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      Not long before Frontenac's arrival, Courcelle, his predecessor, went to Lake Ontario with an armed force, in order to impose respect on the Iroquois, who had of late become insolent. As a means of keeping them in check, and at the same time controlling the fur trade of the upper country, he had recommended, like Talon before him, the building of a fort near the outlet of the lake. Frontenac at once saw the advantages of such a measure, and his desire to execute it was stimulated by the reflection that the proposed fort might be made not only a safeguard to the colony, but also a source of profit to himself.


      CHAPTER I."Not exactly," said Don dryly. "When I came out of college I was at a loose end. I'm the last of my lot, you know. Not a near relation in the world. It's true Dongan offered me a partnership, but it was not altogether philanthropy. I had twenty-five thousand to put in. He had his seat on 'change and he needed the capital."


      [284] Monckton to Winslow, 7 Oct. 1755.En Signum! en victor! Deus h?c, Deus ipse triumphat."

      Pen was plain panic-stricken. "Good-night!" she said, jerking her hand free. "The sky is getting light behind you!"V1 war, the Quaker influence made Pennsylvania non-combatant. Politically, too, she was an anomaly; for, though utterly unfeudal in disposition and character, she was under feudal superiors in the persons of the representatives of William Penn, the original grantee.

      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 Verchres 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. Verchres 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, 303 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 304 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.'""Monday is wash-day," said Pen.


      There was another silence.

      [318] For a curious account of the discovery of this negro plot, see Le Page du Pratz, iii. 304.Another plan, scarcely less absurd, was proposed[Pg 6] about the same time by the celebrated Le Moyne d'Iberville. The essential point, he says, is to get possession of Boston; but there are difficulties and risks in the way. Nothing, he adds, referring to the other plan, seems difficult to persons without experience; but unless we are prepared to raise a great and costly armament, our only hope is in surprise. We should make it in winter, when the seafaring population, which is the chief strength of the place, is absent on long voyages. A thousand Canadians, four hundred regulars, and as many Indians should leave Quebec in November, ascend the Chaudire, then descend the Kennebec, approach Boston under cover of the forest, and carry it by a night attack. Apparently he did not know that but for its lean neckthen but a few yards wideBoston was an island, and that all around for many leagues the forest that was to have covered his approach had already been devoured by numerous busy settlements. He offers to lead the expedition, and declares that if he is honored with the command, he will warrant that the New England capital will be forced to submit to King Louis, after which New York can be seized in its turn.[2]

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      The French claimed all America, from the Alleghanies to the Rocky Mountains, and from Mexico and Florida to the North Pole, except only the ill-defined possessions of the English on the borders of Hudson Bay; and to these vast regions, with adjacent islands, they gave the general name of New France. They controlled the highways of the continent, for they held its two great rivers. First, they had seized the St. Lawrence, and then planted themselves at the mouth of the Mississippi. Canada at the north, and Louisiana at the south, were the keys of a boundless interior, rich with incalculable possibilities. The English colonies, ranged along the Atlantic coast, had no royal road to the great inland, and were, in a manner, shut between the mountains and the sea. At the middle of the century they numbered in all, from Georgia to Maine, about eleven hundred and sixty thousand white inhabitants. By the census of 1754 Canada had but fifty-five thousand.[1] Add those of Louisiana and Acadia, and the whole white population under the French flag might be something more than eighty thousand. Here is an enormous disparity; and hence it has been argued that the success of the English colonies and the failure of the French was not due to difference of religious and political systems, but 21[223] Journal of the Proceeding of the Detachment of Seamen, in Sargent.

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      Such was the crisis when Frontenac left Canada at the moment when he was needed most, and Le Febvre de la Barre came to supplant him. The new governor introduces himself with a burst of rhodomontade. "The Iroquois," he writes to the king, "have twenty-six hundred warriors. I will attack them with twelve hundred men. They know me before seeing me, for they have been told by the English how roughly I handled them in the West Indies." This bold note closes rather tamely; for the governor adds, "I think that if the Iroquois believe that your Majesty would have the goodness to give me some help, they will make peace, and let our allies alone, which would save the trouble and expense of an arduous war." [8] He then begs hard for troops, and in fact there was great need of them, for there were none in Canada; 80 and even Frontenac had been compelled in the last year of his government to leave unpunished various acts of violence and plunder committed by the Iroquois. La Barre painted the situation in its blackest colors, declared that war was imminent, and wrote to the minister, "We shall lose half our trade and all our reputation, if we do not oppose these haughty conquerors." [9]V1 reports that seven hundred marched on the expedition. [158] The number of Indians joining them is not given; but as nine tribes and communities contributed to it, and as two barrels of wine were required to give the warriors a parting feast, it must have been considerable. White men and red, it seems clear that the French force was more than twice that of the English, while they were better posted and better sheltered, keeping all day under cover, and never showing themselves on the open meadow. There were no Indians with Washington. Even the Half-King held aloof; though, being of a caustic turn, he did not spare his comments on the fight, telling Conrad Weiser, the provincial interpreter, that the French behaved like cowards, and the English like fools. [159]

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      ages of the cures, and other details. See Abeille, I. This


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