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      While Frontenac was on his march, Governor 415 Fletcher had heard of his approach, and called the council at New York to consider what should be done. They resolved that "it will be very grievous to take the people from their labour; and there is likewise no money to answer the charge thereof." Money was, however, advanced by Colonel Cortlandt and others; and the governor wrote to Connecticut and New Jersey for their contingents of men; but they thought the matter no concern of theirs, and did not respond. Fletcher went to Albany with the few men he could gather at the moment, and heard on his arrival that the French were gone. Then he convoked the chiefs, condoled with them, and made them presents. Corn was sent to the Onondagas and Oneidas to support them through the winter, and prevent the famine which the French hoped would prove their destruction.


      Dunstable was attacked by Indians in the autumn of 1724, and two men were carried off. Ten others went in pursuit, but fell into an ambush, and nearly all were killed, Josiah Farwell, Lovewell's brother-in-law, being, by some accounts, the only one who escaped.[274] Soon after this, a petition, styled a "Humble Memorial," was laid before the House of Representatives at Boston. It declares that in order "to kill and destroy their enemy Indians," the petitioners and forty or fifty others are ready to spend one whole year in hunting them, "provided they can meet with Encouragement suitable." The petition is signed by John Lovewell, Josiah Farwell, and Jonathan Robbins, all of Dunstable, Lovewell's name being well written, and the others after a cramped and unaccustomed fashion. The representatives accepted the proposal and voted to give each adventurer two shillings and sixpence a day,then equal in[Pg 259] Massachusetts currency to about one English shilling,out of which he was to maintain himself. The men were, in addition, promised large rewards for the scalps of male Indians old enough to fight.[218] The motives for paying priests for instructing the people of a province ceded to England are given in a report of the French Marine Council. The Acadians "ne pourront jamais conserver un vritable attachement la religion et leur lgitime souverain sans le secours d'un missionnaire" (Dlibrations du Conseil de Marine, 23 Mai, 1719, in Le Canada-Fran?ais). The Intendant Bgon highly commends the efforts of the missionaries to keep the Acadians in the French interest (Bgon au Ministre, 25 Septembre, 1715), and Vaudreuil praises their zeal in the same cause (Vaudreuil au Ministre, 31 Octobre, 1717).


      Villiers thus gives his reason for these overtures. "As we had been wet all day by the rain, as the soldiers were very tired, as the savages said that they would leave us the next morning, and as there was a report that drums and the firing of 158question to ask of a person from a foundling asylum? I didn't

      Oh, dear! There's the chapel bell, and after[347] Desliettes came to meet them, by way of Chicago, with five hundred Illinois warriors and twenty Frenchmen. La Perrire et La Fresnire Beauharnois, 10 Septembre, 1728.

      Such was the character and the fate of many incipient settlements of the utmost border. Farther east, they had a different aspect. Here, small farms with well-built log-houses, cattle, crops of wheat and Indian corn, were strung at intervals along some woody valley of the lower Alleghanies: yesterday a scene of hardy toil; to-day swept with destruction from end to end. There was no warning; no time for concert, perhaps none for flight. Sudden as the leaping panther, a pack of human wolves burst out of the forest, did their work, and vanished.


      I was one of the twenty-seven; eight dropped by the wayside;

      In respect to the approaching crisis, the interests of the two Powers pointed to opposite courses of action. What France needed was time. It was her policy to put off a rupture, wreathe her face in diplomatic smiles, and pose in an attitude of peace and good faith, while increasing her navy, reinforcing her garrisons in America, and strengthening her positions there. It was the policy of England to attack at once, and tear up the young encroachments while they were yet in the sap, before they could strike root and harden into stiff resistance.[548] Procs de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mmoire pour Messire Fran?ois Bigot. Compare Mmoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760.

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      "Me? Ah didn't do nuffin, suh. Ah jes sot."V1 much like soldiers as possible." [207]that is, of drilling them like regulars. The General had little hope of them, and informed Sir Thomas Robinson that "their slothful and languid disposition renders them very unfit for military service,"a point on which he lived to change his mind. Thirty sailors, whom Commodore Keppel had lent him, were more to his liking, and were in fact of value in many ways. He had now about six hundred baggage-horses, besides those of the artillery, all weakening daily on their diet of leaves; for no grass was to be found. There was great show of discipline, and little real order. Braddock's executive capacity seems to have been moderate, and his dogged, imperious temper, rasped by disappointments, was in constant irritation. "He looks upon the country, I believe," writes Washington, "as void of honor or honesty. We have frequent disputes on this head, which are maintained with warmth on both sides, especially on his, as he is incapable of arguing without it, or giving up any point he asserts, be it ever so incompatible with reason or common sense." [208] Braddock's secretary, the younger Shirley, writing to his friend Governor Morris, spoke thus irreverently of his chief: "As the King said of a neighboring governor of yours [Sharpe], when proposed for the command of the American forces about a twelvemonth ago, and recommended as a very honest man, though not remarkably able, 'a little 202

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      EVE OF WAR.viii

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      not accept that scholarship? I don't understand your objectionV1 Five days before, Contrec?ur had sent Jumonville to scour the country as far as the dividing ridge of the Alleghanies. Under him were another officer, three cadets, a volunteer, an interpreter, and twenty-eight men. He was provided with a written summons, to be delivered to any English he might find. It required them to withdraw from the domain of the King of France, and threatened compulsion by force of arms in case of refusal. But before delivering the summons Jumonville was ordered to send two couriers back with all speed to Fort Duquesne to inform the commandant that he had found the English, and to acquaint him when he intended to communicate with them. [148] It is difficult to imagine any object for such an order except that of enabling Contrec?ur to send to the spot whatever force might be needed to attack the English on their refusal to withdraw. Jumonville had sent the two couriers, and had hidden himself, apparently to wait the result. He lurked nearly two days within five miles of Washington's camp, sent out scouts to reconnoitre it, but gave no notice of his presence; played to perfection the part of a skulking enemy, and brought destruction on himself by conduct which can only be ascribed to a sinister motive on the one hand, or to extreme folly on the other. French deserters told Washington that the party came as spies, and were to show the summons only if threatened by a superior force. This last assertion is confirmed by 149


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