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      * La Motte-Cadillac -, 28 Sept., 1694.Soon all was confusion in the New England camp,the consequence of March's incapacity for a large command, and the greenness and ignorance of both[Pg 128] himself and his subordinates. There were conflicting opinions, wranglings, and disputes. The men, losing all confidence in their officers, became unmanageable. "The devil was at work among us," writes one of those present. The engineer, Rednap, the only one of them who knew anything of the work in hand, began to mark out the batteries; but he soon lost temper, and declared that "it was not for him to venture his reputation with such ungovernable and undisciplined men and inconstant officers."[114] He refused to bring up the cannon, saying that it could not be done under the fire of the fort; and the naval captains were of the same opinion.


      The invalid General was deeply touched by this reverse, yet expressed himself with a moderation that does him honor. He wrote to Bouquet from Raystown: "Your letter of the seventeenth I read 155


      La Hontan, came over with the troops; but on the whole a community more free from positive heterodoxy perhaps never existed on earth. This exemption cost no bloodshed. What it did cost we may better judge hereafter.

      [314] Dr. Perez Marsh to William Williams, 25 Sept. 1755.44

      "What's wrong here?" demanded Riever.Rude as it was, Acadia had charms, and it has them still: in its wilderness of woods and its 338 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.


      The men in the blockhouses withdrew under cover of night to Fort Loyal, where the whole force of the English was now gathered along with their frightened families. Portneuf determined to besiege the place in form; and, after burning the village, and collecting tools from the abandoned blockhouses, he opened his trenches in a deep gully within fifty yards of the fort, where his men were completely protected. They worked so well that in three days they had wormed their way close to the palisade; and, covered as they were in their burrows, they lost scarcely a man, while their enemies suffered severely. They now summoned the fort to surrender. Davis asked for a delay of six days, which was refused; and in the morning the fight began again. For a time the fire was sharp and heavy. The English wasted much powder in vain efforts to dislodge the besiegers from their trenches; till at length, seeing a machine loaded with a tar-barrel and other combustibles shoved against their palisades, they asked for a parley. Up to this time, Davis had supposed that his assailants were all Indians, the French being probably 231 dressed and painted like their red allies. "We demanded," he says, "if there were any French among them, and if they would give us quarter. They answered that they were Frenchmen, and that they would give us good quarter. Upon this, we sent out to them again to know from whence they came, and if they would give us good quarter for our men, women, and children, both wounded and sound, and (to demand) that we should have liberty to march to the next English town, and have a guard for our defence and safety; then we would surrender; and also that the governour of the French should hold up his hand and swear by the great and ever living God that the several articles should be performed: all which he did solemnly swear."

      [19] "Que le lac estoit tout convert de canots." Frontenac au Ministre, 9 et 12 Nov., 1690.

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      In 1711, though the mischievous phantom of gold and silver mines still haunted the colony, we find it reported that the people were beginning to work, and were planting tobacco. The King, however, was losing patience with a dependency that cost him endless expense and trouble, and brought little or nothing in return,and this at a time when he had a costly and disastrous war on his hands, and was in no mood to bear supernumerary burdens. The plan of giving over a colony to a merchant, or a company of merchants, was not new. It had been tried in other French colonies with disastrous effect. Yet it was now tried again. Louisiana was farmed out for fifteen years to Antoine Crozat, a wealthy man of[Pg 311] business. The countries made over to him extended from the British colonies on the east to New Mexico on the west, and the Rio del Norte on the south, including the entire region watered by the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Ohio, and their tributaries, as far north as the Illinois. In comparison with this immense domain, which was all included under the name of Louisiana, the present State so called is but a small patch on the American map.[23] Frontenac au Roy, 2 Nov., 1681.

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      194 This gleam of sunshine passed, and all grew black again. On a snowy November day, a troop of Iroquois fell on the settlement of La Chesnaye, burned the houses, and vanished with a troop of prisoners, leaving twenty mangled corpses on the snow. [12] "The terror," wrote the bishop, "is indescribable." The appearance of a few savages would put a whole neighborhood to flight. [13] So desperate, wrote Frontenac, were the needs of the colony, and so great the contempt with which the Iroquois regarded it, that it almost needed a miracle either to carry on war or make peace. What he most earnestly wished was to keep the Iroquois quiet, and so leave his hands free to deal with the English. This was not easy, to such a pitch of audacity had late events raised them. Neither his temper nor his convictions would allow him to beg peace of them, like his predecessor; but he had inordinate trust in the influence of his name, and he now took a course which he hoped might answer his purpose without increasing their insolence. The perfidious folly of Denonville in seizing their countrymen at Fort Frontenac had been a prime cause of their hostility; and, at the request of the late governor, the surviving captives, thirteen in all, had been taken from the galleys, gorgeously clad in French attire, and sent back to Canada in the ship which carried Frontenac. Among them was a famous Cayuga war-chief called 195 Ourehaou, whose loss had infuriated the Iroquois. [14] Frontenac gained his good-will on the voyage; and, when they reached Quebec, he lodged him in the chateau, and treated him with such kindness that the chief became his devoted admirer and friend. As his influence was great among his people, Frontenac hoped that he might use him with success to bring about an accommodation. He placed three of the captives at the disposal of the Cayuga, who forthwith sent them to Onondaga with a message which the governor had dictated, and which was to the following effect: "The great Onontio, whom you all know, has come back again. He does not blame you for what you have done; for he looks upon you as foolish children, and blames only the English, who are the cause of your folly, and have made you forget your obedience to a father who has always loved and never deceived you. He will permit me, Ourehaou, to return to you as soon as you will come to ask for me, not as you have spoken of late, but like children speaking to a father." [15] Frontenac hoped that they would send an embassy to reclaim their chief, and thus give him an opportunity to use his personal influence over them. With the three released captives, he sent an Iroquois convert named Cut Nose with a wampum belt to announce his return.[Pg 208]Philipps was succeeded by a deputy-governor, Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong,a person of ardent impulses and unstable disposition. He applied himself with great zeal and apparent confidence to accomplishing the task in which his principal had failed. In fact, he succeeded in 1726 in persuading the inhabitants about Annapolis to take the oath, with a proviso that they should not be called upon for military service; but the main body of the Acadians stiffly refused. In the next year he sent Ensign Wroth to Mines, Chignecto, and neighboring settlements to renew the attempt on occasion of the accession of George II. The envoy's instructions left much to his discretion or his indiscretion, and he came back with the signatures, or crosses, of the inhabitants attached to an oath so clogged with conditions that it left them free to return to their French allegiance whenever they chose.

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      Meanwhile, Talon had been ordered to observe carefully the conduct of the bishop and the Jesuits, who, says the minister, have hitherto nominated governors for the king, and used every Prtextate, dame de grande condition, laquelle au rapport de


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