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      [480] Ibid., 4 Nov. 1757.

      Here was an unlooked-for deliverance. Yet the danger was not over; for there was fear lest the Outagamies and their allies, hearing of the approach[Pg 283]ing succor, might make a desperate onslaught, burn the French fort, and kill its inmates before their friends could reach them. An interval of suspense followed, relieved at last by a French sentinel, who called to Dubuisson that a crowd of Indians was in sight. The commandant mounted to the top of a blockhouse, and, looking across the meadows behind the fort, saw a throng of savages coming out of the woods,Pottawattamies, Sacs, Menominies, Illinois, Missouris, and other tribes yet more remote, each band distinguished by a kind of ensign. These were the six hundred warriors promised by the Huron messenger, and with them, as it proved, came the Ottawa war-chief Saguina. Having heard during the winter that the Outagamies and Mascoutins would go to Detroit in the spring, these various tribes had combined to attack the common enemy; and they now marched with great ostentation and some show of order, not to the French fort, but to the fortified village of the Hurons, who with their neighbors, the Ottawas, had arrived just before them.Pen was helplessly silent.

      446Finally Pendleton said: "Very well, I'll come at once. Wait for me on the steamboat dock."

      All night the hostile bands, ensconced behind their sylvan ramparts, watched each other in silence. In the morning, an Indian deserter told the English commander that the French were packing their baggage. Schuyler sent to reconnoitre, and found 314 them gone. They had retreated unseen through the snow-storm. He ordered his men to follow; but, as most of them had fasted for two days, they refused to do so till an expected convoy of provisions should arrive. They waited till the next morning, when the convoy appeared: five biscuits were served out to each man, and the pursuit began. By great efforts, they nearly overtook the fugitives, who now sent them word that, if they made an attack, all the prisoners should be put to death. On this, Schuyler's Indians refused to continue the chase. The French, by this time, had reached the Hudson, where to their dismay they found the ice breaking up and drifting down the stream. Happily for them, a large sheet of it had become wedged at a turn of the river, and formed a temporary bridge, by which they crossed, and then pushed on to Lake George. Here the soft and melting ice would not bear them; and they were forced to make their way along the shore, over rocks and mountains, through sodden snow and matted thickets. The provisions, of which they had made a dp?t on Lake Champlain, were all spoiled. They boiled moccasons for food, and scraped away the snow to find hickory and beech nuts. Several died of famine, and many more, unable to move, lay helpless by the lake; while a few of the strongest toiled on to Montreal to tell Callires of their plight. Men and food were sent them; and from time to time, as they were able, they journeyed on again, straggling towards their homes, singly or in small parties, feeble, emaciated, 315 and in many instances with health irreparably broken. [25]

      Johnson on his part was preparing to advance. In July about three thousand provincials were encamped near Albany, some on the "Flats" above the town, and some on the meadows below. Hither, too, came a swarm of Johnson's Mohawks,warriors, squaws, and children. They adorned the General's face with war-paint, and he danced the war-dance; then with his sword he cut the first slice from the ox that had been roasted whole for their entertainment. "I shall be glad," wrote the surgeon of a New England regiment, "if they fight as eagerly as they ate their ox and drank their wine.""Thanks," he said ungraciously.


      Aunt Maria's broad face softened and her eyes rolled zestfully."But you've all afternoon."




      There were several attempts of a more serious kind. The small wooden fort at the river St. George, the most easterly English outpost, was attacked, but the assailants were driven off. A few weeks later it[Pg 244] was attacked again by the Penobscots under their missionary, Father Lauverjat. Other means failing, they tried to undermine the stockade; but their sap caved in from the effect of rains, and they retreated, with severe loss. The warlike contagion spread to the Indians of Nova Scotia. In July the Micmacs seized sixteen or seventeen fishing-smacks at Canseau; on which John Eliot, of Boston, and John Robinson, of Cape Ann, chased the marauders in two sloops, retook most of the vessels, and killed a good number of the Indians. In the autumn a war-party, under the noted chief Grey Lock, prowled about the village of Rutland, met the minister, Joseph Willard, and attacked him. He killed one savage and wounded another, but was at last shot and scalped.[262]V1 simply to numerical preponderance. But this preponderance itself grew out of a difference of systems. We have said before, and it cannot be said too often, that in making Canada a citadel of the state religion,a holy of holies of exclusive Roman Catholic orthodoxy,the clerical monitors of the Crown robbed their country of a trans-Atlantic empire. New France could not grow with a priest on guard at the gate to let in none but such as pleased him. One of the ablest of Canadian governors, La Galissonire, seeing the feebleness of the colony compared with the vastness of its claims, advised the King to send ten thousand peasants to occupy the valley of the Ohio, and hold back the British swarm that was just then pushing its advance-guard over the Alleghanies. It needed no effort of the King to people his waste domain, not with ten thousand peasants, but with twenty times ten thousand Frenchmen of every station,the most industrious, most instructed, most disciplined by adversity and capable of self-rule, that the country could boast. While La Galissonire was asking for colonists, the agents of the Crown, set on by priestly fanaticism, or designing selfishness masked with fanaticism, were pouring volleys of musketry into Huguenot congregations, imprisoning for life those innocent of all but their faith,the men in the galleys, the women in the pestiferous dungeons of Aigues Mortes,hanging their ministers, kidnapping their children, and reviving, in short, the dragonnades. Now, as in the past century, many 22