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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.
Oh, dear! There's the chapel bell, and after 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.
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. Procs de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mmoire pour Messire Fran?ois Bigot. Compare Mmoires sur le Canada, 1749-1760.
"Me? Ah didn't do nuffin, suh. Ah jes sot."V1 much like soldiers as possible." 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."  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
EVE OF WAR.viii