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Count Frontenac
Chapter X Frontenac, Defender of Canada


IN planning his attacks on the English colonies it does not appear that Frontenac took specially into account the political disorganization existing amongst them at the time, or built his hopes of success to any extent on that circumstance. It is nevertheless true that, if his object had been to strike at a moment of unpreparedness and weakness, he could not have timed his operations better. The rule of James II and his agents had been borne with no little reluctance by his subjects in North America, and particularly by those of New England, and when news came of his expulsion from the throne, his flight from England-, and the arrival and coronation of the Prince of Orange and his wife (daughter of James II) as king and queen, there was at once a popular movement both at Boston and at New York to seize the government, and hold it subject to the orders of the new sovereigns. Sir Edmund Andros was governor of New England at the time, with authority over the province of New York, Boston being the chief seat of government, and the governor being represented at New York by a lieutenant-governor, one Francis Nicholson. Andros had been appointed governor of New York, by James, then Duke of York, to whom the province had been patented in 1674, and had held the office till 1681, when lie was replaced by Colonel Dongan of epistolary fame. His recall was consequent upon complaints that had been made by the colonists of various arbitrary acts on his part; but on his arrival in England he managed to defend himself successfully, and in 1686, James being now on the throne, he was sent out again with the larger jurisdiction we have mentioned.

Religious passions in those days ran high; and Andros, who was a strong churchman, soon found himself on worse terms with the puritanical population of Boston than he had been with the more heterogeneous and less rigid inhabitants of New York. The circumstances of the time, it must be confessed, were such as to excuse a somewhat sensitive condition of public feeling. Two years before the arrival of Andros, the Court of Chancery of England had declared null and void the charter granted to the colony of Massachusetts in the year 1629, which, from that date onwards, had been the basis, not only of all government, but of all land grants, transfers of property, and popular liberties generally. A provisional government, under one Joseph Dudley had succeeded. Then had come Andros, commissioned by a king who was far from commanding the unlimited confidence of his subjects at home, and who was looked upon with at least equal distrust by the ultra-Protestants of his American dominions. How long they were going to be deprived of legally guaranteed liberties there was no knowing, nor what the intentions of James II might be in regard to their beloved commonwealth. They did not think it impossible he might wish to hand them over to his close ally the King of France ; and in Andros they feared they saw only too meet an instrument for stratagems and spoils. The instructions given to him as governor contained a special injunction to favour by all means in his power the rites and doctrines of the Church of England ; and the colonists, with the exception of a small minority, were maddened to see public taxes applied to this hateful object. As the Indians were giving trouble, the governor made a campaign against them in the summer of 1688, which was not- very successful; hence more odium gathered on his head. Having failed in his measures of offence he thought he would at least provide for defence, and garrisoned the forts on the frontier with six hundred men, chiefly militia. More discontent: the garrisons served unwillingly, and the people at home professed to believe that such measures were unnecessary. A small detachment of soldiers had come out with Andros. Their conduct, according to contemporary accounts, was most unedifying and in shocking contrast to the unrelenting rigour and formality of colonial piety. It is not surprising therefore that, when, in April 1689, news was brought that James II, whose commission Andros bore, was no longer king, but that the leader of European Protestantism reigned in his stead, there should have been an instant uprising of the populace against his representative. Andros was seized and imprisoned with fifty of his followers. "For seven weeks," says a contemporary writer, " there was not so much as the face of any government." A vessel having arrived towards the end of May with instructions to proclaim William and Mary, certain of the members of the former General Council assumed to act, and one of their number, the aged Simon Bradstreet, was named as governor.

It did not take long for the news to travel from Boston to New York. The condition of things there was different; public opinion was not in the same state of exasperation as at Boston ; still Andros was of old unpopular, and after a little hesitation, a movement was organized, headed by one Jacob Leisler, to take the government out of the hands of the lieutenant-governor, Nicholson. Like his superior officer at Boston, the latter was obliged to submit; and Leisler, most unhappily for himself and his family, assumed, with the support of a committee of citizens, the control of affairs. Thus, both in New England and in New York, there supervened a period of divided councils and enfeebled administration, and this at the precise moment when the colonies were about to encounter new perils. The provisional government of New England, in blind opposition to the policy of Sir Edmund Andros, withdrew or greatly reduced the garrisons he had wisely established along the frontier. If Leisler could have got his authority recognized at Albany he would have sent forces for the defence of the northern part of the province. There was a party there in his favour; but the magistrates, though quite ready to pay allegiance to William and Mary, thought Leisler's credentials of too dubious a character to justify their negotiating with him. Between divided responsibility and irresponsibility, the difference is not great. News had been received that the French were meditating mischief, but no proper precautionary measures were taken. To this condition of unpreparedness the horrible disaster of Schenectady may be distinctly attributed, and probably those at Salmon Falls and Casco Bay as well.

Even after the mischief was done, it was extremely difficult to secure any harmonious or well-directed action. A strong appeal was sent by the magistrates of Albany to the governor and council of Massachusetts, representing their own deplorable condition of weakness, and asking that New England should undertake the serious enterprise of invading Canada by water. That was a matter for grave consideration, and one, the authorities of Massachusetts thought, in which, if they attempted it at all, they should have the assistance of the Mother Country. They despatched a vessel in April to England with a request for help; but meantime, spurred by their own wrongs and sufferings, they determined to take an easier revenge on the French by invading Acadia. Early in the month of May 1690 the different New England colonies sent delegates to a congress held at New York for the purpose of deciding on a military policy. The conclusion come to was that there should be both a land and a sea expedition, the first directed against Montreal, the second against Quebec. To the former New York was to contribute four hundred men and the New England colonies jointly three hundred and fifty-five. The Iroquois, it was expected, would add a powerful contingent. The naval expedition, it was proposed, should be provided entirely by the New England colonies. The Massachusetts delegates hesitated to commit themselves to so extensive and costly a scheme, but finally agreed to undertake it, relying on assistance from the Mother Country, which, in existing circumstances, they hardly thought could be refused. Meantime the expedition against Acadia could be pushed forward.

French Acadia had at all times been much exposed to attacks from the English colonies. The settlers were few in number—at this time not much over a thousand all told—and their defences were but feeble. In 1654, in accordance with secret orders sent by Cromwell, the territory had been seized by an English force from Boston under the command of Major Robert Sedgwick and Captain John Leverett. Two years later it was made a province, Sir Thomas Temple being appointed governor. After remaining in the possession of the English for a period of thirteen years, it was ceded back to France by the Treaty of Breda in 1667. Five years later Frontenac arrived in Canada for the first time, and in the following year, 1673, M. de Chambly, a very capable soldier, whose services had been highly appreciated by the previous governor, M. de Courcelles, was sent to command in Acadia, and established himself at Pentagouet, a fortified post at the mouth of the river Penobscot. This was the extreme western limit of his jurisdiction even according to the French view of the matter. The New Englanders held that the true limit was the river St. Croix, the present boundary between the province of New Brunswick and the state of Maine. To the east Acadia embraced, by common consent, the southern part of what is now New Brunswick and all Nova Scotia west of the Straits of Can so M. de Chambly had not been more than a year in his new government when an attack was made on Pentagouet by a Flemish corsair conducted by a Boston pilot or ship captain. After a brief defence he was obliged to surrender, his force being very inferior, and he himself having been wounded. The attacking party then proceeded to the only other Acadian fort, Jemseg, on the river St. John, and captured it. M. de Chambly was taken as a prisoner to Boston, but was soon set at liberty and permitted to return to France. The attack gave rise to a strong protest on the part of Frontenac, and was wholly disavowed by the Massachusetts authorities. In the year 1676, M. de Chambly was sent out again from France with a royal commission as lieutenant-governor. He did not attempt to establish himself at Pentagouet, but for a time made his headquarters at Jemseg, and not long afterwards removed to Port Royal, now Annapolis, on the northern coast of Nova Scotia, which thus became the capital of Acadia. Here he remained till about the year 1679 or 1680, when he was transferred to the governorship of Grenada in the West Indies.

It was not till the autumn of 1684 that a duly appointed successor was provided in the person of M. Francis Perrot, who had finally been dismissed from the governorship of Montreal. In the interval there had been one or two descents on the Acadian coast, calling forth further protests on Frontenac's part, and further disclaimers of responsibility on that of the constituted authorities of New England. To fish in French waters or to trade with the inhabitants was considered an infraction of international law; and yet there is clear evidence that the French settlers rather longed than otherwise for the flesh-pots of Boston in the shape of English goods and English money, very much after the manner of the Iroquois and the Indian tribes of the West. When Perrot came to Port Royal he was pleased to find that the conditions there were nearly as favourable as at Montreal for the trading in which his soul delighted. The chief difference was the substitution of Boston for New York as his commercial centre. In the fall of the year 1685, a few weeks after the arrival of the Marquis of Denonville, Meulles, the intendant, accompanied by a member of the Sovereign Council, Peyras, paid a visit of inspection to the country, remaining till the following summer. A carefully-made census showed that the total population amounted at that time to 885 souls, mustering 222 guns. Of cultivated land there were 896 acres. Horned cattle numbered t$86, sheep 759, and pigs 608. Just as Meulles was leaving the country, the bishop designate, Saint Vallier, arrived on a pastoral visit. The account he gives of the people in his Etat present de VEglise is most laudatory, and strangely at variance with a report made by Duchesneau, the intendant, a few years earlier. In 1681 that officer had written that the poverty of the people was not the most serious evil; " their discords are a much greater one. Among them there is neither order nor police; and those who are sent hence to command them pillage them." The future bishop, in 1689, saw things very differently. Although, he said, they had been deprived of spiritual instruction for many years, they did not seem to have suffered in the least thereby. Their morals were excellent; they were kindly and well-disposed, and were greatly rejoiced to learn that their spiritual interests were going to be better looked after in future. Of course they may have improved in the eight years that had elapsed since M. Duchesneau made his report; or that not very genial individual may have needlessly darkened the picture; or, again, the worthy prelate may have thrown a little too much sunshine into it. It is satisfactory to learn that the result of Meulles's visit was the dismissal of Perrot, who, doubtless, was plundering the people. This time no other office was provided for him. He remained in the country, however, to do a little more trading, and was finally killed, it was reported, in a fight with some pirates. His successor was M. de Menneval, a good soldier and a man of character.

Such was the country on which Massachusetts had determined to make a descent. Seven vessels, carrying two hundred and eighty-five sailors, and four or five hundred militiamen, were commissioned for the expedition, which was put under the command of Sir William Phipps, " a rugged son of New England," as Parkman calls him. Phipps was, in truth, an early American example of a self-made man. His knighthood, as well as a comfortable fortune, had been won by adventurous and successful service at sea. One of his biographers tells us that he was born "at a despicable plantation on the river Kennebec." His early years were passed in sheep-tending. The attacks of the Indians drove him, in the year 1676, to Boston, where he applied himself to learning the trade of ship-building, and where he also married Mary Hull, widow of one John Hull, a woman several years his senior and of much better education and social position than he. A year later we find him in command of a sailing vessel. A Spanish treasure vessel had been wrecked somewhere off the Bahamas some forty years before, and Phipps felt confident that if he were furnished with a suitable ship he co\ild find the wreck and recover the treasure. He made an application to the English government, and was granted the use of a vessel called the Algier Rose. His first expedition was not successful; but on a second attempt he located the wreck, and by the aid of a diving-bell—a comparatively recent invention at the time—recovered treasure to the value of £300,000. He had next to face a mutiny on his vessel, which he only quelled by dint of personal courage and address. On reaching England he received as his own share of the booty £16,000; but James II further recognized his services by creating him a knight. This was in the summer of 1687. Phipps then returned to Boston, and was henceforth a man of substance and influence in the community.

The fleet under his command sailed from Nan-tasket about the 1st May, and on the 11th reached Port Royal. Menneval, the governor, had under his command a garrison consisting of not far short of one hundred men. The fort had also been provided with twenty cannon ; but these, it appears, had not been mounted. Menneval musthave judged that the place was incapable of defence, because, when summoned by Phipps to surrender, he complied without making any attempt at resistance. He stipulated that private property as well as the church should be respected, and that the garrison should be returned to France. Phipps might have insisted on surrender at discretion, as he clearly saw when he entered into possession of the fort; but as he had not done so, honour required that he should observe the terms he had made. This, unfortunately for his reputation, he did not do. Availing himself of the pretext afforded by the fact that some goods belonging to the king had been carried away from the fort and secreted in the woods, he proceeded to plunder the traders of the place and desecrate the church. It is one of his own men who writes : " We cut down the cross, pulled down their high altar, and broke their images." The inhabitants in general were promised security for life, liberty, and property, on condition of swearing allegiance to the English Crown, which they did with great alacrity. The fact was they had dealt so much with the New Englanders in the way of business that they had little prejudice against them, while they had been so much neglected by the French government, both politically and ecclesiastically, not to speak of being robbed by its agents, that their national feelings had been but little cultivated. Phipps had with him such a force as they had never seen before—seven hundred men; and the probability is that they hoped for greater quiet and surer protection under English rule than, so far as they could see, they were likely to enjoy under that of France. Phipps seemed to have assumed that they would remain true to their new allegiance, for he did not leave any garrison in the country, but invited the people to govern themselves by means of a council consisting of six ordinary members and a president, whom he chose from amongst themselves. Acadia. was now to rank as a colony of Massachusetts, which was thus affording the earliest example of American "imperialism," though in a liberal fashion.

While Phipps was taking possession of Port Royal, one of his officers, Captain Alden, had captured Saint-Castin's post at Pentagouet (Penobscot), after which, by orders of his chief, he sailed to the southern coast of what is now Nova Scotia, and seized the settlements of La Heve, Cheda-bucto, and one or two others. No resistance was made anywhere, and consequently no lives were lost The conquest, such as it was, was a bloodless one. Bitter complaint, nevertheless, was made of the bad faith shown by the New England leader after the capture of Port Royal, and with good cause. A soldier's word in such a case should be absolutely inviolable. At the same time it is a memorable fact that men who might have sought to avenge the blood of kindred slain without warning in night attacks, such as those at Schenectady and Salmon Falls, or in violation of terms of surrender, as at Casco Hay, should have absolutely refrained from bloodshed. The French account of the affair at Port Royal distinctly mentions that the New Englanders were bitterly resentful of the Salmon Falls massacre in particular; nevertheless it did not enter into their mind to follow the example of Hertel and his braves.

On the 30th May Phipps arrived at Boston, bringing with him as prisoners Menneval, fifty-nine French soldiers, and two priests. The " rugged son of New England " showed that he had the over-thrifty qualities which were formerly, more than to-day, associated with the " down-east" character. Menneval Had entrusted him with his money, and Phipps refused to return it. He also appropriated a quantity of the French governor's clothing and other effects, which he showed the greatest reluctance to give up, though distinctly ordered to do so by the General Council of Massachusetts. Upon a repetition of the order in more emphatic terms, he restored a portion of the property, but could not be induced to make complete restitution. Successful generals are not always easy to confine within the bounds of strict legality. Phipps himself was a member of the General Council, having been elected thereto while absent in Acadia ; and, as just before starting on the expedition, he had joined the church of the celebrated Cotton Mather, he possessed a combination " pull," as it would be denominated in these days—civil, religious, military, and doubtless social which it must have been very difficult to overcome, particularly in the unsettled condition of things then prevailing. Menneval, after being kept for a considerable time in confinement, was allowed to sail for France.

Massachusetts had not waited for the return of Phipps before taking in hand the more serious matter of the expedition against Quebec. It was hoped, as has already been mentioned, that some assistance would come from the Mother Country in time for a union of forces; but, should that hope be disappointed, New England had determined to proceed with the enterprise alone. The ease with which Acadia had been reduced to submission seemed to be a presage of success in the larger undertaking; and if Phipps could return with a respectable show of booty from so. small an establishment as that of Port Royal, what might not be expected if so acquisitive a commander could get a chance at Quebec. Then there was the religious aspect of the case. The Puritan commonwealth would not dishonour God by doubting that they were the people, or that the Catholics of Canada were idolaters. With all the sound doctrine and scriptural worship on one side, and all the deadly error and superstitious practice on the other, how could Providence hesitate which cause to support? At the same time prayer was not considered superfluous, nor was it allowed to flag. "The wheel," as Cotton Mather expressed it, "was kept in continual motion"; and as they prayed they worked, these sturdy Roundheads of the New World. Till well past midsummer Boston harbour was alive with preparation. The chief difficulty was to finance the enterprise. Previous Indian wars had exhausted the colony, and the treasury was well-nigh empty. The only thing to do was to pledge the public credit and raise a loan, which it was hoped might be liquidated, in great part, if not in whole, by the plunder of the enemy. Thirty vessels altogether were requisitioned for the expedition. Most were of small capacity; the largest was a West India trader named the Six Friends, carrying forty-four guns, and the second largest the John and Thomas, carrying twenty-six guns. The rest had little or no armament. Three vessels appear to have been contributed by the province of New York, one of which was a frigate of twenty-four guns, and the two others vessels of smaller size carrying eight and four guns respectively. The supply of ammunition was decidedly short; but it was hoped, almost up to the last moment, that some contribution in the way of warlike stores, if not in ships and men, would arrive from England. That hope was destined to be frustrated. It was the year when William III was carrying on his campaign in Ireland, while Queen Mary and her Privy Council were trying to control domestic disaffection. It was the terrible year of Beachy Head, when the combined English and Dutch fleets, under Torrington and Evertsen, were defeated by the French under Tourville, and when the buoys at the mouth of the Thames were taken up to prevent the ships of the enemy from appearing before London. It is perhaps not much to be wondered at that, in a time of so much stress and perplexity, an appeal from a transAtlantic colony for assistance that could ill be spared should have received scant attention. No help was sent: the New Englanders were left to fight their own battles as William was fighting his.

Considering the resources of the colonies, it was no mean effort they were putting forth. Some hundreds of men volunteered for the expedition; but, the number being insufficient, a press was resorted to in order to make up the total required, namely, twenty-two hundred. Of these about three hundred were sailors, and the rest soldiers. Provisions for four months were taken on board, and the expedition, under the command of Phipps, sailed from Nantasket on the 9th August 1690.

What progress was being made in the meantime with the land expedition against Montreal in which New York was to take the lead? The answer must be, very poor progress indeed. At Boston there was a considerable measure of unity of action; in New York there was almost none. It had been agreed that Connecticut should furnish a contingent of troops, and that the whole expedition should be placed under the command of one of its officers, Fitz-John Winthrop, afterwards governor. Winthrop organized a force of two or three hundred men, and started from Hartford for Albany on the 14th July. A week later he arrived at the latter town only to find everything in complete disorder. " I found," he says, " the design against Canada poorly contrived and little forwarded, all things confused and in no readiness or position for marching towards Canada; yet every one disorderly projecting something about it."1 The Dutch displayed the greatest indifference in the matter, and the English, for want of any commanding influence or unquestioned authority, were irresolute and vacillating. There was no definite understanding with the Indians; and what help they were going to give was quite uncertain. Organizing his forces as best he could in these most disadvantageous circumstances, Winthrop set out from Albany on his march northwards. He had not gone far when he was overtaken by a despatch from the governor of Massachusetts and Connecticut, telling him that the fleet was in readiness to sail. Eager to do his part in the combined operations, Winthrop pressed on and encamped at Wood Creek at the southern extremity of Lake Champlain. Here smallpox broke out among the troops; disagreements arose with the Indians; and, to make matters still worse, the provisions which should have been pushed on from Albany failed to arrive. After waiting several days in inactivity, Winthrop became persuaded that an advance to Montreal with the body of his troops was out of the question. He allowed the mayor of Albany, Captain John Schuyler, to go on with a small detachment, while he with the rest of his force, largely consisting of sick men, returned to Albany. All that Schuyler succeeded in doing was to perpetrate a rather ignoble raid upon the hamlet of Laprairie near Montreal, where he killed ten or twelve of the inhabitants, destroyed the farms and the cattle, and made a number of prisoners, including some women. As an act of retaliation for Schenectady it was a feeble performance; as an act of war it was not a heroic exploit. Winthrop, before the month of September closed, marched back to Hartford, and thus ended the New York expedition. Clearly, if anything effective is to be done against Canada, the Boston men must do it.

The fleet sailed, as already mentioned, on the 9th August. The admiral's pennon floated from the Six Friends, the vice-admirals from the John and Thomas. The vice-admiral for the occasion was Major John Walley; the third in command, apparently, was a Major Thomas Savage. Had the winds been favourable, the expedition might easily have reached Quebec within a month. They were most unfavourable, however ; and it was not till the 3rd October that it arrived off Tadousac. Here the ships were brought to anchor, and a council of war was held. Four days later the fleet had only advanced fifty miles, and it took eight days more to reach a point off the Island of Orleans near the present village of St. Jean, where it anchored for a few hours. Here Walley proposed that the men, who had been for weeks confined on shipboard, should be allowed to land and "refresh themselves," and that opportunity should be taken to form the several companies, and get everything into perfect order before proceeding to an attack. He was overruled however; and, taking advantage of a rising tide, the fleet slipped up the river, and at daybreak on Monday the 16th October made its appearance in the harbour of Quebec.

We have seen that, during the month of August and part of the month of September Frontenac was engaged at Montreal with his western Indians. It was during this time that Schuyler made his attack on Laprairie. After the departure of the Indians, Frontenac remained in Montreal to complete his measures for the defence of the country, and hoping also to get news of his embassy to the Iroquois. His return to Quebec was fixed for the 10th October, and on the afternoon of that very day a messenger who had been sent post haste by Prevost, the major in command of the troops at Quebec, placed in his hands two. letters. The first, dated the 5th October, told him that an Abenaquis Indian had arrived at Quebec from the neighbourhood of Pentagouet deputed by his tribe to bring important news obtained from a captive New England woman, namely that, about six weeks before, a considerable fleet liad sailed from Boston for the capture of Quebec. The second letter, written later on the same day, said that one Sieur de Cannanville had arrived from Tadousac, where he had seen twenty-four ships, eight of which appeared of considerable size.

It does not say much for Frontenac's intelligence department, if such an institution existed in that day, that he should have known nothing of the preparations which had been going on in Boston during the previous spring and summer. His first impulse was to disbelieve the news now brought, but none the less he lost no time in starting for Quebec with the intendant, Champigny. The first boat he embarked in proved leaky, and came near foundering. He transhipped into a canoe, and went as far as was possible before dark. On the afternoon of the next day a further message was received from Prevost confirming his first, and saying that the enemy had captured, about thirty leagues below Quebec, a vessel in which were two ladies. This looked serious, and the count sent back Captain de Ramesay to Montreal with orders to Callieres, the governor, to march to Quebec at once with all the troops he could gather at Montreal or pick up on the way. He himself made all possible haste, and arrived at Quebec at ten o'clock in the morning of Saturday, the 14th October.

Work on the fortifications of Quebec had been more or less in progress all summer; but from the moment that the first news of the intended attack had been received, Prevost had been particularly-active in planting batteries, digging trenches, and doing other work of immediate necessity. He had also despatched a long-boat and a canoe, both well armed, under the charge of his brother-in-law, Grandville, to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Tadousac, and had sent orders to the militia captains of the neighbouring parishes of Beauport and Beaupr£, and also to those on the Island of Orleans, to hold their men in readiness to march into the city, and meantime to watch the enemy, that they might offer all possible opposition to his landing. Frontenac employed his time on the 14th and 15th in examining and perfecting the general system of defence ; and he was much pleased as well as surprised to find how much Prevost had accomplished in a few days. Two principal batteries had been established in the Upper Town, one, consisting of eight guns, to the right of the chateau, and one of three guns on the rock overlooking Mountain Hill known as Sault au Matelot. Two batteries of three guns each were placed on the river bank, one near the present market-place, and the other near where the Custom House now stands. Most of the pieces were eighteen pounders. The non-combatant inhabitants of the surrounding country had come into the city in considerable numbers, bringing with them what they could in the way of provisions. On Sunday, two canoes were sent down the river to warn the vessels that were expected to arrive from France to keep out of harm's way. On their safe arrival the life almost of the colony might be said to depend. At seven o'clock on Sunday evening news came that the hostile fleet had passed the eastern end of the Island of Orleans. There was not much sleeping that night. At three o'clock on Monday morning their distant lights could be seen down the river. At daybreak there could be counted in the harbour, some authorities say thirty-two, and some thirty-four, English sails.

A few hours of tense expectation elapsed, and then a boat carrying a flag of truce was seen putting out from the admiral's ship. It bore an envoy from Phipps, who was to demand of the governor the surrender of the place. A boat put out from the shore to meet it, and the envoy, having been taken on board, was blindfolded, and brought ashore. Here, according to one^ account, he was crowded and hustled, and made to clamber over unnecessary obstacles, the object being to persuade him that the place was more numerously defended and more difficult of entrance than it really was. In reading the contemporary narratives it is often difficult to know what to believe. Nearly all are vitiated by extreme generality of statement and inaccuracy in detail. That of La Hontan betrays the enormous mendacity of the writer, who, so long as he could be amusing and sensational, was absolutely indifferent as to facts. Checking one by another, however, it is not impossible to arrive at a fairly coherent and credible narrative. It was about ten in the forenoon when the messenger was introduced into the reception-room of the Chateau St. Louis. The mise en scene had been carefully arranged for the moment when the bandage should be removed from his eyes. Frontenac was there in a gorgeous uniform and looking the soldier and seigneur from head to foot. Around him, also in uniform, stood the members of his staff and the principal military and civil officers of the colony. It was such an array of military and official pomp as simple New England eyes had probably never gazed on. History does not seem to have preserved the name or rank of the messenger, and we have no certain information as to the effect produced upon him by the gallant and brilliant company that met his gaze. All we know is that he handed a letter from Phipps to the haughty governor, and awaited his answer. The letter read as follows:—

"Sir William Phipps, Knight, General and Commander-in-Chief, in and over their Majesties' forces of New England, by sea and land, to Count Frontenac, Lieutenant-General and Governourfor the French King at Canada; or in his absence to his deputy, or him or them in chief command at Quebeck.

France doth not only sufficiently warrant, but the destruction made by the French and Indians, under your command and encouragement, upon the persons and estates of their Majesties' subjects of New England, without provocation on their part, hath put them under the necessity of this expedition for their own security and satisfaction. And although the cruelties and barbarities used against them by the French and Indians might, upon the present opportunity, prompt unto a severe revenge, yet, being desirous of avoiding all inhuman and unchristian-like actions, and to prevent shedding of blood as much as may be,

"I, the aforesaid William Phipps, Knight, do hereby in the name and on behalf of their most excellent Majesties, William and Mary, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, and by order of their said Majesties' government of Massachusetts colony in New England, demand a present surrender of your forts and castles, undemolished, and the king's and other stores, unembezzled, with a reasonable delivery of all captives; together with a surrender of all your persons and estates to my dispose : upon the doing whereof you may expect mercy from me, as a Christian, according to what shall be found to be for their Majesties' service and the subjects' security. Which, if you refuse forthwith to do, I am come provided, and am resolved, by the help of God, in whom I trust, by force of arms to revenge all wrongs and injuries offered, and bring you under subjection to the Crown of England, and, when too late, make you wish you had accepted of the favour tendered.

"Your answer positive in an hour returned by your own trumpet, with the return of mine, is required upon the peril that will ensue."

Frontenac was not versed in the English language, so the letter was given to an interpreter to translate. When the latter had finished the reading, the envoy presented his watch to the governor, observing that it was then ten o'clock, and that he would have to have an answer by eleven. The dignity of the assembled officers was much hurt by the brusque terms of Phipps's summons ; and, before Frontenac had had time to frame his reply, one of them cried out that Phipps was nothing but a pirate, and that the man before them should be hanged. Frontenac was not disposed to go so far. "Tell your general," he said, " that I do not recognize King William, and that the Prince of Orange is a usurper, who has violated the most sacred ties of blood in attempting to dethrone his father-in-law. I recognize no other sovereign in England than King James. Your general ought not to be surprised at the hostilities he says are carried on by the French against the Massachusetts colony; since he might expect that the king, my master, having received the King of England under his protection, and being ready to replace him on tiie throne by force of arms, as I am informed, would order me to wage war in this country on a people in rebellion against their lawful sovereign. Does your general imagine," he continued, pointing to the officers who filled the room, " that, even if he offered me better conditions, and I were of a temper to accept them— does he think that so many gallant gentlemen would consent to it, or advise me to place any confidence in the word of a man who violated the capitulation he made with the governor of Port Royal, one who has been wanting in loyalty to his rightful sovereign, and who, unmindful of the personal benefits received by him from that sovereign, adheres to the fortunes of a prince who, while trying to persuade the world to accept him as the liberator of England and defender of the faith, tramples on the laws and privileges of the kingdom, and overturns the English Church? This is what the divine justice invoked by your general in his letter will not fail some day to punish severely."

It is possible that the terms of the governor's answer may have been somewhat conventionalized by his secretary, to whose pen we are indebted for a report of it.1 Phipps speaks of it as " a reviling answer," the drift of which was that he and those with him were traitors for " having taken up with a usurper, and seized upon that good Christian Sir Edmund Andros." The messenger, who doubtless felt his position somewhat uncomfortable, asked the count whether he would not give him an answer in writing. " No !" was the reply; " the only answer I will give will be from the mouth of my cannon and musketry, that he may learn that it is not in such a style that a person of my rank is summoned." Whatever he might forget, Frontenac could not forget his personal rank. There was now no more to be said ; the messenger's eyes were again bandaged, and he was conducted back to his boat.

So now, Sir William, your work is cut out for you I There is the fortress; take it. This is not Port Royal, nor is that hard-featured warrior Menneval. This is a city set on a hill. Its guns are shotted and skilfully disposed. It has defenders by the hundred; and before night closes their numbers will be doubled; for Callieres is on the march with all the troops that can be spared from Montreal, Three Rivers and other posts— eight hundred fighting men in all. Behind those ramparts, or awaiting you in the re#r of the town, are men accustomed to warfare whether in the open field or in forest ambush. The adventure is one of great pith and moment, if you can but succeed in it!

The probability is that by this time Phipps had begun to take a more serious view of his task. He was one of those men who require to be favoured by luck. He was better at making a dash than at organizing victory. He had courage and a good deal of practical skill in navigation, but there is no evidence that he possessed the talents of a military commander. The readiness with which the inhabitants of Acadia had renounced their French allegiance had led him to believe that in Canada he might actually be welcomed as a liberator.1 Of any such disposition on the part of the Canadians there had certainly been no sign as yet. It was reported at Quebec that he had attempted to land some men at Rivi&re Ouelle, and had been repulsed by the inhabitants under the leadership of their cure. The story, however, as given by Mere Juchereau, had plainly passed through the hands of the mythmakers before she got hold of it, for she tell us that " the moment the first boat was within musket shot, the cure ordered a volley, which killed the whole crew with the exception of two men who made off in great haste." Walley's journal makes no mention of any attempt to land, and the story may be assumed to be an imaginative invention. What at least may be regarded as certain is that, up to the date of his arrival before Quebec, Phipps had not received any encouraging overtures from the inhabitants. Other causes of anxiety were not wanting. Smallpox had broken out in his fleet, and the weather was most bitterly cold for the season. On the day of the summons and the following day he and his force remained inactive. On the afternoon of the first day Iberville and his brother Maricourt, returning with a few of their men from Hudson's Bay, landed safely at Beauport in sight of the ships, having slipped up the North Channel in a couple of canoes. In the evening about seven o'clock Calli&res, governor of Montreal, marched into the city at the head of eight hundred men. Shouts of welcome, mingled with martial music, reached the ears of the English, and were rightly interpreted as meaning that the city had received reinforcements.

The plan of the attack was that a body of men should be landed on the Beauport flats to the north of the city, and endeavour to obtain access by crossing the river St. Charles; that the principal war vessels should take up their position in front of the city ; that others should move further up so as to create the impression that troops were to be landed above Cape Diamond, in order to take the city in the rear; and that the bombardment should only begin when a signal had been received that the troops at the other side had made their entrance. The scheme was a good one, but it was not well carried out. On Wednesday forenoon about thirteen hundred men under Major Walley were landed, apparently without opposition,though there were troops in abundance—levies from Beauport and Beaupr£, Indians from Lorette, as well as the forces within the city—who could have made the landing exceedingly difficult and costly in lives, had they been led to the spot; particularly as the enemy had to wade knee-deep, and even waist-deep, in icy water in order to get to land. The landing having been effected, Walley drew up his force in companies, selecting four to act as an advance guard, or, as he calls them, "forlorns," and then ordered a march for the higher ground. They had not gone a hundred yards before there was firing from cover on both flanks, particularly from the right; there, Walley says, "there was a party galled us considerably." A charge having been ordered the defenders gave way, but continued to fire from swamp and bush as they retreated.1 In the pursuit Walley gained a position not far from the St. Charles River. He was expecting some vessels to come into the river with supplies, and for that reason, as well as for others, wished to be near it. One or two houses and barns gave a little shelter, but many of the men had to lie out all night. If we may trust his statement his loss in killed on that day was four, and in wounded sixty. Considering the nature of the landing, " it was a great mercy," he says, " we had no more damage done us." He judged that he had killed some twenty of the Canadians, but that was a vast over-estimate. The Chevalier de Clermont, an experienced and valuable officer, had been killed, and Juchereau de St. Denis, who commanded the Beauport militia, had been wounded; but the total of killed and wounded on the Canadian side did not probably exceed the figure mentioned.

In the course of the day a Frenchman, who was a fugitive from his own side, surrendered to Walley's men, and from him the New England commander learned the somewhat discouraging news that the defensive forces in the city far outnumbered the whole of Phipps's expedition. Troops had been pouring in from different quarters both before and after the governor's arrival, and the last body of men brought by Calli&res had raised the total to about three thousand. Walley threatened the man very seriously as to what would happen if he did not tell the truth, and he seems to have heeded the warning. The number he mentioned agrees with the figures given by the contemporary historian Belmont, and also by Captain Sylvanus Davis, who was a prisoner in Quebec during the siege.

According to the arrangement made between Phipps and Walley, the former was only to begin the bombardment after the latter had forced an entrance into the town. Moreover, small armed vessels were to sail into the St. Charles, to assist his passage of that river and to furnish his force with necessary supplies of food and ammunition. Why this arrangement was departed from is not very clear; but about four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon Phipps moved his four principal vessels up before the town, and no sooner had he come within cannon shot than the shore batteries opened fire. Then ensued a duel in which the defence had all the best of it. Their guns were much better served than those of the assailants, and they had excellent marks to shoot at. The fight was maintained till after dark, by which time Phipps had fired away nearly all his ammunition and accomplished virtually nothing. One boy in the town had been killed by a splinter of rock; the buildings in the town had scarcely been injured at all. Phipps says he dismounted some of the enemy's best guns, but his story is unconfirmed. Certain it is that his vessels suffered serious damage in hulls, masts, and rigging, and that, after a brief renewal of the encounter the next morning, he drew them all off.

An incident which has given rise to a good deal of discussion may here be referred to. The flag of the admiral's vessel was shot away and fell into the river. It was captured by some men from the shore, but whether under the very heroic circumstances described by an eminent Canadian poet on the authority of Pdre Charlevoix, is, to say the least, open to doubt. Charlevoix has it that, no sooner had the flag fallen into the water and begun to drift away, than some Canadians swam out and seized it, notwithstanding the fire directed on them from the ships. Contemporary writers know nothing of any such feat. The one who comes nearest to the father's account of the matter is Mfcre Juchereau, who says that "our Canadians went out rashly in a bark canoe and brought it to land under the noses of the English." She does not even say they were fired on. How near they got to the English we can hardly judge from the expression "a la barbe des Anglais," which is not a measure of length. On the other hand we have from a .contemporary writer, the R^collet, Pére Leclercq, whose book was published in 1691, the year following the attack on Quebec, a plain, consistent statement as to how the thing happened, and one the terms of which are in distinct conflict with the popular version. After describing how the vice-admiral's ship had been the first to withdraw beyond the reach of the shore batteries, he continues : "The admiral [Phipps] followed him pretty closely and with precipitation, paying out the whole length of his anchor-cable, and then letting it go. His flag, which drifted away in the river, was left to our discretion, and our people went and fished it out." The words used plainly imply that there was neither difficulty nor danger in recovering the flag; and this be it remembered was the story Leclercq heard at the time, and published almost immediately. Frontenac, who would certainly have been pleased to approve the bravery of his people, simply says that Phipps lost his flag, " which remained in our possession"; while Monseignat's statement in what may be regarded as the official narrative, is that the admiral's flag and another were borne in triumph to the church. Charlevoix's lack of accuracy in details is evident in the very paragraph in which he deals with this incident; for he says that no sooner had Phipps's messenger returned to his ship, than, to the great surprise of the English, shots were fired from one of the Lower Town batteries, and that the first one carried away the flag. This is pure romance. Phipps's vessel was not within range at the time, and no shots were exchanged till late in the afternoon of Wednesday, two days later. The loquacious La Hontan, who at least knows how to adorn a tale, if not point a moral, knows nothing of this particular occurrence, otherwise he would certainly have included it in a narrative which, it is evident, he aimed at making as lively and piquant as possible. It is no disparagement of the valour of the defenders of Quebec to doubt whether the incident took place as described either by Charlevoix, who did not visit the country till thirty years after the event, and did not publish his book till twenty-four years later, or by M&re Juchereau. Many a brave deed has passed unnoticed of history; and, en revanche, many an insignificant act has been wrapped round by legend with clouds of glory. If there is reason to doubt whether this particular deed was done in a specially heroic, or even in a very dramatic manner, there are incidents in abundance left to attest the heroism of the French-Canadian race. The legends of a people bear witness to its ideals, and help to repair the wrongs that history does by leaving so much that is truly memorable and admirable unrecorded.

While Phipps on Thursday was drawing off his shattered vessels, Walley and his men were having a very miserable time ashore. The succour he was expecting did not arrive. Instead he received what he did not want at all—six field-pieces, twelve-pounders, weighing about eight hundred pounds each, which the nature of the ground made it impossible to use, and which thus proved a simple embarrassment. However, thinking the vessels would arrive later in the day, Walley moved his men somewhat nearer to the town, and took up a position rather better both for shelter and for defence. This movement does not seem to have been opposed by the Canadian forces, as there is no mention in the narratives of any fighting on this day. The vessels did not come with the evening tide as hoped ; and Walley, in his simple narrative, says : " We stood upon our guard that night, but found it exceeding cold, it freezing that night so that the next morning the ice would bear a man." The position was both distressing and precarious, and a council of war was called during the night to consider what should be done. By this time the assailing force had some idea of the nature of the task they had undertaken : to advance in the face of skirmishers having every advantage of position; to ford a river behind which a thousand men and several pieces of artillery were posted; and, should they by any miracle succeed in that, to encounter a couple of thousand more within the walls of the town. Many of their men were sick, some were literally freezing, others worn and exhausted. Their provisions were short, their ammunition very low. The decision of the council was that Walley should go on board- the admiral's vessel next day and ask for instructions.

During Walley's absence on Friday forenoon, skirmishing was renewed with losses on both sides, but chiefly on that of the New Englanders. On the French side M. de Ste. Hdlene received a wound in the thigh, from which he died in hospital some weeks later. Phipps consented to a retreat; and Walley, on returning to land in the afternoon, began to prepare for it. The following morning before daylight boats arrived to take the men off; but Walley, discovering too great haste on the part of his men to embark, ordered the boats back. There was further skirmishing during the day consequent upon Walley's desire to keep the enemy at a respectful distance, so that the embarkation he hoped to make that night might not be interfered with. Towards evening he used some boats that he had to send off his sick and wounded, but was careful not to afford any indication of a general retreat. This was finally accomplished, not without haste, noise, and confusion bordering on insubordination, between dark and one or two o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 22nd. Through some gross mismanagement five of the eight cannon that had been landed were left behind for the greater glory of the enemy.

A council of war was held on board the admiral's ship on that lamentable Sunday. Further offensive schemes were discussed; but, even as they talked, the leaders knew that nothing of any moment could be accomplished. They had all but exhausted their ammunition, and their provisions were running low. There was a great deal of sickness among the men, and the casualties ashore and in the bombardment had not been inconsiderable. In the end, they appointed a prayer-meeting for next day "to seek God's direction " as Walley expresses it, but the weather was unfavourable for a meeting. Some of the ships, in fact, dragged their anchors, and were in danger of being driven on the town. The following day the whole fleet slipped down to the Island of Orleans on the homeward track.

Walley in his Journalapparently an honest piece of work, sums up comprehensively the causes of the failure: " The land army's failing, the enemy's too timely intelligence, lying three weeks within three days' sail of the place, by reason whereof they had time to bring in the whole 300 strength of their country, the shortness of our ammunition, our late setting out, our long passage, and many sick in the army—these," he says, "may be reckoned as some of the causes of our disappointment." Reasons enough surely. On both sides the hand of Providence was seen. " Well may you speak of this country," writes Laval to Denonville, "as the country of miracles." Had Phipps arrived but one week sooner he would certainly, in Laval's opinion, have captured the city, and that he did not arrive sooner was due to unfavourable winds. Similarly, Sister Anne Bourdon, archivist of the Ursuline Convent, writes that, when the first news of the approach of the English was received, nothing was spared in the way of religious practices "to appease divine justice." The happy result was that " Heaven, granting our prayers, sent winds so contrary that the enemy in nine days only made the distance they might otherwise have made in half a day." So M£re Juchereau of the Hotel Dieu : " God doubtless stopped them, to give the Montrealers time to arrive." Bishop Saint Vallier improved the occasion to stimulate the piety of his people. " Let us," he said, "raise our eyes, my dear children, and see God holding the thunder in His hand, which He is ready to let fall on us. He is causing it now to rumble in order to awaken you from the slumber of your sins."

On the English side no less solemn a view was taken of the events of the time. Governor Brad-street, of Massachusetts, writing to the agents of the colony in England, speaks of "the awful frown of God in the disappointment of that chargeable [costly] and hazardous enterprise." "Shall our Father," he exclaims, " spit in our face, and we not be ashamed ? God grant that we may be deeply humbled and enquire into the cause, and reform those sins that have provoked so great anger to smoke against the prayers of his people, and to answer us by terrible things in righteousness." Cotton Mather in like manner speaks of "an evident hand of Heaven, sending one unavoidable disaster after another." He also reports a saying of Phipps, that, though he had been accustomed to diving in his time, he " would say that the things which had befallen him in this expedition were too deep to be dived into." The total loss of life on the part of the New England forces, taking shipwreck and disease into account, must have run far into the hundreds. Phipps estimated his loss in the engagements at Quebec at thirty, and possibly the number of those actually killed did not much exceed that figure. On the Canadian side the number of killed has been placed at nine, and of the wounded at fifty-two.

All that remained now was to make the best of their melancholy way to Boston. Frontenac had sent a small force under M. Subercase to the Island of Orleans to watch the departing fleet, which might, had its commander been so minded, have committed serious depredations on the parishes along the river. Phipps sent ashore to ask Subercase if there would be any objection to his buying supplies from the inhabitants. The reply was that he might buy what he liked, and a lively trade, very profitable to the farmers, at once sprang up between them and the squadron. Negotiations for an exchange of prisoners followed. Phipps, as we have seen, had captured some on his way up; and he had with him two ecclesiastics whom he had taken in Acadia. The French on their side had Sylvanus Davis, the former commandant of Fort Loyal, two daughters of Captain Clarke who had been killed in the attack on that fort, and a little girl called Sarah Gerrish. All these had received good treatment during their detention at Quebec, and the little girls had particularly endeared themselves to the nuns to whose charge they had been confided, and who were much grieved at having to give them up.

If the weather had been bad on the way to Quebec it was worse on the return. Without the aid of a pilot, Phipps had succeeded in bringing all his vessels safely to Quebec, but on the home voyage several were lost. One, Cotton Mather relates, was never heard of. A second was wrecked, but most of its crew were saved. A third was cast on the coast, and all on board, with the exception of one man, perished through drowning, starvation, or at the hands of the Indians. A fourth was stranded on the Island of Anticosti. There seemed to be no means of escape from this dreary shore; and forty-one of the crew had already died of hardship, when the captain, John "Rainsford by name, and four others determined that they would try to reach Boston in an open boat, in order that, if they escaped the perils of the sea, they might send help to those still alive on the island. It was the 25th March when they put forth in their most precarious craft. "Through a thousand dangers from the sea and ice, and almost starved with hunger and cold," to use the words of Cotton Mather's recital, they arrived at Boston on the 11th May. As soon as a proper vessel could be procured, Rainsford started back to rescue the survivors. Four had died during his absence. Death was staring the remainder in the face, when the sail they had hardly dared to hope for flickered on the horizon. It was too good to be true, and yet it was true. Their heroic captain had come to their relief; and on the 28th June he landed them, seventeen in number, once more on New England soil.


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