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Count Frontenac
Chapter IX  Frontenac to the Rescue


FROM the moment that Prince William of Orange, the one unconquerable foe of Louis XIV, was called to the throne of England, war between England and France was a foregone conclusion. It was not declared, however, in France till the 25th June 1689. Frontenac sailed from Rochelle on the 5th August following, the very day of the Lachine massacre. The king in an interview with him is reported to have said: "I am sending you back to Canada, where I am sure that you will serve me as well as you did before; I ask nothing more of you." His Majesty also intimated, we are told, that he believed the charges made against him were without foundation. During the intervals between his two terms of office, Frontenac had been living for the most part at court, in rather reduced circumstances. The king once at least came to his relief with a gratuity of three thousand five hundred francs, and possibly other liberalities may have flowed to him from the same royal source, though .Mr. Ernest Myrand, after careful research, has not been able to discover trace of any.

The mission which was tendered to the aged count—he was now in his seventieth year—was one which a younger man might have felt some hesitation in accepting. The last accounts from Canada showed the country to be in a deplorable condition, equally unable to make an enduring peace or to wage a successful war ; and the worst was yet to be told on the governor's arrival. The situation was rendered decidedly more critical by the fact of the war with England. True, a treaty had been made by Louis XIV with James II, providing that, should war break out between France and England, it should not extend to their American possessions; but Louis, who did not recognize William III as a legitimate sovereign, probably felt under no obligation to observe a treaty made with his predecessor. We know, at least, that a scheme for the conquest of the English colonies was arranged before Frontenac's departure. Callieres, Governor of Montreal, had been sent to France by Denonville in the fall of 1688 to represent the perilous situation of the colony, and to urge the king to adopt a system of reprisals against the English for the misdeeds of the Iroquois. Callieres and Frontenac had some friends in common, and were thus brought together at court, and the plan that was adopted was probably one that they had jointly suggested to the court. It was, briefly, that two or three war vessels should accompany Frontenac to Canada; that the count should disembark at some point on 230

the coast of Acadia, and proceed by the first private vessel he could secure to Quebec; that on arrival there he should organize a force of sixteen hundred men, one thousand regulars, and six hundred militia, to march on New York by way of Albany; and that when he was ready to move, he should notify the commander of the squadron, so that the latter might advance to New York, and be prepared to co-operate in the capture and occupation of the place. Meantime, the naval force was to employ itself in picking up any English trading vessels that might fall in its way.

Not only were plans thus formed for invading and seizing the English colonies, but the French king made complete arrangements as to the treatment of the inhabitants when conquered. Those who either were Catholics, or were prepared to embrace the Catholic faith, might be allowed to remain in possession of their property and civil rights ; the citizens of means were to be imprisoned and held for ransom, the rest of the population, numbering about eighteen thousand, were to forfeit everything and be driven penniless out of the country. It was proposed to deport them, in the first place, to New England, pending the ulterior conquest of that region. M. Lorin truly observes that Louis XIY, having just deprived his own subjects of religious liberty by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, could not possibly be expected to tolerate it in any country of which he might acquire control. A more ruthless policy could scarcely have been devised, nor, it may be added, a more senseless one. The deportation of so large a body of inhabitants, mainly of Dutch origin, and all accustomed to the use of arms, was a task ridiculously beyond the ability of the forces he was proposing to employ for the purpose.

The plan was followed, so far as the sending out of a small squadron with the new governor-general was concerned. Sailing, as already mentioned, on the 5th August, Frontenac arrived at Chedabucto (Guysborough), near the Straits of Canso, on the 12th September, and there embarked in a small vessel, the Franpois J'avier, for Quebec. On the way he stopped at Percé, where the Rdcollet missionaries informed him of the massacre of Lachine. His vessel must have been detained by contrary winds, for it was the 12th October before he arrived at Quebec. Here he was received by the citizens with the liveliest manifestations of joy. The ecclesiastics associated themselves, bon gre mal gre, with the popular feeling. The town was illuminated by night and hung with banners by day; a Te JDeuvi was sung; and a Jesuit father delivered what is recorded to have been a most pathetic discourse. On all hands the count was acclaimed as the man the country needed to restore its fallen fortunes and stay the hand of the destroyer. Denonville and Champigny did not grace the rejoicings ; they were at Montreal.

Quebec, however, was not the point of danger, nor that at which the governor's services were most required. Still he remained there eight days before proceeding to Montreal, where he arrived on the 27th October. At that place he learnt from Denonville of the instructions he had given for the abandonment and destruction of Fort Frontenac. The indignation of the old warrior, to whom the fort called after his name was a spot of peculiar predilection, can better be imagined than described. He could hardly believe that a French governor could perform so craven an act. If we may trust the Baron La Hontan, who does not in this case tax very seriously our powers of belief, the interview between the two dignitaries was a decidedly stormy one.1 There was no time to waste, however, in useless debate. Something possibly had happened to delay or prevent the carrying out of the orders, and the fort might perhaps yet be saved. An expedition was hastily organized to proceed to the spot and ascertain the facts, but scarcely had it well started before it encountered the entire garrison of the fort, minus six men, whom they had lost in the rapids on the way down, returning to Montreal. The deed had therefore been done. Valrennes, the commandant, told how he had destroyed the stores, thrown such arms and ammunition as he could not remove into the river, undermined the walls and fired the train, and how, as they retreated, they had heard a dull explosion. Yes, the deed had been done; but, as it turned out later, not with the full result intended. The mines had exploded, but probably they had been hastily and not over skilfully placed, and the injury to the walls was but slight. Not long afterwards Frontenac was able to repair the damage and put the fort once more in a condition of defence.

The season was now so far advanced that the project which had been formed of raising a large force with which to invade English territory, in conjunction with a naval attack on New York, had to be abandoned. La Caffini&re, commander of the squadron, waited for two months for some sign of the arrival of the Canadians, and then sailed back to France, making a few prizes on the way. But, if the governor was unable to organize an expedition on a large scale, he did not forego his intention of attacking the English colonies. If he could not march with an army he could make raids after the Indian fashion. His plan was to stand simply on the defensive as regards the Iroquois, and to impress their minds by the suddenness and vigour of his attacks on the English. Three raiding parties were accordingly-organized, one having its base at Montreal, the second at Three Rivers, and the third at Quebec.

The Montreal party consisted of a little over two hundred men, of whom somewhat less than half were mission Indians from Sault St. Louis—the present Caughnawaga settlement—and the Montreal Mountain. The remainder of the party consisted for the most part of coureurs de bois, formidable men for border warfare, far steadier than the Indians, and just as wary. Their destination was Albany and the neighbouring English settlements. The leaders were men of skill and courage, Daillebout de Mantet, and Le Moyne de Ste. Hdlene; the latter, a man greatly admired and beloved for his brilliant soldierly qualities and gay, amiable disposition, but nevertheless a keen and relentless fighter. With these were two of Ste. Hélene's brothers, formidable men all, Le Moyne d'lberville, who had already made fame for himself in Hudson's Bay, where still greater glory yet awaited him, and Le Moyne de Bienville, together with several other members of the Canadian noblesse. The Three Rivers party was under the charge of Francois Hertel, a man of much experience in Indian warfare. When quite a lad he had been carried off by the Iroquois, and had endured some cruel treatment at their hands before making his escape, and since then he had been in constant contact with them either in peace or in war. With him went three of his sons, twenty-four Frenchmen, and twenty-five Indians, fifty-two men in all. The third party, recruited at Quebec, consisted of fifty Frenchmen and sixty Abenaquis Indians from the settlement at the falls of the Chaudi&re, under the command of M. de Portneuf, who had as lieutenant his cousin, Repentigny, Sieur de Courtemanche. The Montreal expedition set out in the beginning of February, those from Three Rivers and Quebec a few days earlier; but before recounting their exploits, it may be well to glance at the negotiations, which the governor was at this time carrying on with a view to putting the relations of the colony with the Iroquois tribes on a better basis.

The king, it has been mentioned, had consented to send back the Indians who had been so treacherously captured and sent to France as galley slaves. It would be doing his Majesty injustice to suppose that he ever intended his representative in Canada to procure men for his galleys in so disreputable a fashion. The Marquis of Denonville from the moment of his arrival in Canada had breathed nothing but war ; and the king doubtless counted on a large number of prisoners as the result of his martial prowess. It is significant that, even before encountering the Senecas, Denonville should have written to the king explaining how very difficult it was to capture Iroquois in battle. He did not say so, but he doubtless thought that to trap them would be much easier. Out of nearly forty Indians sent to France, thirteen only were alive when the order for their restoration to their country was given; the rest had died of hardship and homesickness. The survivors were sent out in the same vessel with Frontenac, who did all in his power to make them forget the wrongs they had suffered. The most important man in the band was a Cayuga chief named Orehaou£, between whom and the count a sincere friendship seems to have sprung up. During the whole voyage the count treated him with the highest consideration, invited him to eat at his table, and furnished him with a handsome uniform; so that, by the time they landed at Quebec, the savage chief was completely won over to the French side. The same treatment was continued after they landed. Orehaou^ was lodged in the Chateau St. Louis and went everywhere with the governor. There was policy in this of course on Frontenac's part, but there is no reason to doubt that on both sides there was a genuine feeling of attachment.

After viewing the scene of desolation at Lachine, Frontenac reported to the king that nine square leagues of territory had been laid waste. The question was what to do. The best course seemed to be to send four of the Indians who had been brought back from France to their Iroquois kinsmen with a suitable message. They were despatched accordingly, accompanied by an Indian named Gagniogoton who, a short time before, had come to Montreal as a kind of ambassador, but whose tone had been more insolent than conciliatory. The returned warriors were to invite their people " to come and welcome their father whom they had so long missed, and thank him for his goodness to them in restoring a chief whom they had given up as lost,"1 namely Orehaou£. The latter did not accompany the mission, Frontenac considering that he would be more useful for the present at Montreal. It does not appear exactly when the envoys set out, but, after some delay, consequent upon prolonged deliberation on the part of the tribes, they returned to Montreal on the 9th March. It was evident the mission had' not been a great success. The messengers came laden with belts of wampum, each of which had its own special significance, yet for several days they kept silence. Finally at the urgent request of M. de Calli&res—Frontenac had gone back to Quebec — they disburdened themselves of the messages with which they were charged. Belt number' one was to explain that delay, had been caused by the arrival of an Ottawa delegation among the Senecas with overtures of peace, as a pledge of which they had brought with them a number of Iroquois prisoners whom they were prepared to restore. The second belt was meant to express the joy of the whole Iroquois confederacy over the return of Orehaou£, whom they spoke of as their general-in-cliief. The third demanded the return of Orehaoue and the other prisoners ; and mentioned the fact that all the surviving French prisoners were at the chief town of the Onondagas, and that no disposition would be made of them till they should hear the advice of Orehaoue on his return home. The fourth congratulated Frontenac on his wish to plant again the tree of peace; but the fifth was the most expressive of all. Referring to the desire of Frontenac to bring them again to his fort, it said: " Know you not that the fire of peace no longer burns in that fort; that it is extinguished by the blood that has been spilt there; the place where the council is held is all red; it has been desecrated by the treachery perpetrated there." Fort Frontenac, it went on to say, was henceforth an impossible place for peaceful gatherings: if the tree of peace was again to be planted it must be in some other spot, nearer or more distant they did not care—only not there. Then these words were added: "In fine, Father Onontio, you have whipped your children most severely; your rods were too cutting and too long; and after having used me thus you can readily judge that I have some sense now." The sixth belt mentioned that there were parties now out on the war-path, but that they were prepared to spare their prisoners should they take any, if the French would agree to do the same on their side. There was no lack of frankness in the further . information conveyed by this belt, which was to the effect that the Onondagas had received eight prisoners as their share of the prisoners taken at La Chesnaye, and had eaten four of them, and spared the other four. This was intended to show their superiority in humanity to the French, who, having taken three Seneca prisoners, had eaten them all, that is to say, allowed their Indian allies to kill and eat them, instead of sparing one or two. To what incident this refers is not clear, as Denonville did not report any prisoners taken in his fight with the Senecas.

Callieres sent the deputation down to Quebec to see the governor-general; but the latter, according to the account here followed, which was written by his own secretary, Monseignat, declined to give them an audience, mainly on account of the objection he had to their spokesman, Gagniogoton. Doubtless Callieres had informed him sufficiently of the tenor of the communications they had to make. The governor had much on his mind, but he was not a man to act in nervous haste. Towards the close of the month of December, a man named Zachary Jolliet arrived at Quebec from Michilimackinac, having been despatched by La Durantaye to represent the perilous nature of the situation there owing to the very unsatisfactory dispositions of the Lake tribes. The massacre of Lachine with all its attendant circumstances had convinced them that French power was at a very low ebb. As the narrative says: "They saw nothing on our part but universal supineness; our houses burnt; our people carried off; the finest portion of our country ruined; and all done without any 240 one being moved; or, at least, if any attempts were made, the trifling effort recoiled to our shame." Yet what the French, individually, were capable of may be judged by the fact that this messenger, with only one companion, had come all the way from Michilimackinac at a most inclement season of the year, partly in a canoe and partly on the ice, reaching Quebec at the very end of December. Surely some benumbing influence must have been at work upon the colony. Was it the extreme medievalism of the Denonville regime aided by an excessive use of intoxicating liquors? These at least were verce causae, and might well have had 110 small share in creating the situation described.

Something had to be done, and that speedily, to strengthen La Durantaye's position, or the French of the Upper Lakes would virtually find themselves hostages in the hands of disaffected tribes; if indeed their lives were not sacrificed to cement the union which the Ottawas were even then endeavouring to effect with the Iroquois. Frontenac wanted to send Zachary Jolliet back at once with instructions ; but it was learnt that the route was infested by Iroquois; very unwillingly, therefore, he deferred action till the breaking of the ice in the spring. He then despatched M. de Louvigny, with a hundred and forty-three Canadians and a small number of Indians, to strengthen the garrison and relieve La Durantaye. With this contingent went a man well known to all the region, and probably second to none in his ability to influence the native mind, Nicolas Perrot. The count did not, however, entrust Perrot with any merely verbal message, but placed in his hands a written one, conceived in the style of which he had acquired so great a mastery. "Children," said Onontio, " I am astonished to learn on arriving that you have forgotten the protection I always afforded you. Remember that I am your father, who adopted you, and who has loved you so tenderly. I gave you your country; I drove the horrors of war far from it, and introduced peace there. You had no home before that. You were wandering about exposed to the Iroquois tempests. Hark, I speak to you as a father. My body is big; it is strong and cannot die. Think you I am going to remain in a state of inactivity such as prevailed during my absence; and, if eight or ten hairs have been pulled from my children's heads when I was absent, that I cannot put ten handfuls of hair in the place of one that has been torn out ? or that, for one piece of bark that has been stripped from my cabin, I cannot put double the number in its place? Children, know that I always am, that nothing but the Great Spirit can destroy me, and that it is I who destroy all." The message went on to refer to the Iroquois as a ravenous dog who formerly was snapping and biting at every one, but whom Frontenac had tamed and tied up, and whom he would discipline again if he did not mend his ways. The blood shed at Montreal last summer, it said, was of no account; the houses destroyed were only two or three rat holes. The English were not people to have confidence in ; they deceived and devoured their children. " I am strong enough to kill the English, destroy the Iroquois, and whip you if you fail in your duty to me." Finally there was a warning against the use of English rum, which was killing in its effects, whereas French brandy was health-giving.

What the effect of this allocution would have been, unsupported by favouring circumstances, it is difficult to say. The Indian tribes all had a remarkable gift of perspicacity. They had no need of Dr. Johnson's advice to clear their minds of cant, for cant was something quite foreign to their mental habits ; it was not a product of forest life. It happened, however, that Perrot was able to show them a number of Iroquois scalps, and hand over to them an Iroquois prisoner that his party had taken on their journey up the Ottawa. This looked like business, and lent a weight which might otherwise have been lacking to the somewhat fustian eloquence of Onontio. The affair of the capture had happened in this wise. As the expedition neared the place now known as Sand Point, on the river Ottawa, they discovered two Iroquois canoes drawn up at the end of the point. Three canoes were detached to attack the enemy, but were received with a heavy fire from an ambush on the shore, by which four Frenchmen were killed. Perrot, who thought it much more important to accomplish his mission among the Ottawas than to have even a successful fight with the Iroquois, did not at first wish to push the matter further; but his men were full of fight, and he finally, allowed a general attack to be made, which resulted most successfully. More than thirty Iroquois, the narrative says, were killed, and many more were wounded. Out of thirteen canoes only four escaped. Two prisoners were taken. One of these was sent to Quebec and was used by Frontenac to help out his negotiations with their nation; the other was taken to Michilimackinac. His fate was not a pleasant one. Perrot gave him to the Hurons, and by so doing made the Ottawas a little jealous. Both Ottawas and Hurons were at the time meditating an alliance with the Iroquois, and the Hurons thought they could make good use of their prisoner as a peace-offering. The French, however, were not going to have any nonsense of that kind. The commanders conferred with the missionaries, and finally a hint was dropped to the Hurons that, if they did not put their prisoner " into the kettle," he would be taken from them and given to the Ottawas. That settled the question ; the unhappy prisoner was put to death with the customary tortures, and all chance of peace between Hurons and Iroquois was thus destroyed. What the Ottawas might do still remained uncertain. Frontenac's message had by no means wholly won them over to the French alliance. They had heard of the warfare Onontio was waging against the English, and thought they would await developments.

That war had been going merrily on in its own fashion, and Perrot was able to give an account of the success of the principal expedition—the one directed against Albany—for it had returned to Montreal after doing its bloody work nearly two months before he left for the Upper Lakes.1 The story of the three war parties must now be woven into our narrative. The one just mentioned started from Montreal on one of the first days in February (1690). The Indians of the party had not been in-* formed what their destination was. When they learned that the intention was to attack Albany, they inquired with surprise how long it was since the French had become so bold. Like the Indians of the West, they had drawn their own conclusions from the events of the previous year. They were not disposed to join in so hazardous an undertaking ; and it is allowable, perhaps, to doubt whether it was at any time seriously contemplated to make Albany the point of attack. If it was, the leaders changed their minds, for on coming to a point where the roads to that place and to Corlaer or Schenectady diverged, they took the latter. The difficulties of the march were extreme. Though it was yet midwinter, more or less thaw prevailed, and during much of the journey the men had to walk knee-deep in water. Then on the last day or two came a blast of excessive cold. A few miles from Corlaer the expedition was halted, and the chief man of the Christian Mohawks harangued his people. The opportunity had now come, he said, for taking ample revenge for all the injuries they had received from the heathen Iroquois at the instigation of the English, and to wash them out in blood. This Indian known as the Great Mohawk, or in French as the Grand Agnid, is described in the official narrative as "the most considerable of his tribe, an honest man, full of spirit, prudence, and generosity, and capable of the greatest undertakings." The little army was in wretched plight, and probably, had they been attacked at this point by even a small force of men in good condition, they would have been completely routed. No such attack, however, was made. Marching a little further, they found a wigwam occupied only by four squaws. There was a fire in it, and, benumbed with cold, they crowded round it in turns. At eleven o'clock at night they were in sight of the town, but in order that they might take the inhabitants in their deepest sleep, they deferred the attack for three hours; then they burst in through an open gate in the palisade. The official account says, in very simple words, that" the massacre lasted two hours." This, be it remembered, was supposed to be regular warfare, not between savage Indians, or between French and Indians, but between French and English. War, as already stated, had been declared between France and England, and this was Frontenac's method of carrying on his part of it. When New England retaliated later in the year by the attack on Quebec, we can hardly wonder that some of the inhabitants of that city anticipated a general massacre should the English obtain possession of the town. The special enormities alleged to have been committed by the heathen Iroquois in the massacre at Lachine are, by witnesses who made their statements within a few days after the event, affirmed to have been perpetrated by the Christian Indians at Schenectady. Sixty persons in all were killed, thirty-eight being men and boys, ten women, and twelve children of tender age.1 Many were wounded, thirty were carried away captive. The chief magistrate of the place, John Sanders Glen by name, lived outside the town in a palisaded and fortified dwelling, which he was prepared to defend. He was known, however, to the French commanders as a man who had always been favourable to their people, having on several occasions rescued French prisoners from the Mohawks, over whom he had great influence. On being assured that his life and property would be spared, he surrendered. It was also agreed to extend the same immunity to any of his relatives who might have survived the massacre; and the number of persons claiming the privilege was so great as to cause the Indians to express some surprise and ill-humour at the wide range of his family connection.

The homeward march was begun a day or two later. It was by no means a prosperous one. Early in the attack a man on horseback had escaped through the eastern gate of the town, and, though shot at and wounded, was able to make his way to Albany and give the alarm. Thence word was sent on to the Mohawk towns, and the warriors, accompanied by a detachment of fifty young men from Albany, started on the track of the retreating foe. Two only on the French side had been killed in the attack on Schenectady, but before the party reached Montreal, their losses amounted to twenty-one, seventeen French, and four Indians. The opinion of the Mohawk Indians on the character of the expedition was expressed in a message of sympathy which they sent to the authorities at Albany. "The French," they said, "did not act on this occasion like brave men, but like thieves and robbers. Be not discouraged, we give this belt to wipe away your tears. We do not think what the French have done can be called a victory. It is only a further proof of their cruel deceit."

The expedition organized at Three Rivers left that place on the 28th January ; but it was not till after two months' wanderings in the inhospitable wilderness that they were able to strike their first blow. The New England frontier had for a year past been in a very disturbed and precarious condition owing to a renewed outbreak of hostilities on the part of the Abenaquis Indians. A long period of previous warfare with these tribes had been closed by the Treaty of Casco in 1678, but now the frontier was again aflame. The English settlers attributed the trouble to the machinations of the French with whom the Abenaquis were in close alliance; and certain it is that the Marquis of Denonville, in a memorandum written after his return to France, takes credit to himself for the mischief done. He speaks of the progress made in christianizing the Abenaquis, and of the establishment near Quebec of two colonies of them which he thought would prove useful. He then proceeds: " To the close relations which I maintained with these savages through the Jesuits, and particularly the two brothers Bigot, may be attributed the success of the attacks which they made upon the English last summer when they captured sixteen forts besides that of Pemquid, where there were twenty cannon, and killed two hundred men." The ex-governor exaggerates the number of cannon in the fort at Pemquid, as there were only seven or eight, and omits to mention the fact that, after that place had surrendered on the promise that the lives of all in it should be spared, a number were murdered by his Indians. That they were not also tortured, Father Thury, who was with the attacking party, attributes to the influence of his exhortations. M. Lorin, in giving an account of the occurrence, says there is no doubt that the Abenaquis were impelled by their missionary, the Abbé Thury. He quotes the statement of Charlevoix that, before setting out, their first care had been to make sure of the divine assistance, by partaking of the sacrament. " Certainly," he says, " the part taken by the missionaries in expeditions of this character, was a preponderating one." He also ventures the theory that, as the heathen Iroquois never penetrated into New England, the only enemies of the faith upon whom the missionaries could exercise the zeal of their Abenaquis converts were the English.

The fighting along the frontier lasted all through the summer and autumn of 1689. The winter brought respite from attack, and the settlers were beginning to indulge a sense of security when Hertel and his fifty men crept up to the little settlement of Salmon Falls, on the borders of New Hampshire and Maine. The attack was made in very similar fashion to that at Schenectady. The assailants burst in at night and at once began to apply tomahawk and torch. Thirty persons, men, women, and children indiscriminately, were slaughtered, and fifty-four were made prisoners. Hearing that a force of English from Piscataqua, now Portsmouth, was hastening to the scene, Hertel ordered a retreat. At Wooster River the pursuers caught up with him, but, taking up an advantageous position on the far side of that stream, he held them in check, killing several as they tried to cross the narrow bridge. At night he resumed his retreat. Some of the prisoners were given to his Indians to torture and kill. It was unfortunate that Father Thury was not present to inspire milder sentiments in these converts.

Hertel was a born fighter, and when, upon reaching one of the Abenaquis villages on the Kennebec, he learnt that the Quebec party under M. de Portneuf had just passed south, he determined to follow them with thirty-six of his men, though he was obliged to leave behind him his eldest son who had been badly wounded in the fight at Wooster River. A number of Indian warriors joined the party at a point on the Kennebec ; and on the 25th May, the united force, numbering between four and five hundred men, encamped in the forest not far from the English forts on Casco Bay. The principal of these was Fort Loyal, a palisaded place mounting eight cannon. The others were simple blockhouses. The several garrisons consisted of about one hundred men under the command of Captain Sylvanus Davis, whose narrative in the original—and most original—spelling has come down to us. The garrison first knew that an enemy was at hand by hearing the war-whoop of the Indians, who had just scalped an unfortunate Scotsman found wandering about in the neighbourhood, all unconscious of danger. Thirty volunteers at once sallied forth from the fort to meet the foe. They had not gone far when they received a volley at close range which killed half of them. Of the remaining half only four reached the fort, all wounded. During the night the men in the blockhouses crept into the fort, together with the inhabitants of some neighbouring houses. The place could not be carried by assault, so Portneuf determined to besiege it in due form by opening trenches and working his way in. The work was well and rapidly done, and Davis saw that surrender was inevitable. He inquired if there were any French in the attacking force, and, if so, whether they would give quarter. The answer was affirmative on both points. Davis inquired whether the quarter would include men, women, and children, wounded and unwounded, and whether they would all be allowed to retire to the nearest English town. This was agreed to and sworn to; but, no sooner had the occupants of the fort filed out, than the Indians fell upon them, killed a number, and made prisoners of the rest. Davis protested, but he was told that he arid his people were rebels against their lawful king, and therefore without any claim to consideration. The captives, Davis among them, were carried off to Quebec, where they arrived about the middle of June. The fort was burned, the guns were spiked, the neighbouring settlements destroyed, and the dead left unburied.

Thus had Frontenac's expeditions fared. They had spread grief and alarm amongst the English settlements, but had inflicted no serious blow on English power. They had shown how expert the colonial French had become in the methods of Indian warfare, and also to how large an extent they had themselves inbibed the Indian spirit. We may doubt whether Frontenac philosophized much on the subject; his immediate object was to produce an effect on the minds of his wavering Indian allies and his sullen Indian enemies; and the raids into English territory, with the slaughterings and burnings, were doubtless well adapted to that purpose. If Onontio was strong enough and bold enough to make war in this fashion on Corlaer and Kishon1 at once, there was something for allies, and enemies as well, to reflect on. This view of the matter finally prevailed with the Lake tribes. For some two or three years trade had been almost at a standstill, and furs had accumulated which the savages were now anxious to turn into European goods. With one accord they determined to try the Montreal market once more, and see Onontio face to face.

During the winter, while his guerrilla forces were in the field, Frontenac had not been idle. Having arranged for offensive measures, he next took thought for defensive ones ; and, as if with a prevision that Quebec itself might not be exempt from attack, he devoted special attention to strengthening the fortifications of that place. He caused a vast amount of timber to be cut for palisades, with which he protected the city at the rear, its only weak point. In the spring he began the erection of a strong stone redoubt; and the work was pushed with so much vigour that by midsummer it was well advanced towards completion. These pressing occupations did not, however, absorb all his thoughts. The fact of his having been chosen a second time by the king for the governorship of Canada, notwithstanding all the criticism of which he had formerly been the object, gave him a position of manifest strength, which even his bitterest opponents of former days could not ignore. The Sovereign Council as a. whole recognized the fact, and was anxious to arrange matters so as, if possible, to avoid friction for the future.

The governor on his part was determined to preserve an attitude of dignified, not to say haughty, reserve, and throw upon the council the task of making such advances as might be necessary. In pursuance of this policy, he refrained from attending the meetings, though his presence was much required. The council having deputed Auteuil, the attorney-general, to wait upon him and invite his attendance, he replied that the council should be able to manage its own business and that he would come when he thought the king's service required it. It is hard to understand why Auteuil should have been chosen for this negotiation ; for Frontenac must have had a vivid recollection of the insolence with which he had been treated during his first administration by this individual, then a raw youth of not much over twenty. The next move of the council was to send four of their number to repeat the invitation, and to ask the governor at the same time with what ceremonies he would wish to be received. His answer was that if they would propose the form he would tell them whether it was satisfactory. The council felt that the governor was pushing his advantage a little too far ; but nevertheless they applied themselves to the question, and, having devised a form which they thought could not fail to be acceptable, sent Villeray, the first councillor, to the chateau to explain what was proposed. Villeray was as deferential and complimentary as he knew how; but the end was not yet. " See the bishop, and any other parties who have knowledge of such matters, and get their opinion," said the governor. The bishop was consulted accordingly, but very properly declined to give any opinion. Thrown back on their own resources the councillors devised the following scheme: that, when his Lordship, the count, should decide to make his first visit to the council, four of its members should present themselves at the chateau in order to accompany him to the place of meeting, which was the intendant's palace on the bank of the St. Charles ; and that, on all subsequent occasions, he should be met by two councillors at the head of the stairs and respectfully conducted to his seat. This was duly explained by the first councillor, Villeray, who said he was authorized to add that any modification of the plan which the governor might suggest would be gladly adopted by the council. This was submission indeed, yet still the count hesitated. He asked to see the minutes of the council in which the resolution bearing on the matter was recorded. Villeray struggled up Palace Hill with the official register, and presented himself again before the potentate, who found the entry in good shape, but reserved his final answer. A few days later, having been again waited on, he graciously informed the deputation that the arrangement proposed was quite satisfactory. With what must really be called a fatuous self-complacency, he added that, had the council wished to go too far in the way of obsequiousness, he could not have consented to it, as, being himself its head, he was jealous of its dignity and honour. If for some men there is, as the poet hints, " a far-off touch of greatness " in knowing they are not great, it is to be feared Frontenac did not possess that particular touch.

Not only were the fortifications of Quebec strengthened, but steps were also taken to form a local militia guard under the command of the town-major, Prevost. Leaving to that officer the supervision of whatever work was still required on the defences, Frontenac, accompanied by the intendant and Madame Champigny, left the capital on the 22nd July for Montreal, where his presence was much required. He probably did some inspection of posts on the way, for he did not reach the end of his journey till the 31st. Trade at this time was pretty much at a standstill. Bands of mission Indians were on the war-path against the English ; and every now and again the Iroquois would swoop down on the settlements, notwithstanding the fact that scouts were kept continually employed along the routes by which they were accustomed to make their approaches. Under the new administration the lesson of Lachine, the lesson of eternal watchfulness, was being taken to heart. The governor had much to occupy his thoughts. At Montreal, as at Quebec, he was anxious to perfect the organization of the military forces, and to place the city, from every point of view, in the best possible condition of defence. He had not as yet received news as to how Louvigny and Perrot had succeeded among the Lake tribes; yet upon the success of their mission hung the most momentous issues. Was Canada to secure allies in the West who would hold at least in partial check the Iroquois power, or were Hurons, Ottawas, Iroquois, and English to combine their forces for her destruction? Meantime bad news had come from Acadia. Port Royal and other fortified posts had been captured ; the English were in possession of the entire country; the governor had been carried captive to Boston. It was known that the English of Albany and New York were moving: what the next news would be, who could tell?

On the 18th August news came. In hot haste the officer in command at Lachine had despatched a messenger to say that Lake St. Louis to the west was covered with Iroquois canoes bearing down on the island. The terror of the inhabitants, in spite of the presence of the governor amongst them, was extreme. Orders were given to fire alarm guns to warn the inhabitants of the surrounding country; and other measures of protection were being hastily concerted, when a second messenger arrived to say that it was all a mistake. It was not the dreaded Iroquois who were close at hand, but a large body of Lake Indians who were coming to trade. Fear was at once turned into joy. The envoys sent to the upper country in May had been successful; a great danger had been averted.

Perrot with his scalps and Frontenac with his vigorous and aggressive, if somewhat primitive and ruthless, war policy had turned the scale in favour of Canada. Firm alliances would now be made, and there would be a big market at Montreal.

The next day the canoes, laden with the accumulated furs of the last two or three years, shot the Lachine Rapids and landed at Montreal. There were about five hundred Indians in all, Hurons, Ottawas, Crees, Ojibways, and various other tribes, all bent on buying, selling, and negotiating. It was not the habit, however, of these savages to enter precipitately on any kind of business; and three days were allowed to elapse before they opened their great council at which, tribe by tribe, they were to lay their views before the governor. The first to speak were the Ottawas, and their talk was almost exclusively of trade. Their instinct for business was keen, and had it been possible they would probably have steered clear of politics. They had had some experience of the low prices of English goods, and were very insistent that the French should deal with them on equally favourable terms. The spokesman of the Hurons, a much weaker tribe numerically, was not so narrowly commercial in his views. He said he had come down to see his father, to listen to his voice, and to do his will. He presented three belts. By the first he prayed that the war might be prosecuted against the Iroquois as well as against the English. If not, he feared he and his father would both die. The second thanked the count for his former services to their nation. The third prayed him to take pity on the Ottawas, and give them good bargains. Such a manifestation of interest in the Ottawas was very touching; but probably the Huron orator, whose people had a certain reputation for subtlety, calculated that, if a lower tariff were made for the Ottawas, all would get the benefit of it. On the • twenty-fifth of the month, the count entertained them all at a great feast. Two oxen and six large dogs furnished the meat, which was cooked with prunes. Two barrels of wine were provided to wash this down, and liberal rations of tobacco were served out to every man. Before the feasting began, the count stood up to address his guests. He assured them that he meant to prosecute the war with the Iroquois until he had brought it to a successful issue, and forced them to sue for peace. Then, when peace was made, it should be a general peace: all should be included in it, and the Iroquois themselves would again be his children. Meantime, however, they were preparing to invade the country; and the question was whether to await their arrival or go to meet them. Then ensued a remarkable performance, which might well have employed a livelier pen than that of Monseignat who gives us the account of it. Seizing a hatchet, the aged governor, war-worn but yet fiery and vigorous, began to sing the war song, walking to and fro in the most excited manner, and brandishing the hatchet over his head in true Indian fashion. The effect was electric. The old Onontio was surpassing himself. Here was a leader whose very presence banished fear. When he had sufficiently excited their admiration, and stimulated their warlike ardour, he handed the hatchet to the different chiefs in turn, and to a number of Frenchmen, who all imitated Onontio's example, vowing vengeance on the foe. Then began the feast, a function to which it is needless to say the savage guests brought ravenous appetites. In diplomacy dinners have been known to work wonders; and Frontenac was seeking the hearts of his guests through a well-recognized channel.

We have seen that the mission sent by the governor to the Iroquois towards the close of the previous year, and which returned in the following month of March, had not accomplished any satisfactory result. The count waited till navigation was open before resuming negotiations. He then determined to restore to their nation the four returned Iroquois who had formed his first embassy, and to make them the bearers of belts which he hoped would speak strongly in favour of peace. With these Indians he sent a French gentleman, the Chevalier d'Eau. He tendered the mission in the first place to the gay and dashing Baron La Hontan; but that young man, who was well versed in the classics, was afraid of the Iroquois even when carrying gifts to them; and, with marked discretion, declined the honour. The Chevalier d'Eau had no reason to congratulate himself on having accepted it. He made his appearance amongst the Iroquois at a most unfavourable moment. The affair at Schenectady was fresh in their recollection; and though their own people had, through motives of policy, been spared on that occasion, they were under a strong pledge to the English to assist in revenging the slaughter. A couple of Frenchmen who accompanied the chevalier were burnt; he himself was soundly thrashed and handed over as a prisoner to the English ; the messages of the belts were disregarded. No news of the fate of the envoy had reached Frontenac up to the time of the gathering of the western Indians at Montreal; but after their departure the facts concerning them were obtained from some Iroquois prisoners at Fort Frontenac. The one great gain of the year had been the winning over of the Lake tribes, a result which at once assured the safety of the French traders and missionaries in the West, and prevented that isolation of the colony which would have followed had an alliance been struck between those tribes and the Iroquois.


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