many hundreds of Algonquin savages were presently gathered: a perilous crew, who changed their minds every day, and whose dancing, singing, and yelping might turn at any moment into war-whoops against each other or against their hosts, the French. The Hurons showed more stability; and La Durantaye was reasonably sure that some of them would follow him to the war, though it was clear that others were bent on allying themselves with the Senecas and the English. As for the Pottawatamies, Sacs, Ojibwas, Ottawas, and other Algonquin hordes, no man could foresee what they would do. [Footnote: The name of Ottawas, here used specifically, was often employed by the French as a generic term for the Algonquin tribes of the Great Lakes.] Suddenly a canoe arrived with news that a party of English traders was approaching. It will be remembered that two bands of Dutch and English, under Rooseboom and McGregory, had prepared to set out together for Michillimackinac, armed with commissions from Dongan. They had rashly changed their plan, and parted company. Rooseboom took the lead, and McGregory followed some time after. Their hope was that, on reaching Michillimackinac, the Indians of the place, attracted by their cheap goods and their abundant supplies of rum, would declare for them and drive off the French; and this would probably have happened, but for the prompt action of La Durantaye. The canoes of Rooseboom, bearing twenty-nine whites and five Mohawks and Mohicans, were not far distant, when, amid a prodigious hubbub, the French commander embarked to meet him with a hundred and twenty _coureurs de bois._ [Footnote: Attestation of N. Harmentse and others of Rooseboom’s party. N. Y. Col. Docs., III. 436. La Potherie says, three hundred.] Behind them followed a swarm of Indian canoes, whose occupants scarcely knew which side to take, but for the most part inclined to the English. Rooseboom and his men, however, naturally thought that they came to support the French; and, when La Durantaye bore down upon them with threats of instant death if they made the least resistance, they surrendered at once. The captors carried them in triumph to Michillimackinac, and gave their goods to the delighted Indians.
“It is certain,” wrote Denonville; “that, if the English had not been stopped and pillaged, the Hurons and Ottawas would have revolted and cut the throats of all our Frenchmen.” [Footnote: _Denonville au Ministre_, 25 _Août_, 1687.] As it was, La Durantaye’s exploit produced a revulsion of feeling, and many of the Indians consented to follow him. He lost no time in leading them down the lake to join Du Lhut at Detroit; and, when Tonty arrived, they all paddled for Niagara. On the way, they met McGregory with a party about equal to that of Rooseboom. He had with him a considerable number of Ottawa and Huron prisoners whom the Iroquois had captured, and whom he meant to return to their countrymen as a means of concluding the long projected triple alliance between the English, the Iroquois, and the tribes of the lakes. This bold scheme was now completely crushed. All the English were captured and carried to Niagara, whence they and their luckless precursors were sent prisoners to Quebec.
La Durantaye and his companions, with a hundred and eighty _coureurs de bois_ and four hundred Indians, waited impatiently at Niagara for orders from the governor. A canoe despatched in haste from Fort Frontenac soon appeared; and they were directed to repair at once to the rendezvous at Irondequoit Bay, on the borders of the Seneca country. [Footnote: The above is drawn from papers in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., III. 436, IX. 324, 336, 346, 405; Saint-Vallier, _État Présent_, 92; Denonville, _Journal_; Belmont, _Histoire du Canada_; La Potherie, II. chap. xvi; La Hontan. I. 96. Colden’s account is confused and incorrect.]
Denonville was already on his way thither. On the fourth of July, he had embarked at Fort Frontenac with four hundred bateaux and canoes, crossed the foot of Lake Ontario, and moved westward along the southern shore. The weather was rough, and six days passed before he descried the low headlands of Irondequoit Bay. Far off on the glimmering water, he saw a multitude of canoes advancing to meet him. It was the flotilla of La Durantaye. Good management and good luck had so disposed it that the allied bands, concentring from points more than a thousand miles distant, reached the rendezvous on the same day. This was not all. The Ottawas of Michillimackinac, who refused to follow La Durantaye, had changed their minds the next morning, embarked in a body, paddled up the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, crossed to Toronto, and joined the allies at Niagara. White and red, Denonville now had nearly three thousand men under his command. [Footnote: _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada depuis 1682_; _Captain Duplessis’s Plan for the Defence of Canada_, in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., IX. 447.] All were gathered on the low point of land that separates Irondequoit Bay from Lake Ontario. “Never,” says an eye-witness, “had Canada seen such a sight; and never, perhaps, will she see such a sight again. Here was the camp of the regulars from France, with the general’s head-quarters; the camp of the four battalions of Canadian militia, commanded by the _noblesse_ of the country; the camp of the Christian Indians; and, farther on, a swarm of savages of every nation. Their features were different, and so were their manners, their weapons, their decorations, and their dances. They sang and whooped and harangued in every accent and tongue. Most of them wore nothing but horns on their heads, and the tails of beasts behind their backs. Their faces were painted red or green, with black or white spots; their ears and noses were hung with ornaments of iron; and their naked bodies were daubed with figures of various sorts of animals.” [Footnote: The first part of the extract is from Belmont; the second, from Saint-Vallier.]
These were the allies from the upper lakes. The enemy, meanwhile, had taken alarm. Just after the army arrived, three Seneca scouts called from the edge of the woods, and demanded what they meant to do. “To fight you, you blockheads,” answered a Mohawk Christian attached to the French. A volley of bullets was fired at the scouts; but they escaped, and carried the news to their villages. [Footnote: _Information received from several Indians_, in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., III. 444.] Many of the best warriors were absent. Those that remained, four hundred or four hundred and fifty by their own accounts, and eight hundred by that of the French, mustered in haste; and, though many of them were mere boys, they sent off the women and children, hid their most valued possessions, burned their chief town, and prepared to meet the invaders.
On the twelfth, at three o’clock in the afternoon, Denonville began his march, leaving four hundred men in a hastily built fort to guard the bateaux and canoes. Troops, officers, and Indians, all carried their provisions at their backs. Some of the Christian Mohawks guided them; but guides were scarcely needed, for a broad Indian trail led from the bay to the great Seneca town, twenty-two miles southward. They marched three leagues through the open forests of oak, and encamped for the night. In the morning, the heat was intense. The men gasped in the dead and sultry air of the woods, or grew faint in the pitiless sun, as they waded waist-deep through the rank grass of the narrow intervales. They passed safely through two dangerous defiles, and, about two in the afternoon, began to enter a third. Dense forests covered the hills on either hand. La Durantaye with Tonty and his cousin Du Lhut led the advance, nor could all Canada have supplied three men better for the work. Each led his band of _coureurs de bois_, white Indians, without discipline, and scarcely capable of it, but brave and accustomed to the woods. On their left were the Iroquois converts from the missions of Saut St. Louis and the Mountain of Montreal, fighting under the influence of their ghostly prompters against their own countrymen. On the right were the pagan Indians from the west. The woods were full of these painted spectres, grotesquely horrible in horns and tail; and among them flitted the black robe of Father Engelran, the Jesuit of Michillimackinac. Nicolas Perrot and two other bush-ranging Frenchmen were assigned to command them, but in fact they obeyed no man. These formed the vanguard, eight or nine hundred in all, under an excellent officer, Callières, governor of Montreal. Behind came the main body under Denonville, each of the four battalions of regulars alternating with a battalion of Canadians. Some of the regulars wore light armor, while the Canadians were in plain attire of coarse cloth or buckskin. Denonville, oppressed by the heat, marched in his shirt. “It is a rough life,” wrote the marquis, “to tramp afoot through the woods, carrying one’s own provisions in a haversack, devoured by mosquitoes, and faring no better than a mere soldier.” [Footnote: _Denonville au Ministre_, 8 _Juin_, 1687.] With him was the Chevalier de Vaudreuil, who had just arrived from France in command of the eight hundred men left to guard the colony, and who, eager to take part in the campaign, had pushed forward alone to join the army. Here, too, were the Canadian seigniors at the head of their vassals, Berthier, La Valterie, Granville, Longueuil, and many more. A guard of rangers and Indians brought up the rear.
Scouts thrown out in front ran back with the report that they had reached the Seneca clearings, and had seen no more dangerous enemy than three or four women in the cornfields. This was a device of the Senecas to cheat the French into the belief that the inhabitants were still in the town. It had the desired effect. The vanguard pushed rapidly forward, hoping to surprise the place, and ignorant that, behind the ridge of thick forests on their right, among a tangled growth of beech-trees in the gorge of a brook, three hundred ambushed warriors lay biding their time.
Hurrying forward through the forest, they left the main body behind, and soon reached the end of the defile. The woods were still dense on their left and front; but on their right lay a great marsh, covered with alder thickets and rank grass. Suddenly the air was filled with yells, and a rapid though distant fire was opened from the thickets and the forest. Scores of painted savages, stark naked, some armed with swords and some with hatchets, leaped screeching from their ambuscade, and rushed against the van. Almost at the same moment a burst of whoops and firing sounded in the defile behind. It was the ambushed three hundred supporting the onset of their countrymen in front; but they had made a fatal mistake. Deceived by the numbers of the vanguard, they supposed it to be the whole army, never suspecting that Denonville was close behind with sixteen hundred men. It was a surprise on both sides. So dense was the forest that the advancing battalions could see neither the enemy nor each other. Appalled by the din of whoops and firing, redoubled by the echoes of the narrow valley, the whole army was seized with something like a panic. Some of the officers, it is said, threw themselves on the ground in their fright. There were a few moments of intense bewilderment. The various corps became broken and confused, and moved hither and thither without knowing why. Denonville behaved with great courage. He ran, sword in hand, to where the uproar was greatest, ordered the drums to beat the charge, turned back the militia of Berthier who were trying to escape, and commanded them and all others whom he met to fire on whatever looked like an enemy. He was bravely seconded by Callières, La Valterie, and several other officers. The Christian Iroquois fought well from the first, leaping from tree to tree, and exchanging shots and defiance with their heathen countrymen; till the Senecas, seeing themselves confronted by numbers that seemed endless, abandoned the field, after heavy loss, carrying with them many of their dead and all of their wounded. [Footnote: For authorities, see note at the end of the chapter. The account of Charlevoix is contradicted at several points by the contemporary writers.] Denonville made no attempt to pursue. He had learned the dangers of this blind warfare of the woods; and he feared that the Senecas would waylay him again in the labyrinth of bushes that lay between him and the town. “Our troops,” he says, “were all so overcome by the extreme heat and the long march that we were forced to remain where we were till morning. We had the pain of witnessing the usual cruelties of the Indians, who cut the dead bodies into quarters, like butchers’ meat, to put into their kettles, and opened most of them while still warm to drink the blood. Our rascally Ottawas particularly distinguished themselves by these barbarities, as well as by cowardice; for they made off in the fight. We had five or six men killed on the spot, and about twenty wounded, among whom was Father Engelran, who was badly hurt by a gun-shot. Some prisoners who escaped from the Senecas tell us that they lost forty men killed outright, twenty-five of whom we saw butchered. One of the escaped prisoners saw the rest buried, and he saw also more than sixty very dangerously wounded.” [Footnote: _Denonville au Ministre_, 25 _Août_, 1687. In his journal, written afterwards, he says that the Senecas left twenty-seven dead on the field, and carried off twenty more, besides upwards of sixty mortally wounded.]
In the morning, the troops advanced in order of battle through a marsh covered with alders and tall grass, whence they had no sooner emerged than, says Abbé Belmont, “we began to see the famous Babylon of the Senecas, where so many crimes have been committed, so much blood spilled, and so many men burned. It was a village or town of bark, on the top of a hill. They had burned it a week before. We found nothing in it but the graveyard and the graves, full of snakes and other creatures; a great mask, with teeth and eyes of brass, and a bearskin drawn over it, with which they performed their conjurations.” [Footnote: Belmont. A few words are added from Saint-Vallier.] The fire had also spared a number of huge receptacles of bark, still filled with the last season’s corn; while the fields around were covered with the growing crop, ripening in the July sun. There were hogs, too, in great number; for the Iroquois did not share the antipathy with which Indians are apt to regard that unsavory animal, and from which certain philosophers have argued their descent from the Jews.
The soldiers killed the hogs, burned the old corn, and hacked down the new with their swords. Next they advanced to an abandoned Seneca fort on a hill half a league distant, and burned it, with all that it contained. Ten days were passed in the work of havoc. Three neighboring villages were levelled, and all their fields laid waste. The amount of corn destroyed was prodigious. Denonville reckons it at the absurdly exaggerated amount of twelve hundred thousand bushels.
The Senecas, laden with such of their possessions as they could carry off, had fled to their confederates in the east; and Denonville did not venture to pursue them. His men, feasting without stint on green corn and fresh pork, were sickening rapidly, and his Indian allies were deserting him. “It is a miserable business,” he wrote, “to command savages, who, as soon as they have knocked an enemy in the head, ask for nothing but to go home and carry with them the scalp, which they take off like a skull-cap. You cannot believe what trouble I had to keep them till the corn was cut.”
On the twenty-fourth, he withdrew, with all his army, to the fortified post at Irondequoit Bay, whence he proceeded to Niagara, in order to accomplish his favorite purpose of building a fort there. The troops were set at work, and a stockade was planted on the point of land at the eastern angle between the River Niagara and Lake Ontario, the site of the ruined fort built by La Salle nine years before. [Footnote: _Procès-verbal de la Prise de Possession de Niagara_, 31 _Juillet_, 1687. There are curious errors of date in this document regarding the proceedings of La Salle.] Here he left a hundred men, under the Chevalier de Troyes, and, embarking with the rest of the army, descended to Montreal.
The campaign was but half a success. Joined to the capture of the English traders on the lakes, it had, indeed, prevented the defection of the western Indians, and in some slight measure restored their respect for the French, of whom, nevertheless, one of them was heard to say that they were good for nothing but to make war on hogs and corn. As for the Senecas, they were more enraged than hurt. They could rebuild their bark villages in a few weeks; and, though they had lost their harvest, their confederates would not let them starve. [Footnote: The statement of some later writers, that many of the Senecas died during the following winter in consequence of the loss of their corn, is extremely doubtful. Captain Duplessis, in his _Plan for the Defence of Canada_, 1690, declares that not one of them perished of hunger.] A converted Iroquois had told the governor before his departure that, if he overset a wasps’ nest, he must crush the wasps, or they would sting him. Denonville left the wasps alive.
* * * * *
DENONVILLE’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE SENECAS.–The chief authorities on this matter are the journal of Denonville, of which there is a translation in the _Colonial Documents of New York_, IX.; the letters of Denonville to the Minister; the _État Présent de l’Église de la Colonie Française_, by Bishop Saint-Vallier; the _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada au Sujet de la Guerre, tant des Anglais que des Iroquois, depuis l’année 1682_; and the excellent account by Abbé Belmont in his chronicle called _Histoire du Canada_. To these may be added La Hontan, Tonty, Nicolas Perrot, La Potherie, and the Senecas examined before the authorities of Albany, whose statements are printed in the _Colonial Documents_, III. These are the original sources. Charlevoix drew his account from a portion of them. It is inexact, and needs the correction of his learned annotator, Mr. Shea. Colden, Smith, and other English writers follow La Hontan.
The researches of Mr. O. H. Marshall, of Buffalo, have left no reasonable doubt as to the scene of the battle, and the site of the neighboring town. The Seneca ambuscade was on the marsh and the hills immediately north and west of the present village of Victor; and their chief town, called Gannagaro by Denonville, was on the top of Boughton’s Hill, about a mile and a quarter distant. Immense quantities of Indian remains were formerly found here, and many are found to this day. Charred corn has been turned up in abundance by the plough, showing that the place was destroyed by fire. The remains of the fort burned by the French are still plainly visible on a hill a mile and a quarter from the ancient town. A plan of it will be found in Squier’s _Aboriginal Monuments of New York_. The site of the three other Seneca towns destroyed by Denonville, and called Totiakton, Gannondata, and Gannongarae, can also be identified. See Marshall, in _Collections N. Y. Hist. Soc., 2d Series_, II. Indian traditions of historical events are usually almost worthless; but the old Seneca chief Dyunehogawah, or “John Blacksmith,” who was living a few years ago at the Tonawanda reservation, recounted to Mr. Marshall with remarkable accuracy the story of the battle as handed down from his ancestors who lived at Gannagaro, close to the scene of action. Gannagaro was the Canagorah of Wentworth Greenalgh’s Journal. The old Seneca, on being shown a map of the locality, placed his finger on the spot where the fight took place, and which Avas long known to the Senecas by the name of Dyagodiyu, or “The Place of a Battle.” It answers in the most perfect manner to the French contemporary descriptions.
 The authorities for the above are Denonville, Champigny, Abbé Belmont, Bishop Saint-Vallier, and the author of _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada au Sujet de la Guerre, etc., depuis l’année_ 1682.
Belmont, who accompanied the expedition, speaks of the affair with indignation, which was shared by many French officers. The bishop, on the other hand, mentions the success of the stratagem as a reward accorded by Heaven to the piety of Denonville. _État Présent de l’Église_, 91, 92 (reprint, 1856).
Denonville’s account, which is sufficiently explicit, is contained in the long journal of the expedition which he sent to the court, and in several letters to the minister. Both Belmont and the author of the _Recueil_ speak of the prisoners as having been “pris par l’appât d’un festin.”
Mr. Shea, usually so exact, has been led into some error by confounding the different acts of this affair. By Denonville’s official journal, it appears that, on the 19th June, Perré, by his order, captured several Indians on the St. Lawrence; that, on the 25th June, the governor, then at Rapide Plat on his way up the river, received a letter from Champigny, informing him that he had seized all the Iroquois near Fort Frontenac; and that, on the 3d July, Perré, whom Denonville had sent several days before to attack Ganneious, arrived with his prisoners.
 I have ventured to give this story on the sole authority of Charlevoix, for the contemporary writers are silent concerning it. Mr. Shea thinks that it involves a contradiction of date; but this is entirely due to confounding the capture of prisoners by Perré at Ganneious on July 3d with the capture by Champigny at Fort Frontenac about June 20th. Lamberville reached Denonville’s camp, one day’s journey from the fort, on the evening of the 29th. (_Journal of Denonville_.) This would give four and a half days for news of the treachery to reach Onondaga, and four and a half days for the Jesuit to rejoin his countrymen.
Charlevoix, with his usual carelessness, says that the Jesuit Milet had also been used to lure the Iroquois into the snare, and that he was soon after captured by the Oneidas, and delivered by an Indian matron. Milet’s captivity did not take place till 1689-90.
THE IROQUOIS INVASION.
ALTERCATIONS.–ATTITUDE OF DONGAN.–MARTIAL PREPARATION.–PERPLEXITY OF DENONVILLE.–ANGRY CORRESPONDENCE.–RECALL OF DONGAN.–SIR EDMUND ANDROS.–HUMILIATION OF DENONVILLE.–DISTRESS OF CANADA.–APPEALS FOR HELP.–IROQUOIS DIPLOMACY.–A HURON MACCHIAVEL.–THE CATASTROPHE.– FEROCITY OF THE VICTORS.–WAR WITH ENGLAND.–RECALL OF DENONVILLE.
When Dongan heard that the French had invaded the Senecas, seized English traders on the lakes, and built a fort at Niagara, his wrath was kindled anew. He sent to the Iroquois, and summoned them to meet him at Albany; told the assembled chiefs that the late calamity had fallen upon them because they had held councils with the French without asking his leave; forbade them to do so again, and informed them that, as subjects of King James, they must make no treaty, except by the consent of his representative, the governor of New York. He declared that the Ottawas and other remote tribes were also British subjects; that the Iroquois should unite with them, to expel the French from the west; and that all alike should bring down their beaver skins to the English at Albany. Moreover, he enjoined them to receive no more French Jesuits into their towns, and to call home their countrymen whom these fathers had converted and enticed to Canada. “Obey my commands,” added the governor, “for that is the only way to eat well and sleep well, without fear or disturbance.” The Iroquois, who wanted his help, seemed to assent to all he said. “We will fight the French,” exclaimed their orator, “as long as we have a man left.” [Footnote: _Dongan’s Propositions to the Five Nations; Answer of the Five Nations, N. Y. Col. Docs_., III. 438, 441.]
At the same time, Dongan wrote to Denonville demanding the immediate surrender of the Dutch and English captured on the lakes. Denonville angrily replied that he would keep the prisoners, since Dongan had broken the treaty of neutrality by “giving aid and comfort to the savages.” The English governor, in return, upbraided his correspondent for invading British territory. “I will endevour to protect his Majesty’s subjects here from your unjust invasions, till I hear from the King, my Master, who is the greatest and most glorious Monarch that ever set on a Throne, and would do as much to propagate the Christian faith as any prince that lives. He did not send me here to suffer you to give laws to his subjects. I hope, notwithstanding all your trained souldiers and greate Officers come from Europe, that our masters at home will suffer us to do ourselves justice on you for the injuries and spoyle you have committed on us; and I assure you, Sir, if my Master gives leave, I will be as soon at Quebeck as you shall be att Albany. What you alleage concerning my assisting the Sinnakees (_Senecas_) with arms and ammunition to warr against you was never given by mee untill the sixt of August last, when understanding of your unjust proceedings in invading the King my Master’s territorys in a hostill manner, I then gave them powder, lead, and armes, and united the five nations together to defend that part of our King’s dominions from your jnjurious invasion. And as for offering them men, in that you doe me wrong, our men being all buisy then at their harvest, and I leave itt to your judgment whether there was any occasion when only foure hundred of them engaged with your whole army. I advise you to send home all the Christian and Indian prisoners the King of England’s subjects you unjustly do deteine. This is what I have thought fitt to answer to your reflecting and provoking letter.” [Footnote: _Dongan to Denonville, 9 Sept._, 1687, in _N. Y. Col. Docs.,_ III. 472.]
As for the French claims to the Iroquois country and the upper lakes, he turned them to ridicule. They were founded, in part, on the missions established there by the Jesuits. “The King of China,” observes Dongan, “never goes anywhere without two Jessuits with him. I wonder you make not the like pretence to that Kingdome.” He speaks with equal irony of the claim based on discovery: “Pardon me if I say itt is a mistake, except you will affirme that a few loose fellowes rambling amongst Indians to keep themselves from starving gives the French a right to the Countrey.” And of the claim based on geographical divisions: “Your reason is that some rivers or rivoletts of this country run out into the great river of Canada. O just God! what new, farr-fetched, and unheard-of pretence is this for a title to a country. The French King may have as good a pretence to all those Countrys that drink clarett and Brandy.” _Dongan’s Fourth Paper to the French Agents, N. Y. Col. Docs_., III. 528. In spite of his sarcasms, it is clear that the claim of prior discovery and occupation was on the side of the French.
The dispute now assumed a new phase. James II. at length consented to own the Iroquois as his subjects, ordering Dongan to protect them, and repel the French by force of arms, should they attack them again. [Footnote: _Warrant, authorizing Governor Dongan to protect the Five Nations_, 10 _Nov_., 1687, _N. Y. Col. Docs_., III. 503.] At the same time, conferences were opened at London between the French ambassador and the English commissioners appointed to settle the questions at issue. Both disputants claimed the Iroquois as subjects, and the contest wore an aspect more serious than before.
The royal declaration was a great relief to Dongan. Thus far he had acted at his own risk; now he was sustained by the orders of his king. He instantly assumed a warlike attitude; and, in the next spring, wrote to the Earl of Sunderland that he had been at Albany all winter, with four hundred infantry, fifty horsemen, and eight hundred Indians. This was not without cause, for a report had come from Canada that the French were about to march on Albany to destroy it. “And now, my Lord,” continues Dongan, “we must build forts in ye countrey upon ye great Lakes, as ye French doe, otherwise we lose ye Countrey, ye Bever trade, and our Indians.” [Footnote: _Dongan to Sunderland, Feb.,_ 1688, _N.Y. Col. Docs.,_ III. 510.] Denonville, meanwhile, had begun to yield, and promised to send back McGregory and the men captured with him. [Footnote: _Denonville à Dongan_, 2 _Oct._, 1687. McGregory soon arrived, and Dongan sent him back to Canada as an emissary with a civil message to Denonville. _Dongan to Denonville,_ 10 _Nov._, 1687.] Dongan, not satisfied, insisted on payment for all the captured merchandise, and on the immediate demolition of Fort Niagara. He added another demand, which must have been singularly galling to his rival. It was to the effect that the Iroquois prisoners seized at Fort Frontenac, and sent to the galleys in France, should be surrendered as British subjects to the English ambassador at Paris or the secretary of state in London. [Footnote: _Dongan to Denonville,_ 31 _Oct._, 1687; _Dongan’s First Demand of the French Agents, N. Y. Col. Docs.,_ III. 515, 520.]
Denonville was sorely perplexed. He was hard pressed, and eager for peace with the Iroquois at any price; but Dongan was using every means to prevent their treating of peace with the French governor until he had complied with all the English demands. In this extremity, Denonville sent Father Vaillant to Albany, in the hope of bringing his intractable rival to conditions less humiliating. The Jesuit played his part with ability, and proved more than a match for his adversary in dialectics; but Dongan held fast to all his demands. Vaillant tried to temporize, and asked for a truce, with a view to a final settlement by reference to the two kings. [Footnote: The papers of this discussion will be found in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., III.] Dongan referred the question to a meeting of Iroquois chiefs, who declared in reply that they would make neither peace nor truce till Fort Niagara was demolished and all the prisoners restored. Dongan, well pleased, commended their spirit, and assured them that King James, “who is the greatest man the sunn shines uppon, and never told a ly in his life, has given you his Royall word to protect you.” [Footnote: _Dongan’s Reply to the Five Nations, Ibid_., III. 535.] Vaillant returned from his bootless errand; and a stormy correspondence followed between the two governors. Dongan renewed his demands, then protested his wish for peace, extolled King James for his pious zeal, and declared that he was sending over missionaries of his own to convert the Iroquois. [Footnote: _Dongan to Denonville_, 17 _Feb_., 1688, _Ibid_., III. 519.] What Denonville wanted was not their conversion by Englishmen, but their conversion by Frenchmen, and the presence in their towns of those most useful political agents, the Jesuits. [Footnote: “II y a une nécessité indispensable pour les intérais de la Religion et de la Colonie de restablir les missionaires Jesuites dans tous les villages Iroquois: si vous ne trouvés moyen de faire retourner ces Pères dans leurs anciennes missions, vous devés en attendre beaucoup de malheur pour cette Colonie; car je dois vous dire que jusqu’icy c’est leur habilité qui a soutenu les affaires du pays par leur sçavoir-faire à gouverner les esprits de ces barbares, qui ne sont Sauvages que de nom.” _Denonville, Mémoire adressé au Ministre_, 9 _Nov_., 1688.] He replied angrily, charging Dongan with preventing the conversion of the Iroquois by driving off the French missionaries, and accusing him, farther, of instigating the tribes of New York to attack Canada. [Footnote: _Denonville à Dongan_, 24 _Avril_, 1688; _Ibid._, 12 _Mai_, 1688. Whether the charge is true is questionable. Dongan had just written that, if the Iroquois did harm to the French, he was ordered to offer satisfaction, and had already done so.] Suddenly there was a change in the temper of his letters. He wrote to his rival in terms of studied civility; declared that he wished he could meet him, and consult with him on the best means of advancing the cause of true religion; begged that he would not refuse him his friendship; and thanked him in warm terms for befriending some French prisoners whom he had saved from the Iroquois, and treated with great kindness. [Footnote: _Denonville à Dongan,_ 18 _Juin_, 1688; _Ibid._, 5 _Juillet_, 1688; _Ibid._, 20 _Aug._, 1088. “Je n’ai donc qu’à vous asseurer que toute la Colonie a une très-parfaite reconnoissance des bons offices que ces pauvres malheureux ont reçu de vous et de vos peuples.”]
This change was due to despatches from Versailles, in which Denonville was informed that the matters in dispute would soon be amicably settled by the commissioners; that he was to keep on good terms with the English commanders, and, what pleased him still more, that the king of England was about to recall Dongan. [Footnote: _Mémoire pour servir d’Instruction au Sr. Marquis de Denonville_, 8 _Mars_, 1688; _Le Roy à Denonville, même date_; _Seignelay à Denonville, même date._ Louis XIV. had demanded Dongan’s recall. How far this had influenced the action of James II. it is difficult to say.] In fact, James II. had resolved on remodelling his American colonies. New York, New Jersey, and New England had been formed into one government under Sir Edmund Andros; and Dongan was summoned home, where a regiment was given him, with the rank of major-general of artillery. Denonville says that, in his efforts to extend English trade to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, his late rival had been influenced by motives of personal gain. Be this as it may, he was a bold and vigorous defender of the claims of the British crown.
Sir Edmund Andros now reigned over New York; and, by the terms of his commission, his rule stretched westward to the Pacific. The usual official courtesies passed between him and Denonville; but Andros renewed all the demands of his predecessor, claimed the Iroquois as subjects, and forbade the French to attack them. [Footnote: _Andros to Denonville_, 21 _Aug._, 1688; _Ibid._, 29 _Sept._, 1688.] The new governor was worse than the old. Denonville wrote to the minister: “I send you copies of his letters, by which you will see that the spirit of Dongan has entered into the heart of his successor, who may be less passionate and less interested, but who is, to say the least, quite as much opposed to us, and perhaps more dangerous by his suppleness and smoothness than the other was by his violence. What he has just done among the Iroquois, whom he pretends to be under his government, and whom he prevents from coming to meet me, is a certain proof that neither he nor the other English governors, nor their people, will refrain from doing this colony all the harm they can.” [Footnote: _Mémoire de l’Estat Présent des Affaires de ce Pays depuis le 10me Aoust, 1688, jusq’au dernier Octobre de la mesme année_. He declares that the English are always “itching for the western trade,” that their favorite plan is to establish a post on the Ohio, and that they have made the attempt three times already.]
While these things were passing, the state of Canada was deplorable, and the position of its governor as mortifying as it was painful. He thought with good reason that the maintenance of the new fort at Niagara was of great importance to the colony, and he had repeatedly refused the demands of Dongan and the Iroquois for its demolition. But a power greater than sachems and governors presently intervened. The provisions left at Niagara, though abundant, were atrociously bad. Scurvy and other malignant diseases soon broke out among the soldiers. The Senecas prowled about the place, and no man dared venture out for hunting, fishing, or firewood. [Footnote: Denonville, _Mémoire du_ 10 _Aoust_, 1688.] The fort was first a prison, then a hospital, then a charnel-house, till before spring the garrison of a hundred men was reduced to ten or twelve. In this condition, they were found towards the end of April by a large war-party of friendly Miamis, who entered the place and held it till a French detachment at length arrived for its relief. [Footnote: _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada depuis l’année_ 1682. The writer was an officer of the detachment, and describes what he saw. Compare La Potherie, II. 210; and La Hontan, I. 131 (1709).] The garrison of Fort Frontenac had suffered from the same causes, though not to the same degree. Denonville feared that he should be forced to abandon them both. The way was so long and so dangerous, and the governor had grown of late so cautious, that he dreaded the risk of maintaining such remote communications. On second thought, he resolved to keep Frontenac and sacrifice Niagara. He promised Dongan that he would demolish it, and he kept his word. [Footnote: _Denonville à Dongan_, 20 _Aoust_, 1688; _Procès-verbal of the Condition of Fort Niagara_, 1688; _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 380. The palisades were torn down by Denonville’s order on the 15th of September. The rude dwellings and storehouses which they enclosed, together with a large wooden cross, were left standing. The commandant De Troyes had died, and, Captain Desbergères had been sent to succeed him.]
He was forced to another and a deeper humiliation. At the imperious demand of Dongan and the Iroquois, he begged the king to send back the prisoners entrapped at Fort Frontenac, and he wrote to the minister: “Be pleased, Monseigneur, to remember that I had the honor to tell you that, in order to attain the peace necessary to the country, I was obliged to promise that I would beg you to send back to us the prisoners I sent you last year. I know you gave orders that they should be well treated, but I am informed that, though they were well enough treated at first, your orders were not afterwards executed with the same fidelity. If ill treatment has caused them all to die,–for they are people who easily fall into dejection, and who die of it,–and if none of them come back, I do not know at all whether we can persuade these barbarians not to attack us again.” [Footnote: Denonville, _Mémoire de_ 10 _Aoust_, 1688.]
What had brought the marquis to this pass? Famine, destitution, disease, and the Iroquois were making Canada their prey. The fur trade had been stopped for two years; and the people, bereft of their only means of subsistence, could contribute nothing to their own defence. Above Three Rivers, the whole population was imprisoned in stockade forts hastily built in every seigniory. [Footnote: In the Dépot des Cartes de la Marine, there is a contemporary manuscript map, on which all these forts are laid down.] Here they were safe, provided that they never ventured out; but their fields were left untilled, and the governor was already compelled to feed many of them at the expense of the king. The Iroquois roamed among the deserted settlements or prowled like lynxes about the forts, waylaying convoys and killing or capturing stragglers. Their war-parties were usually small; but their movements were so mysterious and their attacks so sudden, that they spread a universal panic through the upper half of the colony. They were the wasps which Denonville had failed to kill. “We should succumb,” wrote the distressed governor, “if our cause were not the cause of God. Your Majesty’s zeal for religion, and the great things you have done for the destruction of heresy, encourage me to hope that you will be the bulwark of the Faith in the new world as you are in the old. I cannot give you a truer idea of the war we have to wage with the Iroquois than by comparing them to a great number of wolves or other ferocious beasts, issuing out of a vast forest to ravage the neighboring settlements. The people gather to hunt them down; but nobody can find their lair, for they are always in motion. An abler man than I would be greatly at a loss to manage the affairs of this country. It is for the interest of the colony to have peace at any cost whatever. For the glory of the king and the good of religion, we should be glad to have it an advantageous one; and so it would have been, but for the malice of the English and the protection they have given our enemies.” [Footnote: _Denonville au Roy_, 1688; _Ibid._, _Mémoire du_ 10 _Aoust_, 1688; _Ibid._, _Mémoire du_ 9 _Nov._, 1688.]
And yet he had, one would think, a reasonable force at his disposal. His thirty-two companies of regulars were reduced by this time to about fourteen hundred men, but he had also three or four hundred Indian converts, besides the militia of the colony, of whom he had stationed a large body under Vaudreuil at the head of the Island of Montreal. All told, they were several times more numerous than the agile warriors who held the colony in terror. He asked for eight hundred more regulars. The king sent him three hundred. Affairs grew worse, and he grew desperate. Rightly judging that the best means of defence was to take the offensive, he conceived the plan of a double attack on the Iroquois, one army to assail the Onondagas and Cayugas, another the Mohawks and Oneidas. [Footnote: _Plan for the Termination of the Iroquois War_, _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 375.] Since to reach the Mohawks as he proposed, by the way of Lake Champlain, he must pass through territory indisputably British, the attempt would be a flagrant violation of the treaty of neutrality. Nevertheless, he implored the king to send him four thousand soldiers to accomplish it. [Footnote: Denonville, _Mémoire du_ 8 _Août_, 1688.] His fast friend, the bishop, warmly seconded his appeal. “The glory of God is involved,” wrote the head of the church, “for the Iroquois are the only tribe who oppose the progress of the gospel. The glory of the king is involved, for they are the only tribe who refuse to recognize his grandeur and his might. They hold the French in the deepest contempt; and, unless they are completely humbled within two years, his Majesty will have no colony left in Canada.” [Footnote: Saint-Vallier, _Mémoire sur les Affaires du Canada pour Monseigneur le Marquis de Seignelay_.] And the prelate proceeds to tell the minister how, in his opinion, the war ought to be conducted. The appeal was vain. “His Majesty agrees with you,” wrote Seignelay, “that three or four thousand men would be the best means of making peace, but he cannot spare them now. If the enemy breaks out again, raise the inhabitants, and fight as well as you can till his Majesty is prepared to send you troops.” [Footnote: _Mémoire du Ministre adressé à Denonville_, 1 _Mai_, 1680.]
A hope had dawned on the governor. He had been more active of late in negotiating than in fighting, and his diplomacy had prospered more than his arms. It may be remembered that some of the Iroquois entrapped at Fort Frontenac had been given to their Christian relatives in the mission villages. Here they had since remained. Denonville thought that he might use them as messengers to their heathen countrymen, and he sent one or more of them to Onondaga with gifts and overtures of peace. That shrewd old politician, Big Mouth, was still strong in influence at the Iroquois capital, and his name was great to the farthest bounds of the confederacy. He knew by personal experience the advantages of a neutral position between the rival European powers, from both of whom he received gifts and attentions; and he saw that what was good for him was good for the confederacy, since, if it gave itself to neither party, both would court its alliance. In his opinion, it had now leaned long enough towards the English; and a change of attitude had become expedient. Therefore, as Denonville promised the return of the prisoners, and was plainly ready to make other concessions, Big Mouth, setting at naught the prohibitions of Andros, consented to a conference with the French. He set out at his leisure for Montreal, with six Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida chiefs; and, as no diplomatist ever understood better the advantage of negotiating at the head of an imposing force, a body of Iroquois warriors, to the number, it is said, of twelve hundred, set out before him, and silently took path to Canada.
The ambassadors paddled across the lake and presented themselves before the commandant of Fort Frontenac, who received them with distinction, and ordered Lieutenant Perelle to escort them to Montreal. Scarcely had the officer conducted his august charge five leagues on their way, when, to his amazement, he found himself in the midst of six hundred Iroquois warriors, who amused themselves for a time with his terror, and then accompanied him as far as Lake St. Francis, where he found another body of savages nearly equal in number. Here the warriors halted, and the ambassadors with their escort gravely pursued their way to meet Denonville at Montreal. [Footnote: _Relation des Évenements de la Guerre_, 30 _Oct_., 1688.]
Big Mouth spoke haughtily, like a man who knew his power. He told the governor that he and his people were subjects neither of the French nor of the English; that they wished to be friends of both; that they held their country of the Great Spirit; and that they had never been conquered in war. He declared that the Iroquois knew the weakness of the French, and could easily exterminate them; that they had formed a plan of burning all the houses and barns of Canada, killing the cattle, setting fire to the ripe grain, and then, when the people were starving, attacking the forts; but that he, Big Mouth, had prevented its execution. He concluded by saying that he was allowed but four days to bring back the governor’s reply; and that, if he were kept waiting longer, he would not answer for what might happen. [Footnote: _Declaration of the Iroquois in presence of M. de Denonville, N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 384; _Relation des Evénements de la Guerre_, 30 _Oct_., 1688; Belmont, _Histoire du Canada_.] Though it appeared by some expressions in his speech that he was ready to make peace only with the French, leaving the Iroquois free to attack the Indian allies of the colony, and though, while the ambassadors were at Montreal, their warriors on the river above actually killed several of the Indian converts, Denonville felt himself compelled to pretend ignorance of the outrage. [Footnote: _Callières à Seignelay, Jan._, 1689.] A declaration of neutrality was drawn up, and Big Mouth affixed to it the figures of sundry birds and beasts as the signatures of himself and his fellow-chiefs. [Footnote: See the signatures in _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 385, 386.] He promised, too, that within a certain time deputies from the whole confederacy should come to Montreal and conclude a general peace.
The time arrived, and they did not appear. It became known, however, that a number of chiefs were coming from Onondaga to explain the delay, and to promise that the deputies should soon follow. The chiefs in fact were on their way. They reached La Famine, the scene of La Barre’s meeting with Big Mouth; but here an unexpected incident arrested them, and completely changed the aspect of affairs. Among the Hurons of Michillimackinac there was a chief of high renown named Kondiaronk, or the Rat. He was in the prime of life, a redoubted warrior, and a sage counsellor. The French seem to have admired him greatly. “He is a gallant man,” says La Hontan, “if ever there was one;” while Charlevoix declares that he was the ablest Indian the French ever knew in America, and that he had nothing of the savage but the name and the dress. In spite of the father’s eulogy, the moral condition of the Rat savored strongly of the wigwam. He had given Denonville great trouble by his constant intrigues with the Iroquois, with whom he had once made a plot for the massacre of his neighbors, the Ottawas, under cover of a pretended treaty. [Footnote: Nicolas Perrot, 143.] The French had spared no pains to gain him; and he had at length been induced to declare for them, under a pledge from the governor that the war should never cease till the Iroquois were destroyed. During the summer, he raised a party of forty warriors, and came down the lakes in quest of Iroquois scalps. [Footnote: _Denonville à Seignelay_, 9 _Nov._, 1688. La Hontan saw the party set out, and says that there were about a hundred of them.] On the way, he stopped at Fort Frontenac to hear the news, when, to his amazement, the commandant told him that deputies from Onondaga were coming in a few days to conclude peace, and that he had better go home at once.
“It is well,” replied the Rat.
He knew that for the Hurons it was not well. He and his tribe stood fully committed to the war, and for them peace between the French and the Iroquois would be a signal of destruction, since Denonville could not or would not protect his allies. The Rat paddled off with his warriors. He had secretly learned the route of the expected deputies; and he shaped his course, not, as he had pretended, for Michillimackinac, but for La Famine, where he knew that they would land. Having reached his destination, he watched and waited four or five days, till canoes at length appeared, approaching from the direction of Onondaga. On this, the Rat and his friends hid themselves in the bushes.
The new comers were the messengers sent as precursors of the embassy. At their head was a famous personage named Decanisora, or Tegannisorens, with whom were three other chiefs, and, it seems, a number of warriors. They had scarcely landed when the ambushed Hurons gave them a volley of bullets, killed one of the chiefs, wounded all the rest, and then, rushing upon them, seized the whole party except a warrior who escaped with a broken arm. Having secured his prisoners, the Rat told them that he had acted on the suggestion of Denonville, who had informed him that an Iroquois war-party was to pass that way. The astonished captives protested that they were envoys of peace. The Rat put on a look of amazement, then of horror and fury, and presently burst into invectives against Denonville for having made him the instrument of such atrocious perfidy. “Go, my brothers,” he exclaimed, “go home to your people. Though there is war between us, I give you your liberty. Onontio has made me do so black a deed that I shall never be happy again till your five tribes take a just vengeance upon him.” After giving them guns, powder, and ball, he sent them on their way, well pleased with him and filled with rage against the governor.
In accordance with Indian usage, he, however, kept one of them to be adopted, as he declared, in place of one of his followers whom he had lost in the skirmish; then, recrossing the lake, he went alone to Fort Frontenac, and, as he left the gate to rejoin his party, he said coolly, “I have killed the peace: we shall see how the governor will get out of this business.” [Footnote: “Il dit, J’ai tué la paix.” Belmont, _Histoire du Canada_. “Le Rat passa ensuite seul à Catarakouy (_Fort Frontenac_) sans vouloir dire le tour qu’il avoit fait, dit seulement estant hors de la porte, en s’en allant, Nous verrons comme le gouverneur se tirera d’affaire.” Denonville.] Then, without loss of time, he repaired to Michillimackinac, and gave his Iroquois prisoner to the officer in command. No news of the intended peace had yet reached that distant outpost; and, though the unfortunate Iroquois told the story of his mission and his capture, the Rat declared that it was a crazy invention inspired by the fear of death, and the prisoner was immediately shot by a file of soldiers. The Rat now sent for an old Iroquois who had long been a prisoner at the Huron village, telling him with a mournful air that he was free to return to his people, and recount the cruelty of the French, who, had put their countryman to death. The liberated Iroquois faithfully acquitted himself of his mission. 
One incident seemed for a moment likely to rob the intriguer of the fruits of his ingenuity. The Iroquois who had escaped in the skirmish contrived to reach Fort Frontenac some time after the last visit of the Rat. He told what had happened; and, after being treated with the utmost attention, he was sent to Onondaga, charged with explanations and regrets. The Iroquois dignitaries seemed satisfied, and Denonville wrote to the minister that there was still good hope of peace. He little knew his enemy. They could dissemble and wait; but they neither believed the governor nor forgave him. His supposed treachery at La Famine, and his real treachery at Fort Frontenac, filled them with a patient but unextinguishable rage. They sent him word that they were ready to renew the negotiation; then they sent again, to say that Andros forbade them. Without doubt they used his prohibition as a pretext. Months passed, and Denonville remained in suspense. He did not trust his Indian allies, nor did they trust him. Like the Rat and his Hurons, they dreaded the conclusion of peace, and wished the war to continue, that the French might bear the brunt of it, and stand between them and the wrath of the Iroquois. [Footnote: _Denonville au Ministre_, 9 _Nov_., 1688.]
In the direction of the Iroquois, there was a long and ominous silence. It was broken at last by the crash of a thunderbolt. On the night between the fourth and fifth of August, a violent hail-storm burst over Lake St. Louis, an expansion of the St. Lawrence a little above Montreal. Concealed by the tempest and the darkness, fifteen hundred warriors landed at La Chine, and silently posted themselves about the houses of the sleeping settlers, then screeched the war-whoop, and began the most frightful massacre in Canadian history. The houses were burned, and men, women, and children indiscriminately butchered. In the neighborhood were three stockade forts, called Rémy, Roland, and La Présentation; and they all had garrisons. There was also an encampment of two hundred regulars about three miles distant, under an officer named Subercase, then absent at Montreal on a visit to Denonville, who had lately arrived with his wife and family. At four o’clock in the morning, the troops in this encampment heard a cannon-shot from one of the forts. They were at once ordered under arms. Soon after, they saw a man running towards them, just escaped from the butchery. He told his story, and passed on with the news to Montreal, six miles distant. Then several fugitives appeared, chased by a band of Iroquois, who gave over the pursuit at sight of the soldiers, but pillaged several houses before their eyes. The day was well advanced before Subercase arrived. He ordered the troops to march. About a hundred armed inhabitants had joined them, and they moved together towards La Chine. Here they found the houses still burning, and the bodies of their inmates strewn among them or hanging from the stakes where they had been tortured. They learned from a French surgeon, escaped from the enemy, that the Iroquois were all encamped a mile and a half farther on, behind a tract of forest. Subercase, whose force had been strengthened by troops from the forts, resolved to attack them; and, had he been allowed to do so, he would probably have punished them severely, for most of them were helplessly drunk with brandy taken from the houses of the traders. Sword in hand, at the head of his men, the daring officer entered the forest; but, at that moment, a voice from the rear commanded a halt. It was that of the Chevalier de Vaudreuil, just come from Montreal, with positive orders from Denonville to run no risks and stand solely on the defensive. Subercase was furious. High words passed between him and Vaudreuil, but he was forced to obey.
The troops were led back to Fort Roland, where about five hundred regulars and militia were now collected under command of Vaudreuil. On the next day, eighty men from Fort Rémy attempted to join them; but the Iroquois had slept off the effect of their orgies, and were again on the alert. The unfortunate detachment was set upon by a host of savages, and cut to pieces in full sight of Fort Roland. All were killed or captured, except Le Moyne de Longueuil, and a few others, who escaped within the gate of Fort Rémy. [Footnote: _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada depuis l’année_ 1682; _Observations on the State of Affairs in Canada_, 1689, _N. Y. Col. Docs_., IX. 431; Belmont, _Histoire du Canada_; _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Nov_., 1689. This detachment was commanded by Lieutenant de la Rabeyre, and consisted of fifty French and thirty Indian converts.]
Montreal was wild with terror. It had been fortified with palisades since the war began; but, though there were troops in the town under the governor himself, the people were in mortal dread. No attack was made either on the town or on any of the forts, and such of the inhabitants as could reach them were safe; while the Iroquois held undisputed possession of the open country, burned all the houses and barns over an extent of nine miles, and roamed in small parties, pillaging and scalping, over more than twenty miles. There is no mention of their having encountered opposition; nor do they seem to have met with any loss but that of some warriors killed in the attack on the detachment from Fort Rémy, and that of three drunken stragglers who were caught and thrown into a cellar in Fort La Présentation. When they came to their senses, they defied their captors, and fought with such ferocity that it was necessary to shoot them. Charlevoix says that the invaders remained in the neighborhood of Montreal till the middle of October, or more than two months; but this seems incredible, since troops and militia enough to drive them all into the St. Lawrence might easily have been collected in less than a week. It is certain, however, that their stay was strangely long. Troops and inhabitants seem to have been paralyzed with fear.
At length, most of them took to their canoes, and recrossed Lake St. Louis in a body, giving ninety yells to show that they had ninety prisoners in their clutches. This was not all; for the whole number carried off was more than a hundred and twenty, besides about two hundred who had the good fortune to be killed on the spot. As the Iroquois passed the forts, they shouted, “Onontio, you deceived us, and now we have deceived you.” Towards evening, they encamped on the farther side of the lake, and began to torture and devour their prisoners. On that miserable night, stupefied and speechless groups stood gazing from the strand of La Chine at the lights that gleamed along the distant shore of Châteaugay, where their friends, wives, parents, or children agonized in the fires of the Iroquois, and scenes were enacted of indescribable and nameless horror. The greater part of the prisoners were, however, reserved to be distributed among the towns of the confederacy, and there tortured for the diversion of the inhabitants. While some of the invaders went home to celebrate their triumph, others roamed in small parties through all the upper parts of the colony, spreading universal terror. 
Canada lay bewildered and benumbed under the shock of this calamity; but the cup of her misery was not full. There was revolution in England. James II., the friend and ally of France, had been driven from his kingdom, and William of Orange had seized his vacant throne. Soon there came news of war between the two crowns. The Iroquois alone had brought the colony to the brink of ruin; and now they would be supported by the neighboring British colonies, rich, strong, and populous, compared to impoverished and depleted Canada.
A letter of recall for Denonville was already on its way. [Footnote: _Le Roy à Denonville_, 31 _Mai_, 1689.] His successor arrived in October, and the marquis sailed for France. He was a good soldier in a regular war, and a subordinate command; and he had some of the qualities of a good governor, while lacking others quite as essential. He had more activity than vigor, more personal bravery than firmness, and more clearness of perception than executive power. He filled his despatches with excellent recommendations, but was not the man to carry them into effect. He was sensitive, fastidious, critical, and conventional, and plumed himself on his honor, which was not always able to bear a strain; though as regards illegal trade, the besetting sin of Canadian governors, his hands were undoubtedly clean.  It is said that he had an instinctive antipathy for Indians, such as some persons have for certain animals; and the _coureurs de bois_, and other lawless classes of the Canadian population, appeared to please him no better. Their license and insubordination distressed him, and he constantly complained of them to the king. For the Church and its hierarchy his devotion was unbounded; and his government was a season of unwonted sunshine for the ecclesiastics, like the balmy days of the Indian summer amid the gusts of November. They exhausted themselves in eulogies of his piety; and, in proof of its depth and solidity, Mother Juchereau tells us that he did not regard station and rank as very useful aids to salvation. While other governors complained of too many priests, Denonville begged for more. All was harmony between him and Bishop Saint-Vallier; and the prelate was constantly his friend, even to the point of justifying his worst act, the treacherous seizure of the Iroquois neutrals. [Footnote: Saint-Vallier, _État Présent_, 91, 92 (Quebec, 1856).] When he left Canada, the only mourner besides the churchmen was his colleague, the intendant Champigny; for the two chiefs of the colony, joined in a common union with the Jesuits, lived together in unexampled concord. On his arrival at court, the good offices of his clerical allies gained for him the highly honorable post of governor of the royal children, the young Dukes of Burgundy, Anjou, and Berri.
 La Hontan, I. 180 (1709). Most of the details of the story are drawn from this writer, whose statement I have compared with that of Denonville, in his letter dated Nov. 9, 1688; of Callières, Jan., 1689; of the _Abstract of Letters from Canada_, in _N.Y. Col. Docs_., IX. 393; and of the writer of _Relation des Évenements de la Guerre_, 8 _Oct._, 1688. Belmont notices the affair with his usual conciseness. La Hontan’s account is sustained by the others in most, though not in all of its essential points. He calls the Huron chief _Adario, ou le Rat_. He is elsewhere mentioned as Kondiarouk, Kondiaront, Souoias, and Souaiti. La Hontan says that the scene of the treachery was one of the rapids of the St. Lawrence, but more authentic accounts place it at La Famine.
 The best account of the descent of the Iroquois at La Chine is that of the _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada_, 1682-1712. The writer was an officer under Subercase, and was on the spot. Belmont, superior of the mission of Montreal, also gives a trustworthy account in his _Histoire du Canada_. Compare La Hontan, I. 193 (1709), and La Potherie, II. 229. Farther particulars are given in the letters of Callières, 8 Nov.; Champigny, 16 Nov.; and Frontenac, 15 Nov. Frontenac, after visiting the scene of the catastrophe a few weeks after it occurred, writes: “Ils (_les Iroquois_) avoient bruslé plus de trois lieues de pays, saccagé toutes les maisons jusqu’aux portes de la ville, enlevé plus de six vingt personnes, tant hommes, femmes, qu’enfants, après avoir massacré plus de deux cents dont ils avoient cassé la teste aux uns, bruslé, rosty, et mangé les autres, ouvert le ventre des femmes grosses pour en arracher les enfants, et fait des cruautez inouïes et sans exemple.” The details given by Belmont, and by the author of _Histoire de l’Eau de Vie en Canada_, are no less revolting. The last-mentioned writer thinks that the massacre was a judgment of God upon the sale of brandy at La Chine.
Some Canadian writers have charged the English with instigating the massacre. I find nothing in contemporary documents to support the accusation. Denonville wrote to the minister, after the Rat’s treachery came to light, that Andros had forbidden the Iroquois to attack the colony. Immediately after the attack at La Chine, the Iroquois sachems, in a conference with the agents of New England, declared that “we did not make war on the French at the persuasion of our brethren at Albany; for we did not so much as acquaint them of our intention till fourteen days after our army had begun their march.” _Report of Conference_ in Colden, 103.
 “I shall only add one article, on which possibly you will find it strange that I have said nothing; namely, whether the governor carries on any trade. I shall answer, no; but my Lady the Governess (_Madame la Gouvernante_), who is disposed not to neglect any opportunity for making a profit, had a room, not to say a shop, full of goods, till the close of last winter, in the château of Quebec, and found means afterwards to make a lottery to get rid of the rubbish that remained, which produced her more than her good merchandise.” _Relation of the State of Affairs in Canada_, 1688, in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., IX. 388. This paper was written at Quebec.
RETURN OF FRONTENAC. VERSAILLES.–FRONTENAC AND THE KING.–FRONTENAC SAILS FOR QUEBEC.–PROJECTED CONQUEST OF NEW YORK.–DESIGNS OF THE KING.–FAILURE.–ENERGY OF FRONTENAC.–FORT FRONTENAC.–PANIC.– NEGOTIATIONS.–THE IROQUOIS IN COUNCIL.–CHEVALIER D’AUX.–TAUNTS OF THE INDIAN ALLIES.–BOLDNESS OF FRONTENAC.–AN IROQUOIS DEFEAT.– CRUEL POLICY.–THE STROKE PARRIED.
The sun of Louis XIV had reached its zenith. From a morning of unexampled brilliancy it had mounted to the glare of a cloudless noon; but the hour of its decline was near. The mortal enemy of France was on the throne of England, turning against her from that new point of vantage all the energies of his unconquerable genius. An invalid built the Bourbon monarchy, and another invalid battered and defaced the imposing structure: two potent and daring spirits in two frail bodies, Richelieu and William of Orange.
Versailles gave no sign of waning glories. On three evenings of the week, it was the pleasure of the king that the whole court should assemble in the vast suite of apartments now known as the Halls of Abundance, of Venus, of Diana, of Mars, of Mercury, and of Apollo. The magnificence of their decorations, pictures of the great Italian masters, sculptures, frescoes, mosaics, tapestries, vases and statues of silver and gold; the vista of light and splendor that opened through the wide portals; the courtly throngs, feasting, dancing, gaming, promenading, conversing, formed a scene which no palace of Europe could rival or approach. Here were all the great historic names of France, princes, warriors, statesmen, and all that was highest in rank and place; the flower, in short, of that brilliant society, so dazzling, captivating, and illusory. In former years, the king was usually present, affable and gracious, mingling with his courtiers and sharing their amusements; but he had grown graver of late, and was more often in his cabinet, laboring with his ministers on the task of administration, which his extravagance and ambition made every day more burdensome. [Footnote: Saint-Simon speaks of these assemblies. The halls in question were finished in 1682; and a minute account of them, and of the particular use to which each was destined, was printed in the _Mercure Français_ of that year. See also Soulié, _Notice du Musée impérial de Versailles_, where copious extracts from the _Mercure_ are given. The _grands appartements_ are now entirely changed in appearance, and turned into an historic picture gallery.]
There was one corner of the world where his emblem, the sun, would not shine on him. He had done his best for Canada, and had got nothing for his pains but news of mishaps and troubles. He was growing tired of the colony which he had nursed with paternal fondness, and he was more than half angry with it because it did not prosper. Denonville’s letters had grown worse and worse; and, though he had not heard as yet of the last great calamity, he was sated with ill tidings already.
Count Frontenac stood before him. Since his recall, he had lived at court, needy and no longer in favor; but he had influential friends, and an intriguing wife, always ready to serve him. The king knew his merits as well as his faults; and, in the desperate state of his Canadian affairs, he had been led to the resolution of restoring him to the command from which, for excellent reasons, he had removed him seven years before. He now told him that, in his belief, the charges brought against him were without foundation. [Footnote: _Journal de Dangeau_, II. 390. Frontenac, since his recall, had not been wholly without marks of royal favor. In 1685, the king gave him a “gratification” of 3,500 francs. _Ibid_., I. 205.] “I send you back to Canada,” he is reported to have said, “where I am sure that you will serve me as well as you did before; and I ask nothing more of you.” [Footnote: Goyer, _Oraison Funèbre du Comte de Frontenac_.] The post was not a tempting one to a man in his seventieth year. Alone and unsupported,–for the king, with Europe rising against him, would give him no more troops,–he was to restore the prostrate colony to hope and courage, and fight two enemies with a force that had proved no match for one of them alone. The audacious count trusted himself, and undertook the task; received the royal instructions, and took his last leave of the master whom even he after a fashion honored and admired.
He repaired to Rochelle, where two ships of the royal navy were waiting his arrival, embarked in one of them, and sailed for the New World. An heroic remedy had been prepared for the sickness of Canada, and Frontenac was to be the surgeon. The cure, however, was not of his contriving. Denonville had sent Callières, his second in command, to represent the state of the colony to the court, and beg for help. Callières saw that there was little hope of more troops or any considerable supply of money; and he laid before the king a plan, which had at least the recommendations of boldness and cheapness. This was to conquer New York with the forces already in Canada, aided only by two ships of war. The blow, he argued, should be struck at once, and the English taken by surprise. A thousand regulars and six hundred Canadian militia should pass Lake Champlain and Lake George in canoes and bateaux, cross to the Hudson and capture Albany, where they would seize all the river craft and descend the Hudson to the town of New York, which, as Callières stated, had then about two hundred houses and four hundred fighting men. The two ships were to cruise at the mouth of the harbor, and wait the arrival of the troops, which was to be made known to them by concerted signals, whereupon they were to enter and aid in the attack. The whole expedition, he thought, might be accomplished in a month; so that by the end of October the king would be master of all the country. The advantages were manifold. The Iroquois, deprived of English arms and ammunition, would be at the mercy of the French; the question of English rivalry in the west would be settled for ever; the king would acquire a means of access to his colony incomparably better than the St. Lawrence, and one that remained open all the year; and, finally, New England would be isolated, and prepared for a possible conquest in the future.
The king accepted the plan with modifications, which complicated and did not improve it. Extreme precautions were taken to insure secrecy; but the vast distances, the difficult navigation, and the accidents of weather appear to have been forgotten in this amended scheme of operation. There was, moreover, a long delay in fitting the two ships for sea. The wind was ahead, and they were fifty-two days in reaching Chedabucto, at the eastern end of Nova Scotia. Thence Frontenac and Callières had orders to proceed in a merchant ship to Quebec, which might require a month more; and, on arriving, they were to prepare for the expedition, while at the same time Frontenac was to send back a letter to the naval commander at Chedabucto, revealing the plan to him, and ordering him to sail to New York to co-operate in it. It was the twelfth of September when Chedabucto was reached, and the enterprise was ruined by the delay. Frontenac’s first step in his new government was a failure, though one for which he was in no way answerable. 
It will be well to observe what were the intentions of the king towards the colony which he proposed to conquer. They were as follows: If any Catholics were found in New York, they might be left undisturbed, provided that they took an oath of allegiance to the king. Officers, and other persons who had the means of paying ransoms, were to be thrown into prison. All lands in the colony, except those of Catholics swearing allegiance, were to be taken from their owners, and granted under a feudal tenure to the French officers and soldiers. All property, public or private, was to be seized, a portion of it given to the grantees of the land, and the rest sold on account of the king. Mechanics and other workmen might, at the discretion of the commanding officer, be kept as prisoners to work at fortifications and do other labor. The rest of the English and Dutch inhabitants, men, women, and children, were to be carried out of the colony and dispersed in New England, Pennsylvania, or other places, in such a manner that they could not combine in any attempt to recover their property and their country. And, that the conquest might be perfectly secure, the nearest settlements of New England were to be destroyed, and those more remote laid under contribution. 
In the next century, some of the people of Acadia were torn from their homes by order of a British commander. The act was harsh and violent, and the innocent were involved with the guilty; but many of the sufferers had provoked their fate, and deserved it.
Louis XIV. commanded that eighteen thousand unoffending persons should be stripped of all that they possessed, and cast out to the mercy of the wilderness. The atrocity of the plan is matched by its folly. The king gave explicit orders, but he gave neither ships nor men enough to accomplish them; and the Dutch farmers, goaded to desperation, would have cut his sixteen hundred soldiers to pieces. It was the scheme of a man blinded by a long course of success. Though perverted by flattery and hardened by unbridled power, he was not cruel by nature; and here, as in the burning of the Palatinate and the persecution of the Huguenots, he would have stood aghast, if his dull imagination could have pictured to him the miseries he was preparing to inflict. [Footnote: On the details of the projected attack of New York, _Le Roy à Denonville_, 7 _Juin_, 1689; _Le Ministre à Denonville, même date_; _Le Ministre à Frontenac, même date_; _Ordre du Roy à Vaudreuil, même date_; _Le Roy au Sieur de la Caffinière, même date_; _Champigny au Ministre_, 16 _Nov._, 1689.]
With little hope left that the grand enterprise against New York could succeed, Frontenac made sail for Quebec, and, stopping by the way at Isle Percée, learned from Récollet missionaries the irruption of the Iroquois at Montreal. He hastened on; but the wind was still against him, and the autumn woods were turning brown before he reached his destination. It was evening when he landed, amid fireworks, illuminations, and the firing of cannon. All Quebec came to meet him by torchlight; the members of the council offered their respects, and the Jesuits made him an harangue of welcome. [Footnote: La Hontan, I. 199.] It was but a welcome of words. They and the councillors had done their best to have him recalled, and hoped that they were rid of him for ever; but now he was among them again, rasped by the memory of real or fancied wrongs. The count, however, had no time for quarrelling. The king had told him to bury old animosities and forget the past, and for the present he was too busy to break the royal injunction. [Footnote: _Instruction pour le Sieur Comte de Frontenac_, 7 _Juin_, 1689.] He caused boats to be made ready, and in spite of incessant rains pushed up the river to Montreal. Here he found Denonville and his frightened wife. Every thing was in confusion. The Iroquois were gone, leaving dejection and terror behind them. Frontenac reviewed the troops. There were seven or eight hundred of them in the town, the rest being in garrison at the various forts. Then he repaired to what was once La Chine, and surveyed the miserable waste of ashes and desolation that spread for miles around.
To his extreme disgust, he learned that Denonville had sent a Canadian officer by secret paths to Fort Frontenac, with orders to Valrenne, the commandant, to blow it up, and return with his garrison to Montreal. Frontenac had built the fort, had given it his own name, and had cherished it with a paternal fondness, reinforced by strong hopes of making money out of it. For its sake he had become the butt of scandal and opprobrium; but not the less had he always stood its strenuous and passionate champion. An Iroquois envoy had lately with great insolence demanded its destruction of Denonville; and this alone, in the eyes of Frontenac, was ample reason for maintaining it at any cost. [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Nov._, 1689.] He still had hope that it might be saved, and with all the energy of youth he proceeded to collect canoes, men, provisions, and arms; battled against dejection, insubordination, and fear, and in a few days despatched a convoy of three hundred men to relieve the place, and stop the execution of Denonville’s orders. His orders had been but too promptly obeyed. The convoy was scarcely gone an hour, when, to Frontenac’s unutterable wrath, Valrenne appeared with his garrison. He reported that he had set fire to every thing in the fort that would burn, sunk the three vessels belonging to it, thrown the cannon into the lake, mined the walls and bastions, and left matches burning in the powder magazine; and, further, that when he and his men were five leagues on their way to Montreal a dull and distant explosion told them that the mines had sprung. It proved afterwards that the destruction was not complete; and the Iroquois took possession of the abandoned fort, with a large quantity of stores and munitions left by the garrison in their too hasty retreat. [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Nov._, 1689; _Recueil de ce qui s’est passé en Canada depuis l’année_ 1682.]
There was one ray of light through the clouds. The unwonted news of a victory came to Montreal. It was small, but decisive, and might be an earnest of greater things to come. Before Frontenac’s arrival, Denonville had sent a reconnoitring party up the Ottawa. They had gone no farther than the Lake of Two Mountains, when they met twenty-two Iroquois in two large canoes, who immediately bore down upon them, yelling furiously. The French party consisted of twenty-eight _coureurs de bois_ under Du Lhut and Mantet, excellent partisan chiefs, who manoeuvred so well that the rising sun blazed full in the eyes of the advancing enemy, and spoiled their aim. The French received their fire, which wounded one man; then, closing with them while their guns were empty, gave them a volley, which killed and wounded eighteen of their number. One swam ashore. The remaining three were captured, and given to the Indian allies to be burned. [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Nov._, 1689; _Champigny au Ministre_, 16 _Nov._, 1689. Compare Belmont, whose account is a little different; also _N.Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 435.]
This gleam of sunshine passed, and all grew black again. On a snowy November day, a troop of Iroquois fell on the settlement of La Chesnaye, burned the houses, and vanished with a troop of prisoners, leaving twenty mangled corpses on the snow. [Footnote: Belmont, _Histoire du Canada_; _Frontenac à–_, 17 _Nov._, 1689; _Champigny au Ministre_, 16 _Nov._, 1689. This letter is not the one just cited. Champigny wrote twice on the same day.] “The terror,” wrote the bishop, “is indescribable.” The appearance of a few savages would put a whole neighborhood to flight. [Footnote: _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 435.] So desperate, wrote Frontenac, were the needs of the colony, and so great the contempt with which the Iroquois regarded it, that it almost needed a miracle either to carry on war or make peace. What he most earnestly wished was to keep the Iroquois quiet, and so leave his hands free to deal with the English. This was not easy, to such a pitch of audacity had late events raised them. Neither his temper nor his convictions would allow him to beg peace of them, like his predecessor; but he had inordinate trust in the influence of his name, and he now took a course which he hoped might answer his purpose without increasing their insolence. The perfidious folly of Denonville in seizing their countrymen at Fort Frontenac had been a prime cause of their hostility; and, at the request of the late governor, the surviving captives, thirteen in all, had been taken from the galleys, gorgeously clad in French attire, and sent back to Canada in the ship which carried Frontenac. Among them was a famous Cayuga war-chief called Ourehaoué, whose loss had infuriated the Iroquois. [Footnote: Ourehaoué was not one of the neutrals entrapped at Fort Frontenac, but was seized about the same time by the troops on their way up the St. Lawrence.] Frontenac gained his good-will on the voyage; and, when they reached Quebec, he lodged him in the château, and treated him with such kindness that the chief became his devoted admirer and friend. As his influence was great among his people, Frontenac hoped that he might use him with success to bring about an accommodation. He placed three of the captives at the disposal of the Cayuga, who forthwith sent them to Onondaga with a message which the governor had dictated, and which was to the following effect: “The great Onontio, whom you all know, has come back again. He does not blame you for what you have done; for he looks upon you as foolish children, and blames only the English, who are the cause of your folly, and have made you forget your obedience to a father who has always loved and never deceived you. He will permit me, Ourehaoué, to return to you as soon as you will come to ask for me, not as you have spoken of late, but like children speaking to a father.” [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 30 _Avril_, 1690.] Frontenac hoped that they would send an embassy to reclaim their chief, and thus give him an opportunity to use his personal influence over them. With the three released captives, he sent an Iroquois convert named Cut Nose with a wampum belt to announce his return.
When the deputation arrived at Onondaga and made known their errand, the Iroquois magnates, with their usual deliberation, deferred answering till a general council of the confederacy should have time to assemble; and, meanwhile, they sent messengers to ask the mayor of Albany, and others of their Dutch and English friends, to come to the meeting. They did not comply, merely sending the government interpreter, with a few Mohawk Indians, to represent their interests. On the other hand, the Jesuit Milet, who had been captured a few months before, adopted, and made an Oneida chief, used every effort to second the designs of Frontenac. The authorities of Albany tried in vain to induce the Iroquois to place him in their hands. They understood their interests too well, and held fast to the Jesuit. [Footnote: Milet was taken in 1689, not, as has been supposed, in 1690. _Lettre du Père Milet_, 1691, printed by Shea.]
The grand council took place at Onondaga on the twenty-second of January. Eighty chiefs and sachems, seated gravely on mats around the council fire, smoked their pipes in silence for a while; till at length an Onondaga orator rose, and announced that Frontenac, the old Onontio, had returned with Ourehaoué and twelve more of their captive friends, that he meant to rekindle the council fire at Fort Frontenac, and that he invited them to meet him there. [Footnote: Frontenac declares that he sent no such message, and intimates that Cut Nose had been tampered with by persons over-anxious to conciliate the Iroquois, and who had even gone so far as to send them messages on their own account. These persons were Lamberville, François Hertel, and one of the Le Moynes. Frontenac was very angry at this interference, to which he ascribes the most mischievous consequences. Cut Nose, or Nez Coupé, is called Adarahta by Colden, and Gagniegaton, or Red Bird, by some French writers.]
“Ho, ho, ho,” returned the eighty senators, from the bottom of their throats. It was the unfailing Iroquois response to a speech. Then Cut Nose, the governor’s messenger, addressed the council: “I advise you to meet Onontio as he desires. Do so, if you wish to live.” He presented a wampum belt to confirm his words, and the conclave again returned the same guttural ejaculation.
“Ourehaoué sends you this,” continued Cut Nose, presenting another belt of wampum: “by it he advises you to listen to Onontio, if you wish to live.”
When the messenger from Canada had ceased, the messenger from Albany, a Mohawk Indian, rose and repeated word for word a speech confided to him by the mayor of that town, urging the Iroquois to close their ears against the invitations of Onontio.
Next rose one Cannehoot, a sachem of the Senecas, charged with matters of grave import; for they involved no less than the revival of that scheme, so perilous to the French, of the union of the tribes of the Great Lakes in a triple alliance with the Iroquois and the English. These lake tribes, disgusted with the French, who, under Denonville, had left them to the mercy of the Iroquois, had been impelled, both by their fears and their interests to make new advances to the confederacy, and had first addressed themselves to the Senecas, whom they had most cause to dread. They had given up some of the Iroquois prisoners in their hands, and promised soon to give up the rest. A treaty had been made; and it was this event which the Seneca sachem now announced to the council. Having told the story to his assembled colleagues, he exhibited and explained the wampum belts and other tokens brought by the envoys from the lakes, who represented nine distinct tribes or bands from the region of Michillimackinac. By these tokens, the nine tribes declared that they came to learn wisdom of the Iroquois and the English; to wash off the war-paint, throw down the tomahawk, smoke the pipe of peace, and unite with them as one body. “Onontio is drunk,” such was the interpretation of the fourth wampum belt; “but we, the tribes of Michillimackinac, wash our hands of all his actions. Neither we nor you must defile ourselves by listening to him.” When the Seneca sachem had ended, and when the ejaculations that echoed his words had ceased, the belts were hung up before all the assembly, then taken down again, and distributed among the sachems of the five Iroquois tribes, excepting one, which was given to the messengers from Albany. Thus was concluded the triple alliance, which to Canada meant no less than ruin.
“Brethren,” said an Onondaga sachem, “we must hold fast to our brother Quider (_Peter Schuyler, mayor of Albany_) and look on Onontio as our enemy, for he is a cheat.”
Then they invited the interpreter from Albany to address the council, which he did, advising them not to listen to the envoys from Canada. When he had ended, they spent some time in consultation among themselves, and at length agreed on the following message, addressed to Corlaer, or New York, and to Kinshon, the Fish, by which they meant New England, the authorities of which had sent them the image of a fish as a token of alliance: [Footnote: The wooden image of a codfish still hangs in the State House at Boston, the emblem of a colony which lived chiefly by the fisheries.]–
“Brethren, our council fire burns at Albany. We will not go to meet Onontio at Fort Frontenac. We will hold fast to the old chain of peace with Corlaer, and we will fight with Onontio. Brethren, we are glad to hear from you that you are preparing to make war on Canada, but tell us no lies.
“Brother Kinshon, we hear that you mean to send soldiers against the Indians to the eastward; but we advise you, now that we are all united against the French, to fall upon them at once. Strike at the root: when the trunk is cut down, all the branches fall with it.
“Courage, Corlaer! courage, Kinshon! Go to Quebec in the spring; take it, and you will have your feet on the necks of the French and all their friends.”
Then they consulted together again, and agreed on the following answer to Ourehaoue and Frontenac:–
“Ourehaoué, the whole council is glad to hear that you have come back.
“Onontio, you have told us that you have come back again, and brought with you thirteen of our people who were carried prisoners to France. We are glad of it. You wish to speak with us at Cataraqui (_Fort Frontenac_). Don’t you know that your council fire there is put out? It is quenched in blood. You must first send home the prisoners. When our brother Ourehaoué is returned to us, then we will talk with you of peace. You must send him and the others home this very winter. We now let you know that we have made peace with the tribes of Michillimackinac. You are not to think, because we return you an answer, that we have laid down the tomahawk. Our warriors will continue the war till you send our countrymen back to us.” 
The messengers from Canada returned with this reply. Unsatisfactory as it was, such a quantity of wampum was sent with it as showed plainly the importance attached by the Iroquois to the matters in question. Encouraged by a recent success against the English, and still possessed with an overweening confidence in his own influence over the confederates, Frontenac resolved that Ourehaoué should send them another message. The chief, whose devotion to the count never wavered, accordingly despatched four envoys, with a load of wampum belts, expressing his astonishment that his countrymen had not seen fit to send a deputation of chiefs to receive him from the hands of Onontio, and calling upon them to do so without delay, lest he should think that they had forgotten him. Along with the messengers, Frontenac ventured to send the Chevalier d’Aux, a half-pay officer, with orders to observe the disposition of the Iroquois, and impress them in private talk with a sense of the count’s power, of his good-will to them, and of the wisdom of coming to terms with him, lest, like an angry father, he should be forced at last to use the rod. The chevalier’s reception was a warm one. They burned two of his attendants, forced him to run the gauntlet, and, after a vigorous thrashing, sent him prisoner to Albany. The last failure was worse than the first. The count’s name was great among the Iroquois, but he had trusted its power too far. [Footnote: _Message of Ourehaoué_, in _N. Y. Col. Docs._, III. 735; _Instructions to Chevalier d’Eau, Ibid., _733; _Chevalier d’Aux au Ministre_, 15 _Mai_, 1693. The chevalier’s name is also written _d’O_, He himself wrote it as in the text.]
The worst of news had come from Michillimackinac. La Durantaye, the commander of the post, and Carheil, the Jesuit, had sent a messenger to Montreal in the depth of winter to say that the tribes around them were on the point of revolt. Carheil wrote that they threatened openly to throw themselves into the arms of the Iroquois and the English; that they declared that the protection of Onontio was an illusion and a snare; that they once mistook the French for warriors, but saw now that they were no match for the Iroquois, whom they had tamely allowed to butcher them at Montreal, without even daring to defend themselves; that when the French invaded the Senecas they did nothing but cut down corn and break canoes, and since that time they had done nothing but beg peace for themselves, forgetful of their allies, whom they expected to bear the brunt of the war, and then left to their fate; that they had surrendered through cowardice the prisoners they had caught by treachery, and this, too, at a time when the Iroquois were burning French captives in all their towns; and, finally, that, as the French would not or could not make peace for them, they would make peace for themselves. “These,” pursued Carheil, “are the reasons they give us to prove the necessity of their late embassy to the Senecas; and by this one can see that our Indians are a great deal more clear-sighted than they are thought to be, and that it is hard to conceal from their penetration any thing that can help or harm their interests. What is certain is that, if the Iroquois are not stopped, they will not fail to come and make themselves masters here.” [Footnote: _Carheil à Frontenac_, 1690. Frontenac did not receive this letter till September, and acted on the information previously sent him. Charlevoix’s version of the letter does not conform with the original.]
Charlevoix thinks that Frontenac was not displeased at this bitter arraignment of his predecessor’s administration. At the same time, his position was very embarrassing. He had no men to spare; but such was the necessity of saving Michillimackinac, and breaking off the treaty with the Senecas, that when spring opened he sent Captain Louvigny with a hundred and forty-three Canadians and six Indians to reinforce the post and replace its commander, La Durantaye. Two other officers with an additional force were ordered to accompany him through the most dangerous part of the journey. With them went Nicolas Perrot, bearing a message from the count to his rebellious children of Michillimackinac. The following was the pith of this characteristic document:–
“I am astonished to learn that you have forgotten the protection that I always gave you. Do you think that I am no longer alive; or that I have a mind to stand idle, like those who have been here in my place? Or do you think that, if eight or ten hairs have been torn from my children’s heads when I was absent, I cannot put ten handfuls of hair in the place of every one that was pulled out? You know that before I protected you the ravenous Iroquois dog was biting everybody. I tamed him and tied him up; but, when he no longer saw me, he behaved worse than ever. If he persists, he shall feel my power. The English have tried to win him by flatteries, but I will kill all who encourage him. The English have deceived and devoured their children, but I am a good father who loves you. I loved the Iroquois once, because they obeyed me. When I knew that they had been treacherously captured and carried to France, I set them free; and, when I restore them to their country, it will not be through fear, but through pity, for I hate treachery. I am strong enough to kill the English, destroy the Iroquois, and whip you, if you fail in your duty to me. The Iroquois have killed and captured you in time of peace. Do to them as they have done to you, do to the English as they would like to do to you, but hold fast to your true father, who will never abandon you. Will you let the English brandy that has killed you in your wigwams lure you into the kettles of the Iroquois? Is not mine better, which has never killed you, but always made you strong?” [Footnote: _Parole (de M. de Frontenac) qui doit être dite à l’Outaouais pour le dissuader de l’Alliance qu’il vent faire avec l’Iroquois et l’Anglois_. The message is long. Only the principal points are given above.]
Charged with this haughty missive, Perrot set out for Michillimackinac along with Louvigny and his men. On their way up the Ottawa, they met a large band of Iroquois hunters, whom they routed with heavy loss. Nothing could have been more auspicious for Perrot’s errand. When towards midsummer they reached their destination, they ranged their canoes in a triumphal procession, placed in the foremost an Iroquois captured in the fight, forced him to dance and sing, hung out the _fleur-de-lis_, shouted _Vive le Roi_, whooped, yelled, and fired their guns. As they neared the village of the Ottawas, all the naked population ran down to the shore, leaping, yelping, and firing, in return. Louvigny and his men passed on, and landed at the neighboring village of the French settlers, who, drawn up in battle array on the shore, added more yells and firing to the general uproar; though, amid this joyous fusillade of harmless gunpowder, they all kept their bullets ready for instant use, for they distrusted the savage multitude. The story of the late victory, however, confirmed as it was by an imposing display of scalps, produced an effect which averted the danger of an immediate outbreak.
The fate of the Iroquois prisoner now became the point at issue. The French hoped that the Indians in their excitement could be induced to put him to death, and thus break their late treaty with his countrymen. Besides the Ottawas, there was at Michillimackinac a village of Hurons under their crafty chief, the Rat. They had pretended to stand fast for the French, who nevertheless believed them to be at the bottom of all the mischief. They now begged for the prisoner, promising to burn him. On the faith of this pledge, he was given to them; but they broke their word, and kept him alive, in order to curry favor with the Iroquois. The Ottawas, intensely jealous of the preference shown to the Hurons, declared in their anger that the prisoner ought to be killed and eaten. This was precisely what the interests of the French demanded; but the Hurons still persisted in protecting him. Their Jesuit missionary now interposed, and told them that, unless they “put the Iroquois into the kettle,” the French would take him from them. After much discussion, this argument prevailed. They planted a stake, tied him to it, and began to torture him; but, as he did not show the usual fortitude of his country men, they declared him unworthy to die the death of a warrior, and accordingly shot him. 
Here was a point gained for the French, but the danger was not passed. The Ottawas could disavow the killing of the Iroquois; and, in fact, though there was a great division of opinion among them, they were preparing at this very time to send a secret embassy to the Seneca country to ratify the fatal treaty. The French commanders called a council of all the tribes. It met at the house of the Jesuits. Presents in abundance were distributed. The message of Frontenac was reinforced by persuasion and threats; and the assembly was told that the five tribes of the Iroquois were like five nests of muskrats in a marsh, which the French would drain dry, and then burn with all its inhabitants. Perrot took the disaffected chiefs aside, and with his usual bold adroitness diverted them for the moment from their purpose. The projected embassy was stopped, but any day might revive it. There was no safety for the French, and the ground of Michillimackinac was hollow under their feet. Every thing depended on the success of their arms. A few victories would confirm their wavering allies; but the breath of another defeat would blow the fickle crew over to the enemy like a drift of dry leaves.
 _Projet du Chevalier de Callières de former une Expédition pour aller attaquer Orange, Manatte, etc.; Résumé du Ministre sur la Proposition de M. de Callières; Autre Mémoire de M. de Callières sur son Projet d’attaquer la Nouvelle York; Mémoire des Armes, Munitions, et Ustensiles nécessaires pour l’Entreprise proposée par M. de Callières; Observations du Ministre sur le Projet et le Mémoire ci-dessus; Observations du Ministre sur le Projet d’Attaque de la Nouvelle York; Autre Mémoire de M. de Callières au Sujet de l’Entreprise proposée; Autre Mémoire de M. de Callières sur le même Sujet_.
 _Mémoire pour servir d’Instruction à Monsieur le Comte de Frontenac sur l’Entreprise de la Nouvelle York_, 7 _Juin_, 1689. “Si parmy les habitans de la Nouvelle York il se trouve des Catholiques de la fidelité desquels il croye se pouvoir asseurer, il pourra les laisser dans leurs habitations après leur avoir fait prester serment de fidelité à sa Majesté…. Il pourra aussi garder, s’il le juge à propos, des artisans et autres gens de service nécessaires pour la culture des terres ou pour travailler aux fortifications en qualité de prisonniers…. II faut retenir en prison les officiers et les principaux habitans desquels on pourra retirer des rançons. A l’esgard de tous les autres estrangers (_ceux qui ne sont pas Français_) hommes, femmes, et enfans, sa Majesté trouve à propos qu’ils soient mis hors de la Colonie et envoyez à la Nouvelle Angleterre, à la Pennsylvanie, ou en d’autres endroits qu’il jugera à propos, par mer ou par terre, ensemble ou séparement, le tout suivant qu’il trouvera plus seur pour les dissiper et empescher qu’en se réunissant ils ne puissent donner occasion à des entreprises de la part des ennemis contre cette Colonie. Il envoyera en France les Francais fugitifs qu’il y pourra trouver, et particulièrement ceux de la Religion Prétendue-Réformée (_Huguenots_).” A translation of the entire document will be found in _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 422.
 The account of this council is given, with condensation and the omission of parts not essential, from Colden (105-112, ed. 1747). It will serve as an example of the Iroquois method of conducting political business, the habitual regularity and decorum of which has drawn from several contemporary French writers the remark that in such matters the five tribes were savages only in name. The reply to Frontenac is also given by Monseignat (_N. Y. Col. Docs_., IX. 465), and, after him, by La Potherie. Compare Le Clercq, _Établissement de la Foy_, II. 403. Ourehaoué is the Tawerahet of Colden.
 “Le Père Missionnaire des Hurons, prévoyant que cette affaire auroit peut-être une suite qui pourrait être préjudiciable aux soins qu’il prenoit de leur instruction, demanda qu’il lui fut permis d’aller à leur village pour les obliger de trouver quelque moyen qui fut capable d’appaiser le ressentiment des François. Il leur dit que ceux ci vouloient absolument que l’on mit _l’Iroquois à la chaudière_, et que si on ne le faisoit, on devoit venir le leur enlever.” La Potherie, II. 237 (1722). By the “result prejudicial to his cares for their instruction” he seems to mean their possible transfer from French to English influences. The expression _mettre à la chaudière_, though derived from cannibal practices, is often used figuratively for torturing and killing. The missionary in question was either Carheil or another Jesuit, who must have acted with his sanction.
THE THREE WAR-PARTIES.
MEASURES OF FRONTENAC.–EXPEDITION AGAINST SCHENECTADY.–THE MARCH.–THE DUTCH VILLAGE.–THE SURPRISE.–THE MASSACRE.–PRISONERS SPARED.–RETREAT.–THE ENGLISH AND THEIR IROQUOIS FRIENDS.–THE ABENAKI WAR.–REVOLUTION AT BOSTON.–CAPTURE OF PEMAQUID.–CAPTURE OF SALMON FALLS.–CAPTURE OF FORT LOYAL.–FRONTENAC AND HIS PRISONER.–THE CANADIANS ENCOURAGED.
While striving to reclaim his allies, Frontenac had not forgotten his enemies. It was of the last necessity to revive the dashed spirits of the Canadians and the troops; and action, prompt and bold, was the only means of doing so. He resolved, therefore, to take the offensive, not against the Iroquois, who seemed invulnerable as ghosts, but against the English; and by striking a few sharp and rapid blows to teach both friends and foes that Onontio was still alive. The effect of his return had already begun to appear, and the energy and fire of the undaunted veteran had shot new life into the dejected population. He formed three war-parties of picked men, one at Montreal, one at Three Rivers, and one at Quebec; the first to strike at Albany, the second at the border settlements of New Hampshire, and the third at those of Maine. That of Montreal was ready first. It consisted of two hundred and ten men, of whom ninety-six were Indian converts, chiefly from the two mission villages of Saut St. Louis and the Mountain of Montreal. They were Christian Iroquois whom the priests had persuaded to leave their homes and settle in Canada, to the great indignation of their heathen countrymen, and the great annoyance of the English colonists, to whom they were a constant menace. When Denonville attacked the Senecas, they had joined him; but of late they had shown reluctance to fight their heathen kinsmen, with whom the French even suspected them of collusion. Against the English, however, they willingly took up the hatchet. The French of the party were for the most part _coureurs de bois_. As the sea is the sailor’s element, so the forest was theirs. Their merits were hardihood and skill in woodcraft; their chief faults were insubordination and lawlessness. They had shared the general demoralization that followed the inroad of the Iroquois, and under Denonville had proved mutinous and unmanageable. In the best times, it was a hard task to command them, and one that needed, not bravery alone, but tact, address, and experience. Under a chief of such a stamp, they were admirable bushfighters, and such were those now chosen to lead them. D’Aillebout de Mantet and Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène, the brave son of Charles Le Moyne, had the chief command, supported by the brothers Le Moyne d’Iberville and Le Moyne de Bienville, with Repentigny de Montesson, Le Ber du Chesne, and others of the sturdy Canadian _noblesse_, nerved by adventure and trained in Indian warfare. [Footnote: _Relation de Monseignat_, 1689-90. There is a translation of this valuable paper in _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 462. The party, according to three of their number, consisted at first of 160 French and 140 Christian Indians, but was reduced by sickness and desertion to 250 in all. _Examination of three French prisoners taken by the Maquas (Mohawks), and brought to Skinnectady, who were examined by Peter Schuyler, Mayor of Albany, Domine Godevridus Dellius, and some of the Gentlemen that went from Albany a purpose._]
It was the depth of winter when they began their march, striding on snow-shoes over the vast white field of the frozen St. Lawrence, each with the hood of his blanket coat drawn over his head, a gun in his mittened hand, a knife, a hatchet, a tobacco pouch, and a bullet pouch at his belt, a pack on his shoulders, and his inseparable pipe hung at his neck in a leather case. They dragged their blankets and provisions over the snow on Indian sledges. Crossing the forest to Chambly, they advanced four or five days up the frozen Richelieu and the frozen Lake Champlain, and then stopped to hold a council. Frontenac had left the precise point of attack at the discretion of the leaders, and thus far the men had been ignorant of their destination. The Indians demanded to know it. Mantet and Sainte-Hélène replied that they were going to Albany. The Indians demurred. “How long is it,” asked one of them, “since the French grew so bold?” The commanders answered that, to regain the honor of which their late misfortunes had robbed them, the French would take Albany or die in the attempt. The Indians listened sullenly; the decision was postponed, and the party moved forward again. When after eight days they reached the Hudson, and found the place where two paths diverged, the one for Albany and the other for Schenectady, they all without farther words took the latter. Indeed, to attempt Albany would have been an act of desperation. The march was horrible. There was a partial thaw, and they waded knee-deep through the half melted snow, and the mingled ice, mud, and water of the gloomy swamps. So painful and so slow was their progress, that it was nine days more before they reached a point two leagues from Schenectady. The weather had changed again, and a cold, gusty snow-storm pelted them. It was one of those days when the trees stand white as spectres in the sheltered hollows of the forest, and bare and gray on the wind-swept ridges. The men were half dead with cold, fatigue, and hunger. It was four in the afternoon of the eighth of February. The scouts found an Indian hut, and in it were four Iroquois squaws, whom they captured. There was a fire in the wigwam; and the shivering Canadians crowded about it, stamping their chilled feet and warming their benumbed hands over the blaze. The Christian chief of the Saut St. Louis, known as Le Grand Agnié, or the Great Mohawk, by the French, and by the Dutch called Kryn, harangued his followers, and exhorted them to wash out their wrongs in blood. Then they all advanced again, and about dark reached the river Mohawk, a little above the village. A Canadian named Gignières, who had gone with nine Indians to reconnoitre, now returned to say that he had been within sight of Schenectady, and had seen nobody. Their purpose had been to postpone the attack till two o’clock in the morning; but the situation was intolerable, and the limit of human endurance was reached. They could not make fires, and they must move on or perish. Guided by the frightened squaws, they crossed the Mohawk on the ice, toiling through the drifts amid the whirling snow that swept down the valley of the darkened stream, till about eleven o’clock they descried through the storm the snow-beplastered palisades of the devoted village. Such was their plight that some of them afterwards declared that they would all have surrendered if an enemy had appeared to summon them. [Footnote: Colden, 114 (ed. 1747).]
Schenectady was the farthest outpost of the colony of New York. Westward lay the Mohawk forests; and Orange, or Albany, was fifteen miles or more towards the south-east. The village was oblong in form, and enclosed by a palisade which had two gates, one towards Albany and the other towards the Mohawks. There was a blockhouse near the eastern gate, occupied by eight or nine Connecticut militia men under Lieutenant Talmage. There were also about thirty friendly Mohawks in the place, on a visit. The inhabitants, who were all Dutch, were in a state of discord and confusion. The revolution in England had produced a revolution in New York. The demagogue Jacob Leisler had got possession of Fort William, and was endeavoring to master the whole colony. Albany was in the hands of the anti-Leisler or conservative party, represented by a convention of which Peter Schuyler was the chief. The Dutch of Schenectady for the most part favored Leisler, whose emissaries had been busily at work among them; but their chief magistrate, John Sander Glen, a man of courage and worth, stood fast for the Albany convention, and in consequence the villagers had threatened to kill him. Talmage and his Connecticut militia were under orders from Albany; and therefore, like Glen, they were under the popular ban. In vain the magistrate and the officer entreated the people to stand on their guard. They turned the advice to ridicule, laughed at the idea of danger, left both their gates wide open, and placed there, it is said, two snow images as mock sentinels. A French account declares that the village contained eighty houses, which is certainly an exaggeration. There had been some festivity during the evening, but it was now over; and the primitive villagers, fathers, mothers, children, and infants, lay buried in unconscious sleep. They were simple peasants and rude woodsmen, but with human affections and capable of human woe.
The French and Indians stood before the open gate, with its blind and dumb warder, the mock sentinel of snow. Iberville went with a detachment to find the Albany gate, and bar it against the escape of fugitives; but he missed it in the gloom, and hastened back. The assailants were now formed into two bands, Sainte-Hélène leading the one and Mantet the other. They passed through the gate together in dead silence: one turned to the right and the other to the left, and they filed around the village between the palisades and the houses till the two leaders met at the farther end. Thus the place was completely surrounded. The signal was then given: they all screeched the war-whoop together, burst in the doors with hatchets, and fell to their work. Roused by the infernal din, the villagers leaped from their beds. For some it was but a momentary nightmare of fright and horror, ended by the blow of the tomahawk. Others were less fortunate. Neither women nor children were spared. “No pen can write, and no tongue express,” wrote Schuyler, “the cruelties that were committed.” [Footnote: “The women bigg with Childe rip’d up, and the Children alive throwne into the flames, and their heads dashed to pieces against the Doors and windows.” _Schuyler to the Council of Connecticut_, 15 _Feb_., 1690. Similar statements are made by Leisler. See _Doc. Hist. N. Y._, I. 307, 310.] There was little resistance, except at the block-house, where Talmage and his men made a stubborn fight; but the doors were at length forced open, the defenders killed or taken, and the building set on fire. Adam Vrooman, one of the villagers, saw his wife shot and his child brained against the door-post; but he fought so desperately that the assailants promised him his life. Orders had been given to spare Peter Tassemaker, the domine or minister, from whom it was thought that valuable information might be obtained; but he was hacked to pieces, and his house burned. Some, more agile or more fortunate than the rest, escaped at the eastern gate, and fled through the storm to seek shelter at Albany or at houses along the way. Sixty persons were killed outright, of whom thirty-eight were men and boys, ten were women, and twelve were children. [Footnote: _List of ye. People kild and destroyed by ye. French of Canida and there Indians at Skinnechtady_, in _Doc. Hist. N. Y._, I. 304.] The number captured appears to have been between eighty and ninety. The thirty Mohawks in the town were treated with studied kindness by the victors, who declared that they had no quarrel with them, but only with the Dutch and English.
The massacre and pillage continued two hours; then the prisoners were secured, sentinels posted, and the men told to rest and refresh themselves. In the morning, a small party crossed the river to the house of Glen, which stood on a rising ground half a mile distant. It was loopholed and palisaded; and Glen had mustered his servants and tenants, closed his gates, and prepared to defend himself. The French told him to fear nothing, for they had orders not to hurt a chicken of his; whereupon, after requiring them to lay down their arms, he allowed them to enter. They urged him to go with them to the village, and he complied; they on their part leaving one of their number as a hostage in the hands of his followers. Iberville appeared at the gate with the Great Mohawk, and, drawing his commission from the breast of his coat, told Glen that he was specially charged to pay a debt which the French owed him. On several occasions, he had saved the lives of French prisoners in the hands of the Mohawks; and he, with his family, and, above all, his wife, had shown them the greatest kindness. He was now led before the crowd of wretched prisoners, and told that not only were his own life and property safe, but that all his kindred should be spared. Glen stretched his privilege to the utmost, till the French Indians, disgusted at his multiplied demands for clemency, observed that everybody seemed to be his relation.
Some of the houses had already been burned. Fire was now set to the rest, excepting one, in which a French officer lay wounded, another belonging to Glen, and three or four more which he begged the victors to spare. At noon Schenectady was in ashes. Then the French and Indians withdrew, laden with booty. Thirty or forty captured horses dragged their sledges; and a troop of twenty-seven men and boys were driven prisoners into the forest. About sixty old men, women, and children were left behind, without farther injury, in order, it is said, to conciliate the Mohawks in the place, who had joined with Glen in begging that they might be spared. Of the victors, only two had been killed. 
At the outset of the attack, Simon Schermerhorn threw himself on a horse, and galloped through the eastern gate. The French shot at and wounded him; but he escaped, reached Albany at daybreak, and gave the alarm. The soldiers and inhabitants were called to arms, cannon were fired to rouse the country, and a party of horsemen, followed by some friendly Mohawks, set out for Schenectady. The Mohawks had promised to carry the news to their three towns on the river above; but, when they reached the ruined village, they were so frightened at the scene of havoc that they would not go farther. Two days passed before the alarm reached the Mohawk towns. Then troops of warriors came down on snow-shoes, equipped with tomahawk and gun, to chase the retiring French. Fifty young men from Albany joined them; and they followed the trail of the enemy, who, with the help of their horses, made such speed over the ice of Lake Champlain that it seemed impossible to overtake them. They thought the pursuit abandoned; and, having killed and eaten most of their horses, and being spent with fatigue, they moved more slowly as they neared home, when a band of Mohawks, who had followed stanchly on their track, fell upon a party of stragglers, and killed or captured fifteen or more, almost within sight of Montreal.
Three of these prisoners, examined by Schuyler, declared that Frontenac was preparing for a grand attack on Albany in the spring. In the political confusion of the time, the place was not in fighting condition; and Schuyler appealed for help to the authorities of Massachusetts. “Dear neighbours and friends, we must acquaint you that nevir poor People in the world was in a worse Condition than we are at Present, no Governour nor Command, no money to forward any expedition, and scarce Men enough to maintain the Citty. We have here plainly laid the case before you, and doubt not but you will so much take it to heart, and make all Readinesse in the Spring to invade Canida by water.” [Footnote: _Schuyler, Wessell, and Van Rensselaer to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts,_ 15 _Feb.,_ 1690, in _Andros Tracts,_ III. 114.] The Mohawks were of the same mind. Their elders came down to Albany to condole with their Dutch and English friends on the late disaster. “We are come,” said their orator, “with tears in our eyes, to lament the murders committed at Schenectady by the perfidious French. Onontio comes to our country to speak of peace, but war is at his heart. He has broken into our house at both ends, once among the Senecas and once here; but we hope to be revenged. Brethren, our covenant with you is a silver chain that cannot rust or break. We are of the race of the bear; and the bear does not yield, so long as there is a drop of blood in his body. Let us all be bears. We will go together with an army to ruin the country of the French. Therefore, send in all haste to New England. Let them be ready with ships and great guns to attack by water, while we attack by land.” [Footnote: _Propositions made by the Sachems of ye. Maquase (Mohawk) Castles to ye. Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonality of ye. Citty of Albany, ye. 25 day of february_, 1690, in _Doc. Hist. N. Y._, II. 164-169.] Schuyler did not trust his red allies, who, however, seem on this occasion to have meant what they said. He lost no time in sending commissioners to urge the several governments of New England to a combined attack on the French.
New England needed no prompting to take up arms; for she presently learned to her cost that, though feeble and prostrate, Canada could sting. The war-party which attacked Schenectady was, as we have seen, but one of three which Frontenac had sent against the English borders. The second, aimed at New Hampshire, left Three Rivers on the twenty-eighth of January, commanded by François Hertel. It consisted of twenty-four Frenchmen, twenty Abenakis of the Sokoki band, and five Algonquins. After three months of excessive hardship in the vast and rugged wilderness that intervened, they approached the little settlement of Salmon Falls on the stream which separates New Hampshire from Maine; and here for a moment we leave them, to observe the state of this unhappy frontier.
It was twelve years and more since the great Indian outbreak, called King Philip’s War, had carried havoc through all the borders of New England. After months of stubborn fighting, the fire was quenched in Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut; but in New Hampshire and Maine it continued to burn fiercely till the treaty of Casco, in 1678. The principal Indians of this region were the tribes known collectively as the Abenakis. The French had established relations with them through the missionaries; and now, seizing the opportunity, they persuaded many of these distressed and exasperated savages to leave the neighborhood of the English, migrate to Canada, and settle first at Sillery near Quebec and then at the falls of the Chaudière. Here the two Jesuits, Jacques and Vincent Bigot, prime agents in their removal, took them in charge; and the missions of St. Francis became villages of Abenaki Christians, like the village of Iroquois Christians at Saut St. Louis. In both cases, the emigrants were sheltered under the wing of Canada; and they and their tomahawks were always at her service. The two Bigots spared no pains to induce more of the Abenakis to join these mission colonies. They were in good measure successful, though the great body of the tribe still clung to their ancient homes on the Saco, the Kennebec, and the Penobscot. [Footnote: The Abenaki migration to Canada began as early as the autumn of 1675 (_Relation,_ 1676-77). On the mission of St. Francis on the Chaudière, see Bigot, _Relation,_ 1684; _Ibid.,_ 1685. It was afterwards removed to the river St. Francis.]
There were ten years of critical and dubious peace along the English border, and then the war broke out again. The occasion of this new uprising is not very clear, and it is hardly worth while to look for it. Between the harsh and reckless borderer on the one side, and the fierce savage on the other, a single spark might at any moment set the frontier in a blaze. The English, however, believed firmly that their French rivals had a hand in the new outbreak; and, in fact, the Abenakis told some of their English captives that Saint-Castin, a French adventurer on the Penobscot, gave every Indian who would go to the war a pound of gunpowder, two pounds of lead, and a supply of tobacco. [Footnote: Hutchinson, _Hist. Mass.,_ I. 326. Compare _N. Y. Col. Docs.,_ IV. 282, 476.] The trading house of Saint-Castin, which stood on ground claimed by England, had lately been plundered by Sir Edmund Andros, and some of the English had foretold that an Indian war would be the consequence; but none of them seem at this time to have suspected that the governor of Canada and his Jesuit friends had any