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      The English, bound by treaty to allow the Acadians the exercise of their religion, at length conceived the idea of replacing the French priests by others to be named by the Pope at the request of the British Government. This, becoming known to the French, greatly alarmed them, and the Intendant at Louisbourg wrote to the Minister that the 108V1 that oozed from the marshy shores, crept in shadow through depths of foliage, with only a belt of illumined sky gleaming between the jagged tree-tops. Tall and lean with straining towards the light, their rough, gaunt stems trickling with perpetual damps, stood on either hand the silent hosts of the forest. The skeletons of their dead, barkless, blanched, and shattered, strewed the mudbanks and shallows; others lay submerged, like bones of drowned mammoths, thrusting lank, white limbs above the sullen water; and great trees, entire as yet, were flung by age or storms athwart the current,a bristling barricade of matted boughs. There was work for the axe as well as for the oar; till at length Lake Oneida opened before them, and they rowed all day over its sunny breast, reached the outlet, and drifted down the shallow eddies of the Onondaga, between walls of verdure, silent as death, yet haunted everywhere with ambushed danger. It was twenty days after leaving Schenectady when they neared the mouth of the river; and Lake Ontario greeted them, stretched like a sea to the pale brink of the northern sky, while on the bare hill at their left stood the miserable little fort of Oswego.


      "I am going on the ninth to sing the war-song at the Lake of Two Mountains, and on the next day at Saut St. Louis,a long, tiresome ceremony. On the twelfth I am off; and I count on having news to tell you by the end of this month or the beginning of next." Thus Montcalm wrote to his wife from Montreal early in July. All doubts had been solved. Prisoners taken on the Hudson and despatches from Versailles had made it certain that Loudon was bound to Louisbourg, carrying with him the best of the troops that had guarded the New York frontier. The time was come, not only to strike the English on Lake George, but perhaps to seize Fort Edward and carry terror to 475


      V1 provinces, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the four New England colonies, acceded to the plan, and sent to Albany, the appointed place of meeting, a body of men who for character and ability had never had an equal on the continent, but whose powers from their respective assemblies were so cautiously limited as to preclude decisive action. They met in the court-house of the little frontier city. A large "chain-belt" of wampum was provided, on which the King was symbolically represented, holding in his embrace the colonies, the Five Nations, and all their allied tribes. This was presented to the assembled warriors, with a speech in which the misdeeds of the French were not forgotten. The chief, Hendrick, made a much better speech in reply. "We do now solemnly renew and brighten the covenant chain. We shall take the chain-belt to Onondaga, where our council-fire always burns, and keep it so safe that neither thunder nor lightning shall break it." The commissioners had blamed them for allowing so many of their people to be drawn away to Piquet's mission. "It is true," said the orator, "that we live disunited. We have tried to bring back our brethren, but in vain; for the Governor of Canada is like a wicked, deluding spirit. You ask why we are so dispersed. The reason is that you have neglected us for these three years past." Here he took a stick and threw it behind him. "You have thus thrown us behind your back; whereas the French are a subtle and vigilant people, always using their utmost endeavors 174

      1699-1701.V1 Point had been twenty-four years in their undisturbed possession, while it was three quarters of a century since they first occupied Niagara; and, though New York claimed the ground, no serious attempt had been made to dislodge them.

      If Canada escaped the dragonnades, so also she escaped another infliction from which a neighboring colony suffered deplorably. Her peace was never much troubled by witches. They were held to exist, it is true; but they wrought no panic. Mother Mary of the Incarnation reports on one occasion the discovery of a magician in the person of a converted Huguenot miller who, being refused in marriage by a girl of Quebec, bewitched her, and filled the house where she lived with demons, which the bishop tried in vain to exorcise. The miller was thrown into prison, and the girl sent to the H?tel-Dieu, where not a demon dared enter. The infernal crew took their revenge by creating a severe influenza among the citizens. *


      [50] Ordres du Roy et Dpches des Ministres; MM. de la Jonquire et Bigot, 15 Avril, 1750. See Appendix A. for original.

      "Well, what's the big idea, Miss? I don't get you at all. Are you a bull yourself?"[23] "Mr. l'vesque accuse publiquement le Rev. Pre Joseph, suprieur des Rcollets de Montral, d'tre l'entremetteur d'une galanterie entre sa s?ur et le Gouverneur. Cependant Mr. l'vesque sait certainement que le Pre Joseph est l'un des meilleurs et des plus saints religieux de son ordre. Ce qu'il allgue du prtendu commerce entre le Gouverneur et la Dame de la Naudire (s?ur du Pre Joseph) est entirement faux, et il l'a publi avec scandale, sans preuve et contre toute apparence, la ditte Dame ayant toujours eu une conduite irrprochable." Mmoire touchant le Dmesl, etc. Champigny also says that the bishop has brought this charge, and that Callires declares that he has told a falsehood. Champigny au Ministre, 27 Oct., 1694.

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      A few days after, a greater peril threatened the French. If the wild Indian has the passions of a devil, he has also the instability of a child; and this is especially true when a number of incoherent tribes or bands are joined in a common enterprise. Dubuisson's Indians became discouraged, partly at the stubborn resistance of the enemy, and partly at the scarcity of food. Some of them declared openly[Pg 291] that they could never conquer those people; that they knew them well, and that they were braver than anybody else. In short, the French saw themselves on the point of being abandoned by their allies to a fate the most ghastly and appalling; and they urged upon the commandant the necessity of escaping to Michilimackinac before it was too late. Dubuisson appears to have met the crisis with equal resolution and address. He braced the shaken nerves of his white followers by appeals to their sense of shame, threats of the governor's wrath, and assurances that all would yet be well; then set himself to the more difficult task of holding the Indian allies to their work. He says that he scarcely ate or slept for four days and nights, during which time he was busied without ceasing in private and separate interviews with all the young war-chiefs, persuading them, flattering them, and stripping himself of all he had to make them presents. When at last he had gained them over, he called the tribes to a general council.The council was held on an open spot near the French encampment. La Barre was seated in an arm-chair. The Jesuit Bruyas stood by him as interpreter, and the officers were ranged on his right and left. The Indians sat on the ground in a row opposite the governor; and two lines of soldiers, forming two sides of a square, closed the intervening space. Among the officers was La Hontan, a spectator of the whole proceeding. He may be called a man in advance of his time; for he had the caustic, sceptical, and mocking spirit which a century later marked the approach of the great revolution, but which was not a characteristic of the reign of Louis XIV. He usually told the truth when he had no motive to do otherwise, and yet was capable at times of prodigious mendacity. [19] 106 There is no reason to believe that he indulged in it on the present occasion, and his account of what he now saw and heard may probably be taken as substantially correct. According to him, La Barre opened the council as follows:

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      In the confusion of the time no workman could be found to make a coffin, and an old servant of the Ursulines, known as Bonhomme Michel, gathered a few boards and nailed them together so as to form a rough box. In it was laid the body of the dead soldier; and late in the evening of the same day he was carried to his rest. There was no tolling of bells or firing of cannon. The officers of the garrison followed the bier, and some of the populace, including women and children, joined the procession as it moved in dreary silence along the dusky street, shattered with cannon-ball and bomb, to the chapel of the Ursuline convent. Here a shell, bursting under the floor, had made a cavity which had been hollowed into a grave. Three priests of the Cathedral, several nuns, Ramesay with his officers, and a throng of towns-people were present at the rite. After the service 310

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