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Title: A Half-Century of Conflict - Volume II
Author: Parkman, Francis
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Half-Century of Conflict - Volume II" ***








French Explorers.--Le Sueur on the St. Peter's.--Canadians on the
Missouri.--Juchereau de Saint-Denis.--Bénard de la Harpe on Red
River.--Adventures of Du Tisné.--Bourgmont visits the Comanches.--The
Brothers Mallet in Colorado and New Mexico.--Fabry de la Bruyère.




The Western Sea.--Schemes for reaching it.--Journey of Charlevoix.--The
Sioux Mission.--Varennes de la Vérendrye.--His Enterprise.--His
Disasters.--Visits the Mandans.--His Sons.--Their Search for the Western
Sea.--Their Adventures.--The Snake Indians.--A Great War-Party.--The Rocky
Mountains.--A Panic.--Return of the Brothers.--Their Wrongs and their Fate.




Opposing Claims.--Attitude of the Rival Nations.--America a French
Continent.--England a Usurper.--French Demands.--Magnanimous
Proposals.--Warlike Preparation.--Niagara.--Oswego.--Crown Point.--The
Passes of the West secured.


1744, 1745.


War of the Austrian Succession.--The French seize Canseau and attack
Annapolis.--Plan of Reprisal.--William Vanghan.--Governor Shirley.--He
advises an Attack on Louisbourg.--The Assembly refuses, but at last
consents.--Preparation.--William Pepperrell.--George Whitefield.--Parson
Moody.--The Soldiers.--The Provincial Navy.--Commodore Warren.--Shirley as
an Amateur Soldier.--The Fleet sails.




Seth Pomeroy.--The Voyage.--Canseau.--Unexpected Succors.--Delays.
--Louisbourg.--The Landing.--The Grand Battery taken.--French Cannon turned
on the Town.--Weakness of Duchambon.--Sufferings of the Besiegers.--Their
Hardihood.--Their Irregular Proceedings.--Joseph Sherburn.--Amateur
Gunnery.--Camp Frolics.--Sectarian Zeal.--Perplexities of Pepperrell.




A Rash Resolution.--The Island Battery.--The Volunteers.--The Attack.--The
Repulse.--Capture of the "Vigilant."--A Sortie.--Skirmishes.--Despondency
of the French.--English Camp threatened.--Pepperrell and Warren.--Warren's
Plan.--Preparation for a General Attack.--Flag of Truce.--Capitulation.
--State of the Fortress.--Parson Moody.--Soldiers dissatisfied.--Disorders.
--Army and Navy.--Rejoicings.--England repays Provincial Outlays.




Louisbourg after the Conquest.--Mutiny.--Pestilence.--Stephen
Williams.--His Diary.--Scheme of conquering Canada.--Newcastle's
Promises.--Alarm in Canada.--Promises broken.--Plan against Crown
Point.--Startling News.--D'Anville's Fleet.--Louisbourg to be
avenged.--Disasters of D'Anville.--Storm.--Pestilence.--Famine.--Death of
D'Anville.--Suicide of the Vice-Admiral.--Ruinous Failure.--Return
Voyage.--Defeat of La Jonquière.




Efforts of France.--Apathy of Newcastle.--Dilemma of Acadians.--Their
Character.--Danger of the Province.--Plans of Shirley.--Acadian
Priests.--Political Agitators.--Noble's Expedition.--Ramesay at
Beaubassin.--Noble at Grand-Pré.--A Winter March.--Defeat and Death of
Noble.--Grand-Pré re-occupied by the English.--Threats of Ramesay against
the Acadians.--The British Ministry will not protect them.




Governor and Assembly.--Saratoga destroyed.--William Johnson.--Border
Ravages.--Upper Ashuelot.--French "Military Movements."--Number
Four.--Niverville's Attack.--Phineas Stevens.--The French repulsed.




Frontier Defence.--Northfield and its Minister.--Military Criticisms of
Rev. Benjamin Doolittle.--Rigaud de Vaudreuil.--His Great War-Party.--He
attacks Fort Massachusetts.--Sergeant Hawks and his Garrison.--A Gallant
Defence.--Capitulation.--Humanity of the French.--Ravages.--Return to Crown
Point.--Peace of Aix-la Chapelle.










The occupation by France of the lower Mississippi gave a strong impulse to
the exploration of the West, by supplying a base for discovery, stimulating
enterprise by the longing to find gold mines, open trade with New Mexico,
and get a fast hold on the countries beyond the Mississippi in anticipation
of Spain; and to these motives was soon added the hope of finding an
overland way to the Pacific. It was the Canadians, with their indomitable
spirit of adventure, who led the way in the path of discovery.

As a bold and hardy pioneer of the wilderness, the Frenchman in America has
rarely found his match. His civic virtues withered under the despotism of
Versailles, and his mind and conscience were kept in leading-strings by an
absolute Church; but the forest and the prairie offered him an unbridled
liberty, which, lawless as it was, gave scope to his energies, till these
savage wastes became the field of his most noteworthy achievements.

Canada was divided between two opposing influences. On the one side were
the monarchy and the hierarchy, with their principles of order,
subordination, and obedience; substantially at one in purpose, since both
wished to keep the colony within manageable bounds, domesticate it, and
tame it to soberness, regularity, and obedience. On the other side was the
spirit of liberty, or license, which was in the very air of this wilderness
continent, reinforced in the chiefs of the colony by a spirit of adventure
inherited from the Middle Ages, and by a spirit of trade born of present
opportunities; for every official in Canada hoped to make a profit, if not
a fortune, out of beaverskins. Kindred impulses, in ruder forms, possessed
the humbler colonists, drove them into the forest, and made them hardy
woodsmen and skilful bushfighters, though turbulent and lawless members of
civilized society.

Time, the decline of the fur-trade, and the influence of the Canadian
Church gradually diminished this erratic spirit, and at the same time
impaired the qualities that were associated with it. The Canadian became a
more stable colonist and a steadier farmer; but for forest journeyings and
forest warfare he was scarcely his former self. At the middle of the
eighteenth century we find complaints that the race of _voyageurs_ is
growing scarce. The taming process was most apparent in the central and
lower parts of the colony, such as the Côte de Beaupré and the opposite
shore of the St. Lawrence, where the hands of the government and of the
Church were strong; while at the head of the colony,--that is, about
Montreal and its neighborhood,--which touched the primeval wilderness, an
uncontrollable spirit of adventure still held its own. Here, at the
beginning of the century, this spirit was as strong as it had ever been,
and achieved a series of explorations and discoveries which revealed the
plains of the Far West long before an Anglo-Saxon foot had pressed their

The expedition of one Le Sueur to what is now the State of Minnesota may be
taken as the starting-point of these enterprises. Le Sueur had visited the
country of the Sioux as early as 1683. He returned thither in 1689 with the
famous _voyageur_ Nicolas Perrot. [Footnote: _Journal historique de
l'Etablissement des Français à la Louisiane_, 43.] Four years later,
Count Frontenac sent him to the Sioux country again. The declared purpose
of the mission was to keep those fierce tribes at peace with their
neighbors; but the Governor's enemies declared that a contraband trade in
beaver was the true object, and that Frontenac's secretary was to have half
the profits. [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre, 4 Nov._ 1693.] Le
Sueur returned after two years, bringing to Montreal a Sioux chief and his
squaw,--the first of the tribe ever seen there. He then went to France, and
represented to the court that he had built a fort at Lake Pepin, on the
upper Mississippi; that he was the only white man who knew the languages of
that region; and that if the French did not speedily seize upon it, the
English, who were already trading upon the Ohio, would be sure to do so.
Thereupon he asked for the command of the upper Mississippi, with all its
tributary waters, together with a monopoly of its fur-trade for ten years,
and permission to work its mines, promising that if his petition were
granted, he would secure the country to France without expense to the King.
The commission was given him. He bought an outfit and sailed for Canada,
but was captured by the English on the way. After the peace he returned to
France and begged for a renewal of his commission. Leave was given him to
work the copper and lead mines, but not to trade in beaver-skins. He now
formed a company to aid him in his enterprise, on which a cry rose in
Canada that under pretence of working mines he meant to trade in
beaver,--which is very likely, since to bring lead and copper in bark
canoes to Montreal from the Mississippi and Lake Superior would cost far
more than the metal was worth. In consequence of this clamor his commission
was revoked.

Perhaps it was to compensate him for the outlays into which he had been
drawn that the colonial minister presently authorized him to embark for
Louisiana and pursue his enterprise with that infant colony, instead of
Canada, as his base of operations. Thither, therefore, he went; and in
April, 1700, set out for the Sioux country with twenty-five men, in a small
vessel of the kind called a "felucca," still used in the Mediterranean.

Among the party was an adventurous youth named Penecaut, a ship-carpenter
by trade, who had come to Louisiana with Iberville two years before, and
who has left us an account of his voyage with Le Sueur. [Footnote:
_Relation de Penecaut_. In my possession is a contemporary manuscript
of this narrative, for which I am indebted to the kindness of General J.
Meredith Reade.]

The party slowly made their way, with sail and oar, against the muddy
current of the Mississippi, till they reached the Arkansas, where they
found an English trader from Carolina. On the 10th of June, spent with
rowing, and half starved, they stopped to rest at a point fifteen leagues
above the mouth of the Ohio. They had staved off famine with the buds and
leaves of trees; but now, by good luck, one of them killed a bear, and,
soon after, the Jesuit Limoges arrived from the neighboring mission of the
Illinois, in a canoe well stored with provisions. Thus refreshed, they
passed the mouth of the Missouri on the 13th of July, and soon after were
met by three Canadians, who brought them a letter from the Jesuit Marest,
warning them that the river was infested by war-parties. In fact, they
presently saw seven canoes of Sioux warriors, bound against the Illinois;
and not long after, five Canadians appeared, one of whom had been badly
wounded in a recent encounter with a band of Outagamies, Sacs, and
Winnebagoes bound against the Sioux. To take one another's scalps had been
for ages the absorbing business and favorite recreation of all these
Western tribes. At or near the expansion of the Mississippi called Lake
Pepin, the voyagers found a fort called Fort Perrot, after its builder;
[Footnote: Penecaut, _Journal. Procès-verbal de la Prise de Possession du
Pays des Nadouessioux, etc., par Nicolas Perrot_, 1689. Fort Perrot
seems to have been built in 1685, and to have stood near the outlet of the
lake, probably on the west side. Perrot afterwards built another fort,
called Fort St. Antoine, a little above, on the east bank. The position of
these forts has been the subject of much discussion, and cannot be
ascertained with precision. It appears by the _Prise de Possession_,
cited above, that there was also, in 1689, a temporary French post near the
mouth of the Wisconsin.] and on an island near the upper end of the lake,
another similar structure, built by Le Sueur himself on his last visit to
the place. These forts were mere stockades, occupied from time to time by
the roving fur-traders as their occasions required.

Towards the end of September, Le Sueur and his followers reached the mouth
of the St. Peter, which they ascended to Blue Earth River. Pushing a league
up this stream, they found a spot well suited to their purpose, and here
they built a fort, of which there was great need, for they were soon after
joined by seven Canadian traders, plundered and stripped to the skin by the
neighboring Sioux. Le Sueur named the new post Fort l'Huillier. It was a
fence of pickets, enclosing cabins for the men. The neighboring plains were
black with buffalo, of which the party killed four hundred, and cut them
into quarters, which they placed to freeze on scaffolds within the
enclosure. Here they spent the winter, subsisting on the frozen meat,
without bread, vegetables, or salt, and, according to Penecaut, thriving
marvellously, though the surrounding wilderness was buried five feet deep
in snow.

Band after band of Sioux appeared, with their wolfish dogs and their sturdy
and all-enduring squaws burdened with the heavy hide coverings of their
teepees, or buffalo-skin tents. They professed friendship and begged for
arms. Those of one band had blackened their faces in mourning for a dead
chief, and calling on Le Sueur to share their sorrow, they wept over him,
and wiped their tears on his hair. Another party of warriors arrived with
yet deeper cause of grief, being the remnant of a village half exterminated
by their enemies. They, too, wept profusely over the French commander, and
then sang a dismal song, with heads muffled in their buffalo-robes.
[Footnote: This weeping over strangers was a custom with the Sioux of that
time mentioned by many early writers. La Mothe-Cadillac marvels that a
people so brave and warlike should have such a fountain of tears always at
command.] Le Sueur took the needful precautions against his dangerous
visitors, but got from them a large supply of beaver-skins in exchange for
his goods.

When spring opened, he set out in search of mines, and found, not far above
the fort, those beds of blue and green earth to which the stream owes its
name. Of this his men dug out a large quantity, and selecting what seemed
the best, stored it in their vessel as a precious commodity. With this and
good store of beaver-skins, Le Sueur now began his return voyage for
Louisiana, leaving a Canadian named D'Éraque and twelve men to keep the
fort till he should come back to reclaim it, promising to send him a
canoe-load of ammunition from the Illinois. But the canoe was wrecked, and
D'Éraque, discouraged, abandoned Fort l'Huillier, and followed his
commander down the Mississippi. [Footnote: In 1702 the geographer De l'Isle
made a remarkable MS. map entitled _Carte de la Rivière du Mississippi,
dressée sur les Mémoires de M. Le Sueur_.]

Le Sueur, with no authority from government, had opened relations of trade
with the wild Sioux of the Plains, whose westward range stretched to the
Black Hills, and perhaps to the Rocky Mountains. He reached the settlements
of Louisiana in safety, and sailed for France with four thousand pounds of
his worthless blue earth. [Footnote: According to the geologist
Featherstonhaugh, who examined the locality, this earth owes its color to a
bluish-green silicate of iron.] Repairing at once to Versailles, he begged
for help to continue his enterprise. His petition seems to have been
granted. After long delay, he sailed again for Louisiana, fell ill on the
voyage, and died soon after landing. [Footnote: Besides the long and
circumstantial _Relation de Penecaut_, an account of the earlier part
of Le Sueur's voyage up the Mississippi is contained in the _Mémoire du
Chevalier de Beaurain_, which, with other papers relating to this
explorer, including portions of his Journal, will be found in Margry, VI.
See also _Journal historique de l'Etablissement des Français à la
Louisiane_, 38-71.]

Before 1700, the year when Le Sueur visited the St. Peter, little or
nothing was known of the country west of the Mississippi, except from the
report of Indians. The romances of La Hontan and Matthieu Sagean were
justly set down as impostures by all but the most credulous. In this same
year we find Le Moyne d'Iberville projecting journeys to the upper
Missouri, in hopes of finding a river flowing to the Western Sea. In 1703,
twenty Canadians tried to find their way from the Illinois to New Mexico,
in hope of opening trade with the Spaniards and discovering mines.
[Footnote: _Iberville à ----, 15 Fév. 1703_ (Margry, VI. 180).] In
1704 we find it reported that more than a hundred Canadians are scattered
in small parties along the Mississippi and the Missouri; [Footnote:
_Bienville au Ministre_, 6 _Sept._ 1704.] and in 1705 one Laurain
appeared at the Illinois, declaring that he had been high up the Missouri
and had visited many tribes on its borders. [Footnote: Beaurain, _Journal
historique_.] A few months later, two Canadians told Bienville a similar
story. In 1708 Nicolas de la Salle proposed an expedition of a hundred men
to explore the same mysterious river; and in 1717 one Hubert laid before
the Council of Marine a scheme for following the Missouri to its source,
since, he says, "not only may we find the mines worked by the Spaniards,
but also discover the great river that is said to rise in the mountains
where the Missouri has its source, and is believed to flow to the Western
Sea." And he advises that a hundred and fifty men be sent up the river in
wooden canoes, since bark canoes would be dangerous, by reason of the
multitude of snags. [Footnote: Hubert, _Mémoire envoyé au Conseil de la

In 1714 Juchereau de Saint-Denis was sent by La Mothe-Cadillac to explore
western Louisiana, and pushed up Red River to a point sixty-eight leagues,
as he reckons, above Natchitoches. In the next year, journeying across
country towards the Spanish settlements, with a view to trade, he was
seized near the Rio Grande and carried to the city of Mexico. The
Spaniards, jealous of French designs, now sent priests and soldiers to
occupy several points in Texas. Juchereau, however, was well treated, and
permitted to marry a Spanish girl with whom he had fallen in love on the
way; but when, in the autumn of 1716, he ventured another journey to the
Mexican borders, still hoping to be allowed to trade, he and his goods were
seized by order of the Mexican viceroy, and, lest worse should befall him,
he fled empty handed, under cover of night. [Footnote: Penecaut,
_Relation_, chaps, xvii., xviii. Le Page du Pratz, _Histoire de la
Louisiane_, I. 13-22. Various documents in Margry, VI. 193-202.]

In March, 1719, Bénard de la Harpe left the feeble little French post at
Natchitoches with six soldiers and a sergeant [Footnote: For an interesting
contemporary map of the French establishment at Natchitoches, see Thomassy,
_Géologie pratique de la Louisiane._]. His errand was to explore the
country, open trade if possible with the Spaniards, and establish another
post high up Red River. He and his party soon came upon that vast
entanglement of driftwood, or rather of uprooted forests, afterwards known
as the Red River raft, which choked the stream and forced them to make
their way through the inundated jungle that bordered it. As they pushed or
dragged their canoes through the swamp, they saw with disgust and alarm a
good number of snakes, coiled about twigs and boughs on the right and left,
or sometimes over their heads. These were probably the deadly
water-moccason, which in warm weather is accustomed to crawl out of its
favorite element and bask itself in the sun, precisely as described by La
Harpe. Their nerves were further discomposed by the splashing and plunging
of alligators lately wakened from their wintry torpor. Still, they pushed
painfully on, till they reached navigable water again, and at the end of
the month were, as they thought, a hundred and eight leagues above
Natchitoches. In four days more they reached the Nassonites.

These savages belonged to a group of stationary tribes, only one of which,
the Caddoes, survives to our day as a separate community. Their enemies the
Chickasaws, Osages, Arkansas, and even the distant Illinois, waged such
deadly war against them that, according to La Harpe, the unfortunate
Nassonites were in the way of extinction, their numbers having fallen,
within ten years, from twenty-five hundred souls to four hundred.
[Footnote: Bénard de la Harpe, in Margry, VI. 264.]

La Harpe stopped among them to refresh his men, and build a house of
cypress-wood as a beginning of the post he was ordered to establish; then,
having heard that a war with Spain had ruined his hopes of trade with New
Mexico, he resolved to pursue his explorations.

With him went ten men, white, red, and black, with twenty-two horses bought
from the Indians, for his journeyings were henceforth to be by land. The
party moved in a northerly and westerly course, by hills, forests, and
prairies, passed two branches of the Wichita, and on the 3d of September
came to a river which La Harpe calls the southwest branch of the Arkansas,
but which, if his observation of latitude is correct, must have been the
main stream, not far from the site of Fort Mann. Here he was met by seven
Indian chiefs, mounted on excellent horses saddled and bridled after the
Spanish manner. They led him to where, along the plateau of the low,
treeless hills that bordered the valley, he saw a string of Indian
villages, extending for a league and belonging to nine several bands, the
names of which can no longer be recognized, and most of which are no doubt
extinct. He says that they numbered in all six thousand souls; and their
dwellings were high, dome-shaped structures, built of clay mixed with reeds
and straw, resting, doubtless, on a frame of bent poles. [Footnote:
Beaurain says that each of these bands spoke a language of its own. They
had horses in abundance, descended from Spanish stock. Among them appear to
have been the Ouacos, or Huecos, and the Wichitas,--two tribes better known
as the Pawnee Picts. See Marcy, _Exploration of Red River._] With them
were also some of the roving Indians of the plains, with their conical
teepees of dressed buffalo-skin.

The arrival of the strangers was a great and amazing event for these
savages, few of whom had ever seen a white man. On the day after their
arrival the whole multitude gathered to receive them and offer them the
calumet, with a profusion of songs and speeches. Then warrior after warrior
recounted his exploits and boasted of the scalps he had taken. From eight
in the morning till two hours after midnight the din of drums, songs,
harangues, and dances continued without relenting, with a prospect of
twelve hours more; and La Harpe, in desperation, withdrew to rest himself
on a buffalo-robe, begging another Frenchman to take his place. His hosts
left him in peace for a while; then the chiefs came to find him, painted
his face blue, as a tribute of respect, put a cap of eagle-feathers on his
head, and laid numerous gifts at his feet. When at last the ceremony ended,
some of the performers were so hoarse from incessant singing that they
could hardly speak. [Footnote: Compare the account of La Harpe with that of
the Chevalier de Beaurain; both are in Margry, VI. There is an abstract in
_Journal historique._]

La Harpe was told by his hosts that the Spanish settlements could be
reached by ascending their river; but to do this was at present impossible.
He began his backward journey, fell desperately ill of a fever, and nearly
died before reaching Natchitoches.

Having recovered, he made an attempt, two years later, to explore the
Arkansas in canoes, from its mouth, but accomplished little besides killing
a good number of buffalo, bears, deer, and wild turkeys. He was confirmed,
however, in the belief that the Comanches and the Spaniards of New Mexico
might be reached by this route.

In the year of La Harpe's first exploration, one Du Tisné went up the
Missouri to a point six leagues above Grand River, where stood the village
of the Missouris. He wished to go farther, but they would not let him. He
then returned to the Illinois, whence he set out on horseback with a few
followers across what is now the State of Missouri, till he reached the
village of the Osages, which stood on a hill high up the river Osage. At
first he was well received; but when they found him disposed to push on to
a town of their enemies, the Pawnees, forty leagues distant, they angrily
refused to let him go. His firmness and hardihood prevailed, and at last
they gave him leave. A ride of a few days over rich prairies brought him to
the Pawnees, who, coming as he did from the hated Osages, took him for an
enemy and threatened to kill him. Twice they raised the tomahawk over his
head; but when the intrepid traveller dared them to strike, they began to
treat him as a friend. When, however, he told them that he meant to go
fifteen days' journey farther, to the Padoucas, or Comanches, their deadly
enemies, they fiercely forbade him; and after planting a French flag in
their village, he returned as he had come, guiding his way by compass, and
reaching the Illinois in November, after extreme hardships. [Footnote:
_Relation de Bénard de la Harpe. Autre Relation du même. Du Tisné à
Bienville._ Margry, VI. 309, 310, 313.]

Early in 1721 two hundred mounted Spaniards, followed by a large body of
Comanche warriors, came from New Mexico to attack the French at the
Illinois, but were met and routed on the Missouri by tribes of that region.
[Footnote: _Bienville au Conseil de Régence, 20 Juillet, 1721._] In
the next year, Bienville was told that they meant to return, punish those
who had defeated them, and establish a post on the river Kansas; whereupon
he ordered Boisbriant, commandant at the Illinois, to anticipate them by
sending troops to build a French fort at or near the same place. But the
West India Company had already sent one Bourgmont on a similar errand, the
object being to trade with the Spaniards in time of peace, and stop their
incursions in time of war. [Footnote: _Instructions au Sieur de
Bourgmont, 17 Jan. 1722._ Margry, VI. 389.] It was hoped also that, in
the interest of trade, peace might be made between the Comanches and the
tribes of the Missouri. [Footnote: The French had at this time gained a
knowledge of the tribes of the Missouri as far up as the Arickaras, who
were not, it seems, many days' journey below the Yellowstone, and who told
them of "prodigiously high mountains,"--evidently the Rocky Mountains.
_Mémoire de la Renaudière_, 1723.]

Bourgmont was a man of some education, and well acquainted with these
tribes, among whom he had traded for years. In pursuance of his orders he
built a fort, which he named Fort Orléans, and which stood on the Missouri
not far above the mouth of Grand River. Having thus accomplished one part
of his mission, he addressed himself to the other, and prepared to march
for the Comanche villages.

Leaving a sufficient garrison at the fort, he sent his ensign, Saint-Ange,
with a party of soldiers and Canadians, in wooden canoes, to the villages
of the Kansas higher up the stream, and on the 3d of July set out by land
to join him, with a hundred and nine Missouri Indians and sixty-eight
Osages in his train. A ride of five days brought him again to the banks of
the Missouri, opposite a Kansas town. Saint-Ange had not yet arrived, the
angry and turbid current, joined to fevers among his men, having retarded
his progress. Meanwhile Bourgmont drew from the Kansas a promise that their
warriors should go with him to the Comanches. Saint-Ange at last appeared,
and at daybreak of the 24th the tents were struck and the pack-horses
loaded. At six o'clock the party drew up in battle array on a hill above
the Indian town, and then, with drum beating and flag flying, began their
march. "A fine prairie country," writes Bourgmont, "with hills and dales
and clumps of trees to right and left." Sometimes the landscape quivered
under the sultry sun, and sometimes thunder bellowed over their heads, and
rain fell in floods on the steaming plains.

Renaudière, engineer of the party, one day stood by the side of the path
and watched the whole procession as it passed him. The white men were about
twenty in all. He counted about three hundred Indian warriors, with as many
squaws, some five hundred children, and a prodigious number of dogs, the
largest and strongest of which dragged heavy loads. The squaws also served
as beasts of burden; and, says the journal, "they will carry as much as a
dog will drag." Horses were less abundant among these tribes than they
afterwards became, so that their work fell largely upon the women.

On the sixth day the party was within three leagues of the river Kansas, at
a considerable distance above its mouth. Bourgmont had suffered from
dysentery on the march, and an access of the malady made it impossible for
him to go farther. It is easy to conceive the regret with which he saw
himself compelled to return to Fort Orléans. The party retraced their
steps, carrying their helpless commander on a litter.

First, however, he sent one Gaillard on a perilous errand. Taking with him
two Comanche slaves bought for the purpose from the Kansas, Gaillard was
ordered to go to the Comanche villages with the message that Bourgmont had
been on his way to make them a friendly visit, and though stopped by
illness, hoped soon to try again, with better success.

Early in September, Bourgmont, who had arrived safely at Fort Orléans,
received news that the mission of Gaillard had completely succeeded; on
which, though not wholly recovered from his illness, he set out again on
his errand of peace, accompanied by his young son, besides Renaudière, a
surgeon, and nine soldiers. On reaching the great village of the Kansas he
found there five Comanche chiefs and warriors, whom Gaillard had induced to
come thither with him. Seven chiefs of the Otoes presently appeared, in
accordance with an invitation of Bourgmont; then six chiefs of the Iowas
and the head chief of the Missouris. With these and the Kansas chiefs a
solemn council was held around a fire before Bourgmont's tent; speeches
were made, the pipe of peace was smoked, and presents were distributed.

On the 8th of October the march began, the five Comanches and the chiefs of
several other tribes, including the Omahas, joining the cavalade. Gaillard
and another Frenchman named Quesnel were sent in advance to announce their
approach to the Comanches, while Bourgmont and his followers moved up the
north side of the river Kansas till the eleventh, when they forded it at a
point twenty leagues from its mouth, and took a westward and southwestward
course, sometimes threading the grassy valleys of little streams, sometimes
crossing the dry upland prairie, covered with the short, tufted dull-green
herbage since known as "buffalo grass." Wild turkeys clamored along every
watercourse; deer were seen on all sides, buffalo were without number,
sometimes in grazing droves, and sometimes dotting the endless plain as far
as the eye could reach. Ruffian wolves, white and gray, eyed the travellers
askance, keeping a safe distance by day, and howling about the camp all
night. Of the antelope and the elk the journal makes no mention. Bourgmont
chased a buffalo on horseback and shot him with a pistol,--which is
probably the first recorded example of that way of hunting.

The stretches of high, rolling, treeless prairie grew more vast as the
travellers advanced. On the 17th, they found an abandoned Comanche camp.
On the next day as they stopped to dine, and had just unsaddled their
horses, they saw a distant smoke towards the west, on which they set the
dry grass on fire as an answering signal. Half an hour later a body of wild
horsemen came towards them at full speed, and among them were their two
couriers, Gaillard and Quesnel, waving a French flag. The strangers were
eighty Comanche warriors, with the grand chief of the tribe at their head.
They dashed up to Bourgmont's bivouac and leaped from their horses, when a
general shaking of hands ensued, after which white men and red seated
themselves on the ground and smoked the pipe of peace. Then all rode
together to the Comanche camp, three leagues distant. [Footnote: This
meeting took place a little north of the Arkansas, apparently where that
river makes a northward bend, near the 22d degree of west longitude. The
Comanche villages were several days' journey to the southwest. This tribe
is always mentioned in the early French narratives as the Padoucas,--a name
by which the Comanches are occasionally known to this day. See Whipple and
Turner, _Reports upon Indian Tribes,_ in _Explorations and Surveys
for the Pacific Railroad,_ (Senate Doc., 1853,1854).]

Bourgmont pitched his tents at a pistol-shot from the Comanche lodges,
whence a crowd of warriors presently came to visit him. They spread
buffalo-robes on the ground, placed upon them the French commander, his
officers, and his young son; then lifted each, with its honored load, and
carried them all, with yells of joy and gratulation, to the lodge of the
Great Chief, where there was a feast of ceremony lasting till nightfall.

On the next day Bourgmont displayed to his hosts the marvellous store of
gifts he had brought for them--guns, swords, hatchets, kettles, gunpowder,
bullets, red cloth, blue cloth, hand-mirrors, knives, shirts, awls,
scissors, needles, hawks' bells, vermilion, beads, and other enviable
commodities, of the like of which they had never dreamed. Two hundred
savages gathered before the French tents, where Bourgmont, with the gifts
spread on the ground before him, stood with a French flag in his hand,
surrounded by his officers and the Indian chiefs of his party, and
harangued the admiring auditors.

He told them that he had come to bring them a message from the King, his
master, who was the Great Chief of all the nations of the earth, and whose
will it was that the Comanches should live in peace with his other
children,--the Missouris, Osages, Kansas, Otoes, Omahas, and Pawnees,--with
whom they had long been at war; that the chiefs of these tribes were now
present, ready to renounce their old enmities; that the Comanches should
henceforth regard them as friends, share with them the blessing of alliance
and trade with the French, and give to these last free passage through
their country to trade with the Spaniards of New Mexico. Bourgmont then
gave the French flag to the Great Chief, to be kept forever as a pledge of
that day's compact. The chief took the flag, and promised in behalf of his
people to keep peace inviolate with the Indian children of the King. Then,
with unspeakable delight, he and his tribesmen took and divided the gifts.

The next two days were spent in feasts and rejoicings. "Is it true that you
are men?" asked the Great Chief. "I have heard wonders of the French, but I
never could have believed what I see this day." Then, taking up a handful
of earth, "The Spaniards are like this; but you are like the sun." And he
offered Bourgmont, in case of need, the aid of his two thousand Comanche
warriors. The pleasing manners of his visitors, and their unparalleled
generosity, had completely won his heart.

As the object of the expedition was accomplished, or seemed to be so, the
party set out on their return. A ride of ten days brought them again to the
Missouri; they descended in canoes to Fort Orléans, and sang Te Deum in
honor of the peace. [Footnote: _Relation du Voyage du Sieur de Bourgmont,
Juin-Nov._, 1724, in Margry, VI. 398. Le Page du Pratz, III. 141.]

No farther discovery in this direction was made for the next fifteen years.
Though the French had explored the Missouri as far as the site of Fort
Clark and the Mandan villages, they were possessed by the idea--due,
perhaps, to Indian reports concerning the great tributary river, the
Yellowstone--that in its upper course the main stream bent so far southward
as to form a waterway to New Mexico, with which it was the constant desire
of the authorities of Louisiana to open trade. A way thither was at last
made known by two brothers named Mallet, who with six companions went up
the Platte to its South Fork, which they called River of the Padoucas,--a
name given it on some maps down to the middle of this century. They
followed the South Fork for some distance, and then, turning southward and
southwestward, crossed the plains of Colorado. Here the dried dung of the
buffalo was their only fuel; and it has continued to feed the camp-fire of
the traveller in this treeless region within the memory of many now living.
They crossed the upper Arkansas, and apparently the Cimarron, passed Taos,
and on the 22d of July reached Santa Fé, where they spent the winter. On
the 1st of May, 1740, they began their return journey, three of them
crossing the plains to the Pawnee villages, and the rest descending the
Arkansas to the Mississippi. [Footnote: _Journal du Voyage des Frères
Mallet, présenté à MM. de Bienville et Salmon_. This narrative is meagre
and confused, but serves to establish the main points. _Copie du
Certificat donné à Santa Fé aux sept [huit] Français par le Général
Hurtado, 24 Juillet, 1739. Père Rébald au Père de Beaubois, sans date.
Bienville et Salmon au Ministre, 30 Avril_, 1741, in Margry, VI.

The bold exploit of the brothers Mallet attracted great attention at New
Orleans, and Bienville resolved to renew it, find if possible a nearer and
better way to Santa Fé, determine the nature and extent of these mysterious
western regions, and satisfy a lingering doubt whether they were not
contiguous to China and Tartary. [Footnote: _Instructions données par
Jean-Baptiste de Bienville à Fabry de la Bruyère, 1 Juin, 1741_.
Bienville was behind his time in geographical knowledge. As early as 1724
Bénard de la Harpe knew that in ascending the Missouri or the Arkansas one
was moving towards the "Western Sea,"--that is, the Pacific,--and might,
perhaps, find some river flowing into it. See _Routes qu'on peut tenir
pour se rendre à la Mer de l'Ouest,_ in _Journal historique_,
387.] A naval officer, Fabry de la Bruyère, was sent on this errand, with
the brothers Mallet and a few soldiers and Canadians. He ascended the
Canadian Fork of the Arkansas, named by him the St. André, became entangled
in the shallows and quicksands of that difficult river, fell into disputes
with his men, and after protracted efforts, returned unsuccessful.
[Footnote: _Extrait des Lettres du Sieur Fabry._]

While French enterprise was unveiling the remote Southwest, two indomitable
Canadians were pushing still more noteworthy explorations into more
northern regions of the continent.





In the disastrous last years of Louis XIV, the court gave little thought to
the New World; but under the regency of the Duke of Orléans interest in
American affairs revived. Plans for reaching the Mer de l'Ouest, or Pacific
Ocean, were laid before the Regent in 1716. It was urged that the best hope
was in sending an expedition across the continent, seeing that every
attempt to find a westward passage by Hudson Bay had failed. As
starting-points and bases of supply for the expedition, it was proposed to
establish three posts, one on the north shore of Lake Superior, at the
mouth of the river Kaministiguia, another at Lac des Cristineaux, now
called Lake of the Woods, and the third at Lake Winnipeg,--the last being
what in American phrase is called the "jumping-off place," or the point
where the expedition was to leave behind the last trace of civilization.
These posts were to cost the Crown nothing; since by a device common in
such cases, those who built and maintained them were to be paid by a
monopoly of the fur-trade in the adjacent countries. It was admitted,
however, that the subsequent exploration must be at the charge of the
government, and would require fifty good men, at 300 francs a year each,
besides equipment and supplies. All things considered, it was reckoned that
an overland way to the Pacific might be found for about 50,000 francs, or
10,000 dollars. [Footnote: _Mémoire fait et arresté par le Conseil de
Marine, 3 Fév. 1717; Mémoire du Roy, 26 Juin, 1717._]

The Regent approved the scheme so far as to order the preliminary step to
be taken by establishing the three posts, and in this same year, Lieutenant
La Noue, of the colony troops, began the work by building a stockade at the
mouth of the Kaministiguia. Little more was done in furtherance of the
exploration till three years later, when the celebrated Jesuit, Charlevoix,
was ordered by the Duke of Orléans to repair to America and gain all
possible information concerning the Western Sea and the way to it.
[Footnote: _Charlevoix au Comte de Morville, 1 Avril_, 1723.]

In the next year he went to the Upper Lakes, and questioned missionaries,
officers, _voyageurs,_ and Indians. The results were not satisfactory.
The missionaries and the officers had nothing to tell; the voyagers and
Indians knew no more than they, but invented confused and contradictory
falsehoods to hide their ignorance. Charlevoix made note of everything, and
reported to the Comte de Toulouse that the Pacific probably formed the
western boundary of the country of the Sioux, and that some Indians told
him that they had been to its shores and found white men there different
from the French.

Believing that these stories were not without foundation, Charlevoix
reported two plans as likely to lead to the coveted discovery. One was to
ascend the Missouri, "the source of which is certainly not far from the
sea, as all the Indians I have met have unanimously assured me;" and the
other was to establish a mission among the Sioux, from whom after
thoroughly learning their language, the missionaries could, as he thinks,
gain all the desired information. [Footnote: The valuable journal of
Charlevoix's western travels, written in the form of letters, was published
in connection with his _Histoire de la Nouvelle France_. After his
visit to the Lakes, he went to New Orleans, intending to return in the
spring and continue his inquiries for the Western Sea; but being unable to
do this, he went back to France at the end of 1722. The official report of
his mission is contained in a letter to the Comte de Toulouse, 20 Jan.

The Regent approved the plan of the mission; but the hostile disposition of
the Sioux and the Outagamies prevented its execution for several years. In
1727 the scheme was revived, and the colonial minister at Versailles
ordered the Governor of Canada to send two missionaries to the Sioux. But
the mission required money, and the King would not give it. Hence the usual
expedient was adopted. A company was formed, and invested with a monopoly
of the Sioux fur-trade, on condition of building a fort, mission-house, and
chapel, and keeping an armed force to guard them. It was specially provided
that none but pious and virtuous persons were to be allowed to join the
Company, "in order," says the document, "to attract the benediction of God
upon them and their business." [Footnote: _Traité de la Compagnie des
Sioux, 6 Juin, 1727._] The prospects of the Company were thought good,
and the Governor himself was one of the shareholders. While the mission was
given the most conspicuous place in the enterprise, its objects were rather
secular than spiritual,--to attach the Sioux to the French interest by the
double ties of religion and trade, and utilize their supposed knowledge to
reach the Pacific. [Footnote: On this scheme, _Vaudreuil et Bégon au
Ministre, 4 Oct. 1723; Longueuil et Bégon au Ministre, 31 Oct. 1725;
Beauharnois et Dupuy au Ministre, 25 Sept. 1727._]

Father Guignas was made the head of the mission, and Boucher de la Perrière
the military chief. The party left Montreal in June, and journeying to the
Mississippi by way of Michillimackinac, Green Bay, Fox River, and the
Wisconsin, went up the great river to Lake Pepin, where the adventurous
Nicolas Perrot had built two trading-posts more than forty years before.
Even if his timeworn tenements were still standing, La Perrière had no
thought of occupying them. On the north, or rather west, side of the lake
his men found a point of land that seemed fit for their purpose,
disembarked, cut down trees, and made a square stockade enclosing the
necessary buildings. It was near the end of October before they were all
well housed. A large band of Sioux presently appeared, and set up their
teepees hard by. When the birthday of the Governor came, the party
celebrated it with a display of fireworks and vociferous shouts of _Vive
le Roi, Vive Charles de Beauharnois,_ while the Indians yelped in fright
and amazement at the pyrotechnics, or stood pressing their hands upon their
mouths in silent amazement. The French called their fort Fort Beauharnois,
and invited the aid of Saint Michael the Archangel by naming the mission in
his honor. All went well till April, when the water rose with the spring
floods and filled fort, chapel, and houses to the depth of nearly three
feet, ejecting the whole party, and forcing them to encamp on higher ground
till the deluge subsided. [Footnote: _Guignas à Beauharnois, 28 Mai,

Worse enemies than the floods soon found them out. These were the
irrepressible Outagamies, who rose against the intruding French and incited
the Sioux to join them. There was no profit for the Company, and no safety
for its agents. The stockholders became discouraged, and would not support
the enterprise. The fort was abandoned, till in 1731 a new arrangement was
made, followed by another attempt. [Footnote: _Beauharnois et Hocquart au
Ministre, 25 Oct. 1729; Idem, 12 Oct. 1731._] For a time a prosperous
trade was carried on; but, as commonly happened in such cases, the
adventurers seem to have thought more of utilizing their monopoly than of
fulfilling the terms on which they had received it. The wild Sioux of the
plains, instead of being converted and turned into Frenchmen, proved such
dangerous neighbors that in 1737 Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, who then
commanded the post, found himself forced to abandon it. [Footnote:
_Relation du Sieur de Saint-Pierre, 14 Oct. 1737._] The enterprise had
failed in both its aims. The Western Sea was still a mystery, and the Sioux
were not friends, but enemies. Legardeur de Saint-Pierre recommended that
they should be destroyed, benevolent advice easy to give, and impossible to
execute. [Footnote: "Cet officier [Saint-Pierre] a ajouté qu'il seroit
avantageux de detruire cette nation." _Mémoire de Beauharnois, 1738._]

René Gaultier de Varennes, lieutenant in the regiment of Carignan, married
at Three Rivers, in 1667, the daughter of Pierre Boucher, governor of that
place; the age of the bride, Demoiselle Marie Boucher, being twelve years,
six months, and eighteen days. Varennes succeeded his father-in-law as
governor of Three Rivers, with a salary of twelve hundred francs, to which
he added the profits of a farm of forty acres; and on these modest
resources, reinforced by an illicit trade in furs, he made shift to sustain
the dignity of his office. His wife became the mother of numerous
offspring, among whom was Pierre, born in 1685,--an active and hardy youth,
who, like the rest of the poor but vigorous Canadian _noblesse_,
seemed born for the forest and the fur-trade. When, however, the War of the
Spanish Succession broke out, the young man crossed the sea, obtained the
commission of lieutenant, and was nearly killed at the battle of
Malplaquet, where he was shot through the body, received six sabre-cuts,
and was left for dead on the field. He recovered, and returned to Canada,
when, finding his services slighted, he again took to the woods. He had
assumed the designation of La Vérendrye, and thenceforth his full name was
Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de la Vérendrye. [Footnote: M. Benjamin Sulte
has traced out the family history of the Varennes in the parish registers
of Three Rivers and other trustworthy sources. See _Revue Canadienne_,
X. 781, 849, 935.]

In 1728, he was in command of a small post on Lake Nipegon, north of Lake
Superior. Here an Indian chief from the River Kaministiguia told him of a
certain great lake which discharged itself by a river flowing westward. The
Indian further declared that he had descended this river till he reached
water that ebbed and flowed, and terrified by the strange phenomenon, had
turned back, though not till he had heard of a great salt lake, bordered
with many villages. Other Indians confirmed and improved the story. "These
people," said La Vérendrye to the Jesuit Degonnor, "are great liars, but
now and then they tell the truth." [Footnote: _Relation du Père Degonnor,
Jésuite, Missionnaire des Sioux, adressée à M. le Marquis de
Beauharnois_.] It seemed to him likely that their stories of a western
river flowing to a western sea were not totally groundless, and that the
true way to the Pacific was not, as had been supposed, through the country
of the Sioux, but farther northward, through that of the Cristineaux and
Assinniboins, or, in other words, through the region now called Manitoba.
In this view he was sustained by his friend Degonnor, who had just returned
from the ill-starred Sioux mission.

La Vérendrye, fired with the zeal of discovery, offered to search for the
Western Sea if the King would give him one hundred men and supply canoes,
arms, and provisions. [Footnote: _Relation de Degonnor: Beauharnois au
Ministre, 1 Oct_. 1731.] But, as was usual in such cases, the
King would give nothing; and though the Governor, Beauharnois, did all in
his power to promote the enterprise, the burden and the risk were left to
the adventurer himself. La Vérendrye was authorized to find a way to the
Pacific at his own expense, in consideration of a monopoly of the fur-trade
in the regions north and west of Lake Superior. This vast and remote
country was held by tribes who were doubtful friends of the French, and
perpetual enemies of each other. The risks of the trade were as great as
its possible profits, and to reap these, vast outlays must first be made:
forts must be built, manned, provisioned, and stocked with goods brought
through two thousand miles of difficult and perilous wilderness. There were
other dangers, more insidious, and perhaps greater. The exclusive
privileges granted to La Vérendrye would inevitably rouse the intensest
jealousy of the Canadian merchants, and they would spare no effort to ruin
him. Intrigue and calumny would be busy in his absence. If, as was likely,
his patron, Beauharnois, should be recalled, the new governor might be
turned against him, his privileges might be suddenly revoked, the forts he
had built passed over to his rivals, and all his outlays turned to their
profit, as had happened to La Salle on the recall of his patron, Frontenac.
On the other hand, the country was full of the choicest furs, which the
Indians had hitherto carried to the English at Hudson Bay, but which the
proposed trading-posts would secure to the French. La Vérendrye's enemies
pretended that he thought of nothing but beaver-skins, and slighted the
discovery which he had bound himself to undertake; but his conduct proves
that he was true to his engagements, and that ambition to gain honorable
distinction in the service of the King had a large place among the motives
that impelled him.

As his own resources were of the smallest, he took a number of associates
on conditions most unfavorable to himself. Among them they raised money
enough to begin the enterprise, and on the 8th of June, 1731, La Vérendrye
and three of his sons, together with his nephew, La Jemeraye, the Jesuit
Messager, and a party of Canadians, set out from Montreal. It was late in
August before they reached the great portage of Lake Superior, which led
across the height of land separating the waters of that lake from those
flowing to Lake Winnipeg. The way was long and difficult. The men, who had
perhaps been tampered with, mutinied, and refused to go farther. [Footnote:
_Mémoire du Sieur de la Vérendrye du Sujet des Etablissements pour
parvenir a la Découverte de la Mer de l'Ouest,_ in Margry, VI. 585.] Some of
them, with much ado, consented at last to proceed, and, under the lead of
La Jemeraye, made their way by an intricate and broken chain of lakes and
streams to Rainy Lake, where they built a fort and called it Fort St.
Pierre. La Vérendrye was forced to winter with the rest of the party at the
river Kaministiguia, not far from the great portage. Here months were lost,
during which a crew of useless mutineers had to be fed and paid; and it was
not till the next June that he could get them again into motion towards
Lake Winnipeg.

This ominous beginning was followed by a train of disasters. His associates
abandoned him; the merchants on whom he depended for supplies would not
send them, and he found himself, in his own words "destitute of
everything." His nephew, La Jemeraye, died. The Jesuit Auneau, bent on
returning to Michillimackinac, set out with La Vérendrye's eldest son and a
party of twenty Canadians. A few days later, they were all found on an
island in the Lake of the Woods, murdered and mangled by the Sioux.
[Footnote: _Beauharnois au Ministre, 14 Oct. 1736; Relation du Massacre
au Lac des Bois, en Juin, 1736; Journal de la Vérendrye, joint à la lettre
de M. de Beauharnois du ---- Oct. 1737_.] The Assinniboins and
Cristineaux, mortal foes of that fierce people, offered to join the French
and avenge the butchery; but a war with the Sioux would have ruined La
Vérendrye's plans of discovery, and exposed to torture and death the French
traders in their country. Therefore he restrained himself and declined the
proffered aid, at the risk of incurring the contempt of those who offered

Beauharnois twice appealed to the court to give La Vérendrye some little
aid, urging that he was at the end of his resources, and that a grant of
30,000 francs, or 6,000 dollars, would enable him to find a way to the
Pacific. All help was refused, but La Vérendrye was told that he might let
out his forts to other traders, and so raise means to pursue the discovery.

In 1740 he went for the third time to Montreal, where, instead of aid, he
found a lawsuit. "In spite," he says, "of the derangement of my affairs,
the envy and jealousy of various persons impelled them to write letters to
the court insinuating that I thought of nothing but making my fortune. If
more than forty thousand livres of debt which I have on my shoulders are an
advantage, then I can flatter myself that I am very rich. In all my
misfortunes, I have the consolation of seeing that M. de Beauharnois enters
into my views, recognizes the uprightness of my intentions, and does me
justice in spite of opposition." [Footnote: Mémoire du Sieur de la
Vérendrye au sujet des Etablissements pour parvenir à la Découverte de la
Mer de l'Quest.]

Meanwhile, under all his difficulties, he had explored a vast region
hitherto unknown, diverted a great and lucrative fur-trade from the English
at Hudson Bay, and secured possession of it by six fortified posts,--Fort
St. Pierre, on Rainy Lake; Fort St. Charles, on the Lake of the Woods; Fort
Maurepas, at the mouth of the river Winnipeg; Fort Bourbon, on the eastern
side of Lake Winnipeg; Fort La Reine, on the Assinniboin; Fort Dauphin, on
Lake Manitoba. Besides these he built another post, called Fort Rouge, on
the site of the city of Winnipeg; and, some time after, another, at the
mouth of the River Poskoiac, or Saskatchawan, neither of which, however,
was long occupied. These various forts were only stockade works flanked
with block-houses; but the difficulty of building and maintaining them in
this remote wilderness was incalculable. [Footnote: _Mémoire en abrégé de
la Carte qui représente les Etablissements faits par le Sieur de la
Vérendrye et ses Enfants_ (Margry, VI. 616); _Carte des Nouvelles
Découvertes dans l'Ouest du Canada dressée sur les Mémoires de Mr. de la
Vérandrie et donnée au Dépôt de la Marine par M. de la Galissonnière,_
1750; Bellin, _Remarques surla Carte de l'Amérique,_ 1755;
Bougainville, _Mémoire sur l'Etat de la Nouvelle France, _1757.
Most of La Vérendrye's forts were standing during the Seven Years' War, and
were known collectively as _Postes de la Mer de l'Ouest_.]

He had inquired on all sides for the Pacific. The Assinniboins could tell
him nothing. Nor could any information be expected from them, since their
relatives and mortal enemies, the Sioux, barred their way to the West. The
Cristineaux were equally ignorant; but they supplied the place of knowledge
by invention, and drew maps, some of which seem to have been made with no
other intention than that of amusing themselves by imposing on the
inquirer. They also declared that some of their number had gone down a
river called White River, or River of the West, where they found a plant
that shed drops like blood, and saw serpents of prodigious size. They said
further that on the lower part of this river were walled towns, where dwelt
white men who had knives, hatchets, and cloth, but no firearms. [Footnote:
_Journal de la Vérendrye joint à la Lettre de M. de Beauharnois du ----
Oct. 1737_.]

Both Assinniboins and Cristineaux declared that there was a distant tribe
on the Missouri, called Mantannes (Mandans), who knew the way to the
Western Sea, and would guide him to it. Lured by this assurance, and
feeling that he had sufficiently secured his position to enable him to
begin his Western exploration, La Vérendrye left Fort La Reine in October,
1738, with twenty men, and pushed up the River Assinniboin till its rapids
and shallows threatened his bark canoes with destruction. Then, with a band
of Assinniboin Indians who had joined him, he struck across the prairie for
the Mandans, his Indian companions hunting buffalo on the way. They
approached the first Mandan village on the afternoon of the 3d of December,
displaying a French flag and firing three volleys as a salute. The whole
population poured out to see the marvellous visitors, who were conducted
through the staring crowd to the lodge of the principal chief,--a capacious
structure so thronged with the naked and greasy savages that the Frenchmen
were half smothered. What was worse, they lost the bag that held all their
presents for the Mandans, which was snatched away in the confusion, and
hidden in one of the _caches_, called cellars by La Vérendrye, of
which the place was full. The chief seemed much discomposed at this mishap,
and explained it by saying that there were many rascals in the village.
The loss was serious, since without the presents nothing could be done. Nor
was this all; for in the morning La Vérendrye missed his interpreter, and
was told that he had fallen in love with an Assinniboin girl and gone off
in pursuit of her. The French were now without any means of communicating
with the Mandans, from whom, however, before the disappearance of the
interpreter, they had already received a variety of questionable
information, chiefly touching white men cased in iron who were said to live
on the river below at the distance of a whole summer's journey. As they
were impervious to arrows,--so the story ran,--it was necessary to shoot
their horses, after which, being too heavy to run, they were easily caught.
This was probably suggested by the armor of the Spaniards, who had more
than once made incursions as far as the lower Missouri; but the narrators
drew on their imagination for various additional particulars.

The Mandans seem to have much declined in numbers during the century that
followed this visit of La Vérendrye. He says that they had six villages on
or near the Missouri, of which the one seen by him was the smallest, though
he thinks that it contained a hundred and thirty houses. [Footnote:
_Journal de la Vérendrye_, 1738,1739. This journal, which is
ill-written and sometimes obscure, is printed in Brymner, _Report on
Canadian Archives_, 1889.] As each of these large structures held a
number of families, the population must have been considerable. Yet when
Prince Maximilian visited the Mandans in 1833, he found only two villages,
containing jointly two hundred and forty warriors and a total population of
about a thousand souls. Without having seen the statements of La Vérendrye,
he speaks of the population as greatly reduced by wars and the
small-pox,--a disease which a few years later nearly exterminated the
tribe. [Footnote: Le Prince Maximilien de Wied-Neuwied, _Voyage dans
l'Intérieur de l'Amérique du Nord_, II. 371, 372 (Paris, 1843). When
Captains Lewis and Clark visited the Mandans in 1804, they found them in
two villages, with about three hundred and fifty warriors. They report
that, about forty years before, they lived in nine villages, the ruins of
which the explorers saw about eighty miles below the two villages then
occupied by the tribe. The Mandans had moved up the river in consequence of
the persecutions of the Sioux and the small-pox, which had made great havoc
among them. _Expedition of Lewis and Clark_, I. 129 (ed. Philadelphia,
1814).These nine villages seem to have been above Cannon-ball River, a
tributary of the Missouri.]

La Vérendrye represents the six villages as surrounded with ditches and
stockades, flanked by a sort of bastion,--defences which, he says, had
nothing savage in their construction. In later times the fortifications
were of a much ruder kind, though Maximilian represents them as having
pointed salients to serve as bastions. La Vérendrye mentions some peculiar
customs of the Mandans which answer exactly to those described by more
recent observers.

He had intended to winter with the tribe; but the loss of the presents and
the interpreter made it useless to stay, and leaving two men in the village
to learn the language, he began his return to Fort La Reine. "I was very
ill," he writes, "but hoped to get better on the way. The reverse was the
case, for it was the depth of winter. It would be impossible to suffer more
than I did. It seemed that nothing but death could release us from such
miseries." He reached Fort La Reine on the 11th of February, 1739.

His iron constitution seems to have been severely shaken; but he had sons
worthy of their father. The two men left among the Mandans appeared at Fort
La Reine in September. They reported that they had been well treated, and
that their hosts had parted from them with regret. They also declared that
at the end of spring several Indian tribes, all well supplied with horses,
had come, as was their yearly custom, to the Mandan villages to barter
embroidered buffalo hides and other skins for corn and beans; that they had
encamped, to the number of two hundred lodges, on the farther side of the
Missouri, and that among them was a band said to have come from a distant
country towards the sunset, where there were white men who lived in houses
built of bricks and stones.

The two Frenchmen crossed over to the camp of these Western strangers,
among whom they found a chief who spoke, or professed to speak, the
language of the mysterious white men, which to the two Frenchmen was
unintelligible. Fortunately, he also spoke the language of the Mandans, of
which the Frenchmen had learned a little during their stay, and hence were
able to gather that the white men in question had beards, and that they
prayed to the Master of Life in great houses, built for the purpose,
holding books, the leaves of which were like husks of Indian corn, singing
together and repeating _Jésus, Marie_. The chief gave many other
particulars, which seemed to show that he had been in contact with
Spaniards,--probably those of California; for he described their houses as
standing near the great lake, of which the water rises and falls and is not
fit to drink. He invited the two Frenchmen to go with him to this strange
country, saying that it could be reached before winter, though a wide
circuit must be made, to avoid a fierce and dangerous tribe called Snake
Indians (_Gens du Serpent_). [Footnote: _Journal du Sieur de la
Vérendrye_, 1740, in Archives de la Marine.]

On hearing this story, La Vérendrye sent his eldest son, Pierre, to pursue
the discovery with two men, ordering him to hire guides among the Mandans
and make his way to the Western Sea. But no guides were to be found, and in
the next summer the young man returned from his bootless errand.
[Footnote: _Mémoire du Sieur de la Vérendrye, joint à sa lettre du 31
Oct. 1744_]

Undaunted by this failure, Pierre set out again in the next spring, 1742,
with his younger brother, the Chevalier de la Vérendrye. Accompanied only
by two Canadians, they left Port La Reine on the 29th of April, and
following, no doubt, the route of the Assinniboin and Mouse River, reached
the chief village of the Mandans in about three weeks.

Here they found themselves the welcome guests of this singularly
interesting tribe, ruined by the small-pox nearly half a century ago, but
preserved to memory by the skilful pencil of the artist Charles Bodmer, and
the brush of the painter George Catlin, both of whom saw them at a time
when they were little changed in habits and manners since the visit of the
brothers La Vérendrye. [Footnote: Prince Maximilian spent the winter of
1832-33 near the Mandan villages. His artist, with the instinct of genius,
seized the characteristics of the wild life before him, and rendered them
with admirable vigor and truth. Catlin spent a considerable time among the
Mandans soon after the visit of Prince Maximilian, and had unusual
opportunities of studying them. He was an indifferent painter, a shallow
observer, and a garrulous and windy writer; yet his enthusiastic industry
is beyond praise, and his pictures are invaluable as faithful reflections
of aspects of Indian life which are gone forever.]

[Footnote: Beauharnois calls the Mandans _Blancs Barbus_, and says
that they have been hitherto unknown. _Beauharnois au Ministre, 14
Août_, 1739. The name Mantannes, or Mandans, is that given them by the

Thus, though the report of the two brothers is too concise and brief, we
know what they saw when they entered the central area, or public square, of
the village. Around stood the Mandan lodges, looking like round flattened
hillocks of earth, forty or fifty feet wide. On examination they proved to
be framed of strong posts and poles, covered with a thick matting of
intertwined willow-branches, over which was laid a bed of well-compacted
clay or earth two or three feet thick. This heavy roof was supported by
strong interior posts. [Footnote: The Minnetarees and other tribes of the
Missouri built their lodges in a similar way.] The open place which the
dwellings enclosed served for games, dances, and the ghastly religious or
magical ceremonies practised by the tribe. Among the other structures was
the sacred "medicine lodge" distinguished by three or four tall poles
planted before it, each surmounted by an effigy looking much like a
scarecrow, and meant as an offering to the spirits.

If the two travellers had been less sparing of words, they would doubtless
have told us that as they entered the village square the flattened earthen
domes that surrounded it were thronged with squaws and children,--for this
was always the case on occasions of public interest,--and that they were
forced to undergo a merciless series of feasts in the lodges of the chiefs.
Here, seated by the sunken hearth in the middle, under the large hole in
the roof that served both for window and chimney, they could study at their
ease the domestic economy of their entertainers. Each lodge held a
_gens_, or family connection, whose beds of raw buffalo hide,
stretched on poles, were ranged around the circumference of the building,
while by each stood a post on which hung shields, lances, bows, quivers,
medicine-bags, and masks formed of the skin of a buffalo's head, with the
horns attached, to be used in the magic buffalo dance.

Every day had its sports to relieve the monotony of savage existence, the
game of the stick and the rolling ring, the archery practice of boys,
horse-racing on the neighboring prairie, and incessant games of chance;
while every evening, in contrast to these gayeties, the long, dismal wail
of women rose from the adjacent cemetery, where the dead of the village,
sewn fast in buffalo hides, lay on scaffolds above the reach of wolves.

The Mandans did not know the way to the Pacific, but they told the brothers
that they expected a speedy visit from a tribe or band called Horse
Indians, who could guide them thither. It is impossible to identify this
people with any certainty. [Footnote: The Cheyennes have a tradition that
they were the first tribe of this region to have horses. This may perhaps
justify a conjecture that the northern division of this brave and warlike
people were the Horse Indians of La Vérendrye; though an Indian tradition,
unless backed by well-established facts, can never be accepted as
substantial evidence.] The two travellers waited for them in vain till
after midsummer, and then, as the season was too far advanced for longer
delay, they hired two Mandans to conduct them to their customary haunts.

They set out on horseback, their scanty baggage and their stock of presents
being no doubt carried by pack-animals. Their general course was
west-southwest, with the Black Hills at a distance on their left, and the
upper Missouri on their right. The country was a rolling prairie, well
covered for the most part with grass, and watered by small alkaline streams
creeping towards the Missouri with an opaque, whitish current. Except along
the watercourses, there was little or no wood. "I noticed," says the
Chevalier de la Vérendrye, "earths of different colors, blue, green, red,
or black, white as chalk, or yellowish like ochre." This was probably in
the "bad lands" of the Little Missouri, where these colored earths form a
conspicuous feature in the bare and barren bluffs, carved into fantastic
shapes by the storms. [Footnote: A similar phenomenon occurs farther west
on the face of the perpendicular bluffs that, in one place, border the
valley of the river Rosebud.]

For twenty days the travellers saw no human being, so scanty was the
population of these plains. Game, however, was abundant. Deer sprang from
the tall, reedy grass of the river bottoms; buffalo tramped by in ponderous
columns, or dotted the swells of the distant prairie with their grazing
thousands; antelope approached, with the curiosity of their species, to
gaze at the passing horsemen, then fled like the wind; and as they neared
the broken uplands towards the Yellowstone, they saw troops of elk and
flocks of mountain-sheep. Sometimes, for miles together, the dry plain was
studded thick with the earthen mounds that marked the burrows of the
curious marmots, called prairie-dogs, from their squeaking bark. Wolves,
white and gray, howled about the camp at night, and their cousin, the
coyote, seated in the dusk of evening upright on the grass, with nose
turned to the sky, saluted them with a complication of yelpings, as if a
score of petulant voices were pouring together from the throat of one small

On the 11th of August, after a march of about three weeks, the brothers
reached a hill, or group of hills, apparently west of the Little Missouri,
and perhaps a part of the Powder River Range. It was here that they hoped
to find the Horse Indians, but nobody was to be seen. Arming themselves
with patience, they built a hut, made fires to attract by the smoke any
Indians roaming near, and went every day to the tops of the hills to
reconnoitre. At length, on the 14th of September, they descried a spire of
smoke on the distant prairie.

One of their Mandan guides had left them and gone back to his village. The
other, with one of the Frenchmen, went towards the smoke, and found a camp
of Indians, whom the journal calls Les Beaux Hommes, and who were probably
Crows, or Apsaroka, a tribe remarkable for stature and symmetry, who long
claimed that region as their own. They treated the visitors well, and sent
for the other Frenchmen to come to their lodges, where they were received
with great rejoicing. The remaining Mandan, however, became
frightened,--for the Beaux Hommes were enemies of his tribe,--and he soon
followed his companion on his solitary march homeward.

The brothers remained twenty-one days in the camp of the Beaux Hommes, much
perplexed for want of an interpreter. The tribes of the plains have in
common a system of signs by which they communicate with each other, and it
is likely that the brothers had learned it from the Sioux or Assinniboins,
with whom they had been in familiar intercourse. By this or some other
means they made their hosts understand that they wished to find the Horse
Indians; and the Beaux Hommes, being soothed by presents, offered some of
their young men as guides. They set out on the 9th of October, following a
south-southwest course. [Footnote: _Journal du Voyage fait par le
Chevalier de la Vérendrye en 1742._ The copy before me is from the
original in the Depot des Cartes de la Marine. A duplicate, in the Archives
des Affaires Etrangères, is printed by Margry. It gives the above date as
November 9th instead of October 9th. The context shows the latter to be

In two days they met a band of Indians, called by them the Little Foxes,
and on the 15th and 17th two villages of another unrecognizable horde,
named Pioya. From La Vérendrye's time to our own, this name "villages" has
always been given to the encampments of the wandering people of the plains.
All these nomadic communities joined them, and they moved together
southward, till they reached at last the lodges of the long-sought Horse
Indians. They found them in the extremity of distress and terror. Their
camp resounded with howls and wailings; and not without cause, for the
Snakes, or Shoshones,--a formidable people living farther westward,--had
lately destroyed most of their tribe. The Snakes were the terror of that
country. The brothers were told that the year before they had destroyed
seventeen villages, killing the warriors and old women, and carrying off
the young women and children as slaves.

None of the Horse Indians had ever seen the Pacific; but they knew a people
called Gens de l'Arc, or Bow Indians, who, as they said, had traded not far
from it. To the Bow Indians, therefore, the brothers resolved to go, and by
dint of gifts and promises they persuaded their hosts to show them the way.
After marching southwestward for several days, they saw the distant prairie
covered with the pointed buffalo-skin lodges of a great Indian camp. It was
that of the Bow Indians, who may have been one of the bands of the western
Sioux,--the predominant race in this region. Few or none of them could ever
have seen a white man, and we may imagine their amazement at the arrival of
the strangers, who, followed by staring crowds, were conducted to the lodge
of the chief. "Thus far," says La Vérendrye, "we had been well received in
all the villages we had passed; but this was nothing compared with the
courteous manners of the great chief of the Bow Indians, who, unlike the
others, was not self-interested in the least, and who took excellent care
of everything belonging to us."

The first inquiry of the travellers was for the Pacific; but neither the
chief nor his tribesmen knew anything of it, except what they had heard
from Snake prisoners taken in war. The Frenchmen were surprised at the
extent of the camp, which consisted of many separate bands. The chief
explained that they had been summoned from far and near for a grand
war-party against that common foe of all,--the Snakes. [Footnote: The
enmity between the Sioux and the Snakes lasted to our own time. When the
writer lived among the western Sioux, one of their chiefs organized a
war-party against the Snakes, and numerous bands came to join the
expedition from a distance in some cases of three hundred miles. Quarrels
broke out among them, and the scheme was ruined.] In fact, the camp
resounded with war-songs and war-dances. "Come with us," said their host;
"we are going towards the mountains, where you can see the great water that
you are looking for."

At length the camp broke up. The squaws took down the lodges, and the march
began over prairies dreary and brown with the withering touch of autumn.
The spectacle was such as men still young have seen in these Western lands,
but which no man will see again. The vast plain swarmed with the moving
multitude. The tribes of the Missouri and the Yellowstone had by this time
abundance of horses, the best of which were used for war and hunting, and
the others as beasts of burden. These last were equipped in a peculiar
manner. Several of the long poles used to frame the teepees, or lodges,
were secured by one end to each side of a rude saddle, while the other end
trailed on the ground. Crossbars lashed to the poles just behind the horse
kept them three or four feet apart, and formed a firm support, on which was
laid, compactly folded, the buffalo-skin covering of the lodge. On this,
again, sat a mother with her young family, sometimes stowed for safety in a
large open willow basket, with the occasional addition of some domestic
pet,--such as a tame raven, a puppy, or even a small bear cub. Other horses
were laden in the same manner with wooden bowls, stone hammers, and other
utensils, along with stores of dried buffalo-meat packed in cases of
rawhide whitened and painted. Many of the innumerable dogs--whose manners
and appearance strongly suggested their relatives the wolves, to whom,
however, they bore a mortal grudge--were equipped in a similar way, with
shorter poles and lighter loads. Bands of naked boys, noisy and restless,
roamed the prairie, practising their bows and arrows on any small animal
they might find. Gay young squaws--adorned on each cheek with a spot of
ochre or red clay, and arrayed in tunics of fringed buckskin embroidered
with porcupine quills--were mounted on ponies, astride like men; while lean
and tattered hags--the drudges of the tribe, unkempt and hideous--scolded
the lagging horses, or screeched at the disorderly dogs, with voices not
unlike the yell of the great horned owl. Most of the warriors were on
horseback, armed with round, white shields of bull-hide, feathered lances,
war-clubs, bows, and quivers filled with stone-headed arrows; while a few
of the elders, wrapped in robes of buffalo-hide, stalked along in groups
with a stately air, chatting, laughing, and exchanging unseemly jokes.
[Footnote: The above descriptive particulars are drawn from repeated
observation of similar scenes at a time when the primitive condition of
these tribes was essentially unchanged, though with the difference that the
concourse of savages counted by hundreds, and not by thousands.]

"We continued our march," says La Vérendrye, "sometimes south-southwest,
and now and then northwest; our numbers constantly increasing by villages
of different tribes which joined us." The variations of their course were
probably due to the difficulties of the country, which grew more rugged as
they advanced, with broken hills, tracts of dingy green sage-bushes, and
bright, swift streams, edged with cottonwood and willow, hurrying northward
to join the Yellowstone. At length, on the 1st of January, 1743, they saw
what was probably the Bighorn Range of the Rocky Mountains, a hundred and
twenty miles east of the Yellowstone Park.

A council of all the allied bands was now called, and the Frenchmen were
asked to take part in it. The questions discussed were how to dispose of
the women and children, and how to attack the enemy. Having settled their
plans, the chiefs begged their white friends not to abandon them; and the
younger of the two, the Chevalier, consented to join the warriors, and aid
them with advice, though not with arms.

The tribes of the Western plains rarely go on war-parties in winter, and
this great expedition must have been the result of unusual exasperation.
The object was to surprise the Snakes in the security of their winter camp,
and strike a deadly blow, which would have been impossible in summer.

On the 8th of January the whole body stopped to encamp, choosing, no doubt,
after the invariable winter custom of Western Indians, a place sheltered
from wind, and supplied with water and fuel. Here the squaws and children
were to remain, while most of the warriors advanced against the enemy. By
pegging the lower edge of the lodge-skin to the ground, and piling a ridge
of stones and earth upon it to keep out the air, fastening with wooden
skewers the flap of hide that covered the entrance, and keeping a constant
fire, they could pass a winter endurable to Indians, though smoke, filth,
vermin, bad air, the crowd, and the total absence of privacy, would make it
a purgatory to any civilized white man.

The Chevalier left his brother to watch over the baggage of the party,
which was stored in the lodge of the great chief, while he himself, with
his two Canadians, joined the advancing warriors. They were on horseback,
marching with a certain order, and sending watchmen to reconnoitre the
country from the tops of the hills. [Footnote: At least this was done by a
band of Sioux with whom the writer once traversed a part of the country
ranged by these same Snakes, who had lately destroyed an entire Sioux

Their movements were so slow that it was twelve days before they reached
the foot of the mountains, which, says La Vérendrye, "are for the most part
well wooded, and seem very high." [Footnote: The Bighorn Range, below the
snow line, is in the main well timbered with pine, fir, oak, and juniper.]
He longed to climb their great snow-encumbered peaks, fancying that he
might then see the Pacific, and never dreaming that more than eight hundred
miles of mountains and forests still lay between him and his goal.

Through the whole of the present century the villages of the Snakes were at
a considerable distance west of the Bighorn Range, and some of them were
even on the upper waters of the Pacific slope. It is likely that they were
so in 1743, in which case the war-party would not only have reached the
Bighorn Mountains, but have pushed farther on to within sight of the great
Wind River Range. Be this as it may, their scouts reached the chief winter
camp of the Snakes, and found it abandoned, with lodges still standing, and
many household possessions left behind. The enemy had discovered their
approach, and fled. Instead of encouraging the allies, this news filled
them with terror, for they feared that the Snake warriors might make a
circuit to the rear, and fall upon the camp where they had left their women
and children. The great chief spent all his eloquence in vain, nobody would
listen to him; and with characteristic fickleness they gave over the
enterprise, and retreated in a panic. "Our advance was made in good order;
but not so our retreat," says the Chevalier's journal. "Everybody fled his
own way. Our horses, though good, were very tired, and got little to eat."
The Chevalier was one day riding with his friend, the great chief, when,
looking behind him, he missed his two French attendants. Hastening back in
alarm, he found them far in the rear, quietly feeding their horses under
the shelter of a clump of trees. He had scarcely joined them when he saw a
party of fifteen hostile Indians stealthily creeping forward, covered by
their bull-hide shields. He and his men let them approach, and then gave
them a few shots; on which they immediately ran off, firearms being to them
an astounding novelty.

The three Frenchmen now tried to rejoin the great chief and his band, but
the task was not easy. The prairie, bare of snow and hard as flint, showed
no trace of foot or hoof; and it was by rare good fortune that they
succeeded, on the second day, not in overtaking the chief, but in reaching
the camp where the women and children had been left. They found them all in
safety; the Snakes had not attacked them, and the panic of the warriors was
needless. It was the 9th of February. They were scarcely housed when a
blizzard set in, and on the night of the 10th the plains were buried in
snow. The great chief had not appeared. With such of his warriors as he
could persuade to follow him, he had made a wide circuit to find the trail
of the lost Frenchmen, but, to his great distress, had completely failed.
It was not till five days after the arrival of the Chevalier and his men
that the chief reached the camp, "more dead than alive," in the words of
the journal. All his hardships were forgotten when he found his white
friends safe, for he had given them up for lost. "His sorrow turned to joy,
and he could not give us attention and caresses enough."

The camp broke up, and the allied bands dispersed. The great chief and his
followers moved slowly through the snowdrifts towards the east-southeast,
accompanied by the Frenchmen. Thus they kept on till the 1st of March, when
the two brothers, learning that they were approaching the winter village of
a people called Gens de la Petite Cerise, or Choke-Cherry Indians, sent one
of their men, with a guide, to visit them. The man returned in ten days,
bringing a message from the Choke-Cherry Indians, inviting the Frenchmen to
their lodges.

The great chief of the Bow Indians, who seems to have regarded his young
friends with mingled affection, respect, and wonder, was grieved at the
thought of losing them, but took comfort when they promised to visit him
again, provided that he would make his abode near a certain river which
they pointed out. To this he readily agreed, and then, with mutual regret,
they parted. [Footnote: The only two tribes of this region who were a match
for the Snakes were the Sioux and the Blackfeet. it is clear that the Bow
Indians could not have been Blackfeet, as in that case, after the war-party
broke up, they would have moved northward towards their own country,
instead of east-southeast into the country of their enemies. Hence I
incline to think the Bow Indians a band of Sioux, or Dakota,--a people
then, as since, predominant in that country.] [Footnote: The banks of the
Missouri, in the part which La Vérendrye would have reached in following an
east-southeast course, were occupied by numerous bands or sub-tribes of
Sioux, such as the Minneconjou, Yankton, Oncpapa, Brulé, and others,
friends and relatives of the Bow Indians, supposing these to have been

The Frenchmen repaired to the village of the Choke-Cherry Indians, who,
like the Bow Indians, were probably a band of Sioux. [Footnote: The Sioux,
Cheyennes, and other prairie tribes use the small astringent wild cherry
for food. The squaws pound it, stones and all, and then dry it for winter
use.] Hard by their lodges, which stood near the Missouri, the brothers
buried a plate of lead graven with the royal arms, and raised a pile of
stones in honor of the Governor of Canada. They remained at this place till
April; then, mounting their horses again, followed the Missouri upward to
the village of the Mandans, which they reached on the 18th of May. After
spending a week here, they joined a party of Assinniboins, journeyed with
them towards Fort La Reine, and reached it on the 2d of July,--to the great
relief of their father, who was waiting in suspense, having heard nothing
of them for more than a year.

Sixty-two years later, when the vast western regions then called Louisiana
had just been ceded to the United States, Captains Lewis and Clark left the
Mandan villages with thirty-two men, traced the Missouri to the mountains,
penetrated the wastes beyond, and made their way to the Pacific. The first
stages of that remarkable exploration were anticipated by the brothers La
Vérendrye. They did not find the Pacific, but they discovered the Rocky
Mountains, or at least the part of them to which the name properly belongs;
for the southern continuation of the great range had long been known to the
Spaniards. Their bold adventure was achieved, not at the charge of a
government, but at their own cost and that of their father,--not with a
band of well-equipped men, but with only two followers.

The fur-trading privilege which was to have been their compensation had
proved their ruin. They were still pursued without ceasing by the jealousy
of rival traders and the ire of disappointed partners. "Here in Canada more
than anywhere else," the Chevalier wrote, some years after his return,
"envy is the passion _à la mode,_ and there is no escaping it."
[Footnote: Le Chevalier de la Vérendrye au Ministre, 30 Sept. 1750.] It was
the story of La Salle repeated. Beauharnois, however, still stood by them,
encouraged and defended them, and wrote in their favor to the colonial
minister. [Footnote: _La Vérendrye père au Ministre, 1 Nov. 1746,_ in
Margry VI. 611.] It was doubtless through his efforts that the elder La
Vérendrye was at last promoted to a captaincy in the colony troops.
Beauharnois was succeeded in the government by the sagacious and able
Galissonière, and he too befriended the explorers. "It seems to me," he
wrote to the minister, "that what you have been told touching the Sieur de
la Vérendrye, to the effect that he has been more busy with his own
interests than in making discoveries, is totally false, and, moreover, that
any officers employed in such work will always be compelled to give some of
their attention to trade, so long as the King allows them no other means of
subsistence. These discoveries are very costly, and more fatiguing and
dangerous than open war." [Footnote: _La Galissonière au Ministre, 23
Oct. 1747._] Two years later, the elder La Vérendrye received the cross
of the Order of St. Louis,--an honor much prized in Canada, but which he
did not long enjoy; for he died at Montreal in the following December, when
on the point of again setting out for the West.

His intrepid sons survived, and they were not idle. One of them, the
Chevalier, had before discovered the river Saskatchawan, and ascended it as
far as the forks. [Footnote: _Mémoire en abrégé des Établissements et
Découvertes faits par le Sieur de la Vérendrye et ses Enfants._] His
intention was to follow it to the mountains, build a fort there, and thence
push westward in another search for the Pacific; but a disastrous event
ruined all his hopes. La Galissonière returned to France, and the Marquis
de la Jonquière succeeded him, with the notorious François Bigot as
intendant. Both were greedy of money,--the one to hoard, and the other to
dissipate it. Clearly there was money to be got from the fur-trade of
Manitoba, for La Vérendrye had made every preparation and incurred every
expense. It seemed that nothing remained but to reap where he had sown.
His commission to find the Pacific, with the privileges connected with it,
was refused to his sons, and conferred on a stranger. La Jonquière wrote to
the minister: "I have charged M. de Saint-Pierre with this business. He
knows these countries better than any officer in all the colony."
[Footnote: _La Jonquière au Ministre, 27 Fev. 1750_.] On the contrary,
he had never seen them. It is difficult not to believe that La Jonquière,
Bigot, and Saint-Pierre were partners in a speculation of which all three
were to share the profits.

The elder La Vérendrye, not long before his death, had sent a large
quantity of goods to his trading-forts. The brothers begged leave to return
thither and save their property from destruction. They declared themselves
happy to serve under the orders of Saint-Pierre, and asked for the use of
only a single fort of all those which their father had built at his own
cost. The answer was a flat refusal. In short, they were shamefully robbed.
The Chevalier writes: "M. le Marquis de la Jonquière, being pushed hard,
and as I thought even touched, by my representations, told me at last that
M. de Saint-Pierre wanted nothing to do with me or my brothers." "I am a
ruined man," he continues. "I am more than two thousand livres in debt, and
am still only a second ensign. My elder brother's grade is no better than
mine. My younger brother is only a cadet. This is the fruit of all that my
father, my brothers, and I have done. My other brother, whom the Sioux
murdered some years ago, was not the most unfortunate among us. We must
lose all that has cost us so much, unless M. de Saint-Pierre should take
juster views, and prevail on the Marquis de la Jonquière to share them. To
be thus shut out from the West is to be most cruelly robbed of a sort of
inheritance which we had all the pains of acquiring, and of which others
will get all the profit." [Footnote: _Le Chevalier de la Vérendrye au
Ministre, 30 Sept. 1750._]

His elder brother writes in a similar strain: "We spent our youth and our
property in building up establishments so advantageous to Canada; and after
all, we were doomed to see a stranger gather the fruit we had taken such
pains to plant." And he complains that their goods left in the
trading-posts were wasted, their provisions consumed, and the men in their
pay used to do the work of others. [Footnote: _Mémoire des Services de
Pierre Gautier de la Vérendrye l'aisné, présenté à Mg'r. Rouille, ministre
et secrétaire d'Etat._]

They got no redress. Saint-Pierre, backed by the Governor and the
Intendant, remained master of the position. The brothers sold a small piece
of land, their last remaining property, to appease their most pressing
creditors. [Footnote: Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, in spite of his treatment
of the La Vérendrye brothers, had merit as an officer. It was he who
received Washington at Fort Le Bœuf in 1754. He was killed in 1755, at the
battle of Lake George. See _Montcalm and Wolfe,_ I. 303.]

Saint-Pierre set out for Manitoba on the 5th of June, 1750. Though he had
lived more or less in the woods for thirty-six years, and though La
Jonquière had told the minister that he knew the countries to which he was
bound better than anybody else, it is clear from his own journal that he
was now visiting them for the first time. They did not please him. "I was
told," he says, "that the way would grow harder and more dangerous as we
advanced, and I found, in fact, that one must risk life and property every
moment." Finding himself and his men likely to starve, he sent some of
them, under an ensign named Niverville, to the Saskatchawan. They could not
reach it, and nearly perished on the way. "I myself was no more fortunate,"
says Saint-Pierre. "Food was so scarce that I sent some of my people into
the woods among the Indians,--which did not save me from a fast so rigorous
that it deranged my health and put it out of my power to do anything
towards accomplishing my mission. Even if I had had strength enough, the
war that broke out among the Indians would have made it impossible to

Niverville, after a winter of misery, tried to fulfil an order which he had
received from his commander. When the Indians guided the two brothers La
Vérendrye to the Rocky Mountains, the course they took tended so far
southward that the Chevalier greatly feared it might lead to Spanish
settlements; and he gave it as his opinion that the next attempt to find
the Pacific should be made farther towards the north. Saint-Pierre had
agreed with him, and had directed Niverville to build a fort on the
Saskatchawan, three hundred leagues above its mouth. Therefore, at the end
of May, 1751, Niverville sent ten men in two canoes on this errand, and
they ascended the Saskatchawan to what Saint-Pierre calls the "Rock
Mountain." Here they built a small stockade fort and called it Fort La
Jonquière. Niverville was to have followed them; but he fell ill, and lay
helpless at the mouth of the river in such a condition that he could not
even write to his commander.

Saint-Pierre set out in person from Fort La Reine for Fort La Jonquière,
over ice and snow, for it was late in November. Two Frenchmen from
Niverville met him on the way, and reported that the Assinniboins had
slaughtered an entire band of friendly Indians on whom Saint-Pierre had
relied to guide him. On hearing this he gave up the enterprise, and
returned to Fort La Reine. Here the Indians told him idle stories about
white men and a fort in some remote place towards the west; but, he
observes, "nobody could reach it without encountering an infinity of tribes
more savage than it is possible to imagine."

He spent most of the winter at Fort La Reine. Here, towards the end of
February, 1752, he had with him only five men, having sent out the rest in
search of food. Suddenly, as he sat in his chamber, he saw the fort full of
armed Assinniboins, extremely noisy and insolent. He tried in vain to quiet
them, and they presently broke into the guard-house and seized the arms. A
massacre would have followed, had not Saint-Pierre, who was far from
wanting courage, resorted to an expedient which has more than once proved
effective on such occasions. He knocked out the heads of two barrels of
gunpowder, snatched a firebrand, and told the yelping crowd that he would
blow up them and himself together. At this they all rushed in fright out of
the gate, while Saint-Pierre ran after them, and bolted it fast. There was
great anxiety for the hunters, but they all came back in the evening,
without having met the enemy. The men, however, were so terrified by the
adventure that Saint-Pierre was compelled to abandon the fort, after
recommending it to the care of another band of Assinniboins, who had
professed great friendship. Four days after he was gone they burned it to
the ground.

He soon came to the conclusion that farther discovery was impossible,
because the English of Hudson Bay had stirred up the Western tribes to
oppose it. Therefore he set out for the settlements, and, reaching Quebec
in the autumn of 1753, placed the journal of his futile enterprise in the
hands of Duquesne, the new governor. [Footnote: _Journal sommaire du
Voyage de Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, chargé de la Découverte de la
Mer de l'Ouest_ (British Museum).]

Canada was approaching her last agony. In the death-struggle of the Seven
Years' War there was no time for schemes of Western discovery. The brothers
La Vérendrye sank into poverty and neglect. A little before the war broke
out, we find the eldest at the obscure Acadian post of Beauséjour, where he
wrote to the colonial minister a statement of his services, which appears
to have received no attention. After the fall of Canada, the Chevalier de
la Vérendrye, he whose eyes first beheld the snowy peaks of the Rocky
Mountains, perished in the wreck of the ship "Auguste," on the coast of
Cape Breton, in November, 1761.

[Footnote: The above narrative rests mainly on contemporary documents,
official in character, of which the originals are preserved in the archives
of the French Government. These papers have recently been printed by M.
Pierre Margry, late custodian of the Archives of the Marine and Colonies at
Paris, in the sixth volume of his _Découvertes et Établissements des
Français dans l'Amérique Septentrionale,_--a documentary collection of
great value, published at the expense of the American Government. It was M.
Margry who first drew attention to the achievements of the family of La
Vérendrye, by an article in the _Moniteur_ in 1852. I owe to his
kindness the opportunity of using the above-mentioned documents in advance
of publication. I obtained copies from duplicate originals of some of the
principal among them from the Dépôt des Cartes de la Marine, in 1872. These
answer closely, with rare and trivial variations, to the same documents as
printed from other sources by M. Margry. Some additional papers preserved
in the Archives of the Marine and Colonies have also been used.]

[Footnote: My friends, Hon. William C. Endicott, then Secretary of War, and
Captain John G. Bourke, Third Cavalry, U. S. A., kindly placed in my hands
a valuable collection of Government maps and surveys of the country between
the Missouri and the Rocky Mountains visited by the brothers La Vérendrye;
and I have received from Captain Bourke, and also from Mr. E. A. Snow,
formerly of the Third Cavalry, much information concerning the same region,
repeatedly traversed by them in peace and war.]





We have seen that the contest between France and England in America divided
itself, after the Peace of Utrecht, into three parts,--the Acadian contest;
the contest for northern New England; and last, though greatest, the
contest for the West. Nothing is more striking than the difference, or
rather contrast, in the conduct and methods of the rival claimants to this
wild but magnificent domain. Each was strong in its own qualities, and
utterly wanting in the qualities that marked its opponent.

On maps of British America in the earlier part of the eighteenth century,
one sees the eastern shore, from Maine to Georgia, garnished with ten or
twelve colored patches, very different in shape and size, and defined, more
or less distinctly, by dividing lines which, in some cases, are prolonged
westward till they touch the Mississippi, or even cross it and stretch
indefinitely towards the Pacific. These patches are the British provinces,
and the westward prolongation of their boundary lines represents their
several claims to vast interior tracts, founded on ancient grants, but not
made good by occupation, or vindicated by any exertion of power.

These English communities took little thought of the region beyond the
Alleghanies. Each lived a life of its own, shut within its own limits, not
dreaming of a future collective greatness to which the possession of the
West would be a necessary condition. No conscious community of aims and
interests held them together, nor was there any authority capable of
uniting their forces and turning them to a common object. Some of the
servants of the Crown had urged the necessity of joining them all under a
strong central government, as the only means of making them loyal subjects
and arresting the encroachments of France; but the scheme was plainly
impracticable. Each province remained in jealous isolation, busied with its
own work, growing in strength, in the capacity of self-rule and the spirit
of independence, and stubbornly resisting all exercise of authority from
without. If the English-speaking populations flowed westward, it was in
obedience to natural laws, for the King did not aid the movement, the royal
governors had no authority to do so, and the colonial assemblies were too
much engrossed with immediate local interests. The power of these colonies
was that of a rising flood slowly invading and conquering, by the
unconscious force of its own growing volume, unless means be found to hold
it back by dams and embankments within appointed limits.

In the French colonies all was different. Here the representatives of the
Crown were men bred in an atmosphere of broad ambition and masterful and
far-reaching enterprise. Achievement was demanded of them. They recognized
the greatness of the prize, studied the strong and weak points of their
rivals, and with a cautious forecast and a daring energy set themselves to
the task of defeating them.

If the English colonies were comparatively strong in numbers, their numbers
could not be brought into action; while if the French forces were small,
they were vigorously commanded, and always ready at a word. It was union
confronting division, energy confronting apathy, military centralization
opposed to industrial democracy; and, for a time, the advantage was all on
one side.

The demands of the French were sufficiently comprehensive. They repented of
their enforced concessions at the Treaty of Utrecht, and in spite of that
compact, maintained that, with a few local and trivial exceptions, the
whole North American continent, except Mexico, was theirs of right; while
their opponents seemed neither to understand the situation, nor see the
greatness of the stakes at issue.

In 1720 Father Bobé, priest of the Congregation of Missions, drew up a
paper in which he sets forth the claims of France with much distinctness,
beginning with the declaration that "England has usurped from France nearly
everything that she possesses in America," and adding that the
plenipotentiaries at Utrecht did not know what they were about when they
made such concessions to the enemy; that, among other blunders, they gave
Port Royal to England when it belonged to France, who should "insist
vigorously" on its being given back to her.

He maintains that the voyages of Verrazzano and Ribaut made France owner of
the whole continent, from Florida northward; that England was an interloper
in planting colonies along the Atlantic coast, and will admit as much if
she is honest, since all that country is certainly a part of New France. In
this modest assumption of the point at issue, he ignores John Cabot and his
son Sebastian, who discovered North America more than twenty-five years
before the voyage of Verrazzano, and more than sixty years before that of

When the English, proceeds Father Bobé, have restored Port Royal to us,
which they are bound to do, though we ceded it by the treaty, a French
governor should be at once set over it, with a commission to command as far
as Cape Cod, which would include Boston. We should also fortify ourselves,
"in a way to stop the English, who have long tried to seize on French
America, of which they know the importance, and of which," he observes with
much candor, "they would make a better use than the French do...The
Atlantic coast, as far as Florida, was usurped from the French, to whom it
belonged then, and to whom it belongs now." [Footnote: "De maniere qu'on
puisse arreter les Anglois, qui depuis longtems tachent de s'emparer de
l'Amerique françoise, dont ils conoissent l'importance et dont ils feroient
un meillieur usage que celuy qui les françois en font."] England, as he
thinks, is bound in honor to give back these countries to their true owner;
and it is also the part of wisdom to do so, since by grasping at too much,
one often loses all. But France, out of her love of peace, will cede to
England the countries along the Atlantic, from the Kennebec in New France
to the Jordan [Footnote: On the river Jordan, so named by Vasquez de
Ayllon, see _Pioneers of France in the New World_, pp. 11, 39 (revised
edition) _note_. It was probably the Broad River of South Carolina.]
in Carolina, on condition that England will restore to her all that she
gave up by the Treaty of Utrecht. When this is done, France, always
generous, will consent to accept as boundary a line drawn from the mouth of
the Kennebec, passing thence midway between Schenectady and Lake Champlain
and along the ridge of the Alleghanies to the river Jordan, the country
between this line and the sea to belong to England, and the rest of the
continent to France.

If England does not accept this generous offer, she is to be told that the
King will give to the Compagnie des Indes (Law's Mississippi Company) full
authority to occupy "all the countries which the English have usurped from
France;" and, pursues Father Bobé, "it is certain that the fear of having
to do with so powerful a company will bring the English to our terms." The
company that was thus to strike the British heart with terror was the same
which all the tonics and stimulants of the government could not save from
predestined ruin. But, concludes this ingenious writer, whether England
accepts our offers or not, France ought not only to take a high tone
(_parler avec hauteur_), but also to fortify diligently, and make good
her right by force of arms. [Footnote: _Second Mémoire concernant les
Limites des Colonies présenté en 1720 par Bobé, prêtre de la Congrégation
de la Mission_ (Archives Nationales).]

Three years later we have another document, this time of an official
character, and still more radical in its demands. It admits that Port Royal
and a part of the Nova Scotian peninsula, under the name of Acadia, were
ceded to England by the treaty, and consents that she shall keep them, but
requires her to restore the part of New France that she has wrongfully
seized,--namely, the whole Atlantic coast from the Kennebec to Florida;
since France never gave England this country, which is hers by the
discovery of Verrazzano in 1524. Here, again, the voyages of the Cabots, in
1497 and 1498, are completely ignored.

"It will be seen," pursues this curious document, "that our kings have
always preserved sovereignty over the countries between the 30th and the
50th degrees of north latitude. A time will come when they will be in a
position to assert their rights, and then it will be seen that the
dominions of a king of France cannot be usurped with impunity. What we
demand now is that the English make immediate restitution." No doubt, the
paper goes on to say, they will pretend to have prescriptive rights,
because they have settled the country and built towns and cities in it; but
this plea is of no avail, because all that country is a part of New France,
and because England rightfully owns nothing in America except what we, the
French, gave her by the Treaty of Utrecht, which is merely Port Royal and
Acadia. She is bound in honor to give back all the vast countries she has
usurped; but, continues the paper, "the King loves the English nation too
much, and wishes too much to do her kindness, and is too generous to exact
such a restitution. Therefore, provided that England will give us back Port
Royal, Acadia, and everything else that France gave her by the Treaty of
Utrecht, the King will forego his rights, and grant to England the whole
Atlantic coast from the 32d degree of latitude to the Kennebec, to the
extent inland of twenty French leagues [about fifty miles], on condition
that she will solemnly bind herself never to overstep these limits or
encroach in the least on French ground."

Thus, through the beneficence of France, England, provided that she
renounced all pretension to the rest of the continent, would become the
rightful owner of an attenuated strip of land reaching southward from the
Kennebec along the Atlantic seaboard. The document containing this
magnanimous proposal was preserved in the Château St. Louis at Quebec till
the middle of the eighteenth century, when, the boundary dispute having
reached a crisis, and commissioners of the two powers having been appointed
to settle it, a certified copy of the paper was sent to France for their
instruction. [Footnote: _Demandes de la France_, 1723 (Archives des
Affaires Etrangères).]

Father Bobé had advised that France should not trust solely to the justice
of her claims, but should back right with might, and build forts on the
Niagara, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and the Alabama, as well as at other
commanding points, to shut out the English from the West. Of these
positions, Niagara was the most important, for the possession of it would
close the access to the Upper Lakes, and stop the Western tribes on their
way to trade at Albany. The Five Nations and the Governor of New York were
jealous of the French designs, which, however, were likely enough to
succeed, through the prevailing apathy and divisions in the British
colonies. "If those not immediately concerned," writes a member of the New
York council, "only stand gazing on while the wolff is murthering other
parts of the flock, it will come to every one's turn at last." The warning
was well founded, but it was not heeded. Again: "It is the policy of the
French to attack one colony at a time, and the others are so besotted as to
sit still." [Footnote: _Colonel Heathcote to Governor Hunter, 8 July_,
1715. _Ibid, to Townshend, 12 July_, 1715.]

For gaining the consent of the Five Nations to the building of a French
fort at Niagara, Vaudreuil trusted chiefly to his agent among the Senecas,
the bold, skilful, and indefatigable Joncaire, who was naturalized among
that tribe, the strongest of the confederacy. Governor Hunter of New York
sent Peter Schuyler and Philip Livingston to counteract his influence. The
Five Nations, who, conscious of declining power, seemed ready at this time
to be all things to all men, declared that they would prevent the French
from building at Niagara, which, as they said, would "shut them up as in a
prison." [Footnote: _Journal of Schuyler and Livingston_, 1720.] Not
long before, however, they had sent a deputation to Montreal to say that
the English made objection to Joncaire's presence among them, but that they
were masters of their land, and hoped that the French agent would come as
often as he pleased; and they begged that the new King of France would take
them under his protection. [Footnote: _Vaudreuil au Conseil de
Marine_, 24 _Oct._ 1717.] Accordingly, Vaudreuil sent them a
present, with a message to the effect that they might plunder such English
traders as should come among them. [Footnote: _Vaudreuil et Bégon au
Conseil de Marine_, 26 _Oct._ 1719]

Yet so jealous were the Iroquois of a French fort at Niagara that they sent
three Seneca chiefs to see what was going on there. The chiefs found a few
Frenchmen in a small blockhouse, or loopholed storehouse, which they had
just built near Lewiston Heights. The three Senecas requested them to
demolish it and go away, which the Frenchmen refused to do; on which the
Senecas asked the English envoys, Schuyler and Livingston, to induce the
Governor of New York to destroy the obnoxious building. In short, the Five
Nations wavered incessantly between their two European neighbors, and
changed their minds every day. The skill and perseverance of the French
emissaries so far prevailed at last that the Senecas consented to the
building of a fort at the mouth of the Niagara, where Denonville had built
one in 1687; and thus that important pass was made tolerably secure.

Meanwhile the English of New York, or rather Burnet, their governor, were
not idle. Burnet was on ill terms with his Assembly, which grudged him all
help in serving the province whose interests it was supposed to represent.
Burnet's plan was to build a fortified trading-house at Oswego, on Lake
Ontario, in the belief that the Western Indians, who greatly preferred
English goods and English prices, would pass Niagara and bring their furs
to the new post. He got leave from the Five Nations to execute his plan,
bought canoes, hired men, and built a loopholed house of stone on the site
of the present city of Oswego. As the Assembly would give no money, Burnet
furnished it himself; and though the object was one of the greatest
importance to the province, he was never fully repaid. [Footnote: "I am
ashamed to confess that he built the fort at his private expense, and that
a balance of above £56 remains due to his estate to this very day." Smith,
_History of New York_, 267 (ed. 1814).] A small garrison for the new
post was drawn from the four independent companies maintained in the
province at the charge of the Crown.

The establishment of Oswego greatly alarmed and incensed the French, and a
council of war at Quebec resolved to send two thousand men against it; but
Vaudreuil's successor, the Marquis de Beauharnois, learning that the court
was not prepared to provoke a war, contented himself with sending a summons
to the commanding officer to abandon and demolish the place within a
fortnight. [Footnote: _Mémoire de Dupuy_, 1728. Dupuy was intendant of
Canada. The King approved the conduct of Beauharnois in not using force.
_Dépêche du Roy, 14 Mai, 1728._] To this no attention was given; and
as Burnet had foreseen, Oswego became the great centre of Indian trade,
while Niagara, in spite of its more favorable position, was comparatively
slighted by the Western tribes. The chief danger rose from the obstinate
prejudice of the Assembly, which, in its disputes with the Royal Governor,
would give him neither men nor money to defend the new post.

The Canadian authorities, who saw in Oswego an intrusion on their domain
and a constant injury and menace, could not attack it without bringing on a
war, and therefore tried to persuade the Five Nations to destroy it,--an
attempt which completely failed. [Footnote: When urged by the younger
Longueuil to drive off the English from Oswego, the Indians replied, "Drive
them off thyself." _"Chassez-les toi-même." Longueuil fils au Ministre,
19 Oct. 1728._] They then established a trading-post at Toronto, in the
vain hope of stopping the Northern tribes on their way to the more
profitable English market, and they built two armed vessels at Fort
Frontenac to control the navigation of Lake Ontario.

Meanwhile, in another quarter the French made an advance far more
threatening to the English colonies than Oswego was to their own. They had
already built a stone fort at Chambly, which covered Montreal from any
English attack by way of Lake Champlain. As that lake was the great highway
between the rival colonies, the importance of gaining full mastery of it
was evident. It was rumored in Canada that the English meant to seize and
fortify the place called Scalp Point (_Pointe à la Chevelure_) by the
French, and Crown Point by the English, where the lake suddenly contracts
to the proportions of a river, so that a few cannon would stop the passage.

As early as 1726 the French made an attempt to establish themselves on the
east side of the lake opposite Crown Point, but were deterred by the
opposition of Massachusetts. This eastern shore was, however, claimed not
only by Massachusetts, but by her neighbor, New Hampshire, with whom she
presently fell into a dispute about the ownership, and, as a writer of the
time observes, "while they were quarrelling for the bone, the French ran
away with it." [Footnote: Mitchell, _Contest in America_, 22.]

At length, in 1731, the French took post on the western side of the lake,
and began to intrench themselves at Crown Point, which was within the
bounds claimed by New York; but that province, being then engrossed, not
only by her chronic dispute with her Governor, but by a quarrel with her
next neighbor, New Jersey, slighted the danger from the common enemy, and
left the French to work their will. It was Saint-Luc de la Corne,
Lieutenant du Roy at Montreal, who pointed out the necessity of fortifying
this place, [Footnote: _La Corne au Ministre, 15 Oct. 1730._] in order
to anticipate the English, who, as he imagined, were about to do so,--a
danger which was probably not imminent, since the English colonies, as a
whole, could not and would not unite for such a purpose, while the
individual provinces were too much absorbed in their own internal affairs
and their own jealousies and disputes to make the attempt. La Corne's
suggestion found favor at court, and the Governor of Canada was ordered to
occupy Crown Point. The Sieur de la Fresnière was sent thither with troops
and workmen, and a fort was built, and named Fort Frédéric. It contained a
massive stone tower, mounted with cannon to command the lake, which is here
but a musket-shot wide. Thus was established an advanced post of France,--a
constant menace to New York and New England, both of which denounced it as
an outrageous encroachment on British territory, but could not unite to rid
themselves of it. [Footnote: On the establishment of Crown Point,
_Beauharnois et Hocquart au Roy_, 10 Oct. 1731; _Beauharnois et
Hocquart au Ministre_, 14 Nov. 1731.]

While making this bold push against their neighbors of the South, the
French did not forget the West; and towards the middle of the century they
had occupied points controlling all the chief waterways between Canada and
Louisiana. Niagara held the passage from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. Detroit
closed the entrance to Lake Huron, and Michillimackinac guarded the point
where Lake Huron is joined by Lakes Michigan and Superior; while the fort
called La Baye, at the head of Green Bay, stopped the way to the
Mississippi by Marquette's old route of Fox River and the Wisconsin.
Another route to the Mississippi was controlled by a post on the Maumee to
watch the carrying-place between that river and the Wabash, and by another
on the Wabash where Vincennes now stands. La Salle's route, by way of the
Kankakee and the Illinois, was barred by a fort on the St. Joseph; and even
if, in spite of these obstructions, an enemy should reach the Mississippi
by any of its northern affluents, the cannon of Fort Chartres would prevent
him from descending it.

These various Western forts, except Fort Chartres and Fort Niagara, which
were afterwards rebuilt, the one in stone and the other in earth, were
stockades of no strength against cannon. Slight as they were, their
establishment was costly; and as the King, to whom Canada was a yearly
loss, grudged every franc spent upon it, means were contrived to make them
self-supporting. Each of them was a station of the fur-trade, and the
position of most of them had been determined more or less with a view to
that traffic.

Hence they had no slight commercial value. In some of them the Crown itself
carried on trade through agents who usually secured a lion's share of the
profits. Others were farmed out to merchants at a fixed sum. In others,
again, the commanding-officer was permitted to trade on condition of
maintaining the post, paying the soldiers, and supporting a missionary;
while in one case, at least, he was subjected to similar obligations,
though not permitted to trade himself, but only to sell trading licenses to
merchants. These methods of keeping up forts and garrisons were of course
open to prodigious abuses, and roused endless jealousies and rivalries.

France had now occupied the valley of the Mississippi, and joined with
loose and uncertain links her two colonies of Canada and Louisiana. But the
strength of her hold on these regions of unkempt savagery bore no
proportion to the vastness of her claims or the growing power of the rivals
who were soon to contest them. [Footnote: On the claim of France that all
North America, except the Spanish colonies of Mexico and Florida, belonged
to her, see Appendix A.]


1744, 1745.



The Peace of Utrecht left unsettled the perilous questions of boundary
between the rival powers in North America, and they grew more perilous
every day. Yet the quarrel was not yet quite ripe; and though the French
Governor, Vaudreuil, and perhaps also his successor, Beauharnois, seemed
willing to precipitate it, the courts of London and Versailles still
hesitated to appeal to the sword. Now, as before, it was a European, and
not an American, quarrel that was to set the world on fire. The War of the
Austrian Succession broke out in 1744. When Frederic of Prussia seized
Silesia and began that bloody conflict, it meant that packs of howling
savages would again spread fire and carnage along the New England border.

News of the declaration of war reached Louisbourg some weeks before it
reached Boston, and the French military Governor, Duquesnel, thought he saw
an opportunity to strike an unexpected blow for the profit of France and
his own great honor.

One of the French inhabitants of Louisbourg has left us a short sketch of
Duquesnel, whom he calls "capricious, of an uncertain temper, inclined to
drink, and when in his cups neither reasonable nor civil." [Footnote:
_Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg contenant une Relation exacte et
circonstanciée de la Prise de l'Isle Royale par les Anglois._] He adds
that the Governor had offended nearly every officer in the garrison, and
denounces him as the "chief cause of our disasters." When Duquesnel heard
of the declaration of war, his first thought was to strike some blow before
the English were warned. The fishing-station of Canseau was a tempting
prize, being a near and an inconvenient neighbor, at the southern end of
the Strait of Canseau, which separates the Acadian peninsula from the
island of Cape Breton, or Isle Royale, of which Louisbourg was the place of
strength. Nothing was easier than to seize Canseau, which had no defence
but a wooden redoubt built by the fishermen, and occupied by about eighty
Englishmen thinking no danger. Early in May, Duquesnel sent Captain
Duvivier against it, with six hundred, or, as the English say, nine hundred
soldiers and sailors, escorted by two small armed vessels. The English
surrendered, on condition of being sent to Boston, and the miserable
hamlet, with its wooden citadel, was burned to the ground.

Thus far successful, the Governor addressed himself to the capture of
Annapolis,--which meant the capture of all Acadia. Duvivier was again
appointed to the command. His heart was in the work, for he was a
descendant of La Tour, feudal claimant of Acadia in the preceding century.
Four officers and ninety regular troops were given him, [Footnote:
_Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg._] and from three to four hundred
Micmac and Malecite Indians joined him on the way. The Micmacs, under
command, it is said, of their missionary, Le Loutre, had already tried to
surprise the English fort, but had only succeeded in killing two unarmed
stragglers in the adjacent garden. [Footnote: _Mascarene to the
Besiegers, 3 July,_ 1744. Duquesnel had written to all the missionaries
"d'engager les sauvages à faire quelque coup important sur le fort"
(Annapolis). _Duquesnel à Beauharnois, 1 Juin_, 1744.]

Annapolis, from the neglect and indifference of the British ministry, was
still in such a state of dilapidation that its sandy ramparts were
crumbling into the ditches, and the cows of the garrison walked over them
at their pleasure. It was held by about a hundred effective men under Major
Mascarene, a French Protestant whose family had been driven into exile by
the persecutions that followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Shirley, governor of Massachusetts, sent him a small reinforcement of
militia; but as most of these came without arms, and as Mascarene had few
or none to give them, they proved of doubtful value.

Duvivier and his followers, white and red, appeared before the fort in
August, made their camp behind the ridge of a hill that overlooked it, and
marched towards the rampart; but being met by a discharge of cannon-shot,
they gave up all thoughts of an immediate assault, began a fusillade under
cover of darkness, and kept the garrison on the alert all night.

Duvivier had looked for help from the Acadians of the neighboring village,
who were French in blood, faith, and inclination. They would not join him
openly, fearing the consequences if his attack should fail; but they did
what they could without committing themselves, and made a hundred and fifty
scaling-ladders for the besiegers. Duvivier now returned to his first plan
of an assault, which, if made with vigor, could hardly have failed. Before
attempting it, he sent Mascarene a flag of truce to tell him that he hourly
expected two powerful armed ships from Louisbourg, besides a reinforcement
of two hundred and fifty regulars, with cannon, mortars, and other enginery
of war. At the same time he proposed favorable terms of capitulation, not
to take effect till the French war-ships should have appeared. Mascarene
refused all terms, saying that when he saw the French ships, he would
consider what to do, and meanwhile would defend himself as he could.

The expected ships were the "Ardent" and the "Caribou," then at Louisbourg.
A French writer says that when Duquesnel directed their captains to sail
for Annapolis and aid in its capture, they refused, saying that they had no
orders from the court. [Footnote: _ettre d'un Habitant de
Louisbourg._] Duvivier protracted the parley with Mascarene, and waited
in vain for the promised succor. At length the truce was broken off, and
the garrison, who had profited by it to get rest and sleep, greeted the
renewal of hostilities with three cheers.

Now followed three weeks of desultory attacks; but there was no assault,
though Duvivier had boasted that he had the means of making a successful
one. He waited for the ships which did not come, and kept the Acadians at
work in making ladders and fire-arrows. At length, instead of aid from
Louisbourg, two small vessels appeared from Boston, bringing Mascarene a
reinforcement of fifty Indian rangers. This discouraged the besiegers, and
towards the end of September they suddenly decamped and vanished. "The
expedition was a failure," writes the _Habitant de Louisbourg_,"
though one might have bet everything on its success, so small was the force
that the enemy had to resist us."

This writer thinks that the seizure of Canseau and the attack of Annapolis
were sources of dire calamity to the French. "Perhaps," he says, "the
English would have let us alone if we had not first insulted them. It was
the interest of the people of New England to live at peace with us, and
they would no doubt have done so, if we had not taken it into our heads to
waken them from their security. They expected that both parties would
merely stand on the defensive, without taking part in this cruel war that
has set Europe in a blaze."

Whatever might otherwise have been the disposition of the "Bastonnais," or
New England people, the attacks on Canseau and Annapolis alarmed and
exasperated them, and engendered in some heated brains a project of wild
audacity. This was no less than the capture of Louisbourg, reputed the
strongest fortress, French or British, in North America, with the possible
exception of Quebec, which owed its chief strength to nature, and not to

Louisbourg was a standing menace to all the Northern British colonies. It
was the only French naval station on the continent, and was such a haunt of
privateers that it was called the American Dunkirk. It commanded the chief
entrance of Canada, and threatened to ruin the fisheries, which were nearly
as vital to New England as was the fur-trade to New France. The French
government had spent twenty-five years in fortifying it, and the cost of
its powerful defences--constructed after the system of Vauban--was reckoned
at thirty million livres.

This was the fortress which William Vaughan of Damariscotta advised
Governor Shirley to attack with fifteen hundred raw New England militia.
[Footnote: Smollett says that the proposal came from Robert Auchmuty, judge
of admiralty in Massachusetts. Hutchinson, Douglas, Belknap, and other
well-informed writers ascribe the scheme to Vaughan, while Pepperrell says
that it originated with Colonel John Bradstreet. In the Public Record
Office there is a letter from Bradstreet, written in 1753, but without
address, in which he declares that he not only planned the siege, but "was
the Principal Person in conducting it,"--assertions which may pass for what
they are worth, Bradstreet being much given to self-assertion.] Vaughan was
born at Portsmouth in 1703, and graduated at Harvard College nineteen years
later. His father, also a graduate of Harvard, was for a time
lieutenant-governor of New Hampshire. Soon after leaving college, the
younger Vaughan--a youth of restless and impetuous activity--established a
fishing-station on the island of Matinicus, off the coast of Maine, and
afterwards became the owner of most of the land on both sides of the little
river Damariscotta, where he built a garrison-house, or wooden fort,
established a considerable settlement, and carried on an extensive trade in
fish and timber. He passed for a man of ability and force, but was accused
of a headstrong rashness, a self-confidence that hesitated at nothing, and
a harebrained contempt of every obstacle in his way. Once, having fitted
out a number of small vessels at Portsmouth for his fishing at Matinicus,
he named a time for sailing. It was a gusty and boisterous March day, the
sea was rough, and old sailors told him that such craft could not carry
sail. Vaughan would not listen, but went on board and ordered his men to
follow. One vessel was wrecked at the mouth of the river; the rest, after
severe buffeting, came safe, with their owner, to Matinicus.

Being interested in the fisheries, Vaughan was doubly hostile to
Louisbourg,--their worst enemy. He found a willing listener in the
Governor, William Shirley. Shirley was an English barrister who had come to
Massachusetts in 1731 to practise his profession and seek his fortune.
After filling various offices with credit, he was made governor of the
province in 1741, and had discharged his duties with both tact and talent.
He was able, sanguine, and a sincere well-wisher to the province, though
gnawed by an insatiable hunger for distinction. He thought himself a born
strategist, and was possessed by a propensity for contriving military
operations, which finally cost him dear. Vaughan, who knew something of
Louisbourg, told him that in winter the snow-drifts were often banked so
high against the rampart that it could be mounted readily, if the
assailants could but time their arrival at the right moment. This was not
easy, as that rocky and tempestuous coast was often made inaccessible by
fogs and surf; Shirley therefore preferred a plan of his own contriving.
But nothing could be done without first persuading his Assembly to consent.

On the 9th of January the General Court of Massachusetts--a convention of
grave city merchants and solemn rustics from the country villages--was
astonished by a message from the Governor to the effect that he had a
communication to make, so critical that he wished the whole body to swear
secrecy. The request was novel, but being then on good terms with Shirley,
the Representatives consented, and took the oath. Then, to their amazement,
the Governor invited them to undertake forthwith the reduction of
Louisbourg. The idea of an attack on that redoubtable fortress was not
new. Since the autumn, proposals had been heard to petition the British
ministry to make the attempt, under a promise that the colonies would give
their best aid. But that Massachusetts should venture it alone, or with
such doubtful help as her neighbors might give, at her own charge and risk,
though already insolvent, without the approval or consent of the ministry,
and without experienced officers or trained soldiers, was a startling
suggestion to the sober-minded legislators of the General Court. They
listened, however, with respect to the Governor's reasons, and appointed a
committee of the two houses to consider them. The committee deliberated for
several days, and then made a report adverse to the plan, as was also the
vote of the Court.

Meanwhile, in spite of the oath, the secret had escaped. It is said that a
country member, more pious than discreet, prayed so loud and fervently, at
his lodgings, for light to guide him on the momentous question, that his
words were overheard, and the mystery of the closed doors was revealed. The
news flew through the town, and soon spread through all the province.

After his defeat in the Assembly, Shirley returned, vexed and disappointed,
to his house in Roxbury. A few days later, James Gibson, a Boston merchant,
says that he saw him "walking slowly down King Street, with his head bowed
down, as if in a deep study." "He entered my counting-room," pursues the
merchant, "and abruptly said, 'Gibson, do you feel like giving up the
expedition to Louisbourg?'" Gibson replied that he wished the House would
reconsider their vote. "You are the very man I want!" exclaimed the
Governor. [Footnote: Gibson, _Journal of the Siege of Louisbourg_.]
They then drew up a petition for reconsideration, which Gibson signed,
promising to get also the signatures of merchants, not only of Boston, but
of Salem, Marblehead, and other towns along the coast. In this he was
completely successful, as all New England merchants looked on Louisbourg as
an arch-enemy.

The petition was presented, and the question came again before the
Assembly. There had been much intercourse between Boston and Louisbourg,
which had largely depended on New England for provisions. [Footnote:
_Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg_.] The captured militia-men of
Canseau, who, after some delay, had been sent to Boston, according to the
terms of surrender, had used their opportunities to the utmost, and could
give Shirley much information concerning the fortress. It was reported that
the garrison was mutinous, and that provisions were fallen short, so that
the place could not hold out without supplies from France. These, however,
could be cut off only by blockading the harbor with a stronger naval force
than all the colonies together could supply. The Assembly had before
reached the reasonable conclusion that the capture of Louisbourg was beyond
the strength of Massachusetts, and that the only course was to ask the help
of the mother-country. [Footnote: _Report of Council, 12 Jan. 1745_.]

The reports of mutiny, it was urged, could not be depended on; raw militia
in the open field were no match for disciplined troops behind ramparts; the
expense would be enormous, and the credit of the province, already sunk
low, would collapse under it; we should fail, and instead of sympathy, get
nothing but ridicule. Such were the arguments of the opposition, to which
there was little to answer, except that if Massachusetts waited for help
from England, Louisbourg would be reinforced and the golden opportunity
lost. The impetuous and irrepressible Vaughan put forth all his energy; the
plan was carried by a single vote. And even this result was said to be due
to the accident of a member in opposition falling and breaking a leg as he
was hastening to the House.

The die was cast, and now doubt and hesitation vanished. All alike set
themselves to push on the work. Shirley wrote to all the colonies, as far
south as Pennsylvania, to ask for co-operation. All excused themselves
except Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and the whole burden
fell on the four New England colonies. These, and Massachusetts above all,
blazed with pious zeal; for as the enterprise was directed against Roman
Catholics, it was supposed in a peculiar manner to commend itself to
Heaven. There were prayers without ceasing in churches and families, and
all was ardor, energy, and confidence; while the other colonies looked on
with distrust, dashed with derision. When Benjamin Franklin, in
Philadelphia, heard what was afoot, he wrote to his brother in Boston,
"Fortified towns are hard nuts to crack, and your teeth are not accustomed
to it; but some seem to think that forts are as easy taken as snuff."
[Footnote: Sparks, _Works of Franklin_, VII. 16.] It has been said of
Franklin that while he represented some of the New England qualities, he
had no part in that enthusiasm of which our own time saw a crowning example
when the cannon opened at Fort Sumter, and which pushes to its end without
reckoning chances, counting costs, or heeding the scoffs of ill-wishers.

The prevailing hope and faith were, it is true, born largely of ignorance,
aided by the contagious zeal of those who first broached the project; for
as usual in such cases, a few individuals supplied the initiate force of
the enterprise. Vaughan the indefatigable rode express to Portsmouth with a
letter from Shirley to Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire. That
pompous and self-important personage admired the Massachusetts Governor,
who far surpassed him in talents and acquirements, and who at the same time
knew how to soothe his vanity. Wentworth was ready to do his part, but his
province had no money, and the King had ordered him to permit the issue of
no more paper currency. The same prohibition had been laid upon Shirley;
but he, with sagacious forecast, had persuaded his masters to relent so far
as to permit the issue of £50,000 in what were called bills of credit to
meet any pressing exigency of war. He told this to Wentworth, and succeeded
in convincing him that his province might stretch her credit like
Massachusetts, in case of similar military need. New Hampshire was thus
enabled to raise a regiment of five hundred men out of her scanty
population, with the condition that a hundred and fifty of them should be
paid and fed by Massachusetts. [Footnote: Correspondence of Shirley and
Wentworth, in _Belknap Papers, Provincial Papers of New Hampshire_,

Shirley was less fortunate in Rhode Island. The Governor of that little
colony called Massachusetts "our avowed enemy, always trying to defame us."
[Footnote: _Governor Wanton to the Agent of Rhode Island, 20 Dec.
1745,_ in _Colony Records of Rhode Island_, V.] There was a grudge
between the neighbors, due partly to notorious ill-treatment by the
Massachusetts Puritans of Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, and
partly to one of those boundary disputes which often produced ill-blood
among the colonies. The Representatives of Rhode Island, forgetting past
differences, voted to raise a hundred and fifty men for the expedition,
till, learning that the project was neither ordered nor approved by the
Home Government, they prudently reconsidered their action. They voted,
however, that the colony sloop "Tartar," carrying fourteen cannon and
twelve swivels, should be equipped and manned for the service, and that the
Governor should be instructed to find and commission a captain and a
lieutenant to command her. [Footnote: _Colony Records of Rhode
Island_, V. (_Feb._ 1745).]

Connecticut promised five hundred and sixteen men and officers, on
condition that Roger Wolcott, their commander, should have the second rank
in the expedition. Shirley accordingly commissioned him as major-general.
As Massachusetts was to supply above three thousand men, or more than three
quarters of the whole force, she had a natural right to name a

It was not easy to choose one. The colony had been at peace for twenty
years, and except some grizzled Indian fighters of the last war, and some
survivors of the Carthagena expedition, nobody had seen service. Few knew
well what a fortress was, and nobody knew how to attack one. Courage,
energy, good sense, and popularity were the best qualities to be hoped for
in the leader. Popularity was indispensable, for the soldiers were all to
be volunteers, and they would not enlist under a commander whom they did
not like. Shirley's choice was William Pepperrell, a merchant of Kittery.
Knowing that Benning Wentworth thought himself the man for the place, he
made an effort to placate him, and wrote that he would gladly have given
him the chief command, but for his gouty legs. Wentworth took fire at the
suggestion, forgot his gout, and declared himself ready to serve his
country and assume the burden of command. The position was awkward, and
Shirley was forced to reply, "On communicating your offer to two or three
gentlemen in whose judgment I most confide, I found them clearly of opinion
that any alteration of the present command would be attended with great
risk, both with respect to our Assembly and the soldiers being entirely
disgusted." [Footnote: _Shirley to Wentworth, 16 Feb._ 1745.]

The painter Smibert has left us a portrait of Pepperrell,--a good bourgeois
face, not without dignity, though with no suggestion of the soldier. His
spacious house at Kittery Point still stands, sound and firm, though
curtailed in some of its proportions. Not far distant is another noted
relic of colonial times, the not less spacious mansion built by the
disappointed Wentworth at Little Harbor. I write these lines at a window of
this curious old house, and before me spreads the scene familiar to
Pepperrell from childhood. Here the river Piscataqua widens to join the
sea, holding in its gaping mouth the large island of Newcastle, with
attendant groups of islets and island rocks, battered with the rack of
ages, studded with dwarf savins, or half clad with patches of whortleberry
bushes, sumac, and the shining wax-myrtle, green in summer, red with the
touch of October. The flood tide pours strong and full around them, only to
ebb away and lay bare a desolation of rocks and stones buried in a shock of
brown drenched seaweed, broad tracts of glistening mud, sandbanks black
with mussel-beds, and half-submerged meadows of eel-grass, with myriads of
minute shellfish clinging to its long lank tresses. Beyond all these lies
the main, or northern channel, more than deep enough, even when the tide is
out, to float a line-of-battle-ship. On its farther bank stands the old
house of the Pepperrells, wearing even now an air of dingy respectability.
Looking through its small, quaint window-panes, one could see across the
water the rude dwellings of fishermen along the shore of Newcastle, and the
neglected earthwork called Fort William and Mary, that feebly guarded the
river's mouth. In front, the Piscataqua, curving southward, widened to meet
the Atlantic between rocky headlands and foaming reefs, and in dim distance
the Isles of Shoals seemed floating on the pale gray sea.

Behind the Pepperrell house was a garden, probably more useful than
ornamental, and at the foot of it were the owner's wharves, with
storehouses for salt-fish, naval stores, and imported goods for the country

Pepperrell was the son of a Welshman [Footnote: "A native of Ravistock
Parish, in Wales" Parsons, _Life of Pepperrell_. Mrs. Adelaide Cilley
Waldron, a descendant of Pepperrell, assures me, however, that his father,
the emigrant, came, not from Wales, but from Devonshire.] who migrated in
early life to the Isles of Shoals, and thence to Kittery, where by trade,
ship-building, and the fisheries, he made a fortune, most of which he left
to his son William. The young Pepperrell learned what little was taught at
the village school, supplemented by a private tutor, whose instructions,
however, did not perfect him in English grammar. In the eyes of his
self-made father, education was valuable only so far as it could make a
successful trader; and on this point he had reason to be satisfied, as his
son passed for many years as the chief merchant in New England. He dealt
in ships, timber, naval stores, fish, and miscellaneous goods brought from
England; and he also greatly prospered by successful land purchases,
becoming owner of the greater part of the growing towns of Saco and
Scarborough. When scarcely twenty-one, he was made justice of the peace, on
which he ordered from London what his biographer calls a law library,
consisting of a law dictionary, Danvers' "Abridgment of the Common Law,"
the "Complete Solicitor," and several other books. In law as in war, his
best qualities were good sense and good will. About the time when he was
made a justice, he was commissioned captain of militia, then major, then
lieutenant-colonel, and at last colonel, commanding all the militia of
Maine. The town of Kittery chose him to represent her in the General Court,
Maine being then a part of Massachusetts. Finally, he was made a member of
the Governor's Council,--a post which he held for thirty-two years, during
eighteen of which he was president of the board.

These civil dignities served him as educators better than tutor or village
school; for they brought him into close contact with the chief men of the
province; and in the Massachusetts of that time, so different from our own,
the best education and breeding were found in the official class. At once a
provincial magnate and the great man of a small rustic village, his manners
are said to have answered to both positions,--certainly they were such as
to make him popular. But whatever he became as a man, he learned nothing
to fit him to command an army and lay siege to Louisbourg. Perhaps he felt
this, and thought, with the Governor of Rhode Island, that "the attempt to
reduce that prodigiously strong town was too much for New England, which
had not one officer of experience, nor even an engineer." [Footnote:
_Governor Wanton to the Agent of Rhode Island in London, 20 Dec.
1745._] Moreover, he was unwilling to leave his wife, children, and
business. He was of a religious turn of mind, and partial to the clergy,
who, on their part, held him in high favor. One of them, the famous
preacher, George Whitefield, was a guest at his house when he heard that
Shirley had appointed him to command the expedition against Louisbourg.
Whitefield had been the leading spirit in the recent religious fermentation
called the Great Awakening, which, though it produced bitter quarrels among
the ministers, besides other undesirable results, was imagined by many to
make for righteousness. So thought the Reverend Thomas Prince, who mourned
over the subsiding delirium of his flock as a sign of back-sliding. "The
heavenly shower was over," he sadly exclaims; "from fighting the devil they
must turn to fighting the French." Pepperrell, always inclined to the
clergy, and now in great perplexity and doubt, asked his guest Whitefield
whether or not he had better accept the command. Whitefield gave him cold
comfort, told him that the enterprise was not very promising, and that if
he undertook it, he must do so "with a single eye," prepared for obloquy if
he failed, and envy if he succeeded. [Footnote: Parsons, _Life of
Pepperrell,_ 51.]

Henry Sherburn, commissary of the New Hampshire regiment, begged Whitefield
to furnish a motto for the flag. The preacher, who, zealot as he was,
seemed unwilling to mix himself with so madcap a business, hesitated at
first, but at length consented, and suggested the words, _Nil desperandum
Christo duce_, which, being adopted, gave the enterprise the air of a
crusade. It had, in fact, something of the character of one. The cause was
imagined to be the cause of Heaven, crowned with celestial benediction. It
had the fervent support of the ministers, not only by prayers and sermons,
but, in one case, by counsels wholly temporal. A certain pastor, much
esteemed for benevolence, proposed to Pepperrell, who had at last accepted
the command, a plan, unknown to Vauban, for confounding the devices of the
enemy. He advised that two trustworthy persons should cautiously walk
together along the front of the French ramparts under cover of night, one
of them carrying a mallet, with which he was to hammer the ground at short
intervals. The French sentinels, it seems to have been supposed, on hearing
this mysterious thumping, would be so bewildered as to give no alarm. While
one of the two partners was thus employed, the other was to lay his ear to
the ground, which, as the adviser thought, would return a hollow sound if
the artful foe had dug a mine under it; and whenever such secret danger was
detected, a mark was to be set on the spot, to warn off the soldiers.
[Footnote: Belknap, _Hist. New Hampshire_, II. 208.]

Equally zealous, after another fashion, was the Reverend Samuel Moody,
popularly known as Father Moody, or Parson Moody, minister of York and
senior chaplain of the expedition. Though about seventy years old, he was
amazingly tough and sturdy. He still lives in the traditions of York as the
spiritual despot of the settlement and the uncompromising guardian of its
manners and doctrine, predominating over it like a rough little village
pope. The comparison would have kindled his burning wrath, for he abhorred
the Holy Father as an embodied Antichrist. Many are the stories told of
him by the descendants of those who lived under his rod, and sometimes felt
its weight; for he was known to have corrected offending parishioners with
his cane. [Footnote: Tradition told me at York by Mr. N. Marshall.] When
some one of his flock, nettled by his strictures from the pulpit, walked in
dudgeon towards the church door, Moody would shout after him, "Come back,
you graceless sinner, come back!" or if any ventured to the alehouse of a
Saturday night, the strenuous pastor would go in after them, collar them,
drag them out, and send them home with rousing admonition. [Footnote:
Lecture of Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted by Cabot, Memoir of Emerson, I. 10.
] Few dared gainsay him, by reason both of his irritable temper and of the
thick-skinned insensibility that encased him like armor of proof. And while
his pachydermatous nature made him invulnerable as a rhinoceros, he had at
the same time a rough and ready humor that supplied keen weapons for the
warfare of words and made him a formidable antagonist. This commended him
to the rude borderers, who also relished the sulphurous theology of their
spiritual dictator, just as they liked the raw and fiery liquors that would
have scorched more susceptible stomachs. What they did not like was the
pitiless length of his prayers, which sometimes kept them afoot above two
hours shivering in the polar cold of the unheated meeting-house, and which
were followed by sermons of equal endurance; for the old man's lungs were
of brass, and his nerves of hammered iron. Some of the sufferers ventured
to remonstrate; but this only exasperated him, till one parishioner, more
worldly wise than the rest, accompanied his modest petition for mercy with
the gift of a barrel of cider, after which the Parson's ministrations were
perceptibly less exhausting than before. He had an irrepressible conscience
and a highly aggressive sense of duty, which made him an intolerable
meddler in the affairs of other people, and which, joined to an underlying
kindness of heart, made him so indiscreet in his charities that his wife
and children were often driven to vain protest against the excesses of his
almsgiving. The old Puritan fanaticism was rampant in him; and when he
sailed for Louisbourg, he took with him an axe, intended, as he said, to
hew down the altars of Antichrist and demolish his idols. [Footnote: Moody
found sympathizers in his iconoclastic zeal. Deacon John Gray of Biddeford
wrote to Pepperrell: "Oh that I could be with you and dear Parson Moody in
that church [at Louisbourg] to destroy the images there set up, and hear
the true Gospel of our Lord and Saviour there preached!"]

Shirley's choice of a commander was perhaps the best that could have been
made; for Pepperrell joined to an unusual popularity as little military
incompetency as anybody else who could be had. Popularity, we have seen,
was indispensable, and even company officers were appointed with an eye to
it. Many of these were well-known men in rustic neighborhoods, who had
raised companies in the hope of being commissioned to command them. Others
were militia officers recruiting under orders of the Governor. Thus, John
Storer, major in the Maine militia, raised in a single day, it is said, a
company of sixty-one, the eldest being sixty years old, and the youngest
sixteen. [Footnote: Bourne, _Hist, of Wells and Kennebunk_, 371.] They
formed about a quarter of the fencible population of the town of Wells, one
of the most exposed places on the border. Volunteers offered themselves
readily everywhere; though the pay was meagre, especially in Maine and
Massachusetts, where in the new provincial currency it was twenty-five
shillings a month,--then equal to fourteen shillings sterling, or less than
sixpence a day, [Footnote: Gibson, _Journal; Records of Rhode Island_,
V. Governor Wanton, of that province, says, with complacency, that the pay
of Rhode Island was twice that of Massachusetts.] the soldier furnishing
his own clothing and bringing his own gun. A full third of the
Massachusetts contingent, or more than a thousand men, are reported to have
come from the hardy population of Maine, whose entire fighting force, as
shown by the muster-rolls, was then but 2,855. [Footnote: Parsons, _Life
of Pepperrell_, 54.] Perhaps there was not one officer among them whose
experience of war extended beyond a drill on muster day and the sham fight
that closed the performance, when it generally happened that the rustic
warriors were treated with rum at the charge of their captain, to put them
in good humor, and so induce them to obey the word of command.

As the three provinces contributing soldiers recognized no common authority
nearer than the King, Pepperrell received three several commissions as
lieutenant-general,--one from the Governor of Massachusetts, and the others
from the Governors of Connecticut and New Hampshire; while Wolcott,
commander of the Connecticut forces, was commissioned as major-general by
both the Governor of his own province and that of Massachusetts. When the
levies were complete, it was found that Massachusetts had contributed about
3,300 men, Connecticut 516, and New Hampshire 304 in her own pay, besides
150 paid by her wealthier neighbor. [Footnote: Of the Massachusetts
contingent, three hundred men were raised and maintained at the charge of
the merchant James Gibson.] Rhode Island had lost faith and disbanded her
150 men; but afterwards raised them again, though too late to take part in
the siege.

Each of the four New England colonies had a little navy of its own,
consisting of from one to three or four small armed vessels; and as
privateering--which was sometimes a euphemism for piracy where Frenchmen
and Spaniards were concerned--a favorite occupation, it was possible to
extemporize an additional force in case of need. For a naval commander,
Shirley chose Captain Edward Tyng, who had signalized himself in the past
summer by capturing a French privateer of greater strength than his own.
Shirley authorized him to buy for the province the best ship he could find,
equip her for fighting, and take command of her. Tyng soon found a brig to
his mind, on the stocks nearly ready for launching. She was rapidly fitted
for her new destination, converted into a frigate, mounted with 24 guns,
and named the "Massachusetts." The rest of the naval force consisted of the
ship "Cæsar," of 20 guns; a vessel called the "Shirley," commanded by
Captain Rous, and also carrying 20 guns; another, of the kind called a
"snow," carrying 16 guns; one sloop of 12 guns, and two of 8 guns each; the
"Boston Packet" of 16 guns; two sloops from Connecticut of 16 guns each; a
privateer hired in Rhode Island, of 20 guns; the government sloop "Tartar"
of the same colony, carrying 14 carriage guns and 12 swivels; and, finally,
the sloop of 14 guns which formed the navy of New Hampshire. [Footnote: The
list is given by Williamson, II. 227.]

It was said, with apparent reason, that one or two heavy French
ships-of-war--and a number of such was expected in the spring--would
outmatch the whole colonial squadron, and, after mastering it, would hold
all the transports at mercy; so that the troops on shore, having no means
of return and no hope of succor, would be forced to surrender or starve.
The danger was real and serious, and Shirley felt the necessity of help
from a few British ships-of-war. Commodore Peter Warren was then with a
small squadron at Antigua. Shirley sent an express boat to him with a
letter stating the situation and asking his aid. Warren, who had married
an American woman and who owned large tracts of land on the Mohawk, was
known to be a warm friend to the provinces. It is clear that he would
gladly have complied with Shirley's request; but when he laid the question
before a council of officers, they were of one mind that without orders
from the Admiralty he would not be justified in supporting an attempt made
without the approval of the King. [Footnote: _Memoirs of the Principal
Transactions of the Last War_, 44.]

He therefore saw no choice but to decline. Shirley, fearing that his
refusal would be too discouraging, kept it secret from all but Pepperrell
and General Wolcott, or, as others say, Brigadier Waldo. He had written to
the Duke of Newcastle in the preceding autumn that Acadia and the fisheries
were in great danger, and that ships-of-war were needed for their
protection. On this, the Duke had written to Warren, ordering him to sail
for Boston and concert measures with Shirley "for the annoyance of the
enemy, and his Majesty's service in North America." [Footnote:
_Ibid., 46. Letters of Shirley_ (Public Record Office).]
Newcastle's letter reached Warren only two or three days after he had sent
back his refusal of Shirley's request. Thinking himself now sufficiently
authorized to give the desired aid, he made all sail for Boston with his
three ships, the "Superbe," "Mermaid," and "Launceston." On the way he met
a schooner from Boston, and learned from its officers that the expedition
had already sailed; on which, detaining the master as a pilot, he changed
his course and made directly for Canseau,--the place of rendezvous of the
expedition,--and at the same time sent orders by the schooner that any
King's ships that might arrive at Boston should immediately join him.

Within seven weeks after Shirley issued his proclamation for volunteers,
the preparations were all made, and the unique armament was afloat.
Transports, such as they were, could be had in abundance; for the harbors
of Salem and Marblehead were full of fishing-vessels thrown out of
employment by the war. These were hired and insured by the province for the
security of the owners. There was a great dearth of cannon. The few that
could be had were too light, the heaviest being of twenty-two-pound
calibre. New York lent ten eighteen-pounders to the expedition. But the
adventurers looked to the French for their chief supply. A detached work
near Louisbourg, called the Grand, or Royal, Battery, was known to be armed
with thirty heavy pieces; and these it was proposed to capture and turn
against the town,--which, as Hutchinson remarks, was "like selling the skin
of the bear before catching him."

It was clear that the expedition must run for luck against risks of all
kinds. Those whose hopes were highest, based them on a belief in the
special and direct interposition of Providence; others were sanguine
through ignorance and provincial self-conceit. As soon as the troops were
embarked, Shirley wrote to the ministers of what was going on, telling them
that, accidents apart, four thousand New England men would land on Cape
Breton in April, and that, even should they fail to capture Louisbourg, he
would answer for it that they would lay the town in ruins, retake Canseau,
do other good service to his Majesty, and then come safe home. [Footnote:
_Shirley to Newcastle, 24 March_, 1745. The ministry was not wholly
unprepared for this announcement, as Shirley had before reported to it the
vote of his Assembly consenting to the expedition. _Shirley to Newcastle,
1 Feb_. 1745.] On receiving this communication, the Government
resolved to aid the enterprise if there should yet be time, and accordingly
ordered several ships-of-war to sail for Louisbourg.

The sarcastic Dr. Douglas, then living at Boston, writes that the
expedition had a lawyer for contriver, a merchant for general, and farmers,
fishermen, and mechanics for soldiers. In fact, it had something of the
character of broad farce, to which Shirley himself, with all his ability
and general good sense, was a chief contributor. He wrote to the Duke of
Newcastle that though the officers had no experience and the men no
discipline, he would take care to provide against these defects,--meaning
that he would give exact directions how to take Louisbourg. Accordingly, he
drew up copious instructions to that effect. These seem to have undergone a
process of evolution, for several distinct drafts of them are preserved.
[Footnote: The first draft of Shirley's instructions for taking Louisbourg
is in the large manuscript volume entitled _Siege of Louisbourg_, in
the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The document is called
_Memo for the attacking of Louisbourg this Spring by Surprise_. After
giving minute instructions for every movement, it goes on to say that, as
the surprise may possibly fail, it will be necessary to send two small
mortars and twelve cannon carrying nine-pound balls, "so as to bombard them
and endeavour to make Breaches in their walls and then to Storm them."
Shirley was soon to discover the absurdity of trying to breach the walls of
Louisbourg with nine-pounders.] The complete and final one is among the
Pepperrell Papers, copied entire in the neat, commercial hand of the
General himself. [Footnote: It is printed in the first volume of the
_Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society_. Shirley was so
well pleased with it that he sent it to the Duke of Newcastle enclosed in
his letter of 1 Feb. 1745 (Public Record Office).] It seems to assume
that Providence would work a continued miracle, and on every occasion
supply the expedition with weather precisely suited to its wants. "It is
thought," says this singular document, "that Louisbourg may be surprised if
they [the French] have no advice of your coming. To effect it you must time
your arrival about nine of the clock in the evening, taking care that the
fleet be far enough in the offing to prevent their being seen from the town
in the daytime." He then goes on to prescribe how the troops are to land,
after dark, at a place called Flat Point Cove, in four divisions, three of
which are to march to the back of certain hills a mile and a half west of
the town, where two of the three "are to halt and keep a profound silence;"
the third continuing its march "under cover of the said hills," till it
comes opposite the Grand Battery, which it will attack at a concerted
signal; while one of the two divisions behind the hills assaults the west
gate, and the other moves up to support the attack.

While this is going on, the soldiers of the fourth division are to march
with all speed along the shore till they come to a certain part of the town
wall, which they are to scale; then proceed "as fast as can be" to the
citadel and "secure the windows of the Governor's apartments." After this
follow page after page of complicated details which must have stricken the
General with stupefaction. The rocks, surf, fogs, and gales of that
tempestuous coast are all left out of the account; and so, too, is the
nature of the country, which consists of deep marshes, rocky hills, and
hollows choked with evergreen thickets. Yet a series of complex and
mutually dependent operations, involving long marches through this rugged
and pathless region, was to be accomplished, in the darkness of one April
night, by raw soldiers who knew nothing of the country. This rare specimen
of amateur soldiering is redeemed in some measure by a postscript in which
the Governor sets free the hands of the General, thus: "Notwithstanding the
instructions you have received from me, I must leave you to act, upon
unforeseen emergencies, according to your best discretion."

On the 24th of March, the fleet, consisting of about ninety transports,
escorted by the provincial cruisers, sailed from Nantasket Roads, followed
by prayers and benedictions, and also by toasts drunk with cheers, in
bumpers of rum punch.

[Footnote: The following letter from John Payne of Boston to Colonel Robert
Hale, of the Essex regiment, while it gives no sign of the prevailing
religious feeling, illustrates the ardor of the New England people towards
their rash adventure:--

BOSTON, Apr. 24, 1745.


I hope this will find you at Louisbourg with a Bowl of Punch a Pipe and a
P--k of C--ds in your hand and whatever else you desire (I had forgot to
mention a Pretty French Madammoselle). We are very Impatiently expecting to
hear from you, your Friend Luke has lost several Beaver Hatts already
concerning the Expedition, he is so very zealous about it that he has
turned Poor Boutier out of his House for saying he believed you would not
Take the Place.--Damn his Blood says Luke, let him be an Englishman or a
Frenchman and not pretend to be an Englishman when he is a Frenchman in his
Heart. If drinking to your success would Take Cape Briton, you must be in
Possession of it now, for it's a standing Toast. I think the least thing
you Military Gent'n can do is to send us some arrack when you take ye Place
to celebrate your Victory and not to force us to do it in Rum Punch or
Luke's bad wine or sour cyder.

To Collonell Robert Hale
  at (or near) Louisbourg.

I am indebted for a copy of this curious letter to Robert Hale Bancroft,
Esq., a descendant of Colonel Hale.]





On board one of the transports was Seth Pomeroy, gunsmith at Northampton,
and now major of Willard's Massachusetts regiment. He had a turn for
soldiering, and fought, ten years later, in the battle of Lake George.
Again, twenty years later still, when Northampton was astir with rumors of
war from Boston, he borrowed a neighbor's horse, rode a hundred miles,
reached Cambridge on the morning of the battle of Bunker Hill, left his
borrowed horse out of the way of harm, walked over Charlestown Neck, then
swept by the fire of the ships-of-war, and reached the scene of action as
the British were forming for the attack. When Israel Putnam, his comrade in
the last war, saw from the rebel breastwork the old man striding, gun in
hand, up the hill, he shouted, "By God, Pomeroy, you here!  A cannon-shot
would waken you out of your grave!"

But Pomeroy, with other landsmen, crowded in the small and malodorous
fishing-vessels that were made to serve as transports, was now in the gripe
of the most unheroic of maladies. "A terrible northeast storm" had fallen
upon them, and, he says, "we lay rolling in the seas, with our sails
furled, among prodigious waves." "Sick, day and night," writes the
miserable gunsmith, "so bad that I have not words to set it forth."
[Footnote: Diary of Major Seth Pomeroy. I owe the copy before me to the
kindness of his descendant, Theodore Pomeroy, Esq.] The gale increased
and the fleet was scattered, there being, as a Massachusetts private
soldier writes in his diary, "a very fierse Storm of Snow, som Rain and
very Dangerous weather to be so nigh ye Shore as we was; but we escaped the
Rocks, and that was all." [Footnote: Diary of a Massachusetts soldier in
Captain Richardson's company (Papers of Dr. Belknap).]

On Friday, April 5th, Pomeroy's vessel entered the harbor of Canseau, about
fifty miles from Louisbourg. Here was the English fishing-hamlet, the
seizure of which by the French had first provoked the expedition. The place
now quietly changed hands again. Sixty-eight of the transports lay here at
anchor, and the rest came dropping in from day to day, sorely buffeted, but
all safe. On Sunday there was a great concourse to hear Parson Moody preach
an open-air sermon from the text, "Thy people shall be willing in the day
of thy power," concerning which occasion the soldier diarist
observes,--"Several sorts of Busnesses was Going on, Som a Exercising, Som
a Hearing Preaching." The attention of Parson Moody's listeners was, in
fact, distracted by shouts of command and the awkward drill of squads of
homespun soldiers on the adjacent pasture.

Captain Ammi Cutter, with two companies, was ordered to remain at Canseau
and defend it from farther vicissitudes; to which end a blockhouse was also
built, and mounted with eight small cannon. Some of the armed vessels had
been sent to cruise off Louisbourg, which they did to good purpose, and
presently brought in six French prizes, with supplies for the fortress. On
the other hand, they brought the ominous news that Louisbourg and the
adjoining bay were so blocked with ice that landing was impossible. This
was a serious misfortune, involving long delay, and perhaps ruin to the
expedition, as the expected ships-of-war might arrive meanwhile from
France. Indeed, they had already begun to appear. On Thursday, the 18th,
heavy cannonading was heard far out at sea, and again on Friday "the
cannon," says Pomeroy, "fired at a great rate till about 2 of the clock."
It was the provincial cruisers attacking a French frigate, the "Renommée,"
of thirty-six guns. As their united force was too much for her, she kept up
a running fight, outsailed them, and escaped after a chase of more than
thirty hours, being, as Pomeroy quaintly observes, "a smart ship." She
carried despatches to the Governor of Louisbourg, and being unable to
deliver them, sailed back for France to report what she had seen.

On Monday, the 22d, a clear, cold, windy day, a large ship, under British
colors, sailed into the harbor, and proved to be the frigate "Eltham,"
escort to the annual mast fleet from New England. On orders from Commander
Warren she had left her charge in waiting, and sailed for Canseau to join
the expedition, bringing the unexpected and welcome news that Warren
himself would soon follow. On the next day, to the delight of all, he
appeared in the ship "Superbe," of sixty guns, accompanied by the
"Launceston" and the "Mermaid," of forty guns each. Here was force enough
to oppose any ships likely to come to the aid of Louisbourg; and Warren,
after communicating with Pepperrell, sailed to blockade the port, along
with the provincial cruisers, which, by order of Shirley, were placed under
his command.

The transports lay at Canseau nearly three weeks, waiting for the ice to
break up. The time was passed in drilling the raw soldiers and forming them
into divisions of four and six hundred each, according to the directions of
Shirley. At length, on Friday, the 27th, they heard that Gabarus Bay was
free from ice, and on the morning of the 29th, with the first fair wind,
they sailed out of Canseau harbor, expecting to reach Louisbourg at nine in
the evening, as prescribed in the Governor's receipt for taking Louisbourg
"while the enemy were asleep." [Footnote: The words quoted are used by
General Wolcott in his journal.] But a lull in the wind defeated this
plan; and after sailing all day, they found themselves becalmed towards
night. It was not till the next morning that they could see the town,--no
very imposing spectacle, for the buildings, with a few exceptions, were
small, and the massive ramparts that belted them round rose to no
conspicuous height.

Louisbourg stood on a tongue of land which lay between its harbor and the
sea, and the end of which was prolonged eastward by reefs and shoals that
partly barred the entrance to the port, leaving a navigable passage not
half a mile wide. This passage was commanded by a powerful battery called
the "Island Battery," being upon a small rocky island at the west side of
the channel, and was also secured by another detached work called the
"Grand," or "Royal Battery," which stood on the shore of the harbor,
opposite the entrance, and more than a mile from the town. Thus a hostile
squadron trying to force its way in would receive a flank fire from the one
battery, and a front fire from the other. The strongest line of defence of
the fortress was drawn across the base of the tongue of land from the
harbor on one side to the sea on the other,--a distance of about twelve
hundred yards. The ditch was eighty feet wide and from thirty to thirty-six
feet deep; and the rampart, of earth faced with masonry, was about sixty
feet thick. The glacis sloped down to a vast marsh, which formed one of the
best defences of the place. The fortress, without counting its outworks,
had embrasures for one hundred and forty-eight cannon; but the number in
position was much less, and is variously stated. Pomeroy says that at the
end of the siege a little above ninety were found, with "a great number of
swivels;" others say seventy-six. [Footnote: Brown, _Cape Breton_,
183. Parsons, _Life of Pepperrell_, 103. An anonymous letter, dated
Louisbourg, 4 July, 1745, says that eighty-five cannon and six mortars have
been found in the town.] In the Grand and Island batteries there were sixty
heavy pieces more. Against this formidable armament the assailants had
brought thirty-four cannon and mortars, of much inferior weight, to be used
in bombarding the fortress, should they chance to fail of carrying it by
surprise, "while the enemy were asleep." [Footnote: _Memoirs of the
Principal Transactions of the Last War_, 40.] Apparently they
distrusted the efficacy of their siege-train, though it was far stronger
than Shirley had at first thought sufficient; for they brought with them
good store of balls of forty-two pounds, to be used in French cannon of
that calibre which they expected to capture, their own largest pieces being
but twenty-two-pounders.

According to the _Habitant de Louisbourg_, the garrison consisted of
five hundred and sixty regular troops, of whom several companies were
Swiss, besides some thirteen or fourteen hundred militia, inhabitants
partly of the town, and partly of neighboring settlements. [Footnote: "On
fit venir cinq ou six cens Miliciens aux Habitans des environs; ce que,
avec ceux de la Ville, pouvoit former treize à quatorze cens
hommes."--_Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg_. This writer says that
three or four hundred more might have been had from Niganiche and its
neighborhood, if they had been summoned in time. The number of militia just
after the siege is set by English reports at 1,310. Parsons, 103.] The
regulars were in bad condition. About the preceding Christmas they had
broken into mutiny, being discontented with their rations and exasperated
with getting no extra pay for work on the fortifications. The affair was so
serious that though order was restored, some of the officers lost all
confidence in the soldiers; and this distrust proved most unfortunate
during the siege. The Governor, Chevalier Duchambon, successor of
Duquesnel, who had died in the autumn, was not a man to grapple with a
crisis, being deficient in decision of character, if not in capacity.

He expected an attack. "We were informed of the preparations from the
first," says the _Habitant de Louisburg_. Some Indians, who had been
to Boston, carried to Canada the news of what was going on there; but it
was not believed, and excited no alarm. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle,
17 June, 1745,_ citing letters captured on board a ship from Quebec.] It
was not so at Louisbourg, where, says the French writer just quoted, "we
lost precious moments in useless deliberations and resolutions no sooner
made than broken. Nothing to the purpose was done, so that we were as much
taken by surprise as if the enemy had pounced upon us unawares."

It was about the 25th of March [Footnote: 14 March, old style.] when the
garrison first saw the provincial cruisers hovering off the mouth of the
harbor. They continued to do so at intervals till daybreak of the 30th of
April, when the whole fleet of transports appeared standing towards Flat
Point, which projects into Gabarus Bay, three miles west of the town.
[Footnote: Gabarus Bay, sometimes called "Chapeau Rouge" Bay, is a spacious
outer harbor, immediately adjoining Louisbourg.] On this, Duchambon sent
Morpain, captain of a privateer, or "corsair," to oppose the landing. He
had with him eighty men, and was to be joined by forty more, already on the
watch near the supposed point of disembarkation. [Footnote: _Bigot au
Ministre, 1 Aout, 1745._] At the same time cannon were fired and
alarm bells rung in Louisbourg, to call in the militia of the neighborhood.

Pepperrell managed the critical work of landing with creditable skill. The
rocks and the surf were more dangerous than the enemy. Several boats,
filled with men, rowed towards Flat Point; but on a signal from the
flagship "Shirley," rowed back again, Morpain flattering himself that his
appearance had frightened them off. Being joined by several other boats,
the united party, a hundred men in all, pulled for another landing-place
called Fresh-water Cove, or Anse de la Cormorandière, two miles farther up
Gabarus Bay. Morpain and his party ran to meet them; but the boats were
first in the race, and as soon as the New England men got ashore, they
rushed upon the French, killed six of them, captured as many more,
including an officer named Boularderie, and put the rest to flight, with
the loss, on their own side, of two men slightly wounded.
[Footnote: _Pepperrell to Shirley, 12 May 1745. Shirley to
Newcastle, 28 Oct. 1745. Journal of the Siege,_ attested
by Pepperrell and four other chief officers (London, 1746).] Further
resistance to the landing was impossible, for a swarm of boats pushed
against the rough and stony beach, the men dashing through the surf, till
before night about two thousand were on shore. [Footnote: Bigot says six
thousand, or two thousand more than the whole New England force, which was
constantly overestimated by the French.] The rest, or about two thousand
more, landed at their leisure on the next day.

On the 2d of May Vaughan led four hundred men to the hills near the town,
and saluted it with three cheers,--somewhat to the discomposure of the
French, though they describe the unwelcome visitors as a disorderly crowd.
Vaughan's next proceeding pleased them still less. He marched behind the
hills, in rear of the Grand Battery, to the northeast arm of the harbor,
where there were extensive magazines of naval stores. These his men set on
fire, and the pitch, tar, and other combustibles made a prodigious smoke.
He was returning, in the morning, with a small party of followers behind
the hills, when coming opposite the Grand Battery, and observing it from
the ridge, he saw neither flag on the flagstaff, nor smoke from the barrack
chimneys. One of his party was a Cape Cod Indian. Vaughan bribed him with a
flask of brandy which he had in his pocket,--though, as the clerical
historian takes pains to assure us, he never used it himself,--and the
Indian, pretending to be drunk, or, as some say, mad, staggered towards the
battery to reconnoitre. [Footnote: Belknap, II.] All was quiet. He
clambered in at an embrasure, and found the place empty. The rest of the
party followed, and one of them, William Tufts, of Medford, a boy of
eighteen, climbed the flagstaff, holding in his teeth his red coat, which
he made fast at the top, as a substitute for the British flag,--a
proceeding that drew upon him a volley of unsuccessful cannon-shot from the
town batteries. [Footnote: John Langdon Sibley, in _N. E. Hist, and Gen.
Register_, XXV. 377. The _Boston Gazette_ of 3 June, 1771, has a
notice of Tufts's recent death, with an exaggerated account of his exploit,
and an appeal for aid to his destitute family.]

Vaughan then sent this hasty note to Pepperrell: "May it please your Honour
to be informed that by the grace of God and the courage of 13 men, I
entered the Royal Battery about 9 o'clock, and am waiting for a
reinforcement and a flag." Soon after, four boats, filled with men,
approached from the town to re-occupy the battery,--no doubt in order to
save the munitions and stores, and complete the destruction of the cannon.
Vaughan and his thirteen men, standing on the open beach, under the fire of
the town and the Island Battery, plied the boats with musketry, and kept
them from landing, till Lieutenant-Colonel Bradstreet appeared with a
reinforcement, on which the French pulled back to Louisbourg. [Footnote:
Vaughan's party seems to have consisted in all of sixteen men, three of
whom took no part in this affair.]

The English supposed that the French in the battery, when the clouds of
smoke drifted over them from the burning storehouses, thought that they
were to be attacked in force, and abandoned their post in a panic. This was
not the case. "A detachment of the enemy," writes the _Habitant de
Louisbourg_, "advanced to the neighborhood of the Royal Battery." This
was Vaughan's four hundred on their way to burn the storehouses. "At once
we were all seized with fright," pursues this candid writer, "and on the
instant it was proposed to abandon this magnificent battery, which would
have been our best defence, if one had known how to use it. Various
councils were held, in a tumultuous way. It would be hard to tell the
reasons for such a strange proceeding. Not one shot had yet been fired at
the battery, which the enemy could not take, except by making regular
approaches, as if against the town itself, and by besieging it, so to
speak, in form. Some persons remonstrated, but in vain; and so a battery of
thirty cannon, which had cost the King immense sums, was abandoned before
it was attacked."

Duchambon says that soon after the English landed, he got a letter from
Thierry, the captain in command of the Royal Battery, advising that the
cannon should be spiked and the works blown up. It was then, according to
the Governor, that the council was called, and a unanimous vote passed to
follow Thierry's advice, on the ground that the defences of the battery
were in bad condition, and that the four hundred men posted there could not
stand against three or four thousand. [Footnote: _Duchambon au Ministre,
2 Sept. 1745_. This is the Governor's official report. "Four hundred
men" is perhaps a copyist's error, the actual number in the battery being
not above two hundred.] The engineer, Verrier, opposed the blowing up of
the works, and they were therefore left untouched. Thierry and his
garrison came off in boats, after spiking the cannon in a hasty way,
without stopping to knock off the trunnions or burn the carriages. They
threw their loose gunpowder into the well, but left behind a good number of
cannon cartridges, two hundred and eighty large bombshells, and other
ordnance stores, invaluable both to the enemy and to themselves. Brigadier
Waldo was sent to occupy the battery with his regiment, and Major Seth
Pomeroy, the gunsmith, with twenty soldier-mechanics, was set at drilling
out the spiked touch-holes of the cannon. These were twenty-eight
forty-two-pounders, and two eighteen-pounders.  Several were ready for use
the next morning, and immediately opened on the town,--which, writes a
soldier in his diary, "damaged the houses and made the women cry." "The
enemy," says the _Habitant de Louisbourg_, "saluted us with our own
cannon, and made a terrific fire, smashing everything within range."
[Footnote: _Waldo to Shirley, 12 May, 1745_. Some of the French
writers say twenty-eight thirty-six-pounders, while all the English call
them forty-twos,--which they must have been, as the forty-two-pound shot
brought from Boston fitted them.] [Footnote: Mr. Theodore Roosevelt draws
my attention to the fact that cannon were differently rated in the French
and English navies of the seventeenth century, and that a French thirty-six
carried a ball as large as an English forty-two, or even a little larger.]

The English occupation of the Grand Battery may be called the decisive
event of the siege. There seems no doubt that the French could have
averted the disaster long enough to make it of little help to the invaders.
The water-front of the battery was impregnable. The rear defences consisted
of a loopholed wall of masonry, with a ditch ten feet deep and twelve feet
wide, and also a covered way and glacis, which General Wolcott describes as
unfinished. In this he mistook. They were not unfinished, but had been
partly demolished, with a view to reconstruction. The rear wall was flanked
by two towers, which, says Duchambon, were demolished; but General Wolcott
declares that swivels were still mounted on them, [Footnote: _Journal of
Major-General Wolcott_.] and he adds that "two hundred men might hold
the battery against five thousand without cannon." The English landed their
cannon near Flat Point; and before they could be turned against the Grand
Battery, they must be dragged four miles over hills and rocks, through
spongy marshes and jungles of matted evergreens. This would have required a
week or more. The alternative was an escalade, in which the undisciplined
assailants would no doubt have met a bloody rebuff. Thus this Grand
Battery, which, says Wolcott, "is in fact a fort," might at least have been
held long enough to save the munitions and stores, and effectually disable
the cannon, which supplied the English with the only artillery they had,
competent to the work before them. The hasty abandonment of this important
post was not Duchambon's only blunder, but it was the worst of them all.

On the night after their landing, the New England men slept in the woods,
wet or dry, with or without blankets, as the case might be, and in the
morning set themselves to encamping with as much order as they were capable
of. A brook ran down from the hills and entered the sea two miles or more
from the town. The ground on each side, though rough, was high and dry, and
here most of the regiments made their quarters,--Willard's, Moulton's, and
Moore's on the east side, and Burr's and Pepperrell's on the west. Those on
the east, in some cases, saw fit to extend themselves towards Louisbourg as
far as the edge of the intervening marsh; but were soon forced back to a
safer position by the cannon-balls of the fortress, which came bowling
amongst them. This marsh was that green, flat sponge of mud and moss that
stretched from this point to the glacis of Louisbourg.

There was great want of tents, for material to make them was scarce in New
England. Old sails were often used instead, being stretched over
poles,--perhaps after the fashion of a Sioux teepee. When these could not
be had, the men built huts of sods, with roofs of spruce-boughs overlapping
like a thatch; for at that early season, bark would not peel from the
trees. The landing of guns, munitions, and stores was a formidable task,
consuming many days and destroying many boats, as happened again when
Amherst landed his cannon at this same place. Large flat boats, brought
from Boston, were used for the purpose, and the loads were carried ashore
on the heads of the men, wading through ice-cold surf to the waist, after
which, having no change of clothing, they slept on the ground through the
chill and foggy nights, reckless of future rheumatisms. [Footnote: The
author of _The Importance and Advantage of Cape Breton_ says: "When
the hardships they were exposed to come to be considered, the behaviour of
these men will hardly gain credit. They went ashore wet, had no [dry]
clothes to cover them, were exposed in this condition to cold, foggy
nights, and yet cheerfully underwent these difficulties for the sake of
executing a project they had voluntarily undertaken."]

A worse task was before them. The cannon were to be dragged over the marsh
to Green Hill, a spur of the line of rough heights that half encircled the
town and harbor. Here the first battery was to be planted; and from this
point other guns were to be dragged onward to more advanced stations,--a
distance in all of more than two miles, thought by the French to be
impassable. So, in fact, it seemed; for at the first attempt, the wheels
of the cannon sank to the hubs in mud and moss, then the carriage, and
finally the piece itself slowly disappeared. Lieutenant-Colonel Meserve, of
the New Hampshire regiment, a ship-builder by trade, presently overcame the
difficulty. By his direction sledges of timber were made, sixteen feet long
and five feet wide; a cannon was placed on each of these, and it was then
dragged over the marsh by a team of two hundred men, harnessed with
rope-traces and breast-straps, and wading to the knees. Horses or oxen
would have foundered in the mire. The way had often to be changed, as the
mossy surface was soon churned into a hopeless slough along the line of
march. The work could be done only at night or in thick fog, the men being
completely exposed to the cannon of the town. Thirteen years after, when
General Amherst besieged Louisbourg again, he dragged his cannon to the
same hill over the same marsh; but having at his command, instead of four
thousand militiamen, eleven thousand British regulars, with all appliances
and means to boot, he made a road, with prodigious labor, through the mire,
and protected it from the French shot by an epaulement, or lateral
earthwork. [Footnote: See _Montcalm and Wolfe_, chap. xix.]

Pepperrell writes in ardent words of the cheerfulness of his men "under
almost incredible hardships." Shoes and clothing failed, till many were in
tatters and many barefooted; [Footnote: _Pepperrell to Newcastle, 28
June, 1745._] yet they toiled on with unconquerable spirit, and
within four days had planted a battery of six guns on Green Hill, which was
about a mile from the King's Bastion of Louisbourg. In another week they
had dragged four twenty-two-pound cannon and ten coehorns--gravely called
"cowhorns" by the bucolic Pomeroy--six or seven hundred yards farther, and
planted them within easy range of the citadel. Two of the cannon burst, and
were replaced by four more and a large mortar, which burst in its turn, and
Shirley was begged to send another. Meanwhile a battery, chiefly of
coehorns, had been planted on a hillock four hundred and forty yards from
the West Gate, where it greatly annoyed the French; and on the next night
an advanced battery was placed just opposite the same gate, and scarcely
two hundred and fifty yards from it. This West Gate, the principal gate of
Louisbourg, opened upon the tract of high, firm ground that lay on the left
of the besiegers, between the marsh and the harbor, an arm of which here
extended westward beyond the town, into what was called the Barachois, a
salt pond formed by a projecting spit of sand. On the side of the Barachois
farthest from the town was a hillock on which stood the house of an
_habitant_ named Martissan. Here, on the 20th of May, a fifth battery
was planted, consisting of two of the French forty-two-pounders taken in
the Grand Battery, to which three others were afterwards added. Each of
these heavy pieces was dragged to its destination by a team of three
hundred men over rough and rocky ground swept by the French artillery. This
fifth battery, called the Northwest, or Titcomb's, proved most destructive
to the fortress. [Footnote: _Journal of the Siege_, appended to
Shirley's report to Newcastle; _Duchambon au Ministre_, 2 Sept. 1745;
_Lettre d'un Habitant_; Pomeroy, etc.]

All these operations were accomplished with the utmost ardor and energy,
but with a scorn of rule and precedent that astonished and bewildered the
French. The raw New England men went their own way, laughed at trenches and
zigzags, and persisted in trusting their lives to the night and the fog.
Several writers say that the English engineer Bastide tried to teach them
discretion; but this could hardly be, for Bastide, whose station was
Annapolis, did not reach Louisbourg till the 5th of June, when the
batteries were finished and the siege was nearly ended. A recent French
writer makes the curious assertion that it was one of the ministers, or
army chaplains, who took upon him the vain task of instruction in the art
of war on this occasion. [Footnote: Ferland, _Cours d'Histoire du
Canada_, II. 477. "L'ennemi ne nous attaquoit point dans les formes, et
ne pratiquoit point aucun retranchement pour se couvrir." _Habitant de

This ignorant and self-satisfied recklessness might have cost the besiegers
dear if the French, instead of being perplexed and startled at the novelty
of their proceedings, had taken advantage of it; but Duchambon and some of
his officers, remembering the mutiny of the past winter, feared to make
sorties, lest the soldiers might desert or take part with the enemy. The
danger of this appears to have been small. Warren speaks with wonder in his
letters of the rarity of desertions, of which there appear to have been but
three during the siege,--one being that of a half-idiot, from whom no
information could be got. A bolder commander would not have stood idle
while his own cannon were planted by the enemy to batter down his walls;
and whatever the risks of a sortie, the risks of not making one were
greater. "Both troops and militia eagerly demanded it, and I believe it
would have succeeded," writes the Intendant, Bigot. [Footnote: _Bigot au
Ministre, 1 Août, 1745._] The attempt was actually made more than
once in a half-hearted way,--notably on the 8th of May, when the French
attacked the most advanced battery, and were repulsed, with little loss on
either side.

The _Habitant de Louisbourg_ says: "The enemy did not attack us with
any regularity, and made no intrenchments to cover themselves." This last
is not exact. Not being wholly demented, they made intrenchments, such as
they were,--at least at the advanced battery; [Footnote: _Diary of Joseph
Sherburn, Captain at the Advanced Battery._] as they would otherwise
have been swept out of existence, being under the concentred fire of
several French batteries, two of which were within the range of a musket

The scarcity of good gunners was one of the chief difficulties of the
besiegers. As privateering, and piracy also, against Frenchmen and
Spaniards was a favorite pursuit in New England, there were men in
Pepperrell's army who knew how to handle cannon; but their number was
insufficient, and the General sent a note to Warren, begging that he would
lend him a few experienced gunners to teach their trade to the raw hands at
the batteries. Three or four were sent, and they found apt pupils.

Pepperrell placed the advanced battery in charge of Captain Joseph
[Footnote: He signs his name Jos. Sherburn; but in a list of the officers
of the New Hampshire Regiment it appears in full as Joseph.] Sherburn,
telling him to enlist as many gunners as he could. On the next day Sherburn
reported that he had found six, one of whom seems to have been sent by
Warren. With these and a number of raw men he repaired to his perilous
station, where "I found," he says, "a very poor intrenchment. Our best
shelter from the French fire, which was very hot, was hogsheads filled with
earth." He and his men made the West Gate their chief mark; but before they
could get a fair sight of it, they were forced to shoot down the
fish-flakes, or stages for drying cod, that obstructed the view. Some of
their party were soon killed,--Captain Pierce by a cannon-ball, Thomas Ash
by a "bumb," and others by musketry. In the night they improved their
defences, and mounted on them three more guns, one of eighteen-pound
calibre, and the others of forty-two,--French pieces dragged from the Grand
Battery, a mile and three quarters round the Barachois.

The cannon could be loaded only under a constant fire of musketry, which
the enemy briskly returned. The French practice was excellent. A soldier
who in bravado mounted the rampart and stood there for a moment, was shot
dead with five bullets. The men on both sides called to each other in
scraps of bad French or broken English; while the French drank ironical
healths to the New England men, and gave them bantering invitations to

Sherburn continues his diary. "Sunday morning. Began our fire with as much
fury as possible, and the French returned it as warmly from the Citidale
[citadel], West Gate, and North East Battery with Cannon, Mortars, and
continual showers of musket balls; but by 11 o'clock we had beat them all
from their guns." He goes on to say that at noon his men were forced to
stop firing from want of powder, that he went with his gunners to get some,
and that while they were gone, somebody, said to be Mr. Vaughan, brought a
supply, on which the men loaded the forty-two-pounders in a bungling way,
and fired them. One was dismounted, and the other burst; a barrel and a
half-barrel of powder blew up, killed two men, and injured two more. Again:
"Wednesday. Hot fire on both sides, till the French were beat from all
their guns. May 29th went to 2 Gun [Titcomb's] Battery to give the gunners
some directions; then returned to my own station, where I spent the rest of
the day with pleasure, seeing our Shott Tumble down their walls and Flagg

The following is the Intendant Bigot's account of the effect of the New
England fire: "The enemy established their batteries to such effect that
they soon destroyed the greater part of the town, broke the right flank of
the King's Bastion, ruined the Dauphin Battery with its spur, and made a
breach at the Porte Dauphine [West Gate], the neighboring wall, and the
sort of redan adjacent." [Footnote: _Bigot au Ministre, 1 Août,
1745._] Duchambon says in addition that the cannon of the right flank of
the King's Bastion could not be served, by reason of the continual fire of
the enemy, which broke the embrasures to pieces; that when he had them
repaired, they were broken to pieces (_démantibulès_) again,--and
nobody could keep his ground behind the wall of the quay, which was shot
through and through and completely riddled. [Footnote: _Duchambon au
Ministre, 2 Sept. 1745._] The town was ploughed with cannon-balls, the
streets were raked from end to end, nearly all the houses damaged, and the
people driven for refuge into the stifling casemates. The results were
creditable to novices in gunnery.

The repeated accidents from the bursting of cannon were no doubt largely
due to unskilful loading and the practice of double-shotting, to which the
over-zealous artillerists are said to have often resorted. [Footnote:
"Another forty-two-pound gun burst at the Grand Battery. All the guns are
in danger of going the same way, by double-shotting them, unless under
better regulation than at present." _Waldo to Pepperrell, 20 May,
1745_.] [Footnote: Waldo had written four days before: "Captain Hale, of
my regiment, is dangerously hurt by the bursting of another gun. He was our
mainstay for gunnery since Captain Rhodes's misfortune" (also caused by the
bursting of a cannon). _Waldo to Pepperrell, 16 May, 1745._]

It is said, in proof of the orderly conduct of the men, that not one of
them was punished during all the siege; but this shows the mild and
conciliating character of the General quite as much as any peculiar merit
of the soldiers. The state of things in and about the camp was compared by
the caustic Dr. Douglas to "a Cambridge Commencement," which academic
festival was then attended by much rough frolic and boisterous horseplay
among the disorderly crowds, white and black, bond and free, who swarmed
among the booths on Cambridge Common. The careful and scrupulous Belknap,
who knew many who took part in the siege, says: "Those who were on the spot
have frequently, in my hearing, laughed at the recital of their own
irregularities, and expressed their admiration when they reflected on the
almost miraculous preservation of the army from destruction." While the
cannon bellowed in the front, frolic and confusion reigned at the camp,
where the men raced, wrestled, pitched quoits, fired at marks,--though
there was no ammunition to spare,--and ran after the French cannon-balls,
which were carried to the batteries, to be returned to those who sent them.
Nor were calmer recreations wanting. "Some of our men went a fishing, about
2 miles off," writes Lieutenant Benjamin Cleaves in his diary: "caught 6
Troutts." And, on the same day, "Our men went to catch Lobsters: caught
30." In view of this truant disposition, it is not surprising that the
besiegers now and then lost their scalps at the hands of prowling Indians
who infested the neighborhood. Yet through all these gambols ran an
undertow of enthusiasm, born in brains still fevered from the "Great
Awakening." The New England soldier, a growth of sectarian hotbeds, fancied
that he was doing the work of God. The army was Israel, and the French were
Canaanitish idolaters. Red-hot Calvinism, acting through generations, had
modified the transplanted Englishman; and the descendant of the Puritans
was never so well pleased as when teaching their duty to other people,
whether by pen, voice, or bombshells. The ragged artillerymen, battering
the walls of papistical Louisbourg, flattered themselves with the notion
that they were champions of gospel truth.

Barefoot and tattered, they toiled on with indomitable pluck and
cheerfulness, doing the work which oxen could not do, with no comfort but
their daily dram of New England rum, as they plodded through the marsh and
over rocks, dragging the ponderous guns through fog and darkness. Their
spirit could not save them from the effects of excessive fatigue and
exposure. They were ravaged with diarrœa and fever, till fifteen hundred
men were at one time on the sick-list, and at another, Pepperrell reported
that of the four thousand only about twenty-one hundred were fit for duty.
[Footnote: _Pepperrell to Warren, 28 May, 1745._] Nearly all at
last recovered, for the weather was unusually good; yet the number fit for
service was absurdly small. Pepperrell begged for reinforcements, but got
none till the siege was ended.

It was not his nature to rule with a stiff hand,--and this, perhaps, was
fortunate. Order and discipline, the sinews of an army, were out of the
question; and it remained to do as well as might be without them, keep men
and officers in good-humor, and avoid all that could dash their ardor. For
this, at least, the merchant-general was well fitted. His popularity had
helped to raise the army, and perhaps it helped now to make it efficient.
His position was no bed of roses. Worries, small and great, pursued him
without end. He made friends of his officers, kept a bountiful table at his
tent, and labored to soothe their disputes and jealousies, and satisfy
their complaints. So generous were his contributions to the common cause
that according to a British officer who speaks highly of his services, he
gave to it, in one form or another, £10,000 out of his own pocket.
[Footnote: _Letter from an Officer of Marines_, appended to _A
particular Account of the Taking of Cape Breton_ (London, 1745).]

His letter-books reveal a swarm of petty annoyances, which may have tried
his strength and patience as much as more serious cares. The soldiers
complained that they were left without clothing, shoes, or rum; and when he
implored the Committee of War to send them, Osborne, the chairman, replied
with explanations why it could not be done. Letters came from wives and
fathers entreating that husbands and sons who had gone to the war should be
sent back. At the end of the siege a captain "humble begs leave for to go
home" because he lives in a very dangerous country, and his wife and
children are "in a declining way" without him. Then two entire companies
raised on the frontier offered the same petition on similar grounds.
Sometimes Pepperrell was beset with prayers for favors and promotion;
sometimes with complaints from one corps or another that an undue share of
work had been imposed on it. One Morris, of Cambridge, writes a moving
petition that his slave "Cuffee," who had joined the army, should be
restored to him, his lawful master. One John Alford sends the General a
number of copies of the Reverend Mr. Prentice's late sermon, for
distribution, assuring him that "it will please your whole army of
volunteers, as he has shown them the way to gain by their gallantry the
hearts and affections of the Ladys." The end of the siege brought countless
letters of congratulation, which, whether lay or clerical, never failed to
remind him, in set phrases, that he was but an instrument in the hands of

One of his most persistent correspondents was his son-in-law, Nathaniel
Sparhawk, a thrifty merchant, with a constant eye to business, who
generally began his long-winded epistles with a bulletin concerning the
health of "Mother Pepperrell," and rarely ended them without charging his
father-in-law with some commission, such as buying for him the cargo of a
French prize, if he could get it cheap. Or thus: "If you would procure for
me a hogshead of the best Clarett, and a hogshead of the best white wine,
at a reasonable rate, it would be very grateful to me." After pestering him
with a few other commissions, he tells him that "Andrew and Bettsy
[children of Pepperrell] send their proper compliments," and signs himself,
with the starched flourish of provincial breeding, "With all possible
Respect, Honoured Sir, Your Obedient Son and Servant." [Footnote:
_Sparhawk to Pepperrell,-June_, 1745. This is but one of many letters
from Sparhawk.] Pepperrell was much annoyed by the conduct of the
masters of the transports, of whom he wrote: "The unaccountable irregular
behaviour of these fellows is the greatest fatigue I meet with;" but it may
be doubted whether his son-in-law did not prove an equally efficient





Frequent councils of war were held in solemn form at headquarters. On the
7th of May a summons to surrender was sent to Duchambon, who replied that
he would answer with his cannon. Two days after, we find in the record of
the council the following startling entry: "Advised unanimously that the
Town of Louisbourg be attacked by storm this Night." Vaughan was a member
of the board, and perhaps his impetuous rashness had turned the heads of
his colleagues. To storm the fortress at that time would have been a
desperate attempt for the best-trained and best-led troops. There was as
yet no breach in the walls, nor the beginning of one; and the French were
so confident in the strength of their fortifications that they boasted that
women alone could defend them. Nine in ten of the men had no bayonets,
[Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 7 June, 1745._] many had no shoes,
and it is said that the scaling-ladders they had brought from Boston were
ten feet too short. [Footnote: Douglas, _Summary_, I. 347.] Perhaps it
was unfortunate for the French that the army was more prudent than its
leaders; and another council being called on the same day, it was "Advised,
That, inasmuch as there appears a great Dissatisfaction in many of the
officers and Soldiers at the designed attack of the Town by Storm this
Night, the said Attack be deferred for the present." [Footnote: _Record
of the Council of War, 9 May, 1745._]

Another plan was adopted, hardly less critical, though it found favor with
the army. This was the assault of the Island Battery, which closed the
entrance of the harbor to the British squadron, and kept it open to ships
from France. Nobody knew precisely how to find the two landing-places of
this formidable work, which were narrow gaps between rocks lashed with
almost constant surf; but Vaughan would see no difficulties, and wrote to
Pepperrell that if he would give him the command and leave him to manage
the attack in his own way, he would engage to send the French flag to
headquarters within forty-eight hours. [Footnote: _Vaughan to Pepperell,
11 May, 1745._] On the next day he seems to have thought the command
assured to him, and writes from the Grand Battery that the carpenters are
at work mending whale-boats and making paddles, asking at the same time for
plenty of pistols and one hundred hand-grenades, with men who know how to
use them. [Footnote: _Vaughan to Pepperell, 12 May, 1745._] The
weather proved bad, and the attempt was deferred. This happened several
times, till Warren grew impatient, and offered to support the attack with
two hundred sailors.

At length, on the 23d, the volunteers for the perilous enterprise mustered
at the Grand Battery, whence the boats were to set out. Brigadier Waldo,
who still commanded there, saw them with concern and anxiety, as they came
dropping in in small squads, without officers, noisy, disorderly, and, in
some cases, more or less drunk. "I doubt," he told the General, "whether
straggling fellows, three, four, or seven out of a company, ought to go on
such a service." [Footnote: _Waldo to Pepperell, 23 May, 1745._] A
bright moon and northern lights again put off the attack. The volunteers
remained at the Grand Battery, waiting for better luck. "They seem to be
impatient for action," writes Waldo. "If there were a more regular
appearance, it would give me greater sattysfaction." [Footnote: _Ibid.,
26 May, 1745._] On the 26th their wish for action was fully gratified.
The night was still and dark, and the boats put out from the battery
towards twelve o'clock, with about three hundred men on board.  [Footnote:
"There is scarce three hundred men on this atact [attack], so there will be
a sufficient number of Whail boats." _Ibid., 26 May, 10-1/2 p.m._]
These were to be joined by a hundred or a hundred and fifty more from
Gorham's regiment, then stationed at Lighthouse Point.  The commander was
not Vaughan, but one Brooks,--the choice of the men themselves, as were
also his subordinates. [Footnote: The list of a company of forty-two
"subscribers to go voluntarily upon an attack against the Island Battery"
is preserved. It includes a negro called "Ruben." The captain, chosen by
the men, was Daniel Bacon. The fact that neither this name nor that of
Brooks, the chief commander, is to be found in the list of commissioned
officers of Pepperrell's little army (see Parsons, _Life of Pepperell,
Appendix_) suggests the conclusion that the "subscribers" were permitted
to choose officers from their own ranks. This list, however is not quite
complete.] They moved slowly, the boats being propelled, not by oars, but
by paddles, which, if skilfully used, would make no noise. The wind
presently rose; and when they found a landing-place, the surf was lashing
the rocks with even more than usual fury. There was room for but three
boats at once between the breakers on each hand. They pushed in, and the
men scrambled ashore with what speed they might.

The Island Battery was a strong work, walled in on all sides, garrisoned by
a hundred and eighty men, and armed with thirty cannon, seven swivels, and
two mortars. [Footnote: _Journal of the Siege_, appended to Shirley's
report.] It was now a little after midnight. Captain d'Aillebout, the
commandant, was on the wratch, pacing the battery platform; but he seems to
have seen nothing unusual till about a hundred and fifty men had got on
shore, when they had the folly to announce their presence by three cheers.
Then, in the words of General Wolcott, the battery "blazed with cannon,
swivels, and small-arms." The crowd of boats, dimly visible through the
darkness, as they lay just off the landing, waiting their turn to go in,
were at once the target for volleys of grape-shot, langrage-shot, and
musket-balls, of which the men on shore had also their share. These
succeeded, however, in planting twelve scaling-ladders against the wall.
[Footnote: _Duchambon au Ministre, 2 Sept. 1745. Bigot au
Ministre, 1 Août. 1745._] It is said that some of them climbed
into the place, and the improbable story is told that Brooks, their
commander, was hauling down the French flag when a Swiss grenadier cut him
down with a cutlass. [Footnote: The exploit of the boy William Tufts in
climbing the French flag-staff and hanging his red coat at the top as a
substitute for the British flag, has also been said to have taken place on
this occasion. It was, as before mentioned, at the Grand Battery.] Many of
the boats were shattered or sunk, while those in the rear, seeing the state
of things, appear to have sheered off. The affair was soon reduced to an
exchange of shots between the garrison and the men who had landed, and who,
standing on the open ground without the walls, were not wholly invisible,
while the French, behind their ramparts, were completely hidden. "The fire
of the English," says Bigot, "was extremely obstinate, but without effect,
as they could not see to take aim." They kept it up till daybreak, or about
two hours and a half; and then, seeing themselves at the mercy of the
French, surrendered to the number of one hundred and nineteen, including
the wounded, three or more of whom died almost immediately. By the most
trustworthy accounts the English loss in killed, drowned, and captured was
one hundred and eighty-nine; or, in the words of Pepperrell, "nearly half
our party." [Footnote: Douglas makes it a little less. "We lost in this mad
frolic sixty men killed and drowned, and one hundred and sixteen
prisoners." _Summary_, i. 353.] Disorder, precipitation, and weak
leadership ruined what hopes the attempt ever had.

As this was the only French success during the siege, Duchambon makes the
most of it. He reports that the battery was attacked by a thousand men,
supported by eight hundred more, who were afraid to show themselves; and,
farther, that there were thirty-five boats, all of which were destroyed or
sunk, [Footnote: "Toutes les barques furent brisées ou coulées à fond; le
feu fut continuel depuis environ minuit jusqu'à trois heures du matin."
_Duchambon au Ministre, 2 Sept. 1745_.]--though he afterwards says
that two of them got away with thirty men, being all that were left of the
thousand. Bigot, more moderate, puts the number of assailants at five
hundred, of whom he says that all perished, except the one hundred and
nineteen who were captured. [Footnote: _Bigot au Ministre, 1 Août,

At daybreak Louisbourg rang with shouts of triumph. It was plain that a
disorderly militia could not capture the Island Battery. Yet captured or
silenced it must be; and orders were given to plant a battery against it at
Lighthouse Point, on the eastern side of the harbor's mouth, at the
distance of a short half mile. The neighboring shore was rocky and almost
inaccessible. Cannon and mortars were carried in boats to the nearest
landing-place, hauled up a steep cliff, and dragged a mile and a quarter to
the chosen spot, where they were planted under the orders of Colonel
Gridley, who thirty years after directed the earthworks on Bunker Hill. The
new battery soon opened fire with deadly effect.

The French, much encouraged by their late success, were plunged again into
despondency by a disaster which had happened a week before the affair of
the Island Battery, but did not come to their knowledge till some time
after. On the 19th of May a fierce cannonade was heard from the harbor, and
a large French ship-of-war was seen hotly engaged with several vessels of
the squadron. She was the "Vigilant," carrying 64 guns and 560 men, and
commanded by the Marquis de la Maisonfort. She had come from France with
munitions and stores, when on approaching Louisbourg she met one of the
English cruisers,--some say the "Mermaid," of 40 guns, and others the
"Shirley," of 20. Being no match for her, the British or provincial frigate
kept up a running fight and led her towards the English fleet. The
"Vigilant" soon found herself beset by several other vessels, and after a
gallant resistance and the loss of eighty men, struck her colors. Nothing
could be more timely for the New England army, whose ammunition and
provisions had sunk perilously low. The French prize now supplied their
needs, and drew from the _Habitant de Louisbourg_ the mournful
comment, "We were victims devoted to appease the wrath of Heaven, which
turned our own arms into weapons for our enemies."

Nor was this the last time when the defenders of Louisbourg supplied the
instruments of their own destruction; for ten cannon were presently
unearthed at low tide from the flats near the careening wharf in the
northeast arm of the harbor, where they had been hidden by the French some
time before. Most of them proved sound; and being mounted at Lighthouse
Point, they were turned against their late owners at the Island Battery.

When Gorham's regiment first took post at Lighthouse Point, Duchambon
thought the movement so threatening that he forgot his former doubts, and
ordered a sortie against it, under the Sieur de Beaubassin. Beaubassin
landed, with a hundred men, at a place called Lorembec, and advanced to
surprise the English detachment; but was discovered by an outpost of forty
men, who attacked and routed his party. [Footnote: _Journal of the
Siege_, appended to Shirley's report. Pomeroy, _Journal_.] Being
then joined by eighty Indians, Beaubassin had several other skirmishes with
English scouting-parties, till, pushed by superior numbers, and their
leader severely wounded, his men regained Louisbourg by sea, escaping with
difficulty from the guard-boats of the squadron. The Sieur de la Valliere,
with a considerable party of men, tried to burn Pepperrell's storehouses,
near Flat Point Cove; but ten or twelve of his followers were captured, and
nearly all the rest wounded. Various other petty encounters took place
between English scouting-parties and roving bands of French and Indians,
always ending, according to Pepperrell, in the discomfiture of the latter.
To this, however, there was at least one exception. Twenty English were
waylaid and surrounded near Petit Lorembec by forty or fifty Indians,
accompanied by two or three Frenchmen. Most of the English were shot down,
several escaped, and the rest surrendered on promise of life; upon which
the Indians, in cold blood, shot or speared some of them, and atrociously
tortured others.

This suggested to Warren a device which had two objects,--to prevent such
outrages in future, and to make known to the French that the ship
"Vigilant," the mainstay of their hopes, was in English hands. The
treatment of the captives was told to the Marquis de la Maisonfort, late
captain of the "Vigilant," now a prisoner on board the ship he had
commanded, and he was requested to lay the facts before Duchambon. This he
did with great readiness, in a letter containing these words: "It is well
that you should be informed that the captains and officers of this squadron
treat us, not as their prisoners, but as their good friends, and take
particular pains that my officers and crew should want for nothing;
therefore it seems to me just to treat them in like manner, and to punish
those who do otherwise and offer any insult to the prisoners who may fall
into your hands."

Captain M'Donald, of the marines, carried this letter to Duchambon under a
flag-of-truce. Though familiar with the French language, he spoke to the
Governor through an interpreter, so that the French officers present, who
hitherto had only known that a large ship had been taken, expressed to each
other without reserve their discouragement and dismay when they learned
that the prize was no other than the "Vigilant". Duchambon replied to La
Maisonfort's letter that the Indians alone were answerable for the
cruelties in question, and that he would forbid such conduct for the
future. [Footnote: _De la Maisonfort à Duchambon, 18 Juin_ (new
style), 1745. _Duchambon à de la Maisonfort, 19 Juin_ (new style),

The besiegers were now threatened by a new danger. We have seen that in the
last summer the Sieur Duvivier had attacked Annapolis. Undaunted by
ill-luck, he had gone to France to beg for help to attack it again; two
thousand men were promised him, and in anticipation of their arrival the
Governor of Canada sent a body of French and Indians, under the noted
partisan Marin, to meet and co-operate with them. Marin was ordered to wait
at Les Mines till he heard of the arrival of the troops from France; but he
grew impatient, and resolved to attack Annapolis without them. Accordingly,
he laid siege to it with the six or seven hundred whites and Indians of his
party, aided by the so-called Acadian neutrals. Mascarene, the governor,
kept them at bay till the 24th of May, when, to his surprise, they all
disappeared. Duchambon had sent them an order to make all haste to the aid
of Louisbourg. As the report of this reached the besiegers, multiplying
Marin's force four-fold, they expected to be attacked by numbers more than
equal to those of their own effective men. This wrought a wholesome reform.
Order was established in the camp, which was now fenced with palisades and
watched by sentinels and scouting-parties.

Another tribulation fell upon the General. Shirley had enjoined it upon
him to keep in perfect harmony with the naval commander, and the injunction
was in accord with Pepperrell's conciliating temper. Warren was no less
earnest than he for the success of the enterprise, lent him ammunition in
time of need, and offered every aid in his power, while Pepperrell in
letters to Shirley and Newcastle praised his colleague without stint. But
in habits and character the two men differed widely. Warren was in the
prime of life, and the ardor of youth still burned in him. He was impatient
at the slow movement of the siege. Prisoners told him of a squadron
expected from Brest, of which the "Vigilant" was the forerunner; and he
feared that even if it could not defeat him, it might elude the blockade,
and with the help of the continual fogs, get into Louisbourg in spite of
him, thus making its capture impossible. Therefore he called a council of
his captains on board his flagship, the "Superbe," and proposed a plan for
taking the place without further delay. On the same day he laid it before
Pepperrell. It was to the effect that all the king's ships and provincial
cruisers should enter the harbor, after taking on board sixteen hundred of
Pepperrell's men, and attack the town from the water side, while what was
left of the army should assault it by land. [Footnote: _Report of a
Consultation of Officers on board his Majesty's ship "Superbe,"_
enclosed in a letter of _Warren to Pepperrell, 24 May, 1745._] To
accept the proposal would have been to pass over the command to Warren,
only about twenty-one hundred of the New England men being fit for service
at the time, while of these the General informs Warren that "six hundred
are gone in quest of two bodies of French and Indians, who, we are
informed, are gathering, one to the eastward, and the other to the
westward." [Footnote: _Pepperrell to Warren, 28 May, 1745._]

To this Warren replies, with some appearance of pique, "I am very sorry
that no one plan of mine, though approved by all my captains, has been so
fortunate as to meet your approbation or have any weight with you." And to
show his title to consideration, he gives an extract from a letter written
to him by Shirley, in which that inveterate flatterer hints his regret
that, by reason of other employments, Warren could not take command of the
whole expedition,--"which I doubt not," says the Governor, "would be a most
happy event for his Majesty's service." [Footnote: _Warren to Pepperrell,
29 May, 1745._]

Pepperrell kept his temper under this thrust, and wrote to the commodore
with invincible courtesy: "Am extremely sorry the fogs prevent me from the
pleasure of waiting on you on board your ship," adding that six hundred men
should be furnished from the army and the transports to man the "Vigilant,"
which was now the most powerful ship in the squadron. In short, he showed
every disposition to meet Warren half way. But the Commodore was beginning
to feel some doubts as to the expediency of the bold action he had
proposed, and informed Pepperrell that his pilots thought it impossible to
go into the harbor until the Island Battery was silenced. In fact, there
was danger that if the ships got in while that battery was still alive and
active, they would never get out again, but be kept there as in a trap,
under the fire from the town ramparts.

Gridley's artillery at Lighthouse Point had been doing its best, dropping
bombshells with such precision into the Island Battery that the French
soldiers were sometimes seen running into the sea to escape the explosions.
Many of the Island guns were dismounted, and the place was fast becoming
untenable. At the same time the English batteries on the land side were
pushing their work of destruction with relentless industry, and walls and
bastions crumbled under their fire. The French labored with energy under
cover of night to repair the mischief; closed the shattered West Gate with
a wall of stone and earth twenty feet thick, made an epaulement to protect
what was left of the formidable Circular Battery,--all but three of whose
sixteen guns had been dismounted,--stopped the throat of the Dauphin's
Bastion with a barricade of stone, and built a cavalier, or raised battery,
on the King's Bastion,--where, however, the English fire soon ruined it.
Against that near and peculiarly dangerous neighbor, the advanced battery,
or, as they called it, the _Batterie de Francœur_, they planted
three heavy cannon to take it in flank. "These," says Duchambon, "produced
a marvellous effect, dismounted one of the cannon of the Bastonnais, and
damaged all their embrasures,--which," concludes the Governor, "did not
prevent them from keeping up a constant fire; and they repaired by night
the mischief we did them by day." [Footnote: _Duchambon au Ministre, 2
Sept._ 1745.]

Pepperrell and Warren at length came to an understanding as to a joint
attack by land and water. The Island Battery was by this time crippled, and
the town batteries that commanded the interior of the harbor were nearly
destroyed. It was agreed that Warren, whose squadron was now increased by
recent arrivals to eleven ships, besides the provincial cruisers, should
enter the harbor with the first fair wind, cannonade the town and attack it
in boats, while Pepperrell stormed it from the land side. Warren was to
hoist a Dutch flag under his pennant, at his main-top-gallant mast-head, as
a signal that he was about to sail in; and Pepperrell was to answer by
three columns of smoke, marching at the same time towards the walls with
drums beating and colors flying. [Footnote: _Warren to Pepperrell, 11
June, 1745. Pepperrell to Warren, 13 June, 1745._]

The French saw with dismay a large quantity of fascines carried to the foot
of the glacis, ready to fill the ditch, and their scouts came in with
reports that more than a thousand scaling-ladders were lying behind the
ridge of the nearest hill. Toil, loss of sleep, and the stifling air of
the casemates, in which they were forced to take refuge, had sapped the
strength of the besieged. The town was a ruin; only one house was
untouched by shot or shell. "We could have borne all this," writes the
Intendant, Bigot; "but the scarcity of powder, the loss of the 'Vigilant,'
the presence of the squadron, and the absence of any news from Marin, who
had been ordered to join us with his Canadians and Indians, spread terror
among troops and inhabitants. The townspeople said that they did not want
to be put to the sword, and were not strong enough to resist a general
assault." [Footnote: _Bigot au Ministre, 1 Août, 1745_.] On the 15th
of June they brought a petition to Duchambon, begging him to capitulate.
[Footnote: _Duchambon au Ministre, 2 Sept. 1745_.]

On that day Captain Sherburn, at the advanced battery, wrote in his diary:
"By 12 o'clock we had got all our platforms laid, embrazures mended, guns
in order, shot in place, cartridges ready, dined, gunners quartered,
matches lighted to return their last favours, when we heard their drums
beat a parley; and soon appeared a flag of truce, which I received midway
between our battery and their walls, conducted the officer to Green Hill,
and delivered him to Colonel Richman [Richmond]."

La Perelle, the French officer, delivered a note from Duchambon, directed
to both Pepperrell and Warren, and asking for a suspension of arms to
enable him to draw up proposals for capitulation. [Footnote: _Duchambon à
Pepperrell et Warren, 26 Juin_ (new style), 1745.] Warren chanced to be
on shore when the note came; and the two commanders answered jointly that
it had come in good time, as they had just resolved on a general attack,
and that they would give the Governor till eight o'clock of the next
morning to make his proposals. [Footnote: _Warren and Pepperrell to
Duchambon, 15 June_, 1745.]

They came in due time, but were of such a nature that Pepperrell refused to
listen to them, and sent back Bonaventure, the officer who brought them,
with counter-proposals. These were the terms which Duchambon had rejected
on the 7th of May, with added conditions; as, among others, that no
officer, soldier, or inhabitant of Louisbourg should bear arms against the
King of England or any of his allies for the space of a year. Duchambon
stipulated, as the condition of his acceptance, that his troops should
march out of the fortress with their arms and colors. [Footnote:
_Duchambon à Warren et Pepperrell, 27 Juin_ (new style), 1745.] To
this both the English commanders consented, Warren observing to Pepperrell
"the uncertainty of our affairs, that depend so much on wind and weather,
makes it necessary not to stickle at trifles." [Footnote: _Pepperrell to
Warren, 16 June, 1745, Warren to Pepperrell, 16 June, 1745._] The
articles were signed on both sides, and on the 17th the ships sailed
peacefully into the harbor, while Pepperrell with a part of his ragged army
entered the south gate of the town.

"Never was a place more mal'd [mauled] with cannon and shells," he writes
to Shirley; "neither have I red in History of any troops behaving with
greater courage. We gave them about nine thousand cannon-balls and six
hundred bombs." [Footnote: _Pepperrell to Shirley, 18 June_ (old
style,) 1745. _Ibid._, 4 July, 1745.] Thus this unique military
performance ended in complete and astonishing success.

According to English accounts, the French had lost about three hundred men
during the siege; but their real loss seems to have been not much above a
third of that number. On the side of the besiegers, the deaths from all
causes were only a hundred and thirty, about thirty of which were from
disease. The French used their muskets to good purpose; but their mortar
practice was bad, and close as was the advanced battery to their walls,
they often failed to hit it, while the ground on both sides of it looked
like a ploughed field, from the bursting of their shells. Their surrender
was largely determined by want of ammunition, as, according to one account,
the French had but thirty-seven barrels of gunpowder left, [Footnote:
_Habitant de Louisbourg._]--in which particular the besiegers fared
little better. [Footnote: Pepperrell more than once complains of a total
want of both powder and balls. Warren writes to him on May 29th: "It is
very lucky that we could spare you some powder; I am told you had not a
grain left."]

The New England men had been full of confidence in the result of the
proposed assault, and a French writer says that the timely capitulation
saved Louisbourg from a terrible catastrophe; [Footnote: "C'est par une
protection visible de la Providence que nous avons prévenu une journée qui
nous auroit été si funeste." _Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg._]
yet, ill-armed and disorderly as the besiegers were, it may be doubted
whether the quiet ending of the siege was not as fortunate for them as for
their foes. The discouragement of the French was increased by greatly
exaggerated ideas of the force of the "Bastonnais." The _Habitant de
Louisbourg_ places the land-force alone at eight or nine thousand men,
and Duchambon reports to the minister D'Argenson that he was attacked in
all by thirteen thousand. His mortifying position was a sharp temptation to
exaggerate; but his conduct can only be explained by a belief that the
force of his enemy was far greater than it was in fact.

Warren thought that the proposed assault would succeed, and wrote to
Pepperrell that he hoped they would "soon keep a good house together, and
give the Ladys of Louisbourg a Gallant Ball." [Footnote: _Warren to
Pepperrell, 10 June, 1745._] During his visit to the camp on the
day when the flag of truce came out, he made a speech to the New England
soldiers, exhorting them to behave like true Englishmen; at which they
cheered lustily. Making a visit to the Grand Battery on the same day, he
won high favor with the regiment stationed there by the gift of a hogshead
of rum to drink his health.

Whether Warren's "gallant ball" ever took place in Louisbourg does not
clearly appear. Pepperrell, on his part, celebrated the victory by a dinner
to the commodore and his officers. As the redoubtable Parson Moody was the
general's chaplain and the oldest man in the army, he expected to ask a
blessing at the board, and was, in fact, invited to do so,--to the great
concern of those who knew his habitual prolixity, and dreaded its effect on
the guests. At the same time, not one of them dared rasp his irritable
temper by any suggestion of brevity; and hence they came in terror to the
feast, expecting an invocation of a good half-hour, ended by open revolt of
the hungry Britons; when, to their surprise and relief, Moody said: "Good
Lord, we have so much to thank thee for, that time will be too short, and
we must leave it for eternity. Bless our food and fellowship upon this
joyful occasion, for the sake of Christ our Lord, Amen." And with that he
sat down. [Footnote: _Collection of Mass. Hist. Society. I. 49_]

It is said that he had been seen in the French church hewing at the altar
and images with the axe that he had brought for that purpose; and perhaps
this iconoclastic performance had eased the high pressure of his zeal.
[Footnote: A descendant of Moody, at the village of York, told me that he
was found in the church busy in the work of demolition.]

Amazing as their triumph was, Pepperrell's soldiers were not satisfied with
the capitulation, and one of them utters his disapproval in his diary thus:
"Sabbath Day, ye 16th June. They came to Termes for us to enter ye Sitty to
morrow, and Poore Termes they Bee too."

The occasion of discontent was the security of property assured to the
inhabitants, "by which means," says that dull chronicler, Niles, "the poor
soldiers lost all their hopes and just demerit [desert] of plunder promised
them." In the meagreness of their pay they thought themselves entitled to
the plunder of Louisbourg, which they imagined to be a seat of wealth and
luxury. Nathaniel Sparhawk, Pepperrell's thrifty son-in-law, shared this
illusion, and begged the General to get for him (at a low price) a handsome
service of silver plate. When the volunteers exchanged their wet and dreary
camp for what they expected to be the comfortable quarters of the town,
they were disgusted to see the houses still occupied by the owners, and to
find themselves forced to stand guard at the doors, to protect them.
[Footnote: "Thursday, ye 21st. Ye French keep possession yet, and we are
forsed to stand at their Dores to gard them." _Diary of a Soldier,
anonymous._] "A great Noys and hubbub a mongst ye Solders a bout ye
Plunder; Som Cursing, som a Swarein," writes one of the disgusted victors.

They were not, and perhaps could not be, long kept in order; and when, in
accordance with the capitulation, the inhabitants had been sent on board
vessels for transportation to France, discipline gave way, and General
Wolcott records that, while Moody was preaching on a Sunday in the
garrison-chapel, there was "excessive stealing in every part of the town."
Little, however, was left to steal.

But if the army found but meagre gleanings, the navy reaped a rich harvest.
French ships, instead of being barred out of the harbor, were now lured to
enter it. The French flag was kept flying over the town, and in this way
prizes were entrapped to the estimated value of a million sterling, half of
which went to the Crown, and the rest to the British officers and crews,
the army getting no share whatever.

Now rose the vexed question of the relative part borne by the colonies and
the Crown, the army and the navy, in the capture of Louisbourg; and here it
may be well to observe the impressions of a French witness of the siege.
"It was an enterprise less of the English nation and its King than of the
inhabitants of New England alone. This singular people have their own laws
and administration, and their governor plays the sovereign. Admiral
[Commodore] Warren had no authority over the troops sent by the Governor of
Boston, and he was only a spectator.... Nobody would have said that their
sea and land forces were of the same nation and under the same prince. No
nation but the English is capable of such eccentricities
(_bizarreries_),--which, nevertheless, are a part of the precious
liberty of which they show themselves so jealous." [Footnote: _Lettre
d'un Habitant de Louisbourg_.]

The French writer is correct when he says that the land and sea forces were
under separate commands, and it is equally true that but for the
conciliating temper of Pepperrell, harmony could not have been preserved
between the two chiefs; but when he calls Warren a mere spectator, he does
glaring injustice to that gallant officer, whose activity and that of his
captains was incessant, and whose services were invaluable. They
maintained, with slight lapses, an almost impossible blockade, without
which the siege must have failed. Two or three small vessels got into the
harbor; but the capture of the "Vigilant," more than any other event of the
siege, discouraged the French and prepared them for surrender.

Several English writers speak of Warren and the navy as the captors of
Louisbourg, and all New England writers give the chief honor to Pepperrell
and the army. Neither army nor navy would have been successful without the
other. Warren and his officers, in a council of war, had determined that so
long as the Island Battery and the water batteries of the town remained in
an efficient state, the ships could not enter the harbor; and Warren had
personally expressed the same opinion. [Footnote: _Report of Consultation
on board the "Superbe" 7 June, 1745_. "Commodore Warren did say
publickly that before the Circular Battery was reduced he would not venture
in here with three times ye sea force he had with him, and, through divine
assistance, we tore that [battery] and this city almost to pieces."
_Pepperrell to Shirley, 4 July, 1745_.] He did not mean to enter till
all the batteries which had made the attempt impracticable, including the
Circular Battery, which was the most formidable of all, had been silenced
or crippled by the army, and by the army alone. The whole work of the siege
fell upon the land forces; and though it had been proposed to send a body
of marines on shore, this was not done. [Footnote: Warren had no men to
spare. He says: "If it should be thought necessary to join your troops with
any men from our ships, it should only be done for some sudden attack that
may be executed in one day or night." _Warren to Pepperrell, 11 May,
1745._ No such occasion arose.] Three or four gunners, "to put your men
in the way of loading cannon," [Footnote: _Ibid., 13 May, 1745._ On
the 19th of May, 1746, Warren made a parting speech to the New England men
at Louisbourg, in which he tells them that it was they who conquered the
country, and expresses the hope that should the French try to recover it,
"the same Spirit that induced you to make this Conquest will prompt you to
protect it." See the speech in _Beamish-Murdoch_, II.  100-102.] was
Warren's contribution to the operations of the siege; though the fear of
attack by the ships, jointly with the land force, no doubt hastened the
surrender. Beauharnois, governor of Canada, ascribes the defeat to the
extreme activity with which the New England men pushed their attacks.

The _Habitant de Louisbourg_ says that each of the two commanders was
eager that the keys of the fortress should be delivered to him, and not to
his colleague; that before the surrender, Warren sent an officer to
persuade the French that it would be for their advantage to make their
submission to him rather than to Pepperrell; and that it was in fact so
made. Wolcott, on the other hand, with the best means of learning the
truth, says in his diary that Pepperrell received the keys at the South
Gate. The report that it was the British commodore, and not their own
general, to whom Louisbourg surrendered, made a prodigious stir among the
inhabitants of New England, who had the touchiness common to small and
ambitious peoples, and as they had begun the enterprise and borne most of
its burdens and dangers, they thought themselves entitled to the chief
credit of it. Pepperrell was blamed as lukewarm for the honor of his
country because he did not demand the keys and reject the capitulation if
they were refused. After all this ebullition it appeared that the keys were
in his hands, for when, soon after the siege, Shirley came to Louisbourg,
Pepperrell formally presented them to him, in presence of the soldiers.

Warren no doubt thought that he had a right to precedence, as being an
officer of the King in regular standing, while Pepperrell was but a
civilian, clothed with temporary rank by the appointment of a provincial
governor. Warren was an impetuous sailor accustomed to command, and
Pepperrell was a merchant accustomed to manage and persuade. The difference
appears in their correspondence during the siege. Warren is sometimes
brusque and almost peremptory; Pepperrell is forbearing and considerate to
the last degree. He liked Warren, and, to the last, continued to praise him
highly in letters to Shirley and other provincial governors; [Footnote: See
extracts in Parson, 105,106. The _Habitant de Louisbourg_ extols
Warren, but is not partial to Pepperrell, whom he calls, incorrectly, "the
son of a Boston shoemaker."] while Warren, on occasion of Shirley's arrival
at Louisbourg, made a speech highly complimentary to both the General and
his soldiers.

The news that Louisbourg was taken, reached Boston at one o'clock in the
morning of the 3d of July by a vessel sent express. A din of bells and
cannon proclaimed it to the slumbering townsmen, and before the sun rose,
the streets were filled with shouting crowds. At night every window shone
with lamps, and the town was ablaze with fireworks and bonfires. The next
Thursday was appointed a day of general thanksgiving for a victory believed
to be the direct work of Providence. New York and Philadelphia also hailed
the great news with illuminations, ringing of bells, and firing of cannon.

In England the tidings were received with astonishment and a joy that was
dashed with reflections on the strength and mettle of colonists supposed
already to aspire to independence. Pepperrell was made a baronet, and
Warren an admiral. The merchant soldier was commissioned colonel in the
British army; a regiment was given him, to be raised in America and
maintained by the King, while a similar recognition was granted to the
lawyer Shirley. [Footnote: To Rous, captain of a provincial cruiser, whom
Warren had commended for conduct and courage, was given the command of a
ship in the royal navy. "Tell your Council and Assembly, in his Majesty's
name," writes Newcastle to Shirley, "that their conduct will always entitle
them, in a particular manner, to his royal favor and protection."
_Newcastle to Shirley, 10 Aug. 1745._]

A question vital to Massachusetts worried her in the midst of her triumph.
She had been bankrupt for many years, and of the large volume of her
outstanding obligations, a part was not worth eightpence in the pound.
Added to her load of debt, she had spent £183,649 sterling on the
Louisbourg expedition. That which Smollett calls "the most important
achievement of the war" would never have taken place but for her, and Old
England, and not New, was to reap the profit; for Louisbourg, conquered by
arms, was to be restored by diplomacy. If the money she had spent for the
mother-country were not repaid, her ruin was certain. William Bollan,
English by birth and a son-in-law of Shirley, was sent out to urge the just
claim of the province, and after long and vigorous solicitation, he
succeeded. The full amount, in sterling value, was paid to Massachusetts,
and the expenditures of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were
also reimbursed. [Footnote: £183,649 to Massachusetts; £16,355 to New
Hampshire; £28,863 to Connecticut; £6,332 to Rhode Island.] The people of
Boston saw twenty-seven of those long, unwieldy trucks which many elders of
the place still remember as used in their youth, rumbling up King Street to
the treasury, loaded with 217 chests of Spanish dollars, and a hundred
barrels of copper coin. A pound sterling was worth eleven pounds of the
old-tenor currency of Massachusetts, and thirty shillings of the new-tenor.
Those beneficent trucks carried enough to buy in at a stroke nine tenths of
the old-tenor notes of the province,--nominally worth above two millions.
A stringent tax, laid on by the Assembly, paid the remaining tenth, and
Massachusetts was restored to financial health.

[Footnote: Palfrey, _New England_, V. 101-109; Shirley, _Report to
the Board of Trade. Bollan to Secretary Willard_, in _Coll. Mass.
Hist. Soc.,_ I. 53; Hutchinson, _Hist. Mass.,_ II. 391-395.
_Letters of Bollan_ in Massachusetts Archives.

It was through the exertions of the much-abused Thomas Hutchinson,
Speaker of the Assembly and historian of Massachusetts, that
the money was used for the laudable purpose of extinguishing the old debt.

Shirley did his utmost to support Bollan in his efforts to obtain
compensation, and after highly praising the zeal and loyalty of the people
of his province, he writes to Newcastle: "Justice, as well as the affection
which I bear to 'em, constrains me to beseech your Grace to recommend their
Case to his Majesty's paternal Care & Tenderness in the Strongest manner."
_Shirley to Newcastle, 6 Nov. 1745._

The English documents on the siege of Louisbourg are many and voluminous.
The Pepperrell Papers and the Belknap Papers, both in the library of the
Massachusetts Historical Society, afford a vast number of contemporary
letters and documents on the subject. The large volume entitled _Siege of
Louisbourg_, in the same repository, contains many more, including a
number of autograph diaries of soldiers and others. To these are to be
added the journals of General Wolcott, James Gibson, Benjamin Cleaves, Seth
Pomeroy, and several others, in print or manuscript, among which is
especially to be noted the journal appended to Shirley's Letter to the Duke
of Newcastle of Oct. 28, 1745, and bearing the names of Pepperrell,
Brigadier Waldo, Colonel Moore, and Lieutenant-Colonels Lothrop and
Gridley, who attest its accuracy. Many papers have also been drawn from the
Public Record Office of London.

Accounts of this affair have hitherto rested, with but slight exceptions,
on English sources alone. The archives of France have furnished useful
material to the foregoing narrative, notably the long report of the
Governor, Duchambon, to the Minister of War, and the letter of the
Intendant, Bigot, to the same personage, within about six weeks after the
surrender. But the most curious French evidence respecting the siege is the
_Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg contenant une Relation exacte &
circonstanciée de la Prise de l'Isle-Royale par les Anglois. A Québec, chez
Guillaume le Sincère, à l'Image de la Vérité_, 1745. This little work,
of eighty-one printed pages, is extremely rare. I could study it only by
having a _literatim_ transcript made from the copy in the Bibliothèque
Nationale, as it was not in the British Museum. It bears the signature B.
L. N., and is dated _à ... ce 28 Août, 1745._ The imprint of Québec,
etc., is certainly a mask, the book having no doubt been printed in France.
It severely criticises Duchambon, and makes him mainly answerable for the

For French views of the siege of Louisbourg, _see_ Appendix B.]





The troops and inhabitants of Louisbourg were all embarked for France, and
the town was at last in full possession of the victors. The serious-minded
among them--and there were few who did not bear the stamp of hereditary
Puritanism--now saw a fresh proof that they were the peculiar care of an
approving Providence. While they were in camp the weather had been
favorable; but they were scarcely housed when a cold, persistent rain
poured down in floods that would have drenched their flimsy tents and
turned their huts of turf into mud-heaps, robbing the sick of every hope of
recovery. Even now they got little comfort from the shattered tenements of
Louisbourg. The siege had left the town in so filthy a condition that the
wells were infected and the water was poisoned.

The soldiers clamored for discharge, having enlisted to serve only till the
end of the expedition; and Shirley insisted that faith must be kept with
them, or no more would enlist. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 27
Sept. 1745._] Pepperrell, much to the dissatisfaction of Warren, sent
home about seven hundred men, some of whom were on the sick list, while the
rest had families in distress and danger on the exposed frontier. At the
same time he begged hard for reinforcements, expecting a visit from the
French and a desperate attempt to recover Louisbourg. He and Warren
governed the place jointly, under martial law, and they both passed half
their time in holding courts-martial; for disorder reigned among the
disgusted militia, and no less among the crowd of hungry speculators, who
flocked like vultures to the conquered town to buy the cargoes of captured
ships, or seek for other prey. The Massachusetts soldiers, whose pay was
the smallest, and who had counted on being at their homes by the end of
July, were the most turbulent; but all alike were on the brink of mutiny.
Excited by their ringleaders, they one day marched in a body to the parade
and threw down their arms; but probably soon picked them up again, as in
most cases the guns were hunting-pieces belonging to those who carried
them. Pepperrell begged Shirley to come to Louisbourg and bring the
mutineers back to duty. Accordingly, on the 16th of August he arrived in a
ship-of-war, accompanied by Mrs. Shirley and Mrs. Warren, wife of the
Commodore. The soldiers duly fell into line to receive him. As it was not
his habit to hide his own merits, he tells the Duke of Newcastle that
nobody but he could have quieted the malcontents,--which is probably true,
as nobody else had power to raise their pay. He made them a speech,
promised them forty shillings in Massachusetts new-tenor currency a month,
instead of twenty-five, and ended with ordering for each man half a pint of
rum to drink the King's health. Though potations so generous might be
thought to promise effects not wholly sedative, the mutineers were brought
to reason, and some even consented to remain in garrison till the next
June. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 4 Dec 1745._]

Small reinforcements came from New England to hold the place till the
arrival of troops from Gibraltar, promised by the ministry. The two
regiments raised in the colonies, and commanded by Shirley and Pepperrell,
were also intended to form a part of the garrison; but difficulty was found
in filling the ranks, because, says Shirley, some commissions have been
given to Englishmen, and men will not enlist here except under American

Nothing could be more dismal than the condition of Louisbourg, as reflected
in the diaries of soldiers and others who spent there the winter that
followed its capture. Among these diaries is that of the worthy Benjamin
Crafts, private in Hale's Essex regiment, who to the entry of each day adds
a pious invocation, sincere in its way, no doubt, though hackneyed, and
sometimes in strange company. Thus, after noting down Shirley's gift of
half a pint of rum to every man to drink the King's health, he adds
immediately: "The Lord Look upon us and enable us to trust in him & may he
prepare us for his holy Day." On "September ye 1, being Sabath," we find
the following record: "I am much out of order. This forenoon heard Mr.
Stephen Williams preach from ye 18 Luke 9 verse in the afternoon from ye 8
of Ecles: 8 verse: Blessed be the Lord that has given us to enjoy another
Sabath and opertunity to hear his Word Dispensed." On the next day, "being
Monday," he continues, "Last night I was taken very Bad: the Lord be
pleased to strengthen my inner man that I may put my whole Trust in him.
May we all be prepared for his holy will. Red part of plunder, 9 small
tooth combs." Crafts died in the spring, of the prevailing distemper, after
doing good service in the commissary department of his regiment.

Stephen Williams, the preacher whose sermons had comforted Crafts in his
trouble, was a son of Rev. John Williams, captured by the Indians at
Deerfield in 1704, and was now minister of Long Meadow, Massachusetts. He
had joined the anti-papal crusade as one of its chaplains, and passed for a
man of ability,--a point on which those who read his diary will probably
have doubts. The lot of the army chaplains was of the hardest. A pestilence
had fallen upon Louisbourg, and turned the fortress into a hospital. "After
we got into the town," says the sarcastic Dr. Douglas, whose pleasure it is
to put everything in its worst light, "a sordid indolence or sloth, for
want of discipline, induced putrid fevers and dysenteries, which at length
in August became contagious, and the people died like rotten sheep." From
fourteen to twenty-seven were buried every day in the cemetery behind the
town, outside the Maurepas Gate, by the old lime-kiln, on Rochefort Point;
and the forgotten bones of above five hundred New England men lie there to
this day under the coarse, neglected grass. The chaplain's diary is little
but a dismal record of sickness, death, sermons, funerals, and prayers with
the dying ten times a day. "Prayed at Hospital;--Prayed at
Citadel;--Preached at Grand Eatery;--Visited Capt. [illegible], very
sick;--One of Capt. ----'s company dyd--Am but poorly myself, but able to
keep about." Now and then there is a momentary change of note, as when he
writes: "July 29th. One of ye Captains of ye men of war caind a soldier who
struck ye capt. again. A great tumult. Swords were drawn; no life lost, but
great uneasiness is caused." Or when he sets down the "say" of some Briton,
apparently a naval officer, "that he had tho't ye New England men were
Cowards--but now he tho't yt if they had a pick axe & spade, they w'd dig
ye way to Hell & storm it." [Footnote: The autograph diary of Rev. Stephen
Williams is in my possession. The handwriting is detestable.]

Williams was sorely smitten with homesickness, but he sturdily kept his
post, in spite of grievous yearnings for family and flock. The pestilence
slowly abated, till at length the burying-parties that passed the Maurepas
Gate counted only three or four a day. At the end of January five hundred
and sixty-one men had died, eleven hundred were on the sick list, and about
one thousand fit for duty. [Footnote: On May 10th, 1746, Shirley writes to
Newcastle that eight hundred and ninety men had died during the winter. The
sufferings of the garrison from cold were extreme.] The promised regiments
from Gibraltar had not come. Could the French have struck then, Louisbourg
might have changed hands again. The Gibraltar regiments had arrived so
late upon that rude coast that they turned southward to the milder shores
of Virginia, spent the winter there, and did not appear at Louisbourg till
April. They brought with them a commission for Warren as governor of the
fortress. He made a speech of thanks to the New England garrison, now
reduced to less than nineteen hundred men, sick and well, and they sailed
at last for home, Louisbourg being now thought safe from any attempt of

To the zealous and energetic Shirley the capture of the fortress was but a
beginning of greater triumphs. Scarcely had the New England militia sailed
from Boston on their desperate venture, when he wrote to the Duke of
Newcastle that should the expedition succeed, all New England would be on
fire to attack Canada, and the other colonies would take part with them, if
ordered to do so by the ministry. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 4
April, 1745._] And, some months later, after Louisbourg was taken, he
urged the policy of striking while the iron was hot, and invading Canada at
once. The colonists, he said, were ready, and it would be easier to raise
ten thousand men for such an attack than one thousand to lie idle in
garrison at Louisbourg or anywhere else. France and England, he thinks,
cannot live on the same continent. If we were rid of the French, he
continues, England would soon control America, which would make her first
among the nations; and he ventures what now seems the modest prediction
that in one or two centuries the British colonies would rival France in
population. Even now, he is sure that they would raise twenty thousand men
to capture Canada, if the King required it of them, and Warren would be an
acceptable commander for the naval part of the expedition; "but," concludes
the Governor, "I will take no step without orders from his Majesty."
[Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 29 Oct. 1745._]

The Duke of Newcastle was now at the head of the Government. Smollett and
Horace Walpole have made his absurdities familiar, in anecdotes which, true
or not, do no injustice to his character; yet he had talents that were
great in their way, though their way was a mean one. They were talents, not
of the statesman, but of the political manager, and their object was to win
office and keep it.

Newcastle, whatever his motives, listened to the counsels of Shirley, and
directed him to consult with Warren as to the proposed attack on Canada.
At the same time he sent a circular letter to the governors of the
provinces from New England to North Carolina, directing them, should the
invasion be ordered, to call upon their assemblies for as many men as they
would grant. [Footnote: _Newcastle to the Provincial Governors, 14 March,
1746; Shirley to Newcastle, 31 May, 1746; Proclamation of Shirley, 2 June,
1746._] Shirley's views were cordially supported by Warren, and the
levies were made accordingly, though not in proportion to the strength of
the several colonies; for those south of New York felt little interest in
the plan. Shirley was told to "dispose Massachusetts to do its part;" but
neither he nor his province needed prompting. Taking his cue from the Roman
senator, he exclaimed to his Assembly, "_Delenda est Canada;_" and the
Assembly responded by voting to raise thirty-five hundred men, and offering
a bounty equivalent to £4 sterling to each volunteer, besides a blanket for
every one, and a bed for every two. New Hampshire contributed five hundred
men, Rhode Island three hundred, Connecticut one thousand, New York sixteen
hundred, New Jersey five hundred, Maryland three hundred, and Virginia one
hundred. The Pennsylvania Assembly, controlled by Quaker non-combatants,
would give no soldiers; but, by a popular movement, the province furnished
four hundred men, without the help of its representatives. [Footnote:
Hutchinson, II.  381, _note._ Compare _Memoirs of the Principal
Transactions of the Late War._]

As usual in the English attempts against Canada, the campaign was to be a
double one. The main body of troops, composed of British regulars and New
England militia, was to sail up the St. Lawrence and attack Quebec, while
the levies of New York and the provinces farther south, aided, it was
hoped, by the warriors of the Iroquois, were to advance on Montreal by way
of Lake Champlain.

Newcastle promised eight battalions of British troops under
Lieutenant-General Saint Clair. They were to meet the New England men at
Louisbourg, and all were then to sail together for Quebec, under the escort
of a squadron commanded by Warren. Shirley also was to go to Louisbourg,
and arrange the plan of the campaign with the General and the Admiral.
Thus, without loss of time, the captured fortress was to be made a base of
operations against its late owners.

Canada was wild with alarm at reports of English preparation. There were
about fifty English prisoners in barracks at Quebec, and every device was
tried to get information from them; but being chiefly rustics caught on the
frontiers by Indian war-parties, they had little news to give, and often
refused to give even this. One of them, who had been taken long before and
gained over by the French, [Footnote: "Un ancien prisonnier affidé que l'on
a mis dans nos interests."] was used as an agent to extract information
from his countrymen, and was called _"notre homme de confiance."_ At
the same time the prisoners were freely supplied with writing materials,
and their letters to their friends being then opened, it appeared that they
were all in expectation of speedy deliverance. [Footnote: _Extrait en
forme de Journal de ce quie s'est passé dans la Colonie depuis ...le 1
Déc. 1745, jusqu'au 9 Nov. 1746, signé Beauharnois et Hocquart._]

In July a report came from Acadia that from forty to fifty thousand men
were to attack Canada; and on the 1st of August a prisoner lately taken at
Saratoga declared that there were thirty-two warships at Boston ready to
sail against Quebec, and that thirteen thousand men were to march at once
from Albany against Montreal. "If all these stories are true," writes the
Canadian journalist, "all the English on this continent must be in arms."

Preparations for defence were pushed with feverish energy. Fireships were
made ready at Quebec, and fire-rafts at Isle-aux-Coudres; provisions were
gathered, and ammunition was distributed; reconnoitring parties were sent
to watch the Gulf and the River; and bands of Canadians and Indians lately
sent to Acadia were ordered to hasten back.

Thanks to the Duke of Newcastle, all these alarms were needless. The
Massachusetts levies were ready within six weeks, and Shirley, eager and
impatient, waited in vain for the squadron from England and the promised
eight battalions of regulars. They did not come; and in August he wrote to
Newcastle that it would now be impossible to reach Quebec before October,
which would be too late. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 22 Aug.
1746._] The eight battalions had been sent to Portsmouth for
embarkation, ordered on board the transports, then ordered ashore again,
and finally sent on an abortive expedition against the coast of France.
There were those who thought that this had been their destination from the
first, and that the proposed attack on Canada was only a pretence to
deceive the enemy. It was not till the next spring that Newcastle tried to
explain the miscarriage to Shirley. He wrote that the troops had been
detained by head-winds till General Saint Clair and Admiral Lestock thought
it too late; to which he added that the demands of the European war made
the Canadian expedition impracticable, and that Shirley was to stand on the
defensive and attempt no further conquests. As for the provincial soldiers,
who this time were in the pay of the Crown, he says that they were "very
expensive," and orders the Governor to get rid of them "as cheap as
possible." [Footnote: _Newcastle to Shirley, 30 May 1747._]
Thus, not for the first time, the hopes of the colonies were brought to
nought by the failure of the British ministers to keep their promises.

When, in the autumn of 1746, Shirley said that for the present Canada was
to be let alone, he bethought him of a less decisive conquest, and proposed
to employ the provincial troops for an attack on Crown Point, which formed
a half-way station between Albany and Montreal, and was the constant
rendezvous of war-parties against New York, New Hampshire, and
Massachusetts, whose discords and jealousies had prevented them from
combining to attack it. The Dutch of Albany, too, had strong commercial
reasons for not coming to blows with the Canadians. Of late, however,
Massachusetts and New York had suffered so much from this inconvenient
neighbor that it was possible to unite them against it; and as Clinton,
governor of New York, was scarcely less earnest to get possession of Crown
Point than was Shirley himself, a plan of operations was soon settled. By
the middle of October fifteen hundred Massachusetts troops were on their
way to join the New York levies, and then advance upon the obnoxious post.
[Footnote: _Memoirs of the Principal Transactions of the Last War._]

Even this modest enterprise was destined to fail. Astounding tidings
reached New England, and startled her like a thunder-clap from dreams of
conquest. It was reported that a great French fleet and army were on their
way to retake Louisbourg, reconquer Acadia, burn Boston, and lay waste the
other seaboard towns. The Massachusetts troops marching for Crown Point
were recalled, and the country militia were mustered in arms. In a few days
the narrow, crooked streets of the Puritan capital were crowded with more
than eight thousand armed rustics from the farms and villages of Middlesex,
Essex, Norfolk, and Worcester, and Connecticut promised six thousand more
as soon as the hostile fleet should appear. The defences of Castle William
were enlarged and strengthened, and cannon were planted on the islands at
the mouth of the harbor; hulks were sunk in the channel, and a boom was
laid across it under the guns of the castle. [Footnote: _Shirley to
Newcastle, 29 Sept. 1746._ Shirley says that though the French
may bombard the town, he does not think they could make a landing, as he
shall have fifteen thousand good men within call to oppose them.] The alarm
was compared to that which filled England on the approach of the Spanish
Armada. [Footnote: Hutchinson, II. 382.]

Canada heard the news of the coming armament with an exultation that was
dashed with misgiving as weeks and months passed and the fleet did not
appear. At length in September a vessel put in to an Acadian harbor with
the report that she had met the ships in mid-ocean, and that they counted a
hundred and fifty sail. Some weeks later the Governor and Intendant of
Canada wrote that on the 14th of October they received a letter from
Chibucto with "the agreeable news" that the Duc d'Anville and his fleet had
arrived there about three weeks before. Had they known more, they would
have rejoiced less.

That her great American fortress should have been snatched from her by a
despised militia was more than France could bear; and in the midst of a
burdensome war she made a crowning effort to retrieve her honor and pay the
debt with usury. It was computed that nearly half the French navy was
gathered at Brest under command of the Duc d'Anville. By one account his
force consisted of eleven ships of the line, twenty frigates, and
thirty-four transports and fireships, or sixty-five in all. Another list
gives a total of sixty-six, of which ten were ships of the line, twenty-two
were frigates and fireships, and thirty-four were transports. [Footnote:
This list is in the journal of a captured French officer called by Shirley
M. Rebateau.] These last carried the regiment of Ponthieu, with other
veteran troops, to the number in all of three thousand one hundred and
fifty. The fleet was to be joined at Chibucto, now Halifax, by four heavy
ships-of-war lately sent to the West Indies under M. de Conflans.

From Brest D'Anville sailed for some reason to Rochelle, and here the ships
were kept so long by head-winds that it was the 20th of June before they
could put to sea. From the first the omens were sinister. The Admiral was
beset with questions as to the destination of the fleet, which was known to
him alone; and when, for the sake of peace, he told it to his officers,
their discontent redoubled. The Bay of Biscay was rough and boisterous, and
spars, sails, and bowsprits were carried away. After they had been a week
at sea, some of the ships, being dull sailers, lagged behind, and the rest
were forced to shorten sail and wait for them. In the longitude of the
Azores there was a dead calm, and the whole fleet lay idle for days. Then
came a squall, with lightning. Several ships were struck. On one of them
six men were killed, and on the seventy-gun ship "Mars" a box of musket and
cannon cartridges blew up, killed ten men, and wounded twenty-one. A
storeship which proved to be sinking was abandoned and burned. Then a
pestilence broke out, and in some of the ships there were more sick than in

On the 14th of September they neared the coast of Nova Scotia, and were in
dread of the dangerous shoals of Sable Island, the position of which they
did not exactly know. They groped their way in fogs till a fearful storm,
with thunder and lightning, fell upon them. The journalist of the voyage, a
captain in the regiment of Ponthieu, says, with the exaggeration common in
such cases, that the waves ran as high as the masts; and such was their
violence that a transport, dashing against the ship "Amazone," immediately
went down, with all on board. The crew of the "Prince d'Orange," half
blinded by wind and spray, saw the great ship "Caribou," without bowsprit
or main-topmast, driving towards them before the gale, and held their
breath in expectation of the shock as she swept close alongside and
vanished in the storm. [Footnote: _Journal historique du Voyage de la
Flotte commandée par M. le Duc d'Enville._ The writer was on board the
"Prince d'Orange," and describes what he saw (Archives du Séminaire de
Québec; printed in _Le Canada Français._)] The tempest raged all
night, and the fleet became so scattered that there was no more danger of
collision. In the morning the journalist could see but five sail; but as
the day advanced the rest began to reappear, and at three o'clock he
counted thirty-one from the deck of the "Prince d'Orange." The gale was
subsiding, but its effects were seen in hencoops, casks, and chests
floating on the surges and telling the fate of one or more of the fleet.
The "Argonaut" was rolling helpless, without masts or rudder; the "Caribou"
had thrown overboard all the starboard guns of her upper deck; and the
vice-admiral's ship, the "Trident," was in scarcely better condition.

On the 23d they were wrapped in thick fog and lay firing guns, ringing
bells, and beating drums to prevent collisions. When the weather cleared,
they looked in vain for the Admiral's ship, the "Northumberland."
[Footnote: The "Northumberland" was an English prize captured by Captains
Serier and Conflans in 1744.] She was not lost, however, but with two other
ships was far ahead of the fleet and near Chibucto, though in great
perplexity, having no pilot who knew the coast. She soon after had the good
fortune to capture a small English vessel with a man on board well
acquainted with Chibucto harbor. D'Anville offered him his liberty and a
hundred louis if he would pilot the ship in. To this he agreed; but when he
rejoined his fellow-prisoners they called him a traitor to his country, on
which he retracted his promise. D'Anville was sorely perplexed; but
Duperrier, captain of the "Northumberland," less considerate of the
prisoner's feelings, told him that unless he kept his word he should be
thrown into the sea, with a pair of cannon-balls made fast to his feet. At
this his scruples gave way, and before night the "Northumberland" was safe
in Chibucto Bay. D'Anville had hoped to find here the four ships of
Conflans which were to have met him from the West Indies at this, the
appointed rendezvous; but he saw only a solitary transport of his own
fleet. Hills covered with forests stood lonely and savage round what is now
the harbor of Halifax. Conflans and his four ships had arrived early in the
month, and finding nobody, though it was nearly three months since
D'Anville left Rochelle, he cruised among the fogs for a while, and then
sailed for France a few days before the Admiral's arrival.

D'Anville was ignorant of the fate of his fleet; but he knew that the two
ships which had reached Chibucto with him were full of sick men, that their
provisions were nearly spent, and that there was every reason to believe
such of the fleet as the storm might have spared to be in no better case.
An officer of the expedition describes D'Anville as a man "made to command
and worthy to be loved," and says that he had borne the disasters of the
voyage with the utmost fortitude and serenity. [Footnote: _Journal
historique du Voyage._] Yet suspense and distress wrought fatally upon
him, and at two o'clock in the morning of the 27th he died,--of apoplexy,
by the best accounts; though it was whispered among the crews that he had
ended his troubles by poison. [Footnote: _Declaration of H. Kannan and
D. Deas, 23 Oct. 1746. Deposition of Joseph Foster, 24 Oct. 1746, sworn to
before Jacob Wendell, J. P._ These were prisoners in the ships at

At six o'clock in the afternoon of the same day D'Estournel, the
vice-admiral, with such ships as remained with him, entered the harbor and
learned what had happened. He saw with dismay that he was doomed to bear
the burden of command over a ruined enterprise and a shattered fleet. The
long voyage had consumed the provisions, and in some of the ships the crews
were starving. The pestilence grew worse, and men were dying in numbers
every day. On the 28th, D'Anville was buried without ceremony on a small
island in the harbor. The officers met in council, and the papers of the
dead commander were examined. Among them was a letter from the King in
which he urged the recapture of Louisbourg as the first object of the
expedition; but this was thought impracticable, and the council resolved to
turn against Annapolis all the force that was left. It is said that
D'Estournel opposed the attempt, insisting that it was hopeless, and that
there was no alternative but to return to France. The debate was long and
hot, and the decision was against him. [Footnote: This is said by all the
writers except the author of the _Journal historique_, who merely
states that the council decided to attack Annapolis, and to detach some
soldiers to the aid of Quebec. This last vote was reconsidered.] The
council dissolved, and he was seen to enter his cabin in evident distress
and agitation. An unusual sound was presently heard, followed by groans.
His door was fastened by two bolts, put on the evening before by his order.
It was burst open, and the unfortunate commander was found lying in a pool
of blood, transfixed with his own sword. Enraged and mortified, he had
thrown himself upon it in a fit of desperation. The surgeon drew out the
blade, but it was only on the urgent persuasion of two Jesuits that the
dying man would permit the wound to be dressed. He then ordered all the
captains to the side of his berth, and said, "Gentlemen, I beg pardon of
God and the King for what I have done, and I protest to the King that my
only object was to prevent my enemies from saying that I had not executed
his orders;" and he named M. de la Jonquière to command in his place. In
fact, La Jonquière's rank entitled him to do so. He was afterwards well
known as governor of Canada, and was reputed a brave and able sea-officer.

La Jonquière remained at Chibucto till late in October. Messengers were
sent to the Acadian settlements to ask for provisions, of which there was
desperate need; and as payment was promised in good metal, and not in
paper, the Acadians brought in a considerable supply. The men were encamped
on shore, yet the pestilence continued its ravages. Two English prisoners
were told that between twenty-three and twenty-four hundred men had been
buried by sea or land since the fleet left France; and another declares
that eleven hundred and thirty-five burials took place while he was at
Chibucto. [Footnote: _Declaration of Kannan and Deas. Deposition of
Joseph Foster._] The survivors used the clothing of the dead as gifts to
the neighboring Indians, who in consequence were attacked with such
virulence by the disease that of the band at Cape Sable three fourths are
said to have perished. The English, meanwhile, learned something of the
condition of their enemies. Towards the end of September Captain Sylvanus
Cobb, in a sloop from Boston, boldly entered Chibucto Harbor, took note of
the ships lying there, and though pursued, ran out to sea and carried the
results of his observations to Louisbourg. [Footnote: _Report of Captain
Cobb,_ in _Shirley to Newcastle, 13 Oct. 1746._] A more thorough
reconnoissance was afterwards made by a vessel from Louisbourg bringing
French prisoners for exchange under a flag of truce; and it soon became
evident that the British colonies had now nothing to fear.

La Jonquière still clung to the hope of a successful stroke at Annapolis,
till in October an Acadian brought him the report that the garrison of that
place had received a reinforcement of twelve hundred men. The reinforcement
consisted in reality of three small companies of militia sent from Boston
by Shirley. La Jonquière called a secret council, and the result seems to
have been adverse to any further attempt. The journalist reports that only
a thousand men were left in fighting condition, and that even of these some
were dying every day.

La Jonquière, however, would not yet despair. The troops were re-embarked;
five hospital ships were devoted to the sick; the "Parfait," a fifty-gun
ship no longer serviceable, was burned, as were several smaller vessels,
and on the 4th of October what was left of the fleet sailed out of Chibucto
Harbor and steered for Annapolis, piloted by Acadians. The flag of truce
from Louisbourg was compelled for a time to bear them company, and Joseph
Foster of Beverly, an exchanged prisoner on board of her, deposed that as
the fleet held its way, he saw "a great number of dead persons" dropped
into the sea every day. Ill-luck still pursued the French. A storm off Cape
Sable dispersed the ships, two of which some days later made their way to
Annapolis Basin in expectation of finding some of their companions there.
They found instead the British fifty-gun ship "Chester" and the
Massachusetts frigate "Shirley" anchored before the fort, on which the two
Frenchmen retired as they had come; and so ended the last aggressive
movement on the part of the great armament.

The journalist reports that on the night of the 27th there was a council of
officers on board the "Northumberland," at which it was resolved that no
choice was left but to return to France with the ships that still kept
together. On the 4th of November there was another storm, and when it
subsided, the "Prince d'Orange" found herself with but nine companions, all
of which were transports. These had on board eleven companies of soldiers,
of whom their senior officer reports that only ninety-one were in health.
The pestilence made such ravages among the crews that four or five corpses
were thrown into the sea every day, and there was fear that the vessels
would be left helpless in mid-ocean for want of sailors to work them.
[Footnote: _Journal historique._] At last, on the 7th of December,
after narrowly escaping an English squadron, they reached Port Louis in
Brittany, where several ships of the fleet had arrived before them. Among
these was the frigate "La Palme." "Yesterday," says the journalist, "I
supped with M. Destrahoudal, who commands this frigate; and he told me
things which from anybody else would have been incredible. This is his
story, exactly as I had it from him." And he goes on to the following

After the storm of the 14th of September, provisions being almost spent, it
was thought that there was no hope for "La Palme" and her crew but in
giving up the enterprise and making all sail at once for home, since France
now had no port of refuge on the western continent nearer than Quebec.
Rations were reduced to three ounces of biscuit and three of salt meat a
day; and after a time half of this pittance was cut off. There was diligent
hunting for rats in the hold; and when this game failed, the crew, crazed
with famine, demanded of their captain that five English prisoners who were
on board should be butchered to appease the frenzy of their hunger. The
captain consulted his officers, and they were of opinion that if he did not
give his consent, the crew would work their will without it. The ship's
butcher was accordingly ordered to bind one of the prisoners, carry him to
the bottom of the hold, put him to death, and distribute his flesh to the
men in portions of three ounces each. The captain, walking the deck in
great agitation all night, found a pretext for deferring the deed till
morning, when a watchman sent aloft at daylight cried, "A sail!" The
providential stranger was a Portuguese ship; and as Portugal was neutral in
the war, she let the frigate approach to within hailing distance. The
Portuguese captain soon came alongside in a boat, "accompanied," in the
words of the narrator, "by five sheep." These were eagerly welcomed by the
starving crew as agreeable substitutes for the five Englishmen; and being
forthwith slaughtered, were parcelled out among the men, who would not wait
till the flesh was cooked, but devoured it raw. Provisions enough were
obtained from the Portuguese to keep the frigate's company alive till they
reached Port Louis. [Footnote: _Relation du Voyage de Retour de M.
Destrahoudal après la Tempête du 14 Septembre,_ in _Journal

There are no sufficient means of judging how far the disasters of
D'Anville's fleet were due to a neglect of sanitary precautions or to
deficient seamanship. Certain it is that there were many in self-righteous
New England who would have held it impious to doubt that God had summoned
the pestilence and the storm to fight the battles of his modern Israel.

Undaunted by disastrous failure, the French court equipped another fleet,
not equal to that of D'Anville, yet still formidable, and placed it under
La Jonquière, for the conquest of Acadia and Louisbourg. La Jonquière
sailed from Rochelle on the 10th of May, 1747, and on the 14th was met by
an English fleet stronger than his own and commanded by Admirals Anson and
Warren. A fight ensued, in which, after brave resistance, the French were
totally defeated. Six ships-of-war, including the flag-ship, were captured,
with a host of prisoners, among whom was La Jonquière himself. [Footnote:
_Relation du Combat rendu le 14 Mai _(new style)_, par l'Escadre du
Roy commandée par M. de la Jonquiere, _in_ Le Canada Français,
Supplément de Documents inédits, 33. Newcastle to Shirley, 30 May,





Since the capture of Louisbourg, France had held constantly in view, as an
object of prime importance, the recovery of her lost colony of Acadia.
This was one of the chief aims of D'Anville's expedition, and of that of La
Jonquière in the next year. And to make assurance still more sure, a large
body of Canadians, under M. de Ramesay, had been sent to Acadia to
co-operate with D'Anville's force; but the greater part of them had been
recalled to aid in defending Quebec against the expected attack of the
English. They returned when the news came that D'Anville was at Chibucto,
and Ramesay, with a part of his command, advanced upon Port Royal, or
Annapolis, in order to support the fleet in its promised attack on that
place. He encamped at a little distance from the English fort, till he
heard of the disasters that had ruined the fleet, [Footnote: _Journal de
Beaujeu_, in _Le Canada Francçais, Documents_, 53.] and then fell
back to Chignecto, on the neck of the Acadian peninsula, where he made his
quarters, with a force which, including Micmac, Malecite, and Penobscot
Indians, amounted, at one time, to about sixteen hundred men.

If France was bent on recovering Acadia, Shirley was no less resolved to
keep it, if he could. In his belief, it was the key of the British
American colonies, and again and again he urged the Duke of Newcastle to
protect it. But Newcastle seems scarcely to have known where Acadia was,
being ignorant of most things except the art of managing the House of
Commons, and careless of all things that could not help his party and
himself. Hence Shirley's hyperboles, though never without a basis of truth,
were lost upon him. Once, it is true, he sent three hundred men to
Annapolis; but one hundred and eighty of them died on the voyage, or lay
helpless in Boston hospitals, and the rest could better have been spared,
some being recruits from English jails, and others Irish Catholics, several
of whom deserted to the French, with information of the state of the

The defence of Acadia was left to Shirley and his Assembly, who in time of
need sent companies of militia and rangers to Annapolis, and thus on
several occasions saved it from returning to France. Shirley was the most
watchful and strenuous defender of British interests on the continent; and
in the present crisis British and colonial interests were one. He held that
if Acadia were lost, the peace and safety of all the other colonies would
be in peril; and in spite of the immense efforts made by the French court
to recover it, he felt that the chief danger of the province was not from
without, but from within. "If a thousand French troops should land in Nova
Scotia," he writes to Newcastle, "all the people would rise to join them,
besides all the Indians." [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 29 Oct.
1745._] So, too, thought the French officials in America. The Governor
and Intendant of Canada wrote to the colonial minister: "The inhabitants,
with few exceptions, wish to return under the French dominion, and will not
hesitate to take up arms as soon as they see themselves free to do so; that
is, as soon as we become masters of Port Royal, or they have powder and
other munitions of war, and are backed by troops for their protection
against the resentment of the English." [Footnote: _Beauharnois et
Hocquart au Ministre, 12 Sept. 1745._] Up to this time, however, though
they had aided Duvivier in his attack on Annapolis so far as was possible
without seeming to do so, they had not openly taken arms, and their refusal
to fight for the besiegers is one among several causes to which Mascarene
ascribes the success of his defence. While the greater part remained
attached to France, some leaned to the English, who bought their produce
and paid them in ready coin. Money was rare with the Acadians, who loved
it, and were so addicted to hoarding it that the French authorities were
led to speculate as to what might be the object of these careful savings.
[Footnote: _Beauharnois et Hocquart au Ministre_, 12 Sept. 1745.]

Though the Acadians loved France, they were not always ready to sacrifice
their interests to her. They would not supply Ramesay's force with
provisions in exchange for his promissory notes, but demanded hard cash.
[Footnote: _Ibid_.] This he had not to give, and was near being
compelled to abandon his position in consequence. At the same time, in
consideration of specie payment, the inhabitants brought in fuel for the
English garrison at Louisbourg, and worked at repairing the rotten
_chevaux de frise_ of Annapolis. [Footnote: _Admiral Knowles à ----
1746._ Mascarene in _Le Canada Français, Documents_, 82]

Mascarene, commandant at that place, being of French descent, was disposed
at first to sympathize with the Acadians and treat them with a lenity that
to the members of his council seemed neither fitting nor prudent. He wrote
to Shirley: "The French inhabitants are certainly in a very perilous
situation, those who pretend to be their friends and old masters having let
loose a parcel of banditti to plunder them; whilst, on the other hand, they
see themselves threatened with ruin if they fail in their allegiance to the
British Government." [Footnote: Mascarene, in _Le Canada Français,
Documents_, 81.]

This unhappy people were in fact between two fires. France claimed them on
one side, and England on the other, and each demanded their adhesion,
without regard to their feelings or their wrelfare. The banditti of whom
Mascarene speaks were the Micmac Indians, who were completely under the
control of their missionary, Le Loutre, and were used by him to terrify the
inhabitants into renouncing their English allegiance and actively
supporting the French cause. By the Treaty of Utrecht France had
transferred Acadia to Great Britain, and the inhabitants had afterwards
taken an oath of fidelity to King George. Thus they were British subjects;
but as their oath had been accompanied by a promise, or at least a clear
understanding, that they should not be required to take arms against
Frenchmen or Indians, they had become known as the "Neutral French." This
name tended to perplex them, and in their ignorance and simplicity they
hardly knew to which side they owed allegiance. Their illiteracy was
extreme. Few of them could sign their names, and a contemporary well
acquainted with them declares that he knew but a single Acadian who could
read and write. [Footnote: Moïse des Derniers, in _Le Canada
Français_, I. 118.] This was probably the notary, Le Blanc, whose
compositions are crude and illiterate. Ignorant of books and isolated in a
wild and remote corner of the world, the Acadians knew nothing of affairs,
and were totally incompetent to meet the crisis that was soon to come upon
them. In activity and enterprise they were far behind the Canadians, who
looked on them as inferiors. Their pleasures were those of the humblest and
simplest peasants; they were contented with their lot, and asked only to be
let alone. Their intercourse was unceremonious to such a point that they
never addressed each other, or, it is said, even strangers, as
_monsieur_. They had the social equality which can exist only in the
humblest conditions of society, and presented the phenomenon of a primitive
little democracy, hatched under the wing of an absolute monarchy. Each was
as good as his neighbor; they had no natural leaders, nor any to advise or
guide them, except the missionary priest, who in every case was expected by
his superiors to influence them in the interest of France, and who, in
fact, constantly did so. While one observer represents them as living in a
state of primeval innocence, another describes both men and women as
extremely foul of speech; from which he draws inferences unfavorable to
their domestic morals, [Footnote: _Journal de Franquet_, Part II.]
which, nevertheless, were commendable. As is usual with a well-fed and
unambitious peasantry, they were very prolific, and are said to have
doubled their number every sixteen years. In 1748 they counted in the
peninsula of Nova Scotia between twelve and thirteen thousand souls.
[Footnote: _Description de l'Acadie, avec le Nom des Paroisses et le
Nombre des Habitants_, 1748.] The English rule had been of the
lightest,--so light that it could scarcely be felt; and this was not
surprising, since the only instruments for enforcing it over a population
wholly French were some two hundred disorderly soldiers in the crumbling
little fort of Annapolis; and the province was left, perforce, to take care
of itself.

The appearance of D'Anville's fleet caused great excitement among the
Acadians, who thought that they were about to pass again under the Crown of
France. Fifty of them went on board the French ships at Chibucto to pilot
them to the attack of Annapolis, and to their dismay found that no attack
was to be made. When Ramesay, with his Canadians and Indians, took post at
Chignecto and built a fort at Baye Verte, on the neck of the peninsula of
Nova Scotia, the English power in that part of the colony seemed at an end.
The inhabitants cut off all communication with Annapolis, and detained the
officers whom Mascarene sent for intelligence.

From the first outbreak of the war it was evident that the French built
their hopes of recovering Acadia largely on a rising of the Acadians
against the English rule, and that they spared no efforts to excite such a
rising. Early in 1745 a violent and cruel precaution against this danger
was suggested. William Shirreff, provincial secretary, gave it as his
opinion that the Acadians ought to be removed, being a standing menace to
the colony. [Footnote: _Shirreff to K. Gould, agent of Phillips's
Regiment, March, 1745._] This is the first proposal of such a nature
that I find. Some months later, Shirley writes that, on a false report of
the capture of Annapolis by the French, the Acadians sang _Te Deum,_
and that every sign indicates that there will be an attempt in the spring
to capture Annapolis, with their help. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle,
14 Dec. 1745._] Again, Shirley informs Newcastle that the French will
get possession of Acadia unless the most dangerous of the inhabitants are
removed, and English settlers put in their place.  [Footnote: _Ibid., 10
May, 1746._] He adds that there are not two hundred and twenty soldiers
at Annapolis to defend the province against the whole body of Acadians and
Indians, and he tells the minister that unless the expedition against
Canada should end in the conquest of that country, the removal of some of
the Acadians will be a necessity. He means those of Chignecto, who were
kept in a threatening attitude by the presence of Ramesay and his
Canadians, and who, as he thinks, had forfeited their lands by treasonable
conduct. Shirley believes that families from New England might be induced
to take their place, and that these, if settled under suitable regulations,
would form a military frontier to the province of Nova Scotia "strong
enough to keep the Canadians out," and hold the Acadians to their
allegiance. [Footnote: _Ibid., 8 July, 1747._] The Duke of Bedford
thinks the plan a good one, but objects to the expense. [Footnote:
_Bedford to Newcastle, 11 Sept. 1747._] Commodore Knowles, then
governor of Louisbourg, who, being threatened with consumption and
convinced that the climate was killing him, vented his feelings in
strictures against everything and everybody, was of opinion that the
Acadians, having broken their neutrality, ought to be expelled at once, and
expresses the amiable hope that should his Majesty adopt this plan, he will
charge him with executing it. [Footnote: _Knowles to Newcastle, 8 Nov.

Shirley's energetic nature inclined him to trenchant measures, and he had
nothing of modern humanitarianism; but he was not inhuman, and he shrank
from the cruelty of forcing whole communities into exile. While Knowles and
others called for wholesale expatriation, he still held that it was
possible to turn the greater part of the Acadians into safe subjects of the
British Crown; [Footnote: Shirley says that the indiscriminate removal of
the Acadians would be "unjust" and "too rigorous". Knowles had proposed to
put Catholic Jacobites from the Scotch Highlands into their place. Shirley
thinks this inexpedient, but believes that Protestants from Germany and
Ulster might safely be trusted. The best plan of all, in his opinion, is
that of "treating the Acadians as subjects, confining their punishment to
the most guilty and dangerous among 'em, and keeping the rest in the
country and endeavoring to make them useful members of society under his
Majesty's Government." _Shirley to Newcastle, 21 Nov. 1746._ If the
Newcastle Government had vigorously carried his recommendations into
effect, the removal of the Acadians in 1755 would not have taken place.]
and to this end he advised the planting of a fortified town where Halifax
now stands, and securing by forts and garrisons the neck of the Acadian
peninsula, where the population was most numerous and most disaffected. The
garrisons, he thought, would not only impose respect, but would furnish the
Acadians with what they wanted most,--ready markets for their produce,--and
thus bind them to the British by strong ties of interest. Newcastle thought
the plan good, but wrote that its execution must be deferred to a future
day. Three years later it was partly carried into effect by the foundation
of Halifax; but at that time the disaffection of the Acadians had so
increased, and the hope of regaining the province for France had risen so
high, that this partial and tardy assertion of British authority only
spurred the French agents to redoubled efforts to draw the inhabitants from
the allegiance they had sworn to the Crown of England.

Shirley had also other plans in view for turning the Acadians into good
British subjects. He proposed, as a measure of prime necessity, to exclude
French priests from the province. The free exercise of their religion had
been insured to the inhabitants by the Treaty of Utrecht, and on this point
the English authorities had given no just cause of complaint. A priest had
occasionally been warned, suspended, or removed; but without a single
exception, so far as appears, this was in consequence of conduct which
tended to excite disaffection, and which would have incurred equal or
greater penalties in the case of a layman. [Footnote: There was afterwards
sharp correspondence between Shirley and the Governor of Canada touching
the Acadian priests. Thus, Shirley writes: "I can't avoid now, Sir,
expressing great surprise at the other parts of your letter, whereby you
take upon you to call Mr. Mascarene to account for expelling the missionary
from Minas for being guilty of such treasonable practices within His
Majesty's government as merited a much severer Punishment." _Shirley à
Galissonière, 9 Mai 1749._ Shirley writes to Newcastle that the Acadians
"are greatly under the influence of their priests, who continually receive
their directions from the Bishop of Qeubec, and are the instruments by
which the Governor of Canada makes all his attempts for the reduction of
the province to the French Crown." _Shirley to Newcastle, 20 Oct.
1747._ He proceeds to give facts in proof of his assertion.  Compare
_Moncalm and Wolfe_, I. 106, 107, 266, _note_.] The sentence was
directed, not against the priest, but against the political agitator.
Shirley's plan of excluding French priests from the province would not have
violated the provisions of the treaty, provided that the inhabitants were
supplied with other priests, not French subjects, and therefore not
politically dangerous; but though such a measure was several times proposed
by the provincial authorities, the exasperating apathy of the Newcastle
Government gave no hope that it could be accomplished.

The influences most dangerous to British rule did not proceed from love of
France or sympathy of race, but from the power of religion over a simple
and ignorant people, trained in profound love and awe of their Church and
its ministers, who were used by the representatives of Louis XV. as agents
to alienate the Acadians from England.

The most strenuous of these clerical agitators was Abbé Le Loutre,
missionary to the Micmacs, and after 1753 vicar-general of Acadia. He was a
fiery and enterprising zealot, inclined by temperament to methods of
violence, detesting the English, and restrained neither by pity nor scruple
from using threats of damnation and the Micmac tomahawk to frighten the
Acadians into doing his bidding. The worst charge against him, that of
exciting the Indians of his mission to murder Captain Howe, an English
officer, has not been proved; but it would not have been brought against
him by his own countrymen if his character and past conduct had gained him
their esteem.

The other Acadian priests were far from sharing Le Loutre's violence; but
their influence was always directed to alienating the inhabitants from
their allegiance to King George. Hence Shirley regarded the conversion of
the Acadians to Protestantism as a political measure of the first
importance, and proposed the establishment of schools in the province to
that end. Thus far his recommendations are perfectly legitimate; but when
he adds that rewards ought to be given to Acadians who renounce their
faith, few will venture to defend him.

Newcastle would trouble himself with none of his schemes, and Acadia was
left to drift with the tide, as before. "I shall finish my troubleing your
Grace upon the affairs of Nova Scotia with this letter," writes the
persevering Shirley. And he proceeds to ask, "as a proper Scheme for better
securing the Subjection of the French inhabitants and Indians there," that
the Governor and Council at Annapolis have special authority and direction
from the King to arrest and examine such Acadians as shall be "most
obnoxious and dangerous to his Majesty's Government;" and if found guilty
of treasonable correspondence with the enemy, to dispose of them and their
estates in such manner as his Majesty shall order, at the same time
promising indemnity to the rest for past offences, upon their taking or
renewing the oath of allegiance. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 15
Aug. 1746._]

To this it does not appear that Newcastle made any answer except to direct
Shirley, eight or nine months later, to tell the Acadians that so long as
they were peaceable subjects, they should be protected in property and
religion. [Footnote: _Newcastle to Shirley, 30 May, 1747._ Shirley had
some time before directed Mascarene to tell the Acadians that while they
behave peaceably and do not correspond with the enemy, their property will
be safe, but that such as turn traitors will be treated accordingly.
_Shirley to Mascarene, 16 Sept. 1746._] Thus left to struggle unaided
with a most difficult problem, entirely outside of his functions as
governor of Massachusetts, Shirley did what he could. The most pressing
danger, as he thought, rose from the presence of Ramesay and and his
Canadians at Chignecto; for that officer spared no pains to induce the
Acadians to join him in another attempt against Annapolis, telling them
that if they did not drive out the English, the English would drive them
out. He was now at Mines, trying to raise the inhabitants in arms for
France. Shirley thought it necessary to counteract him, and force him and
his Canadians back to the isthmus whence they had come; but as the ministry
would give no soldiers, he was compelled to draw them from New England. The
defence of Acadia was the business of the Home Government, and not of the
colonies; but as they were deeply interested in the preservation of the
endangered province, Massachusetts gave five hundred men in response to
Shirley's call, and Rhode Island and New Hampshire added, between them, as
many more. Less than half of these levies reached Acadia. It was the
stormy season. The Rhode Island vessels were wrecked near Martha's
Vineyard. A New Hampshire transport sloop was intercepted by a French armed
vessel, and ran back to Portsmouth. Four hundred and seventy men from
Massachusetts, under Colonel Arthur Noble, were all who reached Annapolis,
whence they sailed for Mines, accompanied by a few soldiers of the
garrison. Storms, drifting ice, and the furious tides of the Bay of Fundy
made their progress so difficult and uncertain that Noble resolved to
finish the journey by land; and on the 4th of December he disembarked near
the place now called French Cross, at the foot of the North Mountain,--a
lofty barrier of rock and forest extending along the southern shore of the
Bay of Fundy. Without a path and without guides, the party climbed the
snow-encumbered heights and toiled towards their destination, each man
carrying provisions for fourteen days in his haversack. After sleeping
eight nights without shelter among the snowdrifts, they reached the Acadian
village of Grand Pré, the chief settlement of the district of Mines.
Ramesay and his Canadians were gone. On learning the approach of an English
force, he had tried to persuade the Acadians that they were to be driven
from their homes, and that their only hope was in joining with him to meet
force by force; but they trusted Shirley's recent assurance of protection,
and replied that they would not break their oath of fidelity to King
George. On this, Ramesay retreated to his old station at Chignecto, and
Noble and his men occupied Grand Pré without opposition.

The village consisted of small, low wooden houses, scattered at intervals
for the distance of a mile and a half, and therefore ill fitted for
defence. The English had the frame of a blockhouse, or, as some say, of
two blockhouses, ready to be set up on their arrival; but as the ground was
hard frozen it was difficult to make a foundation, and the frames were
therefore stored in outbuildings of the village, with the intention of
raising them in the spring. The vessels which had brought them, together
with stores, ammunition, five small cannon, and a good supply of
snow-shoes, had just arrived at the landing-place,--and here, with
incredible fatuity, were allowed to remain, with most of their
indispensable contents still on board. The men, meanwhile, were quartered
in the Acadian houses.

Noble's position was critical, but he was assured that he could not be
reached from Chignecto in such a bitter season; and this he was too ready
to believe, though he himself had just made a march, which, if not so long,
was quite as arduous. Yet he did not neglect every precaution, but kept
out scouting-parties to range the surrounding country, while the rest of
his men took their ease in the Acadian houses, living on the provisions of
the villagers, for which payment was afterwards made. Some of the
inhabitants, who had openly favored Ramesay and his followers, fled to the
woods, in fear of the consequences; but the greater part remained quietly
in the village.

At the head of the Bay of Fundy its waters form a fork, consisting of
Chignecto Bay on the one hand, and Mines Basin on the other. At the head of
Chignecto Bay was the Acadian settlement of Chignecto, or Beaubassin, in
the houses of which Ramesay had quartered his Canadians. Here the neck of
the Acadian peninsula is at its narrowest, the distance across to Baye
Verte, where Ramesay had built a fort, being little more than twelve miles.
Thus he controlled the isthmus,--from which, however, Noble hoped to
dislodge him in the spring.

In the afternoon of the 8th of January an Acadian who had been sent to
Mines by the missionary Germain, came to Beaubassin with the news that two
hundred and twenty English were at Grand Pré, and that more were expected.
[Footnote: Beaujeu, _Journal de la Campagne du Détachement de Canada à
l'Acadie_, in _Le Canada Français_, II. _Documents_, 16.] Ramesay
instantly formed a plan of extraordinary hardihood, and resolved, by a
rapid march and a night attack, to surprise the new-comers. His party was
greatly reduced by disease, and to recruit it he wrote to La Corne,
Récollet missionary at Miramichi, to join him with his Indians; writing at
the same time to Maillard, former colleague of Le Loutre at the mission of
Shubenacadie, and to Girard, priest of Cobequid, to muster Indians, collect
provisions, and gather information concerning the English. Meanwhile his
Canadians busied themselves with making snow-shoes and dog-sledges for the

Ramesay could not command the expedition in person, as an accident to one
of his knees had disabled him from marching. This was less to be regretted,
in view of the quality of his officers, for he had with him the flower of
the warlike Canadian _noblesse_,--Coulon de Villiers, who, seven
years later, defeated Washington at Fort Necessity; Beaujeu, the future
hero of the Monongahela, in appearance a carpet knight, in reality a bold
and determined warrior; the Chevalier de la Corne, a model of bodily and
mental hardihood; Saint-Pierre, Lanaudière, Saint-Ours, Desligneris,
Courtemanche, Repentigny, Boishébert, Gaspé, Colombière, Marin,
Lusignan,--all adepts in the warfare of surprise and sudden onslaught in
which the Canadians excelled.

Coulon de Villiers commanded in Ramesay's place; and on the 21st of January
he and the other officers led their men across the isthmus from Beaubassin
to Baye Verte, where they all encamped in the woods, and where they were
joined by a party of Indians and some Acadians from Beaubassin and Isle St.
Jean. [Footnote: _Mascarene to Shirley, 8 Feb. 1746_ (1747, new
style).] Provisions, ammunition, and other requisites were distributed, and
at noon of the 23d they broke up their camp, marched three leagues, and
bivouacked towards evening. On the next morning they marched again at
daybreak. There was sharp cold, with a storm of snow,--not the large,
moist, lazy flakes that fall peacefully and harmlessly, but those small
crystalline particles that drive spitefully before the wind, and prick the
cheek like needles. It was the kind of snowstorm called in Canada _la
poudrerie_. They had hoped to make a long day's march; but feet and
faces were freezing, and they were forced to stop, at noon, under such
shelter as the thick woods of pine, spruce, and fir could supply. In the
morning they marched again, following the border of the sea, their
dog-teams dragging provisions and baggage over the broken ice of creeks and
inlets, which they sometimes avoided by hewing paths through the forest.
After a day of extreme fatigue they stopped at the small bay where the town
of Wallace now stands. Beaujeu says: "While we were digging out the snow to
make our huts, there came two Acadians with letters from MM. Maillard and
Girard." The two priests sent a mixture of good and evil news. On one hand
the English were more numerous than had been reported; on the other, they
had not set up the blockhouses they had brought with them. Some Acadians
of the neighboring settlement joined the party at this camp, as also did a
few Indians.

On the next morning, January 27th, the adventurers stopped at the village
of Tatmagouche, where they were again joined by a number of Acadians. After
mending their broken sledges they resumed their march, and at five in the
afternoon reached a place called Bacouel, at the beginning of the portage
that led some twenty-five miles across the country to Cobequid, now Truro,
at the head of Mines Basin. Here they were met by Girard, priest of
Cobequid, from whom Coulon exacted a promise to meet him again at that
village in two days. Girard gave the promise unwillingly, fearing, says
Beaujeu, to embroil himself with the English authorities. He reported that
the force at Grand Pré counted at least four hundred and fifty, or, as some
said, more than five hundred. This startling news ran through the camp; but
the men were not daunted. "The more there are," they said, "the more we
shall kill."

The party spent the 28th in mending their damaged sledges, and in the
afternoon they were joined by more Acadians and Indians. Thus reinforced,
they marched again, and towards evening reached a village on the outskirts
of Cobequid. Here the missionary Maillard joined them,--to the great
satisfaction of Coulon, who relied on him and his brother priest Girard to
procure supplies of provisions. Maillard promised to go himself to Grand
Pré with the Indians of his mission.

The party rested for a day, and set out again on the 1st of February,
stopped at Maillard's house in Cobequid for the provisions he had collected
for them, and then pushed on towards the river Shubenacadie, which runs
from the south into Cobequid Bay, the head of Mines Basin. When they
reached the river they found it impassable from floating ice, which forced
them to seek a passage at some distance above. Coulon was resolved,
however, that at any risk a detachment should cross at once, to stop the
roads to Grand Pré, and prevent the English from being warned of his
approach; for though the Acadians inclined to the French, and were eager to
serve them when the risk was not too great, there were some of them who,
from interest or fear, were ready to make favor with the English by
carrying them intelligence. Boishébert, with ten Canadians, put out from
shore in a canoe, and were near perishing among the drifting ice; but they
gained the farther shore at last, and guarded every path to Grand Pré. The
main body filed on snowshoes up the east bank of the Shubenacadie, where
the forests were choked with snow and encumbered with fallen trees, over
which the sledges were to be dragged, to their great detriment. On this
day, the 3d, they made five leagues; on the next only two, which brought
them within half a league of Le Loutre's Micmac mission. Not far from this
place the river was easily passable on the ice, and they continued their
march westward across the country to the river Kennetcook by ways so
difficult that their Indian guide lost the path, and for a time led them
astray. On the 7th, Boishébert and his party rejoined them, and brought a
reinforcement of sixteen Indians, whom the Acadians had furnished with
arms. Provisions were failing, till on the 8th, as they approached the
village of Pisiquid, now Windsor, the Acadians, with great zeal, brought
them a supply. They told them, too, that the English at Grand Pré were
perfectly secure, suspecting no danger.

On the 9th, in spite of a cold, dry storm of snow, they reached the west
branch of the river Avon. It was but seven French leagues to Grand Pré,
which they hoped to reach before night; but fatigue compelled them to rest
till the 10th. At noon of that day, the storm still continuing, they
marched again, though they could hardly see their way for the driving snow.
They soon came to a small stream, along the frozen surface of which they
drew up in order, and, by command of Coulon, Beaujen divided them all into
ten parties, for simultaneous attacks on as many houses occupied by the
English. Then, marching slowly, lest they should arrive too soon, they
reached the river Gaspereau, which enters Mines Basin at Grand Pré. They
were now but half a league from their destination. Here they stopped an
hour in the storm, shivering and half frozen, waiting for nightfall. When
it grew dark they moved again, and soon came to a number of houses on the
river-bank. Each of the ten parties took possession of one of these, making
great fires to warm themselves and dry their guns.

It chanced that in the house where Coulon and his band sought shelter, a
wedding-feast was going on. The guests were much startled at this sudden
irruption of armed men; but to the Canadians and their chief the festival
was a stroke of amazing good luck, for most of the guests were inhabitants
of Grand Pré, who knew perfectly the houses occupied by the English, and
could tell with precision where the officers were quartered. This was a
point of extreme importance. The English were distributed among twenty-four
houses, scattered, as before mentioned, for the distance of a mile and a
half. [Footnote: _Goldthwait to Shirley, 2 March, 1746 (1747)_.
Captain Benjamin Goldthwait was second in command of the English
detachment.] The assailants were too few to attack all these houses at
once; but if those where the chief officers lodged could be surprised and
captured with their inmates, the rest could make little resistance. Hence
it was that Coulon had divided his followers into ten parties, each with
one or more chosen officers; these officers were now called together at the
house of the interrupted festivity, and the late guests having given full
information as to the position of the English quarters and the military
quality of their inmates, a special object of attack was assigned to the
officer of each party, with Acadian guides to conduct him to it. The
principal party, consisting of fifty, or, as another account says, of
seventy-five men, was led by Coulon himself, with Beaujeu, Desligneris,
Mercier, Léry, and Lusignan as his officers. This party was to attack a
stone house near the middle of the village, where the main guard was
stationed,--a building somewhat larger than the rest, and the only one at
all suited for defence. The second party, of forty men, commanded by La
Corne, with Riganville, Lagny, and Villemont, was to attack a neighboring
house, the quarters of Colonel Noble, his brother, Ensign Noble, and
several other officers. The remaining parties, of twenty-five men each
according to Beaujeu, or twenty-eight according to La Corne, were to make a
dash, as nearly as possible at the same time, at other houses which it was
thought most important to secure. All had Acadian guides, whose services in
that capacity were invaluable; though Beaujeu complains that they were of
no use in the attack. He says that the united force was about three hundred
men, while the English Captain Goldthwait puts it, including Acadians and
Indians, at from five to six hundred. That of the English was a little
above five hundred in all. Every arrangement being made, and his part
assigned to each officer, the whole body was drawn up in the storm, and the
chaplain pronounced a general absolution. Then each of the ten parties,
guided by one or more Acadians, took the path for its destination, every
man on snow-shoes, with the lock of his gun well sheltered under his

The largest party, under Coulon, was, as we have seen, to attack the stone
house in the middle of the village; but their guide went astray, and about
three in the morning they approached a small wooden house not far from
their true object. A guard was posted here, as at all the English
quarters. The night was dark and the snow was still falling, as it had done
without ceasing for the past thirty hours. The English sentinel descried
through the darkness and the storm what seemed the shadows of an advancing
crowd of men. He cried, "Who goes there?" and then shouted, "To arms!" A
door was flung open, and the guard appeared in the entrance. But at that
moment the moving shadows vanished from before the eyes of the sentinel.
The French, one and all, had thrown themselves flat in the soft, light
snow, and nothing was to be seen or heard. The English thought it a false
alarm, and the house was quiet again. Then Coulon and his men rose and
dashed forward. Again, in a loud and startled voice, the sentinel shouted,
"To arms!" A great light, as of a blazing fire, shone through the open
doorway, and men were seen within in hurried movement. Coulon, who was in
the front, said to Beaujeu, who was close at his side, that the house was
not the one they were to attack. Beaujeu replied that it was no time to
change, and Coulon dashed forward again. Beaujeu aimed at the sentinel and
shot him dead. There was the flash and report of muskets from the house,
and Coulon dropped in the snow, severely wounded. The young cadet,
Lusignan, was hit in the shoulder; but he still pushed on, when a second
shot shattered his thigh. "Friends," cried the gallant youth, as he fell by
the side of his commander, "don't let two dead men discourage you." The
Canadians, powdered from head to foot with snow, burst into the house.
Within ten minutes, all resistance was overpowered. Of twenty-four
Englishmen, twenty-one were killed, and three made prisoners. [Footnote:
Beaujeu, _Journal_.]

Meanwhile, La Corne, with his party of forty men, had attacked the house
where were quartered Colonel Noble and his brother, with Captain Howe and
several other officers. Noble had lately transferred the main guard to the
stone house, but had not yet removed thither himself, and the guard in the
house which he occupied was small. The French burst the door with axes, and
rushed in. Colonel Noble, startled from sleep, sprang from his bed,
receiving two musket-balls in the body as he did so. He seems to have had
pistols, for he returned the fire several times. His servant, who was in
the house, testified that the French called to the Colonel through a window
and promised him quarter if he would surrender; but that he refused, on
which they fired again, and a bullet, striking his forehead, killed him
instantly. His brother, Ensign Noble, was also shot down, fighting in his
shirt. Lieutenants Pickering and Lechmere lay in bed dangerously ill, and
were killed there. Lieutenant Jones, after, as the narrator says, "ridding
himself of some of the enemy," tried to break through the rest and escape,
but was run through the heart with a bayonet. Captain Howe was severely
wounded and made prisoner.

Coulon and Lusignan, disabled by their wounds, were carried back to the
houses on the Gaspereau, where the French surgeon had remained. Coulon's
party, now commanded by Beaujeu, having met and joined the smaller party
under Lotbinière, proceeded to the aid of others who might need their help;
for while they heard a great noise of musketry from far and near, and could
discern bodies of men in motion here and there, they could not see whether
these were friends or foes, or discern which side fortune favored. They
presently met the party of Marin, composed of twenty-five Indians, who had
just been repulsed with loss from the house which they had attacked. By
this time there was a gleam of daylight, and as they plodded wearily over
the snow-drifts, they no longer groped in darkness. The two parties of
Colombière and Boishébert soon joined them, with the agreeable news that
each had captured a house; and the united force now proceeded to make a
successful attack on two buildings where the English had stored the frames
of their blockhouses. Here the assailants captured ten prisoners. It was
now broad day, but they could not see through the falling snow whether the
enterprise, as a whole, had prospered or failed. Therefore Beaujeu sent
Marin to find La Corne, who, in the absence of Coulon, held the chief
command. Marin was gone two hours. At length he returned, and reported that
the English in the houses which had not been attacked, together with such
others as had not been killed or captured, had drawn together at the stone
house in the middle of the village, that La Corne was blockading them
there, and that he ordered Beaujeu and his party to join him at once.

When Beaujeu reached the place he found La Corne posted at the house where
Noble had been killed, and which was within easy musket-shot of the stone
house occupied by the English, against whom a spattering fire was kept up
by the French from the cover of neighboring buildings. Those in the stone
house returned the fire; but no great harm was done on either side, till
the English, now commanded by Captain Goldthwait, attempted to recapture
the house where La Corne and his party were posted. Two companies made a
sally; but they had among them only eighteen pairs of snow-shoes, the rest
having been left on board the two vessels which had brought the stores of
the detachment from Annapolis, and which now lay moored hard by, in the
power of the enemy, at or near the mouth of the Gaspereau. Hence the
sallying party floundered helpless among the drifts, plunging so deep in
the dry snow that they could not use their guns and could scarcely move,
while bullets showered upon them from La Corne's men in the house and
others hovering about them on snow-shoes. The attempt was hopeless, and
after some loss the two companies fell back. The firing continued, as
before, till noon, or, according to Beaujeu, till three in the afternoon,
when a French officer, carrying a flag of truce, came out of La Corne's
house. The occasion of the overture was this.

Captain Howe, who, as before mentioned, had been badly wounded at the
capture of this house, was still there, a prisoner, without surgical aid,
the French surgeon being at the houses on the Gaspereau, in charge of
Coulon and other wounded men. "Though," says Beaujeu, "M. Howe was a firm
man, he begged the Chevalier La Corne not to let him bleed to death for
want of aid, but permit him to send for an English surgeon." To this La
Corne, after consulting with his officers, consented, and Marin went to the
English with a white flag and a note from Howe explaining the situation.
The surgeon was sent, and Howe's wound was dressed, Marin remaining as a
hostage. A suspension of arms took place till the surgeon's return; after
which it was prolonged till nine o'clock of the next morning, at the
instance, according to French accounts, of the English, and, according to
English accounts, of the French. In either case, the truce was welcome to
both sides. The English, who were in the stone house to the number of
nearly three hundred and fifty, crowded to suffocation, had five small
cannon, two of which were four-pounders, and three were swivels; but these
were probably not in position, as it does not appear that any use was made
of them. There was no ammunition except what the men had in their
powder-horns and bullet-pouches, the main stock having been left, with
other necessaries, on board the schooner and sloop now in the hands of the
French. It was found, on examination, that they had ammunition for eight
shots each, and provisions for one day. Water was only to be had by
bringing it from a neighboring brook. As there were snow-shoes for only
about one man in twenty, sorties were out of the question; and the house
was commanded by high ground on three sides.

Though their number was still considerable, their position was growing
desperate. Thus it happened that when the truce expired, Goldthwait, the
English commander, with another officer, who seems to have been Captain
Preble, came with a white flag to the house where La Corne was posted, and
proposed terms of capitulation, Howe, who spoke French, acting as
interpreter. La Corne made proposals on his side, and as neither party was
anxious to continue the fray, they soon came to an understanding.

It was agreed that within forty-eight hours the English should march for
Annapolis with the honors of war; that the prisoners taken by the French
should remain in their hands; that the Indians, who had been the only
plunderers, should keep the plunder they had taken; that the English sick
and wounded should be left, till their recovery, at the neighboring
settlement of Rivière-aux-Canards, protected by a French guard, and that
the English engaged in the affair at Grand Pré should not bear arms during
the next six months within the district about the head of the Bay of Fundy,
including Chignecto, Grand Pré, and the neighboring settlements.

Captain Howe was released on parole, with the condition that he should send
back in exchange one Lacroix, a French prisoner at Boston,--"which," says
La Corne, "he faithfully did."

Thus ended one of the most gallant exploits in French-Canadian annals. As
respects the losses on each side, the French and English accounts are
irreconcilable; nor are the statements of either party consistent with
themselves. Mascarene reports to Shirley that seventy English were killed,
and above sixty captured; though he afterwards reduces these numbers,
having, as he says, received farther information. On the French side he
says that four officers and about forty men were killed, and that many
wounded were carried off in carts during the fight. Beaujeu, on the other
hand, sets the English loss at one hundred and thirty killed, fifteen
wounded, and fifty captured; and the French loss at seven killed and
fifteen wounded. As for the numbers engaged, the statements are scarcely
less divergent. It seems clear, however, that when Coulon began his march
from Baye Verte, his party consisted of about three hundred Canadians and
Indians, without reckoning some Acadians who had joined him from Beaubassin
and Isle St. Jean. Others joined him on the way to Grand Pré, counting a
hundred and fifty according to Shirley,--which appears to be much too
large an estimate. The English, by their own showing, numbered five
hundred, or five hundred and twenty-five. Of eleven houses attacked, ten
were surprised and carried, with the help of the darkness and storm and the
skilful management of the assailants.

"No sooner was the capitulation signed," says Beaujeu, "than we became in
appearance the best of friends." La Corne directed military honors to be
rendered to the remains of the brothers Noble; and in all points the
Canadians, both officers and men, treated the English with kindness and
courtesy. "The English commandant," again says Beaujeu, "invited us all to
dine with him and his officers, so that we might have the pleasure of
making acquaintance over a bowl of punch." The repast being served after
such a fashion as circumstances permitted, victors and vanquished sat down
together; when, says Beaujeu, "we received on the part of our hosts many
compliments on our polite manners and our skill in making war." And the
compliments were well deserved.

At eight o'clock on the morning of the 14th of February the English filed
out of the stone house, and with arms shouldered, drums beating, and colors
flying, marched between two ranks of the French, and took the road for
Annapolis. The English sick and wounded were sent to the settlement of
Rivière-aux-Canards, where, protected by a French guard and attended by an
English surgeon, they were to remain till able to reach the British fort.

La Corne called a council of war, and in view of the scarcity of food and
other reasons it was resolved to return to Beaubassin. Many of the French
had fallen ill. Some of the sick and wounded were left at Grand Pré, others
at Cobequid, and the Acadians were required to supply means of carrying the
rest. Coulon's party left Grand Pré on the 23d of February, and on the 8th
of March reached Beaubassin. [Footnote: The dates are of the new style,
which the French had adopted, while the English still clung to the old
style.] [Footnote: By far the best account of this French victory at Mines
is that of Beaujeu, in his _Journal de la Campagne du Détachement de
Canada à l'Acadie et aux Mines en 1746-47._ It is preserved in the
Archives de la Marine et des Colonies, and is printed in the documentary
supplement of _Le Canada Français_, Vol. II. It supplies the means of
correcting many errors and much confusion in some recent accounts of the
affair. The report of Chevalier de la Corne, also printed in _Le Canada
Français_, though much shorter, is necessary to a clear understanding of
the matter. Letters of Lusignan fils to the minister Maurepas, 10 Oct.
1747, of Bishop Pontbriand (to Maurepas?), 10 July, 1747, and of Lusignan
père to Maurepas, 10 Oct. 1747, give some additional incidents. The
principal document on the English side is the report of Captain Benjamin
Goldthwait, who succeeded Noble in command. A copy of the original, in the
Public Record Office, is before me. The substance of it is correctly given
in _The Boston Post Boy_ of 2 March, 1747, and in _N. E. Hist. Gen.
Reg._, X. 108. Various letters from Mascarene and Shirley (Public Record
Office) contain accounts derived from returned officers and soldiers. The
_Notice of Colonel Arthur Noble_, by William Goold (_Collections
Maine Historical Soc., 1881_), may also be consulted.]

Ramesay did not fail to use the success at Grand Pré to influence the minds
of the Acadians. He sent a circular letter to the inhabitants of the
various districts, and especially to those of Mines, in which he told them
that their country had been reconquered by the arms of the King of France,
to whom he commanded them to be faithful subjects, holding no intercourse
with the English under any pretence whatever, on pain of the severest
punishment. "If," he concludes, "we have withdrawn our soldiers from among
you, it is for reasons known to us alone, and with a view to your
advantage." [Footnote: _Ramesay aux Députés et Habitants des Mines, 31
Mars, 1747_. At the end is written "A true copy, with the misspellings:
signed W. Shirley."]

Unfortunately for the effect of this message, Shirley had no sooner heard
of the disaster at Grand Pré than he sent a body of Massachusetts soldiers
to reoccupy the place. [Footnote: _Shirley to Newcastle, 24 Aug.
1747._] This they did in April. The Acadians thus found themselves, as
usual, between two dangers; and unable to see which horn of the dilemma was
the worse, they tried to avoid both by conciliating French and English
alike, and assuring each of their devoted attachment. They sent a pathetic
letter to Ramesay, telling him that their hearts were always French, and
begging him at the same time to remember that they were a poor, helpless
people, burdened with large families, and in danger of expulsion and ruin
if they offended their masters, the English. [Footnote: "Ainsis Monsieur
nous vous prions de regarder notre bon Coeur et en même Temps notre
Impuissance pauvre Peuple chargez la plus part de familles nombreuse point
de Recours sil falois evacuer a quoy nous sommes menacez tous les jours qui
nous tien dans une Crainte perpetuelle en nous voyant a la proximitet de
nos maitre depuis un sy grand nombre dannes" (printed _literatim_).
_Deputés des Mines à Ramesay, 24 Mai, 1747._] They wrote at the same
time to Mascarene at Annapolis, sending him, to explain the situation, a
copy of Ramesay's threatening letter to them; [Footnote: This probably
explains the bad spelling of the letter, the copy before me having been
made from the Acadian transcript sent to Mascarene, and now in the Public
Record Office.] begging him to consider that they could not without danger
dispense with answering it; at the same time they protested their entire
fidelity to King George. [Footnote: _Les Habitants a l'honorable
gouverneur au for d'anapolisse royal_ [sic], _Mai_(?), 1747. On the
27th of June the inhabitants of Cobequid wrote again to Mascarene:
"Monsieur nous prenons la Liberte de vous recrire celle icy pour vous
assurer de nos tres humble Respect et d'un entiere Sou-mission a vos
Ordres" (_literatim_).]

Ramesay, not satisfied with the results of his first letter, wrote again to
the Acadians, ordering them, in the name of the Governor-General of New
France, to take up arms against the English, and enclosing for their
instruction an extract from a letter of the French Governor. "These," says
Ramesay, "are his words: 'We consider ourself as master of Beaubassin and
Mines, since we have driven off the English. Therefore there is no
difficulty in forcing the Acadians to take arms for us; to which end we
declare to them that they are discharged from the oath that they formerly
took to the English, by which they are bound no longer, as has been decided
by the authorities of Canada and Monseigneur our Bishop.'" [Footnote: "Nous
nous regardons aujourdhuy Maistre de Beaubassin et des Mines puisque nous
en avons Chassé les Anglois; ainsi il ny a aucune difficulté de forcer les
Accadiens à prendre les armes pour nous, et de les y Contraindre; leur
declarons à cet effêt qu'ils sont dechargé [sic] du Serment preté, cy
devant, à l'Anglois, auquel ils ne sont plus obligé [sic] comme il y a été
decidé par nos puissances de Canada et de Monseigneur notre Evesque"

"In view of the above," continues Ramesay, "we order all the inhabitants of
Memeramcook to come to this place [Beaubassin] as soon as they see the
signal-fires lighted, or discover the approach of the enemy; and this on
pain of death, confiscation of all their goods, burning of their houses,
and the punishment due to rebels against the King." [Footnote: _Ramesay
aux Habitants de Chignecto, etc., 25 Mai, 1747._ A few months
later, the deputies of Rivière-aux-Canards wrote to Shirley, thanking him
for kindness which they said was undeserved, promising to do their duty
thenceforth, but begging him to excuse them from giving up persons who had
acted "contraire aux Interests de leur devoire," representing the
difficulty of their position, and protesting "une Soumission parfaite et en
touts Respects." The letter is signed by four deputies, of whom one writes
his name, and three sign with crosses.]

The position of the Acadians was deplorable. By the Treaty of Utrecht,
France had transferred them to the British Crown; yet French officers
denounced them as rebels and threatened them with death if they did not
fight at their bidding against England; and English officers threatened
them with expulsion from the country if they broke their oath of allegiance
to King George. It was the duty of the British ministry to occupy the
province with a force sufficient to protect the inhabitants against French
terrorism, and leave no doubt that the King of England was master of Acadia
in fact as well as in name. This alone could have averted the danger of
Acadian revolt, and the harsh measures to which it afterwards gave rise.
The ministry sent no aid, but left to Shirley and Massachusetts the task of
keeping the province for King George. Shirley and Massachusetts did what
they could; but they could not do all that the emergency demanded.

Shirley courageously spoke his mind to the ministry, on whose favor he was
dependent. "The fluctuating state of the inhabitants of Acadia," he wrote
to Newcastle, "seems, my lord, naturally to arise from their finding a want
of due protection from his Majesty's Government." [Footnote: _Shirley to
Newcastle, 29 April, 1747._ On Shirley's relations with the Acadians,
see Appendix C.]





From the East we turn to the West, for the province of New York passed for
the West at that day. Here a vital question was what would be the attitude
of the Five Nations of the Iroquois towards the rival European colonies,
their neighbors. The Treaty of Utrecht called them British subjects. What
the word "subjects" meant, they themselves hardly knew. The English told
them that it meant children; the French that it meant dogs and slaves.
Events had tamed the fierce confederates; and now, though, like all
savages, unstable as children, they leaned in their soberer moments to a
position of neutrality between their European neighbors, watching with
jealous eyes against the encroachments of both. The French would gladly
have enlisted them and their tomahawks in the war; but seeing little hope
of this, were generally content if they could prevent them from siding with
the English, who on their part regarded them as their Indians, and were
satisfied with nothing less than active alliance.

When Shirley's plan for the invasion of Canada was afoot, Clinton, governor
of New York, with much ado succeeded in convening the deputies of the
confederacy at Albany, and by dint of speeches and presents induced them to
sing the war-song and take up the hatchet for England. The Iroquois were
disgusted when the scheme came to nought, their warlike ardor cooled, and
they conceived a low opinion of English prowess.

The condition of New York as respects military efficiency was deplorable.
She was divided against herself, and, as usual in such cases, party passion
was stronger than the demands of war. The province was in the midst of one
of those disputes with the representative of the Crown, which, in one
degree or another, crippled or paralyzed the military activity of nearly
all the British colonies. Twenty years or more earlier, when Massachusetts
was at blows with the Indians on her borders, she suffered from the same
disorders; but her Governor and Assembly were of one mind as to urging on
the war, and quarrelled only on the questions in what way and under what
command it should be waged. But in New York there was a strong party that
opposed the war, being interested in the contraband trade long carried on
with Canada. Clinton, the governor, had, too, an enemy in the person of the
Chief Justice, James de Lancey, with whom he had had an after-dinner
dispute, ending in a threat on the part of De Lancey that he would make the
Governor's seat uncomfortable. To marked abilities, better education, and
more knowledge of the world than was often found in the provinces, ready
wit, and conspicuous social position, the Chief Justice joined a restless
ambition and the arts of a demagogue.

He made good his threat, headed the opposition to the Governor, and proved
his most formidable antagonist. If either Clinton or Shirley had had the
independent authority of a Canadian governor, the conduct of the war would
have been widely different. Clinton was hampered at every turn. The
Assembly held him at advantage; for it was they, and not the King, who paid
his salary, and they could withhold or retrench it when he displeased them.
The people sympathized with their representatives and backed them in
opposition,--at least when not under the stress of imminent danger.

A body of provincials, in the pay of the King, had been mustered at Albany
for the proposed Canada expedition; and after that plan was abandoned,
Clinton wished to use them for protecting the northern frontier and
capturing that standing menace to the province, Crown Point. The Assembly,
bent on crossing him at any price, refused to provide for transporting
supplies farther than Albany. As the furnishing of provisions and
transportation depended on that body, they could stop the movement of
troops and defeat the Governor's military plans at their pleasure. In vain
he told them, "If you deny me the necessary supplies, all my endeavors must
become fruitless; I must wash my own hands, and leave at your doors the
blood of the innocent people." [Footnote: _Extract from the Governor's
Message_, in Smith, _History of New York_, II. 124 (1830).]

He urged upon them the necessity of building forts on the two
carrying-places between the Hudson and Lakes George and Champlain, thus
blocking the path of war-parties from Canada. They would do nothing,
insisting that the neighboring colonies, to whom the forts would also be
useful, ought to help in building them; and when it was found that these
colonies were ready to do their part, the Assembly still refused.
Passionate opposition to the royal Governor seemed to blind them to the
interests of the province. Nor was the fault all on their side; for the
Governor, though he generally showed more self-control and moderation than
could have been expected, sometimes lost temper and betrayed scorn for his
opponents, many of whom were but the instruments of leaders urged by
personal animosities and small but intense ambitions. They accused him of
treating them with contempt, and of embezzling public money; while he
retorted by charging them with encroaching on the royal prerogative and
treating the representative of the King with indecency. Under such
conditions an efficient conduct of the war was out of the question.

Once, when the frontier was seriously threatened, Clinton, as
commander-in-chief, called out the militia to defend it; but they refused
to obey, on the ground that no Act of the Assembly required them to do so.
[Footnote: _Clinton to the Lords of Trade_, 10 Nov. 1747.]

Clinton sent home bitter complaints to Newcastle and the Lords of Trade.
"They [the Assembly] are selfish, jealous of the power of the Crown, and of
such levelling principles that they are constantly attacking its
prerogative.... I find that neither dissolutions nor fair means can produce
from them such Effects as will tend to a publick good or their own
preservation. They will neither act for themselves nor assist their
neighbors.... Few but hirelings have a seat in the Assembly, who protract
time for the sake of their wages, at a great expence to the Province,
without contributing anything material for its welfare, credit, or safety."
And he declares that unless Parliament takes them in hand he can do nothing
for the service of the King or the good of the province, [Footnote:
_Clinton to the Lords of Trade_, 30 Nov. 1745.] for they want to usurp
the whole administration, both civil and military. [Footnote: _Remarks on
the Representation of the Assembly of New York, May, 1747_, in _N.  Y.
Col. Docs._, VI. 365. On the disputes of the Governor and Assembly, see
also Smith, _History of New York_, II. (1830), and Stone, _Life and
Times of Sir William Johnson_, I. _N.Y. Colonial Documents,_ VI.,
contains many papers on the subject, chiefly on the Governor's side.]

At Saratoga there was a small settlement of Dutch farmers, with a stockade
fort for their protection. This was the farthest outpost of the colony, and
the only defence of Albany in the direction of Canada. It was occupied by a
sergeant, a corporal, and ten soldiers, who testified before a court of
inquiry that it was in such condition that in rainy weather neither they
nor their ammunition could be kept dry. As neither the Assembly nor the
merchants of Albany would make it tenable, the garrison was withdrawn
before winter by order of the Governor. [Footnote: _Examinations at a
Court of Inquiry at Albany, 11 Dec. 1745,_ in _N. Y. Col Docs.,_
VI. 374.]

Scarcely was this done when five hundred French and, Indians, under the
partisan Marin, surprised the settlement in the night of the 28th of
November, burned fort, houses, mills, and stables, killed thirty persons,
and carried off about a hundred prisoners. [Footnote: The best account of
this affair is in the journal of a French officer in Schuyler, _Colonial
New York,_ II. 115. The dates, being in new style, differ by eleven days
from those of the English accounts. The Dutch hamlet of Saratoga, surprised
by Marin, was near the mouth of the Fish Kill, on the west side of the
Hudson. There was also a small fort on the east side, a little below the
mouth of the Batten Kill.] Albany was left uncovered, and the Assembly
voted £150 in provincial currency to rebuild the ruined fort. A feeble
palisade work was accordingly set up, but it was neglected like its
predecessor. Colonel Peter Schuyler was stationed there with his regiment
in 1747, but was forced to abandon his post for want of supplies. Clinton
then directed Colonel Roberts, commanding at Albany, to examine the fort,
and if he found it indefensible, to burn it,--which he did, much to the
astonishment of a French war-party, who visited the place soon after, and
found nothing but ashes. [Footnote: Schuyler, _Colonial New York,_ II.

The burning of Saratoga, first by the French and then by its own masters,
made a deep impression on the Five Nations, and a few years later they
taunted their white neighbors with these shortcomings in no measured terms.
"You burned your own fort at Seraghtoga and ran away from it, which was a
shame and a scandal to you." [Footnote: _Report of a Council with the
Indians at Albany, 28 June, 1754._] Uninitiated as they were in party
politics and faction quarrels, they could see nothing in this and other
military lapses but proof of a want of martial spirit, if not of cowardice.
Hence the difficulty of gaining their active alliance against the French
was redoubled. Fortunately for the province, the adverse influence was in
some measure counteracted by the character and conduct of one man. Up to
this time the French had far surpassed the rival nation in the possession
of men ready and able to deal with the Indians and mould them to their
will. Eminent among such was Joncaire, French emissary among the Senecas in
western New York, who, with admirable skill, held back that powerful member
of the Iroquois league from siding with the English. But now, among the
Mohawks of eastern New York, Joncaire found his match in the person of
William Johnson, a vigorous and intelligent young Irishman, nephew of
Admiral Warren, and his agent in the management of his estates on the
Mohawk. Johnson soon became intimate with his Indian neighbors, spoke their
language, joined in their games and dances, sometimes borrowed their dress
and their paint, and whooped, yelped, and stamped like one of themselves. A
white man thus playing the Indian usually gains nothing in the esteem of
those he imitates; but, as before in the case of the redoubtable Count
Frontenac, Johnson's adoption of their ways increased their liking for him
and did not diminish their respect. The Mohawks adopted him into their
tribe and made him a war-chief. Clinton saw his value; and as the Albany
commissioners hitherto charged with Indian affairs had proved wholly
inefficient, he transferred their functions to Johnson; whence arose more
heart-burnings. The favor of the Governor cost the new functionary the
support of the Assembly, who refused the indispensable presents to the
Indians, and thus vastly increased the difficulty of his task. Yet the Five
Nations promised to take up the hatchet against the French, and their
orator said, in a conference at Albany, "Should any French priests now dare
to come among us, we know no use for them but to roast them." [Footnote:
_Answer of the Six [Five] Nations to His Excellency the Governor at
Albany, 23 Aug. 1746._] Johnson's present difficulties, however, sprang
more from Dutch and English traders than from French priests, and he begs
that an Act may be passed against the selling of liquor to the Indians, "as
it is impossible to do anything with them while there is such a plenty to
be had all round the neighborhood, being forever drunk." And he complains
especially of one Clement, who sells liquor within twenty yards of
Johnson's house, and immediately gets from the Indians all the bounty money
they receive for scalps, "which leaves them as poor as ratts," and
therefore refractory and unmanageable. Johnson says further: "There is
another grand villain, George Clock, who lives by Conajoharie Castle, and
robs the Indians of all their cloaths, etc." The chiefs complained, "upon
which I wrote him twice to give over that custom of selling liquor to the
Indians; the answer was he gave the bearer, I might hang myself."
[Footnote: _Johnson to Clinton, 7 May, 1747._] Indian affairs, it will
be seen, were no better regulated then than now.

Meanwhile the French Indians were ravaging the frontiers and burning
farm-houses to within sight of Albany. The Assembly offered rewards for the
scalps of the marauders, but were slow in sending money to pay them,--to
the great discontent of the Mohawks, who, however, at Johnson's
instigation, sent out various war-parties, two of which, accompanied by a
few whites, made raids as far as the island of Montreal, and somewhat
checked the incursions of the mission Indians by giving them work near
home. The check was but momentary. Heathen Indians from the West joined the
Canadian converts, and the frontiers of New York and New England, from the
Mohawk to beyond the Kennebec, were stung through all their length by
innumerable nocturnal surprises and petty attacks. The details of this
murderous though ineffective partisan war would fill volumes, if they were
worth recording. One or two examples will show the nature of all.

In the valley of the little river Ashuelot, a New Hampshire affluent of the
Connecticut, was a rude border-settlement which later years transformed
into a town noted in rural New England for kindly hospitality, culture
without pretence, and good-breeding without conventionality. [Footnote:
Keene, originally called Upper Ashuelot. On the same stream, a few miles
below, was a similar settlement, called Lower Ashuelot--the germ of the
present Swanzey. This, too, suffered greatly from Indian attacks.] In 1746
the place was in all the rawness and ugliness of a backwoods hamlet. The
rough fields, lately won from the virgin forest, showed here and there,
among the stumps, a few log-cabins, roofed with slabs of pine, spruce, or
hemlock. Near by was a wooden fort, made, no doubt, after the common
frontier pattern, of a stockade fence ten or twelve feet high, enclosing
cabins to shelter the settlers in case of alarm, and furnished at the
corners with what were called flankers, which were boxes of thick plank
large enough to hold two or more men, raised above the ground on posts, and
pierced with loopholes, so that each face of the stockade could be swept by
a flank fire. One corner of this fort at Ashuelot was, however, guarded by
a solid blockhouse, or, as it was commonly called, a "mount."

On the 23d of April a band of sixty, or, by another account, a hundred
Indians, approached the settlement before daybreak, and hid in the
neighboring thickets to cut off the men in the fort as they came out to
their morning work. One of the men, Ephraim Dorman, chanced to go out
earlier than the rest. The Indians did not fire on him, but, not to give an
alarm, tried to capture or kill him without noise. Several of them suddenly
showed themselves, on which he threw down his gun in pretended submission.
One of them came up to him with hatchet raised; but the nimble and sturdy
borderer suddenly struck him with his fist a blow in the head that knocked
him flat, then snatched up his own gun, and, as some say, the blanket of
the half-stunned savage also, sprang off, reached the fort unhurt, and gave
the alarm. Some of the families of the place were living in the fort; but
the bolder or more careless still remained in their farm-houses, and if
nothing were done for their relief, their fate was sealed. Therefore the
men sallied in a body, and a sharp fight ensued, giving the frightened
settlers time to take refuge within the stockade. It was not too soon, for
the work of havoc had already begun. Six houses and a barn were on fire,
and twenty-three cattle had been killed. The Indians fought fiercely,
killed John Bullard and captured Nathan Blake, but at last retreated; and
after they were gone, the charred remains of several of them were found
among the ruins of one of the burned cabins, where they had probably been
thrown to prevent their being scalped.

Before Dorman had given the alarm, an old woman, Mrs. McKenney, went from
the fort to milk her cow in a neighboring barn. As she was returning, with
her full milk-pail, a naked Indian was seen to spring from a clump of
bushes, plunge a long knife into her back, and dart away without stopping
to take the gray scalp of his victim. She tried feebly to reach the fort;
but from age, corpulence, and a mortal wound she moved but slowly, and when
a few steps from the gate, fell and died.

Ten days after, a party of Indians hid themselves at night by this same
fort, and sent one of their number to gain admission under pretence of
friendship, intending, no doubt, to rush in when the gate should be opened;
but the man on guard detected the trick, and instead of opening the gate,
fired through it, mortally wounding the Indian, on which his confederates
made off. Again, at the same place, Deacon Josiah Foster, who had taken
refuge in the fort, ventured out on a July morning to drive his cows to
pasture. A gun-shot was heard; and the men who went out to learn the cause,
found the Deacon lying in the wood-road, dead and scalped. An ambushed
Indian had killed him and vanished. Such petty attacks were without number.

There is a French paper, called a record of "military movements," which
gives a list of war-parties sent from Montreal against the English border
between the 29th of March, 1746, and the 21st of June in the same year.
They number thirty-five distinct bands, nearly all composed of mission
Indians living in or near the settled parts of Canada,--Abenakis, Iroquois
of the Lake of Two Mountains and of Sault St. Louis (Caughnawaga),
Algonkins of the Ottawa, and others, in parties rarely of more than thirty,
and often of no more than six, yet enough for waylaying travellers or
killing women in kitchens or cow-sheds, and solitary laborers in the
fields. This record is accompanied by a list of wild Western Indians who
came down to Montreal in the summer of 1746 to share in these "military
movements." [Footnote: _Extrait sur les différents Mouvements Militaires
qui se sont faits à Montréal à l'occasion de la Guerre, 1745, 1746._
There is a translation in _N. Y. Col. Docs._]

No part of the country suffered more than the western borders of
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and here were seen too plainly the evils
of the prevailing want of concert among the British colonies. Massachusetts
claimed extensive tracts north of her present northern boundary, and in the
belief that her claim would hold good, had built a small wooden fort,
called Fort Dummer, on the Connecticut, for the protection of settlers.
New Hampshire disputed the title, and the question, being referred to the
Crown, was decided in her favor. On this, Massachusetts withdrew the
garrison of Fort Dummer and left New Hampshire to defend her own. This the
Assembly of that province refused to do, on the ground that the fort was
fifty miles from any settlement made by New Hampshire people, and was
therefore useless to them, though of great value to Massachusetts as a
cover to Northfield and other of her settlements lower down the
Connecticut, to protect which was no business of New Hampshire. [Footnote:
_Journal of the Assembly of New Hampshire,_ quoted in Saunderson,
_History of Charlestown, N. H.,_ 20.] But some years before, in 1740,
three brothers, Samuel, David, and Stephen Farnsworth, natives of Groton,
Massachusetts, had begun a new settlement on the Connecticut about
forty-five miles north of the Massachusetts line and on ground which was
soon to be assigned to New Hampshire. They were followed by five or six
others. They acted on the belief that their settlement was within the
jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and that she could and would protect them.
The place was one of extreme exposure, not only from its isolation, far
from help, but because it was on the banks of a wild and lonely river, the
customary highway of war-parties on their descent from Canada. Number
Four--for so the new settlement was called, because it was the fourth in a
range of townships recently marked out along the Connecticut, but, with one
or two exceptions, wholly unoccupied as yet--was a rude little outpost of
civilization, buried in forests that spread unbroken to the banks of the
St. Lawrence, while its nearest English neighbor was nearly thirty miles
away. As may be supposed, it grew slowly, and in 1744 it had but nine or
ten families. In the preceding year, when war seemed imminent, and it was
clear that neither Massachusetts nor New Hampshire would lend a helping
hand, the settlers of Number Four, seeing that their only resource was in
themselves, called a meeting to consider the situation and determine what
should be done. The meeting was held at the house, or log-cabin, of John
Spafford, Jr., and being duly called to order, the following resolutions
were adopted: that a fort be built at the charge of the proprietors of the
said township of Number Four; that John Hastings, John Spafford, and John
Avery be a committee to direct the building; that each carpenter be allowed
nine shillings, old tenor, a day, each laborer seven shillings, and each
pair of oxen three shillings and sixpence; that the proprietors of the
township be taxed in the sum of three hundred pounds, old tenor, for
building the fort; that John Spafford, Phineas Stevens, and John Hastings
be assessors to assess the same, and Samuel Farnsworth collector to collect
it. [Footnote: Extracts from the Town Record, in Saunderson, _History of
Charlestown, N.H. (Number Four)_, 17,18.] And to the end that their fort
should be a good and creditable one, they are said to have engaged the
services of John Stoddard, accounted the foremost man of western
Massachusetts, Superintendent of Defence, Colonel of Militia, Judge of
Probate, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, a reputed authority in
the construction of backwoods fortifications, and the admired owner of the
only gold watch in Northampton.

Timber was abundant and could be had for the asking; for the frontiersman
usually regarded a tree less as a valuable possession than as a natural
enemy, to be got rid of by fair means or foul. The only cost was the labor.
The fort rose rapidly. It was a square enclosing about three quarters of an
acre, each side measuring a hundred and eighty feet. The wall was not of
palisades, as was more usual, but of squared logs laid one upon another,
and interlocked at the corners after the fashion of a log-cabin. Within
were several houses, which had been built close together, for mutual
protection, before the fort was begun, and which belonged to Stevens,
Spafford, and other settlers. Apparently they were small log-cabins; for
they were valued at only from eight to thirty-five pounds each, in old
tenor currency wofully attenuated by depreciation; and these sums being
paid to the owners out of the three hundred pounds collected for building
the fort, the cabins became public property. Either they were built in a
straight line, or they were moved to form one, for when the fort was
finished, they all backed against the outer wall, so that their low roofs
served to fire from. The usual flankers completed the work, and the
settlers of Number Four were so well pleased with it that they proudly
declared their fort a better one than Fort Dummer, its nearest neighbor,
which had been built by public authority at the charge of the province.

But a fort must have a garrison, and the ten or twelve men of Number Four
would hardly be a sufficient one. Sooner or later an attack was certain;
for the place was a backwoods Castle Dangerous, lying in the path of
war-parties from Canada, whether coming down the Connecticut from Lake
Memphremagog, or up Otter Creek from Lake Champlain, then over the
mountains to Black River, and so down that stream, which would bring them
directly to Number Four. New Hampshire would do nothing for them, and their
only hope was in Massachusetts, of which most of them were natives, and
which had good reasons for helping them to hold their ground, as a cover to
its own settlements below. The Governor and Assembly of Massachusetts did,
in fact, send small parties of armed men from time to time to defend the
endangered outpost, and the succor was timely; for though, during the first
year of the war, Number Four was left in peace, yet from the 19th of April
to the 19th of June, 1746, it was attacked by Indians five times, with some
loss of scalps, and more of cattle, horses, and hogs. On the last occasion
there was a hot fight in the woods, ending in the retreat of the Indians,
said to have numbered a hundred and fifty, into a swamp, leaving behind
them guns, blankets, hatchets, spears, and other things, valued at forty
pounds, old tenor,--which, says the chronicle, "was reckoned a great booty
for such beggarly enemies." [Footnote: Saunderson, _History of
Charlestown, N. H._, 29. Doolittle, _Narrative of Mischief done by the
Indian Enemy_,--a contempory chronicle.]

But Massachusetts grew tired of defending lands that had been adjudged to
New Hampshire, and as the season drew towards an end, Number Four was left
again to its own keeping. The settlers saw no choice but to abandon a place
which they were too few to defend, and accordingly withdrew to the older
settlements, after burying such of their effects as would bear it, and
leaving others to their fate. Six men, a dog, and a cat remained to keep
the fort. Towards midwinter the human part of the garrison also withdrew,
and the two uncongenial quadrupeds were left alone.

When the authorities of Massachusetts saw that a place so useful to bear
the brunt of attack was left to certain destruction, they repented of their
late withdrawal, and sent Captain Phineas Stevens, with thirty men, to
re-occupy it. Stevens, a native of Sudbury, Massachusetts, one of the
earliest settlers of Number Four, and one of its chief proprietors, was a
bold, intelligent, and determined man, well fitted for the work before him.
He and his band reached the fort on the 27th of March, 1747, and their
arrival gave peculiar pleasure to its tenants, the dog and cat, the former
of whom met them with lively demonstrations of joy. The pair had apparently
lived in harmony, and found means of subsistence, as they are reported to
have been in tolerable condition.

Stevens had brought with him a number of other dogs,--animals found useful
for detecting the presence of Indians and tracking them to their
lurking-places. A week or more after the arrival of the party, these
canine allies showed great uneasiness and barked without ceasing; on which
Stevens ordered a strict watch to be kept, and great precaution to be used
in opening the gate of the fort. It was time, for the surrounding forest
concealed what the New England chroniclers call an "army," commanded by
General Debeline. It scarcely need be said that Canada had no General
Debeline, and that no such name is to be found in Canadian annals. The
"army" was a large war-party of both French and Indians, and a French
record shows that its commander was Boucher de Niverville, ensign in the
colony troops. [Footnote: _Extrait en forme de Journal de ce qui s'est
passé d'intéressant dans la Colonie à l'occasion des Mouvements de Guerre,
etc., 1746, 1747_.]

The behavior of the dogs was as yet the only sign of danger, when, about
nine o'clock on the morning of the 7th of April, one of Stevens's men took
it upon him to go out and find what was amiss. Accompanied by two or three
of the dogs, he advanced, gun in hand, into the clearing, peering at every
stump, lest an Indian should lurk behind it. When about twenty rods from
the gate, he saw a large log, or trunk of a fallen tree, not far before
him, and approached it cautiously, setting on the dogs, or, as Stevens
whimsically phrases it, "saying _Choboy!_" to them. They ran forward
barking, on which several heads appeared above the log, and several guns
were fired at him. He was slightly wounded, but escaped to the fort.  Then,
all around, the air rang with war-whoops, and a storm of bullets flew from
the tangle of bushes that edged the clearing, and rapped spitefully, but
harmlessly, against the wooden wall. At a little distance on the windward
side was a log-house, to which, with adjacent fences, the assailants
presently set fire, in the hope that, as the wind was strong, the flames
would catch the fort. When Stevens saw what they were doing, he set himself
to thwart them; and while some of his men kept them at bay with their guns,
the rest fell to work digging a number of short trenches under the wall, on
the side towards the fire. As each trench was six or seven feet deep, a man
could stand in it outside the wall, sheltered from bullets, and dash
buckets of water, passed to him from within, against the scorching timbers.
Eleven such trenches were dug, and eleven men were stationed in them, so
that the whole exposed front of the wall was kept wet. [Footnote: "Those
who were not employed in firing at the enemy were employed in digging
trenches under the bottom of the fort. We dug no less than eleven of them,
so deep that a man could go and stand upright on the outside and not
endanger himself; so that when these trenches were finished, we could wet
all the outside of the fort, which we did, and kept it wet all night. We
drew some hundreds of barrels of water; and to undergo all this hard
service there were but thirty men." _Stevens to Colonel W.
Williams,--April, 1747._] Thus, though clouds of smoke drifted over the
fort, and burning cinders showered upon it, no harm was done, and the enemy
was forced to other devices. They found a wagon, which they protected from
water and bullets by a shield of planks,--for there was a saw-mill hard
by,--and loaded it with dry fagots, thinking to set them on fire and push
the blazing machine against a dry part of the fort wall; but the task
proved too dangerous, "for," says Stevens, "instead of performing what they
threatened and seemed to be immediately going to undertake, they called to
us and desired a cessation of arms till sunrise the next morning, which was
granted, at which time they said they would come to a parley." In fact, the
French commander, with about sixty of his men, came in the morning with a
flag of truce, which he stuck in the ground at a musket-shot from the fort,
and, in the words of Stevens, "said, if we would send three men to him, he
would send as many to us." Stevens agreed to this, on which two Frenchmen
and an Indian came to the fort, and three soldiers went out in return. The
two Frenchmen demanded, on the part of their commander, that the garrison
should surrender, under a promise of life, and be carried prisoners to
Quebec; and they farther required that Stevens should give his answer to
the French officer in person.

Wisely or unwisely, Stevens went out at the gate, and was at once joined by
Niverville, attended, no doubt, by an interpreter. "Upon meeting the
Monsieur," says the English captain, "he did not wait for me to give him an
answer," but said, in a manner sufficiently peremptory, that he had seven
hundred men with him, and that if his terms were refused, he would storm
the fort, "run over it," burn it to the ground, and if resistance were
offered, put all in it to the sword; adding that he would have it or die,
and that Stevens might fight or not as he pleased, for it was all one to
him. His terms being refused, he said, as Stevens reports, "Well, go back
to your fort and see if your men dare fight any more, and give me an answer
quickly; for my men want to be fighting." Stevens now acted as if he had
been the moderator of a town-meeting. "I went into the fort and called the
men together, and informed them what the General said, and then put it to
vote whether they would fight or resign; and they voted to a man to stand
it out, and also declared that they would fight as long as they had life."
[Footnote: _Stevens to Colonel William Williams,--April, 1747._]

Answer was made accordingly, but Niverville's promise to storm the fort and
"run over it" was not kept. Stevens says that his enemies had not the
courage to do this, or even to bring up their "fortification," meaning
their fire-wagon with its shield of planks. In fact, an open assault upon a
fortified place was a thing unknown in this border warfare, whether waged
by Indians alone, or by French and Indians together. The assailants only
raised the war-whoop again, and fired, as before, from behind stumps, logs,
and bushes. This amusement they kept up from two o'clock till night, when
they grew bolder, approached nearer, and shot flights of fire-arrows into
the fort, which, water being abundant, were harmless as their bullets. At
daylight they gave over this exercise, called out "Good morning!" to the
garrison, and asked for a suspension of arms for two hours. This being
agreed to, another flag of truce presently appeared, carried by two
Indians, who planted it in the ground within a stone's throw of the fort,
and asked that two men should be sent out to confer with them. This was
done, and the men soon came back with a proposal that Stevens should sell
provisions to his besiegers, under a promise on their part that they would
give him no farther trouble. He answered that he would not sell them
provisions for money, but would exchange them for prisoners, and give five
bushels of Indian corn for every hostage placed in his hands as security
for the release of an English captive in Canada. To this their only answer
was firing a few shots against the fort, after which they all disappeared,
and were seen no more. The garrison had scarcely eaten or slept for three
days. "I believe men were never known to hold out with better resolution,"
writes Stevens; and "though there were some thousands of guns shot at us,
we had but two men slightly wounded, John Brown and Joseph Ely." [Footnote:
_Stevens to Colonel W. Williams,--April, 1747._]

Niverville and his party, disappointed and hungry, now made a tour among
the scattered farms and hamlets of the country below, which, incapable of
resisting such an inroad, were abandoned at their approach. Thus they took
an easy revenge for their rebuff at Number Four, and in a march of thirty
or forty leagues, burned five small deserted forts or stockaded houses,
"three meeting-houses, several fine barns, about one hundred dwellings,
mostly of two stories, furnished even to chests of drawers, and killed five
to six hundred sheep and hogs, and about thirty horned cattle. This
devastation is well worth a few prisoners or scalps." [Footnote: _N. Y.
Col. Docs._, X. 97.] It is curious to find such exploits mentioned with
complacency, as evidence of prowess.

The successful defence of the most exposed place on the frontier was
welcome news throughout New England, and Commodore Charles Knowles, who was
then at Boston, sent Stevens a silver-hilted sword in recognition of his
conduct. The settlers of Number Four, who soon returned to their backwoods
home, were so well pleased with this compliment to one of their fellows
that they gave to the settlement the baptismal name of the Commodore, and
the town that has succeeded the hamlet of Number Four is Charlestown to
this day. [Footnote: Just after the withdrawal of the French and Indians,
Stevens wrote two letters giving an account of the affair, one to Governor
Shirley, and the other to Colonel William Williams, who seems to have been
his immediate military superior. At most points they are substantially the
same; but that to Williams contains some passages not found in the other.
The letter to Shirley is printed in Saunderson, _History of Charlestown,
N. H._, 34-37, and that to Williams in _Collections of the New
Hampshire Historical Society_, IV. 109-113. Stevens also kept a diary,
which was long in possession of his descendants. One of these, Mr. B. F.
Stevens, kindly made a search for it, at my request, and learned that it
had been unfortunately destroyed by fire, in 1856. Doolittle, in his
_Narrative of Mischief_, and Hoyt, in his _Antiquarian Researches_,
give other accounts. The French notices of the affair are few and short, as
usual in cases of failure. For the principal one, see _N. Y. Col.  Docs.,_
X. 97. It is here said that Stevens asked for a parley, in order to
capitulate; but all the English accounts say that the French made the first





Since the last war, the settlements of Massachusetts had pushed westward
and begun to invade the beautiful region of mountains and valleys that now
forms Berkshire. Villages, or rudiments of villages, had grown up on the
Housatonic, and an establishment had been attempted at Pontoosuc, now
Pittsfield, on the extreme western limits of the province. The position of
these new settlements was critical, for the enemy could reach them with
little difficulty by way of Lake Champlain and Wood Creek. The
Massachusetts Government was not unmindful of them, and when war again
broke out, three wooden forts were built for their protection, forming a
line of defence westward from Northfield on the northern frontier of the
province. One of these forts was in the present town of Heath, and was
called Fort Shirley; another, named Fort Pelham, was in the present town of
Rowe; while the third, Fort Massachusetts, was farther westward, in what is
now the town of Adams, then known as East Hoosac. Two hundred men from the
militia were taken into pay to hold these posts and patrol the intervening
forests. Other defensive works were made here and there, sometimes by the
votes of town meetings, and sometimes by individuals, at their own cost.
These works consisted of a fence of palisades enclosing a farm-house, or
sometimes of a blockhouse of timber or heavy planks. Thus, at Northfield,
Deacon Ebenezer Alexander, a veteran of sixty who had served at Louisbourg,
built a "mount," or blockhouse, on the knoll behind his house, and carried
a stockade from it to enclose the dwelling, shed, and barn, the whole at
the cost of thirty-six pounds, one shilling, and sixpence, in Massachusetts
currency, which the town repaid him, his fortifications being of public
utility as a place of refuge for families in case of attack. [Footnote:
Temple and Sheldon, _History of Northfield_, 237, give the items from
the original account. This is one of the best of the innumerable
town-histories of New England.] Northfield was a place notoriously
dangerous, and military methods were in vogue there in season and out of
season. Thus, by a vote of the town, the people were called to the Sunday
sermon by beat of drum, and Eleazer Holton was elected to sound the call in
consideration of one pound and ten shillings a year, the drum being hired
of Ensign Field, its fortunate possessor, for the farther sum of three
shillings.  This was in the earlier days of Northfield. In 1734 the Sunday
drum-beat was stopped, and the worshippers were summoned by the less
obstreperous method of "hanging out a flagg," for the faithful discharge of
which function Daniel Wright received in 1744 one pound and five shillings.
[Footnote: Temple and Sheldon, _History of Northfield_, 218.]

The various fortifications, public and private, were garrisoned, sometimes
by the owner and his neighbors, sometimes by men in pay of the provincial
Assembly. As was to be expected from a legislative body undertaking warlike
operations, the work of defence was but indifferently conducted. John
Stoddard, the village magnate of Northampton, was charged, among the rest
of his multifarious employments, with the locating and construction of
forts; Captain Ephraim Williams was assigned to the general command on the
western frontier, with headquarters at Fort Shirley and afterwards at Fort
Massachusetts; and Major Israel Williams, of Hatfield, was made commissary.

At Northfield dwelt the Reverend Benjamin Doolittle, minister, apothecary,
physician, and surgeon of the village; for he had studied medicine no less
than theology. His parishioners thought that his cure of bodies encroached
on his cure of souls, and requested him to confine his attention to his
spiritual charge; to which he replied that he could not afford it, his
salary as minister being seventy-five pounds in irredeemable Massachusetts
paper, while his medical and surgical practice brought him full four
hundred a year. He offered to comply with the wishes of his flock if they
would add that amount to his salary,--which they were not prepared to do,
and the minister continued his heterogeneous labors as before.

As the position of his house on the village street seems to have been
regarded as strategic, the town voted to fortify it with a blockhouse and a
stockade, for the benefit both of the occupant and of all the villagers.
This was accordingly done, at the cost of eighteen pounds, seven shillings,
and sixpence for the blockhouse, and a farther charge for the stockade; and
thenceforth Mr. Doolittle could write his sermons and mix his doses in
peace. To his other callings he added that of historiographer. When, after
a ministry of thirty-six years, the thrifty pastor was busied one day with
hammer and nails in mending the fence of his yard, he suddenly dropped dead
from a stroke of heart-disease,--to the grief of all Northfield; and his
papers being searched, a record was found in his handwriting of the inroads
of the enemy that had happened in his time on or near the Massachusetts
border. Being rightly thought worthy of publication, it was printed at
Boston in a dingy pamphlet, now extremely rare, and much prized by
antiquarians. [Footnote: _A short Narrative of Mischief done by the
French and Indian Enemy on the Western Frontiers of the Province of the
Massachusetts Bay; from the Beginning of the French War, proclaimed by the
King of France, March 15th, 1743-4; and by the King of Great Britain, March
29th, 1744, to August 2nd, 1748. Drawn up by the Rev. Mr. Doolittle, of
Northfield, in the County of Hampshire; and found among his Manuscripts
after his Death. And at the Desire of some is now Published, with some
small Additions to render it more perfect. Boston; Printed and sold by S.
Kneeland, in Queen Street.  MDCCL._ The facts above given concerning Mr.
Doolittle are drawn from the excellent _History of Northfield_ by
Temple and Sheldon, and the introduction to the _Particular History of
the Five Years' French and Indian War,_ by S. G. Drake.]

Appended to it are the remarks of the author on the conduct of the war. He
complains that plans are changed so often that none of them take effect;
that terms of enlistment are so short that the commissary can hardly serve
out provisions to the men before their time is expired; that neither bread,
meat, shoes, nor blankets are kept on hand for an emergency, so that the
enemy escape while the soldiers are getting ready to pursue them; that the
pay of a drafted man is so small that twice as much would not hire a
laborer to take care of his farm in his absence; and that untried and unfit
persons are commissioned as officers: in all of which strictures there is
no doubt much truth.

Mr. Doolittle's rueful narrative treats mainly of miscellaneous murders and
scalpings, interesting only to the sufferers and their friends; but he also
chronicles briefly a formidable inroad that still holds a place in New
England history.

It may be remembered that Shirley had devised a plan for capturing Fort
Frédéric, or Crown Point, built by the French at the narrows of Lake
Champlain, and commanding ready access for warparties to New York and New

The approach of D'Anville's fleet had defeated the plan; but rumors of it
had reached Canada, and excited great alarm. Large bodies of men were
ordered to Lake Champlain to protect the threatened fort. The two brothers
De Muy were already on the lake with a numerous party of Canadians and
Indians, both Christian and heathen, and Rigaud de Vaudreuil, town-major of
Three Rivers, was ordered to follow with a still larger force, repel any
English attack, or, if none should be made, take the offensive and strike a
blow at the English frontier. [Footnote: French writers always call him
Rigaud, to distinguish him from his brother, Pierre Rigaud de
Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, afterwards governor of Canada, who is usually mentioned
as Vaudreuil.] On the 3d of August, Rigaud left Montreal with a fleet of
canoes carrying what he calls his army, and on the 12th he encamped on the
east side of the lake, at the mouth of Otter Creek. There was rain,
thunder, and a violent wind all night; but the storm ceased at daybreak,
and, embarking again, they soon saw the octagonal stone tower of Fort

The party set up their tents and wigwams near the fort, and on the morning
of the 16th the elder De Muy arrived with a reinforcement of sixty
Frenchmen and a band of Indians. They had just returned from an incursion
towards Albany, and reported that all was quiet in those parts, and that
Fort Frédéric was in no danger. Now, to their great satisfaction, Rigaud
and his band saw themselves free to take the offensive. The question was,
where to strike. The Indians held council after council, made speech after
speech, and agreed on nothing. Rigaud gave them a wampum-belt, and told
them that he meant to attack Corlaer,--that is, Schenectady; at which they
seemed well pleased, and sang war-songs all night. In the morning they
changed their minds, and begged him to call the whole army to a council for
debating the question. It appeared that some of them, especially the
Iroquois converts of Caughnawaga, disapproved of attacking Schenectady,
because some of their Mohawk relatives were always making visits there, and
might be inadvertently killed by the wild Western Indians of Rigaud's
party. Now all was doubt again, for as Indians are unstable as water, it
was no easy task to hold them to any plan of action.

The Abenakis proposed a solution of the difficulty. They knew the New
England border well, for many of them had lived upon it before the war, on
terms of friendly intercourse with the settlers. They now drew upon the
floor of the council-room a rough map of the country, on which was seen a
certain river, and on its upper waters a fort which they recommended as a
proper object of attack. The river was that eastern tributary of the Hudson
which the French called the Kaské-kouké, the Dutch the Schaticook, and the
English the Hoosac. The fort was Fort Massachusetts, the most westerly of
the three posts lately built to guard the frontier. "My Father," said the
Abenaki spokesman to Rigaud, "it will be easy to take this fort, and make
great havoc on the lands of the English. Deign to listen to your children
and follow our advice." [Footnote: _Journal de la Campagne de Rigaud de
Vaudreuil en 1746...présenté à Monseigneur le Comte de Maurepas, Ministre
et Secrétaire d'Etat_ (written by Rigaud).] One Cadenaret, an Abenaki
chief, had been killed near Fort Massachusetts in the last spring, and his
tribesmen were keen to revenge him. Seeing his Indians pleased with the
proposal to march for the Hoosac, Rigaud gladly accepted it; on which
whoops, yelps, and war-songs filled the air. Hardly, however, was the party
on its way when the Indians changed their minds again, and wanted to attack
Saratoga; but Rigaud told them that they had made their choice and must
abide by it, to which they assented, and gave him no farther trouble.

On the 20th of August they all embarked and paddled southward, passed the
lonely promontory where Fort Ticonderoga was afterwards built, and held
their course till the lake dwindled to a mere canal creeping through the
weedy marsh then called the Drowned Lands. Here, nine summers later, passed
the flotilla of Baron Dieskau, bound to defeat and ruin by the shores of
Lake George. Rigaud stopped at a place known as East Bay, at the mouth of
a stream that joins Wood Creek, just north of the present town of
Whitehall. Here he left the younger De Muy, with thirty men, to guard the
canoes. The rest of the party, guided by a brother of the slain Cadenaret,
filed southward on foot along the base of Skene Mountain, that overlooks
Whitehall. They counted about seven hundred men, of whom five hundred were
French, and a little above two hundred were Indians. [Footnote: "Le 19,
ayant fait passer l'armée en Revue qui se trouva de 700 hommes, scavoir 500
françois environ et 200 quelques sauvages." _Journal de Rigaud_.] Some
other French reports put the whole number at eleven hundred, or even twelve
hundred, [Footnote: See _N. Y. Col. Docs._, X. 103, 132.] while
several English accounts make it eight hundred or nine hundred. The
Frenchmen of the party included both regulars and Canadians, with six
regular officers and ten cadets, eighteen militia officers, two
chaplains,--one for the whites and one for the Indians,--and a surgeon.
[Footnote: _Ibid._, X. 35.]

After a march of four days, they encamped on the 26th by a stream which ran
into the Hudson, and was no doubt the Batten Kill, known to the French as
_la rivière de Saratogue_. Being nearly opposite Saratoga, where there
was then a garrison, they changed their course, on the 27th, from south to
southeast, the better to avoid scouting-parties, which might discover their
trail and defeat their plan of surprise. Early on the next day they reached
the Hoosac, far above its mouth; and now their march was easier, "for,"
says Rigaud, "we got out of the woods and followed a large road that led up
the river." In fact, there seem to have been two roads, one on each side of
the Hoosac; for the French were formed into two brigades, one of which,
under the Sieur de la Valterie, filed along the right bank of the stream,
and the other, under the Sieur de Sabrevois, along the left; while the
Indians marched on the front, flanks, and rear. They passed deserted houses
and farms belonging to Dutch settlers from the Hudson; for the Hoosac, in
this part of its course, was in the province of New York. [Footnote: These
Dutch settlements on the Hoosac were made under what was called the "Hoosac
Patent," granted by Governor Dongan of New York in 1688. The settlements
were not begun till nearly forty years after the grant was made. For
evidence on this point I am indebted to Professor A. L. Perry, of Williams
College.] They did not stop to burn barns and houses, but they killed
poultry, hogs, a cow, and a horse, to supply themselves with meat. Before
night they had passed the New York line, and they made their camp in or
near the valley where Williamstown and Williams College now stand. Here
they were joined by the Sieurs Beaubassin and La Force, who had gone
forward, with eight Indians, to reconnoitre. Beaubassin had watched Fort
Massachusetts from a distance, and had seen a man go up into the
watch-tower, but could discover no other sign of alarm. Apparently, the
fugitive Dutch farmers had not taken pains to warn the English garrison of
the coming danger, for there was a coolness between the neighbors.

Before breaking up camp in the morning, Rigaud called the Indian chiefs
together and said to them: "My children, the time is near when we must get
other meat than fresh pork, and we will all eat it together." "Meat," in
Indian parlance, meant prisoners; and as these were valuable by reason of
the ransoms paid for them, and as the Indians had suspected that the French
meant to keep them all, they were well pleased with this figurative
assurance of Rigaud that they should have their share. [Footnote: "Mes
enfans, leur dis-je, le temps approche où il faut faire d'autre viande que
le pore frais; au reste, nous la mangerons tous eusemble; ce mot les flatta
dans la crainte qu'ils avoient qu'après la prise du fort nous ne nous
réservâmes tous les prisonniers" _Journal de Rigaud_.]

The chaplain said mass, and the party marched in a brisk rain up the
Williamstown valley, till after advancing about ten miles they encamped
again. Fort Massachusetts was only three or four miles distant. Rigaud held
a talk with the Abenaki chiefs who had acted as guides, and it was agreed
that the party should stop in the woods near the fort, make
scaling-ladders, battering-rams to burst the gates, and other things
needful for a grand assault, to take place before daylight; but their plan
came to nought through the impetuosity of the young Indians and Canadians,
who were so excited at the first glimpse of the watch-tower of the fort
that they dashed forward, as Rigaud says, "like lions." Hence one might
fairly expect to see the fort assaulted at once; but by the maxims of
forest war this would have been reprehensible rashness, and nothing of the
kind was attempted. The assailants spread to right and left, squatted
behind stumps, and opened a distant and harmless fire, accompanied with
unearthly yells and howlings.

Fort Massachusetts was a wooden enclosure formed, like the fort at Number
Four, of beams laid one upon another, and interlocked at the angles. This
wooden wall seems to have rested, not immediately upon the ground, but upon
a foundation of stone, designated by Mr. Norton, the chaplain, as the
"underpinning,"--a name usually given in New England to foundations of the
kind. At the northwest corner was a blockhouse, crowned with the
watch-tower, the sight of which had prematurely kindled the martial fire of
the Canadians and Indians. [Footnote: The term "blockhouse" was loosely
used, and was even sometimes applied to an entire fort when constructed of
hewn logs, and not of palisades. The true blockhouse of the New England
frontier was a solid wooden structure about twenty feet high, with a
projecting upper story and loopholes above and below.] This wooden
structure, at the apex of the blockhouse, served as a lookout, and also
supplied means of throwing water to extinguish fire-arrows shot upon the
roof. There were other buildings in the enclosure, especially a large
log-house on the south side, which seems to have overlooked the outer wall,
and was no doubt loopholed for musketry. On the east side there was a well,
furnished probably with one of those long well-sweeps universal in
primitive New England. The garrison, when complete, consisted of fifty-one
men under Captain Ephraim Williams, who has left his name to Williamstown
and Williams College, of the latter of which he was the founder. He was
born at Newton, near Boston; was a man vigorous in body and mind; better
acquainted with the world than most of his countrymen, having followed the
seas in his youth, and visited England, Spain, and Holland; frank and
agreeable in manners, well fitted for such a command, and respected and
loved by his men. [Footnote: See the notice of Williams in _Mass. Hist.
Coll._, VIII. 47. He was killed in the bloody skirmish that preceded the
Battle of Lake George in 1755. _Montcalm and Wolfe_, chap. ix.] When
the proposed invasion of Canada was preparing, he and some of his men went
to take part in it, and had not yet returned. The fort was left in charge
of a sergeant, John Hawks, of Deerfield, with men too few for the extent of
the works, and a supply of ammunition nearly exhausted. Canada being then
put on the defensive, the frontier forts were thought safe for a time. On
the Saturday before Rigaud's arrival, Hawks had sent Thomas Williams, the
surgeon, brother of the absent captain, to Deerfield, with a detachment of
fourteen men, to get a supply of powder and lead. This detachment reduced
the entire force, including Hawks himself and Norton, the chaplain, to
twenty-two men, half of whom were disabled with dysentery, from which few
of the rest were wholly free. [Footnote: "Lord's Day and Monday...the
sickness was very distressing.... Eleven of our men were sick, and scarcely
one of us in perfect health; almost every man was troubled with the griping
and flux." Norton, _The Redeemed Captive_.] There were also in the
fort three women and five children. [Footnote: Rigaud erroneously makes the
garrison a little larger. "La garnison se trouva de 24 hommes, entre
lesquels il y avoit un ministre, 3 femmes, et 5 enfans." The names and
residence of all the men in the fort when the attack began are preserved.
Hawks made his report to the provincial government under the title _"An
Account of the Company in his Majesty's Service under the command of Serg't
John Hawks...at Fort Massachusetts, Aug. 20_ [31, new style],
_1746._" The roll is attested on oath "Before William Williams,
_Just. Pacis._" The number of men is 22, including Hawks and Norton.
Each man brought his own gun. I am indebted to the kindness of Professor A.
L. Perry for a copy of Hawks's report, which is addressed to "the Honble.
Spencer Phipps, Esq., Lieut. Gov'r and Commander in Chief [and] the
Hon'ble. his Majesty's Council and House of Representatives in General
Court assembled."]

The site of Fort Massachusetts is now a meadow by the banks of the Hoosac.
Then it was a rough clearing, encumbered with the stumps and refuse of the
primeval forest, whose living hosts stood grimly around it, and spread,
untouched by the axe, up the sides of the neighboring Saddleback Mountain.
The position of the fort was bad, being commanded by high ground, from
which, as the chaplain tells us, "the enemy could shoot over the north side
into the middle of the parade,"--for which serious defect, John Stoddard,
of Northampton, legist, capitalist, colonel of militia, and "Superintendent
of Defence," was probably answerable. These frontier forts were, however,
often placed on low ground with a view to an abundant supply of water, fire
being the most dreaded enemy in Indian warfare. [Footnote: When I visited
the place as a college student, no trace of the fort was to be seen except
a hollow, which may have been the remains of a cellar, and a thriving
growth of horse-radish,--a relic of the garrison garden. My friend Dr. D.
D. Slade has given an interesting account of the spot in the _Magazine of
American History_ for October, 1888.]

Sergeant Hawks, the provisional commander, was, according to tradition, a
tall man with sun-burnt features, erect, spare, very sinewy and strong, and
of a bold and resolute temper. He had need to be so, for counting every man
in the fort, lay and clerical, sick and well, he was beset by more than
thirty times his own number; or, counting only his effective men, by more
than sixty times,--and this at the lowest report of the attacking force. As
there was nothing but a log fence between him and his enemy, it was clear
that they could hew or burn a way through it, or climb over it with no
surprising effort of valor. Rigaud, as we have seen, had planned a general
assault under cover of night, but had been thwarted by the precipitancy of
the young Indians and Canadians. These now showed no inclination to depart
from the cautious maxims of forest warfare. They made a terrific noise,
but when they came within gunshot of the fort, it was by darting from stump
to stump with a quick, zigzag movement that made them more difficult to hit
than birds on the wing. The best moment for a shot was when they reached a
stump, and stopped for an instant to duck and hide behind it. By seizing
this fleeting opportunity, Hawks himself put a bullet into the breast of an
Abenaki chief from St. Francis,--"which ended his days," says the chaplain.
In view of the nimbleness of the assailants, a charge of buckshot was found
more to the purpose than a bullet. Besides the slain Abenaki, Rigaud
reports sixteen Indians and Frenchmen wounded, [Footnote: "L'Ennemi me tua
un abenakis et me blessa 16 hommes, tant Iroquois qu'Abenaquis, nipissings
et françois." _Journal de Rigaud_.]--which, under the circumstances,
was good execution for ten farmers and a minister; for Chaplain Norton
loaded and fired with the rest. Rigaud himself was one of the wounded,
having been hit in the arm and sent to the rear, as he stood giving orders
on the rocky hill about forty rods from the fort. Probably it was a chance
shot, since, though rifles were invented long before, they were not yet in
general use, and the yeoman garrison were armed with nothing but their own
smooth-bore hunting-pieces, not to be trusted at long range. The supply of
ammunition had sunk so low that Hawks was forced to give the discouraging
order not to fire except when necessary to keep the enemy in check, or when
the chance of hitting him should be unusually good. Such of the sick men as
were strong enough aided the defence by casting bullets and buckshot.

The outrageous noise lasted till towards nine in the evening, when the
assailants greeted the fort with a general war-whoop, and repeated it three
or four times; then a line of sentinels was placed around it to prevent
messengers from carrying the alarm to Albany or Deerfield. The evening was
dark and cloudy. The lights of a camp could be seen by the river towards
the southeast, and those of another near the swamp towards the west. There
was a sound of axes, as if the enemy were making scaling-ladders for a
night assault; but it was found that they were cutting fagots to burn the
wall. Hawks ordered every tub and bucket to be filled with water, in
preparation for the crisis. Two men, John Aldrich and Jonathan Bridgman,
had been wounded, thus farther reducing the strength of the defenders. The
chaplain says: "Of those that were in health, some were ordered to keep the
watch, and some lay down and endeavored to get some rest, lying down in our
clothes with our arms by us.... We got little or no rest; the enemy
frequently raised us by their hideous outcries, as though they were about
to attack us. The latter part of the night I kept the watch."

Rigaud spent the night in preparing for a decisive attack, "being resolved
to open trenches two hours before sunrise, and push them to the foot of the
palisade, so as to place fagots against it, set them on fire, and deliver
the fort a prey to the fury of the flames." [Footnote: "Je passay la nuit à
conduire l'ouvrage auquel j'avois destiné le jour précédent, résolu à faire
ouvrir la tranchée deux heures avant le lever du soleil, et de la pousser
jusqu'au pied de la palissade, pour y placer les fascines, y appliquer
l'artifice, et livrer le fort en proye à la fureur du feu." _Journal de
Rigaud_. He mistakes in calling the log wall of the fort a palisade.] It
began to rain, and he determined to wait till morning. That the commander
of seven hundred French and Indians should resort to such elaborate devices
to subdue a sergeant, seven militia-men, and a minister,--for this was now
the effective strength of the besieged,--was no small compliment to the
spirit of the defence.

The firing was renewed in the morning, but there was no attempt to open
trenches by daylight. Two men were sent up into the watchtower, and about
eleven o'clock one of them, Thomas Knowlton, was shot through the head.
The number of effectives was thus reduced to eight, including the chaplain.
Up to this time the French and English witnesses are in tolerable accord;
but now there is conflict of evidence. Rigaud says that when he was about
to carry his plan of attack into execution, he saw a white flag hung out,
and sent the elder De Muy, with Montigny and D'Auteuil, to hear what the
English commandant--whose humble rank he nowhere mentions--had to say. On
the other hand, Norton, the chaplain, says that about noon the French
"desired to parley," and that "we agreed to it." He says farther that the
sergeant, with himself and one or two others, met Rigaud outside the gate,
and that the French commander promised "good quarter" to the besieged if
they would surrender, with the alternative of an assault if they would not.
This account is sustained by Hawks, who says that at twelve o'clock an
Indian came forward with a flag of truce, and that he, Hawks, with two or
three others, went to meet Rigaud, who then offered honorable terms of
capitulation. [Footnote: _Journal of Sergeant Hawks_, cited by William
L. Stone, _Life and Times of Sir William Johnson_, I. 227. What seems
conclusive is that the French permitted Norton to nail to a post of the
fort a short account of its capture, in which it is plainly stated that the
first advances were made by Rigaud.] The sergeant promised an answer within
two hours; and going back to the fort with his companions, examined their
means of defence. He found that they had left but three or four pounds of
gunpowder, and about as much lead. Hawks called a council of his effective
men. Norton prayed for divine aid and guidance, and then they fell to
considering the situation. "Had we all been in health, or had there been
only those eight of us that were in health, I believe every man would
willingly have stood it out to the last. For my part, I should," writes
the manful chaplain. But besides the sick and wounded, there were three
women and five children, who, if the fort were taken by assault, would no
doubt be butchered by the Indians, but who might be saved by a
capitulation. Hawks therefore resolved to make the best terms he could. He
had defended his post against prodigious odds for twenty-eight hours.
Rigaud promised that all in the fort should be treated with humanity as
prisoners of war, and exchanged at the first opportunity. He also promised
that none of them should be given to the Indians, though he had lately
assured his savage allies that they should have their share of the

At three o'clock the principal French officers were admitted into the fort,
and the French flag was raised over it. The Indians and Canadians were
excluded; on which some of the Indians pulled out several of the stones
that formed the foundation of the wall, crawled through, opened the gate,
and let in the whole crew. They raised a yell when they saw the blood of
Thomas Knowlton trickling from the watch-tower where he had been shot, then
rushed up to where the corpse lay, brought it down, scalped it, and cut off
the head and arms. The fort was then plundered, set on fire, and burned to
the ground.

The prisoners were led to the French camp; and here the chaplain was
presently accosted by one Doty, Rigaud's interpreter, who begged him to
persuade some of the prisoners to go with the Indians. Norton replied that
it had been agreed that they should all remain with the French; and that to
give up any of them to the Indians would be a breach of the capitulation.
Doty then appealed to the men themselves, who all insisted on being left
with the French, according to the terms stipulated. Some of them, however,
were given to the Indians, who, after Rigaud's promise to them, could have
been pacified in no other way. His fault was in making a stipulation that
he could not keep. Hawks and Norton, with all the women and children,
remained in the French camp.

Hearing that men were expected from Deerfield to take the places of the
sick, Rigaud sent sixty Indians to cut them off. They lay in wait for the
English reinforcement, which consisted of nineteen men, gave them a close
fire, shot down fifteen of them, and captured the rest. [Footnote: One
French account says that the Indians failed to meet the English party.
_N. Y. Col. Docs,_ X. 35.] This or another party of Rigaud's Indians
pushed as far as Deerfield and tried to waylay the farmers as they went to
their work on a Monday morning. The Indians hid in a growth of alder-bushes
along the edge of a meadow where men were making hay, accompanied by some
children. One Ebenezer Hawks, shooting partridges, came so near the
ambushed warriors that they could not resist the temptation of killing and
scalping him. This alarmed the haymakers and the children, who ran for
their lives towards a mill on a brook that entered Deerfield River,
fiercely pursued by about fifty Indians, who caught and scalped a boy named
Amsden. Three men, Allen, Sadler, and Gillet, got under the bank of the
river and fired on the pursuers. Allen and Gillet were soon killed, but
Sadler escaped unhurt to an island. Three children of Allen--Eunice,
Samuel, and Caleb--were also chased by the Indians, who knocked down Eunice
with a tomahawk, but were in too much haste to stop and scalp her, and she
lived to a good old age. Her brother Samuel was caught and dragged off, but
Caleb ran into a field of tall maize, and escaped.

The firing was heard in the village, and a few armed men, under Lieutenant
Clesson, hastened to the rescue; but when they reached the spot the Indians
were gone, carrying the boy Samuel Allen with them, and leaving two of
their own number dead. Clesson, with such men as he had, followed their
trail up Deerfield River, but could not overtake the light-footed savages.

Meanwhile, the prisoners at Fort Massachusetts spent the first night, well
guarded, in the French and Indian camps. In the morning, Norton,
accompanied by a Frenchman and several Indians, was permitted to nail to
one of the charred posts of the fort a note to tell what had happened to
him and his companions. [Footnote: The note was as follows: "August 20 [31,
new style], 1746. These are to inform you that yesterday, about 9 of the
clock, we were besieged by, as they say, seven hundred French and Indians.
They have wounded two men and killed one Knowlton. The General de Vaudreuil
desired capitulations, and we were so distressed that we complied with his
terms. We are the French's prisoners, and have it under the general's hand
that every man, woman, and child shall be exchanged for French prisoners."]
The victors then marched back as they had come, along the Hoosac road.
They moved slowly, encumbered as they were by the sick and wounded. Rigaud
gave the Indians presents, to induce them to treat their prisoners with
humanity. Norton was in charge of De Muy, and after walking four miles sat
down with him to rest in Williamstown valley. There was a yell from the
Indians in the rear. "I trembled," writes Norton, "thinking they had
murdered some of our people, but was filled with admiration when I saw all
our prisoners come up with us, and John Aldrich carried on the back of his
Indian master." Aldrich had been shot in the foot, and could not walk. "We
set out again, and had gone but a little way before we came up with Josiah
Reed." Reed was extremely ill, and could go no farther. Norton thought that
the Indians would kill him, instead of which one of them carried him on his
back. They were said to have killed him soon after, but there is good
reason to think that he died of disease. "I saw John Perry's wife," pursues
the chaplain; "she complained that she was almost ready to give out." The
Indians threatened her, but Hawks spoke in her behalf to Rigaud, who
remonstrated with them, and they afterwards treated her well. The wife of
another soldier, John Smead, was near her time, and had lingered behind.
The French showed her great kindness. "Some of them made a seat for her to
sit upon, and brought her to the camp, where, about ten o'clock, she was
graciously delivered of a daughter, and was remarkably well.... Friday:
this morning I baptized John Smead's child. He called its name
_Captivity_." The French made a litter of poles, spread over it a
deer-skin and a bear-skin, on which they placed the mother and child, and
so carried them forward. Three days after, there was a heavy rain, and the
mother was completely drenched, but suffered no harm, though "Miriam, the
wife of Moses Scott, hereby catched a grievous cold." John Perry was
relieved of his pack, so that he might help his wife and carry her when her
strength failed. Several horses were found at the farms along the way, and
the sick Benjamin Simons and the wounded John Aldrich were allowed to use
two of them. Rarely, indeed, in these dismal border-raids were prisoners
treated so humanely; and the credit seems chiefly due to the efforts of
Rigaud and his officers. The hardships of the march were shared by the
victors, some of whom were sorely wounded; and four Indians died within a
few days.

"I divided my army between the two sides of the Kaskékouké" (Hoosac), says
Rigaud, "and ordered them to do what I had not permitted to be done before
we reached Fort Massachusetts. Every house was set on fire, and numbers of
domestic animals of all sorts were killed. French and Indians vied with
each other in pillage, and I made them enter the [valleys of all the]
little streams that flow into the Kaskékouké and lay waste everything
there.... Wherever we went we made the same havoc, laid waste both sides of
the river, through twelve leagues of fertile country, burned houses, barns,
stables, and even a meeting-house,--in all, above two hundred
establishments,--killed all the cattle, and ruined all the crops. Such,
Monseigneur, was the damage I did our enemies during the eight or nine days
I was in their country." [Footnote: _Journal de Riguad._] As the Dutch
settlers had escaped, there was no resistance.

The French and their allies left the Hoosac at the point where they had
reached it, and retraced their steps northward through the forest, where
there was an old Indian trail. Recrossing the Batten Kill, or "River of
Saratoga," and some branches of Wood Creek, they reached the place where
they had left their canoes, and found them safe. Rigaud says: "I gave leave
to the Indians, at their request, to continue their fighting and ravaging,
in small parties, towards Albany, Schenectady, Deerfield, Saratoga, or
wherever they pleased, and I even gave them a few officers and cadets to
lead them." These small ventures were more or less successful, and
produced, in due time, a good return of scalps.

The main body, now afloat again, sailed and paddled northward till they
reached Crown Point. Rigaud rejoiced at finding a haven of refuge, for his
wounded arm was greatly inflamed: "and it was time I should reach a place
of repose." He and his men encamped by the fort and remained there for some
time. An epidemic, apparently like that at Fort Massachusetts, had broken
out among them, and great numbers were seriously ill.

Norton was lodged in a French house on the east side of the lake, at what
is now called Chimney Point; and one day his guardian, De Muy, either
thinking to impress him with the strength of the place, or with an amusing
confidence in the minister's incapacity for making inconvenient military
observations, invited him to visit the fort. He accepted the invitation,
crossed over with the courteous officer, and reports the ramparts to have
been twenty feet thick, about twenty feet high, and mounted with above
twenty cannon. The octagonal tower which overlooked the ramparts, and
answered in some sort to the donjon of a feudal castle, was a bomb-proof
structure in vaulted masonry, of the slaty black limestone of the
neighborhood, three stories in height, and armed with nine or ten cannon,
besides a great number of patereroes,--a kind of pivot-gun much like a
swivel. [Footnote: Kalm also describes the fort and its tower. Little trace
of either now remains. Amherst demolished them in 1759, when he built the
larger fort, of which the ruins still stand on the higher ground behind the
site of its predecessor.]

In due time the prisoners reached Montreal, whence they were sent to
Quebec; and in the course of the next year those who remained alive were
exchanged and returned to New England. [Footnote: Of the twenty-two men in
the fort when attacked, one, Knowlton, was killed by a bullet; one, Reed,
died just after the surrender; ten died in Canada, and ten returned home.
_Report of Sergeant Hawks._] Mrs. Smead and her infant daughter
"Captivity" died in Canada, and, by a singular fatality, her husband had
scarcely returned home when he was waylaid and killed by Indians. Fort
Massachusetts was soon rebuilt by the province, and held its own
thenceforth till the war was over. Sergeant Hawks became a
lieutenant-colonel, and took a creditable part in the last French war.

For two years after the incursion of Rigaud the New England borders were
scourged with partisan warfare, bloody, monotonous, and futile, with no
event that needs recording, and no result beyond a momentary check to the
progress of settlement. At length, in July, 1748, news came that the chief
contending powers in Europe had come to terms of agreement, and in the next
October the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed. Both nations were tired of
the weary and barren conflict, with its enormous cost and its vast entail
of debt. It was agreed that conquests should be mutually restored. The
chief conquest of England was Louisbourg, with the island of Cape
Breton,--won for her by the farmers and fishermen of New England. When the
preliminaries of peace were under discussion, Louis XV. had demanded the
restitution of the lost fortress; and George II. is said to have replied
that it was not his to give, having been captured by the people of Boston.
[Footnote: _N.Y. Col. Docs._, X. 147.] But his sense of justice was
forced to yield to diplomatic necessity, for Louisbourg was the
indispensable price of peace. To the indignation of the Northern provinces,
it was restored to its former owners. "The British ministers," says
Smollett, "gave up the important island of Cape Breton in exchange for a
petty factory in the East Indies" (Madras), and the King deigned to send
two English noblemen to the French court as security for the bargain.

Peace returned to the tormented borders; the settlements advanced again,
and the colonists found a short breathing space against the great
conclusive struggle of the Seven Years' War.



_Second Memoire concernant les limites des Colonies presenté en 1720, par
  Bobé prêtre de la congregation de la Mission. à Versailles._ Archives
  (_Extracts, printed literatim._)

"L'année Dernier 1719 je presenté un Memoire Concernant les prétensions
reciproques de la grande bretagne et de la france par Raport aux Colonies
des deux Nations dans L'Amerique, et au Reglement des limites des dites

"Je ne repete pas ce que j'ay dit dans ce memoire, je prie seulement que
l'on pese bien tout ce que j'y dis pour Aneantir les prétensions des
Anglois, et pour les Convaincre, s'ils veullent être de bonne foy, qu'elles
sont des plus mal fondées, trés Exorbitantes, et mêmes injustes, qu'ayant
usurpé sur La france presque tout ce qu'ils possedent en Amerique, ils
deveroient luy rendre au lieu de luy demander, et qu'ils deveroient estimer
Comme un tres grand avantage pour Eux, la Compensation que j'y propose pour
finir cette affaire, laqu'elle, sans cette Compensation, renaitra toujours
jusqu'a ce qu'enfin la france soit rentrée en paisible possession de tout
ce qui luy appartient légitimement, et dont on ne L'a depoüilleé que par la
force et La malheureuse Conjoncture des tems, qui sans doute tôt ou tard
luy seront plus favorables.

"Il Est surprenant que les Anglois entendus Comme ils sont par Raport à
leurs Interests, ne fassent pas attention qu'il Leurs est infiniment plus
Avantageux de s'assurer, par un traité raisonnable, la tranquille et
perpetuelle possession des payis ou ils etoient établis avant la paix
D'utrecht, que de vouloir profiter des Conjonctures pour oster aux françois
des payis qu'ils ne Cederont jamais de bon Coeur, et dont ils se
rempareront quand ils trouveront l'occasion favorable pour Cela, se
persuadant qu'il leur sera alors permis de reprendre par force, ce que par
force on leurs à pris, et ce qu'ils ont été obligé de Ceder a Utrecht; et
même de reprendre au moins une partie des payis que l'angleterre à usurpez
sur la france, qui ne les à jamais cedez par aucun traité que je scache....

"Jean Verazan par ordre de françois 1er fit La decouverte de tous les
payis et Costes qui sont Entre le 33e et le 47e Degre de latitude, et y
fit deux voyages dont le dernier fut en 1523 et par ordre et au nom du dit
Roy francois 1er il prit possession de toute cette Coste et de tous ces
payis, bien long tems avant que les Anglois y Eussent Eté.

"L'an 1562 Les françois s'établirent dans La Caroline. Champlain à La fin
de la relation de ses voyages fait un chapitre exprez Dans lequel il

"1. Que La france a pris possession de toutes les Costes et payis depuis la
floride inclusivement jusqu'au fleuve St.  Laurent inclusivem't, avant tout
autre prince chrêtien.

2. Que nos roys ont eu, dez le Commancement des decouvertes des lieutenans
generaux Dans ces payis et Costes.

3. Que Les françois les ont habitez avant les Anglois.

4. Que Les prétensions des Anglois sont Mal fondées.

"La Lecture De ce chapitre fait voir que Champlain prouve invinciblement
tous ces chefs, et de maniere que les Anglois n'ont rien de bon à y
repondre, de sorte que s'ils veullent être de bonne foy, ils doivent
Convenir que tous ces payis appartiennent Légitimement à la france qu'ils
s'en sont emparez et qu'ils les Retiennent Contre toute justice....

"Il Est A Remarquer que quoyque par le traité de St.  germain l'angleterre
dut restituer tout ce qu'elle Avoit occupé dans la Nouvelle france, et par
Consequent toute la Coste depuis baston jusqu'a la virginie inclusivement
(car alors les Anglois ne s'etoient pas encore emparez de la Caroline)
laqu'elle Coste est Certainement partie de la Nouvelle france, les Anglois
ne l'ont pas Cependant restituée et la gardent encore a present Contre la
teneur du traité de St. Germain, quoy que la france ne L'ait point Cedée a
L'angleterre ni par le dit traité ni par Aucun Autre que je scache.

"Cecy Merite La plus serieuse attention de la france, et qu'elle fasse
Entendre serieusement aux Anglois que par le traité de St. germain ils se
sont obligez de luy rendre toutte cette Coste, qui incontestablement est
partie de la Nouvelle france, Comme je L'ay prouvé cy devant et encore plus
au long dans mon 1r memoire et Comme le prouvent Verazan, Champlain,
Denis, et toutes les plus ancienes Cartes de l'amerique septentrionale....

"Or Le Commun Consentement de toute l'Europe est de depeindre la Nouvelle
france S'étendant au moins au 35e et 36e degrez de latitude Ainsy qu'il
appert par les mappemondes imprimées en Espagne, Italie, hollande,
flandres, allemagne Et Angleterre même, Sinon depuis que les Anglois se
sont Emparez des Costes de la Nouvelle france, ou est L'Acadie, Etechemains
L'almouchicois, et la grande riviere de St. l'aurens, ou ils ont imposé a
leur fantaisie des Noms de nouvelle Angleterre, Ecosse, et autres, mais il
est mal aisé de pouvoir Effacer une chose qui est Connué De toute la
Chretienteé D'ou je Conclus,

"1. Quavant L'Usurpation faite par les Anglois, toute Cette Coste jusqu'au
35e Degre s'appelloit Nouvelle france, laquelle Comprenoit outre plusieurs
autres provinces, l'Etechemains, L'almouchicois, et L'acadie....

"Les Anglois Doivent remettre à La france le Port Royal, et La france doit
insister vigoureusement sur cette restitution, et ordonner aux françois de
Port Royal, Des Mines, et de Beaubassin, et autres lieux De reconaitre sa
Majesté tres Chretiene pour leur Souverain, et leur deffendre d'obeir a
aucun autre; de plus Commander a tous ces lieux et payis, et a toute la
partie Septentrionale de la Peninsule, ainsi qu'aux payis des Almouchicois
et des Etechemains [_Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts_], de
Reconaitre le gouverneur de l'isle Royale pour leur Gouverneur.

"Il Est même apropos De Comprendre Dans le Brevet de gouverneur de L'isle
Royale tous ces payis jusqu'au Cap Cod....

"Que La france ne doit point souffrir que les Anglois s'etablissent Dans
les payis qu'elle n'a pas Cedez.

"Qu'elle Doit incessament s'en remettre en possession, y Envoyer quantite
D'habitans, et s'y fortifier de maniere qu'on puisse Arrêter les Anglois
que depuis long tems tachent de s'emparer de l'amerique francoise dont ils
Conaissent L'importance, et dont ils feroient un meilleur usage que celuy
que les francois en font....

"Si les Anglois disent que les payis qui sont entre les rivieres de
quinibequi [_Kennebec_] et de Ste. Croix font partie de la Nouvelle


"1. Qu'ils scavent bien le Contraire, que Ces payis ont toujours fait
partie de la Nouvelle france, que Les francois les ont toujours possedez et
habitez, que Mons'r De St.  Castin gentilhomme francois a toujours eu, et a
encore son habitation entre la Riviere de Quinibequi et celle de Pentagoet
[_Penobscot_] (que même depuis les usurpations des anglois et leurs
etablissements, dans leur Prétenduë Nouvelle Angleterre) les francois ont
toujours prétendu que la Nouvelle france s'etend qusqu'au Cap Cod et qu'il
en est fait mention dans toutes les patentes de gouverneurs francois.

"2. Que De L'aveu même des Anglois, la Nouvelle Angleterre a une tres
petite Etenduë du Costé de L'est, il est facile de le prouver par eux

"J'ay Lu une description de la Nouvelle Angleterre et des autres Colonies
Angloises, Composée par un Anglois, traduite en francois, imprimée à Paris
en 1674 par Loüis Billaine, voicy les propres termes de Cet autheur
Anglois, La Nouvelle Angleterre est au Septentrion de Marylande, au raport
du Capitaine Smith, elle a prez de 25 Lieuës de Coste de mer.

"Ainsi selon les Anglois qui sont de Bonne foy, la Nouvelle Angleterre, qui
n'a que prez de 25 lieuës de Coste de mer, ne scauroit s'etendre jusqu'e á
La Riviere de Quinebequi.  C'est tout au plus si elle s'etend jusqu'a deux
ou trois lieuës à l'est De Baston.

"Il Semble même que les Anglois ont basti Baston, et en ont fait une ville
Considerable à l'extremeté de leur pretenduë Nouvelle Angleterre.

"1. Pour être a portée et en Etat de s'emparer sur les francois de tout ce
qui est à L'est de Baston.

"2. Pour être en Etat d'Empecher les francois de s'etablir sur toute Cette
Coste jusqu à La Karoline inclusivement, laquelle Coste etant de Notorieté
publique de la Nouvelle france, à eté usurpez sur La france a qui elle
appartenoit alors, et luy appartient Encore, ne L'ayant jamais cedeé. C'est
ce que je vais prouver.

"Apres Avoir Invinciblement Convaincu les Anglois que tout ce qui est a
L'est de quinibequi a Toujours appartenu et appartient encore à La france,
excepté L'Acadie selon ses Ancienes limites, qu'elle a Cedée par force a
L'Angleterre par La paix d'utrecht.

"Il faut Que Presentement je prouve que toute La Coste depuis la Riviere
quinibequi jusqu' à La Caroline inclusivement appartient par toutes sortes
de droits à La france.  Sur qui les Anglois L'ont usurpeé, voicy une partie
de mes preuves.

"Les françois ont decouvert tous ces payis Avant les Anglois, et en ont
pris possession avant Eux. Les Roys de france ont nommé ces payis Caroline
et Nouvelle france avant que les Anglois leurs eussent donné des Noms á
leur mode pour faire oublier les Noms que les francois Leurs avoient
imposez. Et que ces payis Appartenoient à La france.

"Les Roys de france ont Donné des lettres patentes à leurs sujets pour
posseder et habiter ces payis, avant que Jacques 1r et Charles 1r Roys
d'Angleterre en eussent donne à Leurs sujets.

"Pour Convaincre les Anglois de ces veritées il faut Lire avec attention ce
qu'en ont Ecrit Jean verazan, Champlain, Laet, Denis.

"Les traitez faits Entre La france et L'Angleterre, et Le memoire que j'ay
presenté L'anneé Dernier 1719.

"On y Trouvera tant de Choses, lesquelles il seroit trop long de Copier
icy, qui prouvent que ces payis ont toujours appartenu de droit a La
france, et que les Anglois s'en sont emparez par force, que La france ne
les a jamais Cedez à l'angleterre par aucun traité, que je scache.

"Et Partant que La france Conserve toujours son droit sur tous ces payis,
et qu'elle a droit de les redemander à l'Angleterre. Comme elle les
redemande présentement, ou Bien un Equivalent.

"L'Equivalent que la france demande et dont elle veut bien se Contenter,
C'est la restitution de tout ce qu'elle a Cedéé par force à L'Angleterre
par Le traité D'utrecht.

"Il Est De l'honeur et de l'interest de l'angleterre d'accorder à la france
cette Equivalent.

"1. Parceque n'y ayant point D'honeur à profiter des Malheurs D'un Roy pour
Luy faire Ceder par force les payis qui luy appartiennent, il est de
l'honeur de L'Angleterre de rendre a la france, ce qu'elle a eté Contrainte
de luy ceder, et qu'elle ne possede qu'a ce mauvais tiltre.

"2. Il est aussi Contre la justice et l'honeur de l'angleterre de posseder
sans aucun Tiltre, et Contre toute justice les payis qui sont depuis la
Riviere de quinibequi jusqu'à la Caroline inclusivement.

"3. Il N'est pas moins de l'honeur et de l'interest de l'angleterre de
profiter du moyen que la france veut bien luy presenter, pour sassurer a
perpetuite toute Cette Coste, et pour la posseder justem't par la Cession
que la france en fera, et de tous ses droits sur ces payis moyennant
L'Equivalent proposé.

"4. Parceque L'Angleterre doit Craindre que la france, dont elle ne Doit
mepriser ni le Ressentiment ni la puissance, ne trouve une Conjoncture
favorable pour faire valoir ses pretensions et ses droits, et pour Rentrer
en possession de tout ce que L'Angleterre Luy a usurpée, et de tout ce
qu'elle l'a obligé par force de luy Ceder.

"5. Quand on veut trop avoir, souvent on n'a Rien, et même on perd ce que
L'on Avoit. Il est donc de la sagesse Et de l'interest de l'Angleterre de
ne pas pousser trop loin ses demandes, et de Convenir avec La france de
sorte qu'elle puisse posseder Avec justice et tranquillement des payis que
la france Aura toujours droit de reprendre jusqu'a ce qu'elle en ait fait
une Cession libre et volontaire, et qu'il paroisse que L'Angleterre En
faveur de Cette Cession luy ait donné un Equivalent.

"La france s'offre donc pour vivre en paix avec l'Angleterre de luy Ceder
tous ses droits sur toute la Coste qui est entre la riviere de quinibequi
dans la Nouvelle france jusqu'a la Riviere Jourdain, dans la Caroline, de
sorte que ces deux rivieres servent de limites aux francois et aux Anglois.

"La france Demande pour Equivalent de la Cession de tant de payis, si
grands, si beaux, et si a sa biensceance que l'Angleterre luy rende Et
restituë tout ce qu'elle luy á cedé par le traité Dutrecht.

"Si La france ne peut pas engager L'Angleterre à convenir de Cet
Equivalent, Elle pouroit (mais Ce ne doit être qu'a L'extremité) Ceder
Encore à l'Angleterre la Caroline francoise, C'est a dire, ce qui est au
sud de la Riviere Jourdain, Ou bien Ce qui est Entre la Riviere quinibequi,
et Celle de Pentagoet. Ou bien leur offrir une somme D'argent.

"Il Semble que L'Angleterre doive estimer Comme un grand Avantage pour
Elle, que La france veuille bien Convenir de Cet Equivalent, qui Assure Aux
Anglois et leur rend legitime La possession de Cette grande etenduë de
Costes qu'ils ont usurpez sur La france, qui ne les a jamais Cedez, qui ne
les Cedera jamais, et sur lesqu'elles elle Conservera toujours ses
legitimes droit et pretensions, jusqu'a ce qu'elle les ait Cédeés a
L'angleterre moyennant un Equivalent raisonnable tel qu'est la Restitution
de tout ce que La France luy a Cedé par force a Utrecht.


"Suposeé L'acceptation de Cet Equivalent par L'une et l'autre Nation.

"La france toujours genereuse Consentira pour vivre en paix avec les
Anglois, qu'une ligne tirée depuis l'embouchure de la Riviere de
quinibequi, ou bien, depuis l'embouchure de la Riviere de Pentagoet, qui
ira tout droit passer á egale distance entre Corlard [_Schenectady_]
et les lacs de Champlain et du Saint Sacrement, et joindre la ligne par
laqu'elle le sieur de L'isle geographe termine les terres Angloises,
jusqu'a la Riviere Jourdain, ou bien jusqu'a La Caroline inclusivem't. La
france dis-je Consentira que cette ligne serve De borne et limites aux
terres des deux Nations, de sorte que tous les payis et terres qui sont
entre Cette ligne et la mer appartiendront à L'Angleterre, et que tout ce
qui sera au dela de cette ligne appartiendra a La france.

"Dans Le fond il est avantageux a la france de faire incessament regler les
limites, tant pour Empecher les Anglois d'empieter toujours de plus en plus
sous pretexte de limites Non regleés, que parcequ'il est assuré que si le
droit de la france est bien soutenu le réglement lui sera Avantageux, aussi
bien que l'equivalent que j'ay proposé.

"Mais il pouroit arriver que les Anglois qui ont demandé le Reglement des
limites, voyant qu'il ne doit pas leur etre favorable s'il est fait selon
la justice, pourroient bien eux mêmes l'eloigner, afin de pouvoir toujours
empieter sur les francois sous pretexte de limites non regleés, et de se
mettre toujours en possession des payis Appartenans à la france.

"En ce Cas et aussi au Cas que les Anglois ne veullent pas restituer a la
france leur Nouvelle Angleterre et autres payis jusqu'a la Caroline
inclusivement qu'ils luy ont usurpez, ou bien leur rendre L'Acadie &c pour
l'equivalent Dont j'ay parlé.

"1. Il faut que la france mette incessament quantité d'habitans dans le
payis qui est entre la riviere de quinibequi et Celle de Ste. Croix, lequel
payis qui selon les Anglois N'est point en Litige, ni partie de la
pretenduë Nouvelle Ecosse, même, selon l'etendue imaginaire que luy á
donnée leur Roy Jacques 1er qui ne la fait Commancer qu'a La riviere Ste.
Croix, et Celle de quinibequi N'ayant jamais eté Cedé ni par le traite
D'utrecht ni par Aucun autre que je scache, et ce payis Ayant toujours
appartenu a La france, et eté par elle possedez et habité, Mr. de St.
Castin gentilhomme francois ayant son habitation entre la riviere de
Pentagoet et Celle de quinibequi comme je l'ay Deja dit.

"2. On peut même faire entendre a L'Angleterre que Le Roy donnera Ce payis
a la Compagnie des Indes qui scaura bien le deffendre et le faire valoir.

"Que Le Roy donnera aussi a la Compagnie des Indes la Caroline francoise,
Comme depandance et province de la loüisiane, a Condition qu'elle y mettera
des habitans, et y fera bâtir de bons forts, et une bonne Citadelle pour
soutenir et deffendre ce beau payis Contre les Anglois.

"Il Est Certain que si le Roy fait entendre serieusement qu'il est resolu
de donner à la Compagnie des Indes non seulement La Caroline francoise, et
le payis qui est entre les Rivieres de quinibequi et de Ste. Croix, mais
aussi de luy Ceder et abandonner tous ses droits sur tous les payis que les
Anglois ont usurpez sur la france.

"Il Est Certain Dis je, que les Anglois, Crainte D'Avoir affaire avec une
Compagnie si puissante, se resoudront au Reglement des limites, tel que je
l'ay proposé, et à rendre a la france toute la Nouvelle Ecosse ou Acadie
selon ses Ancienes limites, Enfin tout ce que la france leur à Cedez a
Utrecht, moyennant une somme D'Argent, ou bien L'equivalent que j'ay Aussi

"Je finis Ce memoire en priant de faire une tres serieuse attention aux
Exorbitantes prétensions des Anglois et a tout ce qu'ils ont fait Et font
encore pour se rendre maitres de la pesche la Moluë, et de L'Amerique

"En Effet il est tres important que quand on traitera du reglement des
limites, La france attaque les Anglois au lieu d'etre sur La defensive,
C'est a dire, qu'elle doit demander aux Anglois tout ce qu'ils ont usurpez
sur Elle, et le demander vigoureusement.

"C'est peut être le meilleur moyen de les mettre a la Raison, il est même
apropos qu'elle les presse de finir Cette affaire, Dont sans doute La
Conclusion luy sera Avantageuse, si on luy rend justice."



_Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères.


"Pour tous les Raisons deduites cy devant La france demande a Langleterre.

"1. Qu'Elle laisse jouir Tranquillement la france de Tous les pays qui sont
a L'Est de la riviere Quinibequi ou de Celle de St. Georges excepté de la
seulle ville de Port Royal avec sa banlieüe et de L'accadie selon ses
anciennes Limites, C'Est a dire La partie Meridionale de la Peninsule
depuis le Cap fourchu jusqua Camseau Exclusivement, Que la france a cedée
par la traite d'Utrecht, Tout le reste qui est a L'Est de Quinibequi
[_Kennebec_], appartenant a La France en tout souveraineté depuis L'an
1524. Laquélle ne la jamais cedé ny par le Traitté d'Utrecht ny par aucun
autre traitté.

"2. Que les Anglois Laissent Vivre Tranquillement sous la domination du Roy
les nations Sauvages qui sont dans Les payis a L'Est de Quinibequi et
qu'ils Ninquietent point les Missionnaires qui demeureront Chés les d.
Nations Ny les françois qui Iront Chés Elles.

"3. Que Les Anglois restituent a la france ce qu'ils ont occupé a L'Est de
Quinibequi et qu'ils ne Trouvent pas mauvais que les françois prennent
detruisent ou gardent les forts Postes et habitations, que les Anglois ont
Etablis, ou Etabliront dans tous les Pays a L'Est de Quinibiqui, ou de la

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Half-Century of Conflict - Volume II" ***

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