to try to
rival Britain on the sea, and the wise thing to do is to save money by
not spending it on ships. Berryer even sold to private persons stores
which he had on hand for the use of the fleet. If the house was on fire
he did not intend, it would seem, that much should be left to burn. The
old Due de Belle-Isle, Minister of War, was of another type, a fine and
efficient soldier. He explained the situation frankly in a letter
to Montcalm. Austria was an exigent ally, and Frederick of Prussia a
dangerous foe. France had to concentrate her strength in Europe. The
British fleet, he admitted, paralyzed efforts overseas. There was no
certainty, or even probability, that troops and supplies sent from
France would ever reach Canada. France, the Duke said guardedly, was
not without resources. She had a plan to strike a deadly blow against
England and, in doing so, would save Canada without sending overseas a
great army. The plan was nothing less than the invasion of England and
Scotland with a great force, the enterprise which, nearly half a
century later, Napoleon conceived as his master stroke against the proud
maritime state. During that winter and spring France was building a
great number of small boats with which to make a sudden descent and to
land an army in England.

If this plan succeeded, all else would succeed. Montcalm must just hold
on, conduct a defensive campaign and, above all, retain some part of
Canada since, as the Duke said with prophetic foresight, if the British
once held the whole of the country they would never give it up. Montcalm
himself had laid before the court a plan of his own. He estimated that
the British would have six men to his one. Rather than surrender to
them, he would withdraw to the far interior and take his army by way of
the Ohio to Louisiana. The design was a wild counsel of despair for he
would be cut off from any base of supplies, but it shows the risks
he was ready to tale. In him now the court had complete confidence.
Vaudreuil was instructed to take no military action without seeking the
counsel of Montcalm. "The King," wrote Belle-Isle to Montcalm, "relies
upon your zeal, your courage and your resolution." Some little help was
sent. The British control of the sea was not complete; since more than
twenty French ships eluded British vigilance, bringing military stores,
food (for Canada was confronted by famine), four hundred soldiers, and
Bougainville himself, with a list of honors for the leaders in Canada.
Montcalm was given the rank of Lieutenant-General and, but for a
technical difficulty, would have been made a Marshal of France.

All this reliance upon Montcalm was galling to Vaudreuil. This weak
man was entirely in the hands of a corrupt circle who recognized in the
strength and uprightness of Montcalm their deadly enemy. An incredible
plundering was going on. Its strength was in the blindness of Vaudreuil.
The secretary of Vaudreuil, Grasset de Saint-Sauveur, an ignorant and
greedy man, was a member of the ring and yet had the entire confidence
of the Governor. The scale of the robberies was enormous. Bigot, the
Intendant, was stealing millions of francs; Cadet, the head of the
supplies department, was stealing even more. They were able men who knew
how to show diligence in their official work. More than once Montcalm
praises the resourcefulness with which Bigot met his requirements. But
it was all done at a fearful cost to the State. Under assumed names
the ring sold to the King, of whose interests they were the guardians,
supplies at a profit of a hundred or a hundred and fifty per cent. They
made vast sums out of transport. They drew pay for feeding hundreds of
men who were not in the King's service. They received money for great
bills of merchandise never delivered and repeated the process over and
over again. To keep the Indians friendly the King sent presents of guns,
ammunition, and blankets. These were stolen and sold. Even the bodies of
Acadians were sold. They were hired out for their keep to a contractor
who allowed them to die of cold and hunger. Hundreds of the poor
exiles perished. The nemesis of a despotic system is that, however
well-intentioned it may be, its officials are not controlled by an alert
public opinion and yet must be trusted by their master. France meant
well by her colony but the colony, unlike the English colonies, was not
taught to look after itself. While nearly every one in Canada understood
what was going on, it was another thing to inform those in control in
France. La Porte, the secretary of the colonial minister, was in the
service of the ring. He intercepted letters which should have made
exposures. Until found out, he had the ear of the minister and echoed
the tone of lofty patriotism which Bigot assumed in his letters to his

History has made Montcalm one of its heroes--and with justice. He was a
remarkable man, who would have won fame as a scholar had he not followed
the long family tradition of a soldier's career. Bougainville once said
that the highest literary distinction of a Frenchman, a chair in the
Academy, might be within reach of Montcalm as well as the baton of a
Marshal of France. He had a prodigious memory and had read widely. His
letters, written amid the trying conditions of war, are nervous, direct,
pregnant with meaning, the notes of a penetrating intelligence. He had
deep family affection. "Adieu, my heart, I believe that I love you more
than ever I did before"; these were the last words of what he did not
know was to be his last letter to his wife. In the midst of a gay scene
at Montreal, in the spring of 1759, he writes to Bourlamaque, then
at Lake Champlain, with acute longing for the south of France in the
spring. For six or seven months in the year he could receive no letters
and always the British command of the sea made their expected arrival
uncertain. "When shall I be again at the Chateau of Candiac, with my
plantations, my oaks, my oil mill, my mulberry trees? O good God." He
lays bare his spirit especially to Bourlamaque, a quiet, efficient,
thoughtful man, like himself, and enjoins him to burn the letters--which
he does not, happily for posterity. Scandal does not touch him but, like
most Frenchmen, he is dependent on the society of women. He lived in a
house on the ramparts of Quebec and visited constantly the salons of
his neighbor in the Rue du Parloir, the beautiful and witty Madame de la
Naudiere. In two or three other households he was also intimate and
the Bishop was a sympathetic friend. His own tastes were those of the
scholar, and more and more, during the long Canadian winters, he
enjoyed evenings of quiet reading. The elder Mirabeau, father of the
revolutionary leader of 1789, had just published his "Ami des Hommes"
and this we find Montcalm studying. But above all he reads the great
encyclopaedia of Diderot. By 1759 seven of the huge volumes had been
issued. They startled the intellectual world of the time and Montcalm
set out to read them, omitting the articles which had no interest
for him or which he could not understand. C is a copious letter in
an encyclopaedia, and Montcalm found excellent the articles on
Christianity, College, Comedy, Comet, Commerce, Council, and so on.
Wolfe--soon to be his opponent--had the same taste for letters. The two
men, unlike in body, for Wolfe was tall and Montcalm the opposite, were
alike in spirit, painstaking students as well as men of action.

At first Montcalm had not realized what was the deepest shadow in
the life of Canada. Perhaps chiefly because Vaudreuil was always at
Montreal, Montcalm preferred Quebec and was surprised and charmed by
the life of that city. It had, he said, the air of a real capital. There
were fair women and brave men, sumptuous dinners with forty or fifty
covers, brilliantly lighted salons, a vivid social life in which he was
much courted. The Intendant Bigot was agreeable and efficient. Soon,
however, Montcalm had misgivings. It was a gambling age, but he was
staggered by the extent of the gambling at the house of the Intendant.
He did not wish to break with Bigot, and there was perhaps some
weakness in his failure to denounce the orgies from which his conscience
revolted. He warned his own officers but he could not control the
colonial officers, and Vaudreuil was too weak to check a man like Bigot.
Whence came the money? In time, Montcalm understood well enough. He
himself was poor. To discharge the duties of his position he was going
into debt, and he had even to consider the possible selling of his
establishment in France. He had to beg the court for some financial
relief. At the same time he saw about him a wild extravagance. There was
famine in Canada. During the winter of 1758-59 the troops were put on
short rations and, in spite of their bitter protests, had to eat horse
flesh. Suffering and starvation bore heavily on the poor. Through lack
of food people fell fainting in the streets. But the circle of Bigot
paid little heed and feasted, danced, and gambled. Montcalm pours out
his soul to Bourlamaque. He spends, he says, sleepless nights, and his
mind is almost disordered by what he sees. In his journal he notes his
own fight with poverty and its contrast with the careless luxury of
a crowd of worthless hangers-on making four or five hundred thousand
francs a year and insulting decency by their lavish expenditure. One of
the ring, a clerk with a petty salary, a base creature, spends more on
carriages, horses, and harness than a foppish and reckless young member
of the nouveaux-riches would spend in France. Corruption in Canada is
protected by corruption in France. Montcalm cries out with a devotion
which his sovereign hardly deserved, though it was due to France
herself, "O King, worthy of better service, dear France, crushed by
taxes to enrich greedy knaves!"

The weary winter of 1758-59 at length came to an end. In May the ships
already mentioned arrived from France, bringing Bougainville and, among
other things, the news that Pitt was sending great forces for a decisive
attack on Canada. At that very moment, indeed, the British ships were
entering the mouth of the St. Lawrence. Canada had already been cut off
from France. Montcalm held many councils with his officers. The strategy
decided upon was to stand at bay at Quebec, to strike the enemy if he
should try to land, and to hold out until the approach of winter should
force the retirement of the British fleet.

CHAPTER X. The Strategy Of Pitt

During four campaigns the British had suffered humiliating disasters.
It is the old story in English history of caste privilege and deadly
routine bringing to the top men inadequate in the day of trial. It has
happened since, even in our own day, as it has happened so often before.
It seems that imminent disaster alone will arouse the nation to its
best military effort. In 1757, however, England was thoroughly aroused.
Failure then on her own special element, the sea, touched her vitally.
Admiral Byng--through sheer cowardice, as was charged--had failed to
attack a French fleet aiding in the siege of the island of Minorca which
was held by the English, and Minorca had fallen to the French. Such was
the popular clamor at this disaster that Byng was tried, condemned,
and shot. There was also an upheaval in the government. At no time in
English history were men more eager for the fruits of office; and now,
even in a great crisis, the greed for spoils could not be shaken off.
The nation demanded a conduct of the war which sought efficiency above
all else. The politicians, however, insisted on government favors.

In the end a compromise was reached. At the head of the government
was placed a politician, the Duke of Newcastle, who loved jobbery and
patronage in politics and who doled out offices to his supporters. At
the War Office was placed Pitt with a free hand to carry on military
operations. He was the terrible cornet of horse who had harried Walpole
in the days when that minister was trying to keep out of war. He knew
and even loved war; his fierce national pride had been stirred to
passion by the many humiliations at the hand of France; and now he was
resolved to organize, to spend, and to fight, until Britain trampled
on France. He had the nation behind him. He bullied and frightened the
House of Commons. Members trembled if Pitt turned on them. By his fiery
energy, by making himself a terror to weakness and incompetence, he won
for Britain the Seven Years' War.

Though Pitt became Secretary of State for War in June, 1757, not until
1758 did the tide begin to turn in America. But when it did turn, it
flowed with resistless force. In little more than a year the doom of New
France was certain. The first great French reverse was at a point where
the naval and military power of Britain could unite in attack. Pitt well
understood the need of united action by the two services. Halifax became
the radiating center of British activities. Here, in 1757, before
Pitt was well in the saddle, a fleet and an army gathered to attack
Louisbourg--an enterprise not carried out that year partly because
France had a great fleet on the spot, and partly, too, on account of the
bad quality of British leadership.

Only in the campaign of 1758 did Pitt's dominance become effective. With
him counted one quality and one alone, efficiency. The old guard at the
War Office were startled when men with rank, years, influence, and every
other claim but competence for their tasks, were passed over, and young
and obscure men were given high command. To America in the spring
of 1758 were sent officers hitherto little known. Edward Boscawen,
Commander of the Fleet, and veteran among these leaders, was a
comparatively young man, only forty-seven; Jeffrey Amherst, just turned
forty, was Commander-in-Chief on land. Next in command to Amherst was
James Wolfe, aged thirty.

These young and vigorous men knew the value of promptness or they
would not have been tolerated under Pitt. Before the end of May, 1758,
Boscawen was in Halifax harbor with a fleet of some forty warships and a
multitude of transports. On board were nearly twelve thousand soldiers,
more than eleven thousand of them British regulars. The colonial forces
now play a minor part in the struggle; Pitt was ready to send from
England all the troops needed. The array at Halifax, the greatest yet
seen in America, numbered about twenty thousand men, including sailors.
Before the first of June the fleet was on its way to Louisbourg. The
defense was stubborn; and James Wolfe, who led the first landing party,
had abundant opportunity to prove his courage and capacity. By the
end of July, however, Louisbourg had fallen, and nearly six thousand
prisoners were in the hands of the English. It was the beginning of the

In the autumn Wolfe was back in England, where he was quickly given
command of the great expedition which was planned against Quebec for
the following year. Admiral Sir Charles Saunders, who seems almost old
compared with Wolfe, for he was nearly fifty, was in chief command of
the fleet. Amherst had remained in America as Commander-in-Chief, and
was taking slow, deliberate, thorough measures for the last steps in the
conquest of New France.

To be too late had been the usual fate of the many British expeditions
against Canada. No one, however, dared to be late under Pitt. On
February 17, 1759, the greatest fleet that had ever put out for America
left Portsmouth. More than two hundred and fifty ships set their sails
for the long voyage. There were forty-nine warships, carrying fourteen
thousand sailors and marines, and two hundred other ships manned by
perhaps seven thousand men in the merchant service, but ready to fight
if occasion offered. Altogether nearly thirty thousand men now left the
shores of England to attack Canada.

There is a touch of doom for France in the fact that its own lost
fortress of Louisbourg was to be the rendezvous of the fleet. Saunders,
however, arrived so early that the entrance to Louisbourg was still
blocked with ice, and he went on to Halifax. In time he returned to
Louisbourg, and from there the great fleet sailed for Quebec. The
voyage was uneventful. We can picture the startled gaze of the Canadian
peasants as they saw the stately array, many miles long, pass up the
St. Lawrence. On the 26th of June, Wolfe and Saunders were in the basin
before Quebec and the great siege had begun which was to mark one of the
turning-points in history.

Nature had furnished a noble setting for the drama now to be enacted.
Quebec stands on a bold semicircular rock on the north shore of the St.
Lawrence. At the foot of the rock sweeps the mighty river, here at the
least breadth in its whole course, but still a flood nearly a mile wide,
deep and strong. Its currents change ceaselessly with the ebb and flow
of the tide which rises a dozen feet, though the open sea is eight
hundred miles away. Behind the rock of Quebec the small stream of the
St. Charles furnishes a protection on the landward side. Below the
fortress, the great river expands into a broad basin with the outflow
divided by the Island of Orleans. In every direction there are cliffs
and precipices and rising ground. From the north shore of the great
basin the land slopes gradually into a remote blue of wooded mountains.
The assailant of Quebec must land on low ground commanded everywhere
from heights for seven or eight miles on the east and as many on the
west. At both ends of this long front are further natural defenses--at
the east the gorge of the Montmorency River, at the west that of the Cap
Rouge River.

Wolfe's desire was to land his army on the Beauport shore at some point
between Quebec and Montmorency. But Montcalm's fortified posts, behind
which lay his army, stretched along the shore for six miles, all the way
from the Montmorency to the St. Charles. Wolfe had a great contempt for
Montcalm's army--"five feeble French battalions mixed with undisciplined
peasants." If only he could get to close quarters with the "wily and
cautious old fox," as he called Montcalm! Already the British had done
what the French had thought impossible. Without pilots they had steered
their ships through treacherous channels in the river and through the
dangerous "Traverse" near Cap Tourmente. Captain Cook, destined to be a
famous navigator, was there to survey and mark the difficult places, and
British skippers laughed at the forecasts of disaster made by the pilots
whom they had captured on the river. The French were confident that the
British would not dare to take their ships farther up the river past the
cannonade of the guns in Quebec, though this the British accomplished
almost without loss.

Wolfe landed a force upon the lower side of the gorge at Montmorency and
another at the head of the Island of Orleans. He planted batteries at
Point Levis across the river from Quebec, and from there he battered the
city. The pleasant houses in the Rue du Parloir which Montcalm knew so
well were knocked into rubbish, and its fascinating ladies were driven
desolate from the capital. But this bombardment brought Wolfe no nearer
his goal. On the 31st of July he made a frontal attack on the flats at
Beauport and failed disastrously with a loss of four hundred men. Time
was fighting for Montcalm.

By the 1st of September Wolfe's one hope was in a surprise by which he
could land an army above Quebec, the nearer to the fortress the better.
Its feeble walls on the landward side could not hold out against
artillery. But Bougainville guarded the high shore and marched his men
incessantly up and down to meet threatened attacks. On the heights, the
battalion of Guienne was encamped on the Plains of Abraham to guard the
Foulon. This was a cove on the river bank from which there was a path,
much used by the French for dragging up provisions, leading to the top
of the cliff at a point little more than a mile from the walls of the
city. On the 6th of September the battalion of Guienne was sent back
to the Beauport lines by order of Vaudreuil. Montcalm countermanded
the order, but was not obeyed, and Wolfe saw his chance. For days he
threatened a landing, above and below Quebec, now at one point, now
at another, until the French were both mystified and worn out with
incessant alarms. Then, early on the morning of the 13th of September,
came Wolfe's master-stroke. His men embarked in boats from the warships
lying some miles above Quebec, dropped silently down the river, close
to the north shore, made sentries believe that they were French boats
carrying provisions to the Foulon, landed at the appointed spot,
climbed up the cliff, and overpowered the sleeping guard. A little after
daylight Wolfe had nearly five thousand soldiers, a "thin red line,"
busy preparing a strong position on the Plains of Abraham, while the
fleet was landing cannon, to be dragged up the steep hill to bombard the
fortress on its weakest side.

Montcalm had spent many anxious days. He had been incessantly on the
move, examining for himself over and over again every point, Cap Rouge,
Beauport, Montmorency, reviewing the militia of which he felt uncertain,
inspecting the artillery, the commissariat, everything that mattered.
At three o'clock in the morning of one of these days he wrote to
Bourlamaque, at Lake Champlain, noting the dark night, the rain, his men
awake and dressed in their tents, everyone alert. "I am booted and
my horses are saddled, which is in truth my usual way of spending the
night. I have not undressed since the twenty-third of June." On the
evening of the 12th of September the batteries at Point Levis kept up
a furious fire on Quebec. There was much activity on board the British
war-ships lying below the town. Boats filled with men rowed towards
Beauport as if to attempt a landing during the night. Here the danger
seemed to lie. At midnight the British boats were still hovering off the
shore. The French troops manned the entrenched lines and Montcalm was
continually anxious. A heavy convoy of provisions was to come down to
the Foulon that night, and orders had been given to the French posts on
the north shore above Quebec to make no noise. The arrival of the convoy
was vital, for the army was pressed for food. Montcalm was therefore
anxious for its fate when at break of day he heard firing from the
French cannon at Samos, above Quebec. Had the provisions then been taken
by the English? Near his camp all now seemed quiet. He gave orders
for the troops to rest, drank some cups of tea with his aide-de-camp
Johnstone, a Scotch Jacobite, and at about half-past six rode towards
Quebec to the camp of Vaudreuil to learn why the artillery was firing
at Samos. Immediately in front of the Governor's house he learned the
momentous news. The English were on the Plains of Abraham. Soon he had
the evidence of his own eyes. On the distant heights across the valley
he could see the redcoats.

No doubt Montcalm had often pondered this possibility and had decided in
such a case to attack at once before the enemy could entrench and bring
up cannon. A rapid decision was now followed by rapid action. He had a
moment's conversation with Vaudreuil. The French regiments on the right
at Vaudreuil's camp, lying nearest to the city, were to march at once.
To Johnstone he said, "The affair is serious," and then gave orders
that all the French left, except a few men to guard the ravine at
Montmorency, should follow quickly to the position between Quebec and
the enemy, a mile away. Off to this point he himself galloped. Already,
by orders of officers on the spot, regiments were gathering between the
walls of the city and the British. The regiments on the French right at
Beauport were soon on the move towards the battlefield, but two thousand
of the best troops still lay inactive beyond Beauport. Johnstone
declares that Vaudreuil countermanded the order of Montcalm for these
troops to come to his support and ordered that not one of them should
budge. There was haste everywhere. By half-past nine Montcalm had some
four thousand men drawn up between the British and the walls of Quebec.
He hoped that Bougainville, advancing from Cap Rouge, would be able to
assail the British rear: "Surely Bougainville understands that I must

The crisis was, over in fifteen minutes. Montcalm attacked at once.
His line was disorderly. His center was composed of regular troops, his
wings of Canadians and Indians. These fired irregularly and lay down to
reload, thus causing confusion. The French moved forward rapidly; the
British were coming on more slowly. The French were only some forty
yards away when there was an answering fire from the thin red line; for
Wolfe had ordered his men to put two balls in their muskets and to hold
their fire for one dread volley. Then the roar from Wolfe's center was
like that of a burst of artillery; and, when the smoke cleared, the
French battalions were seen breaking in disorder from the shock, the
front line cut down by the terrible fire. A bayonet charge from the
redcoats followed. Some five thousand trained British regulars bore
down, working great slaughter on four thousand French, many of them
colonials who had never before fought in the open. The rout of the
French was complete. Some fled to safety behind the walls of Quebec,
others down the Cote Ste. Genevieve and across the St. Charles River,
where they stopped pursuit by cutting the bridge. Both Wolfe and
Montcalm were mortally wounded after the issue of the day was really
decided, and both survived to be certain, the one of victory, the other
of defeat. Wolfe died on the field of battle. Montcalm was taken into a
house in Quebec and died early the next morning. It is perhaps the only
incident in history of a decisive battle of world import followed by the
death of both leaders, each made immortal by the tragedy of their common

At two o'clock in the afternoon of the day of defeat, Vaudreuil held
a tumultuous council of war. It was decided to abandon Quebec, where
Montcalm lay dying and to retreat up the St. Lawrence to Montreal, to
the defense of which Levis had been sent before the fight. That night
the whole French army fled in panic, leaving their tents standing and
abandoning quantities of stores. Vaudreuil who had talked so bravely
about death in the ruins of Canada, rather than surrender, gave orders
to Ramezay, commanding in Quebec, to make terms and haul down his flag.
On the third day after the battle, the surrender was arranged. On the
fourth day the British marched into Quebec, where ever since their flag
has floated.

Meanwhile, Amherst, the Commander-in-Chief of the British armies in
America, was making a toilsome advance towards Montreal by way of Lake
Champlain. He had occupied both Ticonderoga and Crown Point, which had
been abandoned by the French. Across his path lay Bourlamaque at Isle
aux Noix. Another British army, having captured Niagara, was advancing
on Montreal down the St. Lawrence from Lake Ontario. Amherst, however,
made little progress this year in his menace to Montreal and soon went
into winter quarters, as did the other forces elsewhere. The British
victory therefore was as yet incomplete.

The year 1759 proved dire for France. She was held fast by her treaty
with Austria and at ruinous cost was ever sending more and more troops
to help Austria against Prussia. The great plan of which Belle-Isle had
written to Montcalm was the chief hope of her policy. England was to be
invaded and London occupied. If this were done, all else would be right.
It was not done. France could not parry Pitt's blows. In Africa, in the
West Indies, in India, the British won successes which meant the ruin of
French power in three continents. French admirals like Conflans and La
Clue were no match for Boscawen, Hawke, and Rodney, all seamen of the
first rank, and made the stronger because dominated by the fiery Pitt.

They kept the French squadrons shut up in their own ports. When, at
last, on November 20, 1759, Conflans came out of Brest and fought Hawke
at Quiberon Bay, the French fleet was nearly destroyed, and the dream of
taking London ended in complete disaster.

CHAPTER XI. The Fall Of Canada

Though Quebec was in their hands, the position of the British during the
winter of 1759-60 was dangerous. In October General Murray, who was
left in command, saw with misgiving the great fleet sail away which had
brought to Canada the conquering force of Wolfe and Saunders. Murray was
left with some seven thousand men in the heart of a hostile country, and
with a resourceful enemy, still unconquered, preparing to attack him.
He was separated from other British forces by vast wastes of forest
and river, and until spring should come no fleet could aid him. Three
enemies of the English, the French said exultingly, would aid to retake
Quebec: the ruthless savages who haunted the outskirts of the fortress
and massacred many an incautious straggler; the French army which could
be recruited from the Canadian population; and, above all, the bitter
cold of the Canadian winter. To Murray, as to Napoleon long afterward
in his rash invasion of Russia, General February was indeed the enemy.
About the two or three British ships left at Quebec the ice froze in
places a dozen feet thick, and snowdrifts were piled so high against the
walls of Quebec that it looked sometimes as if the enemy might walk over
them into the fortress. So solidly frozen was the surface of the river
that Murray sent cannon to the south shore across the ice to repel
a menace from that quarter. There was scarcity of firewood and of
provisions. Scurvy broke out in the garrison. Many hundreds died so that
by the spring Murray had barely three thousand men fit for active duty.

Throughout the winter Levis, now in command of the French forces,
made increasing preparations to destroy Murray in the spring. The
headquarters of Uvis were at Montreal. Here Vaudreuil, the Governor,
kept his little court. He and Levis worked harmoniously, for Uvis was
conciliatory and tactful. For a time Vaudreuil treasured the thought
of taking command in person to attack Quebec. In the end, however, he
showed that he had learned something from the disasters of the previous
year and did not interfere with the plans made by Levis. So throughout
the winter Montreal had its gayeties and vanities as of old. There were
feasts and dances--but over all brooded the reality of famine in the
present and--the foreboding of disaster to come.

By April 20, 1760, the St. Lawrence was open and, though the shores were
cumbered with masses of broken ice, the central channel was free for the
boats which Levis filled with his soldiers. It was a bleak experience to
descend the turbulent river between banks clogged with ice. When Levis
was not far from Quebec, he learned that it was impossible to surprise
Murray who was well on guard between Cap Rouge on the west and Beauport
on the east. The one thing to do was to reach the Plains of Abraham in
order to attack the feeble walls of Quebec from the landward side. Since
Murray's alertness made impossible attack by way of the high cliffs
which Wolfe had climbed in the night, Levis had to reach Quebec by a
circuitous route. He landed his army a little above Cap Rouge, marched
inland over terrible roads in heavy rain, and climbed to the plateau of
Quebec from the rear at Sainte Foy. On April 27, 1760, he drew up his
army on the heights almost exactly as Wolfe had done in the previous
September. Murray followed the example of Montcalm. He had no trust in
the feeble defenses of Quebec and on the 28th marched out to fight on
the open plain. The battle of Sainte Foy followed exactly the precedents
of the previous year. The defenders of Quebec were driven off the field
in overwhelming defeat. The difference was that Murray took his army
back to Quebec and from behind its walls still defied his French
assailant. Levis had poor artillery, but he did what he could. He
entrenched and poured his fire into Quebec. In the end it was sea power
which balked him. On the 15th of May, when a British fleet appeared
round the head of the Island of Orleans, Levis withdrew in something
like panic and Quebec was safe.

Levis returned to Montreal; and to this point all the forces of France
slowly retreated as they were pressed in by the overwhelming numbers of
the British. At Oswego, the scene of Montcalm's first brilliant success
four years earlier, Amherst had gathered during the summer of 1760 an
army of about ten thousand men. From here he descended the St. Lawrence
in boats to attack Montreal from the west. From the south, down Lake
Champlain and the Richelieu River to the St. Lawrence, came another
British force under Haviland also to attack Montreal. At Quebec Murray
put his army on transports, left the city almost destitute of defense,
and thus brought a third considerable force against Montreal. There was
little fighting. The French withdrew to the common objective as their
enemy advanced. Early in September Levis had gathered at Montreal all
his available force, amounting now to scarcely more than two thousand
men, for Canadians and Indians alike had deserted him. The British
pressed in with the slow and inevitable rigor of a force of nature. On
the 7th of September their united army was before the town and Amherst
demanded instant surrender. The only thing for Vaudreuil to do was to
make the best terms possible. On the next day he signed a capitulation
which protected the liberties in property and religion of the Canadians
but which yielded the whole of Canada to Great Britain. The struggle for
North America had ended.

In the moment of triumph Amherst inflicted on the French army a deep
humiliation to punish the outrages committed by their Indian allies. In
the early days of the war Loudoun, the Commander-in-Chief in America,
had vowed that the British would make the French "sick of such inhuman
villainy" and teach them to respect "the laws of nature and humanity."
Washington speaks of his "deadly sorrow" at the dreadful outrages which
he saw, the ravishing of women, the scalping alive even of children.
Philadelphians had seen the grim spectacle of a wagon-load of corpses
brought by mourning friends and relatives of the dead and laid down at
the door of the Assembly to show to pacifist legislators what was really
happening. The French regular officers, as we have seen, had hated this
kind of warfare Bougainville says that his soul shuddered at the sights
in Montreal, where the whole town turned out to see an English prisoner
killed, boiled, and eaten by the savages. Worse still, captive mothers
were obliged to eat the flesh of their own children. The French believed
that they could not get on without the savage allies who committed these
outrages, and they were not strong enough to coerce them. Amherst, on
the other hand, held his Indians in check and rebuked outrage. Now
he was stern to punish what the French had permitted. He could write
proudly to a friend that the French were amazed at the order in which he
kept his own Indians. Not a man, woman, or child, he said, had been hurt
or a single atrocity committed. It was a vivid contrast with what had
taken place after the British surrender to Montcalm at Fort William
Henry. The day of retribution had come. Because of such outrages, the
French army was denied the honors of war usually conceded to a brave and
defeated foe. The French officers and men must not, Amherst insisted,
serve again during the war. Levis protested and begged Vaudreuil to be
allowed to go on fighting rather than accept the terms, but in vain. The
humiliation was rigorously imposed, and it was a sullen host which the
British took captive.

France had lost an Empire. It was nearly three years still before peace
was signed at Paris in 1763. To Britain France yielded everything
east of the Mississippi except New Orleans, and to Spain she ceded
New Orleans and everything else to which she had any claim. The
fleurs-de-lis floated still over only two tiny fishing islands off
the Newfoundland shore. All the glowing plans of France's leaders--of
Richelieu, of Louis XIV, of Colbert, of Frontenac, of the heroic
missionaries of the Jesuit Order--seemed to have come to nothing.

The fall of France did much to drag down her rival. Already was America
restless under control from Europe. There was now no danger to the
English in America from the French peril which had made insecure the
borders of Massachusetts, of New York, of Pennsylvania, and Virginia,
and had brought widespread desolation and sorrow. With the removal of
the menace went the need of help and defenses for the colonies from the
motherland. The French belief that there was a natural antipathy between
the English of the Old World and the English of the New was, in reality,
based on the fact of a likeness so great that neither would accept
control or patronage from the other. Towards the Englishman who assumed
airs of superiority the antagonism of the colonists was always certain
to be acute. Open strife came when the assumption of superiority took
the form of levying taxes on the colonies without asking their leave.
In no remote way the fall of French Canada, by removing a near menace
to the English colonies, led to this new conflict and to the collapse
of that older British Empire which had sprung from the England of the

When Montreal fell there were in the St. Lawrence many British ships
which had been used for troops and supplies. Before the end of September
the French soldiers and also the officials from France who desired to go
home were on board these ships bound for Europe. By the end of November
most of the exiles had reached home. Varying receptions awaited them.
Levis, who took back the army, was soon again, by consent of the British
government, in active service. Fortune smiled on him to the end. He died
a great noble and Marshal of France just before the Revolution of 1789;
but in that awful upheaval his widow and his two daughters perished
on the scaffold. Vaudreuil's shallow and vain incompetence did not go
unpunished. He was put on trial, accused of a share in the black frauds
which had helped to ruin Canada. The trial was his punishment. He
was acquitted of taking any share of the plunder and so drops out of
history. Bigot and his gang, on the other hand, were found guilty of
vast depredations. The former Intendant was for a time in the Bastille
and in the end was banished from France, after being forced to repay
great sums. We find echoes of the luxury of Quebec in the sale in France
of the rich plate which the rascal had acquired. There were, however,
other and even worse plunderers. They were tried and condemned chiefly
to return what they had stolen. We rather wonder that no expiatory
sacrifice on the scaffold was required of any of these knaves. Lally
Tollendal, who, as the French leader in India, had only failed and not
plundered, was sent to a cruel execution.

Under the terms of the surrender and of the final Treaty of Peace in
1763, civilians in Canada were given leave to return to France. Nearly
the whole of the official class and many of the large landowners, the
seigneurs, left the country. In Canada there remained a priesthood,
largely native, but soon to be recruited from France by the upheaval
of the Revolution, a few seigneurial families, natural leaders of their
race, a peasantry, exhausted by the long war but clinging tenaciously to
the soil, and a good many hardy pioneers of the forest, men skilled in
hunting and in the use of the axe. Out of these elements, amounting
in 1763 to little more than sixty thousand people, has come that
French-Canadian race in America now numbering perhaps three millions.
The race has scattered far. It is found in the mills of Massachusetts,
in the canebrakes of Louisiana, on the wide stretches of the prairie of
the Canadian West, but it has always kept intact its strong citadel
on the banks of the St. Lawrence. New France was, in reality, widely
separated in spirit from old France, before the new master in Canada
made the division permanent. The imagination of the Canadian peasant did
not wander across the ocean to France. He knew only the scenes about his
own hearth and in them alone were his thought and affections centered.

The one wider interest which the habitant treasured was love for the
Catholic Church of his fathers and of his own spiritual hopes. It
thus happened that when France in revolution assailed and for a time
overthrew the Church within her borders, the heart of French Canada was
not with France but with the persecuted Church; she hated the spirit of
revolutionary France. Te Deums were sung at Quebec in thanksgiving for
the defeats of Napoleon. In language and what literary culture they
possessed, in traditions and tastes, the conquered people remained
French, but they had no allegiance divided between Canada and France.
To this day they are proud to be simply Canadians, rooted in the soil
of Canada, with no debt of patriotic gratitude to the France from which
they sprang or to the Britain which obtained political dominance over
their ancestors after a long agony of war. To the British Crown many of
them feel a certain attachment because of the liberty guaranteed to them
to pursue their own ideals of happiness. In preserving their type
of social life, their faith and language, they have shown a resolute
tenacity. To this day they are as different in these things from their
fellow-citizens of British origin in the rest of Canada as were their
ancestors from the English colonies which lay on their borders.

The French in Canada are still a separate people. From time to time
a nervous fear seizes them lest too many of their race may be lost to
their old ideals in the Anglo-Saxon world surging about them. Then they
listen readily to appeals to their racial unity and draw more sharply
than ever the lines of division between themselves and the rest of North
America. They remain a fragment of an older France, remote and isolated,
still dreaming dreams like those of Frontenac of old of the dominance of
their race in North America and asserting passionately their rights in
the soil of Canada to which, first of Europeans, they came. At the mouth
of the Mississippi in the Louisiana founded by Louis XIV, along the St.
Lawrence in the Canada of Champlain and Frontenac, with a resolution
more than half pathetic, and in a world that gives little heed, men of
French race are still on guard to preserve in America the lineaments of
that older France, long since decayed in Europe, which was above all the
eldest daughter of the Church.


While the present narrative is based for the most part on more recondite
and widely scattered sources, the most accessible volumes relating to
the period are the following works of Francis Parkman (Boston: many
editions): "La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, Frontenac and
New France under Louis XIV, A Half Century of Conflict" (2 vols.), and
"Montcalm and Wolfe" (2 vols.). To these should be added, as completing
the story, George M. Wrong, "The Fall of Canada" (Oxford, 1914) which
dwells in detail on the last year of the struggle. All these volumes
contain adequate references to authorities. The last of Parkman's works
was published more than twenty-five years ago and later research has
revised some of his conclusions, but he still commands great authority.
In "The Chronicles of Canada" (Toronto, 191316) half a dozen volumes
relate to the period; each of these volumes, which embody later research
and are written in an attractive style, contains a bibliography relating
to its special subject: C.W. Colby, "The Fighting Governor" [Frontenac];
Agnes C. Laut, "The Adventurers of England on Hudson Bay"; Lawrence J.
Burpee, "The Pathfinders of the Great Plains"; Arthur G. Doughty, "The
Acadian Exiles"; William Wood, "The Great Fortress" [Louisbourg],
"The Passing of New France", and "The Winning of Canada." Lawrence J.
Burpee's "Search for the Western Sea" (Toronto, 1908) deals with the
work of La Verendrye and other explorers. Anthony Hendry's "Journal" is
published in the "Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada," series
iii, volume i. The latest phase of the discussions on La Verendrye are
reviewed in an article by Doane Robinson in "The Mississippi Valley
Historical Review" for December, 1916. The material relating to the
discoverer was long scattered, but it has now been collected in a
volume, edited by Lawrence J. Burpee for the Champlain Society,
Toronto, but owing to the war it is at the present date (1918) still
in manuscript. Much of what is contained in Mr. Burpee's volume will
be found in "South Dakota Historical Collections," volume vii, 1914
(Pierre, S.D.).

Additional references are given in the bibliographies appended to the
articles on "Chatham, Seven Years' War," and "Nova Scotia" in "The
Encyclopaedia Britannica," 11th Edition.

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