Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

A Half-Century of Conflict, Volume II by Francis Parkman

Part 2 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

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.]

CHAPTER XVIII.

1744, 1745.

A MAD SCHEME.

WAR OF THE AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION.--THE FRENCH SEIZE CANSEAU AND ATTACK
ANNAPOLIS.--PLAN OF REPRISAL.--WILLIAM VAUGHAN.--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.

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
circonstancie 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 faire quelque coup important sur le fort"
(Annapolis). _Duquesnel 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
art.

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_,
V.]

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
Commander-in-chief.

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
trade.

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 "Csar," 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.

Sir,

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.]

CHAPTER XIX.

1745.

LOUISBOURG BESIEGED.

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.

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 "Renomme,"
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 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 Cormorandire, 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
Louisbourg_.]

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 Aot, 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
shot.

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
breakfast.

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
Staff."

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 Aot,
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 (_dmantibuls_) 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 diarra 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
Providence.

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
persecutor.

CHAPTER XX.

1745.

LOUISBOURG TAKEN.

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.

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 Aot. 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 brises ou coules fond; le
feu fut continuel depuis environ minuit jusqu' 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 Aot,
1745_.]

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 Duchambon, 18 Juin_ (new
style), 1745. _Duchambon de la Maisonfort, 19 Juin_ (new style),
1745.]

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 Francur_, 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 Aot, 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
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 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 prvenu une journe qui
nous auroit t 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

Book of the day: