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      [634] Letter of Lieutenant William Grant, in Maclachlan's Highlands, II. 340 (ed. 1875).[324] Bigot au Ministre, 5 Sept. 1755.

      "But I must before I lose you!"

      The dispute still went on. The autumn ships from Quebec brought back the usual complaints, and the long-suffering king at length made good his threat. Both Frontenac and Duchesneau received their recall, and they both deserved it. [32]V1 Oueskak, Aulac, Baye Verte, Beausjour, and places adjacent; the male inhabitants, or the principal of them, being collected together in Fort Cumberland to hear the sentence, which determined their property, from the Governor and Council of Halifax; which was that they were declared rebels, their lands, goods, and chattels forfeited to the Crown, and their bodies to be imprisoned. Upon which the gates of the fort were shut, and they all confined, to the amount of four hundred men and upwards." Parties were sent to gather more, but caught very few, the rest escaping to the woods.

      On the eighth of October the march began, the five Comanches and the chiefs of several other tribes, including the Omahas, joining the cavalcade. Gaillard and another Frenchman named Quesnel were sent in advance to announce their approach to the Comanches, while Bourgmont and his followers moved up the north side of the river Kansas till the eleventh, when they forded it at a point twenty leagues from its mouth, and took a westward and southwestward course, sometimes threading the grassy valleys of little streams, sometimes crossing the dry upland prairie, covered with the short, tufted dull-green herbage since known as "buffalo grass." Wild turkeys clamored along every watercourse; deer were seen on all sides, buffalo were without number,[Pg 364] sometimes in grazing droves, and sometimes dotting the endless plain as far as the eye could reach. Ruffian wolves, white and gray, eyed the travellers askance, keeping a safe distance by day, and howling about the camp all night. Of the antelope and the elk the journal makes no mention. Bourgmont chased a buffalo on horseback and shot him with a pistol,which is probably the first recorded example of that way of hunting.[Pg 272]We have seen that the Peace of Utrecht was followed by a threefold conflict for ascendency in America,the conflict for Acadia, the conflict for northern New England, and the conflict for the Great West; which last could not be said to take at once an international character, being essentially a competition for the fur-trade. Only one of the English colonies took an active part in it,the province of New York. Alone among her sister communities she had a natural thoroughfare to the West, not comparable, however, with that of Canada, to whose people the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and their tributary waters were a continual invitation to the vast interior.

      Such was the beginning of Queen Anne's War. These attacks were due less to the Abenakis than to the French who set them on. "Monsieur de Vaudreuil," writes the Jesuit historian Charlevoix, "formed a party of these savages, to whom he joined some Frenchmen under the direction of the Sieur de Beaubassin, when they effected some ravages of no great consequence; they killed, however, about three hundred men." This last statement is doubly incorrect. The whole number of persons killed and carried off during the August attacks did not much[Pg 47] exceed one hundred and sixty;[48] and these were of both sexes and all ages, from octogenarians to newborn infants. The able-bodied men among them were few, as most of the attacks were made upon unprotected houses in the absence of the head of the family; and the only fortified place captured was the garrison-house at Winter Harbor, which surrendered on terms of capitulation. The instruments of this ignoble warfare and the revolting atrocities that accompanied it were all, or nearly all, converted Indians of the missions. Charlevoix has no word of disapproval for it, and seems to regard its partial success as a gratifying one so far as it went.V1 rulers began with a hundred thousand. Thus the three great Powers stood leagued against Prussia. Sweden and Saxony joined them; and the Empire itself, of which Prussia was a part, took arms against its obnoxious member.

      V2 So far, however, as concerns the war in the Germanic countries, it was to outward seeming but a mad debauch of blood and rapine, ending in nothing but the exhaustion of the combatants. The havoc had been frightful. According to the King of Prussia's reckoning, 853,000 soldiers of the various nations had lost their lives, besides hundreds of thousands of non-combatants who had perished from famine, exposure, disease, or violence. And with all this waste of life not a boundary line had been changed. The rage of the two empresses and the vanity and spite of the concubine had been completely foiled. Frederic had defied them all, and had come out of the strife intact in his own hereditary dominions and master of all that he had snatched from the Empress-Queen; while Prussia, portioned out by her enemies as their spoil, lay depleted indeed, and faint with deadly striving, but crowned with glory, and with the career before her which, through tribulation and adversity, was to lead her at last to the headship of a united Germany.Days and weeks wore on, and the first excitement gave way to restless impatience. Why did not the English come? Many of the Canadians thought that Heaven would interpose and wreck the English fleet, as it had wrecked that of Admiral Walker half a century before. There were processions, prayers, and vows towards this happy consummation. Food was scarce. Bigot and Cadet lived in luxury; fowls by thousands were fattened with wheat for their tables, while the people were put on rations of two ounces of bread a day. [711] Durell and his ships were reported to be still at Isle-aux-Coudres. Vaudreuil sent thither a party of Canadians, and they captured three midshipmen, who, says Montcalm, had gone ashore pour polissonner, that is, on a lark. These youths were brought to Quebec, where they increased the general anxiety by grossly exaggerating the English force.


      But if Duchesneau wrote letters, so too did Frontenac; and if the intendant sent proofs, so too did the governor. Upon the unfortunate king and the still more unfortunate minister fell the difficult task of composing the quarrels of their servants, three thousand miles away. They treated Duchesneau without ceremony. Colbert wrote to him: "I have examined all the letters, papers, and memorials that you sent me by the return of the vessels last November, and, though it appears by the letters of M. de Frontenac that his conduct leaves something to be desired, there is assuredly far more to blame in yours than in his. As to what you say concerning his violence, his trade with the Indians, and in general all that you allege against him, the king has written to him his intentions; but since, in the midst of all your complaints, you say many things which are without foundation, or which are no concern of yours, it is difficult to believe that you act in the spirit which the service of the king demands; that is to say, without interest and without passion. If a change does not appear in your conduct before next year, his Majesty will not keep you in your office." [16]


      Lord Bath argues for retaining Canada in A Letter addressed to Two Great Men on the Prospect of Peace (1759). He is answered by another pamphlet called Remarks on the Letter to Two Great Men (1760). The Gentleman's Magazine for 1759 has an ironical article styled Reasons for restoring Canada to the French; and in 1761 a pamphlet against the restitution appeared under the title, Importance of Canada considered in Two Letters to a Noble Lord. These are but a part of the writings on the question."Where's that?"


      V2 The army of Amherst had gathered at Oswego in July. On the tenth of August it was all afloat on Lake Ontario, to the number of ten thousand one hundred and forty-two men, besides about seven hundred Indians under Sir William Johnson. [847] Before the fifteenth the whole had reached La Prsentation, otherwise called Oswegatchie or La Galette, the seat of Father Piquet's mission. Near by was a French armed brig, the "Ottawa," with ten cannon and a hundred men, threatening destruction to Amherst's bateaux and whaleboats. Five gunboats attacked and captured her. Then the army advanced again, and were presently joined by two armed vessels of their own which had lingered behind, bewildered among the channels of the Thousand Islands.[850] An East View of Montreal, drawn on the Spot by Thomas Patten (King's Maps, British Museum), Plan of Montreal, 1759. A Description of Montreal, in several magazines of the time. The recent Canadian publication called Le Vieux Montral, is exceedingly incorrect as to the numbers of the British troops and the position of their camps.