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complained that, while the great sums he was spending in the colony turned to the profit of the inhabitants, they contributed nothing to their own defence. The complaint was scarcely just; for, if they gave no money, they gave their blood with sufficient readiness. Excepting a few merchants, they had nothing else to give; and, in the years when the fur trade was cut off, they lived chiefly on the pay they received for supplying the troops and other public services. Far from being able to support the war, they looked to the war to support them. [Footnote: “Sa Majesté fait depuis plusieurs années des sacrifices immenses en Canada. L’avantage en demeure presque tout entier au profit des habitans et des marchands qui y resident. Ces dépenses se font pour leur seureté et pour leur conservation. Il est juste que ceux qui sont en estat secourent le public.” _Mémoire du Roy_, 1693. “Les habitans de la colonie ne contribuent en rien à tout ce que Sa Majesté fait pour leur conservation, pendant que ses sujets du Royaume donnent tout ce qu’ils ont pour son service.” _Le Ministre a Frontenac_, 13 _Mars_, 1694.]

The work of fortifying the vital points of the colony, Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, received constant stimulus from the alarms of attack, and, above all, from a groundless report that ten thousand “Bostonnais” had sailed for Quebec. The sessions of the council were suspended, and the councillors seized pick and spade. The old defences of the place were reconstructed on a new plan, made by the great engineer Vauban. The settlers were mustered together from a distance of twenty leagues, and compelled to labor, with little or no pay, till a line of solid earthworks enclosed Quebec from Cape Diamond to the St. Charles. Three Rivers and Montreal were also strengthened. The cost exceeded the estimates, and drew upon Frontenac and Champigny fresh admonitions from Versailles. [2]

The bounties on scalps and prisoners were another occasion of royal complaint. Twenty crowns had been offered for each male white prisoner, ten crowns for each female, and ten crowns for each scalp, whether Indian or English. [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre_, 21 _Sept_., 1692.] The bounty on prisoners produced an excellent result, since instead of killing them the Indian allies learned to bring them to Quebec. If children, they were placed in the convents; and, if adults, they were distributed to labor among the settlers. Thus, though the royal letters show that the measure was one of policy, it acted in the interest of humanity. It was not so with the bounty on scalps. The Abenaki, Huron, and Iroquois converts brought in many of them; but grave doubts arose whether they all came from the heads of enemies. [Footnote: _Relation de_ 1682-1712.] The scalp of a Frenchman was not distinguishable from the scalp of an Englishman, and could be had with less trouble. Partly for this reason, and partly out of economy, the king gave it as his belief that a bounty of one crown was enough; though the governor and the intendant united in declaring that the scalps of the whole Iroquois confederacy would be a good bargain for his Majesty at ten crowns apiece. [Footnote: _Mémoire du Roy aux Sieurs Frontenac et Champigny_, 1693; _Frontenac et Champigny au Ministre_, 4 _Nov_., 1693. The bounty on prisoners was reduced in the same proportion, showing that economy was the chief object of the change.]

The river Ottawa was the main artery of Canada, and to stop it was to stop the flow of her life blood. The Iroquois knew this; and their constant effort was to close it so completely that the annual supply of beaver skins would be prevented from passing, and the colony be compelled to live on credit. It was their habit to spend the latter part of the winter in hunting among the forests between the Ottawa and the upper St. Lawrence, and then, when the ice broke up, to move in large bands to the banks of the former stream, and lie in ambush at the Chaudière, the Long Saut, or other favorable points, to waylay the passing canoes. On the other hand, it was the constant effort of Frontenac to drive them off and keep the river open; an almost impossible task. Many conflicts, great and small, took place with various results; but, in spite of every effort, the Iroquois blockade was maintained more than two years. The story of one of the expeditions made by the French in this quarter will show the hardship of the service, and the moral and physical vigor which it demanded.

Early in February, three hundred men under Dorvilliers were sent by Frontenac to surprise the Iroquois in their hunting-grounds. When they were a few days out, their leader scalded his foot by the upsetting of a kettle at their encampment near Lake St. Francis; and the command fell on a youth named Beaucour, an officer of regulars, accomplished as an engineer, and known for his polished wit. The march through the snow-clogged forest was so terrible that the men lost heart. Hands and feet were frozen; some of the Indians refused to proceed, and many of the Canadians lagged behind. Shots were heard, showing that the enemy were not far off; but cold, hunger, and fatigue had overcome the courage of the pursuers, and the young commander saw his followers on the point of deserting him. He called them together, and harangued them in terms so animating that they caught his spirit, and again pushed on. For four hours more they followed the tracks of the Iroquois snow-shoes, till they found the savages in their bivouac, set upon them, and killed or captured nearly all. There was a French slave among them, scarcely distinguishable from his owners. It was an officer named La Plante, taken at La Chine three years before. “He would have been killed like his masters,” says La Hontan, “if he had not cried out with all his might, _’Miséricorde, sauvez-moi, je suis Français’_” [Footnote: La Potherie, III. 156; _Relation de ce qui s’est passé de plus considérable en Canada_, 1691, 1692; La Hontan, I. 233.] Beaucour brought his prisoners to Quebec, where Frontenac ordered that two of them should be burned. One stabbed himself in prison; the other was tortured by the Christian Hurons on Cape Diamond, defying them to the last. Nor was this the only instance of such fearful reprisal. In the same year, a number of Iroquois captured by Vaudreuil were burned at Montreal at the demand of the Canadians and the mission Indians, who insisted that their cruelties should be paid back in kind. It is said that the purpose was answered, and the Iroquois deterred for a while from torturing their captives. [Footnote: _Relation_, 1682-1712.]

The brunt of the war fell on the upper half of the colony. The country about Montreal, and for nearly a hundred miles below it, was easily accessible to the Iroquois by the routes of Lake Champlain and the upper St. Lawrence; while below Three Rivers the settlements were tolerably safe from their incursions, and were exposed to attack solely from the English of New England, who could molest them only by sailing up from the Gulf in force. Hence the settlers remained on their farms, and followed their usual occupations, except when Frontenac drafted them for war-parties. Above Three Rivers, their condition was wholly different. A traveller passing through this part of Canada would have found the houses empty. Here and there he would have seen all the inhabitants of a parish laboring in a field together, watched by sentinels, and generally guarded by a squad of regulars. When one field was tilled, they passed to the next; and this communal process was repeated when the harvest was ripe. At night, they took refuge in the fort; that is to say, in a cluster of log cabins, surrounded by a palisade. Sometimes, when long exemption from attack had emboldened them, they ventured back to their farm-houses, an experiment always critical and sometimes fatal. Thus the people of La Chesnaye, forgetting a sharp lesson they had received a year or two before, returned to their homes in fancied security. One evening a bachelor of the parish made a visit to a neighboring widow, bringing with him his gun and a small dog. As he was taking his leave, his hostess, whose husband had been killed the year before, told him that she was afraid to be left alone, and begged him to remain with her, an invitation which he accepted. Towards morning, the barking of his dog roused him; when, going out, he saw the night lighted up by the blaze of burning houses, and heard the usual firing and screeching of an Iroquois attack. He went back to his frightened companion, who also had a gun. Placing himself at a corner of the house, he told her to stand behind him. A number of Iroquois soon appeared, on which he fired at them, and, taking her gun, repeated the shot, giving her his own to load. The warriors returned his fire from a safe distance, and in the morning withdrew altogether, on which the pair emerged from their shelter, and succeeded in reaching the fort. The other inhabitants were all killed or captured. [Footnote: _Relation_, 1682-1712.] Many incidents of this troubled time are preserved, but none of them are so well worth the record as the defence of the fort at Verchères by the young daughter of the seignior. Many years later, the Marquis de Beauharnais, governor of Canada, caused the story to be written down from the recital of the heroine herself. Verchères was on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, about twenty miles below Montreal. A strong blockhouse stood outside the fort, and was connected with it by a covered way. On the morning of the twenty-second of October, the inhabitants were at work in the fields, and nobody was left in the place but two soldiers, two boys, an old man of eighty, and a number of women and children. The seignior, formerly an officer of the regiment of Carignan, was on duty at Quebec; his wife was at Montreal; and their daughter Madeleine, fourteen years of age, was at the landing-place not far from the gate of the fort, with a hired man named Laviolette. Suddenly she heard firing from the direction where the settlers were at work, and an instant after Laviolette cried out, “Run, Mademoiselle, run! here come the Iroquois!” She turned and saw forty or fifty of them at the distance of a pistol-shot. “I ran for the fort, commending myself to the Holy Virgin. The Iroquois who chased after me, seeing that they could not catch me alive before I reached the gate, stopped and fired at me. The bullets whistled about my ears, and made the time seem very long. As soon as I was near enough to be heard, I cried out, _To arms! to arms!_ hoping that somebody would come out and help me; but it was of no use. The two soldiers in the fort were so scared that they had hidden in the blockhouse. At the gate, I found two women crying for their husbands, who had just been killed. I made them go in, and then shut the gate. I next thought what I could do to save myself and the few people with me. I went to inspect the fort, and found that several palisades had fallen down, and left openings by which the enemy could easily get in. I ordered them to be set up again, and helped to carry them myself. When the breaches were stopped, I went to the blockhouse where the ammunition is kept, and here I found the two soldiers, one hiding in a corner, and the other with a lighted match in his hand. ‘What are you going to do with that match?’ I asked. He answered, ‘Light the powder, and blow us all up.’ ‘You are a miserable coward,’ said I, ‘go out of this place.’ I spoke so resolutely that he obeyed. I then threw off my bonnet; and, after putting on a hat and taking a gun, I said to my two brothers: ‘Let us fight to the death. We are fighting for our country and our religion. Remember that our father has taught you that gentlemen are born to shed their blood for the service of God and the king.'”

The boys, who were twelve and ten years old, aided by the soldiers, whom her words had inspired with some little courage, began to fire from the loopholes upon the Iroquois, who, ignorant of the weakness of the garrison, showed their usual reluctance to attack a fortified place, and occupied themselves with chasing and butchering the people in the neighboring fields. Madeleine ordered a cannon to be fired, partly to deter the enemy from an assault, and partly to warn some of the soldiers, who were hunting at a distance. The women and children in the fort cried and screamed without ceasing. She ordered them to stop, lest their terror should encourage the Indians. A canoe was presently seen approaching the landing-place. It was a settler named Fontaine, trying to reach the fort with his family. The Iroquois were still near; and Madeleine feared that the new comers would be killed, if something were not done to aid them. She appealed to the soldiers, but their courage was not equal to the attempt; on which, as she declares, after leaving Laviolette to keep watch at the gate, she herself went alone to the landing-place. “I thought that the savages would suppose it to be a ruse to draw them towards the fort, in order to make a sortie upon them. They did suppose so, and thus I was able to save the Fontaine family. When they were all landed, I made them march before me in full sight of the enemy. We put so bold a face on it, that they thought they had more to fear than we. Strengthened by this reinforcement, I ordered that the enemy should be fired on whenever they showed themselves. After sunset, a violent north-east wind began to blow, accompanied with snow and hail, which told us that we should have a terrible night. The Iroquois were all this time lurking about us; and I judged by their movements that, instead of being deterred by the storm, they would climb into the fort under cover of the darkness. I assembled all my troops, that is to say, six persons, and spoke to them thus: ‘God has saved us to-day from the hands of our enemies, but we must take care not to fall into their snares to-night. As for me, I want you to see that I am not afraid. I will take charge of the fort with an old man of eighty and another who never fired a gun; and you, Pierre Fontaine, with La Bonté and Gachet (our two soldiers), will go to the blockhouse with the women and children, because that is the strongest place; and, if I am taken, don’t surrender, even if I am cut to pieces and burned before your eyes. The enemy cannot hurt you in the blockhouse, if you make the least show of fight.’ I placed my young brothers on two of the bastions, the old man on the third, and I took the fourth; and all night, in spite of wind, snow, and hail, the cries of ‘All’s well’ were kept up from the blockhouse to the fort, and from the fort to the blockhouse. One would have thought that the place was full of soldiers. The Iroquois thought so, and were completely deceived, as they confessed afterwards to Monsieur de Callières, whom they told that they had held a council to make a plan for capturing the fort in the night but had done nothing because such a constant watch was kept.

“About one in the morning, the sentinel on the bastion by the gate called out, ‘Mademoiselle, I hear something.’ I went to him to find what it was; and by the help of the snow, which covered the ground, I could see through the darkness a number of cattle, the miserable remnant that the Iroquois had left us. The others wanted to open the gate and let them in, but I answered: ‘God forbid. You don’t know all the tricks of the savages. They are no doubt following the cattle, covered with skins of beasts, so as to get into the fort, if we are simple enough to open the gate for them.’ Nevertheless, after taking every precaution, I thought that we might open it without risk. I made my two brothers stand ready with their guns cocked in case of surprise, and so we let in the cattle.

“At last, the daylight came again; and, as the darkness disappeared, our anxieties seemed to disappear with it. Everybody took courage except Mademoiselle Marguérite, wife of the Sieur Fontaine, who being extremely timid, as all Parisian women are, asked her husband to carry her to another fort … He said, ‘I will never abandon this fort while Mademoiselle Madelon (_Madeleine_) is here.’ I answered him that I would never abandon it; that I would rather die than give it up to the enemy; and that it was of the greatest importance that they should never get possession of any French fort, because, if they got one, they would think they could get others, and would grow more bold and presumptuous than ever. I may say with truth that I did not eat or sleep for twice twenty-four hours. I did not go once into my father’s house, but kept always on the bastion, or went to the blockhouse to see how the people there were behaving. I always kept a cheerful and smiling face, and encouraged my little company with the hope of speedy succor.

“We were a week in constant alarm, with the enemy always about us. At last Monsieur de la Monnerie, a lieutenant sent by Monsieur de Callières, arrived in the night with forty men. As he did not know whether the fort was taken or not, he approached as silently as possible. One of our sentinels, hearing a slight sound, cried, ‘Qui vive?’ I was at the time dozing, with my head on a table and my gun lying across my arms. The sentinel told me that he heard a voice from the river. I went up at once to the bastion to see whether it was Indians or Frenchmen. I asked, ‘Who are you?’ One of them answered, ‘We are Frenchmen: it is La Monnerie, who comes to bring you help.’ I caused the gate to be opened, placed a sentinel there, and went down to the river to meet them. As soon as I saw Monsieur de la Monnerie, I saluted him, and said, ‘Monsieur, I surrender my arms to you.’ He answered gallantly, ‘Mademoiselle, they are in good hands.’ ‘Better than you think,’ I returned. He inspected the fort, and found every thing in order, and a sentinel on each bastion. ‘It is time to relieve them, Monsieur’ said I: ‘we have not been off our bastions for a week.'” [3] A band of converts from the Saut St. Louis arrived soon after, followed the trail of their heathen countrymen, overtook them on Lake Champlain, and recovered twenty or more French prisoners. Madeleine de Verchères was not the only heroine of her family. Her father’s fort was the Castle Dangerous of Canada; and it was but two years before that her mother, left with three or four armed men, and beset by the Iroquois, threw herself with her followers into the blockhouse, and held the assailants two days at bay, till the Marquis de Crisasi came with troops to her relief. [Footnote: La Potherie, I. 326.]

From the moment when the Canadians found a chief whom they could trust, and the firm old hand of Frontenac grasped the reins of their destiny, a spirit of hardihood and energy grew up in all this rugged population; and they faced their stern fortunes with a stubborn daring and endurance that merit respect and admiration.

Now, as in all their former wars, a great part of their suffering was due to the Mohawks. The Jesuits had spared no pains to convert them, thus changing them from enemies to friends; and their efforts had so far succeeded that the mission colony of Saut St. Louis contained a numerous population of Mohawk Christians. [Footnote: This mission was also called Caghnawaga. The village still exists, at the head of the rapid of St. Louis, or La Chine.] The place was well fortified; and troops were usually stationed here, partly to defend the converts and partly to ensure their fidelity. They had sometimes done excellent service for the French; but many of them still remembered their old homes on the Mohawk, and their old ties of fellowship and kindred. Their heathen countrymen were jealous of their secession, and spared no pains to reclaim them. Sometimes they tried intrigue, and sometimes force. On one occasion, joined by the Oneidas and Onondagas, they appeared before the palisades of St. Louis, to the number of more than four hundred warriors; but, finding the bastions manned and the gates shut, they withdrew discomfited. It was of great importance to the French to sunder them from their heathen relatives so completely that reconciliation would be impossible, and it was largely to this end that a grand expedition was prepared against the Mohawk towns.

All the mission Indians in the colony were invited to join it, the Iroquois of the Saut and Mountain, Abenakis from the Chaudière, Hurons from Lorette, and Algonquins from Three Rivers. A hundred picked soldiers were added, and a large band of Canadians. All told, they mustered six hundred and twenty-five men, under three tried leaders, Mantet, Courtemanche, and La Noue. They left Chambly at the end of January, and pushed southward on snow-shoes. Their way was over the ice of Lake Champlain, for more than a century the great thoroughfare of war-parties. They bivouacked in the forest by squads of twelve or more; dug away the snow in a circle, covered the bared earth with a bed of spruce boughs, made a fire in the middle, and smoked their pipes around it. Here crouched the Christian savage, muffled in his blanket, his unwashed face still smirched with soot and vermilion, relics of the war-paint he had worn a week before when he danced the war-dance in the square of the mission village; and here sat the Canadians, hooded like Capuchin monks, but irrepressible in loquacity, as the blaze of the camp-fire glowed on their hardy visages and fell in fainter radiance on the rocks and pines behind them.

Sixteen days brought them to the two lower Mohawk towns. A young Dutchman who had been captured three years before at Schenectady, and whom the Indians of the Saut had imprudently brought with them, ran off in the night, and carried the alarm to the English. The invaders had no time to lose. The two towns were a quarter of a league apart. They surrounded them both on the night of the sixteenth of February, waited in silence till the voices within were hushed, and then captured them without resistance, as most of the inmates were absent. After burning one of them, and leaving the prisoners well guarded in the other, they marched eight leagues to the third town, reached it at evening, and hid in the neighboring woods. Through all the early night, they heard the whoops and songs of the warriors within, who were dancing the war-dance for an intended expedition. About midnight, all was still. The Mohawks had posted no sentinels; and one of the French Indians, scaling the palisade, opened the gate to his comrades. There was a short but bloody fight. Twenty or thirty Mohawks were killed, and nearly three hundred captured, chiefly women and children. The French commanders now required their allies, the mission Indians, to make good a promise which, at the instance of Frontenac, had been exacted from them by the governor of Montreal. It was that they should kill all their male captives, a proceeding which would have averted every danger of future reconciliation between the Christian and heathen Mohawks. The converts of the Saut and the Mountain had readily given the pledge, but apparently with no intention to keep it; at least, they now refused to do so. Remonstrance was useless; and, after burning the town, the French and their allies began their retreat, encumbered by a long train of prisoners. They marched two days, when they were hailed from a distance by Mohawk scouts, who told them that the English were on their track, but that peace had been declared in Europe, and that the pursuers did not mean to fight, but to parley. Hereupon the mission Indians insisted on waiting for them, and no exertion of the French commanders could persuade them to move. Trees were hewn down, and a fort made after the Iroquois fashion, by encircling the camp with a high and dense abatis of trunks and branches. Here they lay two days more, the French disgusted and uneasy, and their savage allies obstinate and impracticable.

Meanwhile, Major Peter Schuyler was following their trail, with a body of armed settlers hastily mustered. A troop of Oneidas joined him; and the united parties, between five and six hundred in all, at length appeared before the fortified camp of the French. It was at once evident that there was to be no parley. The forest rang with war-whoops; and the English Indians, unmanageable as those of the French, set at work to entrench themselves with felled trees. The French and their allies sallied to dislodge them. The attack was fierce, and the resistance equally so. Both sides lost ground by turns. A priest of the mission of the Mountain, named Gay, was in the thick of the fight; and, when he saw his neophytes run, he threw himself before them, crying, “What are you afraid of? We are fighting with infidels, who have nothing human but the shape. Have you forgotten that the Holy Virgin is our leader and our protector, and that you are subjects of the King of France, whose name makes all Europe tremble?” [Footnote: _Journal de Jacques Le Ber_, extract in Faillon, _Vie de Mlle. Le Ber, Appendix._] Three times the French renewed the attack in vain; then gave over the attempt, and lay quiet behind their barricade of trees. So also did their opponents. The morning was dark and stormy, and the driving snow that filled the air made the position doubly dreary. The English were starving. Their slender stock of provisions had been consumed or shared with the Indians, who, on their part, did not want food, having resources unknown to their white friends. A group of them squatted about a fire invited Schuyler to share their broth; but his appetite was spoiled when he saw a human hand ladled out of the kettle. His hosts were breakfasting on a dead Frenchman.

All night the hostile bands, ensconced behind their sylvan ramparts, watched each other in silence. In the morning, an Indian deserter told the English commander that the French were packing their baggage. Schuyler sent to reconnoitre, and found them gone. They had retreated unseen through the snow-storm. He ordered his men to follow; but, as most of them had fasted for two days, they refused to do so till an expected convoy of provisions should arrive. They waited till the next morning, when the convoy appeared: five biscuits were served out to each man, and the pursuit began. By great efforts, they nearly overtook the fugitives, who now sent them word that, if they made an attack, all the prisoners should be put to death. On this, Schuyler’s Indians refused to continue the chase. The French, by this time, had reached the Hudson, where to their dismay they found the ice breaking up and drifting down the stream. Happily for them, a large sheet of it had become wedged at a turn of the river, and formed a temporary bridge, by which they crossed, and then pushed on to Lake George. Here the soft and melting ice would not bear them; and they were forced to make their way along the shore, over rocks and mountains, through sodden snow and matted thickets. The provisions, of which they had made a dépôt on Lake Champlain, were all spoiled. They boiled moccasons for food, and scraped away the snow to find hickory and beech nuts. Several died of famine, and many more, unable to move, lay helpless by the lake; while a few of the strongest toiled on to Montreal to tell Callières of their plight. Men and food were sent them; and from time to time, as they were able, they journeyed on again, straggling towards their homes, singly or in small parties, feeble, emaciated, and in many instances with health irreparably broken. [4]

“The expedition,” says Frontenac, “was a glorious success.” However glorious, it was dearly bought; and a few more such victories would be ruin. The governor presently achieved a success more solid and less costly. The wavering mood of the north-western tribes, always oscillating between the French and the English, had caused him incessant anxiety; and he had lost no time in using the defeat of Phips to confirm them in alliance with Canada. Courtemanche was sent up the Ottawa to carry news of the French triumph, and stimulate the savages of Michillimackinac to lift the hatchet. It was a desperate venture; for the river was beset, as usual, by the Iroquois. With ten followers, the daring partisan ran the gauntlet of a thousand dangers, and safely reached his destination; where his gifts and his harangues, joined with the tidings of victory, kindled great excitement among the Ottawas and Hurons. The indispensable but most difficult task remained: that of opening the Ottawa for the descent of the great accumulation of beaver skins, which had been gathering at Michillimackinac for three years, and for the want of which Canada was bankrupt. More than two hundred Frenchmen were known to be at that remote post, or roaming in the wilderness around it; and Frontenac resolved on an attempt to muster them together, and employ their united force to protect the Indians and the traders in bringing down this mass of furs to Montreal. A messenger, strongly escorted, was sent with orders to this effect, and succeeded in reaching Michillimackinac, though there was a battle on the way, in which the officer commanding the escort was killed. Frontenac anxiously waited the issue, when after a long delay the tidings reached him of complete success. He hastened to Montreal, and found it swarming with Indians and _coureurs de bois_. Two hundred canoes had arrived, filled with the coveted beaver skins. “It is impossible,” says the chronicle, “to conceive the joy of the people, when they beheld these riches. Canada had awaited them for years. The merchants and the farmers were dying of hunger. Credit was gone, and everybody was afraid that the enemy would waylay and seize this last resource of the country. Therefore it was, that none could find words strong enough to praise and bless him by whose care all this wealth had arrived. _Father of the People, Preserver of the Country_, seemed terms too weak to express their gratitude.” [Footnote: _Relation de ce qui s’est passé de plus remarquable en Canada_, 1692, 1693. Compare La Potherie, III. 185.]

While three years of arrested sustenance came down together from the lakes, a fleet sailed up the St. Lawrence, freighted with soldiers and supplies. The horizon of Canada was brightening.

[1] As this fight under Valrenne has been represented as a French victory against overwhelming odds, it may be well to observe the evidence as to the numbers engaged. The French party consisted, according to Bénac, of 160 regulars and Canadians, besides Indians. La Potherie places it at 180 men, and Frontenac at 200 men. These two estimates do not include Indians; for the author of the Relation of 1682-1712, who was an officer on the spot at the time, puts the number at 300 soldiers, Canadians, and savages.

Schuyler’s official return shows that his party consisted of 120 whites, 80 Mohawks, and 66 River Indians (Mohegans): 266 in all. The French writer Bénac places the whole at 280, and the intendant Champigny at 300. The other French estimates of the English force are greatly exaggerated. Schuyler’s strength was reduced by 27 men left to guard the canoes, and by a number killed or disabled at La Prairie. The force under Valrenne was additional to the 700 or 800 men at La Prairie (Relation, 1682-1712). Schuyler reported his loss in killed at 21 whites, 16 Mohawks, and 6 Mohegans, besides many wounded. The French statements of it are enormously in excess of this, and are irreconcilable with each other.

[2] _Lettres du Roy et du Ministre_, 1693, 1694. Cape Diamond was now for the first time included within the line of circumvallation at Quebec. A strong stone redoubt, with sixteen cannon, was built upon its summit.

In 1854, in demolishing a part of the old wall between the fort of Quebec and the adjacent “Governor’s Garden,” a plate of copper was found with a Latin inscription, of which the following is a translation:–

“In the year of Grace, 1693, under the reign of the Most August, Most Invincible, and Most Christian King, Louis the Great, Fourteenth of that name, the Most Excellent and Most Illustrious Lord, Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, twice Viceroy of all New France, after having three years before repulsed, routed, and completely conquered the rebellious inhabitants of New England, who besieged this town of Quebec, and who threatened to renew their attack this year, constructed, at the charge of the king, this citadel, with the fortifications therewith connected, for the defence of the country and the safety of the people, and for confounding yet again a people perfidious towards God and towards its lawful king. And he has laid this first stone.”

[3] _Récit de Mlle. Magdelaine de Verchères, âgée de 14 ans_ (Collection de l’Abbé Ferland). It appears from Tanguay, _Dictionnaire Généalogique_, that Marie-Madeleine Jarret de Verchères was born in April, 1678, which corresponds to the age given in the _Récit_. She married Thomas Tarleu de la Naudière in 1706, and M. de la Perrade, or Prade, in 1722. Her brother Louis was born in 1680, and was therefore, as stated in the Récit, twelve years old in 1692. The birthday of the other, Alexander, is not given. His baptism was registered in 1682. One of the brothers was killed at the attack of Haverhill, in 1708.

Madame de Ponchartrain, wife of the minister, procured a pension for life to Madeleine de Verchères. Two versions of her narrative are before me. There are slight variations between them, but in all essential points they are the same. The following note is appended to one of them: “Ce récit fut fait par ordre de Mr. de Beauharnois, gouverneur du Canada.”

[4] On this expedition, _Narrative of Military Operations in Canada_, in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., IX. 550; _Relation de ce qui s’est passé de plus remarquable en Canada_, 1692, 1693; _Callières au Ministre_, 1 _Sept_., 1693; La Potherie, III. 169; _Relation de_ 1682-1712; Faillon, _Vie de Mlle. Le Bar_, 313; Belmont, _Hist. du Canada_; Beyard and Lodowick, _Journal of the Late Actions of the French at Canada_; _Report of Major Peter Schuyler_, in _N. Y. Col. Docs_., IV. 16; Colden, 142.

The minister wrote to Callières, finding great fault with the conduct of the mission Indians. _Ponchartrain à Callières_, 8 _Mai_, 1694.





While the Canadians hailed Frontenac as a father, he found also some recognition of his services from his masters at the court. The king wrote him a letter with his own hand, to express satisfaction at the defence of Quebec, and sent him a gift of two thousand crowns. He greatly needed the money, but prized the letter still more, and wrote to his relative, the minister Ponchartrain: “The gift you procured for me, this year, has helped me very much towards paying the great expenses which the crisis of our affairs and the excessive cost of living here have caused me; but, though I receive this mark of his Majesty’s goodness with the utmost respect and gratitude, I confess that I feel far more deeply the satisfaction that he has been pleased to express with my services. The raising of the siege of Quebec did not deserve all the attention that I hear he has given it in the midst of so many important events, and therefore I must needs ascribe it to your kindness in commending it to his notice. This leads me to hope that whenever some office, or permanent employment, or some mark of dignity or distinction, may offer itself, you will put me on the list as well as others who have the honor to be as closely connected with you as I am; for it would be very hard to find myself forgotten because I am in a remote country, where it is more difficult and dangerous to serve the king than elsewhere. I have consumed all my property. Nothing is left but what the king gives me; and I have reached an age where, though neither strength nor goodwill fail me as yet, and though the latter will last as long as I live, I see myself on the eve of losing the former: so that a post a little more secure and tranquil than the government of Canada will soon suit my time of life; and, if I can be assured of your support, I shall not despair of getting such a one. Please then to permit my wife and my friends to refresh your memory now and then on this point.” [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 20 _Oct_., 1691.] Again, in the following year: “I have been encouraged to believe that the gift of two thousand crowns, which his Majesty made me last year, would be continued; but apparently you have not been able to obtain it, for I think that you know the difficulty I have in living here on my salary. I hope that, when you find a better opportunity, you will try to procure me this favor. My only trust is in your support; and I am persuaded that, having the honor to be so closely connected with you, you would reproach yourself, if you saw me sink into decrepitude, without resources and without honors.” [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Sept_., 1692.] And still again he appeals to the minister for “some permanent and honorable place attended with the marks of distinction, which are more grateful than all the rest to a heart shaped after the right pattern.” [Footnote: _Ibid_., 25 _Oct_., 1693.] In return for these sturdy applications, he got nothing for the present but a continuance of the king’s gift of two thousand crowns.

Not every voice in the colony sounded the governor’s praise. Now, as always, he had enemies in state and Church. It is true that the quarrels and the bursts of passion that marked his first term of government now rarely occurred, but this was not so much due to a change in Frontenac himself as to a change in the conditions around him. The war made him indispensable. He had gained what he wanted, the consciousness of mastery; and under its soothing influence he was less irritable and exacting. He lived with the bishop on terms of mutual courtesy, while his relations with his colleague, the intendant, were commonly smooth enough on the surface; for Champigny, warned by the court not to offend him, treated him with studied deference, and was usually treated in return with urbane condescension. During all this time, the intendant was complaining of him to the minister. “He is spending a great deal of money; but he is master, and does what he pleases. I can only keep the peace by yielding every thing.” [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre_, 12 _Oct_., 1691.] “He wants to reduce me to a nobody.” And, among other similar charges, he says that the governor receives pay for garrisons that do not exist, and keeps it for himself. “Do not tell that I said so,” adds the prudent Champigny, “for it would make great trouble, if he knew it.” [Footnote: _Ibid_.,4 _Nov_., 1693.] Frontenac, perfectly aware of these covert attacks, desires the minister not to heed “the falsehoods and impostures uttered against me by persons who meddle with what does not concern them.” [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Sept_., 1692.] He alludes to Champigny’s allies, the Jesuits, who, as he thought, had also maligned him. “Since I have been here, I have spared no pains to gain the goodwill of Monsieur the intendant, and may God grant that the counsels which he is too ready to receive from certain persons who have never been friends of peace and harmony do not some time make division between us. But I close my eyes to all that, and shall still persevere.” [Footnote: _Ibid_., 20 _Oct_., 1691.] In another letter to Ponchartrain, he says: “I write you this in private, because I have been informed by my wife that charges have been made to you against my conduct since my return to this country. I promise you, Monseigneur, that, whatever my accusers do, they will not make me change conduct towards them, and that I shall still treat them with consideration. I merely ask your leave most humbly to represent that, having maintained this colony in full prosperity during the ten years when I formerly held the government of it, I nevertheless fell a sacrifice to the artifice and fury of those whose encroachments, and whose excessive and unauthorized power, my duty and my passionate affection for the service of the king obliged me in conscience to repress. My recall, which made them masters in the conduct of the government, was followed by all the disasters which overwhelmed this unhappy colony. The millions that the king spent here, the troops that he sent out, and the Canadians that he took into pay, all went for nothing. Most of the soldiers, and no small number of brave Canadians, perished in enterprises ill devised and ruinous to the country, which I found on my arrival ravaged with unheard-of cruelty by the Iroquois, without resistance, and in sight of the troops and of the forts. The inhabitants were discouraged, and unnerved by want of confidence in their chiefs; while the friendly Indians, seeing our weakness, were ready to join our enemies. I was fortunate enough and diligent enough to change this deplorable state of things, and drive away the English, whom my predecessors did not have on their hands, and this too with only half as many troops as they had. I am far from wishing to blame their conduct. I leave you to judge it. But I cannot have the tranquillity and freedom of mind which I need for the work I have to do here, without feeling entire confidence that the cabal which is again forming against me cannot produce impressions which may prevent you from doing me justice. For the rest, if it is thought fit that I should leave the priests to do as they like, I shall be delivered from an infinity of troubles and cares, in which I can have no other interest than the good of the colony, the trade of the kingdom, and the peace of the king’s subjects, and of which I alone bear the burden, as well as the jealousy of sundry persons, and the iniquity of the ecclesiastics, who begin to call impious those who are obliged to oppose their passions and their interests.” [Footnote: “L’iniquité des ecclésiastiques qui commencent à traiter d’impies ceux qui sont obligés de resister à leurs passions et à leurs interêts.” _Frontenac au Ministre_, 20 _Oct_., 1691.]

As Champigny always sided with the Jesuits, his relations with Frontenac grew daily more critical. Open rupture at length seemed imminent, and the king interposed to keep the peace. “There has been discord between you under a show of harmony,” he wrote to the disputants. [Footnote: _Mémoire du Roy pour Frontenac et Champigny_, 1694.] Frontenac was exhorted to forbearance and calmness; while the intendant was told that he allowed himself to be made an instrument of others, and that his charges against the governor proved nothing but his own ill-temper. [Footnote: _Le Ministre à Frontenac_, 8 _May_, 1694; _Le Ministre à Champigny, même date_.] The minister wrote in vain. The bickerings that he reproved were but premonitions of a greater strife.

Bishop Saint-Vallier was a rigid, austere, and contentious prelate, who loved power as much as Frontenac himself, and thought that, as the deputy of Christ, it was his duty to exercise it to the utmost. The governor watched him with a jealous eye, well aware that, though the pretensions of the Church to supremacy over the civil power had suffered a check, Saint-Vallier would revive them the moment he thought he could do so with success. I have shown elsewhere the severity of the ecclesiastical rule at Quebec, where the zealous pastors watched their flock with unrelenting vigilance, and associations of pious women helped them in the work. [Footnote: Old Régime, chap. xix.] This naturally produced revolt, and tended to divide the town into two parties, the worldly and the devout. The love of pleasure was not extinguished, and various influences helped to keep it alive. Perhaps none of these was so potent as the presence in winter of a considerable number of officers from France, whose piety was often less conspicuous than their love of enjoyment. At the Château St. Louis a circle of young men, more or less brilliant and accomplished, surrounded the governor, and formed a centre of social attraction. Frontenac was not without religion, and he held it becoming a man of his station not to fail in its observances; but he would not have a Jesuit confessor, and placed his conscience in the keeping of the Récollet friars, who were not politically aggressive, and who had been sent to Canada expressly as a foil to the rival order. They found no favor in the eyes of the bishop and his adherents, and the governor found none for the support he lent them.

The winter that followed the arrival of the furs from the upper lakes was a season of gayety without precedent since the war began. All was harmony at Quebec till the carnival approached, when Frontenac, whose youthful instincts survived his seventy-four years, introduced a startling novelty which proved the signal of discord. One of his military circle, the sharp-witted La Motte-Cadillac, thus relates this untoward event in a letter to a friend: “The winter passed very pleasantly, especially to the officers, who lived together like comrades; and, to contribute to their honest enjoyment, the count caused two plays to be acted, ‘Nicomede’ and ‘Mithridate.'” It was an amateur performance, in which the officers took part along with some of the ladies of Quebec. The success was prodigious, and so was the storm that followed. Half a century before, the Jesuits had grieved over the first ball in Canada. Private theatricals were still more baneful. “The clergy,” continues La Motte, “beat their alarm drums, armed cap-a-pie, and snatched their bows and arrows. The Sieur Glandelet was first to begin, and preached two sermons, in which he tried to prove that nobody could go to a play without mortal sin. The bishop issued a mandate, and had it read from the pulpits, in which he speaks of certain impious, impure, and noxious comedies, insinuating that those which had been acted were such. The credulous and infatuated people, seduced by the sermons and the mandate, began already to regard the count as a corrupter of morals and a destroyer of religion. The numerous party of the pretended devotees mustered in the streets and public places, and presently made their way into the houses, to confirm the weak-minded in their illusion, and tried to make the stronger share it; but, as they failed in this almost completely, they resolved at last to conquer or die, and persuaded the bishop to use a strange device, which was to publish a mandate in the church, whereby the Sieur de Mareuil, a half-pay lieutenant, was interdicted the use of the sacraments.” [Footnote: _La Motte-Cadillac à_ —–, 28 _Sept_., 1694.]

This story needs explanation. Not only had the amateur actors at the château played two pieces inoffensive enough in themselves, but a report had been spread that they meant next to perform the famous “Tartuffe” of Molière, a satire which, while purporting to be levelled against falsehood, lust, greed, and ambition, covered with a mask of religion, was rightly thought by a portion of the clergy to be levelled against themselves. The friends of Frontenac say that the report was a hoax. Be this as it may, the bishop believed it. “This worthy prelate,” continues the irreverent La Motte, “was afraid of ‘Tartuffe,’ and had got it into his head that the count meant to have it played, though he had never thought of such a thing. Monsieur de Saint-Vallier sweated blood and water to stop a torrent which existed only in his imagination.” It was now that he launched his two mandates, both on the same day; one denouncing comedies in general and “Tartuffe” in particular, and the other smiting Mareuil, who, he says, “uses language capable of making Heaven blush,” and whom he elsewhere stigmatizes as “worse than a Protestant.” [Footnote: _Mandement au Sujet des Comédies_, 16 _Jan_., 1694; _Mandement au Sujet de certaines Personnes qui tenoient des Discours impies, même date; Registre du Conseil Souverain_.] It was Mareuil who, as reported, was to play the part of Tartuffe; and on him, therefore, the brunt of episcopal indignation fell. He was not a wholly exemplary person. “I mean,” says La Motte, “to show you the truth in all its nakedness. The fact is that, about two years ago, when the Sieur de Mareuil first came to Canada, and was carousing with his friends, he sang some indecent song or other. The count was told of it, and gave him a severe reprimand. This is the charge against him. After a two years’ silence, the pastoral zeal has wakened, because a play is to be acted which the clergy mean to stop at any cost.”

The bishop found another way of stopping it. He met Frontenac, with the intendant, near the Jesuit chapel, accosted him on the subject which filled his thoughts, and offered him a hundred pistoles if he would prevent the playing of “Tartuffe.” Frontenac laughed, and closed the bargain. Saint-Vallier wrote his note on the spot; and the governor took it, apparently well pleased to have made the bishop disburse. “I thought,” writes the intendant, “that Monsieur de Frontenac would have given him back the paper.” He did no such thing, but drew the money on the next day and gave it to the hospitals. [Footnote: This incident is mentioned by La Motte-Cadillac; by the intendant, who reports it to the minister; by the minister Ponchartrain, who asks Frontenac for an explanation; by Frontenac, who passes it off as a jest; and by several other contemporary writers.]

Mareuil, deprived of the sacraments, and held up to reprobation, went to see the bishop, who refused to receive him; and it is said that he was taken by the shoulders and put out of doors. He now resolved to bring his case before the council; but the bishop was informed of his purpose, and anticipated it. La Motte says “he went before the council on the first of February, and denounced the Sieur de Mareuil, whom he declared guilty of impiety towards God, the Virgin, and the Saints, and made a fine speech in the absence of the count, interrupted by the effusions of a heart which seemed filled with a profound and infinite charity, but which, as he said, was pushed to extremity by the rebellion of an indocile child, who had neglected all his warnings. This was, nevertheless, assumed; I will not say entirely false.”

The bishop did, in fact, make a vehement speech against Mareuil before the council on the day in question; Mareuil stoutly defending himself, and entering his appeal against the episcopal mandate. [Footnote: _Registre du Conseil Souverain_, 1 _et_ 8 _Fév_., 1694.] The battle was now fairly joined. Frontenac stood alone for the accused. The intendant tacitly favored his opponents. Auteuil, the attorney-general, and Villeray, the first councillor, owed the governor an old grudge; and they and their colleagues sided with the bishop, with the outside support of all the clergy, except the Récollets, who, as usual, ranged themselves with their patron. At first, Frontenac showed great moderation, but grew vehement, and then violent, as the dispute proceeded; as did also the attorney-general, who seems to have done his best to exasperate him. Frontenac affirmed that, in depriving Mareuil and others of the sacraments, with no proof of guilt and no previous warning, and on allegations which, even if true, could not justify the act, the bishop exceeded his powers, and trenched on those of the king. The point was delicate. The attorney-general avoided the issue, tried to raise others, and revived the old quarrel about Frontenac’s place in the council, which had been settled fourteen years before. Other questions were brought up, and angrily debated. The governor demanded that the debates, along with the papers which introduced them, should be entered on the record, that the king might be informed of every thing; but the demand was refused. The discords of the council chamber spread into the town. Quebec was divided against itself. Mareuil insulted the bishop; and some of his scapegrace sympathizers broke the prelate’s windows at night, and smashed his chamber-door. [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre,_ 27 _Oct_., 1694.] Mareuil was at last ordered to prison, and the whole affair was referred to the king. [Footnote: _Registre du Conseil Souverain; Requeste du Sieur de Mareuil, Nov_., 1694.]

These proceedings consumed the spring, the summer, and a part of the autumn. Meanwhile, an access of zeal appeared to seize the bishop; and he launched interdictions to the right and left. Even Champigny was startled when he refused the sacraments to all but four or five of the military officers for alleged tampering with the pay of their soldiers, a matter wholly within the province of the temporal authorities. [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre,_ 24 _Oct.,_ 1694. Trouble on this matter had begun some time before. _Mémoire du Roy pour Frontenac et Champigny,_ 1694; _Le Ministre à l’Évêque,_ 8 _Mai,_ 1694.] During a recess of the council, he set out on a pastoral tour, and, arriving at Three Rivers, excommunicated an officer named Desjordis for a reputed intrigue with the wife of another officer. He next repaired to Sorel, and, being there on a Sunday, was told that two officers had neglected to go to mass. He wrote to Frontenac, complaining of the offence. Frontenac sent for the culprits, and rebuked them; but retracted his words when they proved by several witnesses that they had been duly present at the rite. [Footnote: _La Motte-Cadillac à_ —-, 28 _Sept.,_ 1694; _Champigny au Ministre,_ 27 _Oct.,_ 1694.] The bishop then went up to Montreal, and discord went with him.

Except Frontenac alone, Callières, the local governor, was the man in all Canada to whom the country owed most; but, like his chief, he was a friend of the Récollets, and this did not commend him to the bishop. The friars were about to receive two novices into their order, and they invited the bishop to officiate at the ceremony. Callières was also present, kneeling at a _prie-dieu_, or prayer-desk, near the middle of the church. Saint-Vallier, having just said mass, was seating himself in his arm-chair, close to the altar, when he saw Callières at the _prie-dieu_, with the position of which he had already found fault as being too honorable for a subordinate governor. He now rose, approached the object of his disapproval, and said, “Monsieur, you are taking a place which belongs only to Monsieur de Frontenac.” Callières replied that the place was that which properly belonged to him. The bishop rejoined that, if he did not leave it, he himself would leave the church. “You can do as you please,” said Callières; and the prelate withdrew abruptly through the sacristy, refusing any farther part in the ceremony. [Footnote: _Procès-verbal du Père Hyacinthe Perrault, Commissaire Provincial des Récollets (Archives Nationales); Mémoire touchant le Démeslé entre M. l’Évesque de Québec et le Chevalier de Callières (Ibid.)_.] When the services were over, he ordered the friars to remove the obnoxious _prie-dieu_. They obeyed; but an officer of Callières replaced it, and, unwilling to offend him, they allowed it to remain. On this, the bishop laid their church under an interdict; that is, he closed it against the celebration of all the rites of religion. [Footnote: _Mandement ordonnant de fermer l’Église des Récollets_, 13 _Mai_, 1694.] He then issued a pastoral mandate, in which he charged Father Joseph Denys, their superior, with offences which he “dared not name for fear of making the paper blush.” [Footnote: “Le Supérieur du dit Couvent estant lié avec le Gouverneur de la dite ville par des interests que tout le monde scait et qu’on n’oscroit exprimer de peur de faire rougir le papier.” _Extrait du Mandement de l’Évesque de Québec (Archives Nationales)_. He had before charged Mareuil with language “capable de faire rougir le ciel.”] His tongue was less bashful than his pen; and he gave out publicly that the father superior had acted as go-between in an intrigue of his sister with the Chevalier de Callières. [1] It is said that the accusation was groundless, and the character of the woman wholly irreproachable. The Récollets submitted for two months to the bishop’s interdict, then refused to obey longer, and opened their church again.

Quebec, Three Rivers, Sorel, and Montreal had all been ruffled by the breeze of these dissensions, and the farthest outposts of the wilderness were not too remote to feel it. La Motte-Cadillac had been sent to replace Louvigny in the command of Michillimackinac, where he had scarcely arrived, when trouble fell upon him. “Poor Monsieur de la Motte-Cadillac,” says Frontenac, “would have sent you a journal to show you the persecutions he has suffered at the post where I placed him, and where he does wonders, having great influence over the Indians, who both love and fear him, but he has had no time to copy it. Means have been found to excite against him three or four officers of the posts dependent on his, who have put upon him such strange and unheard of affronts, that I was obliged to send them to prison when they came down to the colony. A certain Father Carheil, the Jesuit who wrote me such insolent letters a few years ago, has played an amazing part in this affair. I shall write about it to Father La Chaise, that he may set it right. Some remedy must be found; for, if it continues, none of the officers who were sent to Michillimackinac, the Miamis, the Illinois, and other places, can stay there on account of the persecutions to which they are subjected, and the refusal of absolution as soon as they fail to do what is wanted of them. Joined to all this is a shameful traffic in influence and money. Monsieur de Tonty could have written to you about it, if he had not been obliged to go off to the Assinneboins, to rid himself of all these torments.” [Footnote: _Frontenac à M. de Lagny_, 2 _Nov_., 1695.] In fact, there was a chronic dispute at the forest outposts between the officers and the Jesuits, concerning which matter much might be said on both sides.

The bishop sailed for France. “He has gone,” writes Callières, “after quarrelling with everybody.” The various points in dispute were set before the king. An avalanche of memorials, letters, and _procès-verbaux_, descended upon the unfortunate monarch; some concerning Mareuil and the quarrels in the council, others on the excommunication of Desjordis, and others on the troubles at Montreal. They were all referred to the king’s privy council. [Footnote: _Arrest qui ordonne que les Procédures faites entre le Sieur Évesque de Québec et les Sieurs Mareuil, Desjordis, etc., seront évoquez au Conseil Privé de Sa Majesté_, 3 _Juillet_, 1695.] An adjustment was effected: order, if not harmony, was restored; and the usual distribution of advice, exhortation, reproof, and menace, was made to the parties in the strife. Frontenac was commended for defending the royal prerogative, censured for violence, and admonished to avoid future quarrels. [Footnote: _Le Ministre à Frontenac_, 4 _Juin_, 1695; _Ibid_., 8 _Juin_, 1695.] Champigny was reproved for not supporting the governor, and told that “his Majesty sees with great pain that, while he is making extraordinary efforts to sustain Canada at a time so critical, all his cares and all his outlays are made useless by your misunderstanding with Monsieur de Frontenac.” [Footnote: _Le Ministre à Champigny_, 4 _Juin_, 1695; _Ibid_., 8 _Juin_, 1695.] The attorney-general was sharply reprimanded, told that he must mend his ways or lose his place, and ordered to make an apology to the governor. [Footnote: _Le Ministre à d’Auteuil_, 8 _Juin_, 1695.] Villeray was not honored by a letter, but the intendant was directed to tell him that his behavior had greatly displeased the king. Callières was mildly advised not to take part in the disputes of the bishop and the Récollets. [Footnote: _Le Ministre à Callières_, 8 _Juin_, 1695.] Thus was conjured down one of the most bitter as well as the most needless, trivial, and untimely, of the quarrels that enliven the annals of New France.

A generation later, when its incidents had faded from memory, a passionate and reckless partisan, Abbé La Tour, published, and probably invented, a story which later writers have copied, till it now forms an accepted episode of Canadian history. According to him, Frontenac, in order to ridicule the clergy, formed an amateur company of comedians expressly to play “Tartuffe;” and, after rehearsing at the château during three or four months, they acted the piece before a large audience. “He was not satisfied with having it played at the château, but wanted the actors and actresses and the dancers, male and female, to go in full costume, with violins, to play it in all the religious communities, except the Récollets. He took them first to the house of the Jesuits, where the crowd entered with him; then to the Hospital, to the hall of the paupers, whither the nuns were ordered to repair; then he went to the Ursuline Convent, assembled the sisterhood, and had the piece played before them. To crown the insult, he wanted next to go to the seminary, and repeat the spectacle there; but, warning having been given, he was met on the way, and begged to refrain. He dared not persist, and withdrew in very ill-humor.” [Footnote: La Tour, _Vie de Laval, liv._ xii.]

Not one of numerous contemporary papers, both official and private, and written in great part by enemies of Frontenac, contains the slightest allusion to any such story, and many of them are wholly inconsistent with it. It may safely be set down as a fabrication to blacken the memory of the governor, and exhibit the bishop and his adherents as victims of persecution. [2]

[1] “Mr. l’Évesque accuse publiquement le Rev. Père Joseph, supérieur des Récollets de Montréal, d’être l’entremetteur d’une galanterie entre sa soeur et le Gouverneur. Cependant Mr. l’Évesque sait certainement que le Père Joseph est l’un des meilleurs et des plus saints religieux de son ordre. Ce qu’il allègue du prétendu commerce entre le Gouverneur et la Dame de la Naudière (_soeur du Père Joseph_) est entièrement faux, et il l’a publié avec scandale, sans preuve et contre toute apparence, la ditte Dame ayant toujours eu une conduite irréprochable.” _Mémoire touchant le Démeslé, etc._ Champigny also says that the bishop has brought this charge, and that Callières declares that he has told a falsehood. _Champigny au Ministre,_ 27 _Oct_., 1694.

[2] Had an outrage, like that with which Frontenac is here charged, actually taken place, the registers of the council, the letters of the intendant and the attorney-general, and the records of the bishopric of Quebec would not have failed to show it. They show nothing beyond a report that “Tartuffe” was to be played, and a payment of money by the bishop in order to prevent it. We are left to infer that it was prevented accordingly. I have the best authority–that of the superior of the convent (1871), herself a diligent investigator into the history of her community–for stating that neither record nor tradition of the occurrence exists among the Ursulines of Quebec; and I have been unable to learn that any such exists among the nuns of the Hospital (Hôtel-Dieu). The contemporary _Récit d’une Religieuse Ursuline_ speaks of Frontenac with gratitude, as a friend and benefactor, as does also Mother Juchereau, superior of the Hôtel-Dieu.





Amid domestic strife, the war with England and the Iroquois still went on. The contest for territorial mastery was fourfold: first, for the control of the west; secondly, for that of Hudson’s Bay; thirdly, for that of Newfoundland; and, lastly, for that of Acadia. All these vast and widely sundered regions were included in the government of Frontenac. Each division of the war was distinct from the rest, and each had a character of its own. As the contest for the west was wholly with New York and her Iroquois allies, so the contest for Acadia was wholly with the “Bostonnais,” or people of New England.

Acadia, as the French at this time understood the name, included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the greater part of Maine. Sometimes they placed its western boundary at the little River St. George, and sometimes at the Kennebec. Since the wars of D’Aulnay and La Tour, this wilderness had been a scene of unceasing strife; for the English drew their eastern boundary at the St. Croix, and the claims of the rival nationalities overlapped each other. In the time of Cromwell, Sedgwick, a New England officer, had seized the whole country. The peace of Breda restored it to France: the Chevalier de Grandfontaine was ordered to reoccupy it, and the king sent out a few soldiers, a few settlers, and a few women as their wives. [Footnote: In 1671, 30 _garçons_ and 30 _filles_ were sent by the king to Acadia, at the cost of 6,000 livres. _État. de Dépenses_, 1671.] Grandfontaine held the nominal command for a time, followed by a succession of military chiefs, Chambly, Marson, and La Vallière. Then Perrot, whose malpractices had cost him the government of Montreal, was made governor of Acadia; and, as he did not mend his ways, he was replaced by Meneval. [Footnote: Grandfontaine, 1670; Chambly, 1673; Marson, 1678; La Vallière, the same year, Marson having died; Perrot, 1684; Meneval, 1687. The last three were commissioned as local governors, in subordination to the governor-general. The others were merely military commandants.]

One might have sailed for days along these lonely coasts, and seen no human form. At Canseau, or Chedabucto, at the eastern end of Nova Scotia, there was a fishing station and a fort; Chibuctou, now Halifax, was a solitude; at La Hêve there were a few fishermen; and thence, as you doubled the rocks of Cape Sable, the ancient haunt of La Tour, you would have seen four French settlers, and an unlimited number of seals and seafowl. Ranging the shore by St. Mary’s Bay, and entering the Strait of Annapolis Basin, you would have found the fort of Port Royal, the chief place of all Acadia. It stood at the head of the basin, where De Monts had planted his settlement nearly a century before. Around the fort and along the neighboring river were about ninety-five small houses; and at the head of the Bay of Fundy were two other settlements, Beaubassin and Les Mines, comparatively stable and populous. At the mouth of the St. John were the abandoned ruins of La Tour’s old fort; and on a spot less exposed, at some distance up the river, stood the small wooden fort of Jemsec, with a few intervening clearings. Still sailing westward, passing Mount Desert, another scene of ancient settlement, and entering Penobscot Bay, you would have found the Baron de Saint-Castin with his Indian harem at Pentegoet, where the town of Castine now stands. All Acadia was comprised in these various stations, more or less permanent, together with one or two small posts on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the huts of an errant population of fishermen and fur traders. In the time of Denonville, the colonists numbered less than a thousand souls. The king, busied with nursing Canada, had neglected its less important dependency. [Footnote: The census taken by order of Meules in 1686 gives a total of 885 persons, of whom 592 were at Port Royal, and 127 at Beaubassin. By the census of 1693, the number had reached 1,009.]

Rude as it was, Acadia had charms, and it has them still: in its wilderness of woods and its wilderness of waves; the rocky ramparts that guard its coasts; its deep, still bays and foaming headlands; the towering cliffs of the Grand Menan; the innumerable islands that cluster about Penobscot Bay; and the romantic highlands of Mount Desert, down whose gorges the sea-fog rolls like an invading host, while the spires of fir-trees pierce the surging vapors like lances in the smoke of battle.

Leaving Pentegoet, and sailing westward all day along a solitude of woods, one might reach the English outpost of Pemaquid, and thence, still sailing on, might anchor at evening off Casco Bay, and see in the glowing west the distant peaks of the White Mountains, spectral and dim amid the weird and fiery sunset.

Inland Acadia was all forest, and vast tracts of it are a primeval forest still. Here roamed the Abenakis with their kindred tribes, a race wild as their haunts. In habits they were all much alike. Their villages were on the waters of the Androscoggin, the Saco, the Kennebec, the Penobscot, the St. Croix, and the St. John; here in spring they planted their corn, beans, and pumpkins, and then, leaving them to grow, went down to the sea in their birch canoes. They returned towards the end of summer, gathered their harvest, and went again to the sea, where they lived in abundance on ducks, geese, and other water-fowl. During winter, most of the women, children, and old men remained in the villages; while the hunters ranged the forest in chase of moose, deer, caribou, beavers, and bears.

Their summer stay at the seashore was perhaps the most pleasant, and certainly the most picturesque, part of their lives. Bivouacked by some of the innumerable coves and inlets that indent these coasts, they passed their days in that alternation of indolence and action which is a second nature to the Indian. Here in wet weather, while the torpid water was dimpled with rain-drops, and the upturned canoes lay idle on the pebbles, the listless warrior smoked his pipe under his roof of bark, or launched his slender craft at the dawn of the July day, when shores and islands were painted in shadow against the rosy east, and forests, dusky and cool, lay waiting for the sunrise.

The women gathered raspberries or whortleberries in the open places of the woods, or clams and oysters in the sands and shallows, adding their shells as a contribution to the shell-heaps that have accumulated for ages along these shores. The men fished, speared porpoises, or shot seals. A priest was often in the camp watching over his flock, and saying mass every day in a chapel of bark. There was no lack of altar candles, made by mixing tallow with the wax of the bayberry, which abounded among the rocky hills, and was gathered in profusion by the squaws and children.

The Abenaki missions were a complete success. Not only those of the tribe who had been induced to migrate to the mission villages of Canada, but also those who remained in their native woods, were, or were soon to become, converts to Romanism, and therefore allies of France. Though less ferocious than the Iroquois, they were brave, after the Indian manner, and they rarely or never practised cannibalism.

Some of the French were as lawless as their Indian friends. Nothing is more strange than the incongruous mixture of the forms of feudalism with the independence of the Acadian woods. Vast grants of land were made to various persons, some of whom are charged with using them for no other purpose than roaming over their domains with Indian women. The only settled agricultural population was at Port Royal, Beaubassin, and the Basin of Minas. The rest were fishermen, fur traders, or rovers of the forest. Repeated orders came from the court to open a communication with Quebec, and even to establish a line of military posts through the intervening wilderness, but the distance and the natural difficulties of the country proved insurmountable obstacles. If communication with Quebec was difficult, that with Boston was easy; and thus Acadia became largely dependent on its New England neighbors, who, says an Acadian officer, “are mostly fugitives from England, guilty of the death of their late king, and accused of conspiracy against their present sovereign; others of them are pirates, and they are all united in a sort of independent republic.” [Footnote: _Mémoire du Sieur Bergier_, 1685.] Their relations with the Acadians were of a mixed sort. They continually encroached on Acadian fishing grounds, and we hear at one time of a hundred of their vessels thus engaged. This was not all. The interlopers often landed and traded with the Indians along the coast. Meneval, the governor, complained bitterly of their arrogance. Sometimes, it is said, they pretended to be foreign pirates, and plundered vessels and settlements, while the aggrieved parties could get no redress at Boston. They also carried on a regular trade at Port Royal and Les Mines or Grand Pré, where many of the inhabitants regarded them with a degree of favor which gave great umbrage to the military authorities, who, nevertheless, are themselves accused of seeking their own profit by dealings with the heretics; and even French priests, including Petit, the curé of Port Royal, are charged with carrying on this illicit trade in their own behalf, and in that of the seminary of Quebec. The settlers caught from the “Bostonnais” what their governor stigmatizes as English and parliamentary ideas, the chief effect of which was to make them restive under his rule. The Church, moreover, was less successful in excluding heresy from Acadia than from Canada. A number of Huguenots established themselves at Port Royal, and formed sympathetic relations with the Boston Puritans. The bishop at Quebec was much alarmed. “This is dangerous,” he writes. “I pray your Majesty to put an end to these disorders.” [Footnote: _L’Évêque au Roy_, 10 _Nov_., 1683. For the preceding pages, the authorities are chiefly the correspondence of Grandfontaine, Marson, La Vallière, Meneval, Bergier, Goutins, Perrot, Talon, Frontenac, and other officials. A large collection of Acadian documents, from the archives of Paris, is in my possession. I have also examined the Acadian collections made for the government of Canada and for that of Massachusetts.]

A sort of chronic warfare of aggression and reprisal, closely akin to piracy, was carried on at intervals in Acadian waters by French private armed vessels on one hand, and New England private armed vessels on the other. Genuine pirates also frequently appeared. They were of various nationality, though usually buccaneers from the West Indies. They preyed on New England trading and fishing craft, and sometimes attacked French settlements. One of their most notorious exploits was the capture of two French vessels and a French fort at Chedabucto by a pirate, manned in part, it is said, from Massachusetts. [Footnote: Meneval, _Mémoire_, 1688; Denonville, _Mémoire_, 18 _Oct_., 1688; _Procès-verbal du Pillage de Chedabucto; Relation de la Boullaye_, 1688.] A similar proceeding of earlier date was the act of Dutchmen from St. Domingo. They made a descent on the French fort of Pentegoet, on Penobscot Bay. Chambly, then commanding for the king in Acadia, was in the place. They assaulted his works, wounded him, took him prisoner, and carried him to Boston, where they held him at ransom. His young ensign escaped into the woods, and carried the news to Canada; but many months elapsed before Chambly was released. [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 14 _Nov_., 1674; _Frontenac à Leverett, gouverneur de Baston_, 24 _Sept_., 1674; _Frontenac to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts_, 25 _May_, 1675 (see 3 _Mass. Hist. Coll._, I. 64); _Colbert à Frontenac_, 15 _May_, 1675. Frontenac supposed the assailants to be buccaneers. They had, however, a commission from William of Orange. Hutchinson says that the Dutch again took Pentegoet in 1676, but were driven off by ships from Boston, as the English claimed the place for themselves.]

This young ensign was Jean Vincent de l’Abadie, Baron de Saint-Castin, a native of Béarn, on the slopes of the Pyrenees, the same rough, strong soil that gave to France her Henri IV. When fifteen years of age, he came to Canada with the regiment of Carignan-Salières, ensign in the company of Chambly; and, when the regiment was disbanded, he followed his natural bent, and betook himself to the Acadian woods. At this time there was a square bastioned fort at Pentegoet, mounted with twelve small cannon; but after the Dutch attack it fell into decay. [Footnote: On its condition in 1670, _Estat du Fort et Place de Pentegoet fait en l’année 1670, lorsque les Anglois l’ont rendu_. In 1671, fourteen soldiers and eight laborers were settled near the fort. _Talon au Ministre, 2 Nov., 1671_. In the next year, Talon recommends an _envoi de filles_ for the benefit of Pentegoet. _Mémoire sur le Canada, 1672_. As late as 1698, we find Acadian officials advising the reconstruction of the fort.] Saint-Castin, meanwhile, roamed the woods with the Indians, lived like them, formed connections more or less permanent with their women, became himself a chief, and gained such ascendency over his red associates that, according to La Hontan, they looked upon him as their tutelary god. He was bold, hardy, adroit, tenacious; and, in spite of his erratic habits, had such capacity for business, that, if we may believe the same somewhat doubtful authority, he made a fortune of three or four hundred thousand crowns. His gains came chiefly through his neighbors of New England, whom he hated, but to whom he sold his beaver skins at an ample profit. His trading house was at Pentegoet, now called Castine, in or near the old fort; a perilous spot, which he occupied or abandoned by turns, according to the needs of the time. Being a devout Catholic he wished to add a resident priest to his establishment for the conversion of his Indian friends; but, observes Father Petit of Port Royal, who knew him well, “he himself has need of spiritual aid to sustain him in the paths of virtue.” [Footnote: Petit in Saint-Vallier, _Estat de l’Église_, 39 (1856).] He usually made two visits a year to Port Royal, where he gave liberal gifts to the church of which he was the chief patron, attended mass with exemplary devotion, and then, shriven of his sins, returned to his squaws at Pentegoet. Perrot, the governor, maligned him; the motive, as Saint-Castin says, being jealousy of his success in trade, for Perrot himself traded largely with the English and the Indians. This, indeed, seems to have been his chief occupation; and, as Saint-Castin was his principal rival, they were never on good terms. Saint-Castin complained to Denonville. “Monsieur Petit,” he writes, “will tell you every thing. I will only say that he (_Perrot_) kept me under arrest from the twenty-first of April to the ninth of June, on pretence of a little weakness I had for some women, and even told me that he had your orders to do it: but that is not what troubles him; and as I do not believe there is another man under heaven who will do meaner things through love of gain, even to selling brandy by the pint and half-pint before strangers in his own house, because he does not trust a single one of his servants,–I see plainly what is the matter with him. He wants to be the only merchant in Acadia.” [Footnote: _Saint-Castin à Denonville_, 2 _Juiliet_, 1687.]

Perrot was recalled this very year; and his successor, Meneval, received instructions in regard to Saint-Castin, which show that the king or his minister had a clear idea both of the baron’s merits and of his failings. The new governor was ordered to require him to abandon “his vagabond life among the Indians,” cease all trade with the English, and establish a permanent settlement. Meneval was farther directed to assure him that, if he conformed to the royal will, and led a life “more becoming a gentleman,” he might expect to receive proofs of his Majesty’s approval. [Footnote: _Instruction du Roy au Sieur de Meneval_, 5 _Avril_, 1687.]

In the next year, Meneval reported that he had represented to Saint-Castin the necessity of reform, and that in consequence he had abandoned his trade with the English, given up his squaws, married, and promised to try to make a solid settlement. [Footnote: _Mémoire du Sieur de Meneval sur l’Acadie_, 10 _Sept_., 1688.] True he had reformed before, and might need to reform again; but his faults were not of the baser sort: he held his honor high, and was free-handed as he was bold. His wife was what the early chroniclers would call an Indian princess; for she was the daughter of Madockawando, chief of the Penobscots.

So critical was the position of his post at Pentegoet that a strong fort and a sufficient garrison could alone hope to maintain it against the pirates and the “Bostonnais.” Its vicissitudes had been many. Standing on ground claimed by the English, within territory which had been granted to the Duke of York, and which, on his accession to the throne, became a part of the royal domain, it was never safe from attack. In 1686, it was plundered by an agent of Dongan. In 1687, it was plundered again; and in the next year Andros, then royal governor, anchored before it in his frigate, the “Rose,” landed with his attendants, and stripped the building of all it contained, except a small altar with pictures and ornaments, which they found in the principal room. Saint-Castin escaped to the woods; and Andros sent him word by an Indian that his property would be carried to Pemaquid, and that he could have it again by becoming a British subject. He refused the offer. [Footnote: _Mémoire présenté au Roy d’Angleterre_, 1687; _Saint-Castin à Denonville_, 7 _Juillet_, 1687; _Hutchinson Collection_, 562, 563; _Andros Tracts_, I. 118.]

The rival English post of Pemaquid was destroyed, as we have seen, by the Abenakis in 1689; and, in the following year, they and their French allies had made such havoc among the border settlements that nothing was left east of the Piscataqua except the villages of Wells, York, and Kittery. But a change had taken place in the temper of the savages, mainly due to the easy conquest of Port Royal by Phips, and to an expedition of the noted partisan Church by which they had suffered considerable losses. Fear of the English on one hand, and the attraction of their trade on the other, disposed many of them to peace. Six chiefs signed a truce with the commissioners of Massachusetts, and promised to meet them in council to bury the hatchet for ever.

The French were filled with alarm. Peace between the Abenakis and the “Bostonnais” would be disastrous both to Acadia and to Canada, because these tribes held the passes through the northern wilderness, and, so long as they were in the interest of France, covered the settlements on the St. Lawrence from attack. Moreover, the government relied on them to fight its battles. Therefore, no pains were spared to break off their incipient treaty with the English, and spur them again to war. Villebon, a Canadian of good birth, one of the brothers of Portneuf, was sent by the king to govern Acadia. Presents for the Abenakis were given him in abundance; and he was ordered to assure them of support, so long as they fought for France. [Footnote: _Mémoire pour servir d’Instruction au Sieur de Villebon_, 1691.] He and his officers were told to join their war-parties; while the Canadians, who followed him to Acadia, were required to leave all other employments and wage incessant war against the English borders. “You yourself,” says the minister, “will herein set them so good an example, that they will be animated by no other desire than that of making profit out of the enemy: there is nothing which I more strongly urge upon you than to put forth all your ability and prudence to prevent the Abenakis from occupying themselves in any thing but war, and by good management of the supplies which you have received for their use to enable them to live by it more to their advantage than by hunting.” [1]

Armed with these instructions, Villebon repaired to his post, where he was joined by a body of Canadians under Portneuf. His first step was to reoccupy Port Royal; and, as there was nobody there to oppose him, he easily succeeded. The settlers renounced allegiance to Massachusetts and King William, and swore fidelity to their natural sovereign. [Footnote: _Procès-verbal de la Prise de Possession du Port Royal_, 27 _Sept_., 1691.] The capital of Acadia dropped back quietly into the lap of France; but, as the “Bostonnais” might recapture it at any time, Villebon crossed to the St. John, and built a fort high up the stream at Naxouat, opposite the present city of Fredericton. Here no “Bostonnais” could reach him, and he could muster war-parties at his leisure.

One thing was indispensable. A blow must be struck that would encourage and excite the Abenakis. Some of them had had no part in the truce, and were still so keen for English blood that a deputation of their chiefs told Frontenac at Quebec that they would fight, even if they must head their arrows with the bones of beasts. [Footnote: _Paroles des Sauvages de la Mission de Pentegoet_.] They were under no such necessity. Guns, powder, and lead were given them in abundance; and Thury, the priest on the Penobscot, urged them to strike the English. A hundred and fifty of his converts took the war-path, and were joined by a band from the Kennebec. It was January; and they made their way on snow-shoes along the frozen streams, and through the deathly solitudes of the winter forest, till, after marching a month, they neared their destination, the frontier settlement of York. In the afternoon of the fourth of February, they encamped at the foot of a high hill, evidently Mount Agamenticus, from the top of which the English village lay in sight. It was a collection of scattered houses along the banks of the river Agamenticus and the shore of the adjacent sea. Five or more of them were built for defence, though owned and occupied by families like the other houses. Near the sea stood the unprotected house of the chief man of the place, Dummer, the minister. York appears to have contained from three to four hundred persons of all ages, for the most part rude and ignorant borderers.

The warriors lay shivering all night in the forest, not daring to make fires. In the morning, a heavy fall of snow began. They moved forward, and soon heard the sound of an axe. It was an English boy chopping wood. They caught him, extorted such information as they needed, then tomahawked him, and moved on, till, hidden by the forest and the thick snow, they reached the outskirts of the village. Here they divided into two parties, and each took its station. A gun was fired as a signal, upon which they all yelled the war-whoop, and dashed upon their prey. One party mastered the nearest fortified house, which had scarcely a defender but women. The rest burst into the unprotected houses, killing or capturing the astonished inmates. The minister was at his door, in the act of mounting his horse to visit some distant parishioners, when a bullet struck him dead. He was a graduate of Harvard College, a man advanced in life, of some learning, and greatly respected. The French accounts say that about a hundred persons, including women and children, were killed, and about eighty captured. Those who could, ran for the fortified houses of Preble, Harmon, Alcock, and Norton, which were soon filled with the refugees. The Indians did not attack them, but kept well out of gun-shot, and busied themselves in pillaging, killing horses and cattle, and burning the unprotected houses. They then divided themselves into small bands, and destroyed all the outlying farms for four or five miles around.

The wish of King Louis was fulfilled. A good profit had been made out of the enemy. The victors withdrew into the forest with their plunder and their prisoners, among whom were several old women and a number of children from three to seven years old. These, with a forbearance which does them credit, they permitted to return uninjured to the nearest fortified house, in requital, it is said, for the lives of a number of Indian children spared by the English in a recent attack on the Androscoggin. The wife of the minister was allowed to go with them; but her son remained a prisoner, and the agonized mother went back to the Indian camp to beg for his release. They again permitted her to return; but, when she came a second time, they told her that, as she wanted to be a prisoner, she should have her wish. She was carried with the rest to their village, where she soon died of exhaustion and distress. One of the warriors arrayed himself in the gown of the slain minister, and preached a mock sermon to the captive parishioners. [2]

Leaving York in ashes, the victors began their march homeward; while a body of men from Portsmouth followed on their trail, but soon lost it, and failed to overtake them. There was a season of feasting and scalp-dancing at the Abenaki towns; and then, as spring opened, a hundred of the warriors set out to visit Villebon, tell him of their triumph, and receive the promised gifts from their great father the king. Villebon and his brothers, Portneuf, Neuvillette, and Desîles, with their Canadian followers, had spent the winter chiefly on the St. John, finishing their fort at Naxouat, and preparing for future operations. The Abenaki visitors arrived towards the end of April, and were received with all possible distinction. There were speeches, gifts, and feasting; for they had done much, and were expected to do more. Portneuf sang a war-song in their language; then he opened a barrel of wine: the guests emptied it in less than fifteen minutes, sang, whooped, danced, and promised to repair to the rendezvous at Saint-Castin’s station of Pentegoet. [Footnote: Villebon, _Journal de ce qui s’est passé à l’Acadie_, 1691, 1692.] A grand war-party was afoot; and a new and withering blow was to be struck against the English border. The guests set out for Pentegoet, followed by Portneuf, Desîles, La Brognerie, several other officers, and twenty Canadians. A few days after, a large band of Micmacs arrived; then came the Malicite warriors from their village of Medoctec; and at last Father Baudoin appeared, leading another band of Micmacs from his mission of Beaubassin. Speeches, feasts, and gifts were made to them all; and they all followed the rest to the appointed rendezvous.

At the beginning of June, the site of the town of Castine was covered with wigwams and the beach lined with canoes. Malecites and Micmacs, Abenakis from the Penobscot and Abenakis from the Kennebec, were here, some four hundred warriors in all. [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Sept_., 1692.] Here, too, were Portneuf and his Canadians, the Baron de Saint-Castin and his Indian father-in-law, Madockawando, with Moxus, Egeremet, and other noted chiefs, the terror of the English borders. They crossed Penobscot Bay, and marched upon the frontier village of Wells.

Wells, like York, was a small settlement of scattered houses along the sea-shore. The year before, Moxus had vainly attacked it with two hundred warriors. All the neighboring country had been laid waste by a murderous war of detail, the lonely farm-houses pillaged and burned, and the survivors driven back for refuge to the older settlements. [Footnote: The ravages committed by the Abenakis in the preceding year among the scattered farms of Maine and New Hampshire are said by Frontenac to have been “impossible to describe.” Another French writer says that they burned more than 200 houses.] Wells had been crowded with these refugees; but famine and misery had driven most of them beyond the Piscataqua, and the place was now occupied by a remnant of its own destitute inhabitants, who, warned by the fate of York, had taken refuge in five fortified houses. The largest of these, belonging to Joseph Storer, was surrounded by a palisade, and occupied by fifteen armed men, under Captain Convers, an officer of militia. On the ninth of June, two sloops and a sail-boat ran up the neighboring creek, bringing supplies and fourteen more men. The succor came in the nick of time. The sloops had scarcely anchored, when a number of cattle were seen running frightened and wounded from the woods. It was plain that an enemy was lurking there. All the families of the place now gathered within the palisades of Storer’s house, thus increasing his force to about thirty men; and a close watch was kept throughout the night.

In the morning, no room was left for doubt. One John Diamond, on his way from the house to the sloops, was seized by Indians and dragged off by the hair. Then the whole body of savages appeared swarming over the fields, so confident of success that they neglected their usual tactics of surprise. A French officer, who, as an old English account says, was “habited like a gentleman,” made them an harangue: they answered with a burst of yells, and then attacked the house, firing, screeching, and calling on Convers and his men to surrender. Others gave their attention to the two sloops, which lay together in the narrow creek, stranded by the ebbing tide. They fired at them for a while from behind a pile of planks on the shore, and threw many fire-arrows without success, the men on board fighting with such cool and dexterous obstinacy that they held them all at bay, and lost but one of their own number. Next, the Canadians made a huge shield of planks, which they fastened vertically to the back of a cart. La Brognerie with twenty-six men, French and Indians, got behind it, and shoved the cart towards the stranded sloops. It was within fifty feet of them, when a wheel sunk in the mud, and the machine stuck fast. La Brognerie tried to lift the wheel, and was shot dead. The tide began to rise. A Canadian tried to escape, and was also shot. The rest then broke away together, some of them, as they ran, dropping under the bullets of the sailors.

The whole force now gathered for a final attack on the garrison house. Their appearance was so frightful, and their clamor so appalling, that one of the English muttered something about surrender. Convers returned, “If you say that again, you are a dead man.” Had the allies made a bold assault, he and his followers must have been overpowered; but this mode of attack was contrary to Indian maxims. They merely leaped, yelled, fired, and called on the English to yield. They were answered with derision. The women in the house took part in the defence, passed ammunition to the men, and sometimes fired themselves on the enemy. The Indians at length became discouraged, and offered Convers favorable terms. He answered, “I want nothing but men to fight with.” An Abenaki who spoke English cried out: “If you are so bold, why do you stay in a garrison house like a squaw? Come out and fight like a man!” Convers retorted, “Do you think I am fool enough to come out with thirty men to fight five hundred?” Another Indian shouted, “Damn you, we’ll cut you small as tobacco before morning.” Convers returned a contemptuous defiance.

After a while, they ceased firing, and dispersed about the neighborhood, butchering cattle and burning the church and a few empty houses. As the tide began to ebb, they sent a fire-raft in full blaze down the creek to destroy the sloops; but it stranded, and the attempt failed. They now wreaked their fury on the prisoner Diamond, whom they tortured to death, after which they all disappeared. A few resolute men had foiled one of the most formidable bands that ever took the war-path in Acadia. [3]

The warriors dispersed to their respective haunts; and, when a band of them reached the St. John, Villebon coolly declares that he gave them a prisoner to burn. They put him to death with all their ingenuity of torture. The act, on the part of the governor, was more atrocious, as it had no motive of reprisal, and as the burning of prisoners was not the common practice of these tribes. [Footnote: “Le 18me (_Août_) un sauvage anglois fut pris au bas de la rivière de St. Jean. Je le donnai à nos sauvages pour estre brulé, ce qu’ils firent le lendemain. On ne peut rien adjouter aux tourmens qu’ils luy firent souffrir.” Villebon, _Journal_, 1691, 1692.]

The warlike ardor of the Abenakis cooled after the failure at Wells, and events that soon followed nearly extinguished it. Phips had just received his preposterous appointment to the government of Massachusetts. To the disgust of its inhabitants, the stubborn colony was no longer a republic. The new governor, unfit as he was for his office, understood the needs of the eastern frontier, where he had spent his youth; and he brought a royal order to rebuild the ruined fort at Pemaquid. The king gave the order, but neither men, money, nor munitions to execute it; and Massachusetts bore all the burden. Phips went to Pemaquid, laid out the work, and left a hundred men to finish it. A strong fort of stone was built, the abandoned cannon of Casco mounted on its walls, and sixty men placed in garrison.

The keen military eye of Frontenac saw the danger involved in the re-establishment of Pemaquid. Lying far in advance of the other English stations, it barred the passage of war-parties along the coast, and was a standing menace to the Abenakis. It was resolved to capture it. Two ships of war, lately arrived at Quebec, the “Poli” and the “Envieux,” were ordered to sail for Acadia with above four hundred men, take on board two or three hundred Indians at Pentegoet, reduce Pemaquid, and attack Wells, Portsmouth, and the Isles of Shoals; after which, they were to scour the Acadian seas of “Bostonnais” fishermen.

At this time, a gentleman of Boston, John Nelson, captured by Villebon the year before, was a prisoner at Quebec. Nelson was nephew and heir of Sir Thomas Temple, in whose right he claimed the proprietorship of Acadia, under an old grant of Oliver Cromwell. He was familiar both with that country and with Canada, which he had visited several times before the war. As he was a man of birth and breeding, and a declared enemy of Phips, and as he had befriended French prisoners, and shown especial kindness to Meneval, the captive governor of Acadia, he was treated with distinction by Frontenac, who, though he knew him to be a determined enemy of the French, lodged him at the château, and entertained him at his own table. [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre_, 4 _Nov_., 1693.] Madockawando, the father-in-law of Saint-Castin, made a visit to Frontenac; and Nelson, who spoke both French and Indian, contrived to gain from him and from other sources a partial knowledge of the intended expedition. He was not in favor at Boston; for, though one of the foremost in the overthrow of Andros, his creed and his character savored more of the Cavalier than of the Puritan. This did not prevent him from risking his life for the colony. He wrote a letter to the authorities of Massachusetts, and then bribed two soldiers to desert and carry it to them. The deserters were hotly pursued, but reached their destination, and delivered their letter. The two ships sailed from Quebec; but when, after a long delay at Mount Desert, they took on board the Indian allies and sailed onward to Pemaquid, they found an armed ship from Boston anchored in the harbor. Why they did not attack it, is a mystery. The defences of Pemaquid were still unfinished, the French force was far superior to the English, and Iberville, who commanded it, was a leader of unquestionable enterprise and daring. Nevertheless, the French did nothing, and soon after bore away for France. Frontenac was indignant, and severely blamed Iberville, whose sister was on board his ship, and was possibly the occasion of his inaction. [Footnote: _Frontenac au Ministre_, 25 _Oct_., 1693.]

Thus far successful, the authorities of Boston undertook an enterprise little to their credit. They employed the two deserters, joined with two Acadian prisoners, to kidnap Saint-Castin, whom, next to the priest Thury, they regarded as their most insidious enemy. The Acadians revealed the plot, and the two soldiers were shot at Mount Desert. Nelson was sent to France, imprisoned two years in a dungeon of the Château of Angoulême, and then placed in the Bastile. Ten years passed before he was allowed to return to his family at Boston. [4] The French failure at Pemaquid completed the discontent of the Abenakis; and despondency and terror seized them when, in the spring of 1693, Convers, the defender of Wells, ranged the frontier with a strong party of militia, and built another stone fort at the falls of the Saco. In July, they opened a conference at Pemaquid; and, in August, thirteen of their chiefs, representing, or pretending to represent, all the tribes from the Merrimac to the St. Croix, came again to the same place to conclude a final treaty of peace with the commissioners of Massachusetts. They renounced the French alliance, buried the hatchet, declared themselves British subjects, promised to give up all prisoners, and left five of their chief men as hostages. [Footnote: For the treaty in full, Mather, _Magnalia_, II. 625.] The frontier breathed again. Security and hope returned to secluded dwellings buried in a treacherous forest, where life had been a nightmare of horror and fear; and the settler could go to his work without dreading to find at evening his cabin burned and his wife and children murdered. He was fatally deceived, for the danger was not past.

It is true that some of the Abenakis were sincere in their pledges of peace. A party among them, headed by Madockawando, were dissatisfied with the French, anxious to recover their captive countrymen, and eager to reopen trade with the English. But there was an opposing party, led by the chief Taxous, who still breathed war; while between the two was an unstable mob of warriors, guided by the impulse of the hour. [Footnote: The state of feeling among the Abenakis is shown in a letter of Thury to Frontenac, 11 Sept., 1694, and in the journal of Villebon for 1693.] The French spared no efforts to break off the peace. The two missionaries, Bigot on the Kennebec and Thury on the Penobscot, labored with unwearied energy to urge the savages to war. The governor, Villebon, flattered them, feasted them, adopted Taxous as his brother, and, to honor the occasion, gave him his own best coat. Twenty-five hundred pounds of gunpowder, six thousand pounds of lead, and a multitude of other presents, were given this year to the Indians of Acadia. [Footnote: _Estat de Munitions, etc., pour les Sauvages de l’Acadie_, 1693.] Two of their chiefs had been sent to Versailles. They now returned, in gay attire, their necks hung with medals, and their minds filled with admiration, wonder, and bewilderment.

The special duty of commanding Indians had fallen to the lot of an officer named Villieu, who had been ordered by the court to raise a war-party and attack the English. He had lately been sent to replace Portneuf, who had been charged with debauchery and peculation. Villebon, angry at his brother’s removal, was on ill terms with his successor; and, though he declares that he did his best to aid in raising the war-party, Villieu says, on the contrary, that he was worse than indifferent. The new lieutenant spent the winter at Naxouat, and on the first of May went up in a canoe to the Malicite village of Medoctec, assembled the chiefs, and invited them to war. They accepted the invitation with alacrity. Villieu next made his way through the wilderness to the Indian towns of the Penobscot. On the ninth, he reached the mouth of the Mattawamkeag, where he found the chief Taxous, paddled with him down the Penobscot, and, at midnight on the tenth, landed at a large Indian village, at or near the place now called Passadumkeag. Here he found a powerful ally in the Jesuit Vincent Bigot, who had come from the Kennebec, with three Abenakis, to urge their brethren of the Penobscot to break off the peace. The chief envoy denounced the treaty of Pemaquid as a snare; and Villieu exhorted the assembled warriors to follow him to the English border, where honor and profit awaited them. But first he invited them to go back with him to Naxouat to receive their presents of arms, ammunition, and every thing else that they needed.

They set out with alacrity. Villieu went with them, and they all arrived within a week. They were feasted and gifted to their hearts’ content; and then the indefatigable officer led them back by the same long and weary routes which he had passed and repassed before, rocky and shallow streams, chains of wilderness lakes, threads of water writhing through swamps where the canoes could scarcely glide among the water-weeds and alders. Villieu was the only white man. The governor, as he says, would give him but two soldiers, and these had run off. Early in June, the whole flotilla paddled down the Penobscot to Pentegeot. Here the Indians divided their presents, which they found somewhat less ample than they had imagined. In the midst of their discontent, Madockawando came from Pemaquid with news that the governor of Massachusetts was about to deliver up the Indian prisoners in his hands, as stipulated by the treaty. This completely changed the temper of the warriors. Madockawando declared loudly for peace, and Villieu saw all his hopes wrecked. He tried to persuade his disaffected allies that the English only meant to lure them to destruction, and the missionary Thury supported him with his utmost eloquence. The Indians would not be convinced; and their trust in English good faith was confirmed, when they heard that a minister had just come to Pemaquid to teach their children to read and write. The news grew worse and worse. Villieu was secretly informed that Phips had been off the coast in a frigate, invited Madockawando and other chiefs on board, and feasted them in his cabin, after which they had all thrown their hatchets into the sea, in token of everlasting peace. Villieu now despaired of his enterprise, and prepared to return to the St. John; when Thury, wise as the serpent, set himself to work on the jealousy of Taxous, took him aside, and persuaded him that his rival, Madockawando, had put a slight upon him in presuming to make peace without his consent. “The effect was marvellous,” says Villieu. Taxous, exasperated, declared that he would have nothing to do with Madockawando’s treaty. The fickle multitude caught the contagion, and asked for nothing but English scalps; but, before setting out, they must needs go back to Passadumkeag to finish their preparations.

Villieu again went with them, and on the way his enterprise and he nearly perished together. His canoe overset in a rapid at some distance above the site of Bangor: he was swept down the current, his head was dashed against a rock, and his body bruised from head to foot. For five days he lay helpless with fever. He had no sooner recovered than he gave the Indians a war-feast, at which they all sang the war-song, except Madockawando and some thirty of his clansmen, whom the others made the butt of their taunts and ridicule. The chief began to waver. The officer and the missionary beset him with presents and persuasion, till at last he promised to join the rest.

It was the end of June when Villieu and Thury, with one Frenchman and a hundred and five Indians, began their long canoe voyage to the English border. The savages were directed to give no quarter, and told that the prisoners already in their hands would insure the safety of their hostages in the hands of the English. [Footnote: Villebon, _Mémoire, Juillet_, 1694; _Instruction du Sr. de Villebon au Sr. de Villieu._] More warriors were to join them from Bigot’s mission on the Kennebec. On the ninth of July, they neared Pemaquid; but it was no part of their plan to attack a garrisoned post. The main body passed on at a safe distance; while Villieu approached the fort, dressed and painted like an Indian, and accompanied by two or three genuine savages, carrying a packet of furs, as if on a peaceful errand of trade. Such visits from Indians had been common since the treaty; and, while his companions bartered their beaver skins with the unsuspecting soldiers, he strolled about the neighborhood and made a plan of the works. The party was soon after joined by Bigot’s Indians, and the united force now amounted to two hundred and thirty. They held a council to determine where they should make their attack, but opinions differed. Some were for the places west of Boston, and others for those nearer at hand. Necessity decided them. Their provisions were gone, and Villieu says that he himself was dying of hunger. They therefore resolved to strike at the nearest settlement, that of Oyster River, now Durham, about twelve miles from Portsmouth. They cautiously moved forward, and sent scouts in advance, who reported that the inhabitants kept no watch. In fact, a messenger from Phips had assured them that the war was over, and that they could follow their usual vocations without fear.

Villieu and his band waited till night, and then made their approach. There was a small village; a church; a mill; twelve fortified houses, occupied in most cases only by families; and many unprotected farm-houses, extending several miles along the stream. The Indians separated into bands, and, stationing themselves for a simultaneous attack at numerous points, lay patiently waiting till towards day. The moon was still bright when the first shot gave the signal, and the slaughter began. The two palisaded houses of Adams and Drew, without garrisons, were taken immediately, and the families butchered. Those of Edgerly, Beard, and Medar were abandoned, and most of the inmates escaped. The remaining seven were successfully defended, though several of them were occupied only by the families which owned them. One of these, belonging to Thomas Bickford, stood by the river near the lower end of the settlement. Roused by the firing, he placed his wife and children in a boat, sent them down the stream, and then went back alone to defend his dwelling. When the Indians appeared, he fired on them, sometimes from one loophole and sometimes from another, shouting the word of command to an imaginary garrison, and showing himself with a different hat, cap, or coat, at different parts of the building. The Indians were afraid to approach, and he saved both family and home. One Jones, the owner of another of these fortified houses, was wakened by the barking of his dogs, and went out, thinking that his hog-pen was visited by wolves. The flash of a gun in the twilight of the morning showed the true nature of the attack. The shot missed him narrowly; and, entering the house again, he stood on his defence, when the Indians, after firing for some time from behind a neighboring rock, withdrew and left him in peace. Woodman’s garrison house, though occupied by a number of men, was attacked more seriously, the Indians keeping up a long and brisk fire from behind a ridge where they lay sheltered; but they hit nobody, and at length disappeared. [Footnote: Woodman’s garrison house is still standing, having been carefully preserved by his descendants.]

Among the unprotected houses, the carnage was horrible. A hundred and four persons, chiefly women and children half naked from their beds, were tomahawked, shot, or killed by slower and more painful methods. Some escaped to the fortified houses, and others hid in the woods. Twenty-seven were kept alive as prisoners. Twenty or more houses were burned; but, what is remarkable, the church was spared. Father Thury entered it during the massacre, and wrote with chalk on the pulpit some sentences, of which the purport is not preserved, as they were no doubt in French or Latin.

Thury said mass, and then the victors retreated in a body to the place where they had hidden their canoes. Here Taxous, dissatisfied with the scalps that he and his band had taken, resolved to have more; and with fifty of his own warriors, joined by others from the Kennebec, set out on a new enterprise. “They mean,” writes Villieu in his diary, “to divide into bands of four or five, and knock people in the head by surprise, which cannot fail to produce a good effect.” [Footnote: “Casser des testes à la surprise après s’estre divisés en plusieurs bandes de quatre au cinq, ce qui ne peut manquer de faire un bon effect.” Villieu, _Relation_.] They did in fact fall a few days after on the settlements near Groton, and killed some forty persons.

Having heard from one of the prisoners a rumor of ships on the way from England to attack Quebec, Villieu thought it necessary to inform Frontenac at once. Attended by a few Indians, he travelled four days and nights, till he found Bigot at an Abenaki fort on the Kennebec. His Indians were completely exhausted. He took others in their place, pushed forward again, reached Quebec on the twenty-second of August, found that Frontenac had gone to Montreal, followed him thither, told his story, and presented him with thirteen English scalps. [Footnote: “Dans cette assemblée M. de Villieu avec 4 sauvages qu’il avoit amenés de l’Accadie présenta à Monsieur le Comte de Frontenac 13 chevelures angloises.” _Callières au Ministre_, 10 _Oct_., 1694.] He had displayed in the achievement of his detestable exploit an energy, perseverance, and hardihood rarely equalled; but all would have been vain but for the help of his clerical colleague Father Pierre Thury. [5]

THE INDIAN TRIBES OF ACADIA.–The name _Abenaki_ is generic, and of very loose application. As employed by the best French writers at the end of the seventeenth century, it may be taken to include the tribes from the Kennebec eastward to the St. John. These again may be sub-divided as follows. First, the Canibas (Kenibas), or tribes of the Kennebec and adjacent waters. These with kindred neighboring tribes on the Saco, the Androscoggin, and the Sheepscot, have been held by some writers to be the Abenakis proper, though some of them, such as the Sokokis or Pequawkets of the Saco, spoke a dialect distinct from the rest. Secondly, the tribes of the Penobscot, called Tarratines by early New England writers, who sometimes, however, give this name a more extended application. Thirdly, the Malicites (Marechites) of the St. Croix and the St. John. These, with the Penobscots or Tarratines, are the Etchemins of early French waiters. All these tribes speak dialects of Algonquin, so nearly related that they understand each other with little difficulty. That eminent Indian philologist, Mr. J. Hammond Trumbull, writes to me: “The Malicite, the Penobscot, and the Kennebec, or Caniba, are dialects of the same language, which may as well be called _Abenaki_. The first named differs more considerably from the other two than do these from each other. In fact the Caniba and the Penobscot are merely provincial dialects, with no greater difference than is found in two English counties.” The case is widely different with the Micmacs, the Souriquois of the French, who occupy portions of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and who speak a language which, though of Algonquin origin, differs as much from the Abenaki dialects as Italian differs from French, and was once described to me by a Malicite (Passamaquoddy) Indian as an unintelligible jargon.

[1] “Comme vostre principal objet doit estre de faire la guerre sans relâche aux Anglois, il faut que vostre plus particulière application soit de detourner de tout autre employ les François qui sont avec vous, en leur donnant de vostre part un si bon exemple en cela qu’ils ne soient animez que du désir de chercher à faire du proffit sur les ennemis. Je n’ay aussy rien à vous recommander plus fortement que de mettre en usage tout ce que vous pouvez avoir de capacité et de prudence afin que les Canibas (_Abenakis_) ne s’employent qu’à la guerre, et que par l’économie de ce que vous avez à leur fournir ils y puissent trouver leur subsistance et plus d’avantage qu’à la chasse.” _Le Ministre à Villebon, Avril_, 1692. Two years before, the king had ordered that the Abenakis should be made to attack the English settlements.

[2] The best French account of the capture of York is that of Champigny in a letter to the minister, 5 Oct., 1692. His information came from an Abenaki chief, who was present. The journal of Villebon contains an exaggerated account of the affair, also derived from Indians. Compare the English accounts in Mather, Williamson, and Niles. These writers make the number of slain and captives much less than that given by the French. In the contemporary journal of Rev. John Pike, it is placed at 48 killed and 78 taken.

Two fortified houses of this period are still (1875) standing at York. They are substantial buildings of squared timber, with the upper story projecting over the lower, so as to allow a vertical fire on the heads of assailants. In one of them some of the loopholes for musketry are still left open. They may or may not have been originally enclosed by palisades.

[3] Villebon, _Journal de ce qui s’est passé à l’Acadie_, 1691, 1692; Mather, _Magnalia_, II. 613; Hutchinson, _Hist. Mass._, II. 67; Williamson, _History of Maine_, I. 631; Bourne, _History of Wells_, 213; Niles, _Indian and French Wars_, 229. Williamson, like Sylvanus Davis, calls Portneuf _Barneffe_ or _Barniffe_. He, and other English writers, call La Brognerie _Labocree_. The French could not recover his body, on which, according to Niles and others, was found a pouch “stuffed full of relics, pardons, and indulgences.” The prisoner Diamond told the captors that there were thirty men in the sloops. They believed him, and were cautious accordingly. There were, in fact, but fourteen. Most of the fighting was on the tenth. On the evening of that day, Convers received a reinforcement of six men. They were a scouting party, whom he had sent a few days before in the direction of Salmon River. Returning, they were attacked, when near the garrison house, by a party of Portneuf’s Indians. The sergeant in command instantly shouted, “Captain Convers, send your men round the hill, and we shall catch these dogs.” Thinking that Convers had made a sortie, the Indians ran off, and the scouts joined the garrison without loss.

[4] Lagny, _Mémoire sur l’Acadie_, 1692; _Mémoire sur l’Enlèvement de Saint-Castin; Frontenac au Ministre_, 25 _Oct_., 1693; _Relation de ce qui s’est passè de plus remarquable_, 1690, 1691 (capture of Nelson); _Frontenac au Ministre_, 15 _Sept_., 1692; _Champigny au Ministre_, 15 _Oct_., 1692. Champigny here speaks of Nelson as the most audacious of the English, and the most determined on the destruction of the French. Nelson’s letter to the authorities of Boston is printed in Hutchinson, I. 338. It does not warn them of an attempt against Pemaquid, of the rebuilding of which he seems not to have heard, but only of a design against the seaboard towns. Compare _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. 555. In the same collection is a _Memorial on the Northern Colonies_, by Nelson, a paper showing much good sense and penetration. After an imprisonment of four and a half years, he was allowed to go to England on parole; a friend in France giving security of 15,000 livres for his return, in case of his failure to procure from the king an order for the fulfilment of the terms of the capitulation of Port Royal. (_Le Ministre à Bégon_, 13 _Jan_., 1694.) He did not succeed, and the king forbade him to return. It is characteristic of him that he preferred to disobey the royal order, and thus incur the high displeasure of his sovereign, rather than break his parole and involve his friend in loss. La Hontan calls him a “fort galant homme.” There is a portrait of him at Boston, where his descendants are represented by the prominent families of Derby and Borland.

[5] The principal authority for the above is the very curious _Relation du Voyage fait par le Sieur de Villieu … pour faire la Guerre aux Anglois au printemps de l’an 1694_. It is the narrative of Villieu himself, written in the form of a journal, with great detail. He also gives a brief summary in a letter to the minister, 7 Sept. The best English account is that of Belknap, in his _History of New Hampshire_. Cotton Mather tells the story in his usual unsatisfactory and ridiculous manner. Pike, in his journal, says that ninety-four persons in all were killed or taken. Mather says, “ninety four or a hundred.” The _Provincial Record of New Hampshire_ estimates it at eighty. Charlevoix claims two hundred and thirty, and Villieu himself but a hundred and thirty-one. Champigny, Frontenac, and Callières, in their reports to the court, adopt Villieu’s statements. Frontenac says that the success was due to the assurances of safety which Phips had given the settlers.

In the Massachusetts archives is a letter to Phips, written just after the attack. The devastation extended six or seven miles. There are also a number of depositions from persons present, giving a horrible picture of the cruelties practised.





“This stroke,” says Villebon, speaking of the success at Oyster River, “is of great advantage, because it breaks off all the talk of peace between our Indians and the English. The English are in despair, for not even infants in the cradle were spared.” [Footnote: “Ce coup est très avantageux, parcequ’il rompte tous les pour-parlers de paix entre nos sauvages et les Anglois. Les Anglois sont au désespoir de ce qu’ils ont tué jusqu’aux enfants au berceau.” _Villebon au Ministre_, 19 _Sept_., 1694.]

I have given the story in detail, as showing the origin and character of the destructive raids, of which New England annalists show only the results. The borders of New England were peculiarly vulnerable. In Canada, the settlers built their houses in lines, within supporting distance of each other, along the margin of a river which supplied easy transportation for troops; and, in time of danger, they all took refuge in forts under command of the local seigniors, or of officers with detachments of soldiers. The exposed part of the French colony extended along the St. Lawrence about ninety miles. The exposed frontier of New England was between two and three hundred miles long, and consisted of farms and hamlets, loosely scattered through an almost impervious forest. Mutual support was difficult or impossible. A body of Indians and Canadians, approaching secretly and swiftly, dividing into small bands, and falling at once upon the isolated houses of an extensive district, could commit prodigious havoc in a short time, and with little danger. Even in so-called villages, the houses were far apart, because, except on the sea-shore, the people lived by farming. Such as were able to do so fenced their dwellings with palisades, or built them of solid timber, with loopholes, a projecting upper story like a blockhouse, and sometimes a flanker at one or more of the corners. In the more considerable settlements, the largest of these fortified houses was occupied, in time of danger, by armed men, and served as a place of refuge for the neighbors. The palisaded house defended by Convers at Wells was of this sort, and so also was the Woodman house at Oyster River. These were “garrison

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