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The Conquest of New France, A Chronicle of the Colonial Wars by George M. Wrong

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by George M. Wrong




CHAPTER I. The Conflict Opens: Frontenac And Phips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER II. Quebec And Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER III. France Loses Acadia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER IV. Louisbourg And Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER V. The Great West

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

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

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

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